Bleys Appreciation

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Lets just take a minute to appreciate Bleys.  We were doing nosework in the living room and he was being his normal rockstar self.  I reward him in nosework by tossing him one of these when he sticks on source odor.  The super awesome part about Bleys though is his attitude about the Lotus.  Most of the dogs I’ve seen using them goes something like this: dog does something good, person throws them the Lotus, the dog chases the Lotus and then waits for their person to come open it and deliver to them the treats within.  Bleys?  Not so much.  When I throw him the Lotus he pounces on it.  No really, like a cat with both feet and everything.  Then he rips into it like some National Geographic special on the lions of the Serengeti.  If I reach for it before he’s got all the treats out of it he quick grabs it and takes it to the crook of a tree to savage it at his leizure…  Oh wait I’m confusing him with the lions again.  But he does run away with it so he can be sure to get all those treats out.  I think its just adorable.

He’s also a blue ribbon snuggler.

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He just fits in my lap perfectly and he is SO soft.  I can’t even describe it but petting him is a pleasure.  Look at that fur, just begging to be petted!

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Full on Fall

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Its fall!  One of my favorite times of year, when the temperatures drop, the trees give over to color, and comfort food abounds.  I’ve been taking full advantage of being back up north, sweaters be all up in here!  Yesterday was the first day I was chilly enough to use the fireplace although I’m still a bit conflicted about it.

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Its really convenient to just turn it on, but the gas nature of it isn’t nearly as satisfying as a real fire.  I guess we’ll just see how it goes and if we ever have strong enough feelings to call someone to come convert them back to wood.

Outside our burning bush is lovely and giant.  I’m afraid it might eventually engulf the carriage house.

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I also got a tip from Anne about an orchard that is less than 10 minutes from our house, so we headed over there to get some apples.  Which (after a quick Facebook poll) I promptly make into chunky applesauce.  It is a combination of Gala, Fuji, Jonagold, and a few red and golden delicious apples and then added some cinnamon after it was cooked down.  That’s it.  And it is amazing.  Ah-maz-ing.  I got 9 pint jars out of this batch.

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I’m thinking the pint size is good for Dave and I and I’ll probably put the pickles in that size next time as well.  The quart size is just a little big and I worry about getting through it all in time after they’ve been opened.  I think my next job is to figure out a good way to label all the stuff I’ve been canning!  And to find another dill pickle recipe.  While the one I made this year one is tasty, its not dilly enough and a touch more sour than I’d like.  The bread and butters on the other hand are a keeper.  So good!

I got involved in canning and went I went to find Wixer (Bleys is perfect and just stayed at my feet the whole time) I found this…

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I do agility

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I had planned to make Wixer’s agility debut later this month at an AKC trial (couldn’t resist the fact that its 15 minutes from my house!?!) but then Lisa had to go an invite me to enter day of at a trial she was doing today with UKI.  I had never heard of it, but it was the first UKI trial in Illinois and promised to be pretty low key, low pressure.  She even offered to drive!  So I quick signed up for a number for myself and Wixer and off we went super early this morning.  I did my fair share of freaking out last night, this morning, and before each run.  Luckily it was indeed low pressure and very friendly.  The people running it were super nice and because it was a new thing there it wasn’t super packed and we weren’t rushed at all.  I signed up for Agility (Standard), Jumping (jumps, weaves, open tunnels), and Speed Stakes (jumps and open tunnels) leaving Gamblers and Snooker for a later time.  No need to overwhelm the already overwhelmed!

As an added bonus the venue shares a door with Chicago Brew Werks which was offering samples along with the distillery down one door!

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Alas I was not feeling up to any bervs so I didn’t partake. I bet it made Dave a little sorry he stayed home.

Agility was first and I was a bit worried when we walked out there.  When we got near the start line Wixer went all stiff and I thought he was going to bolt for the jump when I took the leash off.  His muscles were totally tense making him like a little black dog shaped rock.  He eyes were huge!  I managed to get the leash off but when I said ‘get ready’ he didn’t even flick an ear, he just kept staring at that jump.  Rut roh.  I tried again and he came out of his little agility fugue…mostly.  He was still pretty keyed up but he did get ready and I was able to lead out like normal.  Whew!  Overall the course ended with 1 knocked bar and 1 off course but he was pretty amazing.  He held his start line, he rocked all of his contacts and weaves, and listened very well for how intense that start was.

Next was Jumping and that wasn’t so pretty.  We started with less drama, but right off he missed on the weaves and had to retry, then a knocked bar and then and then and then.  It sort of all cascaded into a mess by which point I lost track of my plan.  We still finished though so I’m counting in the positive pile.

Finally was Speed Stakes which went really well!  There was only one misread which didn’t actually affect our run much and he did a pretty amazing go on to a tunnel that I was worried about in the walk through.  Out of 4 qualifying dogs in the 16″ class Wixer took first!

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All in all a really good experience and I’m super happy Lisa asked me to join. Since I missed the beer tasting earlier in the day Dave and I tried some fun meads with dinner.

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Both were delicious, but I think I’m partial to the Zombie Killer.