Sunday, 25 October 2009

Fall Back

The clocks went back last night. In my old life, that gave me an extra hour in bed which I used to fixate on with an unhealthy obsession - a whole hour I planned to dedicate to strong coffee and the New Yorker magazine. I tried explaining daylight savings to the animals, the importance of keeping abreast of world events, and of course the pithy wit of the cartoonists. It fell on deaf ears and I had to get up and tend to them on their schedule, even though my clock said it was 6.15am.

If it wasn't for having to go to the bathroom, I'd never get through an issue of the New Yorker. As my friend Sara says "The bathroom is 'me' time". Amen sister.

My reward for getting up was a perfect autumn day, crisp and sunny. After all the rain of the past couple of days it almost made up for everything. Then I remembered the pheasants. Just like us, they want to get out and make the most of sunny days after a rainy spell. They were everywhere. I enjoyed a walk with two busy spaniels and we chased doses of them home. It's a shoot day tomorrow so they need to be where we can find them, not on some long distance hike and halfway to the next county.

I wanted any excuse to be outside today so there was more training for Spud and more chestnuts to squirrel away (pardon the pun), earmarked for a Christmas stuffing. It was Pip's turn to teach the young'un. Today's lesson: water. Beginning with synchronised pairs -

Ending with 'Doing it by myself like a big girl' -

There was also 'hunting for stuff that smells good' -

And even some lessons in sitting (under duress as it interrupts the smelling of stuff) -

And I got a bagful of chestnuts which I have toasted and put in the freezer.

I also learned the answer to the question "How free range is a free range chicken":

A: Very. I don't know if you can see those brown dots in the distance, but that's Grandma Brown and her chicks. She is working this field behind our house. No wonder her meat chicks are so lean. I'm going to have to start chasing them home with the pheasants.

The other downside to daylight savings is the shorter day. It's 5pm and the chickens are going to bed already. It does give me a good excuse to get on with knitting and spinning wool, a productive and respectable way of making the most of the longer evenings. I only have a few more months to finish baby sweaters for Liser's bump, and have been plying more handspun to finish the heavy weight one-

Pip is helping, mostly by contributing dog hair to the finished product. As I've said before, everyone knows dog hair has healing properties.


Poppy Cottage said...

I would love to join you on that 'water' walk!! (So would Lily!!!!!)

The knitting looks fantastic. Think it is getting to the time to just spin rather then try to make things to sell at the Christmas Stall!! Far better on the brain!!

(Still loving job - BUT No puddings from Monday, walking to work and healthy eating!)

Terry Scoville said...

Ah yes the time change. I agree with strong coffee and the New Yorker. I'm on my way.

Jennifer Montero said...

Colette - you & Lily are welcome anytime, we have extra walks on nice days. Bad news about the pudding, you're not dieting are you?!?!? Walks=extra puddings in my opinion.

Waiting to see what you're spinning now, a blog post is due maybe? ;-)

Terry - always a cup of coffee in the pot for visitors. You're welcome anytime too ;-)

Tamar said...

Jen -- I'm fascinated by the work the dogs do. I went pheasant hunting for the very first time yesterday, and I finally understood why dogs are so handy. (Even though we didn't see a single bloody bird.)

Do they really train each other that way? How much formal training do you have to do? If I get hooked on this, there may be a spaniel in my future.

Tamar said...

PS -- Don't even bother with the New Yorker. You can't keep up with a magazine that comes twice a day.

Jennifer Montero said...

Tamar - Dogs readily learn from each other which can be a blessing and a curse as they pick up and perpetuate bad habits as well as good ones. If I'm selective, I can use dogs to encourage each other.

Keep your training methods and expectations simple - everything associated with you (and coming back to you) is fun and rewarded with praise and treats. Make sure your dog comes back everytime, sits (no jumping on people), and is well socialised with people and other animals. Everything else is gravy.

Then pick a dog with the natural insincts you want: if you want a retriever get a lab, if you want to pull a sled get a husky etc etc. Don't fight nature.

I would suggest a lab (British working, not US one) over a spaniel for you. The Lab is like the land rover; the spaniel is like the sportscar. Plus a lab loves water, and retrieving stuff from water (including ropes), which could be a bonus when you're on the boat.

The old saying goes: Labs are born half trained, spaniels die half trained. Heed those words!