Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Philosophical Question

It's been tough lately and once again, I really have to thank all of you.  The Internet is full of miserable stuff, but this blog community is really quite remarkable. You folks never cease to amaze me and you are why I keep writing.  Thank you.

To answer the one question about Tanner and Moss possibly having been poisoned somehow....I do not think so.  I think the only poison they got into is the same poison in us all - they got old.  It is a dog's one true fault that they do not live long enough and that's true for cats as well.  The average lifespan of a border collie is 12 years.  Tanner died four weeks shy of his twelfth birthday.  Most of his 6 brothers are all still doing well.  Although one died several years ago from cancer and the rest have all slowed down and become old men.  Scout battles arthritis and can't climb my stairs.

Moss had health issues since the day she got here.  She came to me loaded with every parasite you can think of.  She also had two severe injuries that I know of in her previous life - she was run over by a truck and she was trampled by a draft horse, both of which nearly killed her.  She crawled off to die after each accident, but somehow, she just didn't.  Add to that the burden of innumerable litters of kittens and chronic starvation - all those things take their toll.  She was not a young cat when she came here 6 years ago.

The timing stinks, but it is what it is.

So, time to move forward.  Time to think about the question everyone has been very politely NOT asking:

"Is Kris gonna get a new dog?" 

Maybe.  Probably.  I'm thinking about it.  I've been thinking about dogs a great deal lately - rescue dogs, shelter dogs, purebred dogs, mutts....

I've been looking around, doing some research.  Most of that is worth several blog posts all by itself if I can find the time and words to write about it.  The current world of shelter politics and marketing is.....interesting/disturbing.  Sad.  Always sad.

There are some good reasons not to get a dog at all.  I always leave my dog with FB when I am at work as I don't think dogs should have to be home alone for 9-10 hours at a time.  Doing that adds 20 miles a day to my already 70 mile commute.  I don't have cats in the house because I am allergic to them.  My allergy doc thinks I shouldn't have any animals in the house.  Actually, he thinks I should get rid of all my animals, sell my farm and live in a bubble.  One really shouldn't pay too much attention to doctors.  They're awfully depressing.

In the end though, I always circle back to the same old philosophical question:

If a life goes on without the company of a dog, is it any life at all? 

I suspect that if you happen to be the kind of person who understands that question, the answer will be self-evident. 



Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Another Goodbye

I wasn't sure I even wanted to mention this, but I know someone will notice and wonder so.....Moss is gone now too.  About 6 weeks ago she got very sick with bloody vomit and diarrhea.  Before I could do anything for her she disappeared.  She was gone for four days and I figured she was gone for good.  I was pleasantly surprised when she showed up on the fifth day looking very thin, but otherwise totally healthy.  She seemed like she was making a full recovery.  I got her special food and she was eating more than she ever has, it seemed like a good thing at first.  Then she started drinking far more water than normal, eating more than normal and yet still losing weight.  She has steadily declined since then despite all efforts.

In the past few days, she became unsteady on her feet, unable to jump onto a hay bale and somewhat disoriented.  This morning, I could see the end in her face. This afternoon, I once again gave the final gift.  She went to sleep purring softly in my lap as we sat in the hay barn one last time.

The first half of Moss' life was very rough.  She was a feral, half starved, abused, neglected creature who came to me with an abundance of scars, few teeth and neurological damage.  She learned to enjoy life here and wanted for nothing.  It is a bit ironic that it is only recently that she has begun to enjoy human touch.  Her best friend the past two years has been Ramsey.  Like so many of us, she took to him right from the start.  I figure that Moss was approximately 12-15 years old.  Not terribly old for a cat, but ancient given how hard the first half of her life was.

Goodbye Moss, I am sure there is another warm hay barn with lots of good donkeys to play with.  Say hello to Tanner for me.






Sunday, October 19, 2014

Fall Colors

Most of these are from several weeks ago.  Unfortunately, Fall is just about over with here.  It really seems like this was the shortest summer ever.  Everyone I know seems to be in a sate of benumbed shock that the weather forecast is mentioning snow all of a sudden.  It's just too soon.











Goodbye Summer, we miss you.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Wild Turkey

This is the hatch of wild turkeys who have been hanging around all summer.  This is a mother and her brood, which she hatched out very late in the season.  I think there started out being fifteen of them, lately, I consistently see ten.  There are always one or two hens who raise babies in my pasture each Spring.  This group was born in mid July, which is very late for babies to be hatching.  The mother must have lost her first clutch.  I wasn't expecting them and I nearly mowed them over with the brush hog.  I ended up having to leave a portion of the field un-mowed since I didn't want to kill them.  They've been making daily circuits around the property for weeks now. 

They LOVE the dust wallows that the donkeys have created and stop by for a bath every morning.

They stay clear of the donkeys because Emma will push them out of the pasture, but they also follow along behind them picking through their leavings.  They do a great job of breaking up manure piles.
 
I had the maybe-bright-idea to create a flower bed on this unmowable stretch along the driveway....

I used a telephone pole that the electric company took down in the Spring, filled it well aged manure....

Covered it with straw and figured I'd leave it till Spring.

The turkeys had a blast tearing it to shreds.

I haven't seen them for a few days now.  That's how turkeys are though.  They hang out in the same area for weeks or months at a time and then, for some unknowable turkey reason, they move on.  I probably won't see them again until Spring.  I'll give it a few more days though before I bother to repair the "flower bed" again.



Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Good Angels, Bad Angels

Good Angels...

Naughty Angels playing tug-o-war with the lead rope...

Bad Angels have no pictures or videos because they require two hands.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Fall Harvest

This was one of last week's projects over at the farm....

bathing and storing 5009 squash.

Well, OK, maybe that'a a slight exaggeration, but there are certainly enough to last the year.

We've been having frost regularly and everyone is putting the gardens to bed for the winter.  (I can't believe we're already using the "W" word. shudder.) We folded away the plastic mulch...

and installed a brand new pair of rototillers....

They went to work immediately.

They'll have the entire garden worked over in no time.

Nothing like happy, enthusiastic employees.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Taking Up the Slack

Hey folks, we're all still here.  Thanks again for all of your patience and understanding.  It's been a tough adjustment getting used to life without a Border Collie to keep everything running properly.  We're muddling through though.  Barely. 

Tanner was never technically a "working dog", but it's amazing to suddenly notice just how much he did to keep order around here.  The riff-raff element is definitely taking advantage of his absence.  There were at least 15 deer hanging out under my deck when I got home last night.  The deer are always a nuisance, but they have never been brazen enough to use my house as a scratching post before.  Darned vermin. There is a flock of wild turkeys doing laps around the house and a pair of rabbits sunning themselves in the driveway.  Intruders everywhere.

My daily walks in the woods, which are a vital part of keeping my own joints working, were just too hard to do all alone.  Tessa and the donkeys have had to step up and fill in - which they are thrilled about.

"Maybe we should've gotten rid of the dog earlier if it means more time for US."

"Especially since BEECH leaves are involved!  YUM!!!"

"I don't see any beech trees here Ma, let's go find some."

Donkey priorities are a bit different from a Border Collie's.

The only real trouble with taking the donkeys out each day is that now they think they should go out twice a day.  Or maybe three times.  For four hours each.  They start nagging to go out again just as soon as we get home.

Tessa is a big fan of hiking too.  She loves going for walks and she has truly mastered the art of beech leaf harvesting.  She goes for the bulldozer method.....

Farm Buddy has been doing some work on another farm and has been leaving Scout and Kelsy with me for babysitting duty one day a week.

The equines are great hiking partners (when you can tear them away from the beech leaves), but there's nothing quite like a good dog.  

And she rescued the basketball.

The donkeys have been having a great time with it, but I do cringe a bit watching them.  I know my poor dog must be twirling in his grave at the very idea of a basketball in the clutches of donkeys.  It is SO against The Rules.

I know this would make him MUCH happier....

We're muddling through.