Sunday, July 24, 2022

Looney Bin Morning Routine

 You can't change genetics; deal with the hand you're played.  But, environment is all on you, baby.  It's where nutrition, exercise, medical marvels, love and enrichment can turn a life not worth living into joy.  

Peter may be 16 and suffering from hip dysplasia, advanced arthritis and had 3 surgeries to remove cancerous masses, had eyelid surgery, a toe amputated, but he's still cruising.  Three times a week, we drag him to the lake for 15 minutes of cardio.

Getting old ain't for sissies, Connor can attest to that too.  

He had a splenectomy 8 months ago.  The pathology report gave a grim prediction of 3-7 months life span left.  Thank God Connor is illiterate.  

13 year old Connor still plays like a puppy, when he's not on his docking station. Month 8 and counting...

Pippins had cataract surgery two years ago, despite the success of the surgery in one eye, her vision has begun to fade due to advancing inherited retinopathy and now glaucoma.  

She's only 6, but a genetic mess.  We've been on a 3x a day drops regiment for almost 3 years, we've successfully slowed the progress of the diseases, anything to buy her more butterfly chasing time.

Life isn't measure by the numbers on each end, it's what you make of the dash.

Stella is the newest rescue.  Inbred English pointer came to me in dire condition, which only continued to deteriorate.  She definitely saw the bright light and it was just by Dr. Carattini's help that she didn't die. 

It's been an uphill battle since she arrived with a host of parasites, infection, heartworms, dog aggression issues and the inflammatory bowel syndrome that made her poop her intestinal lining before we could get her stabilized. 

Medical problems in check, her attitude was then adjusted by Theresa Nichols of Barkbusters who provided her services pro bono to adjust her to pack life.

I'd say it was a success. 

It is a lot of work, yet I get such profound joy sharing my life with these heathens; it's beyond worth it.  I simply need to find a way to add more hours to the day, then I'll be OK.  I study after work from 9 to 1 AM, so 6 AM dog breakfast chores take a while since I'm half awake. 

This morning,  I was relieved of horse feeding detail at the barn, a more leisurely morning meant I could answer a friend's query: "what do you feed Fergus???"... since he tried to assault a boogeyman outside last night by breaking down the door.  Yes, I was standing in the kitchen at 10 PM, finally having breakfast (stop judging), munching on eggs and toast, when Fergus barreled through the kitchen, never slowing down before hitting the door.  Busted out the strike plate and door hinge screws.  He's 8 months old and over 90 lbs, who needs an alarm system with him around.

Here's a condensed version of my daily morning routine for 8 dogs' breakfasts. Video:

I'm posting more on youtube now that I have Starlink and it doesn't take 8 hours to upload a 30 second video.  Feel free to subscribe to my channel.  I try to post short video a few times a week of the furballs.

Friday, July 15, 2022

Three Sisters Farm

 A couple weeks ago, my only fulltime help was asked to take a permanent vacation.  I kept my head down and stayed on task.

The road in life is always under construction, don't panic.

Adjanie volunteered to step up from part time status to full time.

Bri, for the past 6 months, has been the glue that brings everything together in the evenings.  

+1000 acre farm run by three women.

On Friday, Adjanie started at 8 and ran the barn and other chores til past 4.

I started at 8:30, and was able to cruise through all my tasks without so much as a hiccup.

Bri came in at 4:30 and went about her business until 8:30.

Bliss.  This is what work is meant to be.  

I wanted to stay out until dusk cutting grass, but after being poured on for 30 minutes and the mower clogging up, I had to return to home base at 7. 

This greeted me as I came back to the barn.

A double rainbow.

This day keeps getting better and better.

Standing in my shoes hasn't felt this good in a while.

Viva Las Tres Hermosas! 

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Calamity Jane

 They call me Calamity Jane.

I've been weed eating for days and still haven't caught up.  I'm a walking Chia Pet.

Lately, the days have gotten out of hand before 8 AM, causing a ripple effect to last through till I leave the barn after 9 PM.  

Take Monday.  After two straight days of being so busy that I forgot to eat breakfast, lunch and supper until after 10 PM, I was going to turn this bus around; take the dogs for a run before work, slip in at one of the houses, check the pool and prep for a contractor... all before 8 AM. 

This is where my ride decided to overheat and expire. Halfway to nowhere, I hobbled.

Only two weeks into wearing my boot cast, I've worn the treads clean off, almost to the plastic frame.  I wonder if I can cut apiece of tire to glue onto the bottom.  I wore my Fitbit over the weekend to overwhelm myself with data.  Since, my foot is broken, I've been slacking, I'm down to 14 miles walked a day.  

My future accountant self  will miss a job requiring me to shoot hogs in the middle of the night, operate heavy equipment, be outdoors all day, have a work address where the horses outnumber the humans.

Rainbow photos courtesy Bri Mitchell

But then there are days like Saturday, Sunday and Monday...  

Early Monday, Micah snagged a squirrel on our way to work on the pool.  

Mr. Squirrel didn't check out without a fight.

These things happen when one attempts to hold live rodents in one's mouth: your tongue gets filleted.

What was intended to be a brisk, multitasking, "check 4 things off my list before 8 AM" day turned into a third day in a row battling Murphy and his Laws. 

The new mission:  wrap up work at my boss' house before the HVAC tech arrives, borrow a bike and head back to the barn.  Foiled again: tech arrives early.  How to conceal the fact my day has gone to shit and I'm still in my pyjama top?  Modify your .45 holster to double as a sports bra. 

Success:  my jammies are overlooked because it appears I've murdered someone.  Kudos to him for carrying on a normal conversation when I had blood all over my face from trying to fight Micah who wouldn't let me peer into his  mouth.

Back at the barn, Micah redecorates the office.  He gets relegated to priority #2 because the farm's asthmatic mascot is having a moment.

Inhaler treatments to the rescue.

As tempting as it is, never give up.  Outwork, outmaneuver, resist Murphy .  

Monday night, friends across the road summoned me for supper. Stinky, sweaty and dejected, I stopped in at 9:30 PM for the first meal of the day.  Salmon, my absolute favorite.  I'm the only 50 year old to have been adopted by a couple 30 year olds.  It's supposed to work the other way around, but the powers that be must've known I wouldn't have survived so long out here without my little fam across the road.

Previous two nights, I made the dogs eggs.

My chickens finally understood the assignment and are laying.

In bed by 2 AM with 8 dogs.

"Murphy, you'd better get some sleep because I'm suiting up to collide with you head on tomorrow and every day.  Bring it."

Thursday, June 30, 2022

The Suki

 January 2021 Suki, a wild-eyed English pointer came to be a Smith.

House breaking, recall, manners, all EVENTUALLY understood.  Chewing and digging, not so much. 

I'm on my second set of living room furniture, second guest bed mattress, countless duvets, pillows.  Suki... incorrigible.

She even tried to chop a tree down.  

Nothing was enough to quiet her wild side.  Run her all you want.  She can do 26 miles in 3 hours, by herself!  Some of the GPS logs boggle the mind.

The Terminator, nonstop hunting machine.  She could follow the birds in the barn for hours.

Then an hour nap and she'd be ready to rip again. 

The most gentle little soul in the world to us...

...yet so self-destructive to herself.

In the span of two weeks, she was bitten by a venomous snake and then tore her back open running around the yard. Two sleepless nights at the vet school.  

The heat has been atrocious for weeks and I haven't been letting the dogs out except early morning and evenings.  I dragged out Cole's pool and spent a few night supervising.  Satisfied that Suki, with her sutures, avoided the pool altogether, I left them unattended while I was at work.

Around 8:30 PM, I couldn't shake a bad feeling, I left the barn and went home to check on them.  Three German Shorthair pointers and Fergus playing in the pool and Suki floating among them.  She hated water, I still don't know why she would've jumped in.  It's shallow enough for even the shortest one to stand, but the boys play rough...  I performed CPR, she had a heartbeat so I performed chest compressions while driving 100 mph to vet's house, then felt her slip away.

I have yet to forgive myself for failing her, not only that night, but by not cracking the code to the reasons for her destructive behavior.  The most beautiful, lithe as a friend described her, sweetest dog I've ever owned, slipped between my fingers.  

Maybe she's up there driving St. Peter crazy by chewing up his pearly gates, maybe not.  I hope she has found serenity.  One in a million girl.