Learning Curve

That has been the main activity around the Dee house the past 8 days. Learning. Lots of learning! No just the Little Boy Bleau, but Me, Nora, Grace and the “big dogs”. So far things have been going quite well. Not perfect, but better than might be expected. My main two concerns with the new guy hanging out with Huck, Millie and I all day were: 1) Him getting along with the other two and 2) Going potty outside.

I am happy to report that after a few days of having to put him in his place, the three dogs are getting along very well. There was never any time where Huck or Millie was mean to him or hurt him, but they had their territory invaded by another dog and they wanted to let him know that they were not going to be taking a back seat. We actually did some research on how best to introduce and familiarize a new dog to existing pets and other than making their first introduction on neutral ground, we followed the script pretty well. I really do not think things could have gone too much better to get to this point. Huck was the first one totally comfortable with him hanging around and Millie is now fully comfortable as well. So much so, that he can walk up to them while they are eating and they just carry on. They may stop, give him a look like “not getting any of my food “Bucko””, but there is no aggression. Bleau even playfully nipped at Millie’s tail and rear leg this morning and she just shrugged it off. I still am not ready to leave them all alone for very long, but am so happy that Huck and Millie have grown comfortable with him in our house and all are getting along.

When Bleau first arrived, we were referring Huck and Millie to him as their brother/sister and vice versa, but after some time together and seeing the huge maturity gap, I have found it more apropos to call them “Uncle Huck and Miss Millie”. They seem to enjoy the titles as well. Bleau has gained some nicknames. Bleauie is one, Bleau-Bleau another. One that is growing on me (especially when he is in my good graces) is Bleaus Mobile. I am sure there will be more that come down the pipe as time goes on, but he has learned his name and also will come running anytime someone whistles.

Among other things he is being taught is to like his kennel. He does spend most of his time free and that will be the case when he gets older and is home. While at school, I think the plan is to have a bed for him and that is where he will relax when not working. Although there will likely be a kennel there for him if needed and there will also be times where he might have to be in a kennel, so Grace has been helping Nora and I get him used to being in there. Of course, if you are going to be a dog living in the Keweenaw, you have to know how to hunt, so Millie has been showing him the ropes in that skill. It was no coincidence that he was watching Millie very closely in that last shot. He actually pays a lot of close attention to them, as if to be learning from them.

As far as the potty training goes…that is still a work in progress. He is much better at going #2 outside than #1. He did make a little mess in the bedroom this morning, but I think the last time he did #2 inside the house was last week. So we are getting close with that. #1 still is a bit of an issue. He is averaging around 2 accidents in the house a day. We do take him out at least every 2 hours, many times every hour. Sometimes he will go outside, come in and 10 minutes later have an accident. I am not 100% sure why, but the ideas range from he just does not know he should be emptying his bladder all the way and not saving any like a male dog might do, or perhaps his bladder is just not that well developed yet, or maybe he just wants to mark territory in the house. What ever the case may be, he is getting better, with his frequency of peeing in the house going down from when he first got here. The kennel will also help with that training.

With the weather being more like late July and early August than mid-September, we have all been going to the beach quite a bit since he has been here. There have been 3 visits to the beach in the last 8 days. Friday evening, the temps were still in the upper 70’s to around 80 degrees, even as the sun was setting, so we all took a trip to the big lake to have some fun. Huck and Millie sure know what to do when we get there, but he was a little dumbfounded as to what the beach was all about. He is not quite up to even getting his feet wet, but does enjoy watching Huck and Millie swim. The air Friday evening was plenty warm enough to swim, but an off-shore breeze had the water temp pretty chilly. That did not stop Grace from joining the pups in the lake though. Bleau had fun watching her swim as well. I doubt that he will venture into the lake this season, but I have a feeling that by next summer, he will be joining Huck, Millie and Grace in their swimming fun.

Yesterday we all went down to the Jacobsville area to celebrate the birthday of Flora. She is same age as Grace and they have become really good friends. There is another girl that is Grace’s age that lives down there and the three of them have a blast whenever they are together. It was a fairly small gathering, with just one other family besides us and the other girl from Jacobsville family, but still plenty of kids. I believe there were 7 total and they all had a blast hanging out with each other. With temps in the 80’s and dewpoints in the mid 70’s, it was plenty warm enough to head to the beach. The folk’s place we were at is within walking distance to a little beach area, so that is exactly where we went yesterday afternoon. At first, all piling into a garden cart, but then they all gave Tim a rest and walked most of the way.

There was a bit of a surf going at the beach yesterday, so that only made things more fun for the kids, as they swam and played in the waves. All of the parents strategically left their swim suits at home, but actually, the water was warm enough that it could have supported a swim by a wimpy adult as well. This late summer weather we have been having is pretty amazing. It is not that unheard of to have upper 70’s or low 80’s occur at this time of the year, but it is pretty unusual for it to happen 7 days in a row! There has been a little bounce in the mosquito population because of it, but they are not horrible up this way. Temps are in the process of cooling as I type and look to get cold enough to do away with most of the biting insects for the season.

Even though Bleau rested most of the time we were at the beach, the 3/4 mile walk to the beach wore him out enough that he commandeered a ride back to the home in the cart, riding along with Woodland, the youngest of the kids in attendance. It was really cute to watch the two of them ride in the cart. Bleau enjoyed sitting on Woodland’s lap and the two of them looked like they could have been related with their matching curly blond hair!

So not much more in the way of activity up here. As mentioned, we are giving up summer for the season it appears. Temps are falling as I type and it looks like the rest of the week will be spent with highs in the upper 50’s to low 60’s, rather than upper 70’s to low 80’s. You will not get any complaints from me, although with it cooling off pretty nicely at night, I have not been too upset with the late season stretch of warmer and humid weather. It does look to be safe to pull the air conditioners and put them into storage, as well as perhaps change the sheets to the winter setup. I know I am also looking forward to being able to wear long pants and a sweatshirt as well. I still have some outdoor chores that I want to get done before things get too nasty outside and the cooler weather and fact that the three pups are getting along well will help to facilitate that.

The past week or so has also seen more and more color appearing in the trees up here. We are still a long ways from being at peak color, but there is less and less green and more and more yellow, orange and red starting to appear. It should not be too long before we see our first flakes of the season fly. That typically happens around the beginning of October and we are just two weeks from that! The excitement for winter is beginning to build!

I would like to invite you all to the annual trail work session, coming up this October 19 and 20. It will happen in very similar fashion to previous sessions. Free lodging is being offered up to the workers by the Trailside Lodge and also the Lac La Belle Lodge. We will be beginning each day at the Trailside Lodge and also having a cookout on Saturday there. We will not be working on the major washouts from the Father’s Day flood, but there is plenty of work to do, so I hope we can have a big turnout. Feel free to send me an e mail letting me know if you are coming and how many will be joining you, that way we can be prepared with enough work and food! Helpful items to bring would be things like: tools to cut brush (like loppers), chainsaws, pole saws, shovels, gloves. A mode of transportation will help too, like a truck, SUV or ORV, but is not mandatory. Also, on November 9th, there will be a fish fry up at the Bear Belly Bar and Grille, with all proceeds to go to the Keweenaw Snowmobile Club to help get enough money to build a groomer barn.

Guess that covers it for this one!

Good night from the Keweenaw..