B Litter Names
We have decided to use Canadian trees to temporarily name the puppies. We give each pup a coloured collar and a name from this theme. This allows us to get to know them better.
Our first litter were named after Tractors and we found it very helpful. It's also a lot more fun than using just the colour names. It may seem like they are only with us a short time, but those 8 or 9 weeks build real relationships with each puppy. We will never forget sturdy Caterpillar hogging the climbing box - nor little Kubota winning the tug game.
I have purchased coloured ribbon to use for their collars in the early weeks. It is sufficiently sturdy to stay on the pups but easy to cut off if they grow a little faster than expected. We have planned for 10 different names and colours since we never know for sure how many will arrive. The vet's office saw at least 7 on the most recent x-ray.
In case you are not a 'tree person' (I've been planting up to 500 a year for 25 years), I'm including pictures of each tree variety as well as their distinctive leaves. We have all of these trees at the ranch - although they may be different varieties than you are used to.
We can't grow Sugar Maples here, but we have several Amur Maples, smaller shrubs that will soon be glowing with beautiful, red, maple leaves.
Our land is naturally covered in White Spruce and Trembling Aspen, so they are very familiar to us. The spruce provide a lovely backdrop for spectacular snow falls and the aspen boast glowing yellow leaves in contrast in the fall.
I have planted a few different varieties of pine, but the most common in our area are the Lodgpole Pine, named for their role in native teepees. The pines are beautiful but often the rabbits seem to eat off the bark in the winter ending their lives early.
The larch is sometimes also called Tamarack. It is a most unusual tree, having needles that turn golden and drop in the fall. It is a confier - having cones, but not an evergreen. It has needles but is deciduous, dropping them when the weather turns. Regardless of nomenclature, it is one of my favourite sights - the golden needles in fall and the soft, light green needles in spring.
In the foothills of Alberta, we don't have the huge, stately oaks of Eastern Canada but we do have Burr Oaks. We have one on the ranch that was planted quite a few years back. They are slow growing but have the recognizable oak shaped leaves and little acorns as well.
The elm tree is common in towns throughout Canada although it has a hard time in the foothills. I have not managed to grow one to any size. The Chinook winds in the winter bring warm air and fool these trees into sprouting out far too early. I'll keep trying as I've noticed them doing well in towns that are not too far away.
In some parts of Canada you have the wonderful Cherry blossoms in spring. Here at the ranch, we can't grow the tender fruit but we do have several Schubert Choke Cherry trees, with their little white flowers and distinctive scent in spring.
The willow is often known as the indicator of spring, turning yellow long before leaves arrive. Around the ranch pond, we have many small willow bushes and lots of pussy willows in the spring. Willows have a soft bark and if you are skilled with a knife, you can make a little whistle from a straight branch.
Alberta seems to have several different birch varieties. We have some Paper Birch growing at the pond and a little farther from the foothills you will see giant weeping birch trees. The birch is recognized by it's tall, white trunks with papery bark.
Visit the site again soon and see which collar colour goes with each tree. And then before long, we will post the puppies. For now, it is time once again to feed our hungry mama. She is healthy and constantly hungry. Our papa is getting used to food being offerred - but not for him, although he is not a fan of the current feeding situation.