Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Irish Setter pups

I just had a wonderful conversation  with friends up in the States and they are surprised and worried that we actually bought two pups.  Getting even one can be intimidating.  Well, I have to say that we both agree that getting two was the best thing we've done in a long time.  In most ways, rather than being twice the work, they're half the work because they keep each other company.  Right from the first night, there's never a peep out of them at night.  They curl up together and sleep until first light.  They do start hassling each other then, but I'm sure only one pup would start whining.  They sleep on the veranda and if I get up right away and put them in the fence, there aren't any messes to clean up.  The dog fence is about 100' x 100', so quite a bit of room and shade all during the day.

Their personalities are so different.  Rusty is Mr. calm and more elegant.  Shannon, with her cowlicks on the back of her neck, is the trouble maker.  Right now they're lying on the veranda, about a foot apart, just yapping at each other.  Noisy, but hysterical.  I think you have to have a sense of humor to adopt pups. 

I do have to qualify the recommendation to getting two pups at the same time.  We've owned a fantastic Old English Sheepdog and later a Yellow Lab.  I think I'd have been committed if we'd had two of either of these dogs at the same time.  But these Irish Setters are a different story.  They love people, are very bright and even tho' they're only four months old, they are picking up so much of what we're trying to teach them.  Shannon even occasionally rings the doggy doorbell to go down to potty. 

It's hard to get used to how rangy and long-legged Irish Setters are.  At four months they both could be mistaken for grown dogs at a glance.   We're both having so much fun with how loving and fun these darling pups are.  What a blessing to us and even though Bailey might disagree, I think he's enjoying them a little too.  Hugs to all,    

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Being retired in Belize

I often joke that we're not "retired", just tired.  Some days it's not much of a joke.  Sitting on our lovely veranda, watching the pups play and just enjoying the sights and sounds can easily use up a day.  More often than not, the sounds are only the birds and the gentle ringing of a wind chime.  It's hard to believe that we're really close to the village and San Ignacio.  

The weather right now is typical of spring up north in that it's very erratic.  We've had cold nights (50f) and a couple of hot days (110f with 105f in the shade on our east facing veranda).  I have to admit that I don't do at all well in the heat.   We are fortunate that we almost always have a breeze here on our hill and our fans are a blessing.  I keep feeling that I should get more things done, but I've just become more lethargic.  I can lose days sitting at the table on the veranda, reading and rereading books that I love.  I've been giving myself a good lecture this morning about being such a slug (my NW view of life) as my lack of exercise makes me feel my age.  I walked Bailey down our road this morning, but the loose rocks make the trip down a hazard and the walk up is telling me that I need to get more exercise.  Bailey is way too fat too, so we both pant our way back to the house.  

I get asked if spring is the same as up north.  In most ways it's almost the opposite.  Right now many of the trees are getting ready for the hot, dry weather by dropping their leaves.  Just like the trees in the NW preparing for winter, they protect their roots against the dry weather to come.  A few of our trees are just the opposite.  The Neem, which is a native of India, hates the rain and is now leafing out and starting to bloom.  The bougainvillea is at it's most glorious now also.  We can usually expect heat for the next couple of months with very little rain.  Since we're on a roof water collection system, we become even more conservative.  This year the dry has hit us a little early, so hope we'll have enough water.  At capacity our nearly 10k gallon cistern reads 9 1/2'.  Today we still have 8'.  From June on is the hurricane season, which means hot, but lots of thunder storms and occasional rain.  We'll head for Oregon the first part of May for Art to visit the VA and to get hugs from family.  It's hard to leave the dogs, but will possibly take the pups to play with their siblings at Claudia & Franklin's (breeders & friends) and Bailey will stay with Rene as he has in years past.  Still working on that one.  Many of our friends head north in May, as it feels like our hottest month.

The pups are a real joy.  Besides being exceedingly beautiful, they're loving and energetic.  They get me up with the sun to let them into the fence.  I've definitely had to change my sleep patterns.  At 3 1/2 months old they're trying so hard not to mess on the veranda, but it's still difficult for them.  We're pleased with our choice for the pen as it's in the shade all day.  They have room to tear around and have created mayhem with the snake plants and Moses in the cradle.  Oh well, not my favorites plants anyway.  We're going to have to start some serious training as they have so much enthusiasm and curiosity that I can no longer control their exploration of the unfenced yard.  Having them head into the bush is frightening.   It's lovely to have them curl up on or near my feet when I'm reading or painting.  Where our wonderful Bailey keeps close tabs on us and loves to be scratched, he doesn't encourage hugs, whereas the pups are happiest vying for all the love and hugs they can get.  Not a bad combination for us.

I feel myself getting older (which makes me sad), but I relish the peace and joy of our lives here on the farm.  I know we must sell and get back to the US healthcare system and help from family, but I'll never regret our decision to spend this special time here in Belize.