May 2nd, 2010


Assorted Critters

1. We left the dog home all by himself while we went out to dinner on Friday, and he was fine. Yay! We have been working up to this, but this is the first time he's been totally alone, with the humans farther away than the yard, for more than ten minutes or so, since the crate incident. We are very pleased, because we like going out to dinner now and then, and while it is getting to the time of year where it is very pleasant to sit out on patios where dogs are allowed, it is nice to have more options than that.

2. The chickens have very distinct little personalities. Teckla is the adventurer -- she's less concerned by new objects, less nervous about being approached, and much more likely to go explore a new area. They're out in their coop on the porch until we finish getting the run together. Whenever I go out to feed them, I use a big kitty-litter scoop to tidy up the bedding. While I do that, Teckla checks to see whether any of my clothing is edible and Norska goes and hides in the back corner, because the kitty-litter scoop is Deeply Suspicious. I think she's starting to get over it, but it's a slow process.

3. Saturday, chinders and I took Galen hiking in the Arastradero open space preserve. He did a great job behaving himself. I think in some ways it's easier for him to stick close to the humans and keep the leash loose in a really interesting environment like that -- he doesn't need to run ahead to sniff that bush or lag behind to keep investigating this clump of grass, because there are bushes everywhere and they are all fascinating. He also saw horses for the first time (as far as we know), and was kind of surprised by them. The horses, fortunately, were not at all surprised by the dog. With continued exposure, we hope to convince him that they are just very large, furry bicycles, and of no interest whatsoever except insamuch as he should stand close to the human to avoid being run over.

4. The house across the street has been for sale for ages. I've been wondering why, since the house next to it went up for sale recently and sold immediately. Today they had an open house, and the mystery was solved. That is the most wretched excuse for a building I've ever been inside. It has a sort of main hallway, with an arched ceiling in an Alamo-facade type shape, just high enough to stand upright in, and doors (each a different size!) leading off it into tiny rooms that are all a step down from the main hallway (we theorize that the hall floor was raised to allow for the installation of ducts or plumbing). There's a bathroom off the entrance foyer, and washer-dryer hookups arranged such that if you install a washer and dryer, you can't open the door all the way. The backyard has fruit trees, scattered randomly around a plot of bare dirt, and a shed that is, in part, built out of logs. The middle of the main hallway has a grate in the floor with a fan in it. The kitchen has three different kinds of countertop, and the refrigerator's sort of stuck in sideways. It is astounding. If you've always wanted to build a home on a nice big lot in a good location, come have a look! The only thing to do with the place is tear it down and start over, so the price is dropping towards lot value as the sellers slowly realize that that is the only value they've got there. The agent seems very nice, with a good sense of humor and a lot of patience, so she's well-matched to the place. Now if only she can find a well-matched buyer....

5. Sycamore pollen is very irritating to the nasal passages. I don't think I'm allergic to it, but stuff enough fluff up your nose and anybody'll sneeze.