Wednesday, October 31, 2018


I'd promised Dax that during my time off this week, we were bugging out, escaping, going AWOL, disappearing without a trace...
He's been ready.

He jumps into the ATV basket by himself and waits.

And waits...

And waits.

I haven't told him our camping plans are on hold because of impeding thunderstorms.  I don't want to break his wee little heart.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Sir Chester

Chester had gone to a new home, but he's back.  They loved him, but he decided to declare a flea allergy and asked to come back to the farm.

So, we're still looking for forever home for him.  Since his arrival on Labor Day, Flynn, Deli and I have been sacrificing our lunch and supper breaks to work with Cheezy to expand his horizons and teach him farm dog manners.  Check out what you're missing by not having a Chester in your life:

He comes with a big heart, the greatest ability to snuggle, a year's worth of flea and heartworm preventative, a year's worth of food and vet services, jackets and winter snow suit, his 4 wheeling goggles, leashes and harness.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

New Wheels

When you get off work on Saturday evening and don't want to leave the barn just yet.
Testing out a new feed wagon. 

Monday, October 15, 2018

This Is War

During Tropical Storm Michael, we worked on keeping the horses safe and calm.  85 mph hour winds were recorded in Seale, however, considerably less damages occurred than  from the tornadic winds two months ago.  This is how the dogs roughed it while we were out tending to the horses.  

Trees down here and there, but that's it.

While all this was going on, the busy beavers were plugging up a major drain on a dam, causing the +5 inches of rain to rise too high and fall to our new overflow culvert.

This is not the first battle waged against this particular band of rodents.  We had unplugged the drain the day before Michael and had left the 40' ramrod on the bank. 
The rogue beavers stole it and dragged it off across the pond.

Barely visible off in the distance...requiring  us to get the kayaks out to retrieve it.  Nothing is ever easy around here.  Murphy's Law #577.
Kayaks in play, we decide to travel through the swamp to find the beaver lodge.  Not easy navigating over mats of vegetation and through bushes.  Dax is being particularly pesky and insisting on being in water instead of on boat.  I can't allow it: beavers, snakes, potential alligators...
Sure enough, we can only make it half way through to the next pond before Flynn,who's 50 feet ahead of me, reports that the cottonmouth snakes are getting too curious.  I have my pistol strapped to me, so he's trying to convince me that we can make it past them.  I decide that Dax, nor I, require an emergency room trip, I abandon him and hightail back to open water.  That's when Dax decides he's bailing and capsizes our kayak.  I can't touch bottom, yet I can feel things catching my feet, I can't manage to right the boat since an idiot is tethered to my waist and is pulling me away.  I get up on the overturned boat and reel Dax in.  Spring fed lakes are pretty cold, BTW.  My gun is still drying out today.

Dax has the gift of provoking adrenaline rushes.
With our ram rod back in play, we attempt to push the clots of mud and branches through the pipe.  No go, feels like they shoved a whole tree in there.  No choice but to dive into the opening of the pipe to pull sticks out.  I try, but Flynn's arms are longer.

This means war.  We froze our buns off driving back in an open cab vehicle.  I'm not so fond of the industrious beaver any longer.  

Monday, October 8, 2018

My Day, My Rules

Saturday was my birthday and I was off work, courtesy of someone who switched days off with me.  Gift #1.

Gift #2:  I made myself zucchini muffins and lied savagely to myself about my age.

#3:  took 2 of my boys running.

#4: played with the new range finder one of my boys gave me.

Plus it has binocular feature allowing me to find the imp.

Burned sufficient calories to resume a day of cooking.  Cuz, ya know at 47, your metabolism has slowed and you can't eat like a horse anymore.... yeah right, watch me.

Mocha cake with butter icing.

Tuna patties, Spanish stew, Chicken pasta alfredo, I'm on a roll!

But, sometime has to be allotted to packing the car with our camping supplies.

Original plans called for getting to the Wehle Conservation Land earlier in the day, but two issues set our goal back.  One: 93'F weather (Peter would melt into a little puddle of fat).  Two: Chester's upturned toe decided to declare itself as a lameness problem.  Dr. Brown discovered a bone fragment floating around in the joint, so no long hikes for him anymore.

Tripod will be going to the vet school next week.  He's the gift that keeps giving.  

He's quiet, yet clingy.  I work hard when sleeping to rotate between spooning with different dogs.  It's a rough life.  

Especially when your king size bed isn't rated to hold 450 lbs and five bodies.  Normal person solution: kick a few dogs out.  As I've never claimed normalcy, I prefer to widen my bed by adding a wing.  New twin size mattress will be squeezed in beside king size.  I shall patent it as the Four Dog Night Special. 

Back to my birthday bash.  Car is loaded and we are on the way.  The Wehle Plantation is only an hour away and it's a beautiful drive!

One three man tent.  My queen size air mattress' inflator won't work, but with very little daylight left, I opt to go walking instead of fiddling with it.

We discover the longest covered bridge in Alabama!  It's so long, it has corners!!! 
My 6000 calorie day ends with more cake, and BBQ ribs from Wiley's BBQ house in Smuteye.  I figured I wouldn't need the air mattress, that I could loll around in my own blubber, but ten minutes into my slumber. I realize that I'm feeling every bump on the ground. Thankfully, I'd situated myself far, far from any other campers, otherwise, they'd be wondering what all the obscene thirty minutes of heavy breathing in the tent was all about.  Do you realize how much of a workout it is to fill a queen size mattress??? I'd have to take breaks until my lightheadedness had passed!
I didn't even have my pistol in the tent, figuring only someone with a death wish would try to break in.  We slept somewhat.  Every time one dog moved it sent the rest of us riding the wave.

The best gift:  a day with my boys.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Roughing It

After weeks of restless sleep, being trampled, kicked,farted on and licked to death...I've reached my zenith of patience.

My bounty of chigger bites are Peter's weakness.  He licks my ankles raw.  Hate to ruin your pastoral notion of life in the country, but pests and vermin abound here.  Chiggers are a minor concern compared to the uptick in rattlesnake activity as they seek out winter dens.

This one headed right into my backyard.  No, I was not present to kill it. And, yes it's my fault that the employee who snapped this picture didn't kill it because staff knows I come unglued when non venomous snakes are indiscriminately killed and she, not knowing what it was, let it slither into my yard. FYI big Timber Rattler.  
But, I digress...
I gave Chester's co-foster parent an ultimatum:  get him out of my house for one night, so I can catch a break.

Chester has been the model of a good guest, but Dax still tempts his fate daily by disrespecting Chester's space.

Garrett is still uneasy around Chester and it seems that Peter and Dax have upped the ante in their antics, either to annoy Chester or lure him into their games.

It's like having a bunch of 6 year olds in a motel room-- ain't nobody gonna get any sleep.

One night this week of calm, that's all I asked for... and this is what I get:

A guilt trip.

Chester adjusted well, so I SUPPOSE he can come with us on my camping weekend.  YES... we are bugging out of here on Saturday.
If you ever wondered how many dogs you could cram into a 3 man tent, you'll have your answer on Sunday night.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Aye Aye Captain

Do you ever feel like you're being watched?

Four chiefs and only two Indians.

Thankfully not opinionated. They just like to watch us work.

Or provide us with much needed comic relief.  Admiral Garrett video:

Some of the chiefs are in-the-trenches kind of leaders, happiest when alongside the crew, scrubbing and cleaning the boats.

While a couple others see themselves as corner office managers.

Fair sailing from the marina crew in Russell county.