There were two significant pieces of animal-related news on the farm this week, one of which will probably be a regular feature in future posts. I refer of course to the arrival of a small puppy, who will quickly grow to gigantic proportions given her parentage (Pyrenean Mountain Dog / Labrador Retriever), and also to our discovery of bear tracks (most likely from an American black bear, Ursus americanus) near the barn. In preparation for Kiska’s (the name given to the puppy) arrival, I volunteered to upgrade the dog house to one more suitable for extreme winters and a large animal (the existing dog house was quite small, and rather dilapidated). This turned out to be a major project: I first used recycled 2×4 lumber to make a basic frame (struggling mightily with the mental trigonometry required to figure out where to notch the roof joists), which I then covered in recycled oriented strand board (also used to make a floor). This was then covered in steel sheeting left over from the construction of the barn (which we cut with a nibbler – highly appropriate for a puppy that will bite anything within reach), and filled with flax straw for insulation. The result, after several day’s work, was an extremely large, sturdy and heavy (we had to dismantle the front of the pen and drive it in on tractor prongs) house big enough to accommodate dog plus kids.
Kid #3: “John! (pause) John! (pause) John! (pause)”
Kid #3: “(pause) I didn’t just poke you in the eye!”
I gather from this that a) she perhaps wasn’t expecting me to pay any attention to her and b) she might be expecting rewards for the absence of bad behaviour.
Back with Amy in Winnipeg, we had a fun Easter Saturday brunch featuring krumkake (Norwegian conical waffles), frittata and lots of fruit, and found (appropriately enough) the 1973 release of Jesus Christ Superstar on television. The following week, Amy took me out to the BDI (the Bridge Drive-In, not actually a beady eye nor really a drive-in as you order standing up), which is famous across Winnipeg for its ice cream. We had a delicious GOOG, which is a large cup filled with blueberry ice cream, hot fudge sauce, bananas and whipped cream, wandered over the girder-y Elm Park Bridge with several other patrons and found that the high water in the river was causing interesting whirlpools and turbulence from hidden underwater objects.