Friday, March 30, 2012

Doggy Ramp

Everyone, Both our dogs are getting very old. Dot is 16 Daisy is 17. Daisy only wants to go out the front door, someone needs to let here out. Guess what she does not ask to be let out either, so she puddles or otherwise. Yes we have a pet door but Daisy does not like walking down 6-7 steps to get to the back yard. So the again she leaves messes by the front door and does not use the pet door. She is a very shy dog.

So I gathered up some scraps today and Meg and I built a doggy ramp today. So now both dogs are scared to death of it. I added some strips of wood to make it less slippy for them. Blocking to steps confuses them. Oh did I mention Dot is mostly blind!! Dot is the leader of the dogs, so until she goes freely Daisy won't.

 Surely we'll get them to use it. Any suggestions to get them to use it; We tried blocking the stairway and that confused them.

Our cat Valentine the mouser is in huge trouble. First Meg found a big mouse in the living room by the house plants. This mouse is very brave running around in day light. She likely brought it in the house to start with. So she's outside we bring her inside, nothing. I might add she is the best mouser we have ever had, her pancreas does not work well leaving her hungry all the time, good for mousing, bad for us the pills cost a buck a day.

So later today Meg brings me an large male Eastern Fence Lizard she found Valentine had in the house. Released him outside no harm done.... This evening I'm showered an ready for movie time, I have to chase down mouse traps, Handy Andy up the road did not have any. I hope Valentine wakes us to tell us she has caught a mouse tonight.

Are the flowers blooming early here? Yes the Dwarf Crested Iris bloomed last year on April 20th, here they are today.
Last year was our best year for these natives in our garden estimated 600-700 blooms. This year looks like maybe 200, if they get too shaded they will not bloom at all. A full three weeks earlier than last year. When they bloomed last year we still had lots of daffodils blooming, one type of daffodil is still blooming right now, the rest are done.
 These woodland phlox are in the side garden between the house and the pond. They look better than ever this year. These are I think two years old. The ones in the shadier hellebore garden barely bloom every year, for the past 4 years. Location, location and location..

Our summer phlox we weeded it today, the tallest summer phlox in enormous, 2 foot around and it reaches 5-6 foot tall. Watching the butterflies on them can be breath taking at times.
 Here is the fattest carrot we have ever taken out of our garden. We have been picking enough carrots fresh for salad about every day. Nothing like fresh carrots from the garden. Tonight we had salad with fresh lettuce, spinach, bok choy, carrots and radishes all from the garden. And we had cooked collard greens from the garden as well.

The garden is abundant with butterflies right now, lots of Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, Pipevine Swallowtail, the first Spicebush Swallowtail today, a Cloudless Sulphur was visiting the columbines today. A Northern Water Snake was seen hunting along the ponds edges, second one ever seen here ever.

The bees, oh my. The nuk hopefully has a queen by this weekend, today was day 15, it takes 16 days to raise a queen . Bees choose eggs that could be as old as 3 days, so she could have emerged already. We wait another week and a half and hopefully she will have mated and is laying eggs. The past two days the bees in the nuk have been bringing in pollen. Bees usually bring in pollen to feed larva, by now all the larva should be capped. So the bees are at least hopeful of new brood. The mother hive I feed them yesterday, I lifted it and it seemed very light. Lifting a hive tells you how much honey stores there is, too light and the bees could starve.

We are still weeks away from the Tulip Poplar, out number one nectar source of the year. I think most of the maples are done, so the bees should be getting dandelion right now and what is left of the Eastern Red Bud. Blackberry blooms are very close maybe a week away, so honey should begin to store up.

Two last bits of bee news.

 First I hopefully have a cut out to do in a barn. This would be a feral hive residing in a barn, I'll take the bees and comb and put them in a hive here.

Second new bees are arriving on April 14th, Meg and I have a very cool new hive we are working on. This hive is a modified Kenya Top Bar Hive. I customized it with a screened board board that one can insert a sticky board for mite testing. It also will have a window so we can see inside, unlike any window you have seen on a hive. Best part Meg has beautifully painted it.


Kitty said...

We blocked the stairway and WE used the ramp, too. If it feels springy to you, Daisy is going to be squinchy about it.

After watching me go up and down it a couple of times and me making her do it a couple of times, she would go halfway on the steps and then go around the wagon at the foot of the steps. A couple of days of that and she was comfortable with the ramp.

We left the steps blocked for about a week longer. Now she uses which ever way suits her hips best. If she's feeling loose, she uses the step and it she's feeling decrepit, she uses the ramp.

She may use the steps down and the ramp up the most.

Anonymous said...

Cool...what she said. :)

Karin / Southern Meadows said...

Once they become accustomed to it I am sure they will appreciate it. We had a geriatric dog who was deaf and partially blind. We didn't have the stair issue to go outside so I don't have any advice. I think you using the ramp will encourage them to check it out. Best of luck!

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

My 18 year old 'blind' 'deaf' dog KNOWS when there is a Milkbone in front of her. She can hear the bag opening to get the treats. I would suggest for you to line the walkway with treats...leading them down to the yard.
Nice of you to build the ramp, hope they use it.

NotSoAngryRedHead said...

Awwww! Love the ramp.

I think everyone has made great suggestions.

One of my dogs has luxating patellas and gets nervous with anything involving heights, and he sometimes starts up the stairs at a pace that leads him to a "dead end" halfway up. He was getting nervous/confused and would go back down the steps. However, he really wants to get up the stairs. Somehow, and for whatever reason, he'll go up the stairs, and if he gets "stuck", he'll continue up the stairs butt first. It's so ridiculous, but he was extremely motivated to figure a way up since his favorite cozy spot is upstairs.

This doesn't exactly relate to your particular situation, but it's an example of motivation overcoming obstacles. I hope you can find the right motivation for your pups! Stinky cheese and meat might help. ;)

Karen said...

Great idea for the pet ramp and the aging dogs. I'm sure once they get used to it, they won't have a problem with it but the 'getting used to' part is tricky. I like the treat idea, our two dogs will do anything for cheese.

Love those iris and phlox.

Anonymous said...

I love the color of the crested irises. So rich.

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

Randy, one suggestion I have would be to start with the dogs at the bottom of the ramp, rather than the top. They may feel more sure-footed climbing up, than feeling like they may slip downward at first. Maybe start with Dot at the bottom, with a handful of her favorite treats, and go slow. If she only makes it up the first rung on day 1, it's a win, and try again tomorrow. At their age, anything new is probably a little overwhelming, especially if they're sight limited.

I can't wait to see your new Top Bar hive, it sounds beautiful. It sounds like your apiary is going to get quite large in the coming weeks!

Town Mouse said...

Well, we'll find out whether you can teach an old dog new tricks ;->

Good luck!