After a pretty schizophrenic winter, spring appears to finally be here. We had big melts in January and February this winter, but I’m hoping the nice weather will stick this time. This is the U.P., so it’s very likely we will get some snow again, but I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts. The last few days were kind of crummy – cold and rainy. But today it was finally sunny, and in the low 50s. We got some things done outside, and the animals enjoyed the sunshine.
I’m hoping spring weather sticks around for awhile.
For the past couple years, we’ve had a small, roughly 35×30 foot, fenced portion of our yard for the dogs. Over the last few weeks we’ve been working on expanding the dog run to encompass most of the southwest corner of our yard. Today we finished the fence. The dogs love it! They now have 3 to 4 times the space they had before. Here are some pictures of our happy dogs playing in their much larger yard.
We had a couple inches of snow from last week, and then yesterday we got about 6-8 inches. The dogs had a lot of fun playing in it – Even Downey – he hates water and being wet, and won’t go out in the rain. But he loves snow.
We’ve been very busy this month. In my last post, I said I would get some pictures of snow… well, then it melted. But on Thanksgiving, which was a couple days ago, we got about 4-5 inches. So we have snow again.
Here is Nova. We got her about a month ago, from our coworker. Nova was her son’s dog, when he was in the Air force in Georgia. Now he moved back to town and is going to college, and couldn’t keep her, and my coworker felt bad that Nova was home alone during the day. So we took her in. She gets along great with our other dogs and she is a sweetheart.
The chickens aren’t minding the snow so much. I have heat lamps in the two rooms of their coop, so they can go in and warm up their feet if they get cold. Our batch last year (which we still have the hens from) didn’t like to go out in the snow. I’m not sure why they don’t mind this year, but they don’t.
Last weekend we went up to my cousin’s to get the original hutch that I got with the rabbits. We have set it up near our other rabbit hutch, so it’s now Rabbit Row:
And here are the little baby bunnies:
The rabbits have been doing ok with the cold so far. We’re going to add a tarp to the front of the hutches to block wind from the inside. That’s one reason I positioned the hutches into “Rabbit Row.” – I figure it will help block wind somewhat. I’m already planning on a new setup once spring comes – more of a rabbit shed, I think. I’d like to add a run of some sort so they can hang out in the grass also.
We’ve also decided on names for the adults. They are Earth, Wind, and Fire. (my husband came up with it) – The gray buck is Earth (since he’s on the left), the white doe is Wind, and the black doe is Fire.
The farm is pretty much ready for winter. It’s a nice time to just cozy up inside – we don’t have a lot of projects we can do outside in winter, except reinforcing animal housing and doing normal feeding chores each morning and night. I like that it’s kind of a relaxation time. Of course I’m already planning in my head what we’ll do when spring comes.
I have two dogs, and I realized the other day that I have not posted about them for some reason. That is very strange because I really love dogs – I just have a lot of other stuff to write about, I guess.
I got Downey in 2010 when we lived in Los Angeles; we got him jointly with my sister. I had a very old dog named Drake at the time, and he wasn’t able to go on real walks anymore, because he had really bad arthritis. My sister thought it would be nice if we had a dog we could take with us on our daily walks around the neighborhood. One day a coworker posted some pics of a Shar-Pei mix that his friend was getting rid of – they had 5 kids and no time for the dog, and their landlord wouldn’t let them bring him inside. He was 11 months old. I sent the picture to my sister thinking she would say no, but she surprised me and said we should check him out. We took him in and I’ve had him ever since. Drake was not a fan of Downey. He was 13 years old and couldn’t see or hear very well, and Downey was a very playful pup. My Drake died a couple months after Downey came to us. Eventually my sister and I moved to different places and Downey came with me and my family; and then he came with us to Michigan.
We kept the name he came with – Downey. He’s a great dog – he loves other dogs; He can be a little aggressive with people he hasn’t met – we’ve worked with him and he has gotten better over time with that; It’s mostly a fear response, we’ve found. He was always very playful, and a bit lonely. I wanted to get him a friend for a long time. When we moved into our current house, we decided to get a second dog.
I was looking for a puppy, but not a small breed dog. And I didn’t want to pay a breeder for one. I’d rather adopt. I saw a really cute fuzzy face on Petfinder – an Akita mix; he was in Northern Minnesota at a shelter. We called them and decided to go get him. He was 4 months old, but 40 pounds already. We brought Downey with us to meet him; they got along well that day, so we took him home. His name at the shelter was Landon. He was a little smaller than Downey at that time – about an inch shorter and only 10 pounds lighter.
A week after getting him, my son thought he looked like an At-At from Star Wars. So we changed his name to Atat. (Pronounced At-Tat). He is now almost 1 and a half years old. He is very large – he weighed 98 pounds at his last checkup about a month ago. He’s a great dog; very friendly with people – sometimes a little overzealous. We are working to get him to stop jumping up on people since he is head height with me when he jumps up. We think he is part Shepherd as well; he looks like a giant German Shepherd with a curly tail. He’s probably twice Downey’s height. He went through a very destructive phase, as most puppies do – he tore up the back of our couch, that we had gotten about a month before him. His destructiveness has gone down a lot now. He is still very playful – he and Downey are great friends; Downey gets a little upset with him sometimes because Atat always gets his way when they play. Atat is just so large, Downey can’t compete sometimes.