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Farm Fresh Blog
Sunday, 31 October 2010
"Yeah, yeah, happy Halloween, and all that stuff. Are we done?"
Gee Lily, you don't look very happy; give us a Halloween smile.
"Happy Halloween! (Can we quit now?)"
Ranger, how about you?
"Happy Halloween, Everybody!"
Dude! Ranger, your slip is showing . . .
"Oh dear! Really?"
We hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday!
Friday, 29 October 2010
"Put me in, Coach! Put me in!"
Lily was ready. Lily is always ready.
Trace was not nearly as happy about the arrangement.
"wHy dOO I hAf tO sIt iN tHa tRuCk?"
It seemed simple. The calf was already in the trap, just open the trailer doors and have the dogs push the little bull into the trailer. No problem, right?
Oh wait, I forgot we were talking about Ranger. . . Ranger . . . who hasn't worked ANYTHING in a while, much less a recently weaned bull calf.
(It was a train wreck!)
Lily pushed the calf toward the trailer, Ranger scooted out of the pen, then ran back under the trailer door to scream, "Boogity! Boogity!" at the calf as he got close to the trailer. The calf ran over Lily.
We yelled at Ranger to get back in the pen and help Lily push. He ran to the other side of the trailer, stuck his head under the trailer door and screamed,
"Boogity! Boogity!" at the calf. It ran back over Lily.
This happened three times. The last time, he sprang out from underneath the trailer and the bull calf ran over Lily, crashed through the fence and landed in the roping arena with the other calves.
There was silence for a moment. You could hear Lily panting and Other Half counting to ten. I'll give the man credit. Instead of screaming at the dog (like he normally would have done!) he quietly said, "Put Ranger back in the truck."
"Back on tha bench . . ."
Lily had to help us cut out the bull calf, return him to the pen, and load him into the trailer by herself. In the process she got kicked once and bit her tongue.
Once we got the bull calf separated again, Lily and I stood outside the pen and put pressure from the outside to keep the rascal from crashing over the fence again. That's when I found out that THIS calf has an evil side (just like her mother)
This is Mocha. Her mother is the biggest, nastiest, black cow on the property. She is a chip off the old block. While Lily was focused on keeping the bull calf from crashing over the pen, this calf stalked and rushed Lily. Fortunately Lily saw her coming, stepped aside, grabbed her nose and sent her packing with a bite to the heel. Three times this stupid calf tried to stomp my precious Lily. (Her days may be numbered if she keeps that shit up . . . I'm just saying . . . )
But Lily handled it with all the grace of a ballet dancer armed with a switchblade. I was impressed. So was Mocha.
So off to the sale we went.
Once there, Other Half unloaded the bull calf while I took a moment to document Trace's first cattle auction. He was like a pig in slop.
A cowboy came over to talk with me about Lily. All three dogs lined up for a group shot. He didn't pet Ranger. Ranger bites. (pardon the quality of the pics! Thou shalt not fiddle with the camera when working cattle.)
Twenty minutes later you see that Ranger is already bored. The Border Collies are still waiting, confident that if they watch the cows long enough, their patience will be rewarded and we will ask them to unload cattle belonging to a total stranger.
"Hey, when are we going to Whataburger?"
Thirty minutes later Ranger is beyond bored. Trace is now fantasizing that a Brahma bull will break loose and he will be called out of the truck to assist in getting the bull back in the pen.
Lily is certain, absolutely certain, that when everything goes to hell in a handbasket, she will be ready to get it all gathered back together and put in the basket again.
You might ask yourself if this dog ever relaxes. The answer is "yes" . . . on the drive back home.
Wednesday, 27 October 2010
I have a problem. See it?
I have a $7000 horse that my trainer rides more than I do! Montoya, my Andalusian
BUT . . . a dear friend (bless her heart for trying) calls me regularly to go
I used to be able to saddle up and ride from my house, but now our area has
So I told myself that since I have absolutely no intention of selling my horse,
Cowboy Mounted Shooting will have to wait because I can't afford the gear right
Riding for me is fun, but now I'm pulled in so many different directions that
Anyway, is anyone else like me, too busy and too tired to ride?
Who would not wanna ride this horse?
He is as smooth as warm butter underneath you! (Andalusian/Paso Fino cross)
Wednesday, 27 October 2010
Even when I get off work on time, it's still 1 AM when I get to bed. No matter what time I get to bed, Trace gets up at 7:30 AM . . . on the dot. He was playing hockey in his kennel beside the bed this morning so I decided, "Why fight it?" and just got up to turn him out.
The fog had rolled in and the farm was blanketed in a thick layer of peace.
Our lemon trees are in bloom and the sweet smell permeated the porch.
So I stepped out into the welcoming serenity of a foggy morning to do my chores.
"What the heck . . .
. . . is that??!!"
"Houston, we have a problem!!!"
Apparently fences are "no big thang" for our Caped Crusader.
Thank God my little comet comes when he's called, because he was on a collision course with Rasta the Nasty. So now I get to spend my day before I go to the office cramming landscape timbers between the fence and the ground so he can't slither his skinny little butt under the fence! So much for peace and serenity.
"oH! hOrsE pOOp! mY fAvoRiTe!!"
Tuesday, 26 October 2010
"iM n tHa baK oF tHa tRuk! iM n tHa baK oF tHa tRuk!
MuM cAwLz iT tHa bOrDeR cAwLy bAbYsiTTeR! (I AiNt nO bAbY!) MuM sTandZ owTsIdE tHa tRuk wHILe DeDDy unLOadz cOw fEEd sO I kEn WaTcH tHa cOwz!"
(MuM waTcHz mE cLose bUt I AiNt a bAby, I AiNt goNNa fAwL owT!)
"MuM caWLz us bArBed wIre bOrDeR cAwLyz cuz bArBed wIre iz UseFul to raNcheRs n sew R bOrDer cAwLyz!"
"Stay in tha truck Stupid! Yer Too Little to work cows."
"I cAnT wAiT TiL i gRoW uP!!!! bYe dUdzzzzzzz!"
(Disclaimer: None of the dogs is allowed to ride in the back of the truck outside the pasture and Trace is NOT allowed in the back of the truck unattended by a HUMAN!)
Monday, 25 October 2010
Guess what time it is!!!
This is Briar's first lambing season. She is meeting her lambs for the first time.
Because she is young and enormous, Briar isn't allowed with the lambs without supervision. The other ewes, particularly Rasta the Nasty is very protective of this first set of twins, so it's in Briar's best interest to stay at a healthy distance anyway.
"I've got my eye on you, you stupid dog!"
Sunday, 24 October 2010
Other Half simply cannot pass up a cattle auction. As we have already discussed, even our vacations somehow end up centering around livestock. We have been known to whip into a cattle auction while en route across Texas for something else just because he wants to see what cattle are bringing in different parts of the state. Actually, I don't believe it has anything to do with cattle prices, I think it's a sickness - and it's genetic.
I give you State's Exhibit A -
His Granddaughter at the cattle auction
(The acorn doesn't fall far from the tree.)
The Fair has cows, free food, free drinks (so buyers will buy MORE cows!) and more cows! She was enthralled!
Lilah's cow, #197!
Now we're sold on 'em and after a field trip to the King Ranch in South Texas, Other Half has decided that it's time to start turning the herd towards these hardy red cows.
We'd like to have about 50 more like this!
That said, Other Half bought another Santa Gertrudis at the fair this year.
Meet Daisy Mae!
(Yes, that's what her name was, so "Daisy Mae" it is!)
The little girl decorated Daisy Mae for the auction. (Guess who had to wash off all that paint and glitter this morning? Yep, little ole me!)
Other Half really likes to support the Fair kids. He bought this little girl's heifer 4 years ago.
It was her first show heifer. She cried and cried when she sold Angel. She's older now, but each year she asks about Angel and we're happy to report that Angel is a good mother and is producing nice calves. She won Reserve Grand Champion with her calf this year and her father thanked Other Half for starting it all by buying that first calf.
When I look at this little girl, who cannot take her eyes off the excitement of the auction,
I'm reminded of her grandfather, wheeling and dealing cattle, . . .
. . . and I cannot help but wonder if she'll be showing cows too.
Something tells me that she probably will . . .
One thing's for sure . . . if she wants to show cattle,
her grandpappy will have lots of nice red calves for her to choose from.
Friday, 22 October 2010
"Im giTTn purTee DaRned tIred oF hEErin, "Trace, Yer tOO LiTTle!"
"wE wuz haWLin hAy tooDAY n I cooDnT giT owt oF tha Truk!"
"N wheN wE wuz DoNe, I haD too weAR a LEESH wheN I goT owt"
"I dOnT nEEd nO sTinKn LEESH!"
"QUIT pULLn mA LEESH!!!"
"LiLy gOt oN tOp oF thA rOwnD bALeS."
"Ha Ha, Yer too LITTLE!"
"MuM puT mE uP tHeRe!!!! pLees!!!"
"wOw! iT reeLLy IZ a LoNg wAy dOwn!"
"yOO kEn sEE fuRevEr uP hEre! Iz awL thiS oUrs?"
"Nope. It's all MINE! You're too LITTLE!"
Thursday, 21 October 2010
We just bounce from one drama to the next. If you have enough pets and livestock, you WILL have drama. My Livestock Guardian Dog, Briar, was the big adventure for yesterday. Who knew that someone could get soooo melodramatic about a jolt of electricity? I was so caught up in Briar's metamorphosis into a 747 jet jumping fences that Trace's adventure fell between the cracks. After all, who notices a "foosa" when there's a white freight train hurtling across the pasture?
Anyone who has seen the movie "Madagascar" will recall that a "foosa" is a small furry meat-eating predator. (If you haven't seen the movie, then you absolutely, positively MUST rent it! I promise you will laugh so hard you'll pee on yourself! But I digress . . . )
Deep in thought, I opened a gate to allow sheep to move into an adjacent paddock. The sheep filed in and immediately came to attention. (This is a clue that you should look behind you.) Lost in my world of hotwire and haywired dogs, I failed to remember that Trace is small enough to slither out of the back yard and follow me. Thus the adventure began:
Note puppy sink into classic Border Collie crouch. "I'm a Foosa!" he said.
Call puppy. Note puppy has developed a hearing loss. Puppy begins to slink forward toward sheep. Sheep stare in disbelief.
"Is that a Foosa?!!"
"Yeeeesssss! I AM a Foosa," Trace assures them.
I attempt to scoop him up. Despite the fact that he never takes his eyes off the sheep, he easily scoots out of arms' reach. I spout UnChristian-like words. (Yes, the Lord knows my weakness and we're working on it, but progress is slow.)
The sheep continue to ask each other, "Is that really a Foosa?"
Like a suave python, Trace mesmorizes them as he gets closer and closer. Again and again, I reach out and end up grabbing air. (very humbling) Rasta, the largest, nastiest ewe, gives him the "hairy eye" as he approaches. Desperate, I snatch at air again as he assesses the problem. Like David before Goliath, the puppy glares at the ewe. Then he reaches deep into his chest and pulls out a Power Bark.
"YESSS!!!!! It IS a FOOSA!" the sheep scream in unison.
By now, Trace is drunk with power and slithers behind them as they file back into their pasture like obedient school children. I grab him when he turns to grin at me.
I hug him tightly as he wags his little windshield-wiper tail, still dizzy with his new-found Superpower. Then I remind him that he is Pre-schooler and will not be pulling out his "Super Suit" any time soon. (and I found 5 new gray hairs on my head!)
"What was he thinking?"
Wednesday, 20 October 2010
Many of you may recall Briar's first experience with electricity. It wasn't pretty. She cried. I cried. We were both hysterical. But that was last spring, when the ground was wet, and Briar was younger. (I'm not sure why I thought anything would change in a few months . . .)
But the sheep have overgrazed some areas and it's time to pen them up with the goats and the ponies while the pastures recover and the rye grass takes root. This worked well for about 45 minutes. Briar puttered around, checking out her digs while I went back to the house. Then I heard the screams.
It started in the distance, like the whine of a locomotive. As it grew closer, a large white freight train roared into sight. I was on the back porch with Ranger when he leaped the fence to go help Briar. At the same time, Briar was climbing out of the pasture - and raking her back along the hot wire strand. The screams reached a new octave, and the freight train launched into overdrive.
She passed Ranger like a jet taking off the runway as she leaped into the back yard. The other dogs and I watched in open-mouth disbelief as a 747 squeezed through the doggy door and into the house. I went inside to find a quivering mass of jelly hiding in the hallway. Ranger scurried in with me to make sure she was okay. Briar was definitely NOT okay.
An hour later she was still huddled on a sheep skin in my office. Oh well . . . like oil & water, I guess Briar and hotwire won't ever mix.
"But I don't WANNA go back in there!"
Tuesday, 19 October 2010
Embrace your obstacles!
When Life squirts water in your ears, shake it off!
"Shake it out, Little Dude."
"Can't . . get . . it . . . out!"
Climb great pinnacles . . .
. . . and chase your problems away!
Then . . .
Monday, 18 October 2010
It's Monday! Time to tackle the week ahead!
So when weighty problems smack you aside the head . . .
. . . take advice from Trace!
Handle those mountains . . .
. . . one bite . . .
. . . at a time!
"I got sand in ma eyes!"
"What we need is a dip in tha pond!"
Trace has never been swimming.
(Pardon the quality of these photos, but they were too cute not to share.)
Trace's First Swim
Look at that grin!
Ranger closely supervised Trace's swim. You couldn't ask for a better babysitter than this goofy little blue dog! After multiple trips back into the water, we finally headed to the house. (. . .where he got a bath in the kitchen sink, and it was not nearly as much fun as swimming.)
Sunday, 17 October 2010
Disclaimer: Farm Fresh Forensics is not receiving any monies from the sale of Kong products.
That said, you have GOT to get one of these suckers!
Seriously . . . you do.
I got a great deal on it because they weren't selling at my local feedstore. "Buy one, get one free," the man said.
"Sold!" I said.
With 9 dogs, we're always in need of toys. Small wubbas are a favorite, but don't last long. Someone always chews the octopus legs off and that takes a lot of fun outta the toy. With Trace moving in, the new toys are tiny. Everyone wants to play with Trace's tiny toys. So . . . Trace and I went to the feed store and found toys for the rest of the pack. (after the staff played with him, and fed him, and gave him a chewie to take home. . . ) But a Giant Wubba? Would a Giant Wubba replace the fun of destroying tiny toys?
I'll let you be the judge.
"But Mom said the toys were for everyone."
"Go away Pin-Head or I will rip your ears off!"
May I take a moment to point out that these two are best friends. Apparently friendship for Lily does not involve sharing Wubbas. At this point, I decided to try a little experiment. How important was the toy to her?
"Lily, where are the sheep?"
"Huh?! What? Sheep?!! Where?!"
"Oooh lookie what Somebody left! Thanks, Mom!"
"Not for long, Pin-Head!"
"Whut y'all got?"
"Ooooohhhh . . . I want it!"
After much tussling and intimidation . . .
. . . guess who . . .
. . . ended up with the Wubba?
"There's a lot to be said for Old Age & Treachery."
And guess who else . . .
Saturday, 16 October 2010
My mom's dog, Penny, passed away yesterday.
This is my favorite photo of them.
It shows the pure joy that a good dog brings. They make your heart smile.
She was Mom's constant companion.
Penny was Kona's sister, and like Kona, her life was also cut short by cancer. She fought the good fight all summer. More than ever I am convinced that everything works out for a reason. The winds of Fate blew a tiny little angel to my mother's doorstep . . .
"Thank you, God!!!"
. . . and just as Penny entered the worst days of her illness, this little angel came to bring a smile despite the dark clouds.
It has been a long, hard summer . . .
. . . but I've been told . . .
. . . there are goats to chase in Heaven.
On a more uplifting note, for those of you who expressed an interest in whether or not Glory was a male or a female, the vet took a look at the kitten yesterday and proclaimed that Glory was definitely a little girl.
Now here's the funny part -
(Hehehehehehe. . . I'm still laughing about this!) Mom became so curious about the sex of her little kitten that she got on the internet to research how you properly determine the sex of a kitten. (hahahahahhahahaha . . . ) Sorry, I couldn't help myself. So anyway . . . guess what kind of websites you pull up when you google the words "sex + kitten" together?
I laughed so hard I almost peed in my pants. Mom won't be doing that anymore.
Friday, 15 October 2010
Captain Ahab heads out in search of the Great White Whale
Deep in a sea of amber and green he searches . . .
Suddenly he spies the beast as it comes up for air . . .
And the chase is on!
Over the waves . . he leaps in his relentless pursuit of the Great White Beast
He is closing in . . .
. . . just as the beast turns upon him! "Oops!"
(Captain Ahab is under there somewhere . . .)
Moby Dick flees . . . leaving the scene of an accident and failing to stop and render aid
The Great White Beast doesn't get far. Captain Ahab has a Fairy Godmother (Godfather?)
Apparently this was a felony.
(Yes, Moby Dick is under there somewhere.)
After a severe tongue-lashing, the Fairy Godfather releases Moby Dick.
"Are you okay, Little Buddy? How many toenails am I holding up?"
"Uhhmmm . . . 4?"
So the Fairy Godfather declared that the Little Captain was okay, and all was well.
The Great White Beast even returned to play . . .
. . . but this time she was more careful.
Thursday, 14 October 2010
"All the world's a stage,
George Eliot wrote,
"What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?"
I share this little tidbit not so you can pull out your yoga mat and meditate on life during your coffee break. It is so much easier for me to ponder Life's little puzzles while I'm taking the dogs for a walk. As the morning sun rises to lift the dew off the pasture, they play in the tall grass, and I contemplate life. You don't have to journey to Tibet to find the meaning of life - just take a walk on your farm. All of life's dramas are played out in the muck and mire of farm living.
It is said that life is a beautiful tapestry. The problem is that we are looking at the back of the rug, while God is looking at the front. All we see is a chaotic hodge-podge of colored thread. I thought about that concept this morning while I was taking my coffee, and the dogs, for a walk.
I didn't want this dog.
When Other Half brought this little space cadet home, I was aghast. The dog was a fruitcake and he was now our fruitcake for the next 12 years. After a difficult adjustment period for all of us, I finally consoled myself with the knowledge that God had put this little space traveler in our home because he needed us. After all, the dog is so weird that in most homes, he'd end up in the pound.
Over time I came to love him, despite his eccentricities. Instead of viewing him just as a fearful space cadet that God had put with us because we could give him a loving home, I began to see the value of his steadfast devotion to family. And this morning, as I watched my Loveable Loon bounce through the pasture, carefully keeping step with a puppy, his puppy, it made my heart smile. Perhaps Life is not about who is the best and the brightest. Perhaps it's more important to realize that everyone, EVERYONE, has something to contribute to this world. And if you haven't seen that yet, then you haven't met this little dog.
"My Beloved Monster and Me"
Wednesday, 13 October 2010
1) Take puppy out of crate where he has been imprisoned beside the bed all night long. At this point he is a tightly wound toy about to explode.
2) Take puppy into pasture with deep grass
3) Let the Wind-Up Toy go . . .
"I can't breathe! I can't breathe!"
After a run and a swim, take breathless puppy into den where he catches his breath, empties his toy box, and massacres his Halloween toys.
But I see shades of a dominant, assertive little snot as he looks up to discover that someone else has raided his toy box. He is not amused.
"HEY! Is that my BAT?! Put it down! That's MINE!!!!!!
And amazingly, she does . . .
. . . and the little beast goes back to killing his monster. Ooooohhhh. . . he's gonna be a rascal later.
"Stay outta my toy box! I'm keeping my eye on you!"
(I saw the exact same behavior in Kona when he was a toddler. Because of that, he was nicknamed Attila the Hun.)
Tuesday, 12 October 2010
Ranger is deep in Crazy Greek Mother Mode. Here are the boys bouncing to the barn, undoubtedly humming "My Beloved Monster and Me."
What a cute little butt!
Now for the other end . . .
I'm in danger of sharing too much information here, but . . . Someone sank his pearly whites into Dad's calf when Dad was takin' a whizz. (And Dad had to clean up the bathroom floor!)
Unlike Ranger, there is not a maternal bone in Lily's body. She does, however, really enjoy playing with her baby brother and tolerates his devotion pretty well.
I give you State's Exhibit A:
Driving back from the grocery store
Monday, 11 October 2010
Trace is a bold little fart who is settling in just fine.
He hit the ground running . . .
and running . . .
and zooming . . .
In fact, if I could bottle his energy . . .
. . . and sell it in six packs, I'd make a fortune!
His battery runs down pretty quickly. In the photo above, his little blue eyes are already getting droopy.
In 48 hours he has eaten:
1) beef fajitas 2) breakfast ham 3) toast soaked in grits 4) horse poop 5) sheep poop
6) goat poop 7) yogurt 8) pork rib meat 9) a stick
and . . . drum roll please . . .
10) dead rat
Amazingly, he doesn't have shooting diarrhea. The boy has a strong intestinal constitution.
We've gotten bunches of notes asking how he's getting along with the rest of the pack. So here goes - - -
Lily: She's totally okay with him. He's a Border Collie and she knows it. He initially fixated on her because she is a black and white Border Collie who probably reminds him of his mom. She won't cut him any slack because he's a puppy but she won't hurt him either. Since she has always had to share attention, she isn't really jealous.
Cowboy: is also okay with him. He doesn't play with him but knows Trace is a puppy and tolerates him quite well. Trace likes to tag along with the other Border Collies.
Ranger: LOVES the puppy. This is Ranger's puppy! He has kicked into Crazy Greek Mother Mode and is doting on little Trace like the gay men in the "Modern Family" sitcom dote on their infant.
Briar: I didn't want Trace around Briar because she is sooooo big, and he is soooo little. That was fine until this morning when she climbed the fence to check him out while I fed horses. I turned around to discover him bouncing around beside her while she chased cats. She knows he's a dog and is gentle with him. (That giant puppy continues to amaze me.)
Alice the Bloodhound: is blind and hasn't really noticed him.
Ice: finds him mildly amusing but doesn't want him to jump in her face. I keep her away from him while he's loose.
Zena the Retired Police Dog: is fascinated by him. Zena raised Ranger and Lily. She adores puppies, but she is a bit pushy and wants to smother him. He is a little freaked by the way she stalks him and keeps near to us or Ranger when she looms too closely.
Oli the Current Police Dog: thinks he is a neat video game. She is not allowed loose with him because he is little and she is fast. Later they will be great playmates but we're not sure she understands "It's a baaaaaby!" So until we're convinced that she knows he's a dog and not a guinea pig, she can stare at him through the bars like a crazed football fan.
Overall, he is getting along great with the pack (in small doses.) Ranger is the only one that I trust with him though. Ranger freaked out when I walked down the road with Trace to visit Dear Friend. Ranger jumped the fence and came to find us. He was quite disturbed when he found HIS PUPPY in HER lap! She released his little friend and he checked out Trace quite closely to make sure he was okay. Then he scooted away and shot her the Evil Eye.
"I'll let it slide this one time, but I'm keeping my eye on you!"
Thursday, 07 October 2010
Mom's little blessing is growing like a weed.
She has come a long way from flagging down strangers at a gas station for help. ("HEY! You with the thumbs! I need some HELP down here!")
Now she's a member of a FAMILY! Since the name "Blossom" didn't really stick, Mom has re-named her "Glory", and she already comes to her name. (and wipes her paws!)
She has a garden . . .
. . . with birds!
She has a big brother who likes to play rough!
And a dog!
"I have a family!!!"
"Thank you, God!"
Thursday, 07 October 2010
Years ago I went with a friend to pick up some goat's milk. We were greeted by a most delightful man who escorted us around his farm. He showed us his goats, his pig, his miniature horses, his cattle, and his chickens. And he did all this . . . in bare feet.
I remember being struck with the idea that this cheerful little man was a modern day Hobbit, spirited straight from the Lord Of The Rings. And his feet looked like it.
Now I'm not one to point fingers. (perish that thought!) I was in my 30's before I got my first professional pedicure. The reason I was forced to get a pedicure is because Montoya had stomped on my foot ("Oops! Sorry mom!") and my big toe was a most striking shade of blue.
A friend was tired of looking at it, so she insisted that we that head to the nearest Vietnamese lady with polish to paint that sucker! So I did. I went in looking like a Hobbit, and an hour later, (and lots of muttering in Vietnamese) I hobbled out with new feet. There was even a beautiful hibiscus flower painted on my bruised big toe.
From that moment on, I was in love with pedicures. Ahhhh . . . the vibrating chair, the girl talk, the stupid paper flip-flops. And the magical hibiscus flower that announced "These are the feet of a Pretty Woman, not a Hobbit!"
But the sad reality is that the Magical Hibiscus Flower fades pretty quickly under the cold hard reality of farm living. The polish gets chipped off each time a critter bounces across the top of it. I want to, I really want to, but I cannot seem to wear responsible shoes every time I step out of my door. Too often I'm simply puttering around the house in flip-flops or Crocs when drama stalks me, and then I regret my choice of footwear.
You'd think I would learn. But alas . . . take this morning for instance. One would think that I would know better.
This is not a picture you want to see when you're wearing flip-flops!
Or this! (They get MUCH closer!)
Why don't I ever learn?
Did Hobbits have Border Collies?
(I'm just asking . . .)
Wednesday, 06 October 2010
While city folks may not have to sling dead 'possums out of their yard on Mondays, they also don't get to rise early on "Hump Day Wednesdays" to this . . .
The sun rises to capture the dew on the pumpkin.
(Okay, the City Folk can have pumpkins too, but do they also have dew on the horse poop behind the pumpkin? I'm just asking . . .)
View from the Front Porch:
View from the Back Porch:
There's no hum of traffic in the country. This is the traffic I hear in the morning:
Sexy Senior Citizen gallops into the barn!
Before I can feed myself, there are animals to be fed:
My Second-In-Command climbs up high on the hay to oversee the operation.
After all the animals are fed it's time to walk the fence line with the dogs.
Our version of Brinks Home Security . . .
And the chores are done! Bring on the day!
Tuesday, 05 October 2010
There are few things that I consider myself an expert on, but the smell of decomposing tissue is one subject that I know a great deal about. So when I drove into my garage barn last week and the smell of decomp assaulted my nose as I climbed out of the truck, I felt that I could safely report, "There is something dead in the garage!"
The problem was that I couldn't find it. The garage shed is attached to the goat barn. There are also lots of hidey holes in old junk where a small animal could crawl off to die. My concern wasn't so much WHERE the critter was, as WHO the critter was.
Here was my first concern:
Lovey hadn't been seen in a couple of days. This launched an all-out search at 1 AM for a tabby calico cat. I called and I called and I called. (Yes, I'm sure my neighbors hate me.)
Perhaps the victim was Remus, the banty rooster who survived multiple Boogey Beast attacks:
Remus used to spend his evenings roosting in the Goat Barn until daybreak where he would trek across the pasture to greet my mother's hens as they began their day. "Hellllloooo Ladies!"
I worried that perhaps Remus had met up with Blue Heeler in his journey across the pasture. Or Briar could have loved him to death. The result is about the same. (Again. . . it depends upon your view of torture.) Or . . . Remus could have been killed by whatever attempted to kill him a couple of weeks ago when I thought something was after the goats. I moved Briar into that barn, only to discover that Something was after Remus, not the goats. But I left Briar there anyway.
Until yesterday . . .
I asked Other Half to feed the dogs. He couldn't find Briar. We hunted and finally found Briar hunkered down in the driveway paddock. My heart skipped a beat . . . Briar had something. . .
Fearing for my calico cats, (and Mom's calico kitten) I cautiously approached. Briar looked over her shoulder and happily grinned at me. She reeked of decomp.
This was what Briar had been working on like an All-day Sucker:
It took me a second to identify the victim, but this cleared it up.
Now it's possible that the opossum lost the Let's Kill The Kitty game and crawled off to die. "Look! A cat with a skinny tail!" I doubt Briar tried to love it to death. It is also possible that it came to kill Remus and Briar caught him instead. (Oh well . . . sucks to be him.) Regardless, he ended up dead and Briar finally dug him out of his death bed.
The down side to my job as a crime scene investigator is that I cannot throw down the Girl Card and get Other Half to dispose of gross items that are too horrendous for my delicate sensibilities. (You forfeit "The Girl Card" when you play Twister over dead men for a living.) So I had to dispose of the dead opossum while he changed out a broken tail light on the flat-bed trailer.
I'm just saying . . .
Sunday, 03 October 2010
This is Rasta. Pardon my French, but she's a bitch. (Actually . . . since we are in the South, we don't call her a bitch, we say, "Bless her heart . . .")
Rasta is a large, aggressive ewe who will attack a dog in an instant. This served her well when Oli The Patrol Dog climbed the fence last winter and attacked the sheep in the isolation pasture. Roanie suffered horrible injuries, Jamaica later died, but Rasta was such a "Bless her heart . . . " that the dog went on to easier prey and Rasta was left with just a few blood stains on her wool.
Rasta has a deep hatred of all dogs - even Briar.
Briar tries to stay away from Rasta. Sometimes that works out for her, other times it doesn't. This morning . . . it didn't . . .
"Get away from here, DOG!"
"Beat it, you stupid white dog!"
"You are a DOG! You are not a SHEEP! Don't you get it?!!"
Dejected, Briar wanders off to lay down in some sand and watch the flock.
But someone sees her. That Someone leaves the flock to go lend a sympathic ear.
Roanie, the sheep who survived the dog attack with grievous injuries, leaves the other sheep to go stand beside Briar.
"Hey, you okay Dog???"
And the ewe who has every reason in the world to hate dogs, stood beside the Giant White Beast, and stayed there. And Briar felt better.
Perhaps this world would be a better place if we were all a bit more like Briar and Roanie . . .
. . .
. . .
(Roanie recovering from her injuries last winter leans on Briar. It was months before she could use her right hind leg again. This photo was taken less than a month after Roanie was attacked by a dog.)
Friday, 01 October 2010
I bathed Alice again this week, and as always, it was quite the task.
Most of the time it's a chore simply to catch her for a bath, but this time, Blue Heeler felt compelled to play in the bath water.
It made The Rinse Cycle difficult.
But as annoying as it was to have a Little Blue Dog bouncing into the spray, it got me to thinking about the biggest hurdle to bathing a Bloodhound - Montoya.
This is what bathing a Bloodhound is like when you add a horse to the bucket:
Now for those of you who have ever considered getting a hound, you need to know that even on a good day, they stink. Even if you bathe them in rose-scented shampoo, they will still smell like wet bloodhounds (with a faint hint of rose). But poor Alice, like most bloodhounds in Texas, has skin allergies and must be bathed regularly. This is no thrill for me or for Alice. Bloodhounds come with an uncanny sense of smell. They also come equipped with an uncanny sense of knowing when the thought of a bath just flits across your mind. As soon as the thought enters my mind, Alice runs to hide in the pumphouse. Fortunately for me, cat food is Kryptonite for Bloodhounds, and if I pretend that I'm not holding a leash in my armpit, I can dump dry cat food on the barn floor and snare her as she's scarfing it up .... if I'm fast.
Luck was with me, and I was able to catch my hound, pour a little Pantene Shampoo & Conditioner in a bucket, and hit it with the water hose. That's about the time things got interesting.
Because Montoya spends so much time in the back yard, I tend to forget he's there. He's like Andalusian Yard Art. And he happens to be fascinated with bubbles. I did not know this until this afternoon. Neither did he. Montoya was delighted with the bucket of suds that I was sponging onto the hound. He hovered over us and supervised the entire operation.
"I'm bathing the Bloodhound."
"Yep.... you need those to bathe Bloodhounds."
"Why don't I ever get bubbles?"
"You don't stink."
"I want BUBBLES!"
"Go away. Leave that alone."
"I want BUBBLES! I want BUBBLES! I WANT BUBBLES! ......Whoops..."
"Happy now? Your bubbles are all over the ground."
"Look! I have a Bubble Mustache!"
"I'm not impressed. Go away!"
"See my mustache? Look. Right here. See? Oh good! You're making more bubbles!"
"Go away! I've got to bathe the dog!" (once you finally catch a Bloodhound, you do not, under any condition, let go of that hound if you plan on bathing it that day.)
"Oooooh... there are bubbles on the DOG!"
"Can I lick the bubbles off the dog!"
"NO!" (The dog was in total agreement with me on this.)
I dropped the water hose. It squirted him.
"That was rude, Mom."
"So go away."
"Hey! I've got a Bubble Mustache. Do you see it?"
By the time I was finished, the hound was soaked, I was soaked, and Montoya was soaked, but he proudly wore his Pantene Mustache until I wiped it off. I don't think the hound will ever come out of the pumphouse again.