Oh, where to begin!  Life has been hectic with the move, but I also have gotten out of the habit of daily writing.  Hopefully I can rectify that now that I’m mostly unpacked and the garden is pretty much set, just in need of the occasional water and weeding.

The dogs are settling in very nicely to their new home.  We are all really enjoying how much more space we have: as I write I am sitting on our new deck, a large wrap around porch that is fully enclosed so the dogs can just hang out here with me.  It’s a great place to read and write, with a little table and chairs set in the corner and an umbrella for shade.  The view is lovely and I can hear the waves of the lake rhythmically crashing a few hundred feet away.  As much as I thought I’d miss my old house, I don’t.  Not one bit.  This house felt like home before I had even finished moving in, and I haven’t looked back once.  Now, when I go back to my old neighbourhood, it feels like a place I once knew but have long forgotten.  Like the feeling of déja-vu.  It’s very strange!

I am slowly finding places to exercise the dogs.  The beach, which is littered with ‘no dogs’ signs, is also littered with off-leash dogs playing in the waves.  Apparently no one patrols, and no one cares.  I have found a section that doesn’t have any signs, however, and run them there.  The area is remote enough that even in the perfect July weather we’ve been having, I can find myself a 100-200 feet of empty beach on which to run the dogs.  How awesome is that!

The yard is even big enough for a serious game of fetch.  The lot next door is vacant with a low pile of logs separating the two properties.  I launch the ball over the logs and the dogs sail over them there and back.  They get to do this 2-3 times a day and that takes the edge of their energy.  I hate playing ball with them this much as the stopping and starting is so jarring on their joints, and also they are becoming increasingly ball obsessed.  But at present I don’t have much else for them to do, not having a place to train or a trail to hike.

Speaking of training, I finally went out to the new sheep farm last week and trained all three dogs.  It was really great to be back out working, and I think the set up would be quite good for my dogs.  Hannah would have to do serious farm work to gather up the flock of 180 ewes and lambs, separate off a few to train, then put them through a series of gates and shoots to the training field.  There is a small group of rather tame weathers that I could use to train Kess and Mira.  Each dog did very well and overall I was very pleased and excited about the opportunity.

Unfortunately I have been having a hard time getting in touch with them to set up times to come out and train.  I have called half a dozen times now and never caught them in.  I know they are very busy running the farm, and are probably not often in the house.  I was told I could just come any time, but I am not comfortable with that, at least not until I have learned my way around the farm and know their routine.  I used to just train when I wanted at the last farm, but I had been going there for over two years before and knew when it would be convenient, and also knew the ropes well enough to confidently be on the farm on my own.  I don’t feel right about doing that at a new place and prefer to train with them around, at least at first.  Hopefully I will hear from them soon.  My only other option for training is over two hours away.

Mira, little brat that she is, has figured out that she can fit through the slats of the fence around the back yard.  The first night here she disappeared during a fireworks display.  She has never shown any fear with fireworks or thunderstorms, but perhaps with the change of environment and with being outside (I put the dogs out in the yard while having dinner), it freaked her out.  When I called the dogs in, she was missing.  She came back about 5 minutes later but ever since has enjoyed escaping the yard and exploring the property.  I have to pick up a roll of chicken wire and staple it to the fence to keep her in. Bad dog!!!

Kestrel is driving me a bit batty with her boundless energy.  I think the problem is that she’s not that into playing ball (neither am I, so I can’t blame her).  Instead of throwing herself into fetching, she prefers to herd the other dogs, or try and steal the ball and play keep away. This means that she doesn’t chase the ball when I throw it; rather, she half heartedly chases the other dogs part way, then waits for them to come back.  With swimming she’s not very confident so will only venture out around 20 feet or so.  So all in all, she is expending much less energy than the other dogs, and then remains frisky while everyone else is sleeping.  As I type, she has broken into the old rabbit hutch with the door that won’t properly close, and pulled out the bedding and an old plastic dish and is now playing soccer around the deck with the dish.  Brat!

Ross isn’t getting as much exercise as he should be either.  He won’t swim and he’s not much into fetching.  I can’t just let him run off leash because he won’t listen and there are to many people on the beach to let him run around.  I need to find a place where I can just let him run.  I have found a trail nearby and will explore that with him one day this week.  Maybe that will solve the problem.

Hannah is Hannah, delighted to fetch and swim until she drops, and otherwise napping quietly around the house.  I think I will try and set up some agility equipment and get back into doing that since I can’t seem to get back into the herding.  She’s such a brilliant dog and I feel horrible when I watch her sleep her days away.  She should really be working every day on a sheep farm.  I’ve put a bug in the ear of a couple of local sheep farmers who don’t have dogs, and maybe they’ll call when they need some help moving stock.  We’ll see…

All in all, our new home is really wonderful.  The set up for the dogs – and for me – is so, so, so much better than what we had before.  It’s calm and peaceful, with lots of space and no kids to pester us.  The animals (cats as well as dogs) are outside nearly all day, every day, and so am I.  We will find was to get more exercise and training in as we settle into the area.  It already feels completely like home.

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