Friday, September 19, 2008

Gibby, Gibby, Gibby

Gibby and I had a great time twice today. I called my friend, Bobby, to ask a question about roofing supplies and caught him out in the middle of my woods (aren't cell phones great?). I hadn't heard about it, but apparently there is a new, extra week of killing deer - a special week for killing does. This is a horrible time to do this - I have seen a lot of deer lately, babies still with spots. Killing the does will kill those babies, too. Bobby was checking the woods to see if our frequent trespasser, a man we call "the Indian" was out there killing deer. Last year we had a terrible time with him - he shot a little baby deer - shot it right at the foot of the tree, deep in my woods, where Bobby's son was hunting. Needless to say, the son was very upset and words were exchanged. Anyway, Bobby told me we had trouble, a dead tree fell across two fences, my neighbors sheep pasture fence and my horse pasture fence. The new sheep fence was really smashed, and last we knew, there were a hundred sheep in that pasture. So, I left immediately for the farm, and Gibby joined me to walk back to check the fence.

When I let Gibby out of the pen (the gate repair is still holding), he did his wild running, around in a big circle, back to me, to the car, back to me, etc. I think he was surprised to find the car empty, no other dogs and no mother. He did one straight line run at full speed right at me, but I was now confident that he would swerve away or stop in time - but, oooooooooooo, I was almost wrong. He slammed on his brakes about a stride too late and slid right into my feet- just barely touching them. For a second, I was sure he was going to knock my feet out from under me.

We went down the lane that starts next to the barn, Gibby going back and forth and side to side, covering about ten times more ground than I was. When we got to the beginning of the pasture, a tree that grows right in the corner and acts as a fence post, had dropped some hickory nuts on the ground, so I gathered a pile and left them there to pick up on the way back. I was thinking the squirrels would probably see that pile and make it disappear before I got back.

I saw the downed tree and it really did some damage to the sheep pasture's new fence. I was glad Bobby was coming back with a chain saw. Once I saw it, there was nothing I could do alone, so I walked a little further and found another scattering of hickory nuts. I was really surprised to find them before the deer or squirrels or other animals had gobbled them up - last year, I didn't find any - so I piled those up, too. Gibby was dancing on his toes, trying to get me to hurry on, and he didn't even tell me that a man was coming up the lane calling my name. It was the fellow, a Quarter Horse cowboy, who works for the sheep man. I stopped and talked with him on my way to the farm. He came over to help with the tree and instead helped me with the hickory nuts. I filled the pouch I made out of the front of my shirt. I already made a hickory nut dye sample, so I might use these for eating. I think I'll save the husks and dry them so I can see if dried hickory husks give as good dye as fresh hickory husks. Gibby must have been disapointed because our walk was cut short. We walked back to the barn and got there just as Bobby arrived with the chainsaw. Gibby was as good and polite as any dog could be. I told him I had to leave and he walked right over to the dog pen. I reached over to chain the gate, and he licked my hand - such a wild big dog being so gentle!

I went back to the farm again at feeding time and Gibby was just as active as if he hadn't run for miles earlier in the day. We both went back to check the fences and found the two men had cut up the tree trunk and fixed the sheep fence, but left the horse fence down on the ground with the tree branches laying on it. It's rusty old fence that needs to be replaced, but when it's up the horses respect it, so I had to prop it up with some of the branches from the tree. ( I left one big branch in the path so Bobby would have to stop his four-wheeler to move it - I was feeling a little irked that my fence was still down.) Gibby was running back and forth, up to the barn yard and then back to me. Patches was barking at him and I think he couldn't decide who he wanted to play with, Patches or me.

I fed Gibby just before time to leave. Yesterday I put a whole bag of dry dog food in a feeder that he can access any time he wants. I couldn't tell whether he had eaten much of it or not. I think he figured out how to use it - he has to push his head on a swinging door to get to the food. However, he really loves the other food I bring to him from Mother's leftovers, he jumps up to see it no matter how high I hold it while I'm taking it to the pen. I think he's saying, "What's on the menu? is it meatballs and rice again? Oh, I hope it's spaghetti! Wow, is it really a hamburger and fries???? Yum! Today there were no leftovers, so his meal was a can of premium dog food.

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