Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Spring Flowers

Even though officially spring has arrived in Michigan, unofficially we still are having unusually cold, wintry weather. People who live in warmer climes may not understand how much we appreciate the tiny early harbingers of spring like these early Iris. The leaves have been up above ground for almost a month but the flowers just opened a day or two ago. Species bees recently emerged from dormancy really appreciate their early pollen and nectar. Seldom have we had springs as harsh as this one.
It was in the seventies and eighties last year at this time, the flowering trees had flowered but later frosts and freezing weather had killed the nascent fruit which resulted in low harvests and hurt farmers.
                                            Clicking on the photos enlarges them.

The Jefferson head nickel coin, the Norway maple seed, and the oak leaf at the base illustrate how small the Irises are.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Christine Pays a Visit

Christine and Richard have four Icelandic Sheepdogs - Edgar, Lily, Kippa and Edsson - and live with them in Washington State. After attending a work related business trip to Chicago, Christine came to visit me in Michigan for a few days, too few days actually. We did lots and talked lots in a very short time.

We had dinner at my favorite restaurant - The French Gourmet, somewhat appropriately, in Ferndale, Michigan. Christine and Richard live in Ferndale also - but the one in Washington state.

The next day we traveled up to visit my property on Lake Huron. It is most definitely NOT spring here in Michigan. Yes it was as cold as it looks!!
                                             Clicking on photos enlarges them.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Miss Timber

Miss Timber from last spring's litter went to Raspberry Ridge Sheep Farm during the weekend of March 9 & 10, 2013 to meet some sheep! Here is the report: - 

"Here is a recent photo of Miss Timber enjoying what is hopefully the last of the snow in the Poconos!
                                   (Remember, clicking on the photos enlarges them.)

"She is doing great. We are continuing our obedience classes, where she is holding her own very well in a class with more experienced dogs. Last weekend, we went to Raspberry Ridge Sheep Farm for her herding instinct test. At first she was too busy greeting all of the helpers...but once she noticed the sheep, she was off and running!--a real pleasure to watch. So she now has her herding instinct certificate from the American Tending Breeds Association! We plan to follow up with some classes just for fun since she (and we) enjoyed it so much.

"She continues to be an absolute joy in our lives. We love her so much!"

I'm so glad people are giving their puppies a chance to show how smart they are by taking them to training classes. Training our Icelandic Sheepdogs increases the human/canine bond and gives them a purpose. It shows, it really shows in their love for us and vice versa. These are amazingly intelligent dogs and they love showing off. They learn so much faster than most other breeds. Early training also gives you more control over possible bad habits nipping those behaviors in the bud. All our dogs want to do is please us. Give them a chance to do that - please.

Chionodoxa - Winter Aconite

Chionodoxa, also known as winter aconite, are my absolute favorite early spring flower. They start blooming in early February here in Michigan, they are a bright happy yellow, they hug the ground, the small leaves make enough food in a few short weeks to feed them during their ten month dormancy, they seem impervious to the dogs running all over them, and they self seed all over the garden.  The bees love them too.I probably started with 25 bulbs and now they are all over the back yard and the front yard. 

Please click on photos to enlarge them in order to see how abundant they really are.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Grand Champion Totty

Saturday, March 9, 2013 - Here's the Detroit Kennel Club Cobo Hall photo, which I just got today, taken with American Kennel Club Judge James Moses and Handler Ann E. Keil in celebration of Totty earning her Grand Champion title. 
                                                    (Clicking on the photo will enlarge it.)

Today is the birthday of Pepsi, the first dog I owned. I bought her with my own money when I was six years old - which is more than six decades ago.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Moose and Sunna

Friday, March 7, 2013 - - Icelandic Sheepdogs Moose and Sunna are very anxious to get into the new living room/family room that Debbi and Mike are building just for them. (Ha! Yeah, sure.) Think the plastic will hold them back? Me neither. I love the curious nature and intelligence of Icelandics.

Maternal cousins Vinlands Erik (Moose, left) and Vinlands Sunna (right) peeking out at the new 'digs'! Clicking on photos enlarges them.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Edda and Pala

This email, slightly edited, came from my friends Nancy and Chuck: -

"Our young Icelandic Sheepdog Edda (Lokasteinn Edda RĂșn) will have her first birthday later this month on March 25, 2013. She has brought so much joy and fun into our lives. She loves to go for long walks with us on our woods roads, including snowshoe outings; she's very much at home in the snow. We are trying to persuade her that she really doesn't need to herd the deer that we sometimes encounter. Edda is also doing beginner-level agility training and showing a lot of promise. Russ and Linda Hansen made sure Edda and her littermates spent their early puppyhood in an enriched play environment, and the obstacles that Edda's trying on for size don't faze her at all. She's very bold and confident -- still a teenager at this point, pushing boundaries, figuring things out, but all in all, a wonderful member of our family. Never a dull moment with this girl! From what I've heard, she may have another year of adolescence before settling down to be an adult. (Oh well.)
                                            Edda - click on photos to enlarge them.

"I thought I'd let you know that after seeing a photo of Edda in our holiday newsletter, an old friend of mine, David of Vermont, became interested in getting an Icelandic sheepdog. He and I had a long conversation, and I thought I had actually talked him out of getting an ISD. "They're not happy-to-please, good-old-boy Labs," I told David. I also referred him to Linda for more advice. Lo and behold, David decided to take a puppy from the recent litter at Mombaccus Icelandics in New York state. Edda is very excited at the prospect of having a new playmate from the same breed.


"I thought you might like to see a recent photo of David's puppy, whose call name will be Pala (David tells me it's Icelandic for "small"). I have to say that "cute" doesn't begin to describe that face! And something tells me she'll have it in her to be an imp like Edda at times . . ."
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
We call puppies like Pala - NBT (Nothing But Trouble) - doesn't she look like trouble - in a nice way of course? It will be very interesting to watch her grow. What a cutie.

Saturday, March 2, 2013


This email came today from the owners of Lukka who will be four years old this month. 

"We recently found out that Lukka has exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, EPI. (Which means that her pancreas is not making enough enzymes for digesting food, probably especially fats.) The good news is that she'll be fine as long as we supplement her diet with pancreatic enzymes.

"Our vet told us that there may be a genetic component to her condition so we wanted to make sure you knew about it.

"Other than that, Lukka is doing well and now has a little sister (named Maddie) that we rescued from Georgia in August. Lukka is loving the company and is a natural big sister. I'm attaching (photos) of the girls for you.
                                             (Maddie is on the left, Lukka on the right)
"Lukka has always had a sensitive tummy but about a month ago she got loose stools and it didn't resolve even after a chicken and rice with fortiflora diet.  She was eating normally and was always still very hungry but was losing weight at rate that was concerning us (about a pound a week). The vet started her on antibiotics but that didn't help at all so she had an ultrasound which came back clean.
"After some more blood work we found out about the EPI.
                                                       (Maddie - top, Lukka bottom)

"The one other thing I should mention that tipped off the vet was that other than being loose, the food was essentially undigested coming out the other end.  That and the dramatic weight loss got the vet going down the right path.

"As it turns out, once a dog is symptomatic, they have already lost about 90% pancreatic function and the loss is permanent; we're told that we need to supplement her with enzymes at every meal for the rest of her life.  Luckily it's just a powder to sprinkle on and now that we know, the vet says to expect a normal life and normal life span.

"Lukka had in the past done some "compulsive" licking when she has an upset stomach and/or hiccups or reflux.  That actually happened just before all of this started but I'm not sure they are necessarily related.

"Needless to say, Lukka was a trooper through all of this and was always in high spirits. We were far more concerned than she was :) "

FYI - Korpur and Kria are Lukka's parents. Please let me know if any other cases of EPI, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, show up in your dogs - especially if they are from Korpur and/or Kria

Korpur and Kria are both nine years old. 

Korpur occasionally has an upset tummy and asks for peppermint flavored Tums (not the sugar-free kind). (Well, he doesn't actually "ask" but he lets me know he doesn't feel well by licking the carpet or my pant leg or the side of my chair like Lukka's owners described above. (Some dogs eat grass or leaves from the garden when they don't feel well.) He will not eat the Tums unless he has an upset tummy. The first time I gave him one, he wasn't sure about it. I crushed it. Now he likes them.)