Thursday, September 27, 2012

Jack is Home!

After nearly two weeks, two weeks in which I called and looked and then began the slow sad descent into acceptance that he was most likely dead, Jack came home.

It was like my birthday and Christmas all rolled into one.

I had just got home from an evening at Grandmas and was locking up the chickens. My shirt was wet and cold because it had been pouring at her house and I hadn't thought to bring a rain jacket. Thunder was rolling off in the distance, and I just wanted to shut the chickens up and head back inside for a little quality time with my video games.

Except that when I turned around I saw my two kitties were lined up at the edge of the drive begging for dinner. So I petted them and reassured them that they were the best most fierce hunters in the whole world and began to follow them over to their dishes. It was about then that I saw something skirting the edge of the flash light beam.

My first thought was oh my god it's a bear I'm gonna die.

Followed by, I should have brought the gun and not died like an idiot.

Which was then followed by the shape stopping and looking back at me. I was smart enough to not shine the light directly into it's eyes and it was then that I realized it was Jack. I called to him and he took a few steps towards me that turned into a trot when he heard the far off thunder. He didn't seem to want to enter the flash light beam so I switched it off and stood in the near darkness and called to my dog.

Without thinking I went down on one knee and instantly Jack was their in my arms licking my face like he had thought he would never see me again. I didn't even think to grab his collar, I just held him to me and petted him and told him everything was going to be okay. Again without thinking I pulled off my belt and looped it though his collar and walked him back to the house.

Apparently Auto-pilot-Holly is an extremely efficient and well thought out person.

Unfortunately I can't seem to tap her at will and I am stuck with Kinda -doesn't-think-things-through-all-the-way-Holly.

But I digress.

I got Jack inside and called to Scott and he came running and got us a towel and got Jack some wet food and all I could do was hug my dog to me and repeat that he had come home over and over again until it really sunk home and I smelled like wet dog.

Then their was the flurry of calling and texting all the people that were worried about him and of course the farm sitter who was probably feeling kinda bad that the dog got loose on his watch even though these things happen in life but nobody could have predicted that he would have been gone so long.

But at least I have a dog to sleep at my feet again while I am typing.
He might be skinny and starved and covered in ticks but he's home now.

He's home.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

No Sign of Jack.

Jack has not yet returned. So I find myself dogless. Which is not something I particularity enjoy. I feel like I had come to depend on having a dog. For emotional support and the whole barking when something is not right thing. However I don't want to rush out and get another dog when there is a possibility that Jack might come back.

The whole thing is kinda fucked up is what I'm saying.

I still feel like there is a possibly that Jack might return when he hits the desperately hungry stage. Also, I am beginning to suspect that the nice lady that runs the dog shelter might not be believing us anymore. You know that Razzle died from a snake bite a after we had her only a year, and now I am claiming the poorly socialized dog we adopted ran off after we had him for less then three months.

Look, I'm not saying that she believes we are running some sort of dog sacrificing cult, but the evidence is not in our favor here.

Of course all this would be moot if Jack would just get it through his think skull to home to that land of napping on blankets and getting wet food every afternoon. I miss my little doggy boy. Sure he might have been paranoid that everything was out to get him, all the time, and he might have been just a touch fearful of all people, all the time who weren't me, but dammit he was my paranoid fearful emotion train wreck of a dog and I want him back.

I miss having him sleeping at my feet while I am on the internet, I miss the way he would be frantic during storms unless I read to him, and I miss out daily walks where we would explore the woods together and when we totally reenacted the scene from Calvin and Hobbes where they find the snake and run around in circles except this was a nest of bees that didn't want to hurt us but still scared the shit out of us anyway.

Maybe it was the fact that Jack was an older dog with signs of having an emotionally abused past, but when we would go for walks or he would be hanging out with me I got the impression he was doing this less because it was what was expected of him and more because he had decided he enjoyed these things.

Let me explain.

Razzle was a younger dog, maybe a year old, and our relationship reflected that. I was Razzle's parent. I had to lay down the laws and make sure they were enforced, I had to stop her from testing my rules and I had to make her understand why doing certain things was good and others were bad. But with Jack, I got the impression that him and I were friends. Except for a few things, like sitting before going out and taking baths, Jack acted more like an adult human roommate.

Except I never could get him to pay rent.

He would eat his meals in his room, but when he spent time with you, it wasn't because you were the much loved parent who-must-not-be-let-out-of-your-sights-lest-she-disappear, and more the sense that he thought what you and he were doing was an enjoyable activity.

So I dunno. It's hard to imagine that Jack's natural aversion to people will cause him to wash up on our doorstep once he fails to find a kibble dispensing tree, but I am still hoping.

Hang in there little guy.

Hang in there.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Saga of Stupidface.

After establishing that Stupidface is indeed a Walker Coon Hound. I began on a Internet based journey of discovery. Mainly I discovered that that Walkers can travel up to 50 miles in one night. Stupidface could be from anywhere. Although why the owners would not have been calling all the vets offices in that radius and leaving a note, I have to wonder.

They probably dislike Stupidface as much as I do.

On some level I feel bad for her. She got lost, whether this was a deliberate thing on the part of the owners or not, she found somewhere that she wanted to stay, only to find that the new people have to keep her crated on the porch all the time or else she will go after their animals.

On the other hand she was so hyper it hurt to watch her.

Scott's overtures to keep her died when we realized that she is impossible to walk. She wants to be on that scent and nothing NOTHING will stop her. Not you, not the leash, not yelling or pleading, nothing. Scott had to carry her out the woods the last time he took her in and since then we only walked her in the fields.

I also learned that you need a six to eight foot tall fence in order to keep one in your yard. So ha ha that will never happen in a million years.

Luckily, we managed to get through to the local animal shelter who said they would take her. Unfortunately this is after she chewed through one of my leashes. As soon as they said they would take her Scott threw the phone down and ran out to the truck while I grabbed the one remaining leash and got Stupidface. We didn't even wait for her to get in the truck, instead Scott picked her up and tossed her into the cab.

We wanted to get her down there before they changed their minds.

While Scott was gone I began on the days tasks, cleaning the chicken coup and washing out the dog crate where we had Stupidface until I heard the sound of the truck pulling back into the drive. I peered around the corner of the shed, fearing that I was about to see her white and tan head poking up above the seat.

But she was gone.

Gone. Gone I tell you. After a week of barking and baying and yelling and chewing and peeing on things Miss I-have-never-been-trained was gone forever.

So once again silence reins on my little farm, except for the crowing of the roosters and the wind in the grasses.

So peaceful.

So dogless.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Jack Ran Away and I Picked up a Stray.

So the other day I woke up the sound of all my metal porch furniture being drug across the porch. I hadn't been feeling well the night before so I had taken some over the counter cold medicine that had put me out as effectively as if I had been tranquilized as part of a study on adult human females. So of course my first thought upon waking out of my drugged stupor was that I had died and was in hell for my sins.

Hell sounded a lot like a steel cable hitting porch furniture.

So I put on whatever clothes were closest to me and blearily wandered to the porch to find what looked like a full size pure breed coon hound had broken loose from someone's yard dragging 15 feet of cable tie that she had proceeded to wrap around my front porch. At the slight on me she launched into a happy people dance and proceed to dump a chair and a table into the lawn.

I should also mention that I was leaving for a three day business trip the next day and really really didn't want to dump this problem on the farm sitter.

What followed was hours of talking to the neighbors, calling the vets, driving the dog around in the truck in the hopes somebody recognized her, putting a sign on the mailbox, and even having two people show up to look at her and take down my number. I should also point to those of you who are chanting call animal control I will point out that I did. Except they never did pick up their damn phone. And they are only open two hours a day. And they only keep dogs for 48 hours before sending them to that big kennel in the sky because they lack any real kennels.


So it pretty much became the farm sitters problem. Except in the middle of worky time I get a call saying that my dog, Jack, you know, the dog I got to “replace” Razzle my first ever dog after she died from a snake bite, you know the dog I was hoping that would fill that dog shaped hole in my heart and give me many great years to look forward, yeah that dog, well it turns out he had slipped off his lead and taken off on a magical journey with the new new dog.

The new dog who, from this moment on, shall be known as Stupidface Fuckbrain.

So Stupidface comes back, but Jack doesn't. Now as you may recall, Jack is a somewhat traumatized dog, from what we suspect was abuse followed by tow years in a kennel with only limited human interaction. He is not going to come up to people. If he doesn't find his own way home and start begging to come inside, then he is not coming home.


I would like to gloss over the next bit, which involved a lot of trails for everybody, including farm sitter who nearly bust a lung climbing around the fucking mountains trying to find Jack, the brief sighting of Jack Scott got while taking Stupidface Fuckbrain out for a walk because we had to keep her kenneled in Jack's kennel to protect the chickens, my desperate attempts wandering around the forest calling for a dog that I was not sure loved me enough to return to me, Scott's desire to keep Stupidface Fuckbrain, WHO HAS STOLEN MY DOGS PLACE, and the fact I am writing this when I should be sleeping because I am on the road again and far from home and wondering where my sweet little doggy boy is now.

So to recap, my car is still in the shop, we are still traveling in a rental car that is starting to smell less new car smell and more stale food and sweat smell, I am still waiting for the septic system to be approved (if it even will be or we will be stuck with the less desirable system), this the time of year I am gone the most because this is when the work is, and now my dog has run off to be replaced by a dog that thinks my cats and chickens are chew toys.

Um. So I may be under just a little stress right now.

Just a little.

Maybe a tad.

You know. Tiny bit.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Dear Wasps and Bees

Dear Wasps and Bees,

It has come to my attention that you have recently taken up residence on the side of my mobile home. This is a problem as I am already living here. It should be noted that squatters rights, if there ever was such a dubious thing as that anyway, do not allow you to remain here while we are currently occupying this home.

I understand why you did it. This structure maintains a constant temperature, you are sheltered from the the wind and rain and you get the midday sun. I understand that some days the massive vibration of the hives wings are just not enough to insure proper temperature regulation, and that the heat bleed from my poorly insulated siding is a boon to you. I know the comfort that stems from not having heavy drops of rain pummeling ones roof at night, and I thoroughly understand not wanting to have water coming in every time it rains. I'm also sure that you saved a lot of money on building too, as the outer walls could be a lot thinner then what was to code seeing as though you are using my siding overlap as your new abode.

However, this cannot be allowed to continue. I have provided plenty of standing dead trees on my 29 acres and I believe that any of these trees would be more then suitable. I am providing this notice now as a courtesy to you so that you can move your home and loved one's before the icy depth of winter is upon us.

I am afraid that if your behavior continues I will be forced to take drastic action in form of certain deadly sprays that I have in my possession. I do not want it come to this, but unless I see some attempt to vacate your current residence within the next forty eight hours since the time of this posting I am afraid I will be forced to act.

With my sincerest regards,

Queen Holly the Magnificent.

Do you think they will get the message?


Me neither.

But it was worth a shot.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Time Trial Canning Corn

This year we have actually been able to grow corn. Which came as something of a surprise for us because normally the closest we can get is having weak looking knee high plants that are clearly praying for the sweet release of death in the form of an early fall.

But not this year. This year the plants exploded out of the gate and grew. They grew like they have never grown before and are now taller then I am. It was like some sort of cornspolision.

So yesterday, Scott went out picked corn. We ended up with two and a half bushels of corn. We rejoiced. Or at least he rejoiced as I was grooming the dog in preparation to give him a bath. After wrestling a wet dog around the tub- I only got shampoo in my eyes twice- I returned to the kitchen to hear Scott give a sort of strangled scream.

“Three hours!” He said.

“Three hours what?” I asked.

“It says we have to process all this in three hours or we will lose flavor.” There was a sound, like all of my plans had just derailed. It sounded a bit like thwunk.

Well, fuck.

Immediately we threw ourselves out onto the porch and started shucking corn. It became apparent that two bushels and some change was a lot of motherfucking corn.

A lot of motherfucking corn.

At some point I also became aware that the kitchen was too filthy for canning and there was a load of dishes in the sink. What followed was a bunch of cutting the kernels off into bowls and shoving them into pots. I think we used every pot that we owned. The entire stove top was covered in bubbling burabaling pots of corn. Also the floor, the table, me, Scott and the chairs.

We also then hit another, we-didn't-plan-this-out-now-did-we moment when we had to pull out every last single small canning jar we had and prayed we had enough. We should probably stop looking at the canning recipe about an hour before we can, and you know, actually plan for these sorts of things.

Ha ha. What am I saying? That's crazy talk.

So in short we used every small canning jar we had and also one of the big ones and ended up covering every surface in the kitchen in corn. But we got it done goddammit. Of course it was like a million fucking degrees inside all day because apparently running the all the burners on the stove makes it hot inside. Who knew?

I would have gotten more in process pics but three hours. It was like those times levels in video games that you didn't know were coming up but then you were in one and you had to do your best because you were down to your last life. Yeah. Like that.

Nothing quite like this laid back, relaxing country life.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

I Just Saved a Frog

I was in the kitchen making myself tea when I happened to glance out the window and see my cat, Tom Tom Tiger* had something in the yard. Usually he has a mouse or a chipmunk and then I will go out and praise him and tell him he is a mighty hunter and he will rub his face on me and get cat spit on my hands. If it is a very special day he will leave the tiny bodies of his vanquished foes on the walk where the dog will try to eat them and then I have to act like this is just what I always wanted and then dispose of the corpse later when he is not watching because I want him to keep catching mice.

This morning however I noticed that the victim in question was doing a lot more jumping then usual.

I called to Scott that Tommy had something and he rushed to the window because this is the country and we don't have TV so this is what you do with yourself.


So about that point the frog gave a mighty jump and I said holy crap it's a frog I have to rescue it. I have no idea what Scott thought about all this because at that moment I was already moving while yelling “NO Tommy don't kill it! You have no idea about the plight of amphibians in this over industrialized nation!”** Then I sprinted out the door.

Luckily Tommy was not that interested in his prey and I was able to reach it while it was still alive. For Tommy Tomerson is a deadly assassin cat. Like Ninja.

The frog. It was big. Not so big that I couldn't fit it into one hand while Tommy was rubbing his head on my fingers making the frog wobble, but pretty big. I picked it up and looked at it. It looked back at me placidly. It was tan. It was looking at me without the slightest trace of fear.

Now that I picked it up I had no idea what to do with it. It felt sticky. Like it had been out of the water too long. There was no telling how far Tommy had chased it from. Scott opened the kitchen window so we could talk. “It's a big one", I said stupidly. Scott agreed that it was.

I decided to take it to the creek. Which meant I was walking to the creek. Holding the frog. It took this in stride. It didn't pee on me, or try to get away. It just sat in my hand with it's eyes half closed like this happened all the time and it couldn't be bothered to care about it right now.

So I came to the creek and set it down on some leaves, made sure it looked okay and left.

Which is my good deed for the day.

I wish you well frog.

I wish you well.

* Yes I am an adult and I call my cat Tom Tom Tiger. Or occasionally Tommy Tomerson. But it's Tom Tom on the vet paperwork. Look I am an adult don't you fucking judge me.

**Yes I actually literally said that. Sometimes my brain can be surprising beautifully elegant. Usually only about frogs.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Car has been Smashed.

So. Scott got into a fender bender. One of those blind corner oh-god-why-is-someone-stopped-around-a-blind-motherfucking-corner-incidents. No one was hurt, but the front of our car looked like someone had crumbled it up like an old paper towel because that's what happens when they make cars out of plastic.

Of course this would happen during the same week that we have a whole bunch of jobs lined up that involve driving across several states and we cannot possible miss because we need money.

Ha ha! Isn't life fun?

I was blissfully unaware that anything had happened until Scott called me and asked if I had called anybody to give him a ride yet. I said WTF are you talking about? It turns out that not only did my phone fail to record the voice mail he had left me, it didn't even ring. There was no record on my phone that he had called me at all. Which really makes me feel good about my chances of anyone getting hold of me in an emergency.

You know what? Fuck you AT&T. Fuck you in your stupid fucking face.


Of course the reason I was at home and not with Scott at the time was that my body was pitching a fit about something I ate (I'm looking in your direction lasagna) and I was in full blown evacuation mode. So it pretty much felt like someone was Roto Rootering my intestines. So I had to call people and then play the I-know-they-will-call-me-back-while-I-am-trapped-on-the-crapper game. It is not a fun game.

Oh and while I was on the phone the dog snuck into my office and threw up down the vent.


So it looks like we will be traveling around in a rental car for a week until the garage can fix our car. Ha ha ha haaaaaa! Fun! Oh joy and wonder!


Sooo, does anybody know how to remove vehicle related curses? Like, anybody? Is their a pilgrimage I can go on? Should I burn some maps or something? Will priests even sprinkle cars with holy water?

For the love of all that's good and holy, these things can stop happening anytime now.


Anytime now.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Truck was a Lie.

So, remember when I said that we had fixed the headlights on the truck? Well, that was a lie. We put the truck back together, chatting happily because now we had a truck that worked and everything. So we cleaned up our work area and put the tools away and threw out the broken and damaged stuff. Scott gave the truck an affectionate pat jumped in and turned the key and nothing fucking happened.


He got out of the truck. We both stared at it. We were going to have to take the steering column off again. Scott went to take out all the tools we would need, but I walked to the edge of the driveway. It was a perfect day outside. Big fat puffy clouds were chasing each other through the sky on a gentle breeze and a few early autumn leaves were drifting down into the yard. The chickens were picking happily through the grass. I stared at that idyllic country vista, the deep shade of the forest and the waving meadow, and contemplated setting the truck on fire.

I decided against it.

So once again we ripped the steering column off the truck and played around with the ignition switch thing. It was not fun. I don't even have any idea what the problem was. All I know is that when we took it apart and put it back together the damn thing worked. Problem solved!

Except now the headlights were flickering.

Ha ha ha haaaa!


At that moment we embarked upon a great quest to discover why this was happening. And by 'we' I mean 'Scott.' He tested things and pulled wires and by passed stuff and called my uncle and cursed and cut himself and tried very hard not to get electrocuted. It turns out that the teenager that had the truck before us had wired up his running lights in some weird ass manner so that it was drawing too much power from the wrong damn thing. Luckily it wasn't too hard to fix and then we had working headlights again. Wonderful working headlights.

Except then the back up lights cut out.

At this point my uncle really did suggest setting the truck on fire for the insurance money.*

We decided against it. We had come too far to turn back now. What followed Scott's moments of grim determination was even more hours of testing and cursing and frustration at the cold uncaring universe that had brought him to this point. The words 'bypass' and 'switch' were uttered many times. So were the words 'what the fuck?'

But he fixed it.

I still have no idea how. It involved lots of wires. So he put the truck back together, everything back together and tested it. It all worked. The engine started, the headlights came on, the running lights came on and the back up lights came on. It was time to go to the inspection station. It was time.
Scott walked up to me to kiss me goodbye with his both his fingers crossed. It couldn't have been a more dramatic kiss then if he was about to shipped off to the beaches of Normandy. I crossed my fingers to. Halfway back to the truck he turned around and I lifted my crossed fingers up to show him I was still hoping and he crossed his and held them up like a salute and for a moment we just stood there starting at each other across the lawn like something momentous was about to happen.

Then one of our neighbors drove by and I felt retarded.

I couldn't concentrate so I just sort of ended up drifting about the house and reading random books until I heard the truck pull into the driveway.

It had passed.

It had only taken us a week, a full week to rip it apart and put it back together, to scavenge parts off another truck and drag my uncle into it, a week of driving around to different auto parts stores and cursing and yelling and stress.

But it's over now.

It's over.

Until next year, anyway.

*He wasn't actually serious. I least I think he wasn't.