Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Hot Dog


The weather ap on my cell tells me that the temps today should reach the triple digit thing, again. I somehow just don’t really need a cell phone to restate the obvious. It is now officially, Hot. I am sitting on the front porch, under the whirling noise of the welcome fans overhead, and ponder whether the grass really needs to be cut today or not. The shrubbery lining the front of the porch begs for trimming, and I want to do that cause it looks so straggly. I, however, refrain from doing so because I am watching a steady stream of wasps float in and out of the deep green leaves, tending to their unseen nest within the darkness, for which they will defend, and have already done so once. They win, for now.
 A blue tailed lizard basks in the sun hitting the front steps and thinks the weather is fine. I think not. Gracie lays beside me, her sugar buzz from her morning snack of a scavenged ear of corn left by the marauding group of raccoons who have invaded my barn and my garden, is finally spent. More on them later, but for now an update on life with Gracie so far. 
The phrase about the kid wanting the puppy and the classic “It won‘t get very big” as justification for adopting a puppy rings quite true with her. When I first got her she weighed in at a whopping 2.8 lbs at three months old or so. Her recent visit to the vet for her life alteration/spaying said she had ballooned up to 3.7 lbs, which really is quite a monstrous jump proportionally if you think about it. Her weight gain over the past few months would be similar to a 125 lb person adding on about 50 plus lbs or so in a few month’s time, a not insignificant amount, but she still remains a very tiny dog. Just don’t tell her.
After her life change surgery I was to take her back in for her stitches to be taken out. We are talking about the removal of tiny stitches, nearly invisible little knots, and to remove them under the best of situations and bravest of doggies is one thing. Then there is the bantam weight Gracie, who was decidedly not interested in anyone pulling on those strings with scissors to cut the knots on her oh so delicate belly. In the final outcome it took four assistants to hold an almost 4 lb dog still enough to complete the task. It was agreed that a 90 lb German Shepherd was infinitely easier to restrain for such veterinary maneuvers than this mighty terrier.

Gracie’s karma was not to be a pampered city pooch. Hers was to have landed in this incarnation on a farm, a farm that is full of potential dangers and misadventures, but I think she prefers these risks to the option of being a sedentary lap dog with painted toe nails and bows in her hair. She has now  met a fairly benign Spotted King snake who gave her the body language and threats to show her that messing with “no-necks” is risky business. She understands that horses have big feet that could cover her with one step, but she is reverent of them and they seem to think she is no treat to them and tolerate her as she darts in their stalls to steal spilt pellets of their feed.
 Yorkies were bred to be critter killers and their idea of playtime is practicing skills to kill, maim, and pluck whatever they can find to chase. My hands seem to be a favorite pretend varmint and Gracie chases my fingers as I scurry them across the floor. She will rear up and then pounce on my hand and bite my fingers until they are dead. Like a cat, she prefers toys like mice that squeak and such, toilet paper rolls which are shredded until unrecognizable. Then her favorite, until the shepherd played a bit too hard with it, was the infamous Flying Monkey that shrieked and screamed as it flew across the living room followed by an earnest little velociraptor, and killed.
Gracie also plays a game of messing with Sasquatch, running circles around her large stoic German Shepherd friend and occasionally coming close enough to touch a paw or Heidi’s tail, just testing. This drives the big dog nuts, but I think at some point Heidi is glad to have another canine to hang with despite the disparity in their sizes. They do speak the same language, and it is pretty funny to watch the old dog lead the way around the farm, with a happy little midget dog trotting on her heals panting as they go.
videoToday’s heat kept us inside for the most of the day and one thing leading to another, boredom set in for Gracie, that, and along with the heat, lead her to another of her favorite activities, playing in the water bowl. She had done this once before on such a day and returned to it with unbridled enthusiasm. Couldn’t blame her and a beach towel on the floor kept the splashed out water from spilling into the back door closet. I just sat back in amusement, enchanted by the antics of a silly puppy. It is good to have a puppy in life, sometimes more so than at others, but pretty much things just go better when one is around. I defy anyone to watch this video with a straight face.
As to the afore mentioned coon family that has discovered my peaches, my corn, and my tomatoes, the war is on. Gardening has always been a source of relaxation, hard work but good for the soul and the stomach, a rewarding way of creating food from little seeds to big healthy plants and veggies that turn into dinner. This year, however, the whole process has been hell.
 A late start on it proved to be the kiss of horror in getting it started. From viruses leftover from last season, a bumper crop of hungry bugs, mysterious causes for the young plants wilting, browning, or worse being stripped of all their leaves with no trace of the villains (thought the finger is pointing to coons and deer), it has been torture. I replanted the beans three times before they got going, the squash the same thing. So...now that the plants are beginning to put out produce, and the young corn is tender with silks, to walk into the garden to find half eaten ears of corn laying on the ground and the stalks pulled over so that the fat little ring tailed, masked fur balls can reach them, is infuriating to say the least. Mark just came home with a few cans of sardines that we are hoping to lure these masked robbers into traps, so they can find a new home, on a new astral plane.       (written this weekend)
Monday am...It was really now time for the lawn to be brought back to order despite the heat. I hit the barn with a quick check on my raccoon count, zilch again, and then noticed there was not a single ear of corn left of the early corn and the Silver Queen was beginning to get messed with. Crap, what a nice way to start off a week I thought,  grumbling about all that work for nothing.  I went about feeding horses and as I opened a door to the feed room at the little barn, which I do everyday to no real ill effect, a wasp came out of no where and tagged me on the back of my neck. Crap again.
After downing my benadryl the yard finally got trimmed, the hedges partly done using caution to avoid more mad wasps, and the remaining corn is surrounded by new hot wire, high and low. For now, a glass of wine is poured, the bird in the oven is almost done, and this day, and me, is toast. Tomorrow is another day.
   

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