Playing with Dogs in Fall
Oh, what a joy to be home in fall on the farm. It may have rained much of the weekend, but that’s okay, we needed the moisture. In spite of the rain I got to spend much of Sunday out in the country with Willie, Lassie and weekend visitor Brody (the Cavalier) out in the hills collecting wild apples. Five huge buckets full. Yum yum. Yum for us… I made applesauce much of Sunday afternoon (thanks to friend Harriet who leant me her Foley Food Mill; now that’s a handy item) while the dogs slept. Yum for the sheep: the ewe flock got to crunch away on juicy apples that I tossed into their feeders. The lamb flock is separate (I don’t castrate the ram lambs, so the boys are now old enough to breed their mommas. Not a great idea!) and has access to lots of wild apples on their own, so everyone at lots of apples yesterday.
Sheep ADORE apples, they crunch into them as if eating candy. I love feeding them this food that comes free and wild every year in southern Wisconsin. What a time of bounty. I’d include a photo I took of red ripe apples, but I don’t have it here at work. I’ll bring it in tomorrow.
But back to dogs… isn’t it wonderful when your dogs have had plenty of exercise and sleep soundly in the house while you putter at something in the kitchen? I remember a few years ago Jim and I were spoiled by our hosts when we went to Montana for me to do a seminar. (Our hosts were Nancy Tanner and the Galloping Dog Agility & Flyball Club in Bozeman. What wonderful folks… visit them at www.gallopingdog.com) The day before the seminar, we were taken on a 12 mile horseback ride into the mountains. What a joy. I used to ride a lot, so it was like going home for me. (Jim had never ridden, what an introduction! He was amazing, I have to say. And so was his wonderfully reliable horse.) I bring this trip up because two dogs accompanied us on the ride, running helter skelter, back and forth for the entire ride. They easily must have run over twenty miles. I swear, they were barely tired at the end of the trip. Oh, if only our dogs could have exercise like that every day! Okay, maybe that wouldn’t be good for a pug, but think of all those retrievers and herding dogs bred to work who don’t have that much to do. What a wonderful feeling it is for those of us who own them to see our dogs sleeping soundly after a good, long session of healthy exercise. Ummmm. Part of why Karen London and I wrote Play Together, Stay Together is to help people find ways to exercise their dogs for their sake, as well as for their dogs. I have included a photo of Mr. Will enjoying one of his toys. It always lifts my heart to watch dogs playing.
Meanwhile, Willie slept for a couple of hours, and then ran his tail off searching the high pasture for the lamb flock in the evening so that we could bring them down for their grain. He came home happy to gobble up his dinner and rest again, while we sat down to a dinner from fresh, local and ogranic sources. Yumm. I do love fall!