Sanctuary in an ocean of insanity


We currently have 8 dogs in the house. This is down from the high of 10 just a few short hours ago. If you haven’t heard, we took over Tails by the Bay for the winter, and get to live in a nice house and take care of dogs all day. Well, Skippy gets to take care of dogs all day. I still have to work in town, but the tech support business is picking up, so I’ll be doing less of the 7am-5:30pm gig and more of the open schedule gig.

The house has two floors. The main floor has the kitchen, living room, bathroom, and our bedroom. That’s the dog’s floor. Upstairs has a closet, a sitting room/office, and a small hallway that overlooks the kitchen on one side and the living room on the other. That’s the cat’s floor.

Jacques and Cousteau have adapted surprisingly well to their new living situation. They occasionally wander down to the main level and thread themselves through the many many dog legs between the stairwell and the kitchen, where they greet us and remind us to feed them. Most of the time, however, they just sit upstairs in their cuddle cups, snoozing in the amazing amount of warmth generated by the wood stove. They sometimes don’t even muster the energy to look over at the door as I come through to work at my computer.

We will sometime hear them going nuts, running around and attacking their scratching post. Today, we watched as Cousteau flung himself off the edge of the loft and onto the big window frame just below it. And then he jumped back up.


During the day, Skippy and I take turns escaping upstairs to work on the computer. With a house full of dogs, including a 4-month old Great Pyrenees puppy (who gets into everything), the computer/kitty room has become a Fortress of Solitude for us.

We’ve been here just over a week.

Here are some of the dogs we’ve been taking care of:



Cub (the GP puppy)

Bubba (Cub’s older, smaller brother)

Kayla (Ms. Sneaks Into The Bedroom For Naps)

Belle, the droopy dog

Fuel for the fire

Literally. We now live in a house with a wood burning stove, so we’ve started collecting wood we can burn. Today, we split some rounds for the first time in a few years.

We took turns to get back into the swing of things (haHA!).




Here’s my sumo-style chopping technique!


Up on the hill

Homer is at sea level, and gradually rises to a couple hundred feet above sea level as you head away from the ocean. And then, there’s a big hill. It just sort of shoots straight up, towering over the town at about 1400 feet.

Next week, we’ll be moving to the top of that hill, when Skippy takes over a doggie bed n’ biscuit business for the winter, called Tails by the Bay. This will mark the…third? Yeah, third time we’ve moved since April. Gosh, I just love moving! But, the house is awesome, and so is the view. It faces the hills behind Homer, and a sea of spruce. Walk 2 minutes down the road, and here’s the view from the hilltop:


So begins Chapter 3 of our Alaskan Adventure. Maybe this will be the part of the story where we become fabulously wealthy and spend the rest of our lives creating art and doing charity work!

Adventures in wildlife photography: Homer Vet edition

I always enjoy my visits to the local veterinary clinic. Especially if I’m there doing tech work, and not because our dog shook hands with a porcupine using her face. One week it’s puppies, the next an eagle that was found flopping around on the beach with a broken wing. This week, it was an owl.

A Northern Hawk Owl, to be exact.


It had apparently fared the worse in a contest with a large window. The day before, it was wobbly and couldn’t do much at all, but when I saw it, it had recovered sufficiently enough to sulk in its cage and soundly ignore the pieces of chicken breast and baby hamsters (don’t ask) that were occasionally pushed towards it.

This is the part where you eat me, right?

It still couldn’t fly, and seemed to want to protect its left side. It flopped around the room for a minute, then settled in to stare at us staring at it.

"I disapprove!"

It wasn’t very big, especially since everything in Alaska seems to default to Supersized.

Now this is just embarassing. I'd rather be eaten.

Owlbert (no, I didn’t name it that, the vet tech and the doctor did) made its first flight since the accident, though not with its wings, when it took an airplane up to Anchorage to finish out its rehabilitation with wild bird experts on Saturday.

Update 11/11/09: I’ve been informed that the owl is recovering nicely, and is gladly eating whatever tiny and squirming food is placed in its cage.