Saturday, April 29, 2017

It's freakin' cold

April came in like a lamb, but it's going out like an iceberg. Yuck. Going for the morning walk with Callie is not pleasant. Coat, scarf, knit cap, gloves. And taking Tasha out to do her "business" at 6 a.m. is even less pleasant. It warms up some in the afternoon, making things a little more manageable. I tried to take a photo of the two dogs together outside yesterday, but Callie ran from the camera and Tasha just rolled around in the grass.

Tasha plays with me in the living room. In this shot she's NOT biting my fingers.

On Friday afternoon Callie and Tasha and I spent some good time playing outside. Callie is still trying to figure out who this new animal is, but Tasha just runs and jumps and rolls and has a good time. I left the two of them outside alone together for about fifteen minutes and they were good (I watched from a window). Then Tasha came bounding back in the house and collapsed for a nap. I like that. With better weather, we'll be able to spend more time outside and less time trying to play indoors.

And, as a bonus, Tasha learned to climb the stairs in one day! She can go up, but she hasn't yet learned how to climb down. That'll come as she gets bigger.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Let sleeping dogs lie

Here's Tasha on her downstairs bed, under the coffee table, with her toys. There's an old sock, a little rope, a red plastic donut, an old nylabone, and a gummi-bone (most are left over from Callie's puppy days). We had just fed her and taken her outside for a romp. Back in the house, she decided to take a nap. For which we are grateful. She's getting used to the collar now, too.

Tasha taking a nap on her little bed.

I promise (as I did ten years ago) that this will not become an all-dog blog. Still, this is what's occupying us right now; it's the current reality of our life in France. The weather is not cooperating, but we're making the best of it. It's really quite chilly outside, but they're predicting better temperatures next week. Always next week.

I've been taking Callie and Tasha outside, mostly so that Tasha can do her business, but I'm noticing that the two of them are starting to play. Callie is cautious, but Tasha is bold. She charges Callie, but then when Callie asserts herself, Tasha rolls over on her back in submission. Callie is less apprehensive and starting to enjoy the play. It won't be long, I think, until they're fast friends. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Dog days

We're now in full puppyhood mode. Tasha goes from bouncing around the room to quietly napping about every fifteen minutes. I'm exaggerating, of course. She is a tiny bundle of energy, but she wears herself out more quickly than Callie used to. She knows where her bed is. I'm planning on getting a second one so that she has a bed both upstairs and downstairs (right now we're moving her bed upstairs for night time and down for the day). She slept through the night again last night. And so did we.

What wildflowers were these? I have no idea.

Callie is doing fine. She's starting to set boundaries, slowly. Otherwise, she seems unfazed. We're trying to maintain her routine so she doesn't feel neglected (as if). Tasha and Bert have met several times and there's no friction. The cat is, for now, a lot bigger than the pup, but he doesn't mind her. And Tasha is curious about the cat, but hasn't made any aggressive moves toward him.

After feeding, and whenever Tasha starts nosing around the room sniffing the floor, I take her outside for "poopies." She does pretty well. So far we've had a couple of little puddles on the floor, but no poops inside the house. She gets lots of praise when she does it outside. And that's our Puppy Update for the day!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Tasha's first day

Wow! All of a sudden, she's here. We arrived at the breeder's a little early, anxious dads that we are. We saw all the dogs, and Tasha, of course. She took to us both right away with kisses and playfulness. Then we sat down and signed papers, and the breeder gave us a bunch of information about the dog, grooming, health care, shots, etc. She also gave us a small sack of puppy chow and a little bowl. Most of the time Tasha was on the table, sniffing and licking our fingers and letting us pet her. Then it was time to head off.

She's such a tiny little thing, but it's hard to visualize until you see her next to Callie. That photo will come soon enough, I'm sure.

Tasha was perfect in the car. She sat in Ken's lap the whole way, and slept most of the time. Once at home, she met Callie. It went smoothly; a little awkward, but no aggression. After a while we separated the dogs so Tasha could have some kibble. She was mighty hungry. Next, it was our turn to eat lunch. Callie jumped up on her bed in the other room and Tasha curled up on her new bed next to the dining room table. Naps ensued. It was amazing.

We still have the afternoon and evening to get through as I type this (Tuesday afternoon). I took the dogs out for a bathroom break and I think Tasha peed, but so far nothing more. And later, it will be our first overnight. But, so far, so good!

MORNING UPDATE: Tasha slept on her little bed all night, once Callie got up onto her own sleeping spot. Big sister is setting the example. And, she pooped outdoors this morning! Good dog(s)!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Here we go

This morning we pick up Tasha, our new Shetland pup, and bring her home. We're not sure what to expect with Callie, but we've been given some advice from our vet and some friends. I'm hopeful that our mild anxiety will have been for nothing, and that the two dogs will work out their relationship smoothly. I just wish today's predicted rain would fizzle out.

Watching and waiting.

There has been an uptick in activity in the vineyards. I don't know what they're doing out there, but I've seen workers coming and going, walking the rows, and tractors here and there. There's still quite a lot of green leaves sprouting in spite of the freeze damage, but I don't know what that means, especially for vines on which the first grape flower blossoms froze. Will there be more? I can only wait and watch.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Asperges et jambon en croûte

So, on Friday I made asparagus spears wrapped in ham and puff pastry for lunch. It worked out pretty well, if I do say so myself. I had peeled and steamed the white asparagus a day or two before. I wrapped three or four spears inside a slice of ham, but not before adding some grated Swiss-style cheese. I had four of these "rolls." Then, I cut a store-bought puff pastry crust into four pieces and wrapped each one around a ham and asparagus roll. Into a hot oven they went for about fifteen to twenty minutes.

Melted cheese is oozing out of my "spears in a blanket."

The result was delicious, if not beautiful. Next time I will try to make the pastry a little less boring looking by adding some kind of pattern with a knife, or even by using pastry strips rather than a uniform sheet. It won't change the taste, but it might look a little more appetizing.

The recipe is just a riff off the asparagus and ham tart I often make this time of year, but without the egg custard. I got that recipe from a television cooking show several years ago. The original recipe made individual appetizer-sized tarts and used jambon de Bayonne (a kind of prosciutto-style cured ham). I morphed that into a larger tart with standard cooked ham in place of the cured stuff.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Deck days

I'm looking forward to spending summer days out on the deck. We've already had many nice days and I've taken advantage of them to spend an hour or so sitting out there. Bertie likes to come up and sit in my lap on those days.

The deck tiles are clean and we're ready for summer!

We're gearing up for the new puppy's arrival on Tuesday. Well, she doesn't "arrive." We have to go and get her. It will be interesting. So far, the weather is not predicted to be great.