Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It Looks Like Christmas In The Adirondacks!

I drove up to the farm on Thanksgiving weekend with all the dogs. It was snowing when I arrived in the Adirondack park and apparently the snow had been falling all morning. The main roads were being plowed but the parking lots and small roads were uncleared and had about four inches of snow on them. I got brave and drove off the road and into the woods, trusting my previous experience to guide me. I wanted to get the dogs out of the car for exercise and a potty break. They were, needless to say, delighted:

We walked from the car directly into the forest. The snow was falling and piling up on the spruce branches, giving the whole landscape the look and feel of a living Christmas card. Fergus could still, however, find plenty of interesting aromas to sniff:

Wally has had eye problems and his vision is much impaired. But he and Winky, usually the last two in line as we progress along a trail, took the lead. The puppies, after all, were running and wrestling and generally too busy carrying on to worry about any trail:

The puppies and Fergus overtook the older dogs at one point:

Dear placid Seamus was happy just to plod along, enjoying the sights and smells and general sense of joy coming from the puppies:

Wally and Winky seemed to have forged a new, closer friendship and were best buddies for this trip:

Then we walked from the forest down through the trees toward the banks of the Ausable River:

Curiously, Wally kept walking ahead of us, either in spite of his impaired vision or because of it - I was never quite sure:

Several times I saw Wally hesitate, apparently unsure where the rest of us were. But as soon as he and Winky hooked up again, they took off toward the car leaving the rest of us to catch up:

The youngsters wanted to stay back and explore the woods, the stone fire ring and the riverbanks. I urged them on so that we could catch up with Wally and Winky:

Indeed, Wally was the first (along with Fergus on the right by the rocks) to reach the car. His vision problems hadn't prevented him from knowing where to go:

That passageway through the trees was the "road" on which we left the highway and entered the forest. Barring a major thaw, I don't expect to be able to drive back there again until late spring. I'm sure glad we tried it this time, though, or we'd never seen the beautiful snow covered woods:

Monday, November 29, 2010

Yet More Dog Pile Photos

If all goes as planned, I should be up at the farm as you read this. And I hope I'll be taking lots more photos to share here. But for now, I've got more dog pile pictures from another Saturday at work. I guess I just never get tired of seeing the pooches getting along so well. Can you stand to see more dog pile photos?:

Wally (in the foreground) is losing his eyesight but still gets around quite nicely. The younger dogs are the dog pile dogs, with Clover always on top:

Sometimes they all ignore me when I point my camera at them, but at other times, they seem to be wondering what I'm doing:

This is an example of them ignoring me:

It's a rough life they've got:

I once had planned to teach Clover to ride Seamus' back while he walked. I may do that yet. It'd make a great trick and they'd both enjoy it:

And, in closing, I will say that when I took this picture, the Papillon puppies "were all ears:"

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Little Puppy, Big Rope Toy

A visiting friend recently brought a gift for my dogs, a giant knotted rope toy. I suspect that she thought it would be used by big ol' Seamus, but I said right away that I thought tiny Clover, the youngest Papillon puppy, would be the rope's most ardent fan. Indeed, I was correct. Well, the other morning she began romping and wrestling with it and I took a few photos to share:

Clover carried her beloved rope around ceremoniously, but then flipped it up in the air and then to the floor where she played with it as if it was another puppy:

And in her imaginative puppy mind, the rope played back, almost pinning her several times:

There was a lull in the action:

And then Daphne came over to join in the fun:

But in the end, it was Clover who truly loves the rope toy. It is hers to own and it is her play time buddy (at least when Daphne and Fergus are otherwise occupied):

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Dogs Enjoying A Saturday At Work With Me

I am generally the only person in the office on Saturdays and work just half a day dealing with the public from behind a counter. So several years ago I began bringing a couple of dogs with me to work. This has expanded over time so that I now bring in all six dogs, even crabby little Winky (who so far has behaved himself completely). The dogs have become almost a tourist attraction for many of the customers, some of whom go back out to the car or even home to bring in their wives or children. They love to pet giant Seamus over the counter and the two little Papillon puppies over the baby gate. But they also love to see this very common sight:

All the dogs somehow know when it is Saturday morning in spite of my efforts to make no telltale changes in my routine. Wally gets especially rambunctious, running through the house throwing small rugs in all directions. By contrast, he's a quiet, mellow soul once he arrives at work:

When I first arrive in the morning, there's a lot of excitement, a lot of sniffing and sometimes a couple of puppy puddles. The first few customers get lots of attention from the dogs, but then boredom takes over:

The puppies sometimes play and sometimes beg for attention, but if the action slows down for them, they merely go into "rest and cuddle" mode:

I never used to allow little Winky to come because I wasn't sure he'd behave, but after the death of his best friend, Wren, and the boss's purchase of a cottage which kept him away all weekend, I began allowing Winky to join us. He's been a happy, perfect gentleman:

If I call Seamus to come to the counter to greet a customer, he stands up and Clover slides to the floor. She doesn't seem to mind at all and keeps right on snoozing - unless, of course, there's some new person on the scene to give her attention:

Wally and Winky are both many, many years beyond puppy-hood and generally just want to rest. Well, a pat on the head is always nice also. Wally's recently expanding waistline is evident in this photo:

But it's one big happy family most of the time:

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

From Wolf Pond Road To The Ausable River

In yesterday's post I described how I'd decided to explore Wolf Pond Road in the northern Adirondacks. It became too small, rutted and remote for safety so I then decided to turn around and head back to safer, smoother main roads. Before we left the deep forest, however, I let the dogs out for a romp:

The scenery on Wolf Pond Road as I backtracked continued to be amazing. This is country that few tourists get to see. Few, after all, would dare to explore such tiny, rugged back roads besides me. This scene was taken out of my car window while I was on Wolf Pond Road and shows northern Spruce forests, a mountain lake and a mountain with clouds drifting across its face. The skies were darkening all the while as bad weather arrived. Indeed we had a snow storm as I drove south back into Albany. But at this point, it was just gathering strength:

All the adventure having ending, Daphne and Clover snoozed on the car seat beside me. Seamus, Fergus, Wally and Winky were snoozing in the back of the car. We got back onto the main roads and began heading south through the high peaks:

But as we passed our little campsite by the Ausable River, I decided that we'd all benefit from one more rest stop. So in spite of the lightly falling rain (which would soon become a snow storm), we all scrambled out of the car and back into the woods:

The two puppies led the way, accompanied by Fergus:

But the rain became more insistent and I called the dogs back. We climbed back into the car and finished making our journey home:

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Port Kent Road And Wolf Pond Road

I'd driven up to the farm with all six of my dogs for an overnight visit. I went to bed even earlier than usual and therefore woke up well before dawn. I let the dogs out for a romp, cooked myself breakfast and loaded up the car. I shut off the water to my apartment lest the pipes freeze and began my journey southward. I decided to explore some new back roads, so began on the Port Kent Road which follows the St. Regis River for many miles:
When I passed a spot where the river tumbled wildly over boulders just a few yards from the road, I had to stop and take some pictures. The Spruces were dusted with snow and the Beeches still had golden leaves. It was early in the morning and I saw no other car on the road. I should add that it was also quite cold. Do you see the frost on the grass?:

The St. Regis River has many moods as its many branches twist and curl through the landscape:

So with the dogs waiting for me in the car I decided to take a quick video:

I traveled the Port Kent Road, continuing on as it became the Red Tavern Road and the Hopkinton Turnpike, But then I turned off onto an even smaller road called Wolf Pond Road. This one stretched east and west clear across the northeastern portion of the Adirondacks. It was indeed beautiful, but became narrower and narrower as I drove. It was soon down to one lane composed solely of sand and became pocked with deep holes filled with water and ice. I hated to have wasted so much time, but knew I had to turn around before I became stuck or lost. But we were deep in the Adirondack forest so I parked right there on the road and let the dogs out for a break:

The dogs were happy to be exploring this pristine northern forest and indeed it was beautiful. Yet is was so very remote that I felt relieved when I had all the dogs loaded back up into the car and was on my way back toward civilization:

It took some time, but we made it back to a State highway. On our return trip toward the main roads we passed signs of past logging activity and saw much wild, beautiful scenery. I may try this again in summertime:

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The St. Regis River, Brasher Falls And A Wondrous Apple Tree

I'd driven up to the farm with all six of my dogs, made a walking tour of the grounds and gotten settled in my little apartment. I shoveled a lot of dirt, spreading it out over the new septic system where heavy rains had caused settling. I'd visited the neighbors and the afternoon sunshine was beginning to glow in that twilight sort of way. So I took Daphne and Clover, the two Papillon puppies and drove to the nearby town of Brasher Falls, where they have a brand new (but tiny by city standards) IGA grocery store. I wasn't even sure that I needed to buy anything, but I wanted to get out and do something. In the town of Brasher Falls, I stopped to photograph the bridge over the St. Regis River:

I bought a few groceries at the little IGA market and then drove north hoping to find some new roads to explore. Everywhere I drove I encountered the St. Regis River. It twists and turns and has many branches, so it really does seem to be everywhere. But up north of Brasher Falls, it was running calmly and placidly. Compare this river with the one in the first photo:

The quiet river at dusk filled me with a sense of serenity. The trees on the shore and the clouds overhead were beautifully reflected in its mirrored surface:

But I took a wrong turn in my exploring and wound up making a big circle, finding myself back near the farm once again. I was very tired by this time so considered it a fortuitous accident. I let the dogs out to run once again and this time I took special notice of the apples outside my door. There are two flowering crab trees there, but one of them is growing intertwined with what appears to have been a wild apple seedling. The fruit looked like Golden Delicious, so I decided to try one:

Indeed, it also tasted like a Golden Delicious apple. I wondered if the tenants had not yet discovered these wonders or if it was simply a matter of such an overabundance of apples, pears, blackberries and raspberries that they simply couldn't keep up. Well, I decided to keep that tree in spite of its crowding the flowering crab:

But the sun was setting rapidly and the temperature was falling. The dogs and I settled in for the night in our comfy little apartment:

I cooked myself dinner, the dogs got dog food and everybody got drowsy:

I can see the starry skies through those windows when I'm in bed. And the skies that far out in the country are vast and the whole milky way is plainly visible. There is one street light, a true oddity so far out in the middle of nowhere, but since it's all by itself it doesn't drown out the stars. Well, we were all tired. You can see Daphne's head drooping in this picture and Fergus is already zonked out. Good night: