Friday, 11 July 2014

Finally a rest day

Yesterday I was planning on a rest day but it didn't happen; today I was determined and I have managed it. That isn't to say I did nothing (I have paid work to do) but I just did no digging or making or anything like that. It was a good decision to make.

Lovely start to the day
Lovely start to the day
The day started off pretty well. I woke feeling quite rested and only did one snooze then was up and snapping a picture of the gorgeous pre-dawn sky. It really doesn't often fail to deliver an amazing view which is quite a good encouragement to get out of bed.

"Don't take pictures while we're eating!"
"Don't take pictures while we're eating!"
The boys were fed in their usual way, me with my brew, food bowls carried down full and they ate calmly and carefully, though Ralf was a bit more urgent than he has been; it made me think I should feed him a little more, maybe again in the afternoon, which he had missed yesterday because he was so naughty and was confined to his enclosure.

The sun appeared
The sun appeared
While I was sat drinking my brew I remembered how stunning the sky had been yesterday and went and snapped this picture. The sky wasn't quite as gorgeous and I didn't expect this to come out at all but it has; what a view. Such amazing quality of light.

Sun shining through the leaves
Sun shining through the leaves
It was then time to go and water the plants with the hose and fill the watering cans. The pressure was once again pretty low on the free water so it took some time. Both the boys were pretty good, with Ralf stealing the Kong and playing with it, and Rambo not really minding and getting his ball. I have the added watering of the two Olive trees and I shall soon have to plant the other two (once my hands are healed) but one benefit of sitting around waiting for the water to run was I could get this picture which is one I have been looking to capture for a while; the sun coming through the tea trees.

Glowing in the morning sun
Glowing in the morning sun
We started the rounds as per usual and I left the metal one by the entrance to their compound and carried the plastic up top. Rambo went to explore the perimeter and Ralf followed close to me, then bounced off across the long grass to Rambo. They were being very pleasant indeed this morning. As I turned from watering the Zinnias I was struck by the quality of the light on my house from this angle; there's a reason we call this spot the "Sun Bathing Point"; it really is a lovely place to appreciate the location and building.

The calm before the storm
The calm before the storm
I watered the second Magnolia and then called the boys who were up sniffing by the top fence together, very friendly and calm. They came immediately. Little did I know that this excellent start to the day was about to change very dramatically.

As I reached the bottom of the rise onto the top field Rambo was already down near the gate to their compound, about twenty feet away and Ralf was by me. Suddenly Ralf shot off and for no reason I could see ran at Rambo and (where he normally just snaps in his direction) took a bite at his haunches. Rambo was caught and jumped, yelped, the growled. I reacted as I normally do, but stopping walking, saying "No" firmly, but not that loud, at Ralf and pointing at the ground in front of me and saying "come here Ralf".

Normally he looks guilty, sidles over and sits down, turning slightly to present his neck and belly - very much in an "I'm sorry" position. Not today. He barked at me and legged it. I spent the next five minutes trying to call him, then gave up and carried on with the rounds, watering the Silver Birches and going across to finish the entrance garden as the weak hose couldn't reach the bottom. Ralf followed all this time but never came close, and when I tried to catch him he led me on a mad dash around the bottom of the land and I could not get anywhere near him.

He finally came close when I was petting and fussing with Rambo and I managed to get hold of him, do the new "flip and restrain" technique which I had been using so successfully (I thought) the last day or so, and then put him in his enclosure. He was back to his bad reaction however, similar to when I first got him, trying to bite me and then clinging to me as I carried him. What can possibly have caused him to flip like this so badly? There was NOTHING happening when he did it, just our usual stroll down to the other part of the land and he was behaving perfectly normally, if even a little more obedient than usual. Anyway, he has spent all day in his enclosure today and tomorrow when I go to water I will be taking a lead with me and Ralf will be on his lead now at all times until he becomes obedient. I went back upstairs after this episode feeling quite frustrated and annoyed that I had specifically asked whether Ralf was good with other dogs, and it turns out that he really is not; he is terrified of them.

I left to collect the men in quite a down mood and felt like I was chewing over what I had done and how I could have behaved differently. I think my plan with the lead is a good one; he can be out and interact with Rambo, but I can control him and remove him from any situations he is finding tough. I really hope it works; I want him to settle in however I'm not having him becoming aggressive and violent towards Rambo. That isn't in my plans. I was possibly quite quiet on the trip back but they were in relatively high spirits and chattering away. I diverted to the builders yard for them, via a different bridge this time which according to Bekir trimmed 3km off the journey, and we bought 25m of strong cord.

A stork made an appearance
A stork made an appearance
When we got back to the village, going past the road people hard at work already getting started on the next section of resurfacing, we spotted a stork stood on the Little Lady's chimney stack. I rushed inside and grabbed the long zoom and camera and went onto the roof to snap a picture. In the end it stayed there for hours, clacking away, and I didn't need to rush. I wonder what it was doing up there.

On the move
On the move
I went and let Rambo out, but made sure that Ralf couldn't join him and then went upstairs for my breakfast and a brew. I was really quite hungry and had bacon and egg butties with brown sauce. As usual, super tasty. Mo and Shiva had obviously also been hungry as they were munching away on the lettuce I gave them first thing, and then headed up to where they normally chill out for the day.

Back to working on the wood
Back to working on the wood
As per usual the men wasted no time getting on to it and they were finishing off the wooden frame for the roof first thing. This involved trimming down the ribs and then extending them to meet at the apex, and it was fascinating to watch them work so well as a threesome, with Orhan (the new guy) fetching and holding while Bekir and Sally did the skilled tasks. Orhan did seem to be getting involved as well, using his intelligence when he spotted an issue, so I think he's a really good addition to the team.

Rambo, and my raised beds and tortoise enclosure
Rambo, and my raised beds and tortoise enclosure
My morning was taken up entirely by paid work which was nice and it felt good to be involved in the team over there again for a bit. I need to push more to get into the morning meetings as it does help me to feel part of it again. From that also I was able to ask some questions and get some answers to help with my work. When it was lunch time I went up to have a look at what they had done and also to snap some pictures of the clouds coming in; it was forecast to rain all afternoon. Rambo was out doing his rounds and I managed to snap him in front of my raised beds, and the tortoise house, which was another reason for taking pictures from there.


Lunch for me was cheese and tomoato butties (you may be seeing a pattern here) and for the boys it was munching away on some cucumber. I started off taking photographs but then thought to shoot a short film on my camera and it ended up being this. They are so alive, so sparky, and so funny to watch when they are like this; Jesus basically shoving Shiva out the way with every bite and Shiva trying to walk over to the other side. I love it. I was planning on putting them outside but I have read around a bit and I really do need to make the compound dog and bird proof so a little more making required. Hence not doing it today.

Rain project
Rain project
The promised rain arrived, along with some huge rumbles of thunder, as I was eating and I remembered, after it was hammering down, that I had left the windows open in both cars, and also the chair was still outside down by the raised beds from where my Special Guest had been laying in it. I dashed out and closed the windows, moved the chair, got soaked and as I sat back down to finish my lunch, it stopped raining. Typical. I went to see the men and found out what they were doing and Bekir was trying to fix his electric chainsaw but it didn't look like he was having much luck; the oil pump had broken. It is now sat in bits on the stairs to the roof.

A classic machine being assembled
A classic machine being assembled
I was back on the paid work after eating and when I looked round I noticed that Bekir was back from his lunch and rigging up the pulley to get cement up from the storage on the ground to the roof quickly and easily; the purpose of the rope purchase. This simple and cheap method will save carrying buckets of cement up to the roof, which is what they did when they were fixing the bottom part of the wall.

There goes the storm
There goes the storm
The storm, which the internet (including with satellite images of clouds) and assured me would hang around until at least 6pm, getting worse all the time, had firmly passed by this point - there it is in the distance. There was once again gorgeous blue skies though it was a little muggier as the rain evaporated. I went outside about ten minutes after it stopped raining and already it was bone dry.

Rambo digging the ball out and returning with it
Rambo digging the ball out and returning with it
I threw the ball for Rambo for a bit, something I haven't really been able to do with Ralf so aggressive when Rambo is fetching, and he had great fun particularly when it went into a thicket and he couldn't find it. All you could see was his tail waving around wildly from side to side and then in circles and finally he emerged triumphant with the ball in his mouth.

A bucket is moved from high to low
A bucket is moved from high to low
I was back at my desk and was pleased to turn round again at a good time and see the pully in use, lowering (in this case) an empty bucket to the floor. Sally spotted me with my camera and shouted down to Orhan to stop as I was taking a picture. Bless him. They laugh at me but I think they also love how much I am enthralled by the progress and want to capture these kinds of moments.

Here comes my roof
Here comes my roof
After this I popped upstairs to take some pictures and, for some reason, as I climbed onto the top I was struck quite forcefully by what was going on; the roof, the BIG thing this year, was well under way and progressing nicely and it looks like by the end of next week it'll be tiling time. What a buzz it was to stand watching these three men working away assiduously towards this massive step to having a safe, dry and warm building. Amazing

After this I had a bit of a nap for an hour (lovely to be able to do this) and then did some more work, then something secret which will be revealed in good time but don't ask because I won't tell you, and then suddenly it was the end of the day and time to take the men. The journey back was standard, with a cop car parked up at the bottom of my hill which had moved to another location by the time I was driving back, and I have nothing more interesting to say about this.

End of day (and week) state
End of day (and week) state
Today I didn't forget to take the "current state" picture so here it is for you.

Detail for the end of the day result
Detail for the end of the day result
I did however decide to go up and take details of the progress today; they have been building up the rest of the side walls, between the ribs and smoothing the top so it is completely in line with the angle of the wood. They have finished one side and done three panels on the other so this will be completed before lunch on Monday, other dramas notwithstanding.

The family putting their cows to bed
The family putting their cows to bed
I had roasted a chicken leg over the afternoon and left it to cool down so I could have cold chicken salad for dinner and this was gorgeous, especially with some fried beans and mushrooms to add a small amount of physical heat. After eating I started on this blog then noticed the sun was going down so I popped onto the roof to snap a few pictures. I took 48. Whoops. While I was up there I was also able to watch the neighbours putting their cows away; I waved but they didn't see me.

I love the symmetry in these clouds
I love the symmetry in these clouds
And so to the pictures I took from the roof. The sunset was lovely and of all the pictures I took this was my favourite as it showed off the symmetry of the clouds; how often you see this sort of thing over here. It was lovely stood up there and I watched for about twenty minutes until the sun had completely disappeared.

A couple of storm cells
A couple of storm cells
Over the valley another storm looked like it was brewing, or maybe it was one that bypassed us and was now decaying. Either way it was an impressive pile of cloud particularly lit as it was from the setting sun.

Looking towards the new roof
Looking towards the new roof
Finally while I was up there I decided to snap a shot of the corridor from the other side, stood out on the sun terrace. Imagine this with a lovely double door, and maybe windows on each side with a triangular one above to the corner.. It is going to be amazing.

So I'm going to enjoy my weekend, still rest my hands I think as they are healing but not healed, and hope that I can get the other two Olive trees in before they die in their little bags.

8 comments:

  1. The stork was checking up on you & clacking its approval of what you are doing..
    Sorry I'm just a silly old romantic biddy and I don't intend to change. I enjoy your blogs thank you. :)

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  2. I have always fed my adult dogs just once a day. Eating food fast is a good sign - means the dog is healthy. Ralph seems to be vying for alpha male position and you might be aiding him by treating him differently to the other dog. Either let them both become housepets or keep them both outside. A few people I know kennel their dogs outside but spend the entire working day with them which keeps them socialised. Are you not trying to have your cake and eat it? If you choose to have dogs then your life has to adapt to them big time.

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    1. The problem with him being outside is the front fence is not yet secure enough for him; I have this on my list of things to do but have not yet worked out what is the best method. Until that is fixed I cannot leave him outside unattended. At the moment I am here alone so he comes inside (or gets left in the enclosure) when I am doing paid work. They are together a lot, though, and have no problems - they sleep together and eat together and play together without trouble.

      I totally agree it is an "Alpha" thing going on and I am now putting Ralf on a lead when I am walking around with him and Rambo, so I can control his bad behavior without trouble.

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  3. We've just rescued a patterdale terrier which can be feisty little sods if not trained properly. He lives with us and the spaniel and though we have a large garden they are both being walked at least 3 times a day together sometimes 4 for several miles at a time. Both dogs are treated the same. Danger with a small dog is that people think they're cute and let them get away with behaviour you wouldn't put up with a big dog. Big mistake. You need to spend a lot more time with the dogs and walk them together regularly. Find the time. It'll all be a lot easier when your partner turns up. Good luck

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    1. Just a quick reply to this one; Ralf does not get away with things because he is cute; I have had Rambo from a very small (and very cute) puppy and in the same way I never let him get away with anything either. I do spend time with them together that is a really important thing.

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  4. Came across this which explains what I was trying to say http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/articles/smalltoydogs.htm

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    1. Cheers; this describes a lot of things that I am very careful to keep on top of. As I say in the description, it was so strange that Ralf went from totally normal behaviour (a bit cheeky, for which he was disciplined, but cheerful and happy) to actually biting Rambo by legging it about twenty metres and when Rambo was just standing still and sniffing the ground.

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  5. I think every rescue dog is different. Not all dogs have been abused by people. In our case, Ralf has most likely been a pack dog, so the difficulty has been doubled, trying to get him to trust us was the first priority. Trusting Rambo will come after. Trying to get him to realise that he WILL get fed every day and that he doesn't have to fight for it - good job with that one, you're there already. That we will not kick him if he gets too close to us (as would probably happen from what I witness from the strays that are around in Bulgaria), or chase him away . That trust has slowly built and it will take a while to firm it in place.
    As for spending more time with the dogs, well all day every day with them is probably more than enough. From my knowledge of dog training, it's a step by step process and you should take one thing at a time. Ralf has come on leaps and bounds since he arrived only a month ago and I think you have done a great job so far with him, regardless of what anyone else says. With the poor little bugger, it is going to be a learning curve for us all. But having seen how obedient Rambo is, I am sure you will do very well. And I will be there to help you soon, so we can work it out together and share the task at hand.

    x

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