Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Great Big, Brand New World

I can't begin to tell you how much Leah's puppies have grown in the last couple of weeks. They are still cute as can be, but little they are not! They are not timid about exploring and have a rip-roaring time whenever they get out of the puppy yard in the basement.

It didn't take long for them to learn that attacking the newspapers as I cleaned up was loads of fun, making my task next to impossible. So, we started letting them run loose in the basement while the puppy yard got cleaned. This is great fun, considering all the stuff stored in our basement. There are endless possibilities for climbing, crawling, chewing, running, jumping...all the things puppies love to do. Even though I have to clean up the occasional potty mess on the floor, it's still a lot easier than trying to put down clean papers with six puppies jumping around.

Robin and I took them to the vet last Monday for their first vaccinations and worming. It was their first time outside the house. Although I had introduced them to the crates a few times, the 45-minute drive over the mountains was quite loud with their whining, barking, and howling. They finally got quiet about five minutes before we arrived at the animal hospital. Several staff members stopped by the exam room to see them, and I'm pretty sure everyone in the building could hear them. They were quite good getting their checkups, shots, and wormers. No one cried when the needle went in, and everyone swallowed their yellow, goopy wormer fairly easily. When we were finished, I think there were only two puddles on the exam room floor. The ride home was much quieter. For one thing, the babies were tired, and the vet said they might be a little slow for a few hours due to the vaccine. They sure were glad to get home to their puppy yard.

Today they got their first taste of fresh air and sunshine. The temperature was in the 50s here this afternoon, with bright sun and no wind. We took the dogs - all nine of them! - outside to play in the yard. The puppies were timid for about 30 seconds after we put them on the ground, and then it was nonstop: running, jumping, and exploring all over the place. Leah was tickled pink to have them outside. She played with them and showed them her favorite toys: a green Kong squeaky toy and several flat basketballs. Cheyenne played with them too, but couldn't understand why they wouldn't chase her. And Red, well, Red was a bit disconcerted by the whole thing. He's not been overly interested in the pups since they were born, and he's still not excited by them at all. But he didn't snap at them, which is good.

Ever since the puppies started moving around with ease I have not been able to get very many good photos. If I do get a good one here or there, it's because of sheer luck or divine intervention because they are never still long enough to compose a nice shot. Here are the best of what I took today.

This is the little guy that is built like Leah. He's going to be tall, I think.
I think this is little Miss Adventure, as I call her. She was the first one to
learn to climb over the puppy yard gate. She's also a snuggler!
Like I said, running, jumping, and exploring.
Amid all the fun and adventure, there was time for a few stops at the milk bar.
Red wasn't sure about all those little dogs running around his yard.
He was very patient, though, at least for a little while.
I think this is the closest I got to a family portrait! I think only one puppy
is missing. They seemed puzzled by Red's lack of milk spouts!
Could this be the beginning of herding behavior?
This shot was one of those divine intervention ones, I think!
Their little noses were bombarded with a world of new smells.
Like mother, like daughter.
Run, run, run!
Jump, jump, jump!
Hop, hop, hop!

Can you believe they were ever this small? They'll be ready for their forever homes in another ten days or so. It's been a sweet whirlwind puppyhood and it's already almost over. *sigh*

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Coming Along Nicely

When I told you about paste wax, I mentioned that it is a solvent. Did I mention that it works on human skin, too, leaving it cracked and very sore? Just wanted to let you know that little tidbit so you'll be sure to wear gloves the next time you're waxing away. Paste wax does a wonderfully beautiful job of cleaning and restoring wood, but be forewarned: after a while the wax eats a hole in the index fingertip of your glove. I discovered this fact while waxing the dining room floor at the Guest House. When I moved on to waxing furniture, I tried a different, sturdier glove, to no avail. Yesterday, I was ready with band aids on my thumb and index finger underneath not one, but two gloves. So far, it seems to have worked. Ahh, the pitfalls of restoration!

At long last, the farmhouse is almost ready for its first real guests under its official name: Vance's Country Guest House. I'm finally down to the fun part of furnishing, stocking, and decorating. We're booked for both weekends of the Highland Maple Festival, March 9-10 and 16-17, and we'll be ready. Here's a sneak peak at what I've been doing lately.

In the kitchen, curtains are hung,

dishes are washed,

flatware is in the drawer,

and the microwave is spic and span.

The pantry is ready with this shelf

and this cabinet put back in their original home after being painted or cleaned and polished with good 'ole paste wax.

There's a neat old barrel in the pantry, too, that holds paper and plastic bags.

The bathroom is looking good with a window shade

and a shower curtain

and other necessary things.

The dining room, which will start out as a bedroom, actually has a bed now: an antique bed with a comfy new mattress.

The pie safe stands proudly in the corner,

filled with books, magazines, and games.

The propane gas stove

sits beneath the freshly-painted mantle, keeping the room warm and cozy.

The mantle and the adjacent built-in cabinet with a pass-through to the kitchen, were quite a challenge to paint. That process could be a whole blog post by itself.

The dining room window also has a nice shade and a pretty lace valance.

I'm working on a table and chairs for the kitchen, and there's still some cleaning to do before starting on hanging pictures (gee, I'm not sure I can bring myself to make holes in my pretty painted walls!) and adding some decorative touches. After more than two years of intense labor, all is finally coming together nicely. Ahhh, the sweet rewards of restoration!!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Busy Days and Puppy Ways

Too much to do, so little time! No doubt most everyone feels that way at some time or other. I seem to be trapped in that lifestyle all the time. I was hoping retiring from my full-time job of thirty years would help, and I suppose it has, but there hasn't been a lack of something to do yet. I've been writing this post in my head for over a week but am just now getting it into the computer. The puppies are growing like weeds, the maple trees are pouring and sugar water boiling, and The Guest House is racing toward a mid-March opening. I've been (and still am) just a bit busy.

The syrup and Guest House posts will have to wait another day, or two, or several, but the puppies won't wait. They're growing so fast! They are nimble as can be, running, jumping, wrestling, and even trying their paws at digging now and then. Simple toys are beginning to interest them, with empty plastic soda bottles and old socks tied in a knot being the best. (We have to watch Leah, because she loves toys. She steals them from her babies and takes them upstairs, where she plays and plays and plays.) Puppy teeth are in now. I should know because they practice using them on my ankles while I'm cleaning out their puppy yard. Ouch! We introduced them to the water bowl this week - that was fun to watch! And the barking! If they wake up suddenly, or realize someone new is around, they turn into "watchpuppies" with their cute warning barks and growls. When they all get going at once, they're pretty loud. Despite all the work, having puppies in the house is a lot of fun, bringing us a good dose of that joy we were looking for.

Here are some photos from a week or so ago:

I just took these photos this evening:

These individual shots are in the same order as the ones in the last post, in case you want to compare.

This is that same fist puppy born, but look how much she's
grown! Her eyes are still blue, by the way, and she's the
only one with a brown nose.
This is the sassy little girl, but she's also very smart.
She's usually the first one to try out a new toy.
The other black & tan female discovered how to
climb out of the puppy gate while I was taking photos!
I call this guy Chunky Monkey because he is
definitely the biggest,  sturdiest pup of the  litter.
And he's sweet, too.
This fella is spoken for. He looks the most like
his papa and has the cutest wrinkles on
his head and face.
This sweetie is the smallest boy, but he's the
most adventurous when you put him  in a new place.
Now that one puppy has learned to escape the puppy yard, I fear we're in for a new level of doggie parenthood. We've already become newspaper hoarders, feeding time rolls around way too often to be convenient, and every towel in the house that shows the least sign of wear has been demoted to puppy bedding. Our next big step will be the first trip to the vet, sometime next week. I hope I'm up for it!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Puppy Chef

Many of you like it when I share a recipe. Here's one you've got to try! Only thing is, you'll probably have to come to my house to make it.


Add three medium handfuls of puppy chow to a blender.

Cover with hot water, just until the puppy chow starts to float.

Puree for thirty seconds or so,

until you have mush.

Scrape out onto cookie sheet.

Immediately fill blender with water to soak. It makes cleanup much easier.

Set the cookie sheet in the middle of the puppy yard.

Wake up the puppies...

and watch the fun!

Serves six hungry puppies. Guaranteed to produce smiles and laughter!

Leah's puppies are growing by the hour. Their little personalities are starting to show, and their bumbling attempts at playing are a hoot to watch. The down side of that, though, is that the only time they are still enough to get good photos is when they're asleep! Consequently, there are lots of blurry spots in my pictures. With Robin's help, I did manage to get these closeups. Come meet the babies!

This is the first puppy born, a little girl who is colored the most like her papa, Red. Her eyes are blue, much lighter than the other puppies' eyes. I wonder if they will stay that way, or turn dark. She's always been the biggest puppy of the litter.

This little black and tan girl looks just like her Mama. She's the smallest puppy, although not by much. And she's the instigator of the bunch, and the biggest talker, too!

The other female is also black and tan, but the tan spots above her eyes are very faint. She's not as loud and bossy as her "twin."

When it comes to the boys, I'm just now beginning to be able to tell them apart, and I have to get a good look at their faces to do it. This one has the most black on his muzzle.

This one's head is getting to be more and more the color of Papa Red. Pardon the Puppy Mush on his nose!

And this little guy has the prettiest combination of colors on his face. His head is smaller than his brothers' too, more like his mama's.

I can't tell you as much about the boys' personalities because when I'm watching them play, they all look the same unless I can get a full-on view of their faces. It's tons of fun to sit in the puppy yard (right after I've cleaned it up and put down fresh newspapers, of course!) and let them climb all over me. They're getting curious now, and can move around well enough to "go and find out." It's amazing how quickly they are changing. In the morning, they'll be able to do more than they can tonight. They're already just over three weeks old (24 days, to be exact) and they'll be ready to go to new homes in no time. *Gulp!*

If you're in our neighborhood, you must come see them. Sweet little puppies don't last long!

After supper, it's playtime!