Monday, March 02, 2009

More Bulbular Delights

After all the weather excitement of the other day, this weekend ended up being pretty quiet ... we did get an inch or so of snow from that storm Friday night (much less than predicted) and it's been pretty cold still, but nothing too dramatic. Just Ole Man Winter overstaying his welcome (as if he really ever had one!) a bit too long. And March entered quietly, if cold ... so who knows what that portends for the rest of the month. I'm still battling the residual effects of the double whammy flu-then-cold I had all February and wasn't worth much (again!) this weekend. Neither one of us has really been able to shake this persistent bug we've had and quite frankly, I'm quite tired of spending what little time off I have feeling lousy! Anyway, at least I awoke today to a cheery sight downstairs ... the tulips (which have been budding the past few days) opened up to their full glory today! The Hyacinth and Squill have been open a few days now ... perfuming the room nicely ... but the tulips were a real eye opener, and though there are still two more budding, the first three are quite lovely don't you think?
Fernymoss took these shots this morning as the sun was pouring into the kitchen and was able to really capture some firepower from the tulips. They're really a great shade of red, and have yellowish interiors and though they're a bit small, probably because they've been forced, they'll look fabulous once they're established out in the front garden! As you can see, the Narcissus have done their thing and the Crocus are now just a memory, but we should get at least another week or so out of the tulips, hyacinth and remaining white squill. I gave them a light feeding a week or so ago, and as soon as they are done, we'll just let them die back naturally and water lightly until the foliage is ready to go. Then we'll find them a nice spot out front where we can plant the whole arrangement when the ground thaws (if it ever does!) later this spring and hope for the best next year.... No matter what, we've really enjoyed having them brighten the house even during this brief period ... though they were a bit pricey, they were well worth it! Oh, and the Primrose I have in the kitchen window has stopped blooming for the moment, but is doing quite well with the sun it gets there, so it should be able to hang in there until it can join its cousins out in the primrose bed by the steps....
Well, little Princess Hanna has been getting used to having a visitor around the past few days (until March 9) ... Fernymoss' parents are on a trip so we have their wonderful big girl Lacey staying with us! Lacey is a fantastic dog, just sweetness and obedience personified, and we're hoping she'll pass on plenty of "good dog tips" to Hanna while she's here. Lacey is only eight, but really graying quickly (as you can see in the photo below) and I swear that every time I see her she has gotten grayer! No matter, she is still a pretty lively dog for her age and is a joy to have around the house, and sometimes she's so quiet that it's easy to forget she's even here! We think she finds Hanna a bit of a "pawful" because she is so insistent on wanting to play with her, but when Lacey's in the mood to play, she's been really accommodating and she and Hanna have had some vigorous wrestle and snarl (all in play) sessions. But when Lacey's done, she just sits down and refuses to play anymore and that's when we have to call Hanna off. But being the good pup she is, she cooperates and calms down quickly, and then both of them usually take a nap to rest up for the next round....
Here we have the two girls posing by the table in the dining room ... I like this shot because it gives a much better idea of just how small Hanna is in comparison to other dogs ... of course Lacey weighs about 100 pounds and is one hefty girl (whereas Hanna weighs less than 20 pounds!) but Hanna could care less ... she loves playing with the big dogs. She may be small, but she's in no way intimidated by the big dogs! It will be interesting to see how she does with Lacey here for an extended visit ... she has shown a bit of mild territorial "pique" at first and of course is jealous of any attention Lacey gets (which is plenty), but we figure she'll just have to get over herself, as her place at the pinnacle of the house here is well assured. We think it's just a good step in her continuing socialization with other dogs that will pay off in the future. After all, she is still a puppy and learning every day, but thanks to her foster mom, she has a great start on becoming the really great dog she has every indication of being ... and we're learning along the way as well, so the experience is good for all of us!
Over the past 6 weeks we've had Hanna with us, we nicknamed her "Hanna the flying banana" because of the way she positively sails around the house when she's wound up ... she can go airborne in an instant and when she goes up the stairs she usually skips the last 3 and flies right into the upstairs hall. So, when I took this shot (while she was on my lap!), I immediately envisioned her sailing through the air with her ears pinned back. She's quite the jumper and several times today I saw her jump higher than Lacey ... she's a real "boing boing" cartoon type dog who can go vertical in a heartbeat, and though it's fun to watch, it's something we know we have to work with her on, because not everyone likes having a dog flying through the air at them! But for the moment we are enjoying her displays of exuberance and to her credit, she does tend to limit them to greetings and being told it's time for "walkies" so we're being indulgent for now. I'm sure that as she matures more, she'll learn when it's ok behavior (Pepa did eventually, and when she was young she was an amazing jumper too... even into her later years) and mellow out a bit.

I think we're all just getting impatient for Spring to arrive and going a bit stir crazy being inside all the time ... I know I am! We can't wait for warmer weather to arrive for real because we have some great activities planned for Hanna ... we've decided that since she likes to jump so much, we'd work with her on some basic agility activities such as jumping the hoop and perhaps going through a tunnel ... we'll have to improvise (I've priced the equipment and it's expensive!) a bit, but we don't have any intentions of having her compete, we just want to help her burn off the puppy energy and have some fun! Fernymoss has even dreamed up a way to make a course of "weave poles" for her using bamboo stakes, so we'll see what we can come up with to make the back yard an agility course for her. She's got the potential to excel at agility, so we might as well take advantage of that while she's young and in her formative days.... And as a final aside, she recently had her first encounter with a bunny in the back, and she was NOT amused. If she hadn't been on the leash, who knows what that bunny would have experienced! True to terrier/corgi form, she will not suffer rodents gladly ... which is something we're happy to see in her. After all, that's something that has bonded terriers with humans for centuries ... the instinct to go after vermin, and it's a strong instinct we shouldn't (and probably can't) discourage. At least the bunnies are on notice from now on out that even if Pepa is gone, they're not in the clear!

A final movie plug: Friday night we introduced Hanna to Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were Rabbit, mostly because we love that movie so much and we were curious as to what she'd think of it. Well, for Hanna it was pretty much a snooze-a-thon, but we enjoyed it as always! That film is so much fun on so many levels and every time we watch it, we get more of the the "in jokes" built into the script and background details. After all, you have to love a movie devoted to gardening and vegetables and battling bunnies ... and for me, the best smile comes from having a vegetable merchant named "Harvey's" with a giant carrot as their sign. I'm sure that kids under "a certain age" don't get the humor, but the reference to one of my favorite movies of all time always does it for me! If you haven't seen Wallace and Gromit, put it on your list and get ready for a veg-tastic time at the movies ... it's that good!


Roses and Lilacs said...

What great photos of the bulbs. The light coming from behind really makes them look luminous.

I used to teach my dogs to crawl. That was kind of fun when they got to the point they would 'crawl' across the kitchen floor like little comando dogs:) Catch was another favorite.

Gail said...

IVG and Fernymoss, Beautiful capture on the tulips and friends. I love fresh flowers in the house....they make me smile. Speaking of smiling...Hannah is still as cute as can be. How did six weeks come and go so quickly!

We had a few pups as a kid but my mom was terrible at disciplining us and no way could she handle training a dog! The dogs were just out of control; so we switched to cats. I will enjoy hannah's antics and tricks with the hope that soon we see her in a video!


FARfetched said...

Great job, Ferny - been taking lessons from Olivia?

You could probably find some substitute training toys for Hanna that could fit just about any budget… a piece of furnace duct might make a good tunnel, for example, just get some w/o fiberglass inside. Hoop? hula hoop from toy store, dirt cheap. Another energy-burner is "hike" — we had a scotty mix who loved that game. I would hike her through my legs, and she'd be off to the races, literally. Around a car, back around my front, get a burst of speed and try to get me to miss as she'd rocket through the legs again. Definitely an outdoor game… I could see Hanna going sideways trying to get traction on the floor!

Good for Hanna chasing off those bunnies… I'm trying to figure out a way to get Buster to stake out the garden (he's also getting a little grey, but not like Lacey). I might just set out a live trap and take any "catch" to one of the county parks about 10 miles from here. My in-laws would just stew 'em, on the principle "I will eat my vegetables through your meat." :-P

boran2 said...

Those blooms are a welcome sight as I sit here pondering the continuing snow.

Does Hanna always have one ear up and the other down? It enhances the sweet puppy look. I wish that we could get a puppy for the b2 boy but his and madame's allergies unfortunately prevent this. Our turtle, although quite responsive just doesn't feel the same sitting in one's lap. ;-)

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Marnie,
I passed your compliment on the photos on to Fernymoss and he thanks you ...

No need to teach Hanna to crawl, because she's a natural at "going to ground." The other day her Kong rolled under the antique dresser we have in the living room and she just crawled under to retrieve it successfully!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Gail,
Glad you like the flowers ... we're really enjoying them while they last, so glad to share!

It doesn't seem like six weeks already with Hanna, but she settled in so fast that time has just flown by.

About your mom and dogs ... that sounds chaotic! Made me think of the "Bumpus Hounds" from A Christmas Story!

Oh yes, there will be Hanna Banana videos to come when the weather gets better, so don't worry....

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey FAR,
I passed along your compliment ... Fernymoss was really honored by the comparison.

Good suggestions on improvised training toys ... we already figured we'd just get a hula hoop, but hadn't thought of furnace duct ... we'll have to check that out, and definitely no fiberglass!

We might have to try "hike" but she already sort of does that on her own when she gets wound up.

We'd be just as happy if Hanna scared the bunnies away for good, because Pepa's bunny kills were not pretty!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi B2,
I was wondering if that big storm hit you guys up there ... hope it's not as bad for you as some of the other reports I read earlier today. Hang in there and hope it melts for you soon!

Hanna's "up" ear usually stays up but she does do fun things with both of them at times. The "up" ear is how the Corgi ears should be, so that's just a sign of her lineage, as well as the stocky chest and short legs. The rest is mostly the Jack Russell in her.

Too bad Madame B2 is allergic (that's why we have no cats because of me) ... maybe you could emulate the Obamas and get a Portuguese Water Dog, they're very hypo-allergenic, but kind of big guys. :-)

No doubt, no snuggling with a turtle in the lap!

Dog_geek said...

I'm so jealous of your little bulb garden! Just last week I was out looking for any sign that our crocuses were coming up, and this week, everything is covered with snow!

I'm glad that Hannah and Lacey are having a good time. For cheap agility stuff, you can usually get used motorcycle tires for free from motorcycle shops (saves them the trouble of disposal) - then just wrap duct tape around, and voila, a tire jump!

And I just watched "Harvey" for the first time a few weeks ago with my dad!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I just posted about my forced bulbs. I failed to note it, but I'm surprised at the size of the blooms on the forced 'Lydia' Tulips I have. I don't know if you would like them, as they are pink.
Hanna's jealousy of Lacey reminds me of my dogs. That's what happens when you get 2 females together. I also had to laugh about Hanna The Amazing Flying Dog. You must get her a Gumadisc so she can play frisbee. I bet she'd love it.
Curse of the Were Rabbit is one of the few DVDs we own. I just love it, but then I go for that quirky Brit. humor. My dogs never noticed the TV. They just didn't get it.

FARfetched said...

Crawling… I have a funny story along those lines.

We had some curly-haired Australian Shepherd mix we called Duke a while back. Duke liked to crawl under the Jeep Cherokee we had at the time (this was, oh, 1988 or so). One morning he didn't climb out from underneath when we left and he got a paw caught under the tire. He made one heck of a racket, of course, and was usually pretty good about getting out from under when we came out the door afterwards.


One morning, we hopped in and started the Jeep. Immediately we heard Arf! *bonk* Arf! *bonk* Arf! *bonk* and he finally shot out from under. He was so hot to get out from under there that he kept whacking himself against the bottom of the Jeep. We hadn't even put the thing in reverse yet, and were laughing our butts off.

So someone dumped a litter of pups out there, and we would see him round them up and pin them against the side of the house when we drove up.

Shady Gardener said...

IVG, I'd forgotten you were growing bulbs indoors. When I saw those beautiful flowers, my first thought was "last year's photos..." and then, "No, way!" Now That's the way to welcome Spring. And you'll be able to plant them a little later, what a good deal! Say, I had one little tiny early crocus blooming yesterday (really!). Yea!

Our dog is nearly 15 years old. He's slowed up quite a bit, but after he's been outdoors and I take off his leash, he runs down the hall and back a couple of times just to show he's still young at heart! :-)


Hello IVG and Fernymoss. Love your indoor blooms. Such welcome color.

I've started some seeds now and the lettuce is up and growing like crazy, I can also see some teeny weeny chives. In the front garden, my tulips planted last fall are peeking through.

The boy cardinals are squaring off at each other on my front deck while little lady demurely sits nearby.

I guess Spring has sprung. Hooray!!!!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Dog Geek,
No signs of crocus here yet, though we've had some moderating of the weather and a LOT of rain this weekend. I'm hoping that will wake things up a bit, but then we're headed back into the 30s this week, so who knows! We are, however, seeing our first snowdrops up in the back garden, but nothing out front.

I should have known you'd have ideas about agility! The tire idea is a good one and we may check that out, but until she decides she likes this activity (I think she will), we'll probably just start with a cheap hula hoop. After all, she's small and that's cheap enough for starters.

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

OH, PS Dog Geek... duh ... hope you enjoyed "Harvey" it's a classic, and I should pull that one out myself sometime soon when I need a lift!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

I'll have to get over your way and check out your bulbs! Hope your primrose is doing well ... ours has quit blooming but it is looking good!

Hanna has gotten over her initial jealousy now (that Lacey is leaving in 2 days) and they are good buddies now. They have been snarling, wrestling and otherwise playing around a lot the past few days. Hanna manages to wear Lacey out but she's always ready for more. How can we bottle that puppy energy? I want some!!

Not surprised you like Were Rabbit ... it's such a great gardener's film! So many little fun jokes one picks up on time and again and one liners -- I think my fave is "Last night my wife's brassicas were ravaged!"

Also quite fun to see that Gromit graduated from "Dogwarts Academy" !!!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey FAR,
That's quite the tale of woe for that dog! Amazing he didn't get crushed at one point! He sounded like a nice dog though if rounded up those pups ... I don't suppose you kept them?

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Shady,
Our flowers are starting to look a bit ragged, but they've been a great bright spot in the house the past few weeks. We're indeed going to plant them outside once they die back and keep them more or less in the arrangement they came in, just to remember them in future years.

We have some courageous snowdrops blooming now (not nearly all of them) but no crocus yet!

Glad to hear your dog still has the spirit in him! That's all that matters ... if you want amazing energy, just wait till you eventually meet Hanna! She and Lacey have both been crazy dogs tonight!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Coneflower,
Aren't those blooms great? Love the red of the tulips and the smell of the hyacinth was soooo nice a week or so ago ... all gone now, alas.

Good luck on your seeds! We haven't gotten anything started yet but need to get a few things going here for next month. Do you think your lettuce will last to be transplanted? You may want to try some outside too real early and see what happens.

We may plant some greens this year in window boxes again ... we can't trust the rabbits not to eat it if it's in the ground! But maybe Hanna will help scare them away!

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