- August 2019 (1)
- July 2019 (3)
- May 2019 (3)
- March 2019 (2)
- February 2019 (2)
- January 2019 (4)
- December 2018 (2)
- November 2018 (2)
- October 2018 (2)
- August 2018 (1)
- July 2018 (3)
- June 2018 (2)
- May 2018 (3)
- April 2018 (8)
- March 2018 (6)
- February 2018 (10)
- January 2018 (8)
- December 2017 (1)
- November 2017 (4)
- October 2017 (1)
- September 2017 (3)
- August 2017 (1)
- June 2017 (1)
- May 2017 (2)
- April 2017 (3)
- March 2017 (2)
- February 2017 (1)
- January 2017 (3)
- December 2016 (1)
- November 2016 (4)
- October 2016 (3)
- September 2016 (6)
- August 2016 (4)
- July 2016 (7)
- June 2016 (5)
- May 2016 (6)
- April 2016 (7)
- March 2016 (6)
- February 2016 (11)
- January 2016 (11)
- December 2015 (14)
- November 2015 (7)
- October 2015 (3)
- September 2015 (6)
- August 2015 (10)
- July 2015 (5)
- June 2015 (9)
- May 2015 (8)
- April 2015 (9)
- March 2015 (9)
- February 2015 (9)
- January 2015 (14)
- December 2014 (11)
- November 2014 (8)
- October 2014 (6)
- September 2014 (6)
- August 2014 (8)
- July 2014 (4)
- June 2014 (9)
- May 2014 (5)
- April 2014 (4)
- March 2014 (2)
- February 2014 (7)
- January 2014 (7)
- December 2013 (15)
- November 2013 (10)
- October 2013 (5)
- September 2013 (9)
- August 2013 (6)
- July 2013 (8)
- June 2013 (12)
- May 2013 (16)
- April 2013 (13)
- March 2013 (13)
- February 2013 (10)
- January 2013 (11)
- December 2012 (7)
- November 2012 (8)
- October 2012 (7)
- September 2012 (9)
- August 2012 (6)
- July 2012 (2)
- June 2012 (11)
- May 2012 (10)
- April 2012 (5)
- March 2012 (12)
- February 2012 (8)
- January 2012 (11)
- December 2011 (13)
- November 2011 (11)
- October 2011 (13)
- September 2011 (12)
- August 2011 (12)
- July 2011 (11)
- June 2011 (11)
- May 2011 (18)
- April 2011 (21)
- March 2011 (24)
- February 2011 (17)
- January 2011 (23)
- December 2010 (26)
- November 2010 (29)
- October 2010 (27)
- September 2010 (29)
- August 2010 (24)
- July 2010 (19)
- June 2010 (15)
- May 2010 (18)
- April 2010 (16)
- March 2010 (22)
- February 2010 (24)
- January 2010 (25)
- December 2009 (18)
- November 2009 (1)
Farm Fresh Blog
Thursday, January 31 2013
I want to take a moment to weigh in on the recent debate regarding "assault weapons." Since I am a cop in a major metropolitan city, since I am a steadfast environmentalist, since I have stood over more than my fair share of dead men, since I am a rancher, and most importantly, since I am a woman, I feel well qualified to comment on this issue.
I am not a gun guru. I am not a gun collector. I do not have guns to compensate for anything other than the fact that I am an average sized woman who enjoys waking up in the morning. Let me be perfectly clear on this one issue. Cops do not have guns to protect the public. Cops have guns to protect themselves. Cops must protect themselves because while everyone else is running from danger, the cops are running towards it. As a citizen, you must protect yourself until a cop can get there.
That said, I do not carry my AR-15 at work. I carry my AR-15 in the one place where I am almost completely safe from predators of the two-legged variety. I carry the AR-15 when I'm on our ranch in North Texas.
I give you Exhibit A:
The first time I encountered these guys when walking alone with four dogs I nearly peed my pants. My police training kicked in and I found myself shouting and pointing a puny .380 handgun at them. Fortunately they ran. Had they not, it would have been very bad. THAT'S when I realized that I needed something bigger. Unfortunately a gun with more knockdown power is also much heavier and I'm on foot. I needed something light. I also needed something with more bullets (i.e. high capacity)
Hogs are tough. If a hog is running at you, do not expect that first bullet to bring it down. When you run out of bullets, a gun is nothing more than a club, and I assure you, you will not be clubbing an enraged sow hog to death with an empty rifle. So I got the AR-15 because it is light enough for a woman to handle, there is little or no recoil, and it carries enough bullets to make me feel safe.
Getting between a sow and her piglets is no laughing matter, but let's look at the other end of the spectrum.
Warning! I don't like pictures like this either. Posing with dead animals appears to be a male thing, but I use this picture to illustrate my point . . . . . .
. . .
. . .
THAT is what is running around on our ranch. We have game cameras set up all over our ranch. I easily estimate at least 30 hogs with piglets and several large boars roaming at all hours of the day and night. THAT is why I carry an AR-15 when I walk.
I am not at all worried about the coyotes, bobcats, (and reported cougar sightings) when I walk, but I would be a fool not to take precautions with something like these hogs. Because of that I carry the lightest rifle with the most firepower and least amount of recoil that I can handle. And while many would like to paint us as nutjobs who carry guns like this because we are unenlightened rednecks, such a broad sweeping notion just doesn't hold water.
Wednesday, January 30 2013
They say that burning wood warms you twice - once when you cut it and once when you burn it.
But this weekend, cutting wood warmed me three times. Do you see this chopping block?
Yes, I know, it's too big and needs to be split again, but Other Half is still recovering from hernia surgery and can't use the big chain saw yet. And I definitely can't use the large chain saw. The baby chainsaw "might" do it, but it's not worth the risk. For now, it'll stay in one giant block.
As you know, I'm a sentimental creature, and I love my trees. (read: Ferngully , Saving Ferngully , Anne Frank Meets Dirty Harry, What We Have Here . . . , Chess Games , Battle Drums , The Good Fight)
And because of this, Other Half hauled that chopping block all the way across Texas. When I sold my beloved little farm to buy the ranch, the new owner immediately began chopping down trees. It broke my heart.
He renovated the house and flipped it for a profit. The newest owner chopped down even more trees. Each time I go over there to tend cattle I hear a chain saw or see a smoldering fire, and it further breaks my heart. I planted some of those trees. They were old friends.
So last week when we were over there feeding cattle again, Other Half looked next door and saw two giant hunks of one of my old trees sitting in the front end loader of the new owner's tractor. He was getting ready to burn them. Other Half asked me,
"Hey! You want to take one of those chunks to the ranch for a chopping block? It's a way to have a piece of your tree."
I didn't hesitate. OF COURSE! So Other Half climbed off his tractor and went to see if the new owner would give us what was left of my tree.
He would. In fact, he would load it straight onto our trailer for us. Oh happy day!
So this weekend as I split wood on what was left of my old sycamore tree, my mind wandered down memory lane. This tree was one of the few trees in the yard when I bought that property in the late 80s. It was already a large tree. It stood at the end of the driveway to welcome me home. Two chainlink dog runs and a pumphouse were built underneath it. I used to tie my horse to its branches. On a windy day, the sycamore leaves rattled in the breeze, as if it were talking. The tree always heralded the arrival of Spring with its rustling leaves. It was an old friend.
And it was the first to go when the new owners fired up the chainsaw. . .
And that's why my husband hauled a horrendously heavy tree trunk across Texas to be used as a chopping block on a ranch that is already filled with giant trees. Trees which are already lying on the ground. Victims of high winds and not chain saws.
I thought about this as I split wood and it warm me. It warmed my soul.
"Humans are strangely sentimental creatures. Sometimes you just have to humor them."
Tuesday, January 29 2013
I have always been a child to stray off the path, to choose the road less travelled. Perhaps destiny lies in the direction. I gave this some thought this weekend as I took my early morning walk on the ranch with the dogs.
Some paths are clearly defined. We follow a dry creekbed to new wonders.
But other pathways are only noticed when when you are in just the right spot. A few feet in any direction ....
I gave this some thought as I backed up, lined up, and followed the path that emerged. How often is it that, caught in the chaos of a busy life, we fail to see the things which part and align to lead us in another direction? Into another world? Any even if for just a brief moment, we see that path, will we follow it?
Friday, January 18 2013
I was at work last night, minding my own business, when Other Half called. He was a most happy camper. The rancher next door had caught a hog in a trap and didn't have time to deal with it. He had called asking if we wanted said hog. (And it's Christmas in the Langford Household . . . )
Naturally, being a man recovering from hernia surgery who has been off work for four weeks, Other Half said "Of course!" and called Son to come help butcher (translated: do it for him.) But having his father's genes, it goes without saying that Son also jumped at the opportunity to butcher a hog in the dark, in the cold. Alrightie then.
Since I get my share of blood and guts at work, I wished them the best and hung up the phone.
I didn't think any more of it until I got home. Other Half met me in the driveway. He had that giddy look that men get when they've been doing man-things, and they've still managed to get all their barn chores done before you get home from work. Thus proving that they are indeed, useful creatures to keep around, even when they are only partially housetrained.
Any homecoming around our house is cause for much canine celebration but on this night I noted the dogs barely gave me much more than a glance and a "Hi Mom, you're home" before they went back to sniffing around the front yard. It was then that Other Half proudly pointed out that for supper Briar had eaten testicles, heart, and (I stopped listening after that) I watched the dogs crisscrossing the yard in a mad search for Porky Pig Parts. Oh dear. Then he shared the little tidbit that stopped me in my tracks.
"We had to string him up and butcher him in the front yard. There's still a lot of blood over there. See? Briar has been rolling in the blood."
In retrospect, this line of thought merely proves that Other Half and Son are not the ONLY Rednecks in this family. Because although my mind immediately leaped to the problems of mixing yard dogs and butchering hogs in said yard, no other problem sprang to mind.
Apparently with the recent rains, the regular "butchering oak" in the horse pasture was not an option so the boyz had chosen to use an oak in the front yard. I made mental note that all diarrhea accidents on the carpet were now HIS responsibility.
I still didn't realize how far into the Realm of Redneckdom I have come until Other Half told me about a call he received from a friend of his. It went something like this:
"Hey Man, watcha doin'?"
"Cleaning a hog in the front yard."
"The front yard! You REDNECK M#*@)^ F@%*(! Why would you do something like that in the front yard where people coming home from work can SEE THAT?!"
Hhmmmm... yes, there is that . . . He did have a point. Apparently this basic social grace escaped the entire Langford Clan. I guess nothing quite says "Rednecks live here!" than butchering hogs in your front yard.
And on that note: Guess who had diarrhea resembling Starbucks coffee this morning?
And guess what Dillon found and ate for breakfast this morning?
A Swamp Oyster. Yes, apparently Briar didn't eat both of them and Dillon found a Porky Pig Testicle. He was in heaven.
That's a good thing too, because we go through 40 pounds of dog food a week. In the 1990's I fed the raw diet. (That was when I had 2 dogs and not 8 dogs.) It was expensive then, and a lot of trouble. Over the years I ended up switching back to commercial dog food and table scraps, but I still believe the raw diet was best for my dogs. And now that we now have so many wild hogs at the ranch, once we're at that ranch full time, our dogs will be eating a lot more raw meat and bones.
The hogs have to be taken out, and we can only eat so much pork. There is no reason not to supplement the dogs with raw meat after our own freezer is full. I even have a second freezer we can use for their pork. Fortunately the ranch is so remote that the neighbors won't see us butchering hogs in the front yard. But for now, something tells me that as long as we have mud up to our ankles in the pasture here, this won't be the last hog hanging from the oak in the driveway.
"I'm ready to move to the North Ranch FULL TIME!"
Sunday, January 13 2013
It's cold. It's wet. It's miserable if you're stuck outside. Today was a good day to stay in bed with a good book and a bowl of chili. Unfortunately Other Half had other plans. He has cabin fever in a bad way. And so it was that instead of lounging away the day in bed with a book, I found myself headed south to look at tractors.
Other people go to parties and watch football on Sunday afternoons. We go look at tractors. And eat sirloin, shrimp, and baked potatos! And because we cannot go anywhere without a dog, (or two) a couple other lucky members of the family also had steak and baked potato!
So all I have to show for an entire day of goofing off are these pictures of the dogs playing on a gigantic oak tree. It leaned out into the bayou and was a most wonderful thing of beauty.
There are worse ways to spend a cold, wet Sunday afternoon.
Friday, January 11 2013
There are times when I question the sanity of having eight dogs. Yes, 8! Eight freakin' dogs! Old dogs, young dogs, retired dogs, and working dogs! And when you add monsoon rains to eight dogs, my life becomes a Dr. Seuss book.
"Can you stand it in the rain?"
ARRRRRGGGHHHHH! I'm losing my mind!!!!!
Mud, barking, juggling personalities, buying dog food. It becomes a maddening cycle. And when the mud forces us inside, tempers flare - both with us and the dogs.
So it was that by yesterday, Other Half and I were at each other's throats regarding dogs and mud. And that's when we got a call that the cows were out.
Okay, not all the cows, just the stupid one that I've been trying to get him to sell for over a year. (Read: When It Rains, It Pours ) Unfortunately when one cow is out, the rest are not far behind. This almost sent us both over the edge.
I had to go to work. I had no time to be screwing around with cows. I really did not want to be late AGAIN! (Remember that just last week I arrived at work late and muddy because someone else's goats got out) So as Other Half got his blue jeans and mud boots on, I got ready for work. I found myself singing under my breath in the shower.
To the tune of "I Love Paris" -
"I hate cows in the springtime,
Even though I have to go to work, I still feel obligated to drive over and help him before I headed to work. I shouldn't have bothered. Other Half had a secret weapon.
Cowboy the Cowdog
Yes, I objected six ways to Sunday when he rescued Cowboy weeks before we were to receive a Border Collie puppy that we'd already ordered (Trace). We didn't need another dog, especially a dog that marked in the house and didn't get along with the cow dog we already had (Blue Heeler). But brown eyes and a soft heart won out and Cowboy came to live with us.
He has more control on the field than Trace, and he gathers rather than drives like Blue Heeler, so he's another good tool for the tool box.
We arrived to find stupid Paisley had made a jail break again, (that cow needs to be on the first boat OUT!) but no one else had found the hole yet. It took us longer to walk out there than it took Cowboy to grab Paisley and drive her back through the gate that Other Half opened for them.
I watched him work and had one of those slap your forehead "Wow, I coulda had a V-8!" moments. Oh yeah! THAT's why we have all these dogs. Okay. I remember it now.
A tool box isn't much good unless it's got just the right tool for the job. So I happily left Other Half and Cowboy fixing the fence while I drove to work . . . and got there five minutes early. http://youtu.be/76RrdwElnTU
Tuesday, January 08 2013
Lesson #1: "Healthy" people drop dead all the time.
This world is filled with busy people who either ignore warning signs, or don't get the warning signs to major problems. They think they're healthy but they're not.
Lesson #2: Don't get so arrogant as to believe it won't happen to you. Death is the great equalizer.
With those two lessons in mind, after a day of ignoring shortness of breath, I finally fessed up and told Other Half that I was having trouble breathing. Please keep in mind that it was his birthday and we had just spent the morning hauling cattle cubes and hay to hungry cows. I had just tromped through the mud, struggled with heavy uncooperative gates, dumped several 50 lb bags of cubes and helped him push a 500 lb round bale off the back of a truck. I had done all this with no visible problem.
But I knew that I was having to take much deeper breaths. I was yawning a lot more. I could fill my lungs with oxygen and moments later I would still feel the urge to force a deep breath again.
Later at lunch the problem persisted. It was clearly not an issue with physical exertion, but then I knew that. Having had a history of minor chest pains, I decided to spill the beans. And just like that, our day was f@#*d and we were headed to the ER. I didn't want to ruin his birthday, but having a heart attack would ruin his birthday anyway, so we erred on the side of caution.
The cowdog was still in the truck. Other Half and I were both muddy, and I was wearing bright pink rubber muck boots. It was embarrassing. He dropped me off to walk inside while he parked the truck and gave Blue Heeler a potty break. Thus began the long wait and my period of enforced observation. They observed me. I observed them and everyone else in the ER.
Here is a smattering of images:
The rubber cement they use for the EKG is sticky stuff. Why is it that someone compelled to go to the ER still wants to lie about how much they weigh? There are a lot of sick people in the ER. I can look at someone in the ER and recognized that condition in dead people. ("Danger! Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!") At least they came to a hospital where they belong. There are a lot of sad people in the ER. Nurses are angels.
Over a period of 4 hours we watched one woman, sitting by herself, call many, many, many people looking for someone to get her car, feed her dog, give her sympathy, and pay her light bill. Each person clearly hoped she'd find someone else. I noted she was quite an active person to be having a heart attack. In the time I went to the bathroom, she called 5 people. In the time Other Half went to the bathroom, she called 4 more. And while we sat and waited, she called and called and called. She clearly had a lot of acquaintances but no friends. I felt sorry for her.
My heart went out to the old man coughing up his toenails as he sat alone reading magazine after magazine. For hours he tried to control it. Finally he left and came back wearing a particle mask. He made no phone calls. No one came to join him. He was alone. I felt sorry for him.
The single working mother with the sick toddler looked familiar. Turned out she worked at a restaurant we frequent. In time, she was joined by family who shared her wait.
The gangbanger with the busted head did not garner my sympathy. He was a gangster wanna-be - a white boy with tattoos over every visible part of his body. His pants were belted below his buttocks and he walked around the waiting room with the familiar shuffle caused by holding your pants up with one hand. He looked like an idiot. He also had no family, no friends, no other gangstas that came to share his wait. I stared at his appearance and wondered how he would ever get a job when outgrew this phase. (assuming his lifestyle didn't lead to an early death)
A heavy young black man was wheeled into an area where he could see the television. I felt sorry for him. He clearly had some major health problems. The good thing was that although he didn't have friends or family waiting with him, he did know some family members of other patients and they visited with him.
Hospital staff doesn't get enough credit for being the wonderful angels they are. Over the hours, their patience and compassion clearly showed. I listened through the curtain as they tried again, and again and again to contact the daughter of an elderly man. His wife had died in the same hospital months earlier and now he was here for himself. It was heartbreaking. He couldn't remember his daughter's phone number. The staff tried over and over again. They never gave up. He was more worried about his dog than himself.
I noted this was a common theme in many conversations, not just for him, but for several others.
"Will someone feed Boomer?"
Even the woman long on phone numbers but short on friends had a dog - the one true friend everyone can have. But unfortunately, they cannot wait with you at the hospital.
Smart phones have clearly changed the face of the hospital experience. Everyone was playing on their phone. Without a charger (this will NOT happen again) my phone battery ran out pretty quickly and when they finally took me away from Other Half, I couldn't even text him. Bummer Dudes!
So I decided to just pull out a pen and paper and write down my impressions from the ER. Wrong! I didn't have a pen in my wallet. I had left it on my kitchen table. DUH! So I sat there, with muddy pink boots, muddy blue jeans, and a funky green hospital gown. I was a true fashion statement. I sat and listened to the dramas unfolding around me. No sense wasting this experience. I opened my eyes and embraced it.
I worried about the old man behind the curtain beside me. I listened to make sure he didn't fall. While I couldn't catch him, I could pick him up. Fortunately, the nurses were watching him closely too. He was grounded when they finally took his pants. That did it. No self-respecting man of his age was going to climb out of bed in search of a bathroom wearing just a hospital gown. In time, they found his daughter and all was well for everyone.
I also followed the drama of the young prisoner. He was two curtains away from me. I watched his guard leaving him repeatedly. I just ASSUMED that he was handcuffed to the bed. DUH! The staff (and I) thought he was faking his seizure. They were most short and rude with him. This was my first clue that he was faking.
"Clean yourself up!" they kept telling him.
Apparently in his desire to not go to jail, he had faked a seizure and pooped on himself. There's a trip to the hospital for ya! So I listened to the drama with great interest. This cat was a runner. I waited for him to run past my curtain, wondering if I should tackle him. I decided that I would. It would make my wait go by faster and since I had no cell phone, it was the best excitement I could muster. I started to text Other Half and tell him to look out for this clever cat but my phone was dead.
Sure enough, the guard left the guy alone again and he made his move - out the OTHER doorway. I never heard it open. He didn't pass my curtain, so I didn't realize he had made a break for it until the nurse told me. ARGH!!! I asked her if my Other Half did anything since that door opened to where he was waiting. She said that Other Half had seen a naked man in a hospital gown trying to leave the hospital and alerted someone. That's when she found out my cell phone was dead and offered to charge it for me. God bless nurses!
Fortunately my Other Half did not tackle the naked man because Other Half is recovering from hernia surgery and can NOT be going toe-to-toe with naked poopy people in the hospital.
According to Other Half, he had seen the prisoner when they brought him in and had told the lady next to him that the guy was a flight risk, so when his poopy-naked self ran past, it was no surprise to Other Half and the lady beside him. The lady thought Other Half was clairvoyant or something. No, he's not a mind-reader, he's just been a cop for 33 years. The woman turned out to be the daughter of the old man beside me, so Other Half got the other side of the sad story. Thankfully the staff found his daughter. She had been waiting for 4 hours in the ER while they had been calling every combination of wrong telephone numbers.
It was unclear whether or not the prisoner got away. Some nurses said that Other Half's warning did the trick and they caught him down the hall. Others said he hadn't been caught yet. Regardless, I told Other Half that he had chosen wisely. He was NOT supposed to be tackling someone else's prisoner while on short-term disability. Besides, prisoners like that are frequent fliers. If he gets away today, we'll catch him tomorrow.
So after an EKG, a chest x-ray, and blood work, nothing showed up for me. The doctor wanted to keep me overnight for observation, but I figured our 6 hour stay had already run up over $3000. If I wasn't having a heart attack, then it was time for me to go home. There were sicker people who needed that bed. So we left. I gave Blue Heeler another potty break, loaded up on frappuccino, and headed back home to the farm, making mental note to be thankful for my family and friends. (and always keep a cell phone charger, a pen and paper in my purse!)
Saturday, January 05 2013
As you will recall, there was much speculation regarding the ancestry of a certain member of the family.
We had been told that Briar was a Great Pyrenees/Komondor cross. I took that at face value and didn't worry too much about it until our vet received a free offer to do one of those fancy "Whose ya Daddy?" tests. He asked if he could use it on Briar since she was such an
According to the results, Briar was a Great Pyrenees/Belgian Malinois cross! WTF!!! Clearly there was a problem with the test. Several of you sent me photos of your GP/Kom crosses and wonder of wonders - they looked just like Briar!
Well, I need you folks now. Jessica adopted two GP/Kom pups a few years ago and fell in love with the cross. She recently lost one to a health problem and is looking for another. She is looking for a pet, so she says an LGD flunk-out would be just fine for her. I can certainly understand her wanting another one. They are cool dogs (if you can deal with the weird coat)
Look at her pics:
Don't these pics look just like someone else we know and love?
Thursday, January 03 2013
People in my office are used to getting strange reasons for why I'm late. I can't even surprise them anymore. Yesterday was no exception:
Am driving to work in the rain. Am also on the phone with Dear Friend Jeannie. Abruptly interrupt her to exclaim that two goats are on the highway. YES! Two white goats are walking down the white line of a major highway. Most people were just whizzing by them. Most people. Not me. No, I'm a crazy person who does a u-turn, in the rain, on a busy highway, to rescue two idiot goats, no doubtedly owned by idiots.
Let me paint this picture: I want you to imagine two white goats wearing orange extension cords. (If I'm lyin', I'm dyin'!) Yes! Orange extension cords! The smallest goat is wearing a collar of frayed orange extension cords that have been wrapped multiple times around her neck. She is dragging a frayed three foot segment of extension cord. The larger goat is wearing a large, wide orange dog collar. (WIDE - like a fighting dog's collar) Tied to the orange collar is - guess what?!! An orange extension cord! The cord is about 12 feet long and was tied to - a tire! The goat hunkers down, leans into the collar, and drags that tire down the road like a draft horse.
I've seen some crazy shit in my lifetime, but a pair of white goats wearing extension cords, dragging a tire in the rain down a busy highway stacks right up there. After my brain has a moment to process what I've just seen, (and I report it to Dear Friend Jeannie) I pull into a parking lot and commence to wrangle goats. I grab an extension cord and start reeling in the goat like a marlin. The goats are less than happy to have me save them from a certain close encounter with the grill of a fast-moving Chevy.
After much pulling and cussing, I get both goats off the highway. I can only imagine what oncoming traffic must have thought - a police officer in uniform, rolling a tire and dragging two goats down the side of the road - in the rain.
WTF!!! (I do not doubt that people almost ran off the road watching us.)
Once safely off the road, I now point them at safer grass behind the bakery while I pause to ponder my dilemma.
Where did they come from? What am I going to do with them? I'm going to be late for work, again . . .
Tackle Problem #1: Where did they come from? I leave the goats wrapped around debris behind the bakery while I stomp off toward a strip center to ask. I knock on four doors before I find a business open. The insurance agents are quite polite when I ask them, "Do you know who owns those damned goats?"
Yes they did! Apparently they have rescued these two in the past. The goats belong at a mobile home beside a church in the distance. Okie dokie. Hike back to goats. They are still there but are being worried by a large white Akita-looking-mutt. I yell at him as he barks at them. He looks at my badge and tells me to f@#* off. I yell at him again. He calls me a few names over his shoulder and lopes off toward the mobile home.
The goats, who have not bothered to thank me for saving them from certain death on the highway, thank me for removing the dog. I drive toward the mobile home. I'm about 6 feet from the door of my truck when I figure out the dog lives here. Rut ro! Dat's a Big Dawg.
Fortunately I make it to the front porch while he's still pissin' on my tires. Three cats slither around the porch to avoid my gaze. Orange extension cords are running out of the house, under the door, and at that point, I lose interest in following their path. The light bulb on the porch light is cockeyed and half-filled with rainwater. These people aren't living too far away from the living conditions of the goats. I knock at the door.
And that's when I remember that I'm in a police uniform. Often people who live like this DO NOT like the police. Double Rut ro! I stand to the side of the doorway and knock again. From inside I hear silverwear being thrown together. Someone is home. I say a silent prayer that I do not get shot for walking into a meth lab/dope house/coyote den.
I have no back-up. No one but Dear Friend Jeannie and the insurance agents know I'm here. Dear Friend Jeannie has no idea where this is and the insurance agents don't care. I wonder if two goats are worth getting killed over. I would NEVER have let this happen on-duty. See?!! See what goats do to you! As I contemplate this, the door swings open.
That's it. The door swings open like a horror movie. No one is there. It just opens. On its own. That's when I decide I have no intention of dying for two goats. These folks need to know what I'm doing here right here and now!
"YOUR GOATS ARE OUT AND THEY'RE ON HIGHWAY 6!!! You need to come get YOUR GOATS!"
A young Mexican man comes bouncing through the kitchen. "My GOATS!"
"Yes! Your goats are out! I got them off the highway but you need to come bring them home."
And just like that, he was okay with me. He and I are both clearly relieved. At the moment I am not the law. I am someone who got his goats off the highway. And that's all I wanted to be. I didn't look at anything in that kitchen. I didn't look at anything outside. Like Sergeant Schultz on Hogan's Heroes "I SEE NOTHING!"
As he catapults into his little Nissan and drives off in search of his goats, I climb in my truck and drive off to The Big City . . . where it's safe, sorta.
At least there I expect to find danger, not goats wearing extension cords and dragging tires down the streets.
And THAT Dear Friends, is why I showed up late for work, yet again . . . wet and muddy.
OH! And the above photo is NOT one of those goats. That's one of my old goats. When I finally got to the office, Dear Friend Fergus Fernandez asked "Did you take a picture of them?"
CRAP! I forgot! This little adventure was so bizarre you would have thought I would at least have photographed the goat dragging the tire. DUH! So not only am I wet and muddy, and late, but I have absolutely no proof that it even happened!
Wednesday, January 02 2013
Other Half argues that I spoil the livestock. (Guilty as charged!) I've slowly come to terms with the concept that "They're COWS!" and they don't have to be in a barn. I want to build a giant pole barn to house all cold and wet cattle. (yeahhhh. . . not gonna happen.) I don't agree with it, but I've come to terms with it. But what about cowPONIES?
Other Half is completely fine with the idea that cowPONIES should live like cows - out in the elements. Unlike the nice 5-stall barn I used to have, this property only hosts a two-stall barn with an attached shed - and we have four horses. Yeah...
Here's how it shakes out:
Joe gets a stall - the best stall - because Joe is older (13) and most valuable (to me!) and sweet and innocent.
Despite the fact that he is a cowpony, Musket gets a stall because he gets along with Joe, and he is calm and easy to handle.
Montoya (who is NOT a cowpony!) and Scout (who is the only REAL cowpony!) get to stay outside because they can be wild and silly to handle and they are most likely to run over you while jostling for resources. (I know, it sounds cruel, but when you've been on the receiving end of those flying heels you get a better appreciation for the term "collateral damage" and it hardens your heart.)
This has worked out pretty well thus far, but now we've entered the nasty cold, wet winter. It's cold, and we've had 2-3" of heavy rain this week. Joe and Musket were happy campers, snug and warm in their stalls. Scout and Montoya were miserable in the cold rain. After the rain came through, and we were left with standing water in the pasture, I decided to flip things. I brought Montoya inside and put Musket outside. (he's young) I started to bring Scout inside but he almost kicked me while running Musket overtop of me. Alrightie then. . . stay out in the cold, Stupid.
Montoya was happy to be inside, but was still a bucking, farting, crazy person at meal time. Scout was much more subdued the second day in the cold rain.
"Can I come inside now?"
After breakfast today I was able to easily bring Scout inside to enjoy his hay. This also gives him a respite from the cold mud. He can snuggle up in clean shavings, dry out, and relax a bit.
In the meantime, Joe and Musket can putter around in the mud and get some fresh air while Scout and Montoya enjoy a respite. We'll see how long things work out flipping the boys every 12 to 24 hours.
Someone else is getting a respite from the cold mud too.
This simply sends Other Half over the edge, but I cannot help it. I must bring her inside where she can sleep on the warm carpet and relax a bit.
Outside is cold and wet. She "can" sleep in a softer, warmer spot outside, but she chooses to sleep on cold, wet rocks in the driveway under the horse trailer.
"I keN gARd beddr fRuM hEEr."
And while juggling horses to give them a bit of relief can get dicey, Briar never causes any problems. She slinks inside, plops down near the heater vent, and passes out. That's it. If you don't trip over her, you never even know she's there. Briar takes full advantage of the respite to relax and recharge her battery.
Do I spoil her?
Do I care?