You’re a good boy, Blu

August 24, 2007 at 6:18 pm | Posted in art, baby, blogging, country living, dating, dogs, faith, family, food, free knitting patterns, gardening, gifts, health, knitting, love, marriage, pets, photography, recipes, relationships, romance, summer, yarn | 13 Comments

Blu is a Wild Man in Fireflys YardIt is very much like having a child, this thing of raising a puppy. He is a good, good boy and sometimes he does mischief and he always keeps us on our toes.

Back in July we put in an electric fence for him so that he can have full freedom out in the yard. It has been up to me to do the bulk of the training he needs so that he respects the boundaries set by the electric fence, simply because I work from home and am available to train him. We were doing pretty well with it until about a week before the art show began and then I dropped the ball. So, now Blu and I will do some refresher lessons together and get him back quickly to where we were when we left off.

Meanwhile, regardless of the elecrric fence, we have been working with him on being out in the yard supervised without his leash, responding to our calls to come back. He is mostly good about responding when we call, but fairly routinely he has to demonstrate his independence by running like a mad man toward the boundaries only to pull back at the last minute and swing back toward whoever is calling his name. Once in a while he taunts my husband by stepping over the boundary and into the road or the once-corn field before turning immediately back into the yard. They have a “special” relationship, those two.

More of Wild Man Blu Running About at Fireflys FarmA couple of nights ago we came home from dinner (that farm-fresh BLT dinner with John and Dorothy) and found about thirty Canadian Geese milling around in the yard out behind the willow tree, just our side of what was last year’s corn field. We’ve been seeing quite a few geese around lately and hear them calling out often as they do fly-bys. Their late-summer return seems to indicate the coming of an early autumn.

I grabbed the camera and headed out back, with my husband keeping Blu in the house for a few minutes to give me time to snap a few shots. Unfortunately, a car alarm in the drive went off and while the alarm itself did not scare off the geese, it did draw their attention in my direction and away they flew before I could get any meaningful photos. Oh well, they will be back.

When Blu came out a few minutes later with my husband, there I was already deep in the yard with the camera to hand, so I was able to get quite a few candid shots of him playing in the yard. What fun he has running free of the leash, tongue hanging out, going this way and that.

Whenever my husband takes him out, after their time in the yard is finished, he says to him, “Hey Blu, you want an apple?” This signals Blu to run out toward one of our apple trees and select an apple from the ground. As soon as he finds just the right one, he snaps it up and goes straight for the back door so he can go inside to eat his apple on the carpet in the dinning room. It is a sweet ritual the two of them share, and I was happy to have a front row seat to capture all of the action on our digital camera.

I mentioned the other day that I would tell you more about why I named my current art show “Beginning with Barnum,” so here it is:

The name “Barnum” pays tribute to my husband’s grandfather, Arthur Barnum, who planted several pear trees back in the 1940’s on the property by the family cottage a few miles down the river from our farm. Last autumn we picked a few of Gramp Barnum’s pears. They were such pretty little pears and looked so old-fashioned, I was inspired to create several small paintings of them. I thought with those paintings I could create something lasting to reflect the dreams of Mr. Barnum and carry something of those dreams forward into the future beyond the borders of the cottage property.

Antique Pears an Oil Painting by J L FleckensteinMy show, “Beginning with Barnum” features a series of postcard-size oil paintings (ranging in size from 6″ x 6″ to 6″ x 8″) of various fruits from farms in Western New York, including Gramp Barnum’s pears. These small format paintings are in the spirit of the recent “Painting a Day” artist movement, where artists representing themselves outside of the realm of “galleries and museums” create small relatively inexpensive-to-own fine art pieces which they sell directly (usually via the Internet) to a new generation of art collectors. Collectors of Painting-a-Day art might not ever purchase a large, more expensive painting from a gallery but they also might not want to purchase poster art from a mass merchandiser. Click to see the auction for the painting in this post. (Note: 10% of proceeds from this auction will be donated to our local Habitat for Humanity affiliate.)

I believe these small paintings are very appropriate for this area of New York because of the many cottages along Lake Ontario and the river. The small format paintings are perfect to hang on cottage walls, and a cottage is where it all began so many years ago with Gramp Barnum’s dreams of a “country” vacation spot along the river for his family.

To see paintings featured in the show, please visit my One Painting a Day Blog.

Fireflys Buttermilk Wholewheat Yeast BreadI also said the other day that I would share a recipe with you for the delicious and healthy Buttermilk Wholewheat Yeast Bread I made for our BLT dinner the other night. Please keep in mind this is a bread machine recipe, so the directions are only for bread machines not for making the bread by hand. In the photograph of the bread, I drizzled my piece with olive oil and coarse salt before toasting it lightly in the toaster oven.

After our BLT dinner, John and Dorothy took us out to their garden and loaded us up with several heads of romaine lettuce and half of a grocery bag full of grape tomatoes and roma tomatoes. The next day I whipped up a yummy Summer Salsa Salad and had a piece of leftover bread with it. It was a refreshing, healthy, and tasty lunch. So, I thought I would share the salad recipe with you as well (next week because I am out of time for today). I must say though, the salad won’t be quite the same if you don’t have John’s and Dorothy’s sweet grape tomatoes and fresh, crisp romaine lettuce.

Firefly Buys Gemstones Yarn by Louet for Baby SweaterIn closing, I wanted to share of a photo of the cone of yarn I picked up this week from my local yarn shop. This is Gemstones by Louet in Willow, sport weight. I will be using this for the baby sweater I’m designing for a new baby in the family. As I get into knitting the sweater, I’ll share photos and later when it is complete I will share the pattern. Meanwhile, isn’t that a sweet looking cone of yarn? I thought Willow would be perfect, because the willow tree on our farm is such an important part of life now.

Hope you have a beautiful weekend … you and yours,

~ firefly

Copyright © 2007 J.L. Fleckenstein ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


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  1. Blu is a beauty…. I love the story of him and the apples. Your writing about the geese makes me anxious for autumn.

  2. Yes our dogs are our children and they demonstrate that by showing us devotion while challenging our authority. Love the pictures of Blu enjoying his run!

  3. Great story and pictures of Blu, pears and bread.

    Have a great weekend!

  4. There is never so much joy as seeing a dog at play. My little Robin does what we call Robin Races. She like to share the blueberries I have been putting on my cereal.

  5. Go Blu! (And I’m not even from Michigan) What great shots you got of him.

  6. I can almost hear race car noises. Have you ever clocked his speed?
    Blu looks like he is the happiest dog in the world.

  7. Hi Firefly,
    Can’t wait to try the bread! I’m sure my family will love it! And I can’t wait to see how the sweater comes along…I have a good friend expecting in January so I may have to hold out for your pattern. Have a wonderful day!

  8. What a lovely post full of all sorts of good things to relish…Thanks for a great way to start the day with this reading :o)

  9. I laughed out loud at the picture of Blu, eyes wide open and ears flying! We have a chocolate lab, Nestle, so named because as a kid I loved the “N E S T L E S, Nestle’s makes the very best Chocolate” ads. Here is Missouri we are still having 90 degree days, but some mornings now are at least in the 60’s. Thanks for sharing the bread recipe. I look forward to trying it in our bread machine. Loved the tribute to your husband’s grandfather. How appropriate to memorialize his work with a painting of the fruits of his labor.
    Thanks for the cheerful start to the day!

  10. I feel your pain with the electic fence training. I trained our Golden Retriever on our fence in December, it was SO cold. Good luck and he is a cutey!

  11. The pictures of Blu made me laugh – he looks so full of life.

  12. If pictures could talk, I’m sure I would hear Blu huffing with joy as her runs pell-mell about the yard.

    Any bread machine recipe is translatable into making by hand. If you know how bread is usually made, it’s easy to change up.

  13. Mmm…I love your descriptions in this post. Especially of the “special relationship” your hubby and Blu have. It is so very typical, not only of the breed, but of young pups in general. They always seem to test the waters, just like child!

    Your bounty of tomatoes sounds divine, and I bet they made a perfect salad.

    I think you are right about an early fall, as I have noticed more geese here gathering up in groups and heading out, especially in the mornings.

    All the best!!

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