Thursday, May 31, 2018

Something Fishy Going on....

My battle against the voles that are destroying my garden has intensified this Spring.  The furry rat bastards are eating all my plants from the roots up.  It's so frustrating to see entire plants toppled over with the tell tale beaver teeth marks at their base.
I've sunk a couple hundred bucks into castor oil granules that are designed to temporarily repel them.  So far, I'm seeing the effects, they're burrowing like crazy trying to find a patch of ground castor-free.  They're popping up in the chicken coop yard, but that's a story for a later blog post.

Two weeks ago, Admiral Smith came up with another method to rid the land of the vegetarian vermin: rotting flesh.  A muck bucket full of dead fish was donated to the cause.

My idea was to run the fish through a food processor and pour the slurry down all the vole holes and tunnels.

Foiled attempts.  Maybe this is what we need.

... a wood chipper!
I elected to try to chop them up with a machete.

Extraordinarily therapeutic to whack away like a maniac until I felt something pop in my shoulder.  Catfish induced bursitis, a unique case!

At first, I carefully inserted fish parts under every asparagus plant, hosta, lily, iris... then I lost my drive and start burying entire fish at the side of my fruit trees.

Now just about everything in the garden has had a dose of natural fertilizer and it smells like cannery row in there.  Whatever it takes to evict them!  An out-of-the-box thinking friend suggested I take the rattlesnakes I've been killing, chopping them up and put them down the vole tunnels.  Can you imagine the coronaries they would have?  Gimme a minute, I'm enjoying the image... 

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Speechless Wednesday

The cowboy, today shirtless, who regularly does his shopping in the bustling downtown of Crawford, Alabama.  Albeit his shopping is limited to the Dollar General or the Rainbow Grocery, this blip on the radar is the closest thing to civilization he and I have in these parts!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Murphy

After a long hiatus, Murphy came home.
And he brought his tropical friend, Alberto.

Horses' feet don't do well after standing around in wet grass for two weeks.

Signs of lameness from infection are quickly treated.

I'm faithful to White Lightning, a product that you mix with vinegar to cause a gassy reaction that kills pathogens.  I love freaking science!!!
It also appears that Murphy brought a canine sidekick.

Dax and I have been observing a larger dog's fresh paw prints early in the morning going from the vicinity of my house, down the back pasture and then off to who knows where.  Game cameras where repositioned, but we have yet to get an image of it.  Murphy's Friggin' Law, obviously.
Between the rain and the work, sometimes Dax doesn't get his evening run at all, sometimes he's dragged out to trot in the dark...

...anything to get him to sleep at night!

If only he was as comatose during the night as he is during the day.  

Quintessential government worker. Until it's quitting time, then you'd better fasten your seatbelt.
Today, I met Foster's owner, this is Foster watching his human do homework. 

Notice the missing portion of the recliner.  Gee, I wonder if that darling looking German Shorthair Pointer did that? Duh.
The Foster stories vindicated me: Dax is not uniquely abnormal.

He tries to be good, but it can be so taxing.

He did well this Tuesday though.  Axel was taken back to the vet school for a recheck on his operated eye.

Demon Spawn didn't knock anyone over (not even the kind woman in the walker who came to pet him--yes, I was sweating that one), didn't leave paw prints on victims' shirts, didn't chew his lead in half. He paced a little.

The only tantrum had was when the head opthalmologist was giving us his diagnosis.

Now that's Murphy timing: rolled on his back in the exam room, squaloring.  Emotions quelled by being picked up and held in my arms.  54 lb big baby.  I raised him, what can I say.
I needed something to hold at that moment, bad news on Axel.  A possible new infection was attacking his eye.  Five more days at the vet school to try to treat it.

Flynn reported that Angus was looking for his Mini-Me.
I go back to the vet school to deliver his feed tomorrow, I'll let Axel know he's missed.

Monday, May 28, 2018

New Adoptee

I brought a little girl home this week.  I've named her Zoe.

Love at first sight.

I love a clean house and thanks to Dax, this past year, I have not had that, but for maybe a few hours every weeks after my regular cleaning.  
I miss walking through the house without trudging over the sand, bits of leaves and tree bark he brings in daily.

Zoe is about to change all that.

Her harvest AFTER I'd cleaned the whole house to make her first foray less challenging.

The elder dogs are nonplussed, but Dax the Younger can't be trusted around her.

Not to worry, she's synced to my phone and can be started remotely when the Tiny Terrorist is at work with me.

She even calls out for SOS's on my phone.  Dax... take note, she's won my heart.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Ark Building...Again!

Greetings from Waterworld.
  A neighboring community had many bridges wash out.

We won't be able to find the horses in the tall grass if this continues.
Yesterday was our one break in what will be over 14 days of rain. I hit the mowing with a vengeance.  

Nothing more fun than tall, wet grass.

Day after day...

After day...

The horses are brought in every time there's lightning. I'm addicted to my weather app.

Whatever helps me keep 12,000 lbs of lightning rod out of harm's way.

We're used to chilling in the barn after hours.

I try to pass the time working on projects. Sometimes the thunder scares the little kid too badly and he needs to be held.

Usually, he's content with hogging my chair.

"I'm scared, come hold me too!"

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Peter Gets a Reprieve

Pathology reports are back.  Drum roll, please.

No cancer cells found.  Which still baffles the vets at to what could be causing the "aggressive osteophyte" growth. One hypothesis is the erlichiosis is doing more damage than expected.  Hence, he's on more antibiotics, groovy pain meds and a host of supplements now.

How am I to make him lose weight when I have to hide 13 pills a day in Vienna sausages?

Rice cakes were suggested. Only Garrett and I really like them.

Oddly enough celery is acceptable.

Apparently fun too.

Glad two of us like it. 
We've stocked up on green beans as filler for his meals.

He's wise to it and picks around the beans.
I've been mandated to slim him down before our next recheck at the vet school.  This is going to be more difficult than expected.  Now that he's ambulating better, he's beginning to make the rounds in the horse pasture again snarfing up high calorie Scooby snacks.  As soon as I get half a day to devote to it, I'm breaking out my underground fence system and all the dogs will be taught a little lesson in perimeter respect!  
Until then, Dax is being a diligent boy and sticking by his Papa Peter.

Peter is loved.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Sunday, May 20, 2018

South Carolina Dreaming

Thursday 6 PM:  Peter is home from the vet school.
Thursday evening: chores and packing for my two day trip.
Thursday 11:30 PM: attempt to sleep, but Peter is uncomfortable and fidgety.
Friday 1:30 AM: I give up on the notion of sleep and resume packing.  I move Peter, his bed, ramp, pills, blankets, food to the barn office.
Friday 3 PM: leave the office when I'm sure Peter's pain meds have taken effect.
Friday 4 AM: peeling out of my driveway, one hour late.
Friday 8 AM:  Dax, Garrett and I pull into our first scheduled stop on this trip: Tugaloo State Park, in Northern Georgia.

Dax must get his runs in--- or else!!!

Two hours of rambling on the shores of Lake Hartwell.

Camp stove used to make breakfast.

In my haste to pack, I forget to pack enough food for myself. My preprinted packing lists remained in their file folder Thursday night as I thought I could wing it.  Later realizing I forgot my coffee press, head lantern, bar of soap and a face cloth. I made do with cowboy coffee (strained grits through teeth), my book light, dish soap and a kitchen rag.

Back on the road! One angel sleeping.

One demon out like a light. Momentarily...

Of my tiny food stash, an apple is plucked out of the cup holder and swept of into the backseat.

If anything, he's entertaining.
The drive up was all on interstates. Between the construction, pouring rain and one terrible accident where a vehicle ended up being tossed over the concrete divider and into opposing traffic, I was relieved to only be an hour late for my meeting with an Ebay seller.  Thanks to a vigilant friend who found the listing, I was able to snag vintage windows for my Scotty camper.  The rain prevented me from inspecting them.  Wrapped up in towels, they were thrown in the handy cargo box.

Hereby known as the Scotty's shopping cart.  I foresee many more little outings for vintage part acquisitions.
With that meeting out of the way, the shunpiking began. No more interstate driving for us!

Next stop: Croft State Park outside of Spartanburg, SC.
What a gem! I'd reserved a tentsite as far away from anyone else as possible.  I'm told to park at the +30 stall stables and walk in the rest of the way.

The stables' wheelbarrow is temporarily shoplifted to assist me with hauling my gear.

The rain holds off long enough for us to set up camp.

With strong storms predicted, it was hard to pick a spot away from the tallest trees and obvious rainwater channels, yet close enough to smaller ones for my rain tarp to be anchored.

Setting off to explore the miles of trails.  Two hours of frustration... Dax was too hyper to do anything other than wrap us up in trees, lunge after squirrels, yank us off our feet when he dug in for turbo takeoffs.

I almost landed in the water when genius launched himself into a rain swollen creek.

Did he learn a lesson?

Doubtfully...

He'd probably be washed out to the Atlantic by now if he hadn't been tethered to me.

Friday 8:30 PM:  first rumblings of thunder are heard and the rain intensified.

Snug as bugs in our tent. Garrett was trembling so much at the thunder that our air mattress was feeling like a Shiatsu massage chair.

He's probably wondering why he couldn't be back at the farm along with Peter, getting doted on by Uncle Flynn who stayed on the farm 36 hours straight. 

Peter meanwhile was receiving the royal treatment:  being carried outside for potty business, water offered to him at his bedside regularly, pain meds every 8 hours.  

After Thursday night's 1 hour of sleep, I slept all night Friday without even hearing any of the thunder. Passed out cold, wedged between the best bed bunnies. Dax decided we must break camp at 6:30 AM.  Hitting the country roads by 8 AM.

To make my escapism more complete, when I travel, I disconnect from the outside world: absolutely no radio and no news; I checked in with Flynn, otherwise no phone calls; not even allowed to use the navigation app unless I hit a snag.  Old school printed driving directions is my preference!

One must get accustomed to driving with reading glasses.

And there's always a schedule to keep.

Military precision when on vacation, welcome to holiday boot camp. For me, when everything is planned, then I can relax to enjoy the sights along the way.

Bradley, SC... a place forgotten in time.  

Small towns brimming with beautiful houses.

From Spartanburg to Georgia, the beauty of the rural areas of South Carolina snagged my heart.

Very few unkept homes. Most had chairs on the front porch... not for decoration, they're used!!

Countless grey heads waved to me as I made my way South as slowly as possible.

See the porch dweller?  Not wanting to offend or get lassoed into a conversation, I didn't stop in front of any houses to take a picture of this phenomenon called sitting on the front porch.

Even the tiny houses were neat as pins.  With an aging population, people migrating to the jobs in the cities, rural real estate values must be low, right?
We toured an open house in Saluda, SC.  A well restored Craftman style house for 109k.

Under $60/sq ft. That's ridiculously cheap.

Location, location, location.

Plenty of fixer uppers out there.
To appease the Dax, we make our stop at Baker Creek State Park on the shores of the Strom Thurmond Reservoir.

Forest Service roads smooth enough for our bicycle and Peter's wagon.  Yes, we will come back this Fall with the Scotty camper!

Taking a little break in the running to let Garrett pray for aliens to beam him up and save him from all this fun.

In order to let Dax burn off more jet fuel, we hit the water.

Garrett splashes around a bit, preferring to sit in the shallow end, while D.S. (Dax Smith aka Demon Spawn) does his thing.

Figuring Garrett wasn't going anywhere, I joined him.

When in Rome...

30 minutes later, he's finally tuckered out and we can resume travelling.  Leaving the park right on time!

Crossing into Georgia, I spied different architecture than that I had admired in South Carolina.

Meanwhile, the crew is passed out.


He looks so harmless when sleeping.  There's a 5 year old with muddy paw prints on his T-shirt in Spartanburg who'd disagree.  Even when warned, the father let a child walk up to Dax, who was tethered to the car while I was unpacking gear.  You know who promptly knocked him to the ground and stole his can of Coke.  

Our return home was delayed by heavy rain.

First order of business: bring His Royal Highness home.

Next unpack my treasures.

What a haul for $75, not counting the fuel and camping, of course, but still hundreds of dollars cheaper than having new windows made.

Sure I could have new windows made, but then how much 'vintage' would be left to my camper?

The seller even threw in a spare trapdoor.

Now I have window cranks,screens and the Golden Fleece:

The rear window!!! And more vintage than my own 74 Scotty are these 1969 windows.  I'm loving it!!!

South Carolina, we'll be back.  With so many great country roads, state parks and historical battlefields to discover, we have a new bucket list for our vacay this year!