Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I didn’t see any of the little red foxes yesterday morning when I went to feed and I figured the commotion of the previous encounters with my dogs had sent the foxes on to a quieter venue. The dogs seemed to have either forgotten about them or knew they weren’t there and they didn’t even bother to go over to where the den is behind the barn. The horses had all settled back down as well. I rode all three of the mares and had a nice relaxing morning with the farm world.

After heading into town for a much needed appointment with my bone crusher, chiropractor, good witch, saint, healer, Dr. Brock, I came back home and let the afternoon unfold into various computer chores and stuff around the house. When it came time for afternoon feeding all the dogs were once again geared up for our ritual, barking, running, and being nuts and off we went to the barn.

I caught a glimpse of two red ears perked our way as we got closer to the barn, sitting quite still at the edge of the woods, so I knew at least one of the foxes was still in the neighborhood. During the course of my tossing food to the horses Marley went to check out the den area and found the foxes and once again it was game time for foxes and dogs. Their exchange was mesmerizing, a game of the foxes first running away from Marley, then stopping as they had done before, turning to face Marley, coming back towards her and then they would all sit and stare intently at each other. At one point there were two adult foxes and Marley sitting about 20 ft apart in a triangle, just watching and waiting.

I had really worried about the German Shepherd, Heidi getting involved with these critters and actually catching one and worse, when she gave such serious chase the other day, and I had given her the riot act for disobeying my come back orders. So when I heard her bark this time, I went over to the den area and hollered for her to come. She didn’t. I was really mad and frustrated at this point, ready to give her holy hell when ever she came back, and then turned to go back to the barn and nearly tripped over her sitting very attentively at the back of my legs. She had this really puzzled look on her face, like “What Lady…? Lost your mind again?” I apologized to her and obligingly gave her a good long scratch on her belly and she seemed ok with this.

It is probably a really good thing that most of us have dogs before we try to raise real children. There is just so much room for errors and mistakes in the discipline of either. Our first dog, another Australian Terrorist, Almyrie, was raised in our apartment and would from time to time get really pissed off at our leaving him alone and would take vengeance by destroying something or letting a big number two in a place you would least expect. He once managed to pull an enormous potted fern off a wire rack, onto the floor where it broke into a massive pile of dirt, shards of pottery, and leaves, somehow escaping it landing on his head. This type of thing was typical of his rants.

Then one day we came home and found him sheepish about something. A quick check of the apartment found a huge brown pile of fresh poo on the far side of our bed. Mark and I were both livid and hollered at the pup, rubbed his nose in the offensive stuff, tossed him out the back door, and I got a paper towel to clean it up. Uupps. It wasn’t poop. Thick brown yarn, from a throw pillow that had seen better days, but looked every bit the part. We had a hard time convincing the poor bewildered puppy that we were really sorry to have made such a big deal punishing him over that yarn. If he had been a child we probably all still be in therapy, but that’s what I love about dogs. They are in the moment and are such good forgivers.

Back at the barn, the foxes and Marley were continuing their games, when suddenly Jack, the previously scribed “Poor Puppy” caught sight of the fun, had to get him some, and took off. Out of sight went the two foxes leading the two terriers at full speed. The foxes kept messing with the dogs, pretending to tire, encouraging the dogs to keep trying, they might make it. After quite a while of this and a lot of running, the two terriers gave up the chase and finally made it back to the barn. Both of them were totally spent, tongues as far out of their mouths as possible, panting harder than I have ever witnessed, laid out on their bellies on the concrete floor. I thought, great, back to the vet with Jack, this time with a coronary. Jack did finally recover his breath. Marley was faster since she is more active than he, but both spent the evening not moving, seriously resting.

The evening also marked the first night of real foal watch for my elderly mare Joline, who is due any day with another baby. I have the remote camera set up in the barn and a wireless receiver on a tv here at the house, where I can wake up every few hours and take a peek and see what’s going on, which is way easier than the hourly walks to the barn all night, or dozing there. A new foal is always exciting to welcome to the world, to see whether filly or colt, what color, if it’s healthy, and what does it move and look like. Then there is also the name to pick.

The social changes will transform the herd dynamics for about a week and the mares will be silly and there will be much whinnying and carrying on, so not much riding will get done. I will most likely take advantage of this and get back to doing some more paintings in preparation of our new gallery opening at some point in the not too distant future. I had stopped painting after the death of Atlas, the studio felt so sad and the air was so heavy. With a bit of incense, a bit of extra light in the room, I think I am now ready to press on. Life does seem to work that way, with its ups and downs. It rolls on no matter what and I am just glad to still be on the ride.

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