Thursday, September 20, 2018

Chester Gets A Package From Canada

Chester is trying to establish residency here at the farm.  He's even receiving mail here now.

My mother sent him a care package of doggie items, hand-me-downs from her old Bearded Collie.

Plenty of boots, jackets, harnesses and toys.

Look out, Dax, you are to be usurped as Grandma's Favorite.

"I've never had a rain jacket before, is baby blue my color?"

"I don't know what a life jacket is for, but I have a feeling I won't like kayaking?"
Chester is better versed in riding on land.

Took to being chauffeured like he was born for it.

Teaching him to stay in the dog carrier on my ATV took 10 seconds... Dax still hasn't figured it out.

He's a great guy, never in the way, but always there.

As Peter still won't accept him, Chester has partnered up with Dax.

 Supervised run have been initiated, he a little awkward and socially gauche with the other dogs, but we're working on it.

Ooooh Chester, you're a hot mess!
280 lbs of canine presence always within reach in the evenings. Is there a weight limit on mattresses? My bed is now officially crowded.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Chester Update

Chester never told us he was Olympic material.  

It seems our foster boy is a very gifted jumper.  4 foot fences are mere hurdles to him.  Spend a day laying down an underground perimeter fence and slap a collar on him and the athlete in him is quelled.  

After his second leap out of my backyard, Flynn and I spent some quality time driving the county roads, Flynn went hiking down ATV trails. When we regained the house, hearts lower than a snake's belly in a wagon rut, we found Chester sitting at my back steps.
He'd broken back into my yard!

That's when I pieced together an perimeter system.  I love how my plans for a day off and away from here go POOF.
Scaring us half to death is obviously tiring!
Everyone here has committed their heart into finding this sweet mid aged man a new home.

The only reason he hops my fence is to go find his foster dad.

He is smitten with Flynn and will follow him off leash everywhere.  Which is fine until Flynn has to get on a tractor, mower or go home at night.  

What we have decided, as concerned and vested foster parents, is that Chester is to go to someone who will have him inside until it is time for the team to do work outside.  He has been an absolute gentleman in the office and in my house at night.  Totally housebroken (Dax take notice, we may ship you off instead). 
In the mornings before work, we've been walking him to the Boonies.  Each day we've put a dog beside him and pushed them to walk, not make funny faces at each other.

He's been calm and collected when introduced to all the other boys here (Peter you can take notice too and stop snarling at him before we retire you to Sunshine Acres in Timbuktu). I'm still worried that Peter and Garrett will gang up on him, so we're not initiating free play just yet.

Garrett has been oblivious to him, but most things slip past poor G quite easily (kid is one sandwich short of a full picnic).

Dax wants to run circles around him in attempts to dazzle him with his ability to be a retard.

We've been working on basic commands and are confident that with daily exercises, he'll be ready to take the AKC Farm Dog Certification test on Nov 7 in Tennessee.  Yes, that's how resolved we are in finding him the best forever home.  I'll be taking time off to drive him up to the Knoxville area for two days of trials.  

If you have love in your heart and the desire for a full time canine partner, we will deliver Chester to you.  Yes, we.  Don't think Flynn will leave this boy until you and your farm pass his inspection!  

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Chester For Hire



Objective:  To obtain a position with a well established household with housing and large yard possibilities.

Employment History:  I'm currently interning at a Russell county farm.  My previous job is top secret and cannot be declassified.  My current employer had been, for weeks, tracking my comings and goings on the farm with game cameras and by tracking my unique front paw print (three toe print).  As I have been in between job, I had been subsiding on horse nuggets.  Offered this intern position required sacrifices: I traded in my family jewels for 4 square meals a day.

Bio:  5-6 years old, currently 60 lbs, but aiming towards a healthier 70 lbs.
        Received a full dental cleaning.
        1 year supply of heartworm preventative.
        1 year supply of flea and tick treatment.
        On a one month regiment of antibiotics to rid me of erlichiosis.
        Full blood panel test shows me to be fit as a fiddle.
        Wisdom Canine DNA Test results back at end of September will probably show that I            am a Black and Tan Coonhound Mix 

Skills:  Sit.

           Watch the couch doesn't try to leave.

           Expert grass tester.

           Patience when elders are conferring.

         Gifted copilot.

         Housebroken.  My employer has been complimentary of my urinary restraint.  Thanks to my great recall skills, I am no longer subjected to performing my #2's for an audience on the end of a leash, as I prefer my privacy.

         Attentive and alert.  I have been escorting my boss lady on her nightly property domicile security checks.          

         Eager to please and congenial with my coworkers. 

         Easy to bathe.

         Intrepid.  Will leap into a large body of water while two of my colleagues are washing boats, even if my swimming skills are rudimentary at best, but I don't mind when they jump in to try to rescue me.
         Not interested in chasing horses and livestock.
         Loves to ride in utility vehicles.

Unproven skills:  Sociability with cats (aren't they like raccoons who can be treed, except they have claws?).

                         Sociability with other dogs.  Upon first encounters, I am quiet, calm and non reactive. 

Reasons for Inability to Stay in Current Internship:

      My employer states that the farm is already overstaffed and I am over qualified. Plus, The boss' kid is a monster, but aren't they all?  The old timer that has been there for eons keeps trying to attack me.  And the white one, called 'window licker', whose intellectual challenges grants him permanent status.                    
The Boss's attempts at finding out my previous employer failed.

My coworkers have tried in vain to convince the boss to sack the three resident canines and let me take over all three jobs, but alas, they are vested and I must find a forever home elsewhere. 

Thank you for taking a moment to read my resume and considering my qualifications as they could benefit your pack, Chester.  

Sunday, September 2, 2018


Flynntastic: adj. used to describe excellent works performed by an individual called Flynn.
As it happens, we have one of those on the farm, what a coincidence!  It has been four months since the back side of the tall dam has been bush hogged, because nobody else can do it, but Flynn.  A month ago, I attempted the mildest slope and left a streak mark in my shorts.  Nope, not for the fain at heart.  It even makes my stomach churn to watch him do it.  I supervise mainly to enforce my seatbelt rule.  Rollover bars do nothing if you're pitched out of the safety of the cab.
It only takes him 10 minutes, but I feel like puking for an hour later.

Here's the condensed version with high speed footage.

We need to get Flynn a cape and a Zorro mask.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Trip to Emory

It all started with my horse's optho vet referring me to Emory Hospital. Thanks to the old adage of "it's not what you know, it's who you know", they squeezed me in early Friday morning, not three months from now when they take new patients.
Not wanting to botch this appointment, I arose at 3 AM and made it through Atlanta before it became the traffic mess it is best known for.

I was waiting for them to unlock the door.

A quiet empty waiting room.

Just what my nerves requested.  I hadn't found the parking associated to this building and had spent some time circling the hospital campus until settling in under the Children's Hospital and crossing three buildings and a long pedestrian bridge to find the Eye Clinic. 

Exiting from my appointment later, I realized how lucky I had been to land the first appointment of the day.  A line out the door had formed and when returning to my car, two other cars where sparring for my spot.

Eyes dilated and preoccupied with what I'd been told, I found it hard to drive home.  Plus, my GPS app informed me of two accidents to avoid, one delaying traffic over an hour on I-85, forcing me to take two lane roads for an hour to circumnavigate it. My navigation app has gotten me out of so many jams!

Back to the diagnosis...
I'm still digesting the news, I'm grateful, angry, numb, partially homicidal...
The renowned corneal specialist basically disagreed with everything my former surgeon and opthalmologist had diagnosed and their proposed treatments.  Wow, just wow!
Over the years, I'd had two RK surgeries, corneal ablations and the surgery to the right eye last year.  For the past 15 years I'd put my trust in a clinic in Montgomery. It's become apparent now that the trust was misplaced.
At my last appointment at that clinic, I was told that I had retina damage, scar tissue on the new lens and advanced keratoconus which had to be addressed immediately before it got to the point my blurred, double vision became irreparable. I was slated for retinal surgery followed by corneal cross linking procedure... more super expensive medical bills to absorb.  I'd already filed out the application for a medical loan and I was bracing myself when I arrived at Emory for their estimate of the surgeries, should I elect to have them in Atlanta instead of Montgomery.
The Emory specialist said he was dismayed at how many patients were unnecessarily recommended for corneal cross linking.  It's a newly approved procedure in the US and all the rage with opthalmologists who think of it as a cure-all. Without coming straight out and saying I'd been mislead and misdiagnosed, he stated that he would've preferred using a different replacement lens in my eye due to my weak zonules.  The less preferred lens isn't anchored well and it's no wonder scar tissue has formed to anchor it.  There is NO retina damage, but scar tissue has formed all in the eye, but he doesn't recommend removing it right away because then the lens would be free to wobble again and then I'd be back at square 1.  If it weren't for my corneas being unstable, he'd recommend replacing the lens, but that's further down the road, if my eyes can be stabilized. 
Technically, the Montgomery clinic was correct in stating that I was losing vision faster in my right eye, but mostly because of the wrong lens they put in that caused damages!!!  My good shoulder angel reassures me that no doctor does it on purpose to harm a patient and that this is the result of just a bad decision on their part.  My curmudgeon angel says they #@!*ed up and were trying to hide the evidence by throwing more surgeries my way.  
The keratoconus diagnosis was also thrown out the window. My corneas are compromised by scarring and past ulcers.  I don't think I process pain the way most people do.  He said I would've definitely felt the ulcers, but I couldn't remember anything except mild annoyance with my eyes.  Not anything like what the horses exhibit when they get ulcers.
Bottom line is my vision sucks because I'm looking through the opacity of scar tissue and that knobbliness of scarring causes inflammation which has scarred the entire eye causing my tear ducts not to function well, further spinning the vicious cycle and further scarring my corneas.  Then, my weak zonules that hold my lenses (most likely due to years of blows to the head) are supposed to be the barriers that help separate the vitreous from the front chamber of the eye and the back chamber, it appears the leakage is causing flares in my eyes too.  Another reason tampering with them would only have made matters worse.
The course of action taken is to follow a course of 6 drops per day in both eyes for 3 months, then to see a zonule specialist at Emory late December before returning to the corneal specialist. 
You recall all the expensive contacts and custom contacts the Montgomery clinic fitted me with??? Apparently the worst thing they could've done is to slap contacts atop compromised corneas, it's what promoted so much more ulceration and scarring. Thanks, thanks a frigging lot. 
I'll never be able to wear contacts again, but I should be stabilized enough by January to have prescription glasses. 
I was told that I shouldn't be driving, oh you don't say!!! I reassured him that I hadn't been driving much at all. 99% of errands have been run by others...

Except for a few runs to the vet school hauling a 20,000 lb rig...
Besides, I showed them this picture and lamented how long it would take me to get to Atlanta hoofing it.
The prescriptive drops were called in to my local pharmacy and when I went to collect them, they informed me my total cost would be over $1200.  The look of dejection on my face spurred the lead pharmacist to do some research.  She pulled up a manufacturer's coupon that cut my cost in half.  I'd picked up many a prescription for my animals there and they'd remembered me.  Like my papa always said: It's not what you know, it's who you know.  

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Modes of Conveyance

To boogie from one place to another on this large plantation usually calls for leaving a carbon footprint.  It can be the fastest way to go, but is it the best?  Adding a mere minutes to my time between places, I've been opting to forgo the car, truck, utility vehicles since Flynn has returned... when time permits. Besides, he's taken over my nutzo hours and logged 87 hours in one week.  I'm finally breathing a sigh of relief and feeling human again.
 I've relished playing with my food again!
quail eggs

trying to mimic Todd's sandwich wreath...trying

Simple pleasures. Sometimes not so simple... a few days ago I made from scratch gelatin and flavored it with fresh squeezed lemons, then I picked lavender buds from my garden and made frosting out of them.  Now that was fun and weird!  
Maybe that's why I've been attempting to run, bike and swim more this week-- I'm eating like a hog!
Every day Dax and I have been swimming after our morning runs or after work, or both! I'd been scared of being chased by a water moccasin, nipped by a snapping turtle or cruised by an alligator, but logic finally (after 2 years) prevailed and I realized I have worse problems on my hands than an irritated snake.

Party on Garth.

Leaving work Wednesday night at dusk, I was worried Dax and I wouldn't make it the two miles back home with enough light.
I'd forgotten I was tethered to Flash Gordon.  Dax is pure speed, he galloped all out the entire way--- of his own accord. I was laying heavy on the brakes through the deep sand, to no benefit.

White knuckle delirious fun!
This Thursday afternoon, Flynn began what will be a couple days project bush hogging at the furthest end of the property.  Driving the cumbersome batwing unit back to the barn at night is very time consuming.  To keep Flynn from calling his taxi while I was busy feeding or administering Cody's inhalants, I left Flynn with a utility vehicle and I rode my bike back.
I believe in performing one good deed a day, bare minimum...
When I drove past this sight, I had to stop.

I couldn't tell what it was at first. But it looked all wrong.  I took a picture of it and zoomed in on my phone to make out it was a turtle hung up in a tree stump.  It must've tried to jump off its log, became wedged and a quarter of it was underwater, was it the head or the tail?  I splashed in the water and slung mud at it, no movement.  Surely dead. I didn't want to wet my sneakers and I wasn't about to wade out in all the mussel shells I could see in the mud.  I went to leave, then decided I simply couldn't chance it was still alive.  Without a saw, I spotted a slender dead tree in the woods and spent 10 minutes bending, twisting and whittling away at the ornery tree--- until I had my poking stick.

"Hello, anybody home?" 
Legs moved and a head popped out.  Forgetting all about sneakers, I rushed into the lake up to my shorts and wiggled and pried until she was freed.

That made both our days complete.

I believe that if you project and dole out positive energy, it finds you again and makes you richer. 
I'd left the dogs at home after lunch and Dax decided four hours was beyond his tolerance range.  He frequently does so by taking it out on pillow cases.  Instead of scolding him, as it was too late, I channeled his energy by having him pull me and Peter back to the barn for evening work.
older pic from another adventure

After work, with only a sliver of daylight left, we all ran down from the barn to the lake.  Peter and Garrett just watched from the dock as Dax and I swam laps around the lake.
As Dax couldn't be coaxed back out of the water, I pretended to walk off without him.  It worked, for a moment.  He passed me and kept on going, a white flash over the hill and away.  I pulled Peter home back in his wagon without assistance and marveled at how a 55 lb dog could pull roughly 240 lbs!  I was struggling!
Back at home, I did get my darn car and started driving all over the place looking for an idiot dog.  So much for keeping to a light carbon footprint. This should be how I conduct my next search party rescue:

I'd made a second pass by the barn when out of the dusk, a vision appeared and made my crying eyes dry instantly.  Dax almost broadsided me, or I almost ran him over, happened too fast, but when I'd screeched to a halt and flung my door open to look for a carcass, his head clobbered my nose as he leapt over me into his copilot seat.
Now that's how kharma works.  You help a turtle, then you find your dog unscathed, you may lose a pillow case along the way, but Kharma never said she was perfect.