Christmas morning at Dachshund Central

Any resemblance to “real” people or dachshunds is purely coincidental and not meant to be taken seriously. 😉 That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Part One

It was not yet quite dawn when a glossy black tail stirred, wiggled and then began to whip back and forth against a pajama-clad leg. The person attached to the leg groaned sleepily, rolled over and continued sleeping.

A moment later, dancing dark eyes in a black & mahogany face peeked out from under the bedding, not at all concerned that it was still dark in the bedroom. She had been waiting ALL NIGHT and now it was morning. She was just sure of it. Christmas morning!

Wriggling partway free of the blanket and dragging her long, weasel-sleek body across the sheets, the pup nuzzled happily into the exposed neck of the sleeping Mom person, a long pink tongue snaking into a conveniently placed human ear.

This regular bit of morning routine couldn’t be ignored or set aside just because it was Christmas and achieved the expected results. A groan was followed by a quiet giggle as a hand emerged from under the blanket to ward off further intrusions from the wet tongue. Objective reached, the dark-coated puppy happily flopped belly up and waited for what she knew would follow.

Her person, as expected, rolled away from her, fumbling in the dark for the flat little talking-box laying on the table next to the bed. The box lit briefly, allowing the person to speak the magic words into it, causing the pup’s tail to whip once again.

“Your little girl is awake”. Yep, the magic words! Flipping back upright and now fully awake, shiny black and tan body taunt and ready, she waited quietly with her head slightly cocked, watching the still dark doorway.

Within a moment or two, a light glowed up the hallway and staircase from below. She quivered with anticipation but didn’t move until the release came from the bottom of the stairs … “Alright stinker! Let’s go outside!”

Like an arrow released from a bow, she bounded down the ramp from the bed and streaked down the stairs for her long-awaited morning potty break with Dad. Good thing Dad likes to wake up early and watch TV.

Back in the bedroom, her Mom person smiled, rolled over and went back to sleep. Christmas morning could wait another hour.

Watch for Part Two

Can Succulents Live in Alaska?

After bringing two adorable succulent “pets” home with me from Arizona last October, it occurred to me that it could be challenging to keep them alive until spring. Yikes!

I figured they would be fine in a window sill, but it seems not all succulents are alike in their lighting and temperature tolerances and it doesn’t help that our windows aren’t all that well insulated when it’s -4F outside. The drafts are making my succulents shiver (well, maybe not literally, but I can just imagine they are shivering inside).

I guess I should have checked a list of succulent varieties before buying these, but it was an impulse purchase (Sandy and I were at a hardware store and there they were …). Since I was heading home to cold, snowy Alaska the very next day, it seemed like the perfect souvenir of my short stay in the desert.

Did you know that different succulents have VERY different care and feeding needs? I didn’t even know the NAME of my succulents, so I sure didn’t have a clue whether they were “soft succulents” or “hardy succulents”. It seems some need very specific degrees and hours of sunlight and warmth per day, while others can tolerate temps dropping well below freezing and even hibernate during the winter months.

Which did I have? I’m still not absolutely sure (let me know if you can definitively identify those in my photo), but by looking at pictures on the computer, I think I have a fair idea of the general variety – and I’m in trouble!

In general, it seems most succulents thrive on a minimum of 5-6 hours of direct or indirect sunlight each day. Heck, the only way my poor babies are going to get that much light, even on a sunny day, would be for me to move them from room to room, window to window, throughout the day. Even then, with sunrise at 10:30-11:00 am and sunset before 4:00 pm, my succulents are NOT going to be happy campers. 😦

I have a nice east-facing window in the bedroom that gets good morning light, but I’m afraid the cat would either eat it, or knock it off the window sill since it’s Qiviut’s favorite sunning window. The window at the bottom of the stairs gets the most direct afternoon light and is where my spider plant lives during the winter (she lives in the RV in the summer). But this time of year, direct sun is precious and doesn’t last long if it occurs at all. I’d probably still need to move my little plants to the west-facing bathroom window sill for any last direct rays before the sun sets at about 3:30 pm.

Internet articles say to watch for the succulents to begin to “stretch”. This can happen if they are not getting enough sunlight and means you should move them to a location that gets more light. Like Arizona, maybe?

I’m adding a “plant light” to my Christmas list. Happy Winter Solstice, everyone. Today, we added several SECONDS to the overall daylight here in Alaska! I told the succulents, but they really didn’t seem impressed. Maybe tomorrow.

Planning A Dachshund New Year

As we near the start of 2020, rather than coming up with a bunch of New Year’s resolutions that I probably won’t remember by February, I’m busy planning a work and play schedule for Baxter & Rhonda.

Who does that? In my dog circles; probably more folks than you might guess. It can get complicated, especially if you are planning activities for multiple dogs. Even more so if you’re working on a budget.

So, while the dogs snooze in front of the wood stove, I pore over my calendar.

Wow … the choices would be giving me a headache if the options weren’t all so much fun. As it is, I realize I can’t possibly participate in all the classes and sports practices I’d like, so it comes down to two things; which sports do my dogs most enjoy, and of those, how many can I afford to fit into my schedule?

Nose/Scent Work is a given. Both dogs LOVE this sport and as a Nose Work instructor, I have no doubt I’ll be able to make it to practice each week. 😉 That takes care of my Tuesday evenings.

Found it, Mom!

But now, as I scan the January/February calendar, I see there are Rally, Barn Hunt and Agility practices available as well! My dogs very much enjoy all three of those sports! What is a dog-Mom to do?

I guess we’ll just take it a week or two at a time for now. I’ve already signed Baxter up for January Rally practices, since I want to take advantage of these Thursday night get-togethers while they’re available.

Saturdays are more challenging, with Barn Hunt practice competing for Ronni’s time against Agility classes. We’ll see which one wins out. Or if we can manage both …

There is also the question of which sport(s) I want to concentrate on for now for one dog or the other. Are there trials coming up? Of course there are – in all four sports. How many can I afford to pursue? Decisions, decisions.

I’m ALMOST grateful there aren’t any Tracking, Freestyle or Trick Dog classes/practices on my radar (yet, anyway).

Who knew Dachshunds were so multi-talented? Baxter, who will turn 9 years old in February, and I have had so much fun over the years. We’ve done Nose Work, Scent Work, Agility, Fly-ball, Freestyle (Heeling to Music), Rally and Trick Dog. He’s proven to be pretty versatile.

Ronni, at just 20 months, is already competing in Nose/Scent Work, Barn Hunt and Trick Dog, while learning Agility & Rally. She has a long way to go in all these sports. I’m trying not to rush her … I want to enjoy the process. Then again, I would love to start her in Freestyle – I think she’d love it as much as Baxter did. Maybe next year.

Back to perusing my calendar. What should we do first? These winter months are great for training. Once spring arrives, trialing season comes with it. Can RV travel be far behind? 😃 We’d better get busy now!

Baxter’s ready to roll! For this family, trialing and RV’ing go hand in hand.

My Meandering Journey Back to Writing

Surrounded as we are with winter ice and the holidays, I thought it would be fun to switch gears completely and talk about last summer’s RV trip to the tiny hamlet of Hope, Alaska.

Before I start, I wanted to make a comment about my whole blog project in general. Some of you know I was, at one time, an Editor with BellaOnline Magazine. It was ten years ago – I was their “Alaska Editor” and really enjoyed writing monthly (or more often) articles for them about life in Alaska. I stopped writing almost entirely after Jerry’s TBI in 2009 and haven’t written anything of substance since that time. Some of my articles are still available on the BellaOnline site, although on many are surely buried deep in the archives by now.

You can find BellaOnline here: https://www.bellaonline.com/index.asp To find the Alaska site, either click on Travel & Culture or type “Alaska” in the search box for the page.

Anyway, this past summer, as I meandered across Alaska in my 27’ Winnebago Minnie Winnie, my mind starting filling with story ideas and I felt the need to write them down for the first time in ages. It felt like a dam was breaking loose, but in a good way. Maybe the block lifted because I finally had extended time with my own thoughts or because I was finally able to truly relax for days, even weeks on end for probably the first time since Jer’s accident. Maybe time finally worked its magic.

On several of my trips over the summer, I had no firm time schedule and only a vague destination in mind. I was comfortable with changing plans mid-stream if I saw something or someplace I wanted to visit. Sometimes, I just wasn’t ready to come home and that was OK, too. The slow pace and solitude were what I needed at that point. For whatever reason – I just knew it was time to start writing again.

It’s taken me a couple of months to realize how different blogging is from the type of writing I used to do for BellaOnline. My writing style right now seems to lean more towards personal blogging than the type of informative/educational articles they wanted for the magazine. I guess we’ll see how this evolves over the winter.

I realize a lot of bloggers do informative/educational articles – it’s a choice, so I’m going to add some informative content to my blog and see if I still have the touch. Watch for those. I’m hoping to continue to learn more about myself in the process. I’ve been thinking I might want to return to writing for BellaOnline (if they’d have me back – we’ll see), but I don’t want to give up my blog for it. I’m hoping for the best of both worlds. Actually, more like the best of several worlds since I don’t intend to give up traveling, teaching K9 Nose Work or training and competing with my dogs.

BTW, one of the writing disciplines BellaOnline used to drill into me over and over is the need to edit, edit, edit. Longer is NOT always better. I’m going to have to work on that. 😉 Which is why I’m editing this into two separate blog posts.

Coming soon … “The End of the Road” (Hope, Alaska)

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