Monday, April 23, 2007

Spring has Sprung: Puppies, Plants and Porcupines!

Time flies when you are stuffed to the gills with work. My apologies for not posting in so long; I have had so much to do! Anyway, I have the time now and intend to post regularly again.

Spring has sprung here in Edmonton. Though we had snow last week, slowly the days get warmer and brighter. With this newfound warmth, come other signs that Old Man Winter's icy grip is fading at last.

On the farm, the miracle of new life has once again taken place. Like many wonders of the world, this was unplanned and accidental. Lexi and Glenny are dogs belonging to my Aunt Hilde and Uncle Neil. In January of this year, Sandy (Neil's old Rottweiler) and Lexi were in their annual heat. As Hilde and Neil are experienced dog owners, they diligently kept Glenny separated from the females at all times to prevent puppy procreation. However, during a frosty January morning, Neil turned his back on the dogs for but a moment. The sex crazed Lexi and Glenny took advantage of this chance and immediately followed instinct. For complete details of what followed, see Jody's blog. A few weeks later four puppies met the world eyes shut and hungry. After this Lexi became extraordinarily defensive and would not let any of the other dogs near her litter. She nearly tore off Glenny's nose when he got too close. Now if Glenny even sees one of the puppies, he immediately runs the other way, tail between his legs. Three weeks later, a party was held at the farm celebrating the birthday's of Hilde, Neil and my Grandfather, Leroy. We all took turns holding the rolly-polly puppies, captivated by their adorable dependence. Eventually we had the bright idea of snapping photographs of the foursome for family abroad and albums of the future. Here is but one of many. (It is my lap the puppies are on.)

All four puppies on my lap.

The grass has ris'. Puppies aside, a rather astonishing sight can be seen by examining our garden. We were worried that many of the plants put into the ground last year would not survive the winter as they had been planted late. As the snow melted away we could see all the year old ground plants are still alive with sickly greenery. Winter came so quickly last year that the plants must have become dormant under the large, layered covering of ice and snow. Three days ago, during the annual assault on the snow mold, we discovered a single, tiny, new bloom on the year old Vinka amid new tiny sprouts of Scilla reaching for the sky. The snow on this plot had melted only days ago. Could this little flower have begun to bloom under the snow? What ever the answer, it is most encouraging to see that our attempts last year had not been in vain. After trips home from school, seeing this determined little flower cheers me and I pause to think of the wonders Mother Nature brings us. I think this year will be excellent for the gardening folk of Edmonton.

The Vinka bloom.

I wonder where the Porcupines is? Yesterday, I received news that our neighbor's, Ken and Remmy Nelson, plum tree had come to an untimely death the night before. A porcupine had stripped all the bark off the poor little tree. This porky perpetrator as caught in the act by Jesse and Dina, the Nelson's dogs. They are two very large, black, mystery breed dogs that have been dubbed "The Bears" by the community. When our canine twosome were let outside in the evening, they almost immediately began to bark at the porcupine whom was snacking on the upper portions of the tree. Ken and Remmy after hearing this prolonged barking decided to investigate the cause. They opened the back door to see this fat little porcupine munching on the tree, totally unperturbed by the rather large dogs below. After putting both dogs inside, Ken got a broom and persuaded the little fellow down and into the alleyway. Jesse and Dina were thankfully unscathed and kept inside for the rest of the night. We got a call from Ken not long after. He explained what had happened and advised we keep our pooch (also named Jesse) inside for the evening. We occasionally see porcupines ambling through the neighborhood due to our proximity to the river valley. When they visit, these cute but dangerous creatures are always watched at a distance with fascination. Even though they sometimes cause problems, I always hope they come back. It is refreshing to see such curious wildlife in an urban atmosphere.

The Ken and Remi's plum tree. You can see all the claw and teeth marks.

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