Five Tired Puppies

Swimming was a huge success as usual.  The day was beautiful, clear skies, warm around 85° a bit windy though, which kept us from baking.  AJ couldn’t wait to jump off the dock and will jump into the water, retrieve the drop, swim back and race to the end of the dock to do this over and over until he is totally exhausted.  Happy and wiped out.  Charlie won’t jump off the dock but wades out until he can’t touch anymore then gingerly steps out and starts tentatively swimming until he remembers, oh yeah, I can do this.  He’ll retrieve the drop only if no other dog is close to him  in the water.  Strange dog, I know.  Orso will get in the water, paddle around to cool off then stand on the end of the dock wistfully watching the boats go by hoping someone will come take him for a ride.  He’s a gentlemen’s dog wishing for the good life.


Our friends dogs, Murphy a large German Shepherd, loves to swim just for the sake of swimming.  He will paddle around in circles, back and forth enjoying the moment, just being in the water.  Stella, a Belgian Malinois Chow mix loves jumping off the dock to retrieve a pink Frisbee.  She’s also good at retrieving the wayward drop or Frisbee that one of the other dogs gives up on.  We’ll just point at or throw a rock out where we want her to go and she’ll jump off and go get it just like a champ.   

The afternoon is not just swimming though.  Oh no, in between the dock diving and swimming, there is tag, keep away and MMA Style wrestling.  Charlie is the usual instigator of keep away, he’ll come out of the water with a drop in tow and take off running begging everyone to give chase.  Tail tucked, butt down and head up jinxing and jagging running around like a lunatic with three other dogs giving their best effort to run him down.  If one of the other dogs catches up with him, then the chest bumping and neck chewing begins.  Orso is the usual recipient of the neck chewing.  A rousing game a tag follows neck chewing, Orso runs away and the other try to tag him and drag him down.  Finally a cooling dip in the water rejuvenates the gang of hooligans.  This is repeated about three or four times before the dogs are finally spent and ready to walk back home for a bath and dinner.  Frosty pumpkin pops for dessert.  Life doesn’t get much better than this.  I wish my life was as simple.


My Scathingly Brilliant Idea

I came up with this scathingly brilliant idea on our walk this morning.  Saturday is Mitch’s day off too so we get to sleep in, as late as 4 to 4:30am if we’re lucky.  The morning was really pleasant, around sixty nine degrees or so, a great morning for a walk.  The sun hadn’t been up long, about 6:30 when we got to the dam, no one else was around.  It really is the best time of the day, quiet, the sun just up, it’s so peaceful. 

Anyway, as we turned around to walk back, I looked over at the swim beach and all of the migratory geese that don’t migrate anymore, just hang out and poop all over the place.  Why should they go anywhere, we have no natural predators around anymore, besides the wayward car or some sicko with a pellet gun.  They’re not even afraid of the dogs, only because we won’t let them go after the geese. (Federally protected, lucky geese)  That’s when I came up with this scathingly brilliant idea.

I think we should release alligators in the lake at night, then catch and pen them up during the day.  Watch gators to protect the lake.  We would even put up signs, to alert the public.  Big signs posted around the lake saying, ” Beware – Watch Gators Swim At Own Risk”.  It’s a win-win situation.  Geese go away, trespassers get eaten. 

Mitch looked at me like I was crazy when I told him my idea.  He asked just how were we supposed to catch the alligators in the mornings.  I said  that we would get trained alligators.  Trained to come when they were called.  It could happen. 

He said I was warped.  Maybe I am.

Just My Luck

After two weekends of back breaking work (literally), unloading 2 cubic yards of dirt by shovel and sweat from the bed of my son’s pickup truck then shoveling unloaded dirt into countless wheelbarrow loads pushed carefully downhill to the two raised beds Mitch built for me, I finished planting ten tomato plants, four cantaloupe plants and three cucumber plants.  There is still room for more in one of the beds.  I was so excited about getting more vegetable planting space after we had a tree cut down and realized it opened up a larger area of sunlight to the ground.  Perfect for tomatoes.  Did I also mention two trips so far to the chiropractor and more in sight?

We already have a small raised bed that has ten pepper plants and three tomato plants that we’ve been planting in for three years.  But I wanted more and this year I got it.  Tonight after dinner I took the dogs out with me to water the new plants and while I was watering the small bed, Charlie was walking in one of the new beds and promptly stepped on one of my tomato plants and snapped it right off at the base.  I couldn’t believe it.  Not even two days had gone by, I haven’t even had a chance to get to Lowe’s and buy some tomato cages to protect them from just this calamity.   Imagine my frustration.

I love my dogs, but lord there are times when I speculate on a dog less day.  I would never wish for them gone, but…

Our Exotic Vacation or What I Did on a Work Release Program

Our friends tell us that we really know how to take a vacation.  Of course I think they are being a bit sarcastic.  We planned our vacation for the first week of May for a reason.  Hopefully the weather will be nice, not too hot and no rain.  The plan is to tear out one of our retaining walls and replace it before it collapses at an inopportune time.  Like when a car is parked on the second tier drive.  Our property is pie shaped on a hillside.  The house sits at the lowest spot on the hillside with a large detached two car garage behind the house.  There is a large two car driveway up to the garage then a single car driveway just above the garage leading to the shed door.  Above that is a long graveled single car pad.  In essence we have multiple parking spots for lots of people to park for parties we never have.  Mitch is not social.

The retaining wall was built with railroad ties and after almost forty years was dilapidated and in need of repair.  It ran from the garage to the end of the second tier drive.  There was a bow half way down to the end making pulling into the drive a bit of a challenge.  We would have to swing wide then pull back to the left to miss the railroad ties that jutted out.  Bright and early with low skies we started the demolition of the wall.  The demo went very quickly with me filling wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow with dirt dug out to expose the wall until we uncovered the reason the retaining wall jutted out.  There buried in the side of the hill was a huge granite boulder.  Evidently when the retaining wall was originally built they just built around the boulder instead of removing it.  We tried to dig it out but it was way too big.  Demolition was done for the day.  Now we had to find someone with a backhoe or bobcat to dig out and remove the boulder.  We always draw the black marble.

We called all of our friends (a very small list) to ask if anyone knew of someone who owns a backhoe and would be willing to come out and unearth our boulder.  All laughed long and loud at our predicament.  Funny, we didn’t think it was so humorous.  Day two we found the best backhoe operator in the world who came over within a half hour of our call and dug out the boulder in record time.  He even placed the boulder where I wanted it.  Maybe there is a silver lining once in a while.  Between the two of us, mainly Mitch, we finished removing all of the existing rotting ties and readied the area for rebuild.  Mitch wisely called two friends to come and help re-lay the new railroad ties.  At ten feet long these babies are way too heavy for me to help carry. 

Day three the new retaining wall was re-erected in less than three hours with three strong men at work.  Now the only thing left is to back fill the wall with the dirt we dug out to provide support front and back to keep it from collapsing.  Guess who gets to wield the shovel?  That is something I can do.