Monday, August 31, 2009

Gibby's a Jumper

I arrived at the farm today in the middle of a cell phone conversation. I stopped in the driveway and talked for another ten minutes or so, then got out of the car and opened the gate - with two dozen cats leaping and bounding trying to get me to hurry to feed them. Just as I started to pick up the Watch Cat, me cell phone rang.

The call was from another country, from someone I had been trying to reach for days, so I was anxious to talk on the phone. We talked for a long time. I could hear Gibby barking, but I ignored him. My cell phone only works in a few select spots on the farm, so I couldn't walk and talk and do my chores at the same time. We lost our phone connection, so I started to run up the driveway with the cats, and the phone rang again. My friend had called back. We talked some more, and Gibby must have gotten tired of waiting. All of a sudden he came running up to me, big smile on his face. He didn't chase a single cat - Whew! He must have jumped or climbed over the dog pen fence.

He was out loose a few days ago when I opened the gate. I looked everywhere and found no evidence, no unlocked door, no broken window, no gate chain broken, so I had to conclude that he somehow jumped the fence, and that must be what he did today, too. I don't want him out loose, mainly because I don't want the cats chased, but also I don't want him to start wandering. I've had my years of wandering dogs, of tracking lost dogs, of waiting in panic for missing dogs. I want Gibby to go right on being the perfect, agreeable, unworrisome dog he has been.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

More Animals

I was so pleased with my fawn photos yesterday, that I decided to go on a hunt for more today.
I packed my mother into the car and we went for a drive.

I thought maybe someday I could use these animal photos for rug designs. The fish in the stream have a most unusual background that I didn't even see until I uploaded the photo. The background almost looks like the trunk of a tree, it could
be interesting to hook.

Maybe I could make a Michigan rug - deer abound in Michigan, as do black bear in Northern Michigan.

I think there aren't as many beaver as there were when I was young enough to go camping in the wild areas. There was one area in the Northwest lower peninsula that had been completely flooded by beaver. I used to haul an aluminum rowboat, all my camping and fishing gear, and a friend and we'd go fishing all day. We didn't catch huge, record-breaking fish, just nice size pan fish. I remember one morning when a friend and I spent the morning fishing from the bank, we'd throw in a line, catch a fish, fillet it, fry it, and eat it - the two of us literally at 45 fish that day!

We could hike around that area and see beaver dams, but I never saw any more than the smack of a tail, some large mounds of sticks, and some chewed off tree stumps.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Great Animal Day

On the way to the farm tonight, I had a treat. There's a house perched on the edge of a hill, with a swamp down below. An older gentleman built the house some years ago and dug out the swamp so it's now arranged as a pond and a stream. The gentleman seems to be gone most of the time now, and when I've seen him, he looks quite ill. For a couple years, a deer family has been grazing on his grass and drinking from his stream. The doe seems to have twins each year,

and this year is no exception.
The doe was standing in the road when I came around the curve tonight.
I thought her youngsters must be nearby, so I stopped the car, and the twins came over the lip of the hill. The doe dove into the woods on the opposite side of the road, so I had to just hope that no car would come along when the twins decided to follow her. I took a photo through my windshield, and then I decided to open my car door so I could get out and get a better photo. Suddenly, they both bounced across the road, so I only had to lower my window to get a picture,

Then I had another animal surprise at the farm. I have thought for a few weeks that there was a kitten living next to the chicken house, under the tarp that hangs down over the side of the chicken house. I've heard mewing and looked unsuccessfully for a kitten. Yesterday, I saw a kitten in the space between the fence/wall and the tarp.

Tonight I discovered how the little tyke is surviving - he's eating chicken food.

I'm really surprised the rooster doesn't attack the kitten. When I first saw the kitten, the rooster was roosting, in the end of the chicken yard, far away from the kitten, but when I walked closer to take a picture, the rooster jumped down and followed me - he's always hoping I'll get my toes close enough to the fence so he can bite me. Thankfully, he was more interested in my toes than in the kitten.

As soon as I walked away, the rooster jumped back up on the roost.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Little Gibby

I realized today that Gibby is no longer a great big dog. I used to describe him to people as "this really huge dog" while holding my hand at a level slightly lower than my shoulder. I guess he felt that big to me, but he no longer does. I was sitting on the fender of my stock trailer while Gibby was catching his breath from a series of magnificent leaps and runs. He rolled in the grass, then picked up his ball and carried it over to me. He knew I was resting, too, so he placed the ball on the ground at my feet, then he moved sideways over to my knees, pressed himself against my legs and made it clear that he wanted to be petted. I petted him and rubbed his back enough to rub out some of his shedding hair. Somehow, he's gotten smaller and cuddlier.

When our time is up, I tell Gibby, "It's time to go into the house" and he turns and walks right to the door. Last night, for the first time, he didn't head for the door, he layed down and then rolled on his back and pushed his ball around with his nose - it was quite clear to both of us that he knew his time was being cut short. I guess he just doesn't understand how uncomfortable it is for people to get soaking wet in the rain - anyway, when I said, "Gibby, it's starting to rain and I can't stay out here", he got up and ran to the door.

Once he's inside and his bowl has been filled with his kibble, he stands next to the bowl and looks at me. We've reached a routine which includes my giving him a head pat before I leave. If I forget the pat, he follows me to the door. When it's really hot, I'm usually worn out by the time we get inside, so I sit down for a minute. If I have already given Gibby his head pat, he dives into his bowl and starts crunching food, if I haven't, he comes over and stands as close to me as he can get so I'll give him some petting. I guess it's that need for petting that has made him a smaller dog. Now, when I describe him to people, I find I extend my arm downward to show he's not much taller than my knees. Funny how dogs shrink when they're happy and lovable.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The above photos record about one minute in the life of Gibby - one minute with the love of his life, the old volley ball.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

George had Surgery Today

I've been unsuccessfully trying to cut down on prednisone for George. He has to come down off of the steroids because his liver and kidneys are indicating trouble. Everytime I cut back a little, he becomes so itchy it sounds like he's beating on a big bass drum as he scratches non-stop. Unhappily, he scratched his ear so much he caused a hematoma. Sometimes you'll see a dog or a cat who has gone through having an ear hematoma - they look like someone skrunkled their ear up like a piece of lettuce. I held him all one evening with a bag of frozen peas trying to cool his ear down. I didn't want poor George to have the irritation or the disfigurement of a crumpled ear, so we made an appointment and I was to take George to his vet's this morning. I got him there about nine o'clock and knew I could stay around for a while because my mother was sound asleep at home. Our vet has her clinic open only Mondays, Fridays, and Saturday morning, but she works only as needed on other days. Thursday mornings she has a puppy class. Several people bring their puppies to the clinic to socialize while their human companions have a lesson on some kind of puppy development. What a huge treat to watch the puppies - all about six months old - greet each other and then play wildly. One lady brought her children as well as her puppy and one very charming little boy got right into the middle of the puppy play, so all of them, big and little puppies and little boy rolled and tumbled and ran around in circles and up and down the hallway - I couldn't watch fast enough!

Suddenly it was noon and I knew I had to leave George and go home to feed Mother. George had his surgery, had the hematoma cleaned out and his ear stitched back together with tidy little knotted stitches - so now his ear looks like a very small quilt - the tied kind.

When George arrived home, the drain in his ear was still dripping quite a bit and poor George was a little car sick and still staggering around. I left him outside so the other dogs wouldn't bother him and he just collapsed on the wooden wheelchair ramp. After about an hour, he got up and staggered over to his swimming pool. He waded around in the water, sat down for a minute, had a drink, and came out all recovered. I feel so sorry for him.

All of the time I've been writing about George, he's been hugging my leg and his draining ear has made a red puddle on the carpet. Sometimes it's nice to have forty year old carpet.