I was going to write a post about how our dog is crazy. She has made herself a nest. Her nest is perched high on a snow drift outside the front door.
She hates having to be outside alone but when she has to be, she sits in her nest and chews on the random items she has collected there. She has ripped some branches off trees, found a deer skull, her favorite ball that was so fun until her huge teeth popped it, and now she has some piece of a dead cow there. Her collection she has brought home and stored there.
That seemed weird. And gross.
But tonight topped it all.
I walked around a corner to see her chewing on… something.
It wasn’t one of her toys. She will select stuffed animals sometimes. Or clothes. Sometimes the most random of things. I thought I should investigate.
Reaching down I got hold of it. It was slick and rounded, long and narrow, very wet from dog slobber. At first I was somewhat afraid it was a turd. It was gripped between my fingers and I was worried. It was the right shape. But where did she get it from?
Looking closer in the dimly lit room I saw, a hoof?
It was a hoof! A tiny little hoof attached to a leg. It had to be a calf leg? A very tiny baby calf leg. I thought back to the time I saw her walking through the corals proudly carrying some cleaning. I thought at the time that it was odd that there would still be some around from last year. It did cross my mind that maybe one of the cows miscarried. The storms were hard on them, the ice is slick, and sometimes it happens without outside cause even.
I didn’t think much more about it. It happens. Nothing I can do, no way to fond the cow.
How long ago did she find this leg? She had not just come in the house and hadn’t been carrying it earlier. That means the leg has been in the house. Somewhere in the house. A tiny little leg, from the knee joint down. The whole thing fit in her big mouth. That must be how she got it in the house in the first place.
I think I’m going to be sick.
And the house is going to get scrubbed.
That dog needs to go live outside!
I had been wanting another dog for awhile.
Not to get rid of our perfect Daisy. But a younger one to go along and work cows, do things. Daisy had reached a point where she really just wanted to lay in the sun and nap. A good way for and older dog to spend her time. But not much help getting work done.
We talked about it and decided to wait. We didn’t want Daisy to think we were replacing her. I firmly believe that God has given me every dog I’ve had because they were what I needed when I needed them. Daisy for sure. So we decided to wait. If God gave us a dog then we would happily take it. If not, the we weren’t meant to have another dog.
Apparently we weren’t meant to have two dogs.
Then Daisy was gone. She left a big hole. I wanted to fill it. But the perfect dog had to show up. God hadn’t plopped anything in my lap yet.
Until a friend texted to say how sorry she was about Daisy. I thanked her and mentioned that we were looking for a dog. Well, she said. Her husband had picked up some dogs just the other day. They had been abandoned. Hauled out of town and dumped when there were some marital issues. It’s a small town. People knew who the dogs were, even if they did get hauled a few miles out of town.
Starved to skin and bones and left to die the dogs were terrified. They clung to each other in their strange new surroundings. The sheriffs deputies who were caring for them were so good to them, but it was still a scary new place.
One was recognized and the breeder called immediately. She was horrified and had someone who would be there the next day to get her dog!
That left two. Mastiffs, or mastiff crosses, big and bony, they were not pretty dogs and growled and barked at anyone who got close. They were a bit intimidating. When we went to look at them I initially said no. There was no way we were bringing one of these huge terrified dogs around our children. Even if they weren’t mean scared is the most dangerous thing in any animal. Those huge mouths would cause major damage if they snapped in fear, even if no harm was intended.
But they were so pitiful. The deputies were in with them, loving on them, getting their faces right down at nose level. And nobody was getting bit.
I went in with them. My son came with. The dogs coward and shied away. Then the female started following my daughter around the fence. She had stayed firmly outside the pen. She wanted to be by the child. After a bit of that she came over to me. Some sniffing and patience and she was happy to be petted and loved on. Soon the male, the more scared of the two came over too. Once over the initial fear they didn’t show a drop of aggression.
With some doubt and hesitation I said we’d take the female. We had wanted another girl and she was the smaller less afraid of the two.
We had to get a place prepared for her. I’d come back Monday. That way the male wouldn’t be alone either. If no one else took him there was a rescue coming to get the dogs then. Or any of them that were left.
Over the weekend the lady who had originally owned the two mastiff crosses found the facebook post. She was also horrified to see how her dogs ended up. She had just let these people have them last June. It turns out they were brother and sister, lab mastiff crosses born last June. Just a year and a half old. Puppies almost. Exactly the age I had wanted in a dog. They were much loved pets, good with children and house trained. Perfect.
I went early Monday and brought her home. She jumped right in the car and sat very nicely for the ride home.
At home we spent as much time as we could outside walking around together, getting to know her new home. In sixty mile an hour winds. When I couldn’t take it anymore we went inside. Outside we had a kennel set up for her. So we had somewhere safe to put her when she had to be left. She walked through the gate. That made leaving her a little more difficult. She could not be left in the house. I couldn’t just leave her loose. It finally occurred to me that the trailer would work. I moved the freshly bedded dog house in there and we have a dog proof kennel. Even for her. She likes to sit on the roof of the dog house and look out the sides.
I’ve been taking her with me, checking cows and running to town. No more barking and cowering. She’s been very polite and friendly.
She is getting used to cows, chickens, and horses. Not so much our cat, that’s the biggest problem so far. Her favorite thing is to lay around inside. She stretches out and takes up the whole living room. As I sit on the couch working at the computer she lays at my feet, snoring and farting. So happy. And so incredibly stinky!
But what to call her? Such a delicate flower of womanhood needed a fitting name. We’re thinking Pansy. For so many reasons. This huge, uncouth, stinky girl is no pansy for sure! That seems like the best reason of all. We’ll see if it sticks or if we keep calling her doggo.
We were checking cows on the fourwheeler. It was raining ice pellets. I was cold, my face and fingers were numb.
All of a sudden mama started going fast. I didn’t know what it was. Until we stopped. Mama was in such a hurry she got some mud on my pants as she leapt off the four wheeler. Then I turned around and I saw Daisy barking at a RAT! It was scurrying across the pasture, it had jumped out of a bale of hay.
Mama stepped on the rat, and it curled up around her foot. She was screaming! She was wiggling her foot around. Next thing I knew Daisy had killed the rat.
I walked over there and looked at it. I was laughing like a wild beast! It was funny to see mama screaming because she was scared the rat wrapping around her foot.
Then I got back on the four wheeler and laughed all the way home.
Some cows got out this afternoon. Not a big deal but the father in law stopped to ask if I would help chase them in. Of course I would. As I hopped on the 4wheeler with him I absentmindedly called Daisy to come help. She didn’t come I worried a little then forgot about her amidst the whole cow chasing thing.
8 and I went to pick The Goblin Child up from the bus. Daisy is usually bouncing around wanting to come with. She wasn’t there. Again I remembered that she hadn’t come earlier either. Now I was worried. I tried to remember when I had seen her last. She had come with to feed in the morning. I couldn’t think of a time I had seen her since then. She couldn’t have not gotten out of the feed truck. Could she?
We had a very little time before the bus would be there, we could make it to check for sure. Barely.
Sure enough. I opened the door and out leapt Daisy. When we get out she will just sit there. She has to be told to come out with us and apparently I didn’t do so. It was dark in the quanset and I was rushing to make it to the bus. I haven’t seen if she did anything to the inside of the feed truck yet. She’s a good dog. I didn’t smell anything. Keeping my fingers crossed that she didn’t hurt anything.
Out at the neighbors driveway that is our compromise meeting place, the bus driver complained about driving clear to our mailbox, I refused to have The Goblin Child unloaded on the highway, we pulled to the side of the road and waited. At the highway two vehicles sat. A car and a pickup. Their people sat on bumpers in between hanging out, talking. The bus managed to squeeze around them and made it up the hill slick with snow and ice.
After unloading the bus went back down the icy hill and waited for room to pull out. The two vehicles still sat, unperturbed by the traffic they were impeding. While loading children I watched a FedEx van pull out from across the street and head down the hill towards the bus. I waited and watched to see if he would slide right into it. He didn’t.
Pulling into our neighbors drive we turned around as usual. Backing out into the road. I put the car in drive, and we went backwards. As usual when things don’t go anywhere near as expected, it took a moment to think it through. I put it back in park and we stopped moving. Back in drive and we slid backwards again. Well, that didn’t work. This time I tried reverse, we were getting quite sideways in the road, maybe I could straighten it out and find some traction further down the hill.
The car straightened. There was no more traction though. A couple more tries and it became apparent that the only way we were going was down the hill. Down to where those two… very nice people still sat. Apparently unaware of the traffic swirling around them, They weren’t bothered at all by blocking half of the road. Easing the car as slow as I could down the slick road I aimed for the sliver highway I could see that was unobstructed. If we could just get to some clear ground and make a run at it we could make the hill.
Of course this whole time the children are sitting, standing, kneeling, spinning circles, and talking loudly in the seat next to me. Of course they weren’t buckled in for the one mile of county road home. Not distracting or impeding my view at all.
I managed not to hit either of the vehicles. The… very nice people sat, still unbothered by how incredibly annoying they were and stared at us as we backed past them. On the cleared pavement of the highway we were able to get started and made it up the hill with no more difficulties. Then finally home. To Daisy.
The day started warm and moist. The snow that fell over night spent the night melting. It was mostly ice, kind of slush. To nice to miss out on. With the children bundled up against the wet more than the cold we set out to use up energy and enjoy the warm weather.
Out through the corrals we played mountain goat on the piles of manure pushed up away from the feed bunks. Up and down and back and forth. I hadn’t intended to go any farther. But the ground was open season for being eaten by crocodiles and we leapt from poop pile to poop pile trying to stay safe until we wound up at the gate. Up and over we went, up between the feed bunks, into the pasture.
I wanted to follow the tree row back to the buildings. My opinion was vetoed. Out here the grey skies hung heavy, the wind was picking up, blowing the damp air, turning cheeks pink with the chill. But on we went. Over the hill and to another set of gates. They were still going pretty strong. Home was looking a long way off though. I checked my phone, it wasn’t working. With a quick reboot, it was soon chiming at me. Our loving husband and father was worried about us. Where had we gone. Pausing a moment I let him know where we were.
We trudged onward. 8 tripped and fell in the wheat stubble coming up with sand burrs in his gloves and coat. I picked them out but soon we were in sunflowers over his head. Both children were stumbling over the weeds and vines. The distance between us and home was looking daunting. When around the corner came our hero on his four wheeler. We all happily hopped on with him, including Daisy who had been enthusiastically ranging along beside us until we hit the sand burrs in the wheat. She had been reduced to slowly and carefully picking her way along behind.
The trip home was much shorter and easier with a ride from our loving father and husband. Once home we settled in for hot chocolate, marshmallows and lunch. Clothes dried in front of the fire. By afternoon the wind was no longer gentle but whipping through the trees and the temperatures dropped. Luckily we had adventured while it was still nice out. We’ll have to do it again, when oit’s warmer.
Even if it is just a little bit. We try to make the best of it. Thursday afternoon, after school got out, The Goblin Child was crazed to get out and play in the tiny little skiff of snow we had. Friday with a bit more she was out and at it again. 8 is not as enthusiastic as she, but was getting into it.
Today with 8 and I a bit sick she bugged here father until he went out with her. He does play the funnest games.
We went to church today, over the summer that became the exception instead of the rule. I am always glad when we can make it, but this week and last especially so. Mostly it’s because of the music. Not that the sermon isn’t usually very good, it is.
The music though. We are blessed to have so many skilled musicians in the church. This week they opened with a full on blue grass rendition of I’ll Fly Away. The guy on acoustic guitar picked away at his guitar like a banjo and they totally rocked one of my favorite songs. Next it was the electric guitar guys turn and he played a solo worthy of any rock concert. I have often heard the songs they sing played on the radio and thought that I like their versions better.
And just when we thought it couldn’t get any better they brought the children in from children’s church to sing the closing hymn.
As they streamed in we strained to find The Goblin Child. Finally she came along bringing up the rear. She was craning her neck searching for us as well. As she stepped up onto the stage she spied us and from across the room waved and, loudly, sent a greeting. We waved back of course, what else could we do. She was adorable.
There were reminders all over the church today that it’s shoe box time! We are actually doing it this year! Operation Christmas child is a great program that packs shoe boxes with Christmas presents for children around the world. We did it right after The Goblin Child was born but have been too discombobulated ever since to even realize it was time much less get organized enough to pack our box. We are using a box this year that was left over from the last time I planned to do something.
The Goblin Child is taking a very active part in choosing gifts. We talk about how they are presents for a little girl far away who doesn’t have lots of toys and clothes like she does. So far she is doing good about not wanting to keep the stuff for herself. We are going to follow our box and see where it ends up. I hope the stuff we choose to pack it with is something our little girl will want.
Samaritans Purse is a program that I love and wish that I supported better, or at all. They offer charity and ministry in a way I can really get behind. In their Christmas gift catalog you can buy things for family’s like chicks that will grow up to provide eggs and meat as well as more chickens, sheep and other wool bearing animals, dairy animals and even oxen and farm tools and seed, as well as training in care and technique.
What better gift can there be than the knowledge and ability to care for yourself. I look at the choices and think how incredibly cool they are. But for now we will content ourselves with a Christmas shoe box and be glad that we are doing something at least.
Today it was the big bunch from over west. We loaded up the four wheelers and took pickups and semis and went over bright and early to get them. Our four wheeler was well loaded with the four of us and Daisy. The cattle came in pretty easy, only a couple minor mishaps.
Tanna left hunting early, it was opening day morning, and came to help. She and I, and a few children, went back to the house with the first semi load. 8 was exhausted and went in for a nap right away. The Goblin child spied the cousins just arrived and ran to join them. After unloading Tanna and I started sorting cattle. Tanna did the sorting, and a great job of it, while I ran the gate. Before the first semi was hardly gone the second one arrived and the two horse trailers shortly after that. We were kept on our toes.
To make it slightly more complicated in one of the first loads was a crazed steer of undetermined ownership. He charged past us a few times and jumped over our most used gate. The gate was no longer able to close and latch after his loving attentions. We were able to get him sorted into the pen with the calves before my semi driving husband returned with his second load. Although it tried the steer didn’t quite succeed in killing us.
Six semi loads and four trailerfulls later we were nearly dead on our feet. After the last loads were hauled my hard working husband stuck around to help finish the sorting while everyone else went to hang out at the house. The extra person was appreciated and made the work quite a bit easier. Especially with our most used gate out of commission.
I had looked up and seen, much to my surprise, The Goblin Child and Ava climbing out of a semi on one of the last loads. Everyone had decided to go watch them load the cattle and at some point she had ended up over there. And I thought I knew where she was, I am such an awesome mother.
After a quick lunch break we all went back to work the calves we had sorted. The three of us, Tanna, husband and I, had made such a good sorting team we decided to stick together and push the calves into the shed. Soon 8 was returned to us and his loving father wore him for the rest of the workings. Little did we know that was going to be the safest spot for him.
The calves were going in pretty nice, for the most part. We had all talked about the abundance of large, yearling types in with the calves as well as the brand new baby calves, all of which needed sorted off. We discussed which pen they were going into and how one of the yearlings was crazy. We watched carefully for the crazy one with every sort we made and finally towards the end we got all the yearlings in one bunch.
The crazy one went in early and we shouted a warning into the barn with him as he went in. He went through, but no yearlings appeared in the agreed upon pen. The rest of the yearlings went in but still nothing was put in the separate pen. Suddenly in the barn there were screams and general commotion, calves billowed back out the chute.
In the barn the crazy yearling, all the yearlings, had been run through and given the same shots as the calves then, with our warnings well ignored, turned into a tiny pen right up against the door inside of which they were working. He had decided to come back in. Through the middle of the children hanging out watching the adults work. God is good though, he passed them all by, went through the barn and out the open gates and door on the other side. All lives were spared, but it was way to close a call for my taste. Apparently our children wont be able to get that close any more.
The yearling was long gone. A few people grabbed four wheelers and took off after him but he was long gone and on the fight when they caught up. When they tried to turn him he took the four wheelers and how much effort is it really worth putting in for a yearling of undetermined ownership? Maybe he ran back to where ever he came from in the first place.
The Goblin Child had lead the other, older girls into her room to play where it was “safe”, smart girl. 8 and I joined them and we waited for the others. The day was done, the work complete. Calves vaccinated and weaned, cows in the pen next to them so they can see and comfort each other if not be together. Now we attempt to wash the dirt off that worked it’s way into every crack and crevasse on an incredibly dusty, dirty day.
Oh, while we were pushing calves into the barn a herd of dogs showed up. Quite randomly and out of the blue, three of them were there in the yard. One of them was trying to kill a chicken. My protective husband chased it off and away from the poor chicken, we haven’t seen the chicken since but have hopes that it is still alive and out there somewhere. Two of the three dogs were caught and stowed in a trailer, the third was run down the drive as hard and fast as a four wheeler could run him. Neighbors were called until the owner was found and came to get them. It was a strange and, hopefully continues to be, rare occurrence.