Friday, November 20, 2009

A Big Birdie told me: every Dog has his day...

Recently I made a trade with an amazing expert gardener and budding artist (pun intended). If you've not visited GetSoiled, I urge you to go on over and pay a visit. There you will find some of the most luscious photographs on the web - but that's not all. There's advice and information on food and nutrition, plant science and healthy meals, all offered with keen wit, humor, and a dash of panache.

Whenever I "Get Soiled," I am further convinced that when people are creative in one area, that creativity spills out into another, and another and another. There's photography, mosaic work, the building of raised beds and wonderful paintings!! I was lucky enough to barter one of my landscapes for this fabulous Birdie and I smile every time I see her (I decided it's a her).

And now for a happy ending...

When Bad Dog showed up, I made posters to distribute to the coon hunter's headquarters: the local feed store.

And today - hooray!! - one of my neighbors spotted the pic and called to claim him!! Seems he's been missing for two weeks, ever since the last cattle round up. Yep. Apparently BD was a failure at coon hunting (good boy!!) but was a natural born herder. Perhaps that explains what he was trying to do with my horses...

I kinda gave the guy a hard time, as the dog didn't get that thin in the five days before he showed up here. My hope is that he'll worm him - and increase his rations. And yes, he's earned a new moniker for not being so insipid as to chase after raccoons. He shall now be Good Dog as far as I'm concerned. That's him waving farewell with his ears and tail!!

My kitties are relieved...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

No good deed...

...goes unpunished.

Okay - so Wednesday has never been my best day. All kinds of rotten things seem to happen on "hump" day. (I think of Wednesdays as humpff days.)

It was bad enough that I had an appointment for a checkup at 8:15 am. I figured I'd be out of there by, say, 9:00 or 9:15 and have plenty of time for the drive up to Tallulah Falls for my demo day at the Center. But as I was still sitting in the very chilly waiting area at 8:55 am, I called to get someone else to go and open up for me.

I finally get out of there at about 10:00 and head for the Toccoa post office to pick up a package that has been waiting there for me since Saturday. That accomplished, I head up the mountain, figuring to stop for gas at a station near the top of the climb. As I turn into the station, my van stalls. This is not good. I let it glide to a stop and try to start it, but it it immediately dies again. Now I freak. A million half-formed thoughts and solutions race through my head, each shorting out when they run up against the tiny balance in my checking account. No money for towing, no money for repairs, no way to get the damn thing home without busting me completely.

After about ten minutes of stewing, I decide I must get it home somehow. I turn the key, stomp on the gas, and it roars to life. I put some gas in, call my friend Carol, and start for home advising Carol of my progress in case I get stranded. It stalls once more but restarts and I make it!! The dogs greet me - my three sitting for their pats - and Bad Dog by jumping on me with muddy paws. I'm all (well, reasonably) relieved and happy. I call my mechanic, and the Center, and cancel all my Wednesday and Thursday obligations.

I have to borrow some cat food from close neighbor and friend Carol, as I was afraid to stop on the way home. She comes right over and then leaves with Bad Dog following along. Ten minutes later she's on the phone to me. Bad Dog has clambered under her house and somehow managed to break or knock loose a pipe. Water - HOT water - is streaming and spraying everywhere, and Bad Dog won't come out from under there. As her water comes from my well, this is another thing that is not good. I tell her to turn off the water, and I put on boots and sweats and fetch the pvc pipe repair kit.

Sure enough, there is steaming water flowing out of a disconnected pipe joint. We turn off the hot water heater and drain it completely, make the repair, and get Bad Dog out from the scene of the crime. We replace the barrier to the crawl space that had been removed by Carol's son-in-law when he came to do a pipe repair!

So who's to blame? Me for letting the dog stay? Carol for being followed home? Bad Dog for being a dog? The son-in-law who didn't put the barrier back?


It's just a Wednesday thing. Luckily, it comes only once a week.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Is this your hound dog?

'Cause it's not mine...

Once again, a critter has wandered upon my back 40. I came home quite late last Friday, tired and chilled, and just wanting to chill out. I climbed out of the van and right away I noticed my two Pyrs cause they show up even when it's really dark with the security light shining off their white coats. It's harder to see Freda, but I'm used to her being right smack in front of me waiting for her pat-on-the-head greeting. Well, that night, I kept glimpsing Freda over here - and then over there, and then back over here. I could see her long ears flapping about and I wondered how she moved so fast. Then I opened the rear door and ka-whomp - a dog jumped right in, ran right over my groceries and paintings - and plopped down in the driver's seat! So that's it - four ears flapping in the night...

You guessed it. Not Freda - but some free-loader.

So here he is. Sad, skinny, and sans the giant chain that someone was using as a "collar". He looks like an old dog, but he's not. He's just got that Bloodhound droopy look. And he's definitely got that stinky dog smell.

So of course I fed him and made up a bed in the shop for him - and wondered why he was still here the next morning.

Lots of my neighbors are "coon" hunters, a despicable activity carried out under cover of darkness with big guns, dogs and flashlights. Why anyone thinks this is sporting defies not only logic but humanity. So I'm not about to go ask any of them if they're missing one of their black'n'tans. I tried out a few dog-sounding monikers on him, but he only seems to react to "Bad Boy" and "No". (I found this out when he tried chasing any of the kitties who offered to run.)

He tried to protect me from the horses, too, but after two days he's given up on that. I figure he needs about fifteen pounds of muscle to look good. I really can't afford another large dog, so if you're a doggy lover in need of a real pal, here he is! He wants to ride in the car, so someone must have given him rides. And he always tries to come in the house, so someone must have let him in. sigh... Poor boy...

The Pyrs don't mind him - except when he tried to eat their food, but a truce has been declared during which they pretend he doesn't exist. The cats are wary - and Freda wants to play. But "Bad Dog" only wants to bay at unknown things out in the pastures. Better not be my any of my kitties...

And Elvis? Elvis can't wait to shred that doggie's nose.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Who lives here? And here? And here?

Ever since I was a child, I've been drawn to places that appear marginally habitable... This fascination includes not only old houses and outbuildings, but spaces and openings in stone, earth and trees. I find myself peering into these spaces, and wondering who lives there?

Perhaps it could be me?

Perhaps it is the desire to escape - to go and live among the wild things where the only rules and constraints are those of the natural world. If the worry of survival was simplified down to the basics of food, shelter and water, would stresses be lessened? Perhaps it's the need to "make over" a space to suit my particular comfort level. Or perhaps it's just the fantasy of becoming someone or something else - trying on another existence...

I can see myself much as Alice In Wonderland - shrinking down and down, smaller and smaller until I might fit inside the little doorways, the small openings, the tiny thresholds - of mice and moles. My tiny abode could be filled with the fragrance of wintermint or wild roses or sweet clover and dishes of acorn and hickory nut shells would serve up fresh berries.

I'd make garments from the petals of Rose of Sharon, the leaves of sumac and gardenia, and sleep on a bed of the softest fern fronds. I'd float down the creek in a pecan husk canoe, and walk out on the water lily leaves to bath in the "cup" of a lily's bloom.

In summer I'd build a treehouse out of Sycamore bark and camp high in the sky in my private arboretum.

I'd catch a night ride on a flying squirrel or hop a treefrog - and I'd sleep the sleep of the just, the innocent, and the contented - waking with the warmth of the sun...

... sigh

... and now for a walk - and then on to the business of this other life.