Snow Therapy

March 12th, 2020

Woolly Mammoth

Another long distance phone call from a much warmer place came again today. Typically, I am asked, “What have you been up to?” My answer for the past 4 ½ months is snow, snow and more snow. The Labrador translation is snow therapy. We hike in it. We work in it. And, most importantly, we play in it. If Bailey could talk, she would surely agree that romping through the snowbanks is a wonderful way to pass the time. And that is exactly what the two of us did in the afternoon. The woolly mammoth jumped like a bunny after her favorite ball. Her antics soon had me grinning and laughing. Others passing by in their vehicles seemed to appreciate a rather large bunny hopping in the snow for all to see. While the muddy season is beginning for those dog owners living in warmer places, I am thankful to still see the crisp white snow and a much cleaner dog. Our time will come but, not today.

Ball Is Here Somewhere


Newf and her ball


My Ball

Wordless Wednesday

February 19th, 2020

It was that kind of day!  Hunkering down as the winds pick-up and the temperature drops.

Hit With Blowing Wind

One is happy and the other (Bailey) is not impressed!  An extreme cold warning for Labrador West for the night and my walk with Bailey in the morning.

Too Cold

Looking For Woodland Critters

January 29th, 2020


Looking For Squirrels

Another day of venturing into Bailey’s favorite snowy playground.  Squirrels and rabbits occasionally make an appearance to keep a Newfoundland dog’s interest.  Their tracks taunt Bailey to submerge her prominent muzzle into the snow.  It doesn’t matter how cold the weather is out, Bailey seeks out their scents.  Of course, she can’t go far.  A couple of feet off the packed trail and Bailey sinks like rock thrown into water.  It’s a worry for me if Bailey were to get stuck.  I would have to go in and attempt a rescue.  Who would rescue me?  As luck would have it, Bailey was content to sit on the trail and wait longingly for a woodland critter to appear.

Snowy Muzzle

Open Door Policy

January 15th, 2020

Open Door

Each night at our house, the front door is swung open at 9:30 pm sharp.  I stand there in my non-matching housecoat and pajamas, as the frigid northern air wafts in, waiting patiently for the entry room to reach the precise temperature that Bailey likes for sleeping.  Neighbors drive by and stare at me in my colorful night attire.  If I had more courage, I would wave back.  It takes a while to reach -14 degrees Celsius.  At least that is how it seems to me.  Bailey lets us know that she is ready to sleep inside the house rather than her large pen in the attached garage.  The shift usually takes place in October or as late as November.  She will stay inside to sleep on the cool ceramic tile in her temperature regulated room until April when winter shows the first signs of ending.  We keep the rest of the house at 19 degrees Celsius which is barely tolerable to keep her with us during the day.  Housecoats are commonly worn by family members throughout the day.  And so, on Monday night, I opened the front door after closing the interior glass door that separates the main living space from the entry room.  It was -49 degrees Celsius outside – not quite cold enough to keep students at home from school that day.  The room’s heat as well as my own quickly dissipated.  The temperature dropped with rocket speed to 12 degrees Celsius before I managed to get the door closed.  Somehow, the phrase “Shut the door.  Were you born in a barn?” seemed to be more meaningful to me.  Bailey soon returned with my frozen husband after her nightly business walk, muzzle covered in frosty snow.  Awake Bailey ChillingShe plopped down on her sheet with “Stuffie” nearby.  Stretching out, our northern girl released a sigh of contentment as I quickly headed to the warmth of my own bed.  The open door policy will remain well-established until it is replaced with the closed door policy upon the arrival of black flies.




Bailey Chills

Playing In The Glorious Outdoors

January 30th, 2019

Longer Than You.jpg

This morning, Bailey and I ventured outside to more pleasant temperatures.  The previous weekend had been shrouded in extreme windchill warnings which put a damper on Bailey’s 4th birthday.  The thermometer showed -36 degrees Celsius at 6 am.  But, by the afternoon, it registered -14 degrees.  Warmer temperatures meant more snow.  The front yard was cleared in the morning.  My husband and I turned our attention to working on shovelling out the backyard.  My assignment involved cleaning off the deck, stairs and patio area.  Waiting Patiently.jpgBailey waited patiently – happy to lie out in the cool, fluffy snow.  It didn’t take too long before I was throwing the ball to the delight of my big girl.  From there, we progressed to “Hide ‘n Seek”.  Bailey stays sitting while I find a clever place to hide.  The whistle is then blown and the challenge is on to find me.  I hide behind the garden shed or duck alongside the raised bed.  Bailey loves this game as she is treated with dried sweet potato pieces upon my discovery.  I move further away and provided some confusion for her as I disappeared around one side of the house only to return by the other side.  Bailey still found me.  I can’t say that my clothing helps me to blend into the white landscape.  I always wear a safety vest when taking Bailey out of the yard and it is just become a habit.  It clearly stacks the game in Bailey’s favour.  We also practiced our carting and Rally-O commands in between games.  Our last game was Tug.  TOW Begins.jpgAs the name suggests, Bailey and I engage in a tug-o-war over her rubber, double handled Kong.  I have learned to lie out on the snow in order to improve my chances of winning.  Bailey never seems to tire of this game.  I begin losing more than I win.  Bailey celebrates getting the Kong away from me by whipping it from side to side as she shakes her head.  After an hour or so, I am done.  Bailey is not.  I am reduced to lying out on the snow, watching the snowflakes fall as my girl stares at me in disbelief.  She tries to convince me with the nudge of the Kong to continue the game.  Not a chance…..



Who Let The Dog Out?

January 2nd, 2019

Newf Paradise.jpg

Frigid temperatures have been the norm for the last few days in Labrador West.  The local weather report had issued a extreme wind chill warning and most normal people hunker down inside.  Apparently, Bailey and I are the exceptions.  Minus fifty degrees Celsius didn’t keep us from our three outings.  Dressed for the cold, I followed behind Bailey as we headed for the protection of a tree-lined trail.  Although the air was cold, the wind was minimal.  Bailey’s thick coat seemed to be enough protection for her.  She stuck not just her muzzle in the snow (in the hopes of catching her pal’s scent) but, her entire head.  I was ready for a well-deserved cup of tea after our third hike in the early afternoon.  Bailey had other ideas.  The stare at the ball was an obvious clue that someone wanted to play in the backyard.  I accompanied my girl for a snow ball throwing frolic.  I tired long before the Newf did.  Bailey showed no signs of wanting to leave the white stuff.  However, she returned to the comfort of inside after I waved a treat in front of her nose.

White Stuff

Calm Before The Storm

April 4th, 2018

Lots Of Play Space

By all accounts, a storm is coming soon to Labrador West.  It has left dumps of snow across Northern Ontario, moving through Quebec and arriving around midnight tonight.  My husband and boys are spending Spring Break in Quebec City with family while Bailey and I take care of the homestead here.  They experienced the snow blizzard there early today.  Staying in a hotel means no shovelling for them.  I won’t be so lucky if we get the predicted snowfall.  Waiting For Snow.pngTomorrow will be all about snow removal in the form of shovelling.  Knowing the cleared parts of the yard will once again be covered in white stuff, Bailey and I spent the afternoon playing in the open space around the house.  A pathway has been kept clear around the entire house due to the hard efforts of my husband.  Besides allowing the basement windows to be free of snow in case of fire, Bailey and I can practice our Rally-O techniques as we move around the outside of the house.  The snowbanks are over 6 feet high and act as a natural barrier between distractions and Bailey.  It may have been -36 degrees Celsuis on our walk this morning (-41 degrees Celsius if you count the windchill) but, the sky was blue and the sun shone down on us.  The air was invigorating.  It was quite pleasant as long as one was dressed for the weather.  We played with the ball.  Bailey fetched.  Then, the two of us wrestled with the ball.  A simple “Leave it” command and the ball was mine.  We soon collapsed down on the snow in need of a rest.  Time To Go In AlreadyLife won’t be so leisurely tomorrow.  While Bailey will be thrilled to see the white stuff, a morning of shovelling will definitely dampen my spirits.  Tonight, I plan to enjoy the calm before the storm.

In The Dark

February 6th, 2018

The family found themselves in the dark without power on Saturday night.  It was to be our family night of watching the pilot episode of Deep Space Nine, part of the Star Trek World.  Our boys had been too young to watch the series when it originally came out.  They have grown up to become Science Fiction fans like their parents.  We decided to give the entire 9 seasons in DVDs for Christmas to them.  The plan was to spend our Saturday nights as a family watching a couple of episodes.  Saturday was our first night and we were looking forward with anticipation to the experience.  A dinner of appetizers was enjoyed earlier followed by taking Bailey out for her evening walk an hour before her normal time.  We were showered and clad in fleecy sleepwear.  Bailey was groomed and lying stretched out alongside the sofa as she performed her night time job of being a rug anchor.

Everyone else was comfortably settled in their staked out areas.  The show began shortly before 7 o’clock.  We were hooked that was until 30 minutes later.  The worm hole suddenly appeared on the screen and suddenly everything went dark.  Had we been sucked into a black hole?  Nope!  It was unplanned power outage – the last one was about 2 weeks ago on another movie night.  Could the timing be any worse?  Our area was under an extreme weather warning as the temperature dropped to -47 degrees Celsius that evening.  One can’t help wondering if the power would return before the water pipes burst.  Our house is always kept at 19 degrees Celsius for our gal’s comfort.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long for the house to cool off.  It’s always a concern when the power goes out during extreme cold weather periods.

The four of us were stunned for a moment before my youngest son sprang into action.  He retrieved his flashlight (one of many that he owns) and then proceeded to get the Coleman lantern from the kitchen.  I wisely bought one in the fall after years of numerous power failures.  It was the third time being used.  He had it on and our living space was lit up to allow the rest of us to move safely around Bailey.  While we complained about the sad turn of events, Bailey remained unaffected.  Her evening wasn’t ruined.  She was still going to get her precious shut-eye and tummy rubs.  I think she instinctively knew that more rubs were coming with our options being rather limited.  My eldest son was soon stretched out beside her, trying to absorb a bit of her warmth as he stroked her fur.  Life was treating our sweetness pretty well.  For the next 2 hours, the power went on and off six times before everyone gave up and went to bed.  Bailey didn’t seem to mind the unusually cooler house than normal.  Power was finally restored before midnight and another family night was sabotaged as far as we were concerned.  Bailey, on the other hand, thought it was a wonderful night of pampering.


Business As Usual

January 2nd, 2018

Catching Snowflakes

A cold snap hit parts of Canada as the New Year approached.  I could not help wondering what the big fuss over these “cold temperatures” was about.  Here in Labrador, we survive under more frigid conditions.  The morning of Christmas Day, I awoke to -42 degrees Celsius outside.  Waiting For TreatsMy friend and I still went out with our dogs for not one but, two walks.  Our husbands took the two furry pals out for the evening stroll.  Bailey and her pal, Cas, were not in the least bit tempted to forfeit these outings.  In a few days, the temperatures were hovering in the minus twenty range.  It was quite pleasant if you were dressed warmly.  Watching the antics of Bailey and Cas as they played in the snow was enough of a distraction for us to forget about the cold.  I won’t pretend that the extreme cold here is better than the moderate climates enjoyed by southern Canadians.  The majority of us in the North embrace living life to the fullest even if it means putting up with cold.  We entertain ourselves through the long winter months by hiking, snowshoeing, skiing, skating and snowmobiling.  Newf Heaven

Dogs like Bailey and Cas encourage us to seek outdoor pursuits even in harsh temperatures.  In Labrador, it was business as usual.

Snow Queen