Saturday, October 29, 2011

Bohemian Waxwings

We are sitting at the breakfast table when we see two Bohemian Waxwings - Bombacylla garrulus - feasting on what is left of the berries on one of the bigger trees in our yard. What a beautiful birds!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Caught on camera

The last few nights, Nicôle went out to watch the badger and try to catch it on camera.

Watching it wasn't that difficult, for as long as she didn't make noise or sudden moves, the animal didn't seem bothered by her presence at all. All it's attention went to digging up food from under the grass and moss in our yard.

Catching the badger on camera proved to be somewhat more difficult, as it was not only dark but also raining most of the times. Yesterday night though, Nicôle was lucky at last and was able to take a nice picture of the animal which is messing up our 'lawn' every night.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bird food

We have started feeding the birds again.

They came and asked for it themselves! While it was getting colder and colder, the number of birds in our yard increased day by day. It was obvious that it became harder for them to find food in the forest. And on a very cold morning, when Jeanny and I went outside for our morning walk, a big number of them came flying towards us. Loudly peeping they landed in the grass at exactly the same place where we have the bird feeders standing during the cold half of the year. Immediately, Jeanny rushed towards them to investigate, but although she came within touching range of the birds, they did not flee away. To me, it was crystal clear what they wanted.

The same day, we put up the bird feeders and filled them up for the first time since late April. Luckily, we had just bought 80 kg sunflower seeds, so that will keep us going for a while. Nevertheless, we will have to make some more trips to the store before Spring arrives, because last Winter, our feathered friends consumed a little bit over 300 kg bird food which equals out at 50 kg per month.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pure wisdom

The day before yesterday at about half past one in the afternoon...

We have just gone out for a long walk. It is chilly, a cutting wind is blowing and a light rain is falling. I close the collar of my coat as high as possible and put my hands in my pockets to keep them warm. I am glad that I am wearing a cap. After a few minutes on the move, we beat the cold and warm up. Every now and then, we exchange a few words, but most of the time, we just enjoy the stillness of the forest and the pleasure which Jeanny - who is smelling, tracking and running around like a puppy - so obviously derives from the walk.

Then Nicôle says that it makes her happy just to see our dog having so much fun. Pure wisdom, I know exactly what she means.

Only a short while later, the raindrops change into tiny snowflakes and it does not take long before everything is covered by a thin layer of snow. Then it is already over again. It stops snowing and within a few minutes, the snow melts away.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Another squatter

Another animal - beside the mice - has tried to settle in, or more exactly under our house.

It all started about two weeks ago. One night, we heard strange noises under the kitchen floor, followed by the scraping sound of a ventilation grid being pushed out of it's place in the foundation of the house. Nicôle grabbed a flashlight and - shining through the window - soon caught the culprit in the strong beam of light. It was just a little bit bigger than a cat and had a black and white striped head. It was a badger. And because that is about the last animal you want to be living under your house, Nicôle went outside to scare it away.

The next morning, I put the grid back into the ventilation hole, but that did not put an end to the badger's attempts to establish a home under our house, yet. Night after night, it returned and tried to dig it's way in under the house. So, night after night, we went out to scare the squatter away and fill the holes it had started to dig. Luckily, badgers do not like commotion, so about a week after it's first attempt, the animal gave up.


Although the badger obviously has found another place to go into winter sleep, at this moment it still visits our yard every night. In search for food - mainly earthworms and grubs - it roots up the grass, leaving holes everywhere. But we do not mind. We consider the grass in our yard as en extension of the forest floor and we understand, that, in order to survive the winter, the badger needs to eat a lot to build up it's fat deposits.


Badgers are tidy and clean. They dig small trenches to relieve themselves in. Each night they deliver a turd and when the trench is full, they dig a new one. In the picture above, you can see a badger latrine we discovered in the forest close to our yard.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Surgery - 3

Faintly I hear something familiar: my humans saying my name. But I can not see them. It is dark and although I try, I can not move myself. The sound fades away. Then it is back again, much closer this time.
 
I open my eyes and see my humans. Their faces express great happiness. They pet me and mumble sweet nothings. After trying a few times, I manage to get on my feet. Ouch! Putting weight on my bandaged foot causes a lot of pain. I limp across the room, but it does not take me long to decide to sit down again. That feels so much better. Then the doctor enters the room. He promises me that I will be pain free within a few days.
 
During the ride back home, I lie dozing in my bench in the rear of the car. Once at home, I take a pee, hurry inside - yes, still limping - and lie down on my pillow in front of the wood stove.
 
At this moment, I am lying there still. My humans have fired up the wood stove and I am feeling comfortably warm. I have just had something to eat - my first meal in 24 hours - and it tasted great. Soon I will be running around again, but to start with, I will be taking it easy for a while.
 

Surgery - 2

The fact that Jeanny had to be put in a state of total anesthesia, caused us some concern. Total anesthesia is - certainly for older dogs - never without risk. But given the circumstances, we did not have a choice.
 
I witnessed the operation. It proved to be a piece of cake. With a pair of pliers, the surgeon took hold of the nail, made a controlled turning move and the nail came clear of. Then it was just a matter of cleaning away the blood and pus, disinfecting the wound and putting on a new bandage. It did not take long at all.
 
Now, the only thing left, was waiting for our dog to wake up. And that should take quite some time.

Surgery - 1

After my visit to the doctor, I came home with a fine red and yellow bandage on my foot. As you might have noticed in the picture, it looked great. And even more important, I could easily run with it. Well, at least during the first day after the accident.
 
On Thursday, my injured toe started to hurt again. I avoided walking as much as possible and on the few occasions that I really had to go outside, I kept the walks as short as I could.
 
Then came Friday and the visit to the doctor in order to have the nail removed. As soon as the bandage had been taken away, it became clear that my toe was inflamed big time. And believe it or not, that was excellent news. Removing the nail would be so painful though, that I had to be put into a state of total anesthesia. While my humans explained that I would have to go to sleep, the doctor put a needle in a muscle of my left hind leg. I whined because of the pain. Then the needle was gone and so was the pain. Soon, I became dozy and when my humans told me to lie down, I obeyed them at once. Everything turned into a blur and the light went out...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Colder - 2

The cold is not the only thing that is creeping into the house.

Due to the plummeting temperature, a lot of animals are changing their behaviour. The mice, for instance, do not like the cold at all and have started looking for warmer places to sleep. So why not somewhere in our house? It is warm and comfy there, now that we have fired up the wood stove. Every evening about an hour after dark, an army of them invades the hidden spaces under the floor, between the walls and in the ceiling. They run around like crazy, and although they sometimes scare the wits out of us, we do not blame them at all.

We too should flee from the cold. And beside that, during the more than six years we have been living here, we have never caught a single mouse really inside the house - nor in the kitchen cupboards where we store our food supplies. But in all fairness I have to admit that we, every now and then, find such a poor little creature in the mousetraps which have to prevent just that.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Colder - 1

It is seriously getting colder. Four nights in a row, the temperature has sunk well below zero - Celsius that is - thus allowing us to enjoy a beautiful frost covered world for just as many mornings. By now, it is clearly noticeable that the cold is creeping into the house. This means that we have to change to the rhythm that comes with the heating season. For the next half year, chopping and bearing in wood as well as lighting and maintaining a fire in the woodstove and kakelugn will be an important part of our daily chores.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ouch!

Although I always do my utmost best to please my humans, it frequently happens that I cause them concern. Beside having some health issues, I am the living proof that accidents can, or should I say will, happen.

Last Tuesday, I ran out into the yard to play with my ball, when I decided to take a short cut. In my enthusiasm I forgot to pay attention as to where to put down my paws which resulted in a massive blow to one of the toes on my left hind paw. Ouch! That did really hurt and when I, after limping a bit, sat down to lick my paw, it already was totally covered in blood. I quickly decided to let one of my humans inspect the injury, experienced as they must be with that by now...

Well, that proved to be disappointing. Instead of 'down to the front', the nail on the injured toe pointed in the opposite direction and touching it was very painful. I could easily see that my humans were worried and it did not take them long to decide that we had to go to the doctor.

Once there, I behaved like every good dog should. I permitted the doctor to pull on my paws, toes and nails. And even when she pulled on the broken nail, I did not protest at all. Unfortunately, the nail in question still proved to be firmly attached to my toe and that was a problem. An other problem was that the surgeon was not in and not expected back until Friday. Because the toe itself did not seem to be broken, the doctor decided that we should wait until that day. With a little luck - yes, this sounds funny - by then, the wound should be inflamed thus allowing the nail to be removed easily. If not, I should have to undergo surgery.

To be continued...

Friday, October 7, 2011

Neat and tidy

We have been busy cleaning up the barns and yard in preparation to the winter to come. Although we have been doing this every autumn, this year, we have been extra thorough, baring in mind our plans to sell the property. This resulted in more runs to the rubbish dump than usual and a few ads on the internet in order to sell some redundant stuff. Now, after a few days of hard work, everything is neat and tidy again.

Raking up the leaves. Not our favourite pastime, but it has to be done.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Looking for new adventures

I have not posted for a week now, but not because nothing did happen. On the contrary, quite a lot of things have happened. Some of these things were so 'big' that they took a lot of time and energy. And although I managed to keep our Dutch blog up to date, doing so with the English version just proved to be too much. I am sorry for that and now I will be trying to catch up.

The most important news is that we have decided to sell our property. But we will not leave the vicinity. When we have sold Lilla Laggåsen, we will move into a house about a kilometre from here. Our new house stands in an open place in the forest and although we will be leaving the most beautiful place we know, we think that we, on the whole, will be better off. We will be changing from an old house - with all it's pro's and con's - to an almost new house. Beside that, it is smaller and fits us better, too. By making this swap, we think that it will be easier for us to combine our daily routines with the care for Jeanny. And - at least as important - we will be in a much better position to fulfil our future plans and dreams. You can read more about those in the posts in the 'introduction' category.

Making the decision to sell Lilla Laggåsen was not easy. After all, it is - and will forever remain - that very special place where we started our new life and had lots of exciting adventures. But still, it is all right. It is time to move on, looking for new adventures.