Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Operation: Bird Feeder, Part II




That was quicker than I thought it would be. Here's our second visitor, but I don't know what kind of bird this is. I spent five minutes or so on Google trying to identify it without success, and concluded that it would be more fun to put the picture up on here and see if any of my readers know what it is. Also, I'm lazy. :P I think it might be a dark-eyed junco. Can anyone confirm or deny this?


Visitor number three is another one I'm not sure of. I'll update if I figure it out, or if you know, leave a comment, and I'll give you a virtual hug.

Operation: Bird Feeder

I put up a bird feeder sometime around last Friday. It took the birds a surprisingly long time to find it, but today we got our first visitor (that I've seen): a chickadee.


He flew back and forth between the feeder and... somewhere that's not the feeder about six or seven times.

Now that we've had one visitor, maybe he'll go tell all his friends and soon we'll get some more.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Drama Queen

My beagle is currently sulking under my bed.

You see, I've started an endurance training regime, which involves alternating between jogging and walking for between twenty and thirty minutes every other day. (I found the routine here, if you're interested.) Partly because it rains so often here and partly because I'm embarrassed to let everyone in the neighborhood see that I can only jog for one minute at a time, I usually do my jogging inside the house, since my kitchen/living room is enormous.

My dogs, of course, love it when I jog around in circles (actually figure eights). They jog along behind me and wrestle with each other as they do. That's fine with me, even though sometimes they get in my way, so I have to vault over them or dodge around them. Blitzkrieg, however, is not always a terribly well-behaved dog. Despite my efforts to teach him otherwise, he still thinks it's okay to jump up on people and playfully nip at them. This is exacerbated by the fact that sometimes, when he gets excited, he doesn't realize that his bites get hard enough to really hurt. (Incidentally, this is a sharp contrast to Akela, who absolutely never bites humans, even lightly or playfully.)

Two days ago, Blitzkrieg nipped my leg hard enough to leave a bruise while I was jogging. In response, I told him "NO!" and used the top of my foot to swat him in the shoulder. (Before you freak out about my kicking a puppy, please be aware that I don't think it's okay to hurt children or pets and that I very deliberately made the swat sharp enough to let him know I was serious, but gentle enough that it wouldn't hurt him, okay?) The swat knocked him a step to the side, and he stood perfectly still where he was, staring at me with a look of utter betrayal on his puppy face. With his ears twitching between lying back and pricking forward, he took a step backward, then a tentative step forward. Then he turned and trotted away, down the hall and into my bedroom, his head low and his tail drooping.

I felt like an absolute monster. Five minutes later, during one of the walking periods, I walked back into the bedroom. He was hiding under the bed, and when I called him, he army-crawled halfway out and stared up at me with his huge brown eyes, looking so sad you would think I had beaten him up and stolen his candy. I picked him up, and he wrapped his front paws around my neck and buried his head in my neck, exactly like a little kid who had been picked on at school might do when his mother hugged him to make it better.

Freaking dog.

After I hugged him and brought him back into the living room and started to jog again, he started running around and playing with Akela again, acting like nothing had ever happened.

Apparently, swatting him like I had didn't teach him his lesson, though, because today when I was jogging, he jumped up and bit me right in the butt about thirty seconds after I started. I didn't touch him this time, I just snapped "NO!" and kept going. When I rounded the couch and started back toward the kitchen, I saw him backing toward the hallway, and when I rounded the island in the kitchen and began heading back to the living room, he was gone, hiding under the bed again.

I'm not apologizing this time. He started it. Furry little melodramatic drama queen. I swear, he abuses the power those big brown eyes grant him.

UPDATE: I walked into my room to get a book, and when I walked out again, he followed me and is now curled up beside my chair.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Onoez the fud wil biet me!

This morning, I fed the dogs with my normal feeding ritual. "Sit. Wait. Look here. ....Good dogs. Okay, go ahead!" Blitzy, who was sitting and waiting in his favorite patch of sunlight, nevertheless didn't hesitate to run forward and start nomming his food. Akela likewise stepped forward, and I left the room to go acquire a book.

Hearing pawsteps behind me, I turned around and saw that faithful Akela had shadowed my steps, apparently to keep me safe from the monsters that hide under the bed and in the closet. I picked up my book and headed back to the kitchen quickly, because if given the chance, Blitzkrieg will eat all of his food, then all of Akela's food, and then will turn around and throw it right back up because he ate too much.

I sat down and began reading. I hadn't gotten more than a page into it when I heard a weird sound. I looked up. Akela was pushing at her food-dish with her nose. Then she pawed at it and almost tipped it over. She stared at it for a few seconds, howled, then turned and walked away. She got about three steps, then turned, walked back, and did the same thing again, acting like she fully expected the food to jump out and bite her. She did that about eight times, with Blitzkrieg watching her, obviously hoping she would decide not to eat it so he could grab a few bites. Then she stepped up to the food dish, took out on kibble of food, and dropped it on the carpet. She sniffed it, pawed at it, and ate it.

Then, as she finally began to eat her food like a normal dog, Blitzkrieg tip-toed up beside her and sat down with his nose about three inches from her food dish, as if to say, "Hey, if you're not gonna eat that, I will!"