Sibling Puppies

Raven (left), Clover (middle), and Dart (right).

I have two 13 week old rough collie puppies from the same litter. They look similar, but their personalities are different. Raven, the male, is a laid back, friendly guy. He learns quickly and does not usually push the boundaries. He is a Labrador retriever disguised as a collie. He is a big cuddle bug and loves food. If you are feeding him food in one end, he does not care what you are doing with the rest of him. We have had no problem trimming his toenails as long as cool stuff was being popped into his mouth. He learns quickly and is usually well-behaved.

Raven. Both puppies like to sleep with their feet sticking up in the air.
Clover.

Clover, the female, is 2 1/2 pounds lighter than Raven and seems petite in comparison. She pushes boundaries as far as she can. She thought the dishwasher was the neatest thing ever and it was hard to keep her out. I put her in time out when she would not leave the open dishwaster alone and after 3 days, she sits nicely in front of the dishwasher, waiting for something to drop on the floor.

Both Raven and Clover prefer Dart’s food to theirs. I felt like a goalie trying to stop them from getting to Dart’s food while eating. After several days of working it through, the puppies sit nicely while he eats. The puppies will not eat their food until they know Dart does not have food available.

Clover is the craziest pup I’ve had. She pulls temper tantrums when she gets frustrated. It usually involves her jumping up and down and pawing and biting at her bedding to relieve her frustration, but sometimes she jumps in her water bowl. The other day, I noticed Clover trying to get a piece of kibble out of the water bowl. She thought it was fun and she began to stick her nose in the water and blow out. She appeared to love the results.

I take them for walks separately and took Raven first the other day. I left Clover in the front yard to watch us go because she usually goes bananas when she is left behind and I wanted her to learn we will come back soon and there is no need to act like a maniac. She quieted quickly, so I thought progress was being made. When I returned, I found her in the house. I forgot to shut the front door when I put her outside. It explains why her yodeling did not last long. I noticed water on the floor in the kitchen and wondered if she had peed. I thought we were making progress with house training and was upset but Regis, the sleuth, determined it was not pee. I then looked at the large water bowl I keep in the kitchen for the dogs. I fill it with fresh water every morning. It was almost empty and there was water everywhere around the bowl. The bowl was not tipped over. I think she got frustrated when I left for a walk with Raven without her and came into the kitchen and put her nose in the water bowl and then walked around the kitchen shaking her wet head. I could be wrong. It is circumstantial evidence, but that is my best guess based on the facts.

We have some furniture with glass shelves. Clover likes to get between the shelves to escape from Raven when they are playing. I tried to thwart her by putting up masking tape. While taping the shelves, she snuck in from the untaped side and then sat there trying to figure out how to get out. While she contemplated escape, I taped up another table. As soon as she figured out how to get out of the one table, she ripped the masking tape off the other one.

While Regis was in the southeast recently looking at boats, I put the dogs in their pens and headed to Port Townsend. I did not get far because I got an indication of low tire pressure in one of the tires. (It turns out it had a screw in the tire). I do not have a spare tire and I do not know where to get help with a Tesla on the west side of Puget Sound. I immediately returned home to find Clover out of her pen and Raven sitting nicely in his. Clover either jumped or climbed out, the little rascal.

When she is frustrated with us because we stop her from doing something she wants to do, she gives us “the stink eye”. She puts her head slightly down and looks up at us showing the whites at the bottom of her eyes. Regis and I are getting used to “the look” when we frustrate her.

The breeder and we have worked regularly touching both puppies feet, ears, etc. to get them used to being handled. The day I attempted to trim their nails, I introduced the Dremel tool which I use to sand toenails. Our last three dogs were trained with it and were cooperative. I have never had a problem sanding below the quick, but have had problems doing that with clippers. The puppies were curious about the tool but not crazy about it touching their toe nails. I made some progress with Raven and quit while I was ahead. Clover screamed like she was being tortured and that was without the tool touching her toenail. It was awful, so we gave up.

After that, Clover would not pee or poop in the grass in the front. Many people would say their is no connection and perhaps not. For two days she would not pee or poop in the grass. She went on the deck, sidewalk, ramp for Dart, and straddled a small stone wall to pee on it. On the second day, after taking her for a walk, she returned to her normal behavior. Normal for her is to hold it as long as possible when I let her outside while Raven goes immediately. I read that puppies her age can only hold it 4 hours. She can go 10 hours. At least that’s working well most nights.

When I tried to clip nails the second time, I used toe nail clippers. Raven moved his foot and I cut the quick. It looked like someone had been murdered in the house. Even with stuff to stop the bleeding, I could not get it to stop and he would not stop moving so there was blood everywhere. I eventually doused his whole foot with powder and put a sock on it. Clover was determined to rescue him from the sock and remove it. I had to put them in their pens with stuffed Kongs to quiet them down long enough to get the bleeding to stop. It worked and as soon as they were released, Clover pulled off the sock and waved it proudly as she ran through the house.

I cut Raven’s toenail too short.

Dart happy to have the bed to himself.

Raven always finds the strangest places to sleep.

So much for my instructions on how to use the spot cleaner.

Clover. It does not look comfortable. She often tries to chew that spindle by her nose when I am not looking.

Raven and Clover checking out one of their new pop up crates.

Hummingbird, Camped Out

Hummingbird attempting to make sure no other hummingbird comes to the feeder.

The hummingbirds have been draining the feeders. I set up another feeder to try to capture a hummingbird in flight with wings stopped. I put out my flashes and tried to remember my settings and failed miserably. Nothing I did got me where I wanted to be. I will have to start over and relearn the flash stuff. In the meantime, I noticed that one of the male hummingbirds camps out at the feeder. He stays there for a long time and falls asleep. I guess he does not want to share. I also noticed that in certain light, the gorget looks gold but when I take a picture with my camera, it is not as gold. I understand that our eye and the camera see different things, but this one is particularly puzzling to me.

Anna’s hummingbird at the feeder.

Anna’s hummingbird.

I was trying, unsuccessfully, to take pictures of the bees at our blooming rhodendrum. The whole area buzzes because there are so many bees. I did not get a single decent picture, but I noticed the dogs making peace. Dart has not been thrilled with the puppies even though the female tries desperately to make friends. The male heeds Dart’s warnings and stays away, but the female will not give up. Dart has been having trouble going up and down steps recently. Regis made him a ramp to get to the grass. Dart is happy to have it and the puppies love it too. Probably because it is new and different. I can use the ramp to begin some agility training. While trying to photograph bees, I saw the beginnings of peace between Dart and Clover. I later saw the same with Dart and Raven. Dart is not always tolerant, but sometimes he is. I still have to look out for him and protect him. He is old and slow and the puppies take advantage, so I have to be his keeper.

Dart and Clover making nice while Raven sits in the background on the ramp Regis made for Dart.
Raven with his floppy ears.

The puppies are a handful and Clover is the one driving me crazy. Raven is the marshmallow who listens and is basically house trained. Clover pushes the boundaries constantly. As long as I stick with it, she eventually behaves. For example, she wanted to dive into the dishwasher. Raven got the message very early that it was not acceptable. Clover did not. I put her in her pen everytime she did not listen to me that it was not okay to get into the dishwasher while I was loading dishes. It took three days for her to accept and behave. She did.

Regis is in Florida looking at boats and I thought I would go to Port Townsend to visit and go to some of the art galleries in town. I put the pups in their pens and left in the Tesla and it didn’t take long for me to notice that I had a problem with one of the tires. It was low on air. I turned around and came back home. Teslas do not have spare tires. If there was a problem, I had no idea how long it would take to work with Tesla to get it resolved. We are not in the boonies, but as far as Tesla is concerned, we are. To me, it was not worth the risk. I figured it was better to go home, fill up the tire, and see how things looked the next day. If all was well, I may still go to Port Townsend.

When I got home after only being gone about 15-20 minutes, I found that Clover was running through the house while Raven was still in his pen. We once had a male and female Bedlington Terrier and she managed to escape pens and crates and he did not. I prefer male dogs!

I put up a plastic enclosure in our backyard for the pups and two weeks into being with us, one of them rolled out of the fence during their playing. That night, when I let them out, they dashed for that spot and scrambled over the top of the fence and left. I had to grab some shoes and their treat bag and shake it. Thank goodness they love the sound of crinkaly bags. They immediately returned. Regis had to set up a better enclosure.

This reminds me of a time that I built a rabbit hutch for my son’s and nephew’s rabbits. It looked terrible. Regis and my dad spent a day in the garage and built a beautiful rabbit hutch. It could have won awards. So, as much I want to be handy and do things, I am not good at it. Regis excels. Phew, thank goodness.

This has been a particularly cold and wet couple months in the Pacific Northwest. The dogs track dirt in everytime they come in the house. Once Regis set up a better enclosure in the back, I started letting the dogs out there. One day, after coming in the house, they investigated our shower. It appears I need to teach them to turn the water on.

Muddy dog foot prints in our shower.

Regis has been taking some pictures at the boat dock in Tracyton.

Gull with a clam.
Blue heron with a fish.
Gull with a crab.
Two gulls.
Two gulls.
Clover, asleep.

Flowers and Collie Landscapers

Eyeing the flowers to determine the trimming required. Clover checking out Jason’s and Dan’s garden.
Yep, that one needs to go. Clover removing flowers from Jason’s and Dan’s garden.

My collie puppies like to trim the plants. I had to move my container plants away from their area and dig up most of the remaining flowers and move them. The sword ferns are difficult to remove, so I left them in place. The collies love to trim them. I have not seen any indication that they eat them, but they snip off the fronds and chew on the roots.

On Saturday, I took Raven to visit Jason in Seattle. The vet recommended I separate them regularly. We found that when the puppies are separated, they are calmer and easier to handle. While investigating Jason’s yard, Raven particularly enjoyed chewing on the sticks and trimming branches.

I planned to take the ferry back to Bremerton from Seattle. I got to the ferry dock to find I mistimed it and missed it by 10 minutes. The ferry gentleman told me the Bainbridge ferry was leaving in 45 minutes, so I decided to take it instead of driving back. I thought it was particularly crowded in the waiting area. As we got close to the next ferry departure, I checked my phone and saw the ferry had docked. I could not see it from where I was parked. Not long after, I saw it had departed and I had not moved an inch. Frustrating. Once in the ferry lanes, you can not change your mind. I had to wait almost another hour for the next ferry. After the ferry ride, I arrived in Bainbridge to horrendous traffic. It was a beautiful day, so I thought that was the cause. As I drove through Poulsbo, I saw signs indicating it was Viking Week. That explains the ferry and traffic congestion. There is a lot of nordic history in this area, so this festival is a big deal. It was a long day.

When we spent weeks camping here each summer, we loved the ferries and found them very reliable. Now that we are here, not so much. Some locals told me that things changed with the pandemic and the ferry system is not back to normal with fewer staff and some ferries out of commission. When it works, I love traveling on the water and looking out for the wildlife and spectacular scenery. It appears we will be driving more than ferrying.

I took Clover for a visit to Seattle on Monday. One our recent car excursions, I put her in the crate in the car and she escaped. I took her out of the crate once we were on the ferry. She investigated the car and then went back into the crate and slept the rest of the way. Go figure. Once she got to Jason’s garden, she scrutinized it and proceeded to trim flowers here and there. She had a particular opinion of the purple flowers and kept deadheading them, even if they weren’t dead. This time, I brought the camera to take pictures of the flowers. After Clover investigated an area, she would come check with me and then head back out. That is a good thing.

I love all the blooming flowers in the area and here are just a few of the images from Jason’s garden.

Columbine.

Rhododendrum.

Look at the pollen sacks on this bee. The bee is visiting ajuga.

Retirement is great, but…

It’s been great. No 9-5, no schedules, no responsibilities, do what ever you want, when you want. You can even lose track of the day of the week.

Fort Casey State Park near the Coupeville ferry landing.

This week I decided to go to a boat show about 80 miles away in Anacortes, WA. Since the show runs Thursday thru Sunday, I thought I would go on the first day to beat any crowds. Late morning I made the final decision after checking the ferry schedule (ferry rides are a part of a lot of travel here) and seeing I could make the crossing if I left immediately. Fifty minutes later I was at the Port Townsend ferry ticket booth with time to spare.

One of the things I forgot about this ferry, Port Townsend/Coupeville, from our RV travels are reservations are highly recommended. I was reminded of that when the attendant asked if I had a reservation. Fortunately, there were not too many cars in the standby queue. I paid my money and pulled in line, fingers crossed. Worst case I would have to wait an hour while the ferry made the round trip back. I was one of the last cars on.

After a 30 minute crossing and another hour drive, I arrived in Anacortes. I had a general idea where the show was so headed in that direction. I was puzzled about the lack of signs pointing the way. I found the place and thought my plan to beat the crowds worked since there were no crowds. Then, I saw the empty vendor tents. Tents were still being setup. There was no place to buy a ticket. I pulled out my phone to google the boat show. Then it dawned on me. It was Wednesday, a full day early.

One of the things I should make a habit of is checking what day it is. At least it was a sunny day to do all the driving. On the way back, my luck with the ferry ran out. Before leaving Anacortes I tried to make a reservation for the ferry, however they were booked for the time slots. I had to go on standby again. I got there and yes, you got it, I did not make it on and had to wait an hour for the next ferry.

To top off this “wonderful” day, the wind had been blowing all day. The waves on the water were in the 5-6 foot range. Because I just missed the ferry, I was the first to get on the next one. Front row. Oh joy.

Front row on the Coupeville/Port Townsend ferry.
That’s not rain. It is spray from the waves.
Traffic ahead!

Baby Birds

Baby junco.

We have been seeing many baby birds over the last couple weeks: robins, juncos, pine siskins. There is owl activity day and night. Until the puppies get bigger, we can not leave them outside unattended. We see deer often and I saw a beautiful buck the other day. The hummingbirds drain the feeder within a couple days. I put up a second feeder today.

Pine siskin.
Pine siskin.

The weather has been wet and cold. We broke a record the other day for the coldest weather recorded for that particular day in May. On April 1, the precipitation in the area was 80% of normal and the other day is was 128% of normal. The skiing is good in the mountains. I am concerned I will never get out in my kayak.

The puppies are smart and learning quickly. They slept through the night the last two nights. Yeah!

Clover.

It puzzles me that Raven likes to sleep on the glass shelf when he has a comfortable Orvis bed available to him. We have found him up there a couple times.

Puppies – Krakens

Clover
Raven

We got our two collie puppies on Saturday. Raven is the boy and Clover is the girl. (I was going to name her Nala but I think Clover is a better fit and it means something to me.) I think I should have given myself at least six months between puppies so I could focus on clicker training the basics with one dog at a time. I have been taking them out separately to learn to walk on a lead and learn basic commands. They are learning the lead well and they are usually doing their business outside. We have had no issues at night and Raven has never messed in the house.

Their personalities are different. Raven is laid back and very food motivated. Clover is super friendly and curious. Her tail is always wagging and no matter what Regis and I are doing, she is in the middle of it. If I open a closet door, she will come from out of nowhere like a bullet to get inside and investigate. She is always underfoot. She adores Dart. Dart gives her more leeway than Raven. Both puppies are well adjusted. Dart is getting used to them. They love him but he is reticent. They are well grounded and pay attention to his signals and deal with it appropriately without drama. He wants to play sometimes, but not always. He got into a playing situation with Raven but cut the play short when Raven grabbed his tail.

We have a small penned area for them in the kitchen for when we can’t watch their every move. It is working well and they prefer to spend the night in this area. When they are in there, it gives Dart a break. Regis calls the puppies the krakens and says “Should we release the krakens?” when he is suggesting we let them out of the pen.

Clover on the left and Raven on the right.

Raven

Clover

Here is a little video of their arrival.

Snakes

Garter snake

There are not many snakes in western Washington, but I managed to find two of them. Dart and I regularly walk in Illahee Preserve and I saw this garter snake sunning yesterday. Today, it was there again along with a buddy. I did not expect to see snakes here because I thought the few snakes around would remain elusive. I am happy to have seen some.

Two garter snakes.
Garter snake.

The Anna’s hummingbirds are drinking more from our feeder than any ruby-throated hummingbirds ever did while we were on the east coast. They keep me busy refilling the feeder. As I was going through Regis’ hummingbird pictures, I found this lovely rufous hummingbird. Now, I have to stake out the feeder until I see the rufous.

Rufous hummingbird.

I learned to take good hummingbird pictures last summer in Arizona and have the equipment to do so. I’m looking for some time to set up the gear but I have puppies coming on Saturday and do not think I will be able to work on hummingbirds any time soon.

Female Anna’s hummingbird. Notice the spiderweb on her head. She may have been making a nest. Hummingbirds use spiderwebs in their nest.
Male Anna’s hummingbird.
Male Anna’s hummingbird with my hanging pot of pansies in the background.

I have been enjoying the beautiful flora in the area. Every time Dart and I walk, something new is in bloom or growing in the woods. While Dart sniffs everything, I have time to look at all the mosses, fungi, flowers, etc. And, there are numerous new birds for me. I have to use Merlin to identify the sounds because the birds are extremely difficult to see. I am working on it and excited to see all these new species. I have been actively uploading pictures to iNaturalist to identify all the plants I am seeing.

We had to take down our feeders because the birds keep flying into the windows. One afternoon there were two casualties and I could not bear it. I have been throwing out remaining seed on the ground which is working well. The birds hang around in the trees and bushes, so I still get to see them. The squirrels get better access, so I was finally able to get a picture of the black squirrel. It is not a good picture, but this is not a cooperative squirrel. I am working on getting a picture of the Douglas squirrels if they would stay still long enough.

Black eastern gray squirrel.
Spotted towhee.

Chestnut-backed chickadee.

Red-breasted nuthatch.

Some Pics

Pine siskin.

We’ve been here for over a month and have grabbed the cameras now and then. This post is to show a few of the things we’ve been seeing in our yard or at the local preserve. Dart and I walk the preserve almost everyday. He enjoys the walks but sleeps the rest of the day, once we get home.

Anna’s hummingbird.

We have finished the most of the big projects. We have a mission of completing all painting projects before the puppies arrive on May 7.

We have a need to determine our property lines because we want to install a fence for the dogs and kill the ivy, but don’t want to do the neighbors ivy. We got a price to restake the 4 corners of the property and it was $1200. Regis purchased a metal detector and, after much work, was able to find one corner. That helps with the ivy eradication, but does not help with the fence. One neighbor had a survey of our property with the house, which helps us to understand where the property line is on that side (where Regis could not find the markers). If we do a fence, we will stay well within the line to avoid paying for a survey.

In Florida, we couldn’t transfer property without an updated survey. We had to pay $450 to get an updated survey for our house in Florida because we installed a patio. That is not the case in Washington. It appears that we are in the wild, wild west. Very interesting.

Stellar’s jay.
Wild bleeding heart.
Hairy woodpecker.
Junco with two white tailfeathers. It is missing most of its tailfeathers.
A junco with full tail feathers.
Red-breasted nuthatch.
Pine siskin.
Pine siskin cleaning its bill.

Skagit Valley Tulips

About a week ago, we took a break from house activities and headed to Skagit Valley to see the spring bulbs. They were mostly tulips. We drove around the sound on the way there and encountered a lot of traffic. We found the display in Skagit Valley somewhat disappointing. Perhaps it was not a good year or not the right time to see the peak bloom. We did not see many fields of flowers but we could have driven on the wrong roads and missed the best. We don’t know.

We tried to stop in LaConner to grab lunch, but it was too crowded. We gave up and I grabbed a bag of carmel popcorn when we got fuel and subsisted on that until we got home. SInce the drive there was terrible, we took the ferry back. We had to wait awhile but it was better than driving. We got a front row seat on the ferry, having arrived so early for the next ferry, and enjoyed the view although it was very windy.

It was good for us to get away for a day, but we were somewhat disappointed that it was not as good as we expected. Again, we may have missed the best routes or the best time. We noticed the rhodendrums were in bloom and they are not in bloom at our house.

We have had regular freezing temperatures and snow/sleet/graupel. We never heard of graupel. It is a snowflake that picks up additional precipitation on its way down as supercooled droplets. Having lived in Florida for the last six years, we can easily say we have seen more snow/sleet/graupel/etc. in the month of April here than our last six years combined, perhaps more.

I can’t say whether Regis is in good spirits about this. He complains of being cold a lot. I’m into the adventure, so I don’t care. I’m working on purchasing the appropriate clothing. As the Norweigan’s say, “there is no bad weather, just bad clothes.” Dart is thriving. He could barely walk when we were in Florida and stairs were out of the question. He now walks regularly with me for about a mile in the local preserve. It’s beautiful. He is slow and spends a lot of time smelling. Since it is his walk, I let him take his time. He is starting to go up and down the steps. I assume he likes the cooler weather

I was scheduled to get some hand surgery in May in Florida and was planning to return for the surgery. I changed my mind since there are excellent medical resources locally. I am still working on getting something scheduled locally, but cancelled my Florida appointments.

We have made great progress in the house. Most of the painting is done and Regis has installed the new floors in 2 of the three rooms. It is very likely it will all be finished before the new collie pups arrive in 3 weeks.

We are just beginning to tackle the outside. The weather has been abnormally bad, so spending our time inside for house improvement has not been a problem. Part of tackling the outside is dealing with a massive English Ivy problem on our slope. English Ivy is an invasive species and it is well established on our slope. That can cause slope erosoion issues. I contacted a local expert about removing it and we are moving forward to see how we can do that successfully and replace the ivy with native vegetation.

Trucks here!

After two weeks of “camping out” in the new house our wish came true. We got the call to inform us of when the truck, containing all our household goods, was going to arrive! Well, what’s that sayin, “careful what you wish for”.

They got here about mid-afternoon, backed down the driveway and slowly opened the door. Everyone was concerned because our driveway is steep and the back of the truck was facing downhill. While we wanted the truck unloaded, we did not want to see it all just roll out the back! The fear was unfounded as they had strapped the load in fairly good and nothing shifted out of place.

I stood in the garage and directed traffic as best I could. Linda had to sit in the office and hold Dart in her lap. He would not stop barking as the movers were going in and out. If she held him, he would quiet down. Eventually, the sofa got moved in and she was able to let Dart lay on it. He was more content and just let everyone go about their business.

After about 2 and a half hours the truck was empty, the house was full and we had just enough time to run out for some BBQ. With our bellies full we could not wait to start unpacking. First task was to put our bed together so we could sleep a little higher than the floor. That’s when we found that one side rail was missing from the bed. Although we could not put the entire bed together, the box spring and mattress together were higher than what we had been sleeping on. I think we also unpacked a few boxes before calling’s it a day.

After a good nights sleep, in our own bed, we spent the entire next day, a good 12 hours, unpacking boxes. For a while it seemed like the more we unpacked the piles of boxes never got smaller. By the end of the day we had gotten through all the boxes on the main floor and most of the them on the lower floor. What a day!

We spent a couple days re-arranging almost everything into a better and hopefully more permanent place. With the house now looking like a home, we had one problem to work on, the garage!

We have a two-car garage. One side is filled with unopened boxes, the other filled with broken down empty boxes and packing material. Nothing was getting done here till the junk was gone. One call to our friends at Kitsap Junk and poof we got half the garage back. After a day and a half, the garage is almost useable for a car.

As we completed the unpacking, we came to realize that not only was a portion of our bed missing, but we were missing our two bicycles and a ladder. Linda contacted the moving company and a week later has no response.

A week after the truck arrived the big project now is to put down flooring where we pulled out the carpets and getting the house and yard set up for two collie puppies arriving on April 9.