Dec 13, 2009

And Now, A Word From The Puppies

Or a word about the puppies.  Since I'm required by blogger edict or common law or a mandate from my readers sorta thing.

They're great.  They're huge--Vincent at six weeks of age, if he's still growing like he was a few days ago now weighs 13 pounds.  That's the same weight an "average" Borzoi pup weighs at 8.  Apparently we're growing monsters here.  Or moose.  Moosi.  Mooses.  Moice.  Whatever.

Luna has even more become The Affectionate One, the one that is always up in our laps, always howling for attention when she's in the play enclosure with her litter mates.  This is making the final decision (which one of the seven to keep) even more difficult.  She and Poe are currently neck and neck but only time will tell.  I think.  Not taking into account that Luna at birth got the favoured name AND was singled out as being the one we'd keep.  Just sayin'.

(Oh, the official Zorya Borzoi website is up and running, too!  It's simple, and still incomplete but it's up and working, a work in progress.  Zoryaborzoi dot com)

The rest just keep growing, keep learning, keep eating.  Gods do they eat.  They're officially weaned now, in that Belle refuses to give any suckle, and they're eating their Eukanuba puppy food dry, crunching through it like rabbits in a lettuce patch.  Also leaping into it and/or stepping in the bowl and/or running through it at full tilt, thereby slinging it across several hundred square feet of den.

They're a mess.  An adorable, fuzzy, sharks-mouthed mess.

Here's a pic before you guys kill me (apologies to Facebook folks who have already seen these.)

Salem, Ex Libris


Barnabas.  No question he's a Borzoi.

(l to r) Einar and Vincent

The more astute readers/viewers will note that they're all either asleep or dozing off.  This is because when they are awake there's no way to aim a camera at them.  I'm not that fast, you see.  They don't stop moving, EVER.

In other news:

Work proceeds.  Yes I'm spoiled insensible with this work-from-home thing.  It's also troublesome--I found myself going stir-crazy during yesterday's all day rainstorm.  It was then that I realised that I'd not been outside except for very brief sorties to the chicken coop and to walk the hounds in the evenings since the last weekend.  It's taking some adjusting, and I'm not the fastest learner, but I'll get there.  I just need to remind myself that there's nothing really forcing me to leave the house on a daily basis, and if I don't think about it I'll end up turning milk white and blind and perhaps developing some sort of superior food-finding sensory apparatus.


I'm also getting better at the stress.  Yes, shut up about it, I'm tired of being derided for not swilling of the work-from-home cup to the fullest, for having worries about my job when I can work in my pajamas if I want to.  I'm not you, I have my own set of problems, and one of them is anxiety.  Which I'm working to correct, and yes, making nice progress at.  I'm not fully there yet, tho.  The anxiety kicks in once in a while, usually when I'm stuck in a situation where no one in charge seems to know how to get back in contact with me, and apparently every Sunday night about 1 in the morning, but the panicky, spikey bits are gone.  Now it's just anxiety that manifests itself in disturbed sleep patterns, vivid nightmares and a lot of residual anger.  Still, far better than it was, and I'm hoping that with continued therapy and diet control and the non-pharmaceutical supplements I'll continue to improve.  Hell, I have thus far, so I'm not complaining.  Well, not complaining too loudly.

I've also found something else good about this enforced home-living thing.  Houseplants.  I can care for them with much greater attention and consideration that ever before, so just last weekend I took my first big horticultural step in many a year.  No mere potted ivies for me, I've gone tropical:

A Phalaenopsis, or "Moth Orchid."  Phalaen from the French for "moth," which also oddly enough coincides with Penny-- Papillon is French for "butterfly," which their upright ears and long silken fur imitate.  When  Papillon's ears droop instead of stand upright the dog is called a Phalaen, or 'moth' instead of a Papillon. 


I've been thinking about growing orchids for probably several years now, ever since they have made a showing in this area in the local commercial greenhouses and so forth.  I was always aware of them in some background sort of manner, and being a devout fan of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe series I was hard pressed not to learn the basics of orchids, but I never considered myself an orchid fan until I began seeing them up close and in person, which is saying something in this tiny backwater town.

The Phalaenopsis branch of the orchid family are some of the easiest house-kept orchids, I've learned, which is right up my alley.  I've been told by two very reliable sources that orchids are easy to keep indoors, but I'm the guy who used to kill cacti and overwatered a bromeliad unto death.  But, I'm trying.  Stepping out.  Pushing boundaries, albeit small ones.  Plus they're utterly beautiful.  This first dear has even grown well enough to turn the second to last bud on its raceme into an opening flower and has begun to open yet another tiny bud at the very end.  Hope springs eternal.

So.  Fifteen dollars at my local Lowe's and I brought home my first.  It was on clearance, it being what passes for winter here, one of four little glazed clay pots forced into a tiny little space between walls of poinsettias.  I had the money, I picked my plant and made the leap.  Today we happened to be in our local Kroger's grocery store.  Far from our usual haunt on a quest for some specific xmas stocking stuffers (my child loves odd Japanese candy now,) we'd happened into the flower department to find a bouquet for the kitchen table, and I saw them.  Orchids.  A whole massive display of them, tier upon tier of them.  And not just any old Lowe's orchid but plants twice the size, every one with either branched racemes or multiple ones, each simply dripping with flowers.

For the same price.  So yes, this weekend I brought home my second:

Another Phalen, because I'm not about to invest a lot of money on something I don't have the necessary skill to grow, but gods look at those petals.  Up close they look like someone dribbled purple ink on a cotton sheet.

I was described a long time ago by a very good friend of mine as having "an old soul."  I've pondered that a lot.  Turned it over and over, looked at it from many angles and consider it intensely satisfying.  If I had to be described in five words or less I'd be beyond pleased if someone voiced "He has an old soul."  I've carried that descriptor around in my heart for a long time now, savoring it like a hard candy.  Carrying my newly found orchid today through the store my wife told me that she wasn't surprised at all that I'd gotten into orchids.  She'd seen it coming, she confided, for a very long time.  Then she said something that really made me smile.  She said that raising orchids seemed "a thing that a Victorian gentleman would do."

I read just a few days ago that orchids were first kept by amateur botanists and flower fanciers of all sort in England, circa 1890.  Victorian homes were often found to sport varieties of orchids brought back from far-traveling merchants and tradesmen, and were prized by their collectors.  I'm no Victorian, my moral compass is far too modern for that forthright title to be applied to me, but it's a comparison that I'm also proud to at least, in some small way, live up to.

It's a funny old world.  I'm glad it has orchids in it.  And Borzoi.


meno said...

My god, those dogs are so fucking cute! I think you should keep them all. (Easy for me to say!)

I buy orchids from Trader Joes for about $7. But i have not mastered the trick of keeping them alive for more than a few months. But still, they last longer than flowers.

Jean said...

heh... the pups are well on their way to being big, lumbering adolescents! All gorgeous *g*

I've always thought of orchids as 'classy'. I think of you as very 'classy'. So, yes, a perfect match.

Maggie said...

Those puppies are gorgeous.

You do have to force yourself outside. My first winter here, I was with infants and forgot to go outside for, well most of the whole winter. By spring I was literally green. I'm not kidding. My skin looked horrid. Bodies need fresh air and sunlight.

You know what? Even if you're wearing your pyjamas, work is work. All work has some stress related to it. Stop beating yourself up about it.

Gordo said...

You know what I think of the dogs and I continue to pass around any photos up here that I get. :-) Next up: drive traffic to the web site.

As I said, we have two phalens and they're by far my favourite houseplants ever. The blooms last just about forever (one literally kept its for a year) and they seem to thrive on neglect. :-) They also do just fine in a north-facing window. One of these days, I really should read up on them.

Mrs I has you pegged, that's for sure. Not a Victorian gentleman, but a gentleman who enjoys Victorian pursuits. You look very much like Steampunk King Jake Von Slatt.