What more could we ask for? Sun, blue sky, warm temperatures and a drying wind to do a number on the muddy spots. The usual Thursday visitors arrived for the day a well as three overnight guests, Lucy and Cody with his sidekick Angus . We got all the introductions done and then we got to meet a new friend, Banjo, who would like to start spending some time here with us. He was a nose-to-the-ground kind of guy, checking out all the favorite Pee-mail spots but friendly to all of us and prepared to follow Stephanie when she took us for a walk around the fields. He is going to come for a sleep-over next week so we'll get to know him a little better then.
We had a pleasant beach hike with Stephanie and Ellie was along today because of a scheduled day off school. Here's some photos to give you a sense for just what a perfect day it was. That Ellie, she even took off her shoes and socks and waded into the cold Atlantic water just to show us that she could do it like us.
Tilley and Jasper thought they could dig for clams but they didn't have any luck.
Hali and Nikku enjoyed the sun while Jasper waded in the surf.
Back at the house, there was lots of time to just relax like Maybelle was doing and Merle even shared the sofa with Jasper .
Soon it was time to start saying goodbye as Tilley, Marlea and Mylea and most of the day-visiting bunch started their leave-taking. As we were eating our dinner, the temperature outside was twenty degrees and we enjoyed sitting in the rays of the evening sun on the front veranda.
The sunny and warm weather was a welcome aspect to Wednesday and lots of our buddies arrived to spend the day playing and making new friends. This was especially true for Marlea and Mylea who are regular Friday guests but today they got to met a few critters that they didn't know, like Bronco, Snickers and Lucy and, in addition, we all got to meet Milo and Roscoe. Milo, a Double Doodle and Roscoe, a Beagle, would like to come and play regularly, so today was like a test run for them.
With two Beagles in the mix, Roscoe and Lucy, there were several episodes where they would suddenly burst into a game of chase with one another, and the race would continue until one or both of them was out of breath. Marlea and Mylea enjoyed these games of chase as well as Milo and Stephanie kept the camera on them.
Stephanie took a big bunch of us to the beach where we enjoyed the sun and swimming and big piles of stinky kelp washed up on shore.
The Crocus are starting to put in an appearance when the sun shines but Mary can't seem to compete with Joe's display.
Mary's Crocus Display Joe's Crocus Display
There is a new tenant occupying one of the birdhouses and they are not feathered. Based upon the scolding we got when we congregated too close to the residence, we think a family has taken over and that there may be some youngsters on the way. Ms. Squirrel has quite a big belly and will no doubt be looking for some handouts .
With this many day-visitors, a steady succession of cars began to arrive around three thirty and by four o'clock most of them had departed so we could focus on our dinner. Milo and Roscoe promised to come back for another play day real soon and after dinner, Bronco and Bella were reunited with their humans anxious to get home and collapse on their own beds. Marlea and Mylea got a big surprise when they found out they were going to stay overnight and quite relieved when Stephanie told them their human had dropped off some food so they wouldn't go hungry. They're such drama queens!
The early morning peace was suddenly disrupted by the arrival of five Labs, a Bernese Mountain dog and a St. Bernard and there was so much commotion it reminded Mary of Cocoa , the Shih Tzu boss of this place who has passed on but is never far away. Here is how Cocoa felt about Labs published in the Daily Diary report from ten years ago.
November 7, 2011
11:00 a.m. I really don't see any point in rushing downstairs at some indecently early hour, demanding to be fed and then going outside to bark and run around. That's too Labradogian for me. Oh, I think I may have coined a new term! I'll have to work on a definition for Wikipedia.
Labradogian (comparative more Labradogian, superlative most Labradogian) of or relating to the foolish, goofy and inexplicable behavior of a Labrador Retriever as evidenced by, but not limited to any or all of the following:
- a madly wagging tail
- a madly wiggling rear end
- a long, wet, pink tongue with associated flying saliva
- a cold, wet nose
- eyes that are just about to pop out of their orbits
- wet, shedding fur
- muddy paws that can't get a grip on the floor as they skid around corners trying to be first to the food dish
- scarfing down their food so fast they choke on it and spit it out all over the floor
- stealing the food from another dog , even though there is still some left in their own dish or on the floor, and
- dashing out the door, barking madly at the imagined monsters that lurk outside .
I think you can see where I am going here. I choose to stay in bed till 11:00 in the hope that they will have wound themselves down to a less frantic state. You can't imagine how much of an assault it is to be whipped across the face by one of those tails before you have even had a chance to empty your bladder. Is it any wonder I get cranky?
That's what it was like here today with Georgia, Jasper, Callie, Ollie along with Sadie Bea and Nikku , who claim to be partly Lab and proud of it. They all manage to meet most of the criteria and have a ton of fun doing it. That's not to say that Maggie , Bella and Harry don't do a pretty good job of impersonating their Labradogian cousins but we don't have to worry about Benny and Sam , or Hali auditioning for this role.
Thought the day started out with a dismal forecast of more rain, the afternoon brought us a break with some sunshine and blue skies. It was another day off school for Ellie and a friend of hers, Junie, came over to play which made Nala Jr. and Jake very happy. Those two really love kiddies so they enjoyed following them around while Stephanie began the preparations for a beach walk. The path is still very muddy but we race down the hill so fast our paws barely touch the ground. The return is a different story.
There was a big surf on today but we enjoyed exploring and racing and getting wet and Ellie and Junie climbed up on one of the big sand piles to watch us and our games. The colourful Pheasants are starting to appear after the winter of survival mode, and they are very hungry, looking for the early bugs coming to the surface and any little bits of dog biscuit that one of us might have dropped by mistake.
When we returned to the house, Quiver was waiting to see us having just been dropped off by his human. He got to stand back and watch as Mary and Stephanie began the messy job of washing the mud off our paws and low-slung bellies. That's fourteen critters multiplied by four, equals fifty-six muddy paws. Mary brought out a number of buckets of warm water and depending upon the cooperation given by some, the paws either went in the bucket or the bucket was emptied on the paws. Mary is going to be praying for the sun to shine and the wind to dry up the muddy areas so they don't have this fight on their hands every day.
This had to be the wettest Easter weekend ever and here it is Sunday night and it's still drizzling. You likely know what that means, lots of mud puddles and a big bucket stationed on the front veranda, filled with water. We get our muddy feet washed before we come in the house and some of us are okay with this process, others not so much.
On Saturday morning Kelsea took us down to the beach in spite of the weather and we enjoyed ourselves, especially Parker who managed to enjoy the sushi bar and eat some rain-washed kelp. Since he's not allowed to be off leash, (his history of chasing waterfowl), Kelsea tried attaching one of those extendible leashes around her waist and then attaching Parker to the other end. This way she could avoid being pulled in every different direction and have her hands free to throw a few balls. She's trying to decide if this is a good solution but the only way to keep him from eating seaweed is to put a muzzle on him or leave him home. We'll have to wait and see what happens the next time he's here.
The rest of us enjoyed our beach adventure but there was no way to avoid getting our feet full of mud on the way back to the house, so Mary was waiting with the bucket of warm water. We figure it took almost as much time to wash all twenty-eight paws as it took us to get to the beach and back.
After lunch we had a little excitement when we met Hamish, a young Cairn Terrier who would like to come and stay with us later this month. He was a jolly little guy and he loved being able to run and play with us and explore all the interesting smells. He didn't hesitate to join our pack and we figure he's a good candidate so we'll see him in a few weeks. While Hamish was still buzzing around, Louie's humans arrived to get him and we all gave him a noisy farewell and hope to see that Doodle Dandy real soon.
Sunday, we awoke to the continued theme of wet, this time freezing rain just to make life even more miserable. Kelsea didn't let that get in her way and she arrived to get our breakfast, right on time. After feeding us, she fed the horse and made him comfortable in the barn. No beach walk today and we were okay with that decision. Kelsea and Mary descended into the basement to do some clean up and we took advantage of this down time, to get some long naps. When they were finished with the basement, it was almost noon and Kelsey put on her rain gear and made us go outside for a walk. The way we saw it, we only had to stay outside long enough to have a pee and then we made a bee-line back to the front door.
That pretty much sums up this weekend and we hope that the rain will soon be gone and we'll see the sun real soon.
It was a foggy morning and the forecast says more rain, so Stephanie takes us down to the beach as soon as the morning arrivals get here. Here is what the pond looked like when we got down to the beach ... kind of spooky, eh? Surrounded by that fog made it feel like we were cut off from civilization and the old name for our beach came to mind. 'The Land that Time Forgot.' Nala swore she saw a dinosaur peeking at us from the trees and said she wasn't going to go back in woods today. We weren't about to let our imagination run wild so we stayed and played with our balls and got our muddy feet washed off while Lumie enjoyed strolling along the water's edge.
Later, after we returned to the top of the hill, getting our feet all muddy in the process, we were taken over to the barn and had to have our paws sprayed with the barn hose before we could go in the house. Mary thought she would keep us busy for a while and our feet would dry, so into the sunroom we went and she told us all about what happened here ten years ago, yesterday. Here's the story, which is recorded in the Daily Diary Archives.
The weather is ominous - dark clouds, heavy snow flurries, distant thunder. The guests are all on edge - something is not right and the sense of foreboding is getting worse. The basement cats are howling and prowling. The waves are crashing on the shore and you can hear the terrible roar of the pounding surf. The seabirds are circling like vultures, looking for carrion. A heavy bank of fog drifts slowly over the hill and envelops everything in a hushed grey blanket.
Suddenly, the sound of a large vehicle approaching breaks the eerie silence. Crunching gravel and the creak of the driveway gate signal an alien presence. Why didn't the driveway alarm warn us? Out of nowhere, the howl of the wind is so loud that everyone jumps in fear. We can barely hear the sound of the doorbell. Strangely, the guests cower upstairs under the beds, where Cocoa still sleeps, unaffected by these strange events.
Mary calls out: "Who's there? What do you want?"
An unintelligible response can barely be heard through the steel door. The doorknob slowly turns, and quick as a flash, the wind pulls the door open, shoving the person on the other side out onto the veranda. The guests, not able to resist a good show, crowd around the doorway gate, barking and howling, anxious to discover the identity of the intruder. Mary makes her way through the door and hovers over the prostrate body, nudging him with the toe of her boot. When this does not elicit any response, she reaches down and turns him on his back so his face is revealed. A gasp escapes her as she realizes the identity of the uninvited visitor. It's the HRM Bylaw Officer and he's here to collect the Dog License fees. Mary turns to Cathy and quips: "Gee, it's a good thing it's a slow day here or we'd be broke paying for licenses for all these critters!"
Luka pipes up: "I don't need an HRM license cause I've got a CBRM dog license and I believe there is a reciprocal agreement between the two municipalities. However, I will have to check with Mayor Peter Kelly on this. Let's hope he's aware of the proper policy and procedures and that he doesn't see any ethical impediments."
Then, Haley Jo squeals, almost in tears: "I don't want to go to the animal pound - I have a PEI dog tag which should offer me some protection in this situation. It's like a 'GET OUT OF THE POUND FREE' card. Besides, I just got groomed and I don't want to get my beautiful coat all messed up."
Tired of all this yakking, Chase crashes through the doorway, almost knocking Mary over the deck rail and proceeds to enthusiastically wash the face of the still groggy Bylaw enforcer. Chase barks joyfully: "Are you Cesar Milan, the famous Dog Whisperer? I just love your shows. Quick, whisper something in my ear. I'll obey you."
Mary, trying to haul Chase off the poor man, mutters somewhat sarcastically: "Well, that would certainly be something for the record books."
The Cesar wannabe starts to move around, clutching his clipboard with a look of bemused terror on his face. Old Needle Nose Ringo looks him straight in the eye and says: "If you can catch me, you can license me" and he jumps over him and heads for the North field. Hershey, Lewis and Nicki, not to be outdone, follow Ringo on his mad dash, trampling the official in their haste to get to what they think is some free food.
Meanwhile, Riley, unaware of the recent events due to his hearing impairment, naps peacefully on his dog bed. Poppy is engaged in an escape attempt, tunneling her way through the hill, muttering: "You'll never take me alive, Copper."
Simon and Saki observe the fiasco from the front yard, remarking: "This better not interfere with our beach walk. You might want to be moseying on outta here, Buster, before things get real ugly."
The Bylaw officer staggers to his feet and makes a run for his white panel truck, parked on the other side of the driveway gate. Out of nowhere, Rebi and Allie, rush up to the driveway fence, howling like banshees, as they deliver a final message: "Have a nice day now and don't forget to visit us again."
Cocoa wanders out onto the veranda, having just gotten out of bed and having missed all the excitement. He turns to Morgan, who has been watching the proceedings through half opened eyes from his usual resting place, and he casually queries: "What are we going to do for fun on this April Fool's Day ?"
We gotta admit, she had us going there for a minute. Did she really think we would believe that there were cats living in the basement? That's just too far-fetched!
Today we had an early and very, busy start. Bella, Nala, Maggie, Jasper then Merle, Maybelle and Skit were all here and through the gate by seven thirty. They kept each other amused while Stephanie fed the rest of us our breakfast. We then joined the rest of the morning arrivals and followed Stephanie around while she did her chores. Next our buddy Tucker was busting through the gate, followed closely by Benson, Ollie and then Joey.
Stephanie thought we had better get down to the beach before the tide got too much higher so, off we went, slip-sliding through the mud puddles to enjoy some ball fetching and crashing through the waves.
Merle, Maybelle and Skit elected to hang back with Mary and keep her company.
While we were at the beach, our little friend Louie, the wonder Doodle, checked in for his two-night stay. He was a bit miffed that he missed today’s beach walk, but Stephanie promised him an extra long beach walk tomorrow to make up for it. We were all wet and muddy and tired after our hike and the rain was starting to falling in those big drops, so Stephanie took off to run some errands and Mary kept an eye on us. There was lots of napping and Jasper tried really hard to be a good boy.
Our dear, old friend Lumie, the Lemon Beagle, pulled up to the gate mid-afternoon and she was very happy to be back at her old haunt. She has been a regular guest here for the last fourteen or so years and we noticed she is looking a little less lemon and more cream these days. After a brisk walk around the yard, she was happy to hunker down in the spare room with Chloe and snore the afternoon away.
Stephanie returned just in time to send the daycare pals home and to start preparing the meals for the remaining fifteen hungry critters. Although Lumie is deaf and, probably not so great at seeing either, she knew the second Stephanie started dishing out the food and so she started howling her distinctive Beagle cry to let her know she wanted to eat first. Eventually everyone got through their meals and the next round of goodbyes started. All that remained were Louie, Tucker, Lumie, Nikku, Hali, Chloe, Owen and Arthur. They were not looking forward to dodging the downpours when they went out for their late walk with Mary later this evening.
Today, Wednesday, was a lovely, sunny day and we all made the most of it, starting with the first arrivals, Oliver and Drake, both of whom did a very thorough investigation of the yards to document the overnight traffic. They had the place pretty much to themselves for the first hour and then the nine o'clock rush started as the regulars like Baxter, Nala, Snickers, Parker and Charlie were dropped off along with Finnigan and Hunter. Everyone rushed to say good morning and Oliver and Drake gave their report on the overnight activity. It was another hour before Luke and Bronco got here and they added to the day's excitement as Luke immediately began jumping over the gates just to show off.
After doing the usual morning chores with Stephanie, we helped she and Mary as they tackled another task of clearing out a section of the barn hay storage and we all managed to get in the way quite successfully. It was almost eleven o'clock when we headed back to the house for a little break and Stephanie drove down to the bus stop to pick up Joe, the Handyman. Some of us are well acquainted with Joe while many of the newer guests haven't had much time to get to know him. Joe took over cleaning up the hay storage area and hauling a lot of dusty hay to the manure pile and Mary was busy showing the tandem truck driver where to dump the seventeen tons of clear stone. Stephanie was enjoying the warm sun on the back veranda while she kept a close eye on us making sure, with Parker's help, that Luke did not jump over the gate and go visiting Mary and the big gravel truck. She also took some portrait style shots with the cooperation of some critters.
After lunch, Stephanie assembled us for a beach walk and we raced down the hill, through the remaining mud puddles, to get to the shoreline. There we enjoyed the surf, the sand and each others company.
When it was time for us to head back to the house, our trip back was delayed because Nala had decided to go on a little stroll into the woods. Stephanie thinks that her hearing is not what it used to be so we assume she did not hear Stephanie calling her. Or, maybe she just wanted to have an adventure and she pretended that she couldn't hear but eventually she decided to return to the house with the rest of us.
Stephanie left to take Joe home and it wasn't long before the day-visiting guests were being picked up and dinner was being prepared. After such a busy day, we were all tired and looking forward to a long nap so we can get ready for tomorrow's crowd.
The storm hit last night with a vengeance and the high winds from the South-East drove rain at the house all night and even blew in a few loud claps of thunder. Monday morning, when we went out, the ground was flooded in front of the house and it took almost the whole day for the water to start to disappear. The storm also created some wild surf down on the beach which made it too rough for us to go for our walk and we spent the day waiting for a break in the rain so we could go for our outdoor strolls. The roaring noise made by the big surf combined with the high winds was deafening.
Both Jake and Karter were reunited with their humans in the afternoon and returned to their respective homes just as the skies started to clear and the rain let up. Baxter and Nala Sr. watched the youngsters, Nala Jr. and Sadie Bea as they investigated the rock wall under that big planting of Cotoneaster. Mary has on occasion seen a weasel around that wall but, if he was there today, he wasn't about to make an appearance.
Tuesday dawned sunny and still breezy and Stephanie had her trusty camera on hand to catch the sun rising in the East at 7:13 am local time, the same time as the Worm moon was setting in the west.
We had our usual bunch of early morning arrivals before breakfast, Georgia, Bella, Maggie and Jasper were happy to hang out in the yard while the rest of us had our meal. Benny and Callie arrived to join in the fun later and we spent most of the morning following Stephanie around as she tended to the chores. Of course, we had to do some wrestling, chasing and stick snatching while the chores kept Stephanie busy. She did manage to capture the purple beauty of these crocus as well as the cheery sight of the Chickadee, Red Winged Blackbirds and a puffed-up Song Sparrow watching our antics.
Christopher, the farmer from next door arrived mid-morning to take away some old hay that Mary wanted to get rid of so she could make more room in the storage area of the barn. He loaded up his truck and trailer and returned to unload this for his cattle and sheep who are not nearly as fussy about what they eat as that horse, Tallen.
After Christopher left, we had a visit from a couple of guys, Angus and Cody, who live with the family that belonged to our old friend Jack, the Collie, who passed away in 2018. They would like to come and stay with us for a few days next week while the floors in their house are being refinished. Cody is thirteen years old and Angus is eleven so they were not too interested in playing or racing around, they just wanted to sniff everything and then pee on it. That being said, they were both friendly, though a tad hard of hearing, and they will return next week for a short stay.
Time for more chores with Stephanie, the arrival of Briar Rose, then lunch and finally, what we were all waiting patiently for, the beach walk. The surf is still somewhat rough today but the tide has fallen so that there's lots of beach for us to run on and lots of waves for those crazy surfers to ride on.
When we got back from the beach, it was getting close to departure time for Jasper, Callie and Benny so we all just relaxed and waited for our buddies to be picked up while we posed for more photos.
This is the Weekend Edition by Lucy .
Saturday was a gray day, the wind was a cold and it was damp. Kelsea arrived before I did, to feed all the critters who had stayed the night before and she had her two dogs with her, LaVie and Ocean. They are both lovely girls and I was very pleased to make their acquaintance when I arrived just after breakfast. My humans were a bit hesitant to leave me on my first sleepover but I assured them I would be just fine and told them to enjoy their ‘Beaglefree’ weekend.
Without delay, I made it known to Kelsea that I would be happy to clean up any crumbs on the floor but she had already swept them up. I stayed outside and, had just started my perimeter check with my nose to the ground, when my Wednesday buddy Parker joined me. It was nice to see a familiar face and Parker is so polite, he let me smell the interesting stuff before he did. We knew right away that there had been some type of lagomorph passing through recently and some pheasants and other birds. Oh, do forgive my scientific jargon, for those readers who don’t know, a lagomorph is a type of Rabbit or Hare. They are my speciality.
It wasn’t long before a wire-haired, wild guy arrived at the gate, very excited to be here. He ran, no, he tore over to meet me and, in a rush of logorrhea, told me the following, without punctuation or taking a breath.
the name is Hubble, don’t ask … I’m a Border Terror ( little joke) … my best frend, in the whole world, is Tali, the Nova Scotia Duck Toller… shees arriving any minute … weer going to have a wicked time at the beech today … and ive been here lots of times in the past but it seems like a gazillion dog years since I came through the gate…
He would never have stopped if I hadn’t turned around and walked away. The aforementioned Tali did arrive and she was much easier to talk to and understand. We followed Kelsea around while she did poop patrol and all the usual morning chores. Then Harry, the big nine-month-old Newfoundland Dog got here and he had a lot of fun with Ocean, LaVie and Hubble. Parker and I had finished our perimeter check and we wanted to go inside and see what Mary was doing because I thought I could smell something cooking. When Tali heard there wouldn’t be a beach walk until the afternoon, at low tide, she came in with us while Kelsea got some of the house cleaning done. Hubble and Harry continued their games outside. Later the beach hike did happen but Parker and I elected to stay behind with Mary so she wouldn’t get lonely.
After the beach, everyone was tired but I was hungry. Chloe was pacing around giving Kelsea the stink eye which apparently means she should get dinner started for us. Harry stayed and had dinner with us, but he left later in the evening. All the remaining critters had a sleepover with me, luckily there wasn’t any thunder and lightning tonight so we could get a good night’s sleep.
When I woke up Sunday morning, we all ran outside to see what had passed through the yard overnight. Soon a youngster by the name of Jasper was at the gate, very excited to spend the day with us. I had quite a job trying to keep him in line. I should mention that he is an eight-month-old Chocolate Lab, so you understand what a chore I had dealing with him. He has the attention span of a sesame seed, he loves toilet paper and chasing tails, his and anyone else he happens to see. I was so relieved to see LaVie and Ocean come through the gate with Kelsea because Jasper immediately switched his focus to them and their tails. I was done with puppy duty and I had better things planned for the day, like eating my breakfast, for a start. The day passed in much the same way as it did Saturday, except the weather was a bit nicer. I passed up the beach trip again to stay home and supervise Mary while she made Owen’s weekly meals and I gave her a few pointers. Today’s menu included lots of ground up beef liver and eggs and I suggested that she add a little summer savory. Once everyone got back from the beach, it was nap time, then time for Jasper to go home with his human. I’m pretty sure I saw LaVie and Ocean doing a happy dance when they saw his red truck come up the driveway to collect him. Next Parker, Tali and then Hubble all went home, too. I stayed for dinner and later my humans came to get me which was probably a good thing since I was very tired but I’ll look forward to coming back again real soon.