The Strangest Thing EVER!!!

We were just out walking the dogs. It’s in the mid-40s, so not too, too cold; the sky is overcast but no rain, it’s not windy.

We had let the dogs do their usual thing and had just collected them to finish our walk and come back. Suddenly, out of nowhere there was a massive blast of wind. It was so powerful that JM and I had trouble standing against it. It was super loud, like a freight train and the weirdest part of all was that it was blowing hot air like you would encounter in July or August! It lasted for 30 or 40 seconds, then simply stopped.

There was no funnel cloud, so I don’t think it was anything like a tornado. No particularly strong winds are in the forecast either.

Clearly, if you’re like me and JM, you start going towards relatively far-fetched kinds of explanations. Me being the anxious type, my first thought was that it was the leading edge of a nuclear blast or an explosion. However, there wasn’t any type of noise like that other than the sound of the wind itself. JM’s first thought was that a cloaked alien ship had landed in the empty field where we were standing. We couldn’t see it, because it was, well, cloaked!

We came home and no one in the village seems to have noticed a thing. I just hope we’re not radioactive.

Ciao for now and may you have a Joyful, alien-free Christmas!

Randy

Feeling Seasonal

After an amazing month of November, weather-wise, everything decided to change with a bang!

Last Saturday was our village Christmas Market. It was set up under the covered marketplace and we had been promised that there would be space heaters. There weren’t! That was a problem because overnight the temperatures had dropped to well below freezing and they never got up above it all day, at least on the marketplace.

This is when I thought 3 sweaters would be warm enough. They weren't.

This is when I thought 3 sweaters would be warm enough. They weren't.

There was hot wine and coffee and luckily for us, it wasn’t very far for us to take turns going home to warm up, eat and see the dogs.

As always, there weren’t many people early in the morning, but as the day wore on, a decent sized crowd did show up.

Here is the Christmas tree and one of the food sellers.

Here is the Christmas tree and one of the food sellers.

There was a lunch for 10 Euros, someone was making fresh crepes, there was a “fanfare” which is a brass band. Let’s just say they were loud and enthusiastic and leave it at that! Also, following the success of the horse drawn carts at the Eco Fair a few months back, there was a carriage giving rides around the village and Santa was set to arrive in it towards the end of the day.

We found someone to sit at our table while we took Shmoo Alexander and Miz Peaches for a post lunch walk

What do you mean, we can't play frisbee????

What do you mean, we can't play frisbee????

Poor Peaches had a flashback to the second day she was here when she ran into a brass band in Limoux! As soon as she heard the band playing, all she wanted to do was run home and hide. I refuse to speculate on whether it was fear or music criticism.

Finally, although there were still two hours to go, JM and I closed up shop at 3:00; it was just too, too cold to keep sitting there! We lit a fire, put on Christmas music, had a hot cocoa in front of the fire and felt very seasonal indeed!

Ciao for now.

Randy

Dog Play

I need to start taking my camera out when we go for our lunchtime walk. We were able to go to the gardens again today and I insisted that we let the dogs play. We took off their leashes, but Shmoo grabbed his and started running through the field with it in his mouth. Peaches followed trying to grab it too.

The problem with that is that then he let it go and I had to go traipsing through a VERY large field looking for a VERY small, black leash! I think we’ll take a bright colored rope toy out next time so that either a: it will be easier to find or b: I won’t really care if I can’t find it.

I learned two things: Peaches has an absolutely amazing recall for a dog who has lived with us for less than 2 weeks. Frankly, it’s better than Maggie’s when she was out chasing squirrels and far better than Shmoo’s when he’s interested in something else. Peaches was totally willing to leave Shmoo and his “project” to come back to me without even a second’s hesitation. That was very, very cool.

The second thing I learned is that even though having Peaches to play with is fun for Shmoo, he still prefers digging a gigantic hole looking for voles to be a superior activity. As soon as he got “vole-scent” in the field it was all over. No more play; there’s serious vole killing to be done!

Of course he never digs for voles in the part of the field nearest to the path, that would be too easy. No, he has to go all the way into the middle where the weeds are tallest and dig there, which means that I often have to go in after him if we want to go home.

Still, they are both pretty tired out now and peace reigns. Life is good.

Ciao for now.

Randy

A Week of Celebrations

The first full week of December is always a momentous one for us.

First, it was five years ago tomorrow that we first set eyes on the Possum Kingdom! It is always astonishing to me that another year has sped by so quickly. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that first visit, or the subsequent ones where we made our decision about buying our house. What a good day that turned out to be for us.

Second, it was three years ago this week that we adopted our dear Shmoo Alexander. It was a cold day with snow flurries falling and there he was, limping around outside our door. It was clear he needed to go to a vet for some attention to his poor paw. We were NOT going to keep him, that’s for sure. He was much too big a dog for us and, besides, we had decided we were a one-dog family. Well, you all know how that decision worked out. I will never cease being grateful for his presence in our lives. We could never have guessed that only a year later, our sweet Diva Maggie would be beginning her final illness, and that only the presence of Shmoo would keep us from sinking into despair.

Now we have another event to celebrate: this morning I took Miz Peaches to our vet to get her shots and have her micro-chipped. She is now, officially and forever a part of our family. Of course, in her case, there was never any doubt that if it was up to us, she would stay. We already knew that our Shmoo would enjoy having another friend in the house, and we are suckers for a good Border Collie face.

So, tonight we may have to break out a bottle of Blanquette and celebrate for real.

Ciao for now.

Randy

A Fast Week

Today is Saturday morning and Miz Peaches LaRoo has already been here a full week! She is so settled in that it seems amazing that she has been here for such a short time.

Shmoo is loving having a little sister again. Although, as you can see, he is plumb tuckered out:

I need to sleep!

I need to sleep!

Peaches, on the other hand, is full of energy. I’m not sure if she’s more like the Energizer Bunny or the Tasmanian Devil, because she will eat anything! I’m pretty sure that she would quite willingly finish up every morsel of food in the house and keep looking for more.

Did you say steak?

Did you say steak?

Luckily, she does find time for sleep and once we got her little tummy straightened out she has been able to sleep through the night without further potty breaks and we have had no further accidents in the morning.

She learns things amazingly fast and I think will take to regular training even better than Shmoo. Her enthusiasm does need to be reined in somewhat, because she has a tendency to bounce and claw in excitement, which has already devastated several of my favorite sweaters. Her nails are pointy and sharp!

Look; I'm calm!

Look; I'm calm!

My biggest fear, which was that she and Shmoo would not get along, is totally eased. They seem to truly enjoy each other and the only “issues” that we still have tend to be food related ones. She doesn’t like him looking at food if she thinks he’s going to get it and she isn’t. She also is a total attention hog and has no hesitation in trying to push him out of the way to get to a human for cuddling. In fact, if Shmoo is standing in her way, she will simply walk UNDER his belly rather than go around him. Considering that a week ago she wouldn’t go past him in the room, that is what I call progress.

Ciao for now.

Randy