Rick's Stories ...
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27 Oct - Rick's Airport Story
30 Oct - Rick & Sweetie's Trip Home & Pics
04 Nov - Saga of the Hoof or Hoof Hoof, who's got the Hoof
05 Nov - I'm Sorry I Flunked Out Of Sunday School or Why me Lord
07 Nov - A Trip To The Vet In Stereo or Stupid Is As Stupid Does
12 Nov - The Great Cricket Chase or Chirp, Chirp, Slurp, Burp
12 Nov - The Pond In The Woods or Close Encounters Of The Comical Kind
16 Nov - A Bird In The Bush Needs To Stay There or Valium Is Useless, I Need Therapy
28 Nov - Look Daddy, Here's Mummy or Someone Please Ship Me Somewhere East Of Suez
05 Dec - A Game Of Hopskitch or Why Is My Analyst Dodging My Phonecalls
11 Dec - Min Pins and Murphy's Law or The Worst Case Scenario is Always Available
18 Dec - A Winters Night
19 Dec - A Little Corner Of History or A Possible Answer To A Haunting Question
30 Dec - The Famous Skitch!!!
03 Jan - Lenny and Squiggy or Even In The Animal Kingdon, One Is A Lonely Number
07 Jan - A Walk To The Mailbox or Off To The Races And The Winner Takes Nothing
08 Jan - Crashablanca or The Dynamic Duo, The Desperate Driver and The Damn Ditch
01 Feb - Lenny
01 Feb - Please Moses, Part My Rug or Rub A Dub Scrub, Two Pins In The Tub
01 Feb - The Greatest Gift
07 Feb - The Ice Storm or Slippin And A Slidin, Dashin And A Crashin
20 Feb - Saturday Morning Symphony or You want To Help Me, Don't Help Me
10 Mar - It's A Learning Thing or Age and Treachery Will Always Beat Youth and Energy


Rick's Airport Story

Tue, 27 Oct 1998 21:37:56 -0800 - from Rick

Getting to the airport a few hours early I figured I would have plenty of time to relax and wait for Sweetie to arrive. She was scheduled in on American Airlines flight 1140 arriving Richmond. Virginia at 10.30AM EST.
I sat down in one of the chairs facing the American counter and just waited. The passenger reservation people cam to work at 6AM so I went up to the counter and told the lady who I was and what I was there for and just wanted them to know I was there so they wouldn't be worrying about it. I was told they weren't worried. What does that mean???
I watched the status board as the flight left Dallas on time heading for Richmond and gave it about twenty minutes before going back up to the counter and asking the nice young lady if she would verify for me that Sweetie was on the plane. There are screwups in everything so I wanted to just make sure that Sweetie was aboard so I wouldn't have to call Wendy and tell her they lost my dog.
The lady said she had no way of knowing that without a bill of lading(which I didn'yt have). I told her that all she had to do was pull up the cargo manifest which should be on the computer as the flight had been in the air for about twenty five minutes.
She said that was classified as to passenger manifest and she couldn't do it.
At this point I became a little agitated and slammed my cane down on the counter and told her in a not so calm voice that I didn't want any passenger names or social security numbers, I by god wanted to know if my dog was aboard that flight, and I wanted to know now and somebody better tell me.
Now here comes the little lady with the star on her shirt and wearing the smokey the bear hat and shaking her finger in my face.
I apoligized and told them that I was under a lot of strain due to an earthquke in 1964 that I was in and I had flashbacks sometimes.
A suit then appeared and verified for me that Sweetie was indeed on the plane and would I not bother the reservation clerks further.
I sat there as the minutes ticked by and saw the status board show the flight was coming in five minutes early and oh so very, very slowly, the time ticked down to 10.25AM and the status board never changed to "arrived" or "At the Gate".
Well, this just wouldn't do so I went back up to the counter pointing to the staus board and trying to ask if the plane was on the ground and if so why was it still just designated as "on time" status.
Here comes the star lady again and just stares me right in the chin(she was not very tall) and says 'SIT DOWN"
I felt like doing a Patrick Henry to the tune of "give me my dog or give me death"but as she was wearing a heater, I figured I better shut up or she might just shoot me.
I sat there with my camera armed for auto speed shoot and I must have nodded off because the next thing I knew, I suddenly jerked awake as I half slid off the chair and there walking towards the counter was a man with a very pink crate and I knew that had to be Sweetie.
I tried to jump up and hurry over but my bad leg had fallen asleep and it buckled under me. My cane went flying one way and me the other with my finger pressed on the camera "PressHere" key as I fell. The flash was going off like a stobe light while the film raced through the whole roll. People were blinded by the 36 plus flash points and I'm sure I have a whole roll of 36 exposures of various angles of the ceiling of the terminal.
As I signed for Sweetie I swear I heard someone call me a maniac. How Rude.
The ride home was kind of different also but will get into that another time.
The important part is that she is home and once her and Brisket get to know each other, I think things will be fine.
Rick

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Rick & Sweetie's Trip Home & Pics

Fri 30 Oct 1998 17:19:45 -0000 - from Rick

After I signed for Sweetie I carried her out to my car which was parked right across the street from the terminal.
I put the crate in the shotgun seat and took the door off and just sat there about ten minutes talking to her and she finally came out of the crate and onto my lap.
There was no mess in the crate and I figured I'd better get this little doll somewhere where she could relieve herself after that long flight and so forth.
The Terminal area is a concrete jungle with no grass or dirt but there is a rest stop about 20 miles up the Interstate from where I was so I decided to head for that and make a stop for Sweetie.
I backed out of the spot I was in and went looking for the exit with the parking ticket up on the dash. I drove around and around and around and could not find the exit. Airports are confusing to me anyway.
At one point some gal waved at me and I thought that she was just waving at Sweetie who by this time was standing up and looking out the drivers window.
Finally after taking every road I could find around this big building I saw a little grass plot off to the right and pulled up on it to let Sweetie get out.
I put her on her leash and we just kind of stood there on this nice putting green type of grass while I waited to see if she was going to do any business.
I had been standing there about five minutes when here comes Wyatt Earp in his little Ken and Barby Doll jeep with the star on the side.
He got out and came over to me and proceeded to tell me that I was not in a pet area, I was on the lawn of the airport managers office and I was going to get a ticket. I was also going to get a ticket for driving right through the parking lot gate without paying for my parking and the attendant trying to flag me down. I was also going to get a citation for parking on the lawn. This has not been a great day so far, and I'm not in a real good mood because now I have to pee.
With Sweetie looking out the drivers window, she had partially blocked my vision and I didn't see the booth where the gal was waving at me.
I explained to the officer about my being here to pick up Sweetie and I was lost and was trying to find the ticket booth and did not realize that I had run the booth so to speak.
I think there were two things that saved me from getting this whole ticket book thrown at me. The officer was a dog lover and Sweeties story moved him, I could tell from the look on his face when I told him about the rescue and the fact that I still have Oregon plates on my car and pleaded stupidity.
He looked kind of amazed and told me he knew who I was, the whole security squad had heard about the ticket counter.
Anyway, I paid for my parking and proceeded on my way after a few heartfelt thanks to the security officer and about ten minutes later, we merged onto Interstate 95 heading North for home.
Sweetie still had not done any business so I figured I'd stop at the rest area anyway just to give her another chance.
Traffic was fairly heavy and here in Virginia, trucks can't use the outside lane in a lot of areas so they are restricted to driving on the two inside lanes. I didn't want to drive very fast as I was a little worried about Sweetie and the bumps and jerks any car makes when it is moving so I stayed in the middle lane doing about 70. Everybody was passing me like I was standing still. I have trucks coming right up behind me trying to get me to move to the outside but I ain't moving.
By this time, Sweetie had discovered she could move around at will and went exploring. I have a Mustang Hatchback and I had the back seats down with a pink blanket covering everything to give her plenty of room to raom which I figured she would do.
When I left to head for the airport, I put some pigs ear pieces, a couple of tins of pedigee(small packets) and a small bag of Eukanaba dry food in a paper bag just in case we got stranded somewhere, at least Sweetie would have some chow. There were also a couple of other treats and a bottle of water.

Sweetie
I heard rustling in the back and moved my rear view mirror to see what she was into and it was the brown paper bag. (Pictures attached). I was drivng and watching the road and aiming the camera over my shoulder, trying to take pictures of this. I didn't know if they would come out but a couple did luckily.
I have no where to pull over so I'm very gently telling Sweetie, No, get out of that bag, No, you can't have that. Paying no attention she proceeded to eat the pigs ears, the treats and chew a hole in the little bag of dry food.
She was working on a packet of the pedigree, trying to get the top off when I came screaming into the rest stop and could get the rest of it away from her.
Sweetie
Wendy had told me about her strict diet and I had already blown that days plus a few other days rations for her.
We finally made it home though and Brisket is still trying to play but Sweetie is not having any quite yet. I know that in time they will become best buddies and I am happy to have her.
I will be posting a few current pictures of the two of them as well as some of just Sweetie later today.
My Thanks again to all of you for your kind thoughts and concern.
Regards
Rick, Brisket and Sweetie

Sun, 31 Oct 1998 23:07 Oz time - from Rick to Mag via ICQ

Sweetie
Sweetie out in the yard right after I brought her home


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Saga of the Hoof or Hoof Hoof, who's got the Hoof
Click here for pics of Sweetie & Brisket.

Wed, 4 Nov 1998 15:37:03 -0800 - from Rick

The stores of the world sell an inumuerable variety of toys for our pets. In the dog departments of these respective stores there are what seems like millions of things for dogs to chew on, roll over on, tug on and throw up on. Some of them make noises and some of them move about the room in either straight or jerky motions to attract the attention of our pals and keep them somewhat occupied with the mystery of what it is they have discovered. When I first got Brisket, I bought a very small crate for her to be carried in which has been used a total of one time because the fit she raised when I put her in it was not worth it. This very expensive crate has since then become her toubox and it is full to overflowing with all of these things for her to play with. Usually she would rather play with my socks but I still keep buying these toys when I go shopping, I would suppose as we all do.
One of these items which she has had for about a year and rarely even looks at is a piece of hard rawhide in the shape of a hoof, or if you look at it long enough, it starts to resemble the shoes that the little Dutch Boy wears on the can of household cleaner. I've watcher her destroy things which are touted as undestroyable in a matter of seconds but for some reason, she has never been able to do much damage to this hoof. Go figure.
Today, Sweetie discovered that she could rummage around in all this mess and she discovered the Hoof. She proudly danced over to the couch, up on the couch and started to chew away contentedly
A few minutes later, Rocket Butt(Brisket) came strolling in from the yard and espied Sweetie chewing on the hoof.
There must be a communication signal of some sort that dogs use which we are not privy to because Sweetie immediately jumped up and started running around the house looking for a place to hide the hoof.
I ws just sitting in my chair recovering from a long night of Sweetie snoring in my left ear and Brisket snoring in my right so when they went to the back of the house, I payed no attention.
A few minutes later, out came Rocket Butt with the hoof in her face and out the door she went.
She came back in a few minutes later, snout covered with dirt and jumped up on the couch to relax.(I have an electric blanket on the couch that I keep turned on for them so it is real nice and warm). I also have all the furniture covered with towels as Brisket is in estrus and washing towels is so much easier that recovering furniture.
Sweetie was a treasure to behold. She watched Brisket with one eye open until Brisket was snozzing and then she very slowly eased herself off the couch and out the door. She came back in a few minutes later with the hoof in her mouth, up on the couch and started chewing away contentedly.
Sweetie got interested in something else a little while later and wandered off and as soon as she did, Brisket grabbed the hoof and away she went.
This has been going on all day, this hide and seek of this hoof and it is driving me nuts.
I have stepped on it once, and sat on it twice in it's hidden places(and I got to tell you, at my age I have hemmorroids which do not take kindly to a sharp ended hoof trying to tickle their fancy)and right now both dogs are laying on the couch looking at each other and the hoof is no where in sight.
I'm a little nervous as to where one of them has hidden it. I wish I had something like a hoof detector so that I could locate it before I sit down on it again but I don't, so it's going to be one of those buy your ticket and take your chances things whenever I go to sit down or walk around anywhere.
Things are really starting to get a little livlier around here and it's only been 8 days. I think I'm in for a long cold winter.
Regards
Rick, Brisket and Sweetie

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I'm Sorry I Flunked Out Of Sunday School or Why me Lord

Thursday, November 05, 1998 3:34 PM - from Rick

All of us have our daily and weekly procedures and list of everyday things which we do on a recurring basis and think nothing of it.
Thursday morning is gather the trash day for me and I always have one large black lawn bag full.
It takes a little time to do this as Brisket(and now Sweetie) like to attack the plastic bags which I replace in each of the household trash cans. Today it took about an hour to do the eight cans but it was a lot of fun with the little girls playing and cavorting much as you would picture a herd of wood nymphs splashing in a mountain stream.
I never take the bag out to the trash can until late afternoon as the mailbox is also out on the street and the street is a good distance form my house here in the country. So, on Thursday afternoons I get the mail and fill the trash can at the same time. Energy Economic,n'est pas????
Today in King George has been a gorgeous day. Rather warm with no breeze and I figured I would get the girls yard done with the weeder eater as it was long overdue. I usually cut it every ten days but have been a little preoccupied the last couple of weeks and let it go.
I always lock Brisket up on the upper deck as she has a tendency to think the buzzing of the weed eater is a bee or something and I learned from experience that a min pin is so fast, they can rush in and get their face weed eaten in a matter of a split second. So, I locked the upper gate to the yard and let Brisket and Sweetie just lay outside on the upper deck and enjoy the sunshine as I proceeded on my labours.
As I was chopping down the jungle I was reflecting somewhat on my life and it has been a good one and I have been there and back. I've seen a sky so blue that it hurt your eyes to look at it, I've seen the most beautiful sunset ever produced and like all of us, had the love and devotion of a good dog(s).I've hoboed and rode the freight trains from somewhere to nowhere to anywhere and I've lived on skid row with the down and out and been a charter member. I've slung hash(but I never picked cotten), drove a taxi and had an office so big you could land an airplane in it with a receptionist and a secretary.
I always figured thaere was nothing I hadn't done that I wanted to and have been content in the knowledge that I've even gone around the world on a shoestring and wore shoes at times with no strings and one was just as adventerous and exciting as the other.
But as it always happens, just when you get to thinking that everything is so perfect, reality comes crashing down on you.
I was taking a little break being about half way done when I heard the arguing going on up on the deck. I cast my eyes skyward and slowly(I'm old and silver haired) walked up the back steps to see what the commotion was all about. As I turned the corner, there was Brisket and Sweetie playing a little tug of war with a banana peel, a very large banana peel and behind them was a various assorment of trash items collected over the preceeding week.
Have you guys ever seen in the movies where a guy is lost in the desert and as he travels along he starts shedding his clothes because it is so hot???Then the air shot of his trail shows the line of clothes leading to the body or whatever.
This is what it looked like behind these two, with the trail leading into the front door, across the living room and into the kitchen where I had set the big black trash bag down. Only it wasn't there anymore, it was EVERYWHERE.
Brisket has never bothered it before so I can only assume that she got her instructions from Sweetie and I swear in all the things I have seen in my life, I have never seen anything to compare with the total destruction a couple of min pins can do to a trash bag. Nuclear Winter would seem mundane and complacent compared to the cachophony of new color patterns on my walls and carpeting and linoleum, with highlights of tomato red, lettuce green and rice white.
As I just stood there waiting for my heart to stop and allow me to drop dead and get out of this situation, my little angels were sitting contentedly at my feet with that
"What's The Problem Daddy" look on their faces.
I probably won't get the yard finished today.
Regards
Rick

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A Trip To The Vet In Stereo or Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Sat, 7 Nov 1998 - from Rick

Somewhere, sitting on top of a mountain is a very very old man. He has been there forever as evidenced by the fact that his fingernails and toenails are longer than Christmas Eve night waiting to open the the presents.
His only function is to think, and the things he thinks about are such as "Things Which Make No Sense" for example, Why are there locks on the doors of 7/11 stores as they never close, and why are their instructions in braille on drive up ATM machines.
He also contemplates such questions as" What is the speed of Dark", and contradictions of terms like "Military Intelligence" and "Honest Politician"
This little old man also keeps a list of the ten dumbest things or actions perpretrated by the human race. This list has numbers two through ten filled in with such items as people who turn left from the right hand lane and the old Park Hotel and Casino in Stateline, Nevada which was built with the elevator shafts in backwards to where the elevator doors opend up on a blank wall.
I feel confident that the number one spot has now been filled with my trip to the Vet yesterday with both min pins in tow, or should I say I was in tow. Brisket was due her annual shot, needed her nails clipped and Sweetie was in for a recheck on her foot and as she was scratching at her ears, I wanted them checked also.
Brisket has always been somewhat of a problem going to the Vet as she loves to roam around the magic lawn and scent mark and do all kinds of business. She is always so anxious to get out of the car that I just open the door and let her go with a tight grip on her leash which is one of those 20 footers which retract as they come back toward you and wind the line back up. By the time I stuggle out of the car she has already boundry marked a couple of times and is straining and choking at the end of her leash to get going to the rest of the lawn.
Sweetie is so laid back that I never figured she would try to take off and explore also and I have the same kind of leash for her.
Getting them both into the car to leave was tough enough with each of them pulling in a seperate direction and the 15 mile ride to the Vet was not a real birthday party either with them taking turns at the same time trying to sit in my lap as I drove.
Pulling into the parking lot I parked where I always do, right next to the lawn and by this time Brisket was jumping up and down on my lap trying to get out with Sweetie over on the shotgun seat just laying there so peacefully.
The real problems started when I opened the door. Brisket was out like a shot with Sweetie right behind her. I had a grip on both of their leashes but the sudden tug of both of them hitting the end of the line pulled me halfway out of the car and I got my right foot caught up under the console kick panel.
I was hanging out of the car, trying to get control of the puppies, tangled up in the seat belt with one hand on the asphalt and the other holding onto the two leashes.
I finally managed to crawl out of the car, get on my feet and get more control of them.
Out in the magic yard they were both running different directions and pulling me so hard from each direction that I thought I was being drawn and quarterd. By the time we had been out there for five minutes, I was hopelessly wrapped up in the two leashes, trying to keep my balance as these two cavorted and jumped and choked because they were pulling so hard so I just sat down. Unfortunately, I sat down right where something large had left a deposit and this only added to my confusion, embarressment and chagrin.
The door to the Vet's Clinic opens out towards you and I had both of them on short locked leash as I tried to manipulate the first of the two entry doors to get them inside for their appointment.
I finally did get them inside after banging my head a couple of times on each of the two entry doors and got almost got them signed in.
Brisket loves it at the Vet. She greets everyone with her stub in warp speed and little yips and wiggles and she was doing all of this as I tried to sign in. Sweetie was just standing at my feet shivering so I reached down to pick her up and Brisket jerked the leash right out of my hand and away she went to the back of the clinic.
This could have been something out of the Keystone Kops as the staff tried to corral her as she crashed into this and that and jumped up on chairs and low tables and stopped at each of the surgical kennels to say hello and leave a little liquid present so the occupant would know she had been there.
As you can tell, when she is very excited and playing, she doesn't listen to me very well.
By this time Sweetie had joined in on the yapping and sqealing and meowing going on and about then Brisket ran right past me and I made a grab for her leash that she was dragging behind her. I got a hold on her leash but unfortunately dropped Sweetie's in the process and off she went, not running but sort of just cruising. Luckily she still doesn't run amok all the way yet and was fairly easy to catch.
This whole disaster didn't last more than a couple of minutes but it sure seemd like an eternity.
Somewhere in the melee Sweetie lost a toenail, Brisket banged her nose and I almost lost what little mind I have left.
Driving home after their treatment I was reflecting on the strange looks the staff was giving me(with all the windows down as I really didn't smell very good after sitting down out in the lawn) and wondering if I was going to get a pink slip from my Vet.
I probably won't take them at the same time ever again.
Rick

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Sweetie,Brisket,Cricket Sweetie,Brisket,Cricket
The Great Cricket Chase or Chirp, Chirp, Slurp, Burp

Thursday, 12 Nov 1998 - from Rick

The yard where the babies play is a fascinating place for both them and me.
I find great adventure in looking all over the place for their daily present to me in the form of a pile and they take great pleasure in doing their business where it is always hidden under some grass, or a pile of leaves or in one of the many holes dug into the terrain.
Sweetie hasn't really explored the whole yard yet as she is still a little cautious I think of the wide expanse of ground stretching out before her as she comes down the back steps.
When I first decided to move here, there was no back yard at all, it was just part of the hay field with the hay about three feet high waiting to be cut.
There was no back steps so the owner cut me out a large area so that I could build a yard and built a special set of steps which go right down into the yard for direct and controlled access for Brisket(and now Sweetie also).
I decided to run the fenceline back up under the trees on the North side to give Brisket some shade in the summer and a little umbrella canopy in the days of rain and snow and uglies which arrive with the changing of the seasons.
The big problem there was the whole tree line was inundated with poison oak, poison sumac and some old barbed wire.
Getting this cleared out cost me dearly in scratches and anti-itch lotions like Calamine, Cortizone Ten and Gold Bond(I'm sure all their stock went up because I had to buy so much of it) but I finally got it done and could release Brisket to her yard to play.
These poison weeds are real resilient and after a week or so I saw that they were growing back as I didn't get all the roots so I came up with a plan.
I took a piece of pressed board, 1/2 inch thick down to the yard with a jug of Roundup. I sprayed a 12 square foot area(the board is 3feet by 4 feet) and then put the board on top of the sprayed area, held down by bricks so Brisket could not dig in that area and get herself poisoned by the weed killer. After a couple of weeks, I would remove the board, the ground would be barren and dead, and replant grass in the area.
This has worked fine all summer and the past few weeks being rather chilly at times, I hadn't done any more work on clearing the ground under and close to the treeline.
A few days ago we had some real nice weather so I decided to do another patch of ground and proceeded to the yard with my jug of Roundup.
Both of my beauties were on my heels and when I lifted the board to be able to throw some grass seed in the bare spot, the whole ground erupted with about a bezillion crickets.
I guess with the cold weather they had found the ground nice and warm under the board and had taken up homesteading.
The crickets were going every direction of the compass, hopping, jumping and flying and the girls were trying to get all of them at once.
They were racing around the yard chasing one and then their attention would be diverted by another one and they would take off after it. For some reason, they were always after the same cricket so most of them finally escaped.
After a few minutes there was only one cricket left, a great big one who was still just sitting there in the bare ground. He was so big he couldn't move very fast and both the girls went for him at the same time.
They each got part of this huge cricket in their face and instead of tugging it for possession, they each tried to run with it. The funny thing was, they were running step for step, in tandem around and around the yard, face to face like a team of matched grays pulling a buggy.
I ran up and got my camera but by the time I got back to the yard, they had stopped running and were just standing looking down at the remains of this big cricket,(pics Included).
Sweetie was howling more or less and every few seconds Brisket would go into her scratch them back feet challenge to this bug but it never moved again.
After they lost interest and went back to whatever they went back to I kind of forgot about the scene but was rudely reminded of it that evening when I went to bed and part of it was stuffed under my pillow. To make matters worse, crickets don't sit well on the babies stomachs and sometimes in the wee hours of the morning their afternoon feast came back up on my very pale colored comforter. It now has two very green stains on it that the washer couldn't take out.
I probably will just go ahead and buy a new comforter.
Rick

Sweetie,Brisket Sweetie

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The Pond In The Woods or Close Encounters Of The Comical Kind

Fri, 13 Nov 1998 13:40:25 -0800 - from Rick

As Winter approaches there are a variety of chores which have to be done here on the estate in preparation for the coming of the normal winter mess.
Hay has to be stocked out in the fields for the cattle, the pump houses for the two wells have to be insulated against the possible sub zero temperatures and the dam has to be checked thoroughly to insure there are no pending leaks. This is done so that in the spring thaw, the dam will not crumble will the onslaught of the spring melt. It is an earthen dam which blocks the stream and forms a rather large pond behind it.
The pond is behind the treeline to the west of my house about a half a mile away and as that is too far for me to walk with my bad leg, whenever I go down to the pond, I drive the tractor.
Brisket and I spent some real nice afternoons down there last summer as it is a rather serene place and has been stocked with catfish and bass by Jake, the man who owns this spread.
I've done a little fishing at the pond and caught a few catfish and one or two bass that Brisket would assert her dominance over by rolling on them a couple of times and snapping and yowling for a while, and this way I'm sure she would make sure that they knew that this was her turf.
You have to picture this place with all these acres as a group of interlocking fields. They are all cattle fenced and seperated so that the cows can't overgraze one particular pasture and can be moved from section to section while the one they were previously in has a chance to grow again.
All of these interlocking fields have gate control access and these gates are all automatic and activated by a mass of metal. This way when you are driving around the fields, you don't have to get out and open and close gates.
When you go through the gate to the pond, streatching out in front of you is the earthen dam and the cattle fencing on each side of it. I have tacked chicken wire to the fencing so that Brisket could not be running loose by getting out of the pond area. The fencing goes right down to the waters edge about halfway down which makes the pond its self a natural barrier to block Brisket from going exploring.
Brisket has always ridden well on the tractor. It has kind of a bench seat where there is room for her to sit beside me although she is usually up in my lap interfering with my driving and thus sending the tractor all over the field in kind of a zig zag pattern.
This is okay, there is lots of room out in the pastures. I keep her leash locked to the seat though because you never know when she is going to get it into her head to jump off and try to chase the wind.
This would be Sweetie's first ride on the tractor and I was a little leary about it but figured what the hell, if she is too scared to ride, I'll just take her back to the house and leave them both there to howl and yap.
I got both babies up on the seat and climbed up myself. Sweetie was a little hesitant about all this but she wasn't trembling like she was scared so I figured it would be okay. They both wanted in my lap so we compromised by me being in the middle and the top half of each of them hanging onto each arm. This made for a great trip to the pond as they are both so wiggley and first the steering wheel would be pulled to the left as Brisket shifted around, and then to the right as Sweetie did the same. I would overcompensate for the pull and end up sometimes going in a circle. This was great fun for the puppies and the ride took about an hour when it usually takes about 15 minutes.
After the pond gate closed behind us, I turned the tractor off and climbed down, lifting each of them to the ground and let them go play and explore while I examined the mudworks dam.
There are a few baseline cracks which will require some filling as the winter freeze on the pond will put stress on the structure so I'm not happy about having to break out the D-4 cat with the shovel blade and doing repair.
While I'm mulling this over, the puppies start putting up a ruckus down towards the end of the fence line on the water's edge where the trees block off that end. I looked down that way and Brisket was jumping and snarling, with them back feet scratching as usual and Sweetie standing up on her back legs just yipping.
You never know what these guys are going to uncover and thinking that perhaps they had a snake cornered I hustled down there to see what all the commotion was all about.
They had found a rather large catfish, about half eaten laying partially out of the water.
Now you have to try and picture where they were. The tree line and the heavy brush at that part of the pond obscures the fencing which seperates the south pasture from the pond.
This used to be a really large cattle farm but now there are only a couple of dozen cows which belong to the guy to the east of this place and one steer. The owner here only owns one cow and one steer but they share the pastures of both their properties. For those of you who don't know what a steer is, it was a bull at one time but due to being surgically altered, the only thing it has left is some memories and and attitude. Ouch
While I was standing there laughing my hind parts off at these two space cases and this catfish, all of a sudden the steer stuck his head over the fence about five feet further down from where the puppies were. I saw him but the girls didn't until he(it) snorted.
When he did, I swear Sweetie fainted for a second. She just collapsed and Brisket jumped straight up in the air.
A lot of things happened then. By this time the two old Geese who live at the far end of the pond had joined in and for the next few minutes there was commotion all over the place as the steer snorted, snotted, pawed the ground with his right front hoof, and head butted the fence. Brisket was alternately barking at the steer with them back feet scratching so fast that it looked like a propeller blade gone wild and then she would run over to the catfish where she would bite it a couple times, wrestle it around, run around in a circle a couple of times and then run back to the fence and scent mark. The Geese were honking and flapping their wings and by this time Sweetie was back up on her hind legs and just looking from me(I was laughing my hind parts off) to the steer, to Brisket, to the Geese and yipping the whole time. I don't know how Sweetie did it, I can't even stand up on my back legs for that long.
The steer was getting madder by the second but he(it) finally had enough and went back into the trees where I could hear him(it) thrashing around in the scrub venting his anger on the bushes and small trees which line the north end of the south pasture.
It took a little while to get Rocket Butt settled down and back on the tractor and we headed home to the barn where the tractor stays parked.
As we wove and weaved our way back, Brisket kept looking behind her and growling. I looked over my shoulder and there was the steer pacing us about 50 yards behind and on the other side of the fence. He stayed right with us until we went through the main gate and he was stopped by the interlocking gate to the south pasture.
The rest of the afternoon, the old steer stayed right there at the interlocking gate looking this way while the babies had their heads stuck through the railing slats of the upper deck just looking back at him. They didn't bark very much more but that old steer was still there at nightfall, snorting, snotting and pawing trying to figure out a way to get over here to them.
I probably won't take them with me when I doze the dam.
Rick

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A Bird In The Bush Needs To Stay There or Valium Is Useless, I Need Therapy

Mon, 16 Nov 1998 09:51:25 -0500 - from Rick

This big farm I live on is only a farm in the sense that it has a lot of land and once teemed with all the farm things you see in the comic books.
There is a great big barn which use to house hundreds of cattle, there is a stable where some of the finest thoroughbreds in Virginia got their mail so to speak, and the fields were populated with any number of local critters. There were many many Geese living down at the pond and the chicken population was also in direct proportion to a farm this large with a family of ten residing in the main house.
As it always happens, time marches on and the kids grew up and left home and as Jake and Gerry added years to their personal abacus it became too much for them to take care of and still maintain their other property agendas in Nevada and California.
The cattle were all sent to the slaughter house except for one cow and one steer, the horses were sold and with the normal predation of this area, the Geese population was decimated down to a lonely single pair and the chickens all disappeared except for one. The big barn and the magnificent stable now house only a myriad of farm equipment and act as storage houses for the kids household property as they move from town to town with their work or in some cases from marriage to marriage.
This one raggedy chicken I have named Skitch. She spends her days and nights just roaming about all over the Estate Proper doing her thing and surviving on the bugs which live in the grass.
Poor old Skitch has had a tough time of it from the looks of her. Part of her neck feathers are gone and she is minus any tail feathers from too many close encounters with foxes and chicken hawks trying to take her to dinner. She even gets a ration of abuse from Brisket and Sweetie when her daily patrol takes her near the puppies yard and staircase. They yelp and snap at her as she clucks and scratches her way past them.
I had a tough day today. I got the Estate lawns mowed probably for the last time until spring and got the earthen dam reinforced for the winter freeze and the spring thaw.
My gimpy left leg was really killing me as I got finished up yesterday afternoon and so I decided I would just soak in a very hot bath for a while as sometimes that helps to ease the throbbing.
I ran the tub of water and eased down into it to just relax. Brisket and Sweetie were laying on the throw rug in the bathroom as they both just love to help me dry off by getting in the way and attacking the towel when I try to dry off.
I had been reposing and relaxing for a few minutes when some fool rang the doorbell. Now we all know what happens to a Min Pin when someone has the audacity to ring the doorbell.
Some sort of neural alarm goes off in them and they go into instant voluminous racket and take off to see what needs to be guarded against.
Being absolutely normal Min Pins, away they went to investigate voicing their disapproval all the way.
This is Sunday afternoon and as I'm not expecting anyone. and anyone I know doesn't bother to ring the doorbell , they just come on up because they are aware of the racket which will insue from the puppies so I said to hell with it and just went back to soaking.
I figured whomever it was would go away after the babies had vocalized at them for a few minutes.
It wasn't long when the racket was headed back in the house and down the hall towards the bathroom. From where I was in the tub, the I can see just a little bit of the hallway from the mirror over the sink and what I saw really confused me for a second.
There was a flash of brown, a flash of red and a flash of black.
All I could do was roll my eyes upward again and go see what was going on.
Before I could manage to get up and out of the tub, Skitch hop-flew through the door, bounced off the sink mirror and plopped down in the sink, Brisket made the hard turn to the bathroom from the hall, jumped and snapped at Skitch and ended up on my chest while Sweetie, following close behind leaped up on the toilet seat to continue the chase and the seat was up. Splash.
Skitch recovered and bounded out the door again and a few seconds later when I got Brisket untangled from me and onto the floor, off she went after her. I grabbed Sweetie and lifted her out of the toilet and without even shaking, away she went after Skitch and Brisket.
I never even gave it a thought as to how the damn chicken got in the house, but apparently on the way out the North door, they had seen Skitch up on the deck and chased it in the West door. I never close the doors around here. All I could think of was if those fool dogs ever caught her, they would get their feelings hurt at the very least and maybe even take a chance on losing an eye or worse.
Not bothering to grab a towel I hobbled after them, naked as a jay bird, out the West Door and down the deck to the North side of the house and turned the corner just in time to see Skitch disappearing over the railing at the platform which connects the two tiers of back steps and down into the yard about six feet below. She bounced once and took off for the main house with Brisket and Sweetie voicing their disdain at her rapidly dwindling figure as four Beagle Dogs and King the owners GSD took off after her.
It was then I noticed four people standing at the foot of the front stairs where the doorbell is. Two men and two women in bright orange hunting garb and their shotguns across their shoulders.
Being the incredibly modest person I am I quickly raised my hands to cover my naked chest and made a hasty retreat to the house to put my britches on.
I know one of the guys who was standing there, not personally but he is the owners neighbor and is the only person allowed to hunt on the property.
After I got the babies settled down, he told me they were crossing over to the North field hunting quail and dove and the Beagle dogs had espied poor old Skitch and taken off after her, chasing her up and over the four foot fence surrounding the puppies yard. The only way into their yard is by way of the back steps which you have to come up the front steps first.
Being dog lovers and having the same concern I had about Brisket and Sweetie getting hurt by the flying beak or talons they had rung the doorbell to let me know that the chicken was in the back yard and they had no access to it to chase it out. Very thoughtful of them N'est pas???
Last night as I sat here at my confuser reading mail and chatting with Joyce, the puppies were asleep laying side by side over on the couch. Brisket on her back with her feet straight up in the air and every once in a while she would kick her back feet as if scratching the air and Sweetie on her side with her front legs moving as if she was either digging or running and I thought how fortunate I am to have these little darlings in my life. I think of the years ahead with a little trepidation but know they will be filled with laughter and joy trying to keep up with them.
I have the utmost respect for those of you out there with more than two and wonder how you handle so many when these two keep me on my toes constantly.
And the beat goes on.

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Look Daddy, Here's Mummy or Someone Please Ship Me Somewhere East Of Suez

Sat, 28 Nov 1998 16:42:38 -0500 - from Rick

A couple of time a week I have to go over to the big house to take care of some of the things which need taken care of. I check the freezers to make sure they are working properly, insure that King has plenty of food and water and start up the vehicles to keep the batteries charged and little mundane things like that which are part of the routine around here with the owners gone.
I'm not real fond of going in the house as it is very large and a little spooky with no one there to keep it looking like it is lived in.
This last summer when I was installing phone and T.V. cable lines there were a couple of real small crawl spaces which I had to work in and there were a few times I actually felt someone breathing down my neck.
I'm not superstitious (well, maybe a little) but when the hair on the back of your neck stands up for no reason, it bears a little investigation.
This of course was before I had Sweetie but I took Brisket over and she actually refused to enter these places with me. Her hackles would go up and it was like trying to land a huge Marlin with the pull she was exerting on her leash.
I even took King, the owners GSD to one of these places and he just took off and scurried up to the fourth floor and hid under Gerry's bed. I had a heck of a time getting him out from under it.
So this is why when I have to go in the house, I make my security and freezer checks as quickly as I can and get out.
My family whom I call the rat pack are all descending on me for Thanksgiving and I have a normal size refrigerator with a normal size freezer compartment, I have a lot of the Thanksgiving Day fare stored over in one of the freezers at the big house.
The one I had the stuff in is down in the basement under the big kitchen and as today was a normal big house check day, I decided to move the stuff from the basement freezer to the blue verandah freezer which is close to an outside door and would make easier access to it next week. Besides that, the basement makes me a little uneasy.
It has been a beautiful day here and the babies were laying out on the deck this morning catching some rays when I went over to get my chores done.
They had been pretty calm all morning and I should have known better than to leave the door to the house open because like sleeping volcanoes, they can erupt at any time.
There is one window on the blue verandah that I can see just a part of the West side of the deck but it is a little difficult because you are looking through a tree. I saw that they were up and playing with something as they were jumping and bouncing but couldn't see what it was so I figured they were content and probably had one of the ball toys out there with them so I went back to moving the Thanksgiving Day food.
It took about an hour to get this accomplished and as I was leaving the big house through the second floor door from the blue verandah, I happened to look over to my place.
Have you ever seen a fan with stringers tied to the protective screen??? That's the impression I got when I looked this direction.
There was something billowing in the wind but I couldn't tell what it was because of the trees.
As I got closer to my place like about one hundred feet away, I could see that the billowing effect was being caused by toilet paper.
I started to get hot under the collar figuring kids had seen me go over to the big house and seeing their opportunity, had embraced the "Carpe Diem" theory and had fun papering my house. Had I given it any thought at all, I would have realized that the puppies would not let anyone up on the deck and I would hear them howling even over at the big house.
I haven't had any Thanksgiving with any direct family of mine in over twenty years and as the rat pack was descending on me for this holiday feast, I had gone all out with not only the foodstuffs, but household supplies as well.
While I was shopping a few days earlier, I bought a twelve pack of the most expensive, double knit and quilted, extra wide and soft toilet paper sold anywhere. I figured that the sandpaper I usually buy just wouldn't do if I was going to impress all my relates so I splurged the extra few pennies for the fancy stuff.
I placed a roll on each of the dispensers in the two bathrooms and stacked five rolls behind each of the thumpers as I always do and took the sandpaper and hid it in a back closet.
It's interesting to note at this time that it is possible for one or two min pins to unroll a roll of toilet paper for over 100 feet, around corners and down stairs without breaking it, especially if it is the heavy duty fancy stuff.
They had not only pulled both rolls off the dispensers, they had managed to drag the other ten rolls around the house, out on and all over the deck and down into the yard.
As I came up the front steps I could see them down in the yard just about completely wrapped up in this stuff and still trying to grab a mouthful and run even though their legs were basically tied up in toilet paper, and they looked like a couple of Egyptian Sarchophogie with nothing but their ears and snouts visible in that mass of tissue paper.
My anger turned to laughter watching them in their predicament and then back to a little on the testy side as I tried to clean up the strands of paper while these two tried to keep playing with it.
It took a while, it wasn't fun, but it sure did make my day.
I'm giving serious consideration to joining some kind of dysfunctional family therapy group.

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A Game Of Hopskitch or Why Is My Analyst Dodging My Phonecalls

Sat, 5 Dec 1998 12:56:24 -0500 - from Rick

Chickens are for the most part not considered as candidates for membership in the Mensa class of animals but I suppose like anything else, there are exceptions to every rule.
I don't think anyone has any idea of how old Skitch is, I don't know a lot from chickens except for the ones served up at Uncle Colonels Kentucky Fried Yard Strutter With A Biscuit Drive Up Window but she has red feathers with white tips and that may or may not be an indication of age like it affects us old silver haired citizens.
This has got to be one smart old bird though, to have survived all the years of predation around here while the rest of the flock was dined on by a variety of hungry woods dwellers.
Skitch has a normal route she follows on her BI or Tri weekly wanderings in her constant search for food. She comes from the North where the big house is, down the fence line which runs West to East of the girls yard, parallels the double set of steps, out to the driveway past my car and then makes a slight right hand turn and heads South to the barn area where she disappears for a day or two.
While she is scratching and clucking her way past the girls yard and down the North side of the house the girls are of course raising cain trying to get at her, running up and down the stairs and just causing a real commotion in general.
With Sweetie being treated for this Heartworm malady I decided that Skitch was going to be too much of a distraction and it would be much too difficult to keep Sweetie quiet and down with this chicken's presence so she had to go.
I called the owner in Reno and she said just to shoot the bird and throw it in a stew pot but I can't do that, it's not Skitch's fault that Sweetie has to be kept in low key so I figured I'd capture the bird and just take her over to my cousins for a few months while Sweetie was mending.
Catching a scared chicken is at best more or less an exercise in futility but I remembered that over at the big house, on the back ground level deck where the bar-b-que is, I saw a butterfly net laying up against the wall. This I figured was just the ticket I needed to resolve this problem so I went over and got it and brought it home and waited for her next forage past our place.
The days went by and I didn't see Skitch and the girls never raised the alarm at her being in the area so I got to thinking that maybe she had taken the hint and was traveling a different route. No such luck.
I was putting some non skid rubber matting on the front steps the other day when I heard the dogs whining in the direction of the back yard so I went up the front steps and down the back steps to where they were.
They were both at the base of the bottom stair digging like crazy trying to get under the step. There is a large tree root there which was stopping them from making any progress so I bent over and looked underneath and there was Skitch, hiding out under the stairs.
This was a perfect opportunity to net her as there is only one way in and out from under those stairs and I figured I had her trapped.
I raced (figure of speech) back up the stairs with the puppies on my heels, over the safety gate and around to under the back steps.
Skitch didn't seem to notice me as I slowly worked my way under the stairs to get within net range. Just as I was about to drop the net over her, here come the babies, exploding down the stairs making boucoups of noise and alerted Skitch to her danger. She dodged under the net and out and away she went.
With her escape, Skitch started running up and down the fence line and so I moved over to the fence area in the hopes of netting her as she ran back and forth.
This was driving the puppies into a frenzy.
Sweetie had both front paws stuck through the chain link openings pawing at Skitch as she ran past her first one direction and then the other. Brisket was running up and down the stairs while the both of them would every few seconds run over and mark the bottom step on the staircase. Watching these two as they barked, snapped, scratched them front feets and tried to mark all at the same time was priceless.
I knew this wasn't doing Sweetie any good so I made a valiant stab at the chicken with the net and suddenly Skitch became seriously vertical, right over my head and hopped over to the well house and disappeared around the corner.
I gimped over there after her and proceeded to chase her around the well house a few times never getting close enough to snag her.
The well house is about 15 by 25 feet in area and about ten feet high so it takes me more than a few seconds to make one circuit of it.
After a couple of rounds I thought how stupid it was as I would never catch her so I turned the other direction, hid out around the corner and waited for her to come to me.
Both puppies were by now on the secondary back stair platform just looking at me as I hunkered there waiting for my prey to come sauntering into my net.
I waited and waited but she never showed up. There was no where else to go, any direction she ran away from the well house I would have seen her so I was getting a little confused to say the least.
Finally I walked around the well house a couple of times and there was no Skitch. I checked the doors and they were all closed so I thought maybe that was how she had survived, by turning invisible.
Finally I gave up and went back up the stairs with my girls looking at me with that "Boy Are You Stupid" look they get when I do something they don't understand and then they went and stuck their heads back through the railings.
I looked across from the second floor deck and there was Skitch, on top of the well house, head bobbing up and down and clucking a little bit as she settled in I guess to wait for me to leave so she could jump down and continue her wanderings.
I wonder if the Uncle Colonel chicken joint has a pick up service.

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Min Pins and Murphy's Law or The Worst Case Scenario is Always Available

Fri, 11 Dec 1998 21:19:52 -0500 - from Rick

The yard the girls play in is about 1500 square feet of chain link fencing. This is an excellent fence material as it gives them plenty of visibility to bark and howl at everything and nothing.
The only problem with chain link fencing is it is not sunk into the ground and Min Pins being what they are as the" Greatest Escape Artists" in the world, it stands to reason that sooner or later they are going to find a weak place in the fencing and work diligently to enact an escape route.
The yard is two stories below the living quarters and I have not yet gotten around to placing flood lights out in the yard area mainly because the girls really don't need the light to see at night when they are out there in their own little world, and when I walk down the steps with them at night, I have a big flashlight so that I can manage to miss stepping in anything like one of the thousands of holes dug deep enough to get lost in or any other offerings I have missed during my daily cleanup of the yard area.
Usually when the girls go down to the yard at night, I will turn on the porch lights and stand at the edge of the deck and shine my flashlight down on them to make sure they are not into anything which could cause them harm, like a big frog or snake that is small enough to get through the four inch links but big enough to cause them some harm.
It's really a lot of fun to stand up on the deck and watch them anyway as they dance and cavort after such things as moths and other night creatures which invade their territory.
Like all Min Pins, there is nothing of any size which could approach their enclosure without instant verbal challenge so I don't worry about any large predators like a fox or anything like that which might get in the yard and take them out.
Of course with Brisket, even the little things get snarled at as just the other night she was raising hell and when I went down to see what the haps were, she was alternately sniffing and clawing at a centipede which was quickly dispatched to join it's ancestors.
As Min Pin people, we are all very aware of the dangerous situations they can get themselves into without even trying very hard, so keeping close tabs on them is more or less a given.
My good friend Joyce who is Maxine the GSD's owner is coming to dinner Sunday so last night I decided to bake up some pies, one for dessert and one for her to take home with her. I'm making Lasagna so I figured a peach and a cherry would be just the ticket to complete the meal.
I had a couple of containers of peaches frozen that had come off the trees here this summer and some cherries so I decided to make up two peach and one cherry pie.
I'm not pulling my own chain here but I am a good pastry chef having learned from the school of hard knocks when I worked at hash houses and a bakery during my escape the world and roam the country years. I make all my pastries from scratch having stolen a few recipes in my time and adding my own little special ingredients to them.
It's a lot of fun to be in the kitchen making up pie crust with two little angels under your feet but I managed to get the pies built (with only a minimum of ingredients on the floor and the heads of the very curious and active babies) pre-heated the oven, placed the first pie in and set the timer for 41 minutes.
This was about 4:30 PM so as the first pie would be coming out at 5:11, I sat down at the old confuser here to get my e-mail answered and see what was going on with the list.
With nothing else of interest going on in the kitchen, the kids headed out to the yard for the start of their nocturnal adventures. I can always hear them rooting around down in the yard but after a few minutes and I hadn't heard any sounds, I decided I better check on them to see what they were up to.
Sweeping the beam of the five cell across the yard I finally located them in the far south corner of the yard. I could see Brisket just sitting looking at the fence but Sweetie being black, blended right in with the night and the tall grass outside the fence.
The place Brisket was sitting at is a kind of depression and Sweetie being so small I finally spied her rear end moving and centered the beam of light on her. All that was visible was her hind parts as the grass on the other side of the fence has been dying out with the oncoming winter season and the depression leaves about a four inch opening between the fence bottom and the ground. She was about half way under the fence and on her way to a journey of discovery in the surrounding hillsides.
I gimped down the stairs and grabbed her as she was about to wiggle to freedom and with her under my arm, came back upstairs to get my hammer to seal the area up with metal hooked tent pegs. Brisket was right on my heels so I didn't have to worry about her escaping while I got my tools.
The tent pegs are laying on the bottom step of the yard stairs and I saw I only had four of them to do the job with.
As I was picking up the pegs, trying to hold onto Sweetie, dodge Brisket jumping all over the place, and hold the flashlight I managed to drop two of the pegs into the opening between the two boards on the bottom step.
I didn't want to go all the way around to get under the steps so holding Sweetie and trying to aim the flashlight beam I put my eye to the opening and slid my hand under the bottom step. It's a tight squeeze because of the tree root that is growing there but I had barely enough room and started to drag the dropped pegs out.
Two things happened very quickly. A chunk of skin disappeared out of my right cheek and a millisecond later a chunk was gone from my left index finger. That damn Skitch was under the bottom step again and had pecked me. She must have been hanging out in there so quiet that the girls didn't see her and my presence must have startled her.
I managed to get the pegs out and went over to where the small opening was in the fence and started to make the repairs.
It was quite a scene as I tried to drive the pegs in while making sure the babies didn't get their head in the way and end up with a concussion, all the time they were both trying to lick the blood from my left index finger and I'm trying to hold the flashlight in a position so I could see what I was doing.
Instead of a five minute job, these pegs were taking 10 minutes or so each to put in trying to keep the girls from getting hurt and so forth. What a mess. My cheek was bleeding also and Sweetie noticed that and then they were both up in my face.
This was not fun.
It actually only took two of the pegs to seal the opening so I decided to make a complete perimeter check to see if these guys had any other places started that I hadn't found on my daily inspection tour and poop patrol.
With them dancing and cavorting, getting under my feet and just generally being a nuisance, I made the check and couldn't find anything else that looked like it needed worrying about so I called them (which caused them both to just sit down and look at me with that "Who You Talking To" look on their face and started back up the stairs to the second floor deck.
As I turned the corner at the top of the stairs I saw the smoke. I had been messing with this fence problem for over an hour and I had forgotten about the pie in the oven.
This was not turning out to be a great evening and it didn't get much better in the next few hours.
The complete kitchen was filled with smoke and when I yanked the oven door open, more smoke billowed out.
I don't know where the girls were at this time but thankfully they didn't get in my way as I donned my hot pad mittens and yanked the pie plate of peach charcoal out of the oven and into the sink.
I got the kitchen door open and proceeded to fan the smoke out of the kitchen to where I could see and after I did I really wished I hadn't.
We all know the chances you take when you walk across a dogs business grounds in the dark or with just a flashlight and it doesn't matter where the pile is, I for one will always step on it.
Across my living room rug and the kitchen linoleum was the unmistakable marks of dog doughnuts, I looked down and my right shoe was a mess on the sides.
I'm still not having a good day at this time. So while the smoke cleared out, I got the next pie in the oven, Band-Aids on my cheek and finger, my right shoe off and into the sink for a thorough cleansing and disinfecting and proceeded to clean up the messy floor and carpet.
When I vacuum or mop, I always have to fight the puppies as they think it is playtime and last night was no different. The more I mopped, the bigger mess they made.
While I tried to vacuum, Sweetie was backing water right in front of the cleaner yapping and guarding it while Brisket was gleefully and enthusiastically having a ball getting entangled in the cord.
It was late when I got the pies done and the cleaning finished and being really tired I just unplugged the vacuum cleaner and called to the girls that it was time for bed.
Normally this is an Olympic event as they each try to get to the bed first so that the loser has to fight to get up on it as the winner plays Queen Of The Mountain, but last night when I yelled time for bed, they both just laid on the couch looking at me.
I was too tired to worry about it so I just went on and crashed. Some time during the night they sneaked in and burrowed under the covers because at the normal 6AM they both jumped me to get up so we could go outside and then they get their breakfast.
As I walked into the living room, there was the vacuum cleaner with the cord chewed through. Luckily, which ever one did it (probably a little of both) they left enough length to where I can splice it if I ever decide to use it again.
Now I wonder if I'm going to come down with a case of the chickenpecks.
And The Beat Goes On As Usual
End End End

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A Winters Night

Fri, 18 Dec 1998 - from Rick

Sweetie,Brisket

In the shank of the evening, when shadows are deep
Snuggled by the fire, the babies are asleep
The warmth of the embers, and the glow of the flame
Makes me aware that these blessings, are more than a name.
Just Brisket and Sweetie say nothing of the part
That these innocent darlings hold in my heart
A little leg twitches and it almost seems
They are chasing some creature as they dance through their dreams
A yip as a warning to butterflies and bees
Stay out of my Queendom, stay up in the trees
No one may trespass for we are on guard
Only friends of our people are allowed in the yard
I can't help but wonder as they slumber so still
Where the future will find us on the far side of the hill
I only know I love them and I know they love me
What the future holds for us we can only wait and see
I'm grateful for these puppies my life is a treat
Our bond is forever and they make me complete.

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A Little Corner Of History or A Possible Answer To A Haunting Question

Sat, 19 Dec 1998 07:22:38 -0500 - from Rick

The second story deck on my little house runs around two complete sides of it. It goes from the South to the North on the West side and from the West to the East on the North side.
There have been many times when Brisket and now Sweetie have stood on the East end of the deck for long periods of time just staring towards the Southeast and every once in a while letting out a little yip. There is not much over there but you know how Min Pins are, they yip at a lot of imaginary sounds and movements.
Looking that direction all you see is the old stables about 100 feet away and another 300 feet beyond that is the big old barn.
Jake got home last week as he has some projects of his own to finish up before heading back to Reno and wants to take King his GSD back with him while they get all those problems with their apartments straightened out and one of his projects was the big barn.
Seems there is a dead fault ground somewhere in the wiring and with two people tracing the circuitry, it would be a somewhat simple job to find the problem which was making the breaker trip all the time.
We have had some really beautiful weather here in central Virginia the last couple of weeks so the other day Jake and I decided to tackle this barn power problem and get it out of the way.
The whole morning we were working on this I could hear the babies raising cain at me being over at the barn and them being left up on the deck and still being concerned about Sweetie not being too over active I asked Jake if he would kennel King so I could bring my two over with me and maybe keep them a little more quiet.
I leashed them to the Southeast corner of the barn and went back to tracing but they still didn't shut up and they were both tugging at their leashes trying to get to a spot more to the Southeast of where they were.
Taking a break, I untied both their leashes and let them pull me to a spot about150 feet from the barn, down a small hill to a flat spot almost bordering the road completely overgrown with every kind of bush imaginable.
Even though this place was all overgrown, I could see that there were about a half dozen headstones under the brush and as Jake was with me I asked him about them.
He said this was the old Wallace Family Cemetery and explained that the Wallace Family lived here on this property originally from around 1700 until about 1825.
The Wallace Family had a General Store here long before they built the house and it was a haven for trappers and travelers.
He said that he had been meaning to get over here and clean it out some but had been putting it off as other priorities always seem to crop up and get in the way.
We found the short in the barn wiring and as it was only middle afternoon, I asked Jake if I could take the weed eater over to the cemetery and cut some of that brush.
I tied the puppies to a tree on the West edge of the plot, near the fence and went to work cutting down what seemed like hundreds of years worth of brush.
I worked for about twenty minutes and had to stop to move the babies so they wouldn't get in the way and when I turned around, they were both digging furiously at a fairly overgrown spot a few feet out from the fence.
When I got over there I saw they had uncovered a small headstone, buried horizontally in the dirt and it read "Belle Wallace" I took out my knife and chipped away at the clay until I got the whole headstone uncovered.The whole time I was uncovering this headstone, the girls just sat patiently and watched me, they didn't even try to help. After "Belle Wallace" was a line 1740 - 1755. I figured this was a child of the Wallace Family who died of some tragedy or other but on the very bottom was the line "Goode Olde Dawg".
It says a lot for someone who would bury their pet in a family cemetery to my way of thinking. I wondered if there were more but didn't find any and the girls seemed to settle down and just be couch potatoes while I got done what I could.
Some of the stones are overturned and will have to be righted with the tractor winch but for the most part, it didn't look too bad when I left.
Yesterday afternoon, Jake asked me if I would run a splice from his main lead Satellite cable to the third floor sitting room so I said okay and got my stuff to get it done.
The main lead I had to tap into is the one which is in the basement and runs the complete length of the house through the crawlspace. I wasn't looking forward to this but I figured with Jake in the house it would be okay as he would be directly above me three floors to drag the new cable piece up to the sitting room on a piece of string let down between the inner and outer wall after I tied in on.
I worked my way into the crawl space and got to the point I was going to junction the cable, made the cut and attached the string. Jake pulled it up and then I attached the cable fastener ends and was ready to screw them into the Y connector when the same damn thing happened as before. Something was breathing on the back of my neck.
I let out a yowl, sat straight up, and left a large water type ammonia stain where I was laying. I didn't know it until then but the overhead cover is just a thin board and my head went right through it.
The light from my crawlspace filtered up through there and it was a rather large opening running the same direction as the crawlspace.
Jake had heard me yowl and came running down to the basement to see what happened. Jake is a very large man and doesn't run real fast but it couldn't have been more than a couple of seconds and he was at the North end of the crawl space with his flashlight peering in.
He just laughed when I told him what had happened which was probably the best thing to do and when I told him about the open area above the crawlspace, he said to see if I could tell where it went.
I broke out some more of the overhead and got my lantern up there and the area was about 10 feet wide with solid wood on the far right and cobblestones on the direct left making a wall. This space had been more or less airtight for probably 250 years or so and it really smelled bad. It wasn't as bad as sleeping between two Min Pins with their rear ends pointing at your face when they get gassy, but it was pretty bad.
This is a section of the house which burned down in 1748 and the cobblestones were part of the old outside wall so the area I was looking in must have been something like the underneath of the original porch on that side of the house.
You can't see the cobblestones from the outside because when the house was repaired after the fire, the new outside wall was put in about three or four feet farther out.
As I shone my light around, there was a little whitish type sparkle over in the Southwest corner of this space so I busted out enough overhead to where I could try and wiggle over to this area.
The whole time my friend and neighbor and landlord was chiding me to watch out for ghosts and hooger boogers and the like which really wasn't making my day any better.
I'm very uncomfortable in the situation I'm in because my pants are wet and all the dust is clinging to them and making ammonia mud balls while my hair I'm sure is still standing straight up.(I gave myself a haircut that evening to get all the white out).
I finally managed to get close enough to that corner to see what was there and I was really taken aback. There were four little skeletons laying there in a pile. They were about the size of rats but I could tell they were puppies. Long dead puppies.
Jake got me a paper bag and I gathered these little guys up all the time wondering about their history.
I didn't even know how old these little skeletons were but my guess of two or more centuries or so was probably close to the mark as that little area had been sealed up so long.
I took the little guys down to the cemetery and buried them there under the "Belle Wallace" marker and then I came home to shower and get some decent clothes on.
I still had to connect the three cable leads to the Y splitter so today I went back and this time I made Jake stay right there at the end of the crawlspace keeping an eye on me.
I had Jake pass me some insulation padding and filled in the broken out overhead although as solid as the cobblestones and wood work looked, there probably wouldn't have been any energy loss but it's better to be safe than sorry.
I was just about to connect the leads when damnation and hellfire if something wet and warm didn't land on the back of my neck.
Yea, again with the head going straight up through the new insulation and the water works in full operation.
It was King and he had crawled in there with me I guess because he was curious as to what I was doing and I'm sure he had some prompting from his master, Jake has a great sense of humor even if it is a bit warped. This is the same dog that hid under Gerry's bed on the fourth floor this summer when I had him down there.
It did feel different though. I finished the connection and pushing King in front of me, crawled out and we sealed it back up.
As I was showering I got to thinking about this little episode and decided to do a little experiment to satisfy my curiosity. Jake was gone to town and had King with him so I put the girls on their leashes and took them over to the big house.
When we got down in the basement to the crawlspace panel and I took it off, they both ran into the space and started exploring everything they could get their noses on. I had a heck of a time reeling them in to come home. There is no telling what new smells they were encountering and trying to figure out.
I can only speculate but perhaps those were Belle's puppies that suffocated in the 1748 fire and were walled in as no one knew they were there, dug in back there under that old original porch. Who knows about these things? A lot of strange things happen in this world, why just the other day my Washington Redskins actually won a football game so anything is possible.
All I know is that there is no longer a creepy feeling in the basement and the only two pair of slobbo jeans that I have need to be laundered. Not having a washer and dryer in here yet, I have to take my laundry over to my cousins and it's always such a delightful trip trying to manage a laundry basket and two out of control Min Pins.
A picture of the grave marker will follow.

grave marker

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The Famous Skitch!!!

Wed, 30 Dec 1998 11:58:15 -0500 - from Rick

Hi Mag,
HHHHHHHEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRREEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSS

SKITCH

Skitch

Just who is Skitch??? Go read Rick's Stories

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Lenny and Squiggy or Even In The Animal Kingdon, One Is A Lonely Number

Sun, 3 Jan 1999 21:28:55 -0500 - from Rick

Lenny and Squiggy are honkers. Honkers are Canadian Geese, and these two in particular are very large honkers.
Perhaps it is because they have lived here on the farm for so long with an abundance of food stuffs and a lot of supplements like corn and popcorn being left in various places for them, they have grown to more than the normal honker size.
Standing straight up with their long necks stretched they top off at about five feet and their wingspan covers somewhere in the area of eight feet. They are truly magnificent when they are flying but they don't take to the air that often, they like to walk just about everywhere they go.
Lenny and Squiggy live down at the pond in the woods. I guess they just flew in here one day and decided to stay.At least they sleep down there( if in fact Geese even sleep) and hang out down there in the early afternoons.
There was a time a few years back when there were a lot of them but they have flown off or been eaten or something and Lenny and Squiggy are all that is left.
Brisket has known about them since we moved here and Sweetie met them the same day she met Homer the Steer when I was down at the pond checking the mud dam.
I have my own names for them which is Limpy and Loudmouth.
I always thought they were a male and a female and as we all know from watching the Discovery or the Learning Channel, Honkers shack up for life and so it seemed only natural that the two were always together. It has been only recently that I found out that they were both male and just the best of friends. I don't think there is a significant other or alternate lifestyle situation here, they may even have been flocklings or whatever it is you call goslings from the same hatching.
Lenny and Squiggy have a set daily routine that you can almost set your watch by.
When Homer the Steer and Bertha the cow are on their daily grazing route, as they pass by the South end of the pond and head this direction, the two Geese fall into line right behind them. I suppose the weight of the cattle walking in the fields stirs and digs up crawly and wiggley things that are snacks for the birds.
The Geese stay about twenty feet behind the cattle as Limpy has a badly healed broken right foot from being too close to one of them and it stepped on his foot some years ago. It sticks out at an UN-natural angle and he just limps along with the left foot splayed as he kind of walks on the heel part only.
Loudmouth just vocalizes at everything as he walks along and munches on whatever it is they find out there in the pasture.
As the cows turn South to continue their grazing, the two Geese turn North and come out between the stables and the barn and head up into the main part of the yard.
Brisket has always watched them rather closely on their walk from the pond to the yard and of course has always let them know she is there by her own yammering and howling.
The Geese stop at an apple tree about 100 feet from the Northeast side of the deck and have a great feast on the apples fallen on the ground. Even up until early December there were plenty of fallen apples, mock oranges, pears and peaches for them to satisfy their appetite with, rotten fruit mind you but somewhat of a delicacy to them.
All the while they are eating, Brisket and Sweetie keep up a constant challenge to the invasion of their territory and of course old loudmouth is always flapping his wings and answering back.
A couple of weeks ago I was out in the yard with the girls about dark thirty and there was a hell of a racket coming from the pond area from the Geese. Both the girls were up on their hind legs with the fronts ones on the fence alternately barking and just listening with their heads cocked to one side.
I didn't think much of it but the next day, only Limpy followed the cattle as they rounded the turn from the pond area.
Each of my girls has her own way of letting the Geese know they are being watched for any overt or unacceptable actions. Brisket spins and dances and yammers while Sweetie runs up and down the deck, back and forth, back and forth and let's out a little yip every time she turns to make another back and forth run.
The morning after the ruckus down at the pond when Lenny came limping up behind the cows, his honk was different than before.
It was more of a plaintiff wail and you could hear the desperation and the loneliness in it.
While he was making his way across the pasture, the girls were watching his every move but they were not sending out a challenge of any kind. Both had their heads stuck through the railing but were strangely quiet.
As Lenny made the turn to the North to limp over to the feeding grounds of rotten fruit on the lawns, his wail became louder and more pronounced.
The girls raced around to the other side of the deck and still they were not sending any kind of vocal warning to this lone Goose who had apparently lost his lifetime friend.
Jake made a very through search down at the pond and all along the fencelines but found no remains and no feathers. Whatever it was that took him, left no evidence of the dastardly deed.
I watched from the door for a couple of minutes and then Brisket and Sweetie started to make a sound like they were singing a low key croon as they stared at this desolate Gander.
For the last two weeks this old bird has searched for his friend to no avail and his honk is so low and mellow that it doesn't even sound like a Goose. I hear him every night down at the pond and the girls just kind of look in that direction for a minute or two and then go on with their routine.
Each day when he makes his rounds, the girls are always there on the deck to lend their little song to his sorrow. I wonder if there is a sense of something we don't understand between these different species.
I really think these girls of mine feel sorry for him and in some way even feel or can detect his sadness.
Perhaps there is a lot more to the animal kingdom that we ( or at least I ) ever imagined.

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A Walk To The Mailbox or Off To The Races And The Winner Takes Nothing

Thu, 7 Jan 1999 18:48:59 -0500 - from Rick

As we are out here in the country, our mail service is somewhat sporadic as far as delivery time goes. It arrives anywhere between 11 in the morning and 5 in the evening.
It is a long walk down to the mailbox at the end of the driveways so I only make the trip once a day.
In her effort to be ever vigilant, Brisket can always hear the mail truck even though you can't even see it from my house. There used to be times when she would make a mistake and I would end up trudging all the way down there for nothing so lately I have just waited until 5PM to make the trip.
As I walk down off of the deck to the ground level, Brisket and Sweetie both voice their disapproval of my leaving them there with a lot of yowls, pirouettes and snarls. I'm not sure if they are mad because they can't go or they are telling me that I need them to protect me on my trip, maybe a little of both.
I haven't taken them with me in the past due to the fact that the owners GSD King is always in the area somewhere and as he almost took Briskets' face off one time when she stuck in through the railing at the yard level, I just don't trust him to not go after the babies.
King is actually a great dog but as he chases ground squirrels and catches and decapitates them on a daily basis, I figure he just thinks my little ones are ground squirrels and his job is to take them out. I always put him in his Kennel when I have the girls out with me so it is a secure environment for them.
Jake and Gerry suddenly pulled up stakes the other day and went back to Reno as they were having major problems with their apartment complex and they took King with them.
Today I figured it would be a safe bet to just let the girls go with me as I went out to the mailbox. Sweetie goes into the Vet tomorrow for two days for her second and third Heartworm shots so I figured it would give her at least one time to run on the big front lawns. I left them unleashed because Brisket constantly tries to pull a Tom Dooley act and hang herself with hers and Sweetie doesn't much like strange ground so she balks and hesitates for the most part and I end up carrying her.
It took Brisket a few seconds to realize that I had left the gate open and down the steps she came while Sweetie just stayed up at the top and sat there looking at all that ground in front of her. I knew she wasn't going anywhere and if she did, she would be right on my heels as she always is so there was no problem there.
The road I live on (White Hall Road) stretches a long way in both directions so I would be able to see any traffic coming before venturing out onto it to the mailbox and Brisket will always freeze when I tell her to so I didn't worry about any oncoming traffic.
As I wandered out to the road and turned to walk the twenty or so feet to the mailbox, I checked for traffic and called Brisket but her attention was riveted on a lone standing, bare limbed apple tree about 100 feet away.
I couldn't see what she was looking at from my angle so I just got the mail out of the box and started back for my house.
As I came up close to the apple tree, I saw what had her so enraptured. One of the many squirrels( tree types) was up in the top just looking down at her.
Wouldn't you know it, just as I got up to the tree, the squirrel saw me and down the trunk he came and made a beeline towards the main house.
With Min Pins in your life, nothing ever happens in slow motion and everything happens at once. I suppose the squirrel saw me coming and figured bailing out was the better part of valor so it exited stage right down the backside trunk of the tree.
Brisket didn't see it at first so it got a good ten or fifteen feet head start before Brisket yowled and took off after it towards the big house.
By this time Sweetie had raced down the steps and was heading to intercept with her really funny straight legged run.
The squirrel either saw her or sensed her because it suddenly made a ninety degree right turn and headed for the mock orange tree right in front of the big house. Brisket doesn't stop or turn well but she tried to keep pace and ended up tumbling end over end in the sand pile as she lost traction but being the trooper she is, was up on her feet and back after the squirrel who was by this time clawing it's way up the trunk of the mock orange tree.
Sweetie had now gotten to the tree and as Brisket ran around and around the trunk, Sweetie ran back and forth on one side of it.
Sweetie has this unique talent of being able to throw her motor from forward to reverse instantly, only some times her gyroscope gets jammed and she runs backwards after changing gears. It's kind of a crablike backward crawl at a little faster speed than a walk as she is hunkered close to the ground and getting a good view of where she has been and not where she is going.
As I was watching Brisket bark with her front legs up on the tree trunk and the squirrel chattered back at her I looked down to see Sweetie bearing down on me backwards and tried to skitter sideways out of her way so as not to have her bump into me and maybe startle her and cause her to get hurt and my left leg gave out and I went down in a tumble and the mail took off in the wind. The squirrel by now had had enough of this nonsense and went bounding off in the tree tops.
I gathered up the mail, picked Sweetie up and yelled at Brisket that it was time to eat which will always get her attention and we went home.
I'm doing a lot of re thinking on this free to roam in the front yard thing and here at the farm as always
The Beat Goes On.

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Crashablanca or The Dynamic Duo, The Desperate Driver and The Damn Ditch

Sat, 9 Jan 1999 13:45:02 -0500 - from Rick

It goes really without saying that to travel with Brisket in the car is a nightmare in its self. I don't believe in crates and after a minute or two, Brisket has always settled down on my lap and rode along in peaceful slumber. It's not as easy as it used to be when she was a little puppy, but she manages to find a comfortable position and I drive along while she sleeps or looks out the window.
Having Sweetie now, and with her watching Brisket very closely to discover how to really be a dog, the lap thing is always on a first come, first served basis when I have them both with me. Usually whomever gets there first, gets to ride in the lap and the other settles down on the shotgun seat and we proceed on our trip to the store or the Vet, the Mental Health Clinic or whatever.
I always say a prayer to Saint Castatrophe (the Patron Saint of Min Pin Owners) before I take these two anywhere and up until today, have made our trips with relative calm and pretty much disaster free.
Today I had to go pick Sweetie up from the Vet after her second and third Heartworm shots and so I planned this in advance to make the trip easier on me.
The first thing I did was call the Vet clinic and inform them that I was on my way and I would have Brisket with me. (I could hear the shudders on the other end of the phone). Quickly I explained my plan of action. I would park at the edge of the magic lawn as I always do, let Brisket out to sniff and play a few minutes and then put her back in the car where she would wait while I paid the bill and picked up Sweetie. I told them that I was sure they were as aware as I was how cold it was outside and I didn't want to leave Brisket for more than a couple of minutes so would they please have everything ready for me to get Sweetie and check right out.I even got the bill amount and wrote the check prior to my heading that direction. Besides that, the shorter time Brisket is left alone in the car, the less I have to worry about her eating the steering wheel.
Now came my genius for the girls. While Brisket wasn't looking, I slipped two large pieces of pig ear in my coat pocket for them to chew on while in transit home and leave me alone.
I was really proud of myself for thinking of the pigs ears while driving to the Vet Clinic having completely forgotten the unpredictability of Min Pins.
After I put Brisket back in the car I went inside and had a ten minute wait while some woman was trying to decide on which tick medication to use as there was a 2 dollar difference in the price.
I was wondering why I even bothered to call.
I got back in the car with Brisket trying to get out and play and Sweetie giving me hell for being a little rough (unintentionally) and finally got seated, belted and started.
I took the pigs ears out of my pocket and handed Brisket hers and then Sweetie hers. Sweetie immediately flopped down on the shotgun seat and started chewing on hers.
Brisket was in my lap with hers in her mouth and just decided she didn't want to give up her spot to crawl in the back and eat it so she just dropped it on the floorboard at my feet.
Thinking this was okay because Sweetie was occupied I proceeded down the highway towards home.
After Sweetie finished her piece of pig's ear, she decided it was her turn to ride in the lap. Not having had her with me in a couple of days she needed some pets as much as I needed to give her some and reassure her that she was going home.
Sweetie has her own little way of getting to the space she wants when it is already occupied by Brisket. She just slowly moves in and as she kind of brushes up against Brisket, Brisket moves over to give her room. Before she knows it, Sweetie has taken over the spot where Brisket was and now confused, Brisket moves on to somewhere else. This time, Brisket was not in the mood to give way and yield totally.
About six miles down the road, Sweetie went into her act of taking over the lap (first time she's ever done that) but there was no where for Brisket to move to with the window up so she started to move in an upward direction trying to climb on the dash but still retain her position. I was just about to pull over and re arrange these two when Sweetie either saw or smelled the piece of pig's ear on the floorboard at my feet and she instantly took a dive for it.
This was a horrible feeling, knowing Sweetie was on the floorboard at your feet where all the pedals are and the problems she could unwittingly cause.
Fearing I would hurt her I immediately pulled my foot from the accelerator and turned the ignition off.
This also kills the power steering so I had to wrestle the car to the side of the road. As I was letting inertia slow me down as I rode the shoulder, I could feel Sweetie with my foot and she had parked her narrow rear end under the brake pedal so I started pumping the hand brake to slow down while by this time, Brisket having the high ground on my lap, was playfully dodging her head up and down at Sweetie on the floorboard, keeping up a continuous yammering. This position for Brisket with her head down to the floorboard area and her butt in the air put me in a particularly dangerous position as her stub was stabbing me in the eye(thank goodness I wear glasses) and her brown eye was right in my mustache but I got lucky as she wasn't gassy at that time.
I could hear Sweetie contentedly crunching away as Brisket danced all over my lap and the car was coming to a slow halt on the shoulder.
We were only going about five miles an hour when Brisket jumped sideways hitting my left arm which I was steering with while I had my right hand on the emergency hand brake and this caused me to swerve a little farther to the right than I wanted to and I came to a stop in a narrow ditch which runs along side the highway.
Only the right front tire was in the ditch which was no problem to back out of, the problem was getting my two maniacs under control so we could proceed on home.
Sweetie decided that she wasn't coming up off the floorboard until she had finished the ear and I couldn't reach down and get her plus I couldn't open the door to get her up on the seat as Brisket would have been out the door in a flash and even though there was very little traffic, odds are she would have run right under the wheels of one of them before I could yell freeze at her.
So we sat there while Sweetie took her own sweet time munching up on the pig's ear and then climbed back up on the seat.
The rest of the trip home was uneventful as they each found their own place to lay down and take it easy.
May have had something to do with the steam coming out of my ears.

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Lenny

Mon, 1 Feb 1999 11:24:07 -0500 - from Rick

Lenny

Remember the story? If not, Click here for the "Lenny and Squiggy..." Story.

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Please Moses, Part My Rug or Rub A Dub Scrub, Two Pins In The Tub

Mon, 1 Feb 1999 11:26:37 -0500 - from Rick

Having been a Min Pin owner for a long time I have heard both the pros and the cons of giving them a bath. Most literature I have read on the subject really recommends that baths not be a very often thing with Min Pins. They are an incredibly clean animal and except for the occasional encounter with a skunk or a day playing at the local mudslide they stay pretty clean.
There are of course a lot of owners who give their pins baths on a regular schedule and that is certainly their prerogative, my point is that they are pretty clean and it's not necessary to wash them down every week or so.
Then there are those Pins like Brisket who love the water much as a duck would I think. She stays out in the rainstorms and loves to chase the raindrops and here recently, the snowflakes and gets her self rather on the muddy side in the process and it becomes necessary to do the bath thing.
It's easy to get Brisket to the tub, I just tell her that it's take time and she heads directly for the bathroom. I have a small step stool I kneel on to give her a washdown and she uses this to jump up onto and into the already run, a little more than warm water. The first few minutes until she settles down are rather wet for the whole surrounding area but pretty soon she just sits down and waits for the scrub down.
I figured I would do Brisket first and let Sweetie watch to see that everything was okay and his was a normal albeit not very often type happening.
So I ran the tub of water and got ready to get this chore over with. I carried Sweetie into the bathroom and sat her down on top of the toilet seat while Brisket jumped into the water splashing and arguing with the water molecules as she always does.
After splashing up and down the length of the tub about a dozen times, she sat down in the three inches of water and I went to work with my soft sponge and the special soap I use.
I could see Sweetie out of the corner of my eye and she was taking all this in and occasionally throwing a paw in my direction for some pets but as I had wet and soapy hands, I would just lean over and give her a nuzzle.
When I finished with Brisket, I lifted her out of the tub and set her down on the floor. Brisket decided it was play time and away she went running all around the living room with me trying to get her wrapped up in a towel and get her dry before some sort of pneumonia started to set in.
I finally got her and got the towel on her and was giving her a vigorous drying off when I heard a splash from the bathroom, and looking in quickly, there was Sweetie, in the tub just sitting there.
This surprised me but didn't really blow me away . The more I watch her and get to know her, the more I believe that she was not always a puppy mill captive. Her eyes watch mine and Brisket's every move very intently like she is trying to remember these types of things and she copies most everything with her own slight variation.
I think she was probably stolen as a puppy and sold to a puppy mill, it's just the impression I get and I could be wrong, but nothing about this dog's demeanor says puppy mill except her physical and medical condition which is well on the way to mending.
With Sweetie just sitting there waiting I figured this was going to be a cake walk. Yeah Right. Brisket came wandering back into the bathroom and wasn't having any of this I guess because she was up and into the tub instantly and splashing around.
Sweetie turned her head and snarled, this scared Brisket and she was out of the tub and trailing water to the living room in a flash.
I took Sweetie out of the tub to get catch and get Brisket re-dried and as I went towards the living room, there was Sweetie right on my heels, also trailing water.
Both of them would stop every few seconds to shake and water would fly everywhere and then Brisket took off out the door and down to the yard with Sweetie right behind her.
Winter time brings rain and snow, we all know that and the girls yard is rather muddy in places right now with the re plant of grass I am doing and wouldn't you know that's right where they headed.
I finally got them back into the house and closed the front door. They were muddy to the Max and so I ran fresh water and put them both in the bathroom and closed the door.
It's a small bathroom in this little house, so small that if you are on the thumper, you can't even close the door because your legs get in the way, and being cooped up in there with both of them splashing and shaking did not make my day any better than it had started out.
I did manage to get them both washed off rather well and then discovered I had not brought spare towels into the bathroom with me from the hall linen closet and as soon as I opened the door to get the towels, away they went.
The up side of this is that the front door was closed and they couldn't get back to the yard, the down side is that being soaking wet, my living room carpet and walls had to suffer some additional indignity of being bombarded with water drops.
So it was back to the chase to get them dried off. Sweetie wasn't too hard to catch as her main goal in life is to be cuddled and petted anyway but Brisket is another matter. She got behind the couch where I couldn't grab her and when I would try to pull the couch out, Sweetie would be right there pushing up under my hands for some more pets.
I finally got Brisket out and under control using the oldest dodge in the world, I went in and opened and closed the refrigerator door which is always her signal to present her pretty self to the kitchen for handouts.
Looking around at the muddy footprints and hearing the sloshing sound as I walked back to the bathroom to let the water out of the tub, I was reflecting on how nothing is ever simple with these babies.
I suppose it was meant to be and I guess I wouldn't have it any other way.
Now they are both laying in front of the fireplace getting really dry, snoozing and I'm sure planning their next nefarious adventures.

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The Greatest Gift

Mon, 1 Feb 1999 14:41:13 -0500 - from Rick

Like the words to an old song which saturates the airwaves at times"Life Is A Carnival, Live It For All You're Worth, You Are A Part Of The Greatest Show On Earth".
You in this case being the members of the IMPS. You are the greatest gift.
This dedication to our breed of choice is incomprehensible to those who are deaf to the music of the dance of the min pins, how it winds and weaves and twists throughout the heavens and the celestial regions beyond sight to form its self into such a tight woven web of joy to those of us lucky enough to be part of a min pins life.
When I think of all the notes that are still being heard because of the dedication of this rescue group, it makes the symphony of their sound so much more delicious.
I have made so many new and cherished friends due to my association with the IMPS and these are lasting friendships because we have a common ground and a foundation to build on, we are all animal lovers in general and min pin lovers in particular.
It would be so easy for someone to turn their back on the piteous cries and heart rending whimpers of those little balls of energy in need, and indeed so many do just this, but we manage to save a few and each one is not only a major accomplishment but also a majority effort on everyone's part.
You all deserve the highest of Kudos and I am convinced that a special place awaits each and everyone who gains another blessing with the salvation of each and every one of these rescues.
It's too bad that the breed is basically unknown to the general populace because I've never met anyone who have met any of my furbabies who didn't take to them right away.
Min Pins are everybody's oyster, step up, get you pearl.
Perhaps this may seem a bit maudling but I don't think I've ever seen anyone take the time to let you all know how much you are appreciated,
I know Pooter thanks you, Brisket thanks you, Sweetie thanks you, and I assure you, I most heartedly thank you also.
Yabatz

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The Ice Storm or Slippin And A Slidin, Dashin And A Crashin

Sun, 7 Feb 1999 15:47:39 -0500 - from Rick

Winter really sucks at times.
The cold and the wind are not so bad usually, it's just that the pristine picture of new snow on the ground while the wild animals cavort and play that you see on the tube does not really exist even way out here in the country.
We three can deal with a little (or a lot) of snow but when the Ice Storms come, the world outside takes on a whole new meaning.
The last two days have been rather wet and icy, so icy in fact that one of the old trees in the side yard split into three parts from the heavy ice accumulation last night. One part is laying in the yard, one part is still upright and the third part has taken out the back fencing of Kings' kennel.
It lays there crushed like last weeks compacted trash.
It would be nice to be able to keep the girls indoors while all this ice is here but they have to use the yard so we have our regular outdoor routine to do.
The deck on the west side of my house is about 90 feet long. At the North end of this part of the deck are the stairs which go down into the babies yard.
This morning at zero dark thirty when they got me up to start their day, the girls waited patiently while I got my heart started and wandered out to the living room to open the door for them. While they run down to the yard, I get my first pot of coffee cooking and then I walk down to join them.
When I came out of the kitchen this morning, they had not adjourned to the yard or even to the deck, they were both just standing in the open doorway looking out.
I though that was so sweet of them to wait for me to accompany them so that I could freeze my canastas off while they sniffed around for twenty or so minutes looking for just the right spot to take care of business.
I saw why they were just standing at the door when I got to it, the whole deck was a sheet of ice and this had somewhat confused them so they were ( I surmise) waiting for me to step out on it to insure that it was safe.
So being the brave omega dog here, I gingerly stepped out onto the ice and slowly made my way to the steps to go down into the yard. There are three games my owners play in relation to the yard trips. The first one down gets to attack the other one as she gets to the bottom step, then the first one up the steps when I give the okay gets the high ground position and gets to yap at the other one all the way up the steps, and then the first one in the house and to the kitchen gets to claim the first food bowl set down by being closest to where I prepare their breakfast.
By the time I got to the top of the steps, they couldn't stand it any longer and here they came, trying to run but not getting much traction.
This was a real effort on their part and I just froze on the top step as they slid by me hoping they wouldn't make contact and my feet would be kicked out from under me because it was so slick.
I have rubber matting on the steps so once they got there it was no problem to scoot right down into the yard.
The grass down in the yard being frozen is somewhat like walking on spikes I guess, because the girls walk very lightly and gingerly and don't stay long. They get done and wait at the bottom of the steps for me to say "Okay" and then the game of who has the higher position starts as they make their way up the stairs.
Trying to get up the stairs on a normal day is a real experience with first one of the girls gaining high ground and attacking the other and then the places changing and the process being reversed.
Getting to the top step and onto the landing is the end of the stairs challenge and the signal for both of them (as they usually end up at the top at the same time) to turn and burn meaning turn quickly around the corner and burn feet heading for the door to see who can get to the kitchen first.
Getting traction and momentum from the rubber matting, off they went and as they came even with the back door, tried their normal hard left turn into the door, only this time their feet went out from under them and they continued on to the end of the deck about 35 feet farther on their bellies with their legs splayed out turning around and around. They looked like min pin bowling balls as they slid up against the far end of the deck.
There was a lot of confusion for a few seconds as they tried to get to their feet and not having learned a lesson the first time, went whizzing by the door again heading back towards the top of the stairs where I was still standing and holding on to the railing to keep my balance as best I could. Laughing at these two was not doing my balancing act a lot of good I can tell you.
Sweetie seems to learn rather fast from her mistakes but Brisket still being a puppy didn't have a clue as to what the deal was, besides the fact I really think she was having fun at this new adventure she was immersed in.
Sweetie returned to the door walking very slowly up against the side of the house where it wasn't so icy bur Brisket took off again and missed the door and slid to the end of the deck a second time.
It took Brisket about six times to finally make it to the door walking very slowly but as she whizzed by each time by her self, Sweetie was just standing in the doorway and would give her a friendly yap and a snap of the jaws as she slid from one end of the deck to the other.
Getting them fed, they went into their usual "Breakfast is over, time for a nap" routine and both snuggled up in front of the fireplace to snooze away a couple of hours.
By the time they were both active again, the deck was more slush than ice so the next trip down to the yard was uneventful, but both of them came back up the stairs and onto the deck heading for the back door a little slower and more cautious after their little skating trip of the morning.
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If you have any queries, feel free to email me at mglsim@cygnus.uwa.edu.au