What made me think Tala would let me sit and read outside first thing in the morning? At home she'd be prancing around her fenced-in yard, but the smells and sounds of new territory - and the inconvenience of a tether - was too much for her adolescent brain to handle. She drove me crazy for a few hours, and then, at the end of my tether, I realized I was asking too much of her.
I woke Allan, and announced a change of plans: let's get the dogs a lot of exercise first, then relax afterwards. Should have thought of that in the first place.
We drove to nearby Petroglyphs Provincial Park and did a nice 5.5 kilometre hike. Cody did great, and she seems fine this morning, which could mean the new meds are agreeing with her. After the hike, the pups were sufficiently tired out that we could leave them in the car and go see the petroglyphs without worrying.
Being able to see these rock carvings is a real stroke of luck. As you might know, Allan and I both love ruins, carvings or any physical remains of ancient civilizations. I had no idea these glyphs existed, and certainly no idea that the cottage we chose was a short drive away. What's more, the exhibit closes for winter after Thanksgiving. Excellent timing.
The so-called Peterborough Petroglyphs are the largest collection of aboriginal rock carvings in North America. The carvings were made by several different peoples over a long period of time, from about 900 to 1200 AD. The carvings had spiritual significance to the people who made them, and the site is considered sacred by many First Nations people today.
In the early 1960s, an ignorant and meddling art historian coloured in some of the carvings with charcoal. I can hardly believe that kind of defacement was permitted as recently as the 1960s, even though I know it happened all the time. Because of her "work," a few dozen petroglyphs are very apparent, but there are actually hundreds at the site.
Around 1982, it was determined that the carvings were eroding and would disappear. After studying various options and in consultation with native peoples, Ontario Parks built a specially designed, climate-controlled building around the site. Five years ago, a beautiful learning centre opened, which teaches about the cultural and spiritual significance of the carvings.
We had a good chat with a guide and the park warden, who is a Native person (and who, incidentally, was educating his co-worker about MMP!). They told us how the carvings were protected - but still badly damaged - when the building was being erected around them, and also about how the charcoal-wielding art historian got the whole thing wrong.
The carvings themselves took my breath away. I'm always so moved in the presence of the work of ancient peoples, and knowing these images were created by the first people to live on this very land, where I now live, is very exciting.
Because of the sacred nature of the site, photography is strongly discouraged. A Google images search turns up lots of good pictures of the petroglyphs. Discount anything that says "sailing ship" or "Viking".
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Back at the cottage, it was a sunny and breezy afternoon. We walked a bit of the lake shore with the dogs off the leash. Allan had said the lake was really a pond, but now we realize it must be just a section of a larger lake system. There are boats here for guests' use, but we're not sure how Tala would take to that. Running in circles barking in the hatchback of our car is one thing. In a rowboat or canoe... maybe not.
Tala was suspicious of the water at first, but we coaxed her in, and she splashed about a little. Then she discovered: ripples! Remember Tala's obsession with the hose? As the water lapped on the shoreline, any tiny wave - not even a wave, just a ripple - that had a tiny whitecap: she attacked. It wasn't long before she was fixated on the water, stalking the ripples, ready to pounce and bite. It was very amusing.
Cody surprised us by wading into the water a bit, too. She was perfectly happy to let Tala hog all the attention with her crazy antics while she quietly cooled her paws.
We brought our corkscrew tether with us, which looks like a giant corkscrew, with two long tie-outs attached. We've used it for years - decades - to give our dogs safe outdoor time in the country. It gives them plenty of room to tussle and play, makes them good guests at whatever cabins or cottages we're renting, and gives us peace of mind.
Unfortunately, like a lot of dogs, Tala hates being tethered. As soon as we hooked her up, she wrapped herself around every available tree, and spent the whole time barking. We're fairly certain she wouldn't run off, but an exploring dog can roam far away in a short time. At home she has the safe confines of a fence. How would she do in a strange place with no apparent boundaries?
We decided to leave her off-leash and keep an eye on her, give her strong signals to create boundaries, and see how she did. She trotted happily along the shore, sniffing and exploring, and when she roamed too far, we called her sharply. And... she stopped in her tracks and headed back! Good dog!! There's no way she would have done that even a few months ago. It was really gratifying to see.
So we were able to relax in our lounge chairs and watch Tala play her new favourite game. Attack the ripple - jump onto the dock - trot to the end of the dock - bark once at the boat tied there - trot back - jump into the water - attack the ripple - repeat. And repeat, and repeat, and repeat. It was hilarious. (I'll post pictures in a few days.)
As Allan was cooking dinner (vacation for Mommy!), I looked up and saw no sign of Tala. I called and called - nothing. Still calling, I hustled over to the house where our hosts live. Their big white Shepherd-mix Floozy was on her balcony, and Tala was staring up at her, barking. Rehearsals for the canine "Romeo & Juliet"? Our host was keeping an eye on them, and when Tala realized Mommy had arrived, she forgot all about wooing Floozy and came right back.
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We had dinner outside, then got all set up to follow our baseball game on the laptop from our lakeside lounge chairs. Until it started to rain. We relocated inside, and just before game time, with a thunderstorm raging outside, our wireless signal disappeared. It wasn't the low signal I have right now; it was gone. As game time approached and we were still offline, Allan went to investigate. Bad news: our hosts need to turn off the router during any kind of electrical storms.
It's no big deal to miss a couple of baseball games in April or June. And if the Red Sox had already clinched the division, it would be no big deal in September, either. But in the final week of the season, clinging to a two-game lead with six games left to play, our division title hanging on every pitch, we cannot miss a game.
The wireless signal here is so low that we had already downgraded our expectations from actually watching the game live to just following a text version of pitches and plays. But if we thought we couldn't follow our games at all this week, we never would have gone away.
We have our portable CD player with us, and it has a radio, so we thought we'd give that a try. To our amazement, there they were, clear as a bell: the Red Sox announcers, coming to us from a station in Connecticut. I know you can often tune into far-off stations at night, and we've listened to many a long-distance game while driving somewhere, but we never expected this good fortune.
I love baseball on the radio. It's one of my great pleasures, and something I've really missed since I stopped following a local team. So finding the game on the radio last night was a huge relief, but it was also a little slice of heaven.
The reception was perfect, so we heard every pitch as the Red Sox decisively beat the Oakland A's. Then we found the Yankees game form an upstate-New York affiliate, and heard Tampa Bay beat our nemeses in a dramatic, extra-inning comeback.
The Sox are three games up with five games left to play, and I'm breathing again.