Sheltering – and another Sunday drive

COVID-19? Notice how your entertainment options have been narrowed? We are trying to stay home and shelter in place. You can go for a drive and enjoy a park or campground.

Today we were at Capt. Ayre Lake again. It’s so small that it’s not even on Google Earth but with 20 degree plus weather after the nasty couple of days we’ve had, it approached Eden. The dogs ran and the humans strolled. There was a pleasant breeze.

Camping isn’t allowed at this small county-run site until June 15th. The park is closed but we could drive in and go for a walk. Or sit among the trees at a picnic table. The blackbirds called from the tops of the trees, there was a lone loon on the lake, and across the field people let their two large dogs frolic at the boat launch. Behind us we could hear the muted music and sounds of someone working at their cabin.

Our Jack Russell is pretty good for such a high energy breed but I thought I’d provide some added fun. All it takes is a stick. Taz was delighted to chase the make-shift toy and it provided me with an opportunity to practise my video-ing skills. The only way is up, and for this one, I couldn’t see the screen on my phone because it was so bright out. In all honesty, I think it turned out as well.

Have a look.

So once again, a bit of an isolated outing turned out to be just fine. The dogs are actually enjoying COVID-19; they get a lot of attention but never as much as right now. It’s not the same, but it’s okay.

Sheltering- As if we need something else…

By now most readers know I walk my dogs every day. There are asphalt walking paths that are very well maintained. One natural area features trees and grass in a more or less natural state. There is a maze of footpaths through the trees and even though it is mowed regularly, there are areas of long grass in a number of areas. In short, it’s a lovely way to get out of the house during this COVID 19 pandemic but yesterday, I found this guy in my bathroom.

Most likely a Rocky Mountain Wood Tick.

We thought it must have come in on one of our dogs but confirmed it just a few minutes ago when Gary found one on our Jack Russell. If we are correct in our identification, these ticks are just normally disgusting and doesn’t carry lime disease. Nevertheless, both of them are now confined to a sealed baggie and will be making their way to the veterinary clinic to be tested. This isn’t the first time we’ve found ticks on the dogs but it’s the first time we know they are local.

From Facebook and other social media posts, it appears that this is a good year for ticks. I know I will check the dogs very diligently. We do treat them with a repellent for ticks and fleas we get at our local veterinary clinic. That is likely why we found one crawling in the bathroom and the other on the dog but not really latched.

I will still take the dogs for their walks. I think it’s a heads up for anyone in the outdoors. The trails I take the dog walks on are basically in town. Ticks don’t care. With the pandemic, we do need to get outdoors, get exercise, and fresh air. We don’t need a additional health concern so stay safe, stay home, and watch out for ticks.

Sheltering- Missing a Walk

The dogs are used to a walk, every day. No walk? Canine despair. In this time of “stay home,” I admit to looking forward to going despite the fact the route doesn’t vary a lot. Since I maintain a blog, you know I like to write. Some of my good ideas (or maybe not so good) are ironed out on the walks.


Yesterday weather dictated no walk. Cold, rain, and wind were the triumvirate that kept us in. The dogs stared at me when “walk time” came and charged after me even into the bathroom. At last they gave up, resigned to really ‘staying home.’

This morning didn’t look much more inviting, but there is no rain. Were my canines angry because I didn’t walk them yesterday? No! They were delighted to get harnesses and leashes on. And it turns out the wind was cold and it’s dull out but the air? Fresh. The smell of rain and spicy aspen in the trees made it worth it. The dogs ran with joy and the bonus was the rain had washed away the gross things they had loved rolling in.

You can see the path through the trees. No rabbits today but there was lots to sniff. I love the tamarack. In fall when their needles turn, they are golden; then in winter, they look dead. Every spring fresh new needles dress them in spring finery. And the blossoms are just a precursor to the wild roses I anticipate each year.

So, a quote from my grandson, “Your blog is surprisingly therapeutic. There is something soothing about the mundane.” He was twelve when he made these observation. And yes, staying home can drive one to near despair. I like to try and find something positive- so here it is. Stay home, stay safe, and treasure the therapy of the mundane.

Still Sheltering…

News reports are no less disturbing. The numbers of people affected or killed by the corona virus continues to rise. In New York City, unclaimed bodies have had to be buried in a mass grave. A bright spot suggests that the curve may be flattening.

The reports can be overwhelming and no one needs to hear my amateur recounting. This blog is to describe the minutiae of a retired woman and perhaps bring a little levity to readers.

In Alberta, hunting for deer, moose and antler sheds is a ‘thing.’ You get on your quad or you walk and look for antlers that have recently been dropped. There is even a market for them, though I doubt anyone has become an antler tycoon. Yesterday Gary was out for an early ‘hunt.’ He came home, quite chuffed, with some ‘nice’ white tail and mule deer horns.

Our Jack Russell loves chewing an antler and the one she had last year has been gnawed to a nub. If you don’t know, antlers are tough and it takes determination to get one to the point where some of it can be bitten off.

Taz, when she was a puppy.

Taz was beyond excited to get a fresh one, until Gary sat too close to her and her antler, catching a paw under it. For a Jack, she’s timid about weird things and suddenly she was terrified of her treat. She ran off and I had to hunt her down. She was quivering on the bed in the spare room.

I admit to anthropomorphism, especially with my dogs. I had to hug her tightly to calm down. All evening she eyed the antler with suspicion and when I tried to introduce it back to her, Gary accused me of adding to her trauma. I only brought it near and might have stroked her with it.

Another confession. The dogs sleep on the bed with me. Taz selects a ‘toy’ to take to bed but last night, her fears suddenly allayed, she chose the antler. I shared my bed with two dogs and an antler.

In some parts of Canada and the rest of the world, the pandemic is creating dire situations. I am lucky that here, if I continue to shelter in place, I can share my bed with the dogs and the antler. Does it get better? 😀

A Close Call

Ice has broken up on the Battle River

Winter’s hold on us has broken. To celebrate we took the dogs (Scruff and Taz) to the nearby river park for some off-leash fun. There’s nothing to excite a Jack Russell more than a chance to race about catching the scent of wildlife. We were expecting a brave gopher; they have been sighted elsewhere or perhaps some geese. On the way down there was even a bald eagle in full plumage.

We were partway on our usual route when Gary (my husband) yelled.


We had lost sight of Taz (the Jack) and then saw her on the other side of a willow clump.

Gary yelled, “There a porcupine in there. COME BACK.”

The lucky thing is although our two dogs didn’t come back, neither did they further trap the porcupine who was hiding at the base of the willow. Perhaps he had intended to climb and get out of the dogs’ way. The frightening thing is if Taz had gotten too close, he’d have defended himself and she’d have had a face full of quills. The dogs hesitated long enough for us to catch up and carry them away. The walk ended with some “chase the frisbee.”

Thank goodness for Gary’s sharp, old naturalist eyes (or maybe it’s hunter eyes). There were no quills today.

If you look closely, you might be able to see the stripped bark where the porcupine dined this winter.