Wednesday, August 26, 2009


I can scarcely believe the mess that is our front yard. I have posted photos at the bottom, but they don't show the overwhelming mess that is a result of removal of about 8 black locust trees. The trees are essentially scrub-- they have been here the 30 years we have owned the place, and, like poor Yorick*, the years have not been kind to them. One of the problems is where they are, which is adjacent to the power lines as they bend around our corner. We asked the power company to drop them, but since they weren't completely dead, they said no (although they are perfectly willing to take down three maple trees that are maybe twice as far away from the lines, and beautiful, too), so we paid two of their moonlighting crew to take them down. To save money, we agreed that all they needed to do was drop them -- not clean up the branches, trunks, and so forth. It seemed like a good idea then.

But when the branches are 80 feet or so in the air, just the tip top part, it doesn't look like much of a job. But once on the ground, the pile of branches, which still must be cut off at the trunk, and then into manageable pieces, is very daunting. We three worked on it Sunday and got, maybe, a third of it done. All we are doing is piling the branches up; on Friday we rent a chipper and devour the branches, gulp. Meanwhile our neighbor is taking the tree trunks, which he cuts for firewood, needing a lot for his wood-burning furnace. That is an enormous help, and of course he is glad to get locust, a very hard wood that is slow burning. But we have been having a run of poor luck this week, when we planned on getting as a lot done in the evening. First N had an earache, which the doctor diagnoses as a sinus infection. Then C comes down with a virus which keeps him close to the bathroom. Yesterday I chipped a tooth, leaving me with a jagged spike that I constantly probe with my tongue, you know, the way everyone does, (like picking at a scab), so it's me to the dentist today. We now plan to keep the chipper over the weekend so we can chop and chip at the same time, hopefully. The last time we did this kind of heavy physical stuff was 20 years ago, putting in fence, and we can definitely feel the difference. If we had realized how much effort we would have to do, we would have paid anything to get it done for us. The very thought of it all makes me want to go back to bed and pull the covers over my head. I guess like poor Yorick* the years have not been kind to us either.

Meanwhile, the Newf, Maggie, is still semi-paralyzed in the rear end, to the puzzlement of the vet and us. We are assuming she damaged nerves in her right rear leg, or spine, in her fall, and pinched a nerve which is slow to heal. We keep her on a maintenance dose of pain killers, which seems to help a lot. We see her running around now, with a strange little crow hop in her hind legs, and then she will abruptly sit down and pull herself along with her front paws for a few feet, or just sit there, then get back up. Weird, and disturbing. It's hard to see progress one day at a time. Does this sound familiar to any dog lovers out there? Please don't suggest a trolley for her - as I said before, she weighs around 130 ponds. She would chew it to pieces in moments, too. After all, she eats garden hoses left outside like they were tasty -- like licorice, maybe.

So off to start another day.

Today's bumper sticker: "Caution: I swerve to hit cars at random"

* Yorick -- Shakespeare? Hamlet? Never mind.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Here I go again...

Everytime I think I am on the track to regular posting on this, something rises up and smacks me and I am weeks getting it all together again. No picture this week. I can't figure out how to download the photosfrom the Nikon to this pc computer, where the typing is easier because it is a desktop, although the Macbook never even blinked, it started iPhoto and click, there they were. I usually download to both computers, otherwise the thumb drive gets a workout and I get annoyed that even being on the same WiFi network, I can't figure out how to get them to communicate. This originally arose from wanting to share the printer on the desktop, but Apple says the computer is not Mac compatible. When I printed out a picture on the Mac recently, I just carried the Mac in here, plugged the USB cable into the Mac and bingo! I had a printer for the Mac. Would that everything were so simple.

The reason I haven't been posting, if you care, and why should you? is that I have been involved on a near-daily basis with trying to get the mats out of Raven's sheep-wooly coat so the undercoat won't cause heat prostration. No wonder she is immune to the cold! Finally we resolved that she will become a Lab on the bottom half and a Newf on the top half of her body, and I broke out the Oster A-5 clippers. These are good clippers, I use them on the horses to trim legs, chins, ears and so on, and I used a new blade. But even the clippers couldn't cope with that mess. We had just let it go on too long without combing her out. So I finally took a deep breath and ordered an Oster Clipmaster, which is one bad boy clipper. It's about a foot long, fan cooled, and is made for the "professional" and can and is used to shear sheep. Haven't tried it yet because it is so damn hot (94 yesterday) we brought the dogs inside where they can lay on the cool tile floor in the kitchen until the heat abates, usually around dusk, when they go to the barn for the night. And damned if I clip in the kitchen. Just the stuff we got off her neck and hindquarters filled a paper grocery bag, and it felt like cashmere. If only it had smelled better. Any way, that was when we realized she had a UTI, so off to the vet to lay out another $200. Antibiotics for two weeks, three giant horse pills, because she weighs 127 lbs. We hide them in hot dogs. That works. Mostly.

Today's bumper sticker: "National Sarcasm Society". And then, in smaller print, "Like we need your help."