|Auntie Stefie with Coraline. My youngest|
daughter Stefie with my grand-baby Coraline.
I didn't feel well this past week...for those of you who are long time readers, you might know that I have jumped a few MAJOR health hurdles, which includes two critical Cardio-Thoracic surgeries that were a year apart. I also have a rare condition that actually makes my blood pressure plummet, which can create jello body. Since I have had trouble this week keeping my blood pressure elevated, I knew that driving one-way for 4+ hours might not be the wisest choice. When this happens, I just have to wait it out. Usually, it does happen more often during the summer months because I am outside to do this and that and it causes my electrolytes to get a little off-whack, causing me major issues. Not fun. I have medicine I take to elevate my blood pressure, but sometimes it is more complicated than a little pill can fix, so I have to kind of take it easy and wait it out. I have learned that patience is crucial to getting through the frustrating times. I still have so much to do, whether I am doing outdoor work or handling necessary paperwork and home business to keep things running at home.
So, there you go with that angle. Tough week as my blood pressure yo-yo's.
To top it off, the dog we had rescued from the deep forest a few months ago is scheduled to be "fixed" in about a week at our country vet's office. Apparently, the appointment was off by a couple of weeks because Gracie went into heat and everything went into chaos around here as Howdy entered a zone-of-crazy-dogness.
For days on end, I felt as if I were living around events that closely resembled what I can only refer to as "live porn" and it was fairly traumatic. Thankfully, Howdy could not figure out which end was what, if you catch my drift. However, there was a lot of kennel time off and on during the day with a sharp eye on both dogs to usher my "STOP THAT" command.
You would have thought my blood pressure would've gone sky high with all the constant attempts of the dogs to be "involved" that had been going on around me.
Howdy still has the jewels because we were hoping to one day get another full-blooded Aussie for him to breed with, especially because he truly is one of the best dogs I have ever been around...awesome farm/ranch dog that is great with the animals, a natural lead dog for walks and an excellent guard dog with sharp senses and an ability to follow detailed commands.
However, after these intense days of Howdy being in the zone, I was ready to neuter him, myself.
In fact, Gracie has been a dog that has been prone to give in to her wanderlust, but Howdy has always remained by my side, true blue. We have tried to handle her wanderlust, but on a lot of acreage, that can be a challenge. The good part, overall, is that the older she gets, the less often she wanders and the more often she loves to linger directly in our yard with the chickens at her side. Gracie loves to find a stick or a branch or a bone from the forest and chew on it for a few days in one of her favorite spots in the yard. With the summer heat, she is more prone to elect to stay inside next to the fan.
However, this past week, in the chaos of a dog in heat for the first time, Gracie decided to go on an excursion and the especially bad part is that Howdy followed her.
He has never left the homefront and he flat out left. That morning, I had been outside doing morning chores as the dogs were outside with me. I was keeping my eye on Howdy to make sure there wasn't any "funny business" happening. In fact, Howdy had been commanded to get onto the deck and to stay as I walked a few feet away to collect eggs. In the amount of time it took for me to collect ten eggs against me and turn around to face the deck, he was gone, Gracie was gone, both were gone.
Setting the eggs down, I began to walk around calling for Howdy because he is the one who will turn on a dime at a command. The problem was...he wasn't showing up. Highly unusual. I kept walking from one side of the acreage to another, walking for acres and acres, probably a total of pacing hit around walking a minimum of ten acres as I called out commands to him that he has never ignored before this time.
Finally, I decided to go back to the home-site to wake Sgt. Dave, even though he'd been working long hours and had not gotten a full night's rest, I could not continue searching by myself. He woke straight up and headed outside to start his own calls.
Sgt. Dave even fired the rifle and the .38 because Howdy does NOT like the sound of gun-fire. But, nothing worked. It seemed that Howdy was completely out of hearing distance.
Knowing that we are surrounded by THOUSANDS of forested acres made me feel hopeless. Also, rain was coming, so I feared that their scent trail to find their way home would be wiped clean.
Also, the roads surrounding the acreage are very dangerous to animals because nearly everyone around here drives a huge truck. Then, I was concerned that Howdy and Gracie would come up to a neighbor's acreage and either be attacked by one or more of the neighbor's dogs or that they would be shot by the neighbor trying to protect his own animals from rogue visitors.
No matter...I had terrible thoughts and the more time that passed, the worse the thoughts became.
Sgt. Dave went driving around, looking for the dogs, with no luck. Eventually, he had to leave for work. I began calling local places to see if they could keep their eyes and ears open for anyone seeing or hearing about our dogs being caught.
And, nearly eight hours passed. I knew they would never come home again. I tried to not be angry at Gracie for her wanderlust and for the natural conditions that made Howdy want to stick to her like a piece of duct tape.
Then, after 5:00pm, I walked into the yard to find the dogs coming across the acreage to the deck. Howdy looked like HELL. He was filthy, soaking wet with debris sticking to his fur, and he literally could not make it to the deck...he collapsed on our acreage, in our yard, about half way to the deck.
|Better days the followed the doggie-disappearance day.|
Obviously, they had also found something to eat because Gracie was dragging a piece of heavy foil with bits of charred meat stuck inside of it, so they had their fast-food with them...no telling where they got that from, probably another reason to almost get shot.
Sgt. Dave had three problems on his hand when he had left for work...Gracie missing, Howdy missing and his wife, me, who was beyond furious. In fact, after Howdy disappeared, I called to vet to also schedule him to be neutered. My husband asked me, "Isn't that premature...I mean...he hasn't even come home yet."
And I have to be honest, I responded, "Well, when he comes home, it will be to face a ball-less future because his following her is because he is not thinking straight and we CAN fix that!"
Yes, I scheduled Howdy for a neutering as he was missing. I had to do something since I felt out of control and scheduling him for surgery to remove the source(s) of the reason for him to stray felt like the right thing to do at that time.
|Sgt. Dave has been bringing home wood pallets for us to recycle for|
various projects around the land, such as when building a new
Anyway, the dogs came back. I gave them water, then put them in their separate kennels until Sgt. Dave got home from work. I had no energy left to give to them since I had already been feeling like puke and had walked enough that morning to get in a week's worth of exercise. My throat was raw from going outside every twenty minutes to call for them and the stress of KNOWING they had met some foul ending had zapped me completely. I kind of felt like Howdy did as he collapsed, as if I almost did the same thing, weak knees and feeling overwhelmed with thankfulness that they were able to make it home after being gone for so many hours in the Big Thicket forest.
|Picture taken on another day when the dogs weren't so worn out.|
So, I know that we need to make fencing a part of our construction plan. Acreage needs boundary fencing, but that won't really keep in a dog that is determined to wander off the property. Even though this is probably a rare occurrence for Howdy, I need to make sure these dogs have a proper fenced-in yard they can stay in as I go to town. For now, I cannot leave for any significant amount of time because they have to stay in the RV, which means no potty breaks, so I cannot be gone long.
The lack of fencing has restricted my own freedom and my own ability to live life as I please, so that fenced-in yard area will be crucial to our new residential site. Also, the chickens were left unguarded with the dogs gone, especially since they are mostly free-ranging chickens.
Howdy even listens and jumps up toward swooping hawks and he has taught Gracie to do the same. But, the day they were gone, I realized that I have the animals living too interdependent of one another. It's great that all of our animals can be together, but I do need each to have their separate quarters and fencing.
And you guys already know that I am fed up with having chicken under my feet as I am walking back and forth with laundry in my arms, unloading groceries or trying to just do something simple outside...chickens are great, but not underfoot.
They also have access to get upon our deck, which is a constant battle and a problem that I can only describe as creating "nasty" circumstances that is not acceptable to me. Sorry, I don't want poop on my walkway, on my porch or in my yard.
|This one little chicken I call "Baby" might be a chicken|
I would let move in, give her a bedroom, and act
chicken-crazy about her. She's fairly adorable. Lol.
So, fencing has become another element of my construction process and it will be given priority over the outdoor kitchen because we cannot even enjoy an outdoor kitchen without the dogs and chickens having proper accommodations.
There are stresses in life that can be reduced with proper planning and action. For me, fencing is now at the top of the list and my priorities are in order.
Having acreage is different from our last few houses that were located in the suburbs and required a few wood picket boards between us and our neighbors to create a nice fenced-in space. The problem was, the space was limited, directly against the neighbor and we had neighbors who didn't want to share the load or expense of fencing. So, I am glad to be out of that situation, but that also means that we have a different scenario with acreage...I will have to make sure we put up effective fencing that is affordable and that will do the trick to keep the animals in the designated place in a way that looks attractive or that does not block our views.
On top of it all, last night, Gracie evidently had a sick stomach and began having diarrhea, inside the RV. She had cried out and I should have immediately let her outside. I have learned that when she communicates with me, she does it because she means business.
Regardless, this week has been eventful and a challenge to search for the "good" has been my task as I have encountered a lot of activity that would disturb anyone's peace.
One of my goals with the new house is to set things up so that I do have peace and enjoyment in and around my home, not to be run over by animals, but a home that I have under control. This year of lacking control has not been a pleasant part of this experience. But, I can change that, and I will.
Fences are coming.