Friday, October 24, 2008

Fencing Deer

Fencing deer... I had to chuckle when I wrote that. It made me think of Bambi and friends wrapped in strange white outfits, gracefully wielding epees. It's no laughing matter at the ranch, though. Previously, the four (sometimes five) dogs kept other wildlife at bay, but humans are not nearly as effective.

"Hey, what happened to all the roses?"
One of the rose bushes around the house, the one with the lovely orange speckled peach blooms, had turned into a flowerless bush.
"I don't know. You clipped them yesterday before I washed the windows?" suggested Big Dog.
"Only the ones right against the window..."

All throughout the day, I kept asking, "I wonder what happened to the roses? Who would have come and clipped them? That is so odd!" until it drove Big Dog crazy.
"I don't care what happened to the roses!!! Don't ask me again!"
But I did. I just had to. And then, after dinner, it suddenly dawned on me.
"Maybe the deer came and ate them!"
"Ate what?"
Obviously Big Dog wasn't as obsessed with The Mystery of the Missing Roses as I was.
"The roses!"
"I don't think it was deer," Big Dog said, skeptically.
"Then what was it?"
"I don't know, but I don't think it was deer."
"You can't just toss away my theory without coming up with another one."

The next day, however, we had a sighting and I was able to say, "Aha! See! It was deer! Seeee?!"
Big Dog saw. He saw that he could actually do something about the deer (unlike the gophers) and began restoring the deer fencing around the house. Now Bambi and Momma will have to go around to the road and come up from the front before they can eat my roses. So far, they haven't bothered.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Bad Blogger Dog

Yes, I've been a Very Bad Blogger indeed. So, first, big apologies to those of you who've kept checking this blog all these weeks. Do you want to hear my excuses for being so negligent?
1) I was going through a bizarre period of darkness: reexamining my earlier life choices, bouncing from self-pity to self-loathing... It culminated in a barf-a-thon one night. All the psychological toxins spewed out and that was that. However...
2) A few days later, my laptop died. Maybe it was all the darkness I was pouring into it. My old Titanium PowerBook that I had forever never had problems but the MacBook I bought as a replacement after the old one was stolen is not nearly as hardy. Fortunately, since the disaster last year, I've been pretty good about backing up, so while it was a bummer to have to lose my entire hard drive, in fact, I only lost about a week's worth of data. Thank you, Time Machine! (And thank you, Gary and team at the Mac Superstore in San Luis Obispo!) But...
3) Right after getting my laptop back, Big Dog and I left the ranch and spent 5 lovely days in Humboldt County. I see there's a MOVIE about the place now. "Ugh," grimaced Big Dog. "It'll just perpetuate everyone's stereotype of Humboldt." "...and attract all the wrong kinds of people," I added. We cat sat for some friends (see previous entry) who had marvelous high speed internet, but because we were working our butts off doing yard work at Big Dog's Victorian (now occupied by three students) we didn't have the time or energy to take advantage of it. And...
4) I've been more than a little distracted by U.S. politics and economy (which are pretty much the same thing these days!)

Now, we are back at the ranch and in countdown mode. Our Season of Eden is ending in about ten days. Lots to tidy up, lots to do before we fly south. I think, though, that I will take it slow today and enjoy the stunning land around me. Some of the leaves are changing colors, the valley is dotted orange with pumpkins, the sky is the kind of blue you only get in autumn, the air is sweet and the water is delicious. Ahhhhh.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Hello Kitty

Big Dog is allergic to some cats, so it was close to miraculous that we were cat-sitting for our old friends, Arby and Feather. We needed to be in Arcata to do some winterizing at Big Dog's Victorian and Arby and Feather were vacationing in Yosemite, so I guess Big Dog thought staying at their house was better than the bargain basement motel we were in last year.

"Spaz Cat won't use her litter box, but don't worry. She poops briquets," Arby warned us while we sipped Anchor Steam beers at a funky tiki bar in San Francisco. It was an unusually sunny Saturday afternoon and the warm light filtered into the darkness through the open door. Every so often, there was a roar of jets flying overhead. A fleet was in town, there was an air show going on and the city was packed.
"And don't worry if she pees during a seizure. We're used to that," added Feather. "Just remember to give her the meds."

At that, Feather gave me a little sheet describing the cats and listing what each one needs. Spaz Cat was only one of them, though the one with epilepsy and needing the most care.

"She's used to taking her phenobarbitol," Feather assured us. "I usually just touch the side of her mouth til she opens up and then slip the pill under her tongue. She's pretty mellow."
"Why wouldn't she be? She's on reds all the time!" laughed Big Dog. "Don't worry. I used to work for a vet when I was a teenager."


"It's time for Spaz Cat's pill," I said.
"You do it."
"I've never given a pill to a cat! I've never given a pill to anyone but myself!! You're the one who worked for the vet!"
"Those were cats that weren't used to taking medication. We forced open the mouth and shoved in the pill with the eraser end of a pencil," Big Dog clarified.
That sounded a bit extreme for poor, mellow Spaz.
"Okay, Spaz. Guess it's going to be me, sweetie," I cooed to her. She merely blinked back with her giant, multi-colored eyes.

At first, I was gentle.
"Open up now...that's it...pill's in... Spaz! Stop spitting it out! There, that wasn't so bad... No!"
Every time I had to pick the pill off the carpet and get it back in her mouth, the pill was less solid and I was less gentle. In the end, I jammed the gooey pill (which I am sure promptly dissolved in her mouth, it was so saliva saturated) and clamped her mouth shut. There was no more pill to spit.

"Bossie won't come in and Huffy's nowhere to be seen," I whined to Big Dog. Feather wanted all her cats inside at night, but I had only seen Bossie outside earlier and she ran away when I called to her.
"Shhhh," he shushed me like he always does when he's engrossed in TV. I glanced at Arby's state-of-the-art 5.1 surround sound HDTV. There was a political discussion going on and BD cared about the cats about as much as he cared about the treasure trove of cat-themed items that turned the house into a Temple of All Things Feline.

Unlike Big Dog, I like cats and, moreover, cats seem to like me. A Bad Dog is actually a pretty Good Cat. We both like doing our own thing, we don't care much about what others think, or want us to do. We enjoy company when we are in the mood, but feel that "alone time" is "quality time." We're independent and not particularly emotionally needy. Thus, I became Keeper of the Cats. Bossie who is known to bite was well-behaved with us (though she showed me her aggressive side when she hissed at one of the neighbor cats in a display I could only interpret as "Stay out, or I'll kill you with my bad breath!") and shy, shy Huffy let me play with her when there was no one else around. But, it was with Spaz that I felt a special bond...because it takes one to know one?

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