Monday pupdate

My husband and I don’t ordinarily talk on the phone during the workday, but that’s changed since bringing home little Luka. We call one another throughout the day with *pupdates* as the need arises. Since he works close enough to home to drop by at midmorning for a potty break for the puppy, and I’m temporarily working in an office where I can make it home on my lunch hour for another potty break, and then the DH can be home from work by 4pm or so, we have Luka’s bathroom needs covered at 3 hour intervals. That’s helped him to be pretty successful with housetraining so far. In the evenings when we’re at home is another story – you know how puppies like to wander off and get into trouble… mainly on the new wool braided rug beneath our dining room table!

On his first workday alone, Luka had busted out of the kitchen by midmorning and was napping in the spare bedroom beside Peeper’s cage. By the second morning he had figured out how to plow through the gate blocking entrance to the porch where the big bunnies live like a little bull, forcing me to call my husband to come home and rig something up just so that I could finish getting ready for work. Peeper’s used to living in close quarters with a dog, but the big bunnies are not so enthused with a yappy puppy on either side of their gate. I think we have the puppy containment issues handled, for a while at least, until he’s big enough to jump over the gates…

He’s as mouthy as you’d expect from a Lab pup, but we’re working on that. He tends to go for my husband’s toes, yet he favors the backs of my ankles, or worse, the meaty part of my calves. Youch – he’s all teeth! And baleful looks when corrected.

We had our first appointment with the vet tonight, for his second round of shots, and he did quite well when distracted with a handful of biscuits. I asked the vet if he wouldn’t mind filing down those shark teeth some, but he says that’s part of the price we pay for having a cute puppy.

Puppyhood is so short-lived. I’m trying to endulge myself without spoiling him too much. I bring him up onto the bed at night for a quick snuggle only. I carry him down the stairs and across intersections on our walks while he’s light enough for me to lift. I inhale his puppy breath as often as possible. Caress the soft pads of his paws as he sleeps. Laugh at him when he encounters a wheelbarrow or bicycle for the first time. I’m forever pulling rocks and flowers out of his mouth. He’s obsessed with the refrigerator and closets. But he’s so adorable that my heart sings.

Lily and cats

Remember the new purple waterlily I mentioned in this post, well, here’s one open. Nice, huh? I like the color combination, but wish it would bloom a bit more. I feel like I ought to fertilize the pond plants, but with so many fish at the moment, it’s probably not necessary!

We had an odd frog incident: I found a smallish bullfrog dead on the slate floor of the gazebo next to the pond. At first I thought maybe it had hopped out and baked itself somehow on the oven-hot slate, but then I noticed one of its’ legs was a few feet away and half-chewed up. This afternoon brought a possible explanation: my husband startled a cat from the pond area this morning. That explains how yesterday’s dead frog moved itself a foot or more by this afternoon! I also found a black swallowtail dead on the floor of the gazebo – wings only! I expect cats to hunt birds and baby rabbits, but bullfrogs and butterflies?

I wish my neighbors were more responsible with their cats. I could never get away with the same behavior with a dog – why should it be any different for cat owners? At any rate, my husband set a trap out – I would hate to see a neighbor’s beloved pet end up at the pound, but we won’t have a well-fed housecat using our garden as a hunting ground.

Perfect summer supper

Fresh mozzarella, tomatoes fresh from the garden, and just picked sweet basil – can culinary perfection come any more simply?

I’ve become totally spoiled by handmade fresh mozzarella in the last year. I’ve always loved mozzarella – the milkiness and nutty flavor of the fresh stuff is just so delicious! Growing up I remember how I loved to pilfer a few slices of the Polly-O brand my dad made lasanga with – I don’t think I could ever go back to eating that. For years I looked forward to the fresh mozzarella my Italian sister-in-law would have on holidays from her old neighborhood in Staten Island – even that can’t compare to this stuff!

I like to cut it in large chunks and mix with quartered tomatoes and fresh basil with a sprinkle of balsamic and lots of black pepper. Roasted sweet peppers are a nice addition, I think, if you have them handy.

My only complaint is that you really can’t refrigerate the stuff without the flavor being affected. My DH and I mix it up early and then *graze* throughout the day and night so that it’s gone before bed. Once decent tomatoes are available, we’ll have this treat most summer weekends. Yummmmm.

So, what’s your idea of the perfect summer supper?

8/2/07 Mid-week bunny fix

Peeper has a new playmate! Not really, but they seem to share a mutual interest in tormenting one another. For the first day or so, little Luka approached Peeper’s cage in the spare bedroom on tippy-toes, scared of the strange creature inside. That changed pretty quickly to a play-bow and little yaps from Luka. Peeper comes right up to the bars of her cage to meet him nose to snout and sometimes boxes him if he yaps at her.

It will be years before Luka meets any of the bunnies any closer than this, but I hope with enough positive reinforcement of any gentle behavior on his part that he will come to ignore the bunnies the way that Buddy did.

Summer shade

If you need a break from puppy antics, be sure to stop by Via Negativa for this month’s Festival of the Trees. There’s nothing more refreshing on a hot August afternoon than the respite found under the canopy of a great tree, like the shade of these weeping hemlocks in the rockery at Deep Cut Gardens.

Dave’s got lovely katydid pics to accompany his post and I can hear their scritching outside the open window now; a sort of late summer lullaby. If only that cricket hidden away somewhere in the house wouldn’t insist on piping up now and again.