Monday, April 26, 2010

Weekend work and a new toy

“Staying at home” weekends are such a rare and valuable commodity, I always end up exhausted and sore by Monday because I tried to catch up on a month of projects in two days. Last weekend was no exception.

First, “staying at home” is open to interpretation. Saturday morning Phoenix and I went to an obedience match at 4RK9s, followed by stops at a couple of garden centers, Dairy Queen and then an afternoon outdoors at home, weeding, planting and mulching.

I bought another new coleus (really, I can stop any time I want). It’s called Dipt In Wine. I love the name. And I don’t even like wine.

As if spreading thousands of yards of mulch wasn't enough Saturday, I decided it was time to do something with the lilac bush. We’ve lived in our house for 19 years this spring and I’ve never done a thing to this lilac bush. If I understand the Master Gardeners correctly, in order to get maximum growth and bloom from a lilac, you should remove 1/3 of the branches or stems or whatever they’re called every year when it’s done blooming. Ours was still blooming so I decided to just cut out all the dead branches. There were a lot of them. An awful lot. I think I took out about half the plant in just dead wood. Phoenix helped by dragging the branches off and running amok with them.

I worked right up to the first raindrops, which turned into 2 inches of rain that evening. This brought the Farmer grumbling in from the field. He was within 50 acres of finishing corn planting. On the bright side, I actually cooked supper for us (Real hot food! Off the stove! Not leftovers or cold ham sandwiches!) and we ate together for the first time in about two weeks. After that it was a hot shower, ibuprofen and bed. We lead such exciting lives.

Sunday morning I cleaned our basement. I’m happy to report the basement threat level is back to a standard code yellow. It was a definite code red when I started. I restocked my emergency storm kit with fresh gallons of water, canine and people meds, a small bag of dog food, dried fruit, nuts and a package of Snickers (yeah, how long are those going to stay there?) Sunday afternoon, Phoenix and I met Michele, Jill and Sheryl for some group training in CR. We had a lot of fun proofing stays.

I got a new toy! My set of PractiJumps from J&J turns 20 this spring and they are showing their age. They’re on their 4th generation of dogs (Jesse, Connor, Jamie and now Phoenix). They’re battered. They’re broken. They’ve been thrown outdoors in the back yard every summer since 1990 and quite frankly, they don’t look so good. I don't want to take them with me to parks to train. They really shouldn't be seen in public. Yeah, they're that scary.

So I bought this portable jump from Clean Run. It sets up in literally less than 10 seconds. How cool is that? It was expensive but I might have to buy another one. This jump will NOT be thrown out in the back yard and left to fend for itself. It will live on the porch where it can stay clean and shiny and will go in the van when we go places to train.

I figure it can double as an obedience high jump if I throw a white sheet or towel or something over it. The height goes up to 26" and folded down, it probably only weighs 5 pounds.

This is going to be another crazy busy week. I'm teaching a new Open class starting on Wednesday. Outdoor agility classes begin on Thursday. I've started the countdown to Mal Nationals: 2 1/2 weeks. The Marshalltown trials are this weekend and at some point, both Jamie and Phoenix really need a bath and a blow dry. I'm clearly too busy to deal with this thing called a full time job!


  1. Hmmm... note to self: watch for lonely jump in Homestead yard that needs "rescue".

  2. I've seen that jump on Clean Run! It looks extremely useful.