More snow

Winter walk with pink rays of light

At 1.30am I realized that we’d been graced with more snow, thanks to my dog and his currently loose bowels, which found me outside at that extremely early/late hour. Snow that looks as though it could stay, although who knows, with the yo-yo-ing temperatures we are prone to experiencing here in Eastern Ontario at this time of year. When I grabbed my camera this morning, I wasn’t exactly in the most cheerful mood, largely thanks to the dog, but that changed as I trudged along and gradually started to notice things around me, like the clear morning light.

Our delightful nine-month old puppy is experiencing some tummy woes, which is a drag for him and us, but worse still he has recently discovered gaps in the fencing around our property, along with bouts of wanderlust that cause him to ignore our calls and put his life at risk as he heads for the highway. Don’t call us lazy – fencing 28 acres to keep a wandering dog at bay isn’t exactly easy or cheap, no matter how you slice it. So, for now, while we consider our options, Reggie is firmly on a leash or a rope at all times.

Which is how I came to finally get a picture of him pointing this morning, a characteristic which is fairly unusual in labrador retrievers.

Black lab pointing by the edge of a pond in winter

At the water’s edge, it was hard to imagine that I’d taken this dog retrieving in our pond just three days earlier. Clearly he was entertaining the same memories, as he reached up for his usual target, nestled in a young tree nearby. He might have been game for a swim, but I certainly wasn’t going to let him try.

Black lab reaching up to a tree branch

Morning light when combined with snow is so pretty, and I’m always stunned by how some things in nature are able to carry what seem like impossible snow loads for their delicate forms.

Seed head heavy with snow

Up at the house, our youngest took a break from his new homeschooling routines to play elaborate games with his trucks in the snow, something he thinks about longingly during the rest of the year. This is one of his special times and I won’t lie, it can lead to tension as he worries about clumsy adults tripping over the roads he carves out and now about hapless dogs churning up his carefully worn paths. So, the dog – on a shorter leash for the moment anyway – stayed inside, and I watched from a distance.

Toy trucks in snow on a deck

His father was allowed to indulge his British enthusiasm for the first snow heavy enough to warrant skis, and later they took a tobaggan down the hill for a spin and a spill or two.

Man on skis for the first snow of the season

I stayed inside and worked, as I have to grab a few minutes wherever I can now. I know, you are feeling very sorry for me.

The chickens seemed happy enough in the mini shelter out in their run – this funny little box started out life as home for Esme and her brood of eight tiny chicks when they arrived back in September. Since moving into their much larger digs, it has been standing empty and forlorn, until this weekend when older son took off some of the side boards in an effort to create a more open form of shelter for these now big birds when they are out in their run. They absolutely loved it today, as it kept them off the cold ground when they weren’t actively foraging and moving around.

Americauna chickens in outdoor shelter in winter

I love that the chickens seem to find the ramp at the end of their tunnel from the coop completely redundant; this shot was taken after all nine chickens were in the yard for the day – clearly jumping off the platform before reaching the ramp is the preferred form of egress.

Tunnel for chicken run to coop in deep snow

17 thoughts on “More snow

  1. Our dogs like to escape, too, and we’ve experienced similar problems with fencing. Not only to we have a road nearby, but there’s the additional concern of coyotes. Like you, we’ve had to resort to leashes. Even the best-behaved dog can be attacked by a predator while outdoors.

    1. Yes, it’s frustrating to have these restrictions – I just feel a dog should be able to have as much freedom as possible, but there are other realities. Amazingly, our neighbours had a scare when their indoor, de-clawed cat escaped outside three nights ago. Apparently she has just turned up, hiding in a hedge out front of their home, unscathed!

      1. Cats are like that. When they escape, it’s as if they don’t know you. They hide in the hedges and completely ignore you, even though they like being inside the house.

  2. Our dog is terrible at recall – and we’ve had her 10 years. We put quite a lot of effort into training her to come when called for the first 3 years, and gradually became disheartened and gave up. Except in places that have no holes in the fence (we have to check), she is seldom off leash. I’m glad you’ve got Reggie as a pup, I think he’ll be more trainable (we got Blackie when she was 2).
    Love your snow pictures!

    1. I think I’m feeling a bit affronted, as he was so good when he was little (and still is in so many ways), but of course hormones and a teenage attitude have kicked in, and when something outside ‘calls’ him, that’s it. I guess we’ll roll with it and figure it out. I love hearing how others fare with their dogs. Thanks for the kind words on the pictures!

  3. It’s so beautiful! I’ve always lived in the desert, so snow fascinates me. We may be moving to Flagstaff and I’m glad to know that you can keep chickens in snowy places.
    Your dog reminds me of my black lab who passed last year. I miss her!!!!

    1. A move to Flagstaff would be neat – it looks really interesting in the north of your state (mind you it all looks so exotic and cool to me!). Chickens are tough customers, they can hang in there through a lot of conditions it seems. I know about five people who lost a lab last year and everyone who has ever had one only has great things to say. You must miss yours dearly.

  4. Your young boy seems all set to snowplow the porch with his dump truck! It’s SO much fun in the snow for youngsters!
    And those chickens refusing to get their feet full of snow by not walking down the ramp…….. too much lol!

    1. He lives to clear snow, that boy! I forgot to mention that he actually shovelled the driveway too – he was feeling particularly energized! The chickens crack me up; today they would not deign to come out at all, so I guess they have their limits.

  5. Thank you for capturing and sharing such a beautiful day – beautiful dog!

    One thought might be to fence & gate just a portion of your property. I have 5 acres and 3 fenced zones – an inner zone (natural perimeter of the house with about 50 to 100 ft extended outward), the chicken zone (it used to just be an extension of the inner zone & then the 3rd zone, which is most of the perimeter.) I have excellent control of how much freedom to give the dogs and I’m very happy that I zoned it instead of just one large fence around the entire perimeter.

    1. Thanks so much for the generous words and for sharing your experience. We’ve definitely been chewing over how best to implement a fence around the house area, or part of it, and fencing another zone where the dog could be free would probably be very sensible. I like your ideas!

  6. Ah, the joys of a teenage entire dog – there’s a reason there are so many 5-7mo dogs at the pounds, I reckon!

    Maybe try carrying treats all the time until he matures out of this fun stage? Dried cat food is a good one, cheap, and your coat pockets get a bit stinky, but they do work. So do cheese curds, plus you can snack on them too (well, you can on the cat food, I suppose, but not my taste).

    The other idea might be invisible fencing – I know plenty of people who have installed it with great success, and the peace of mind it brings soon pays off the debt incurred in installation.

    1. Thanks Catriona! Absolutely, we’ve been good about always having treats to hand (and have the smelly pockets to show for it 🙂 ), and I think the realization now is that we need THE treat while we get through this difficult patch, which for him is cheese.

      Invisible fencing is another great idea and definitely worth looking it. I really appreciate the feedback as we’re lining all of our options up now!

    1. Snow is a great help in outdoor photography, isn’t it! Thanks for the kind words and hope you get to enjoy some time on the slopes soon – France for a ski trip sounds rather nice.

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