Sunday, August 16, 2015

Still Kickin'!

It was brought to my attention by a dear reader, that I have not been keeping up with my blog. I know there are some concerns as I have the propensity to keep earning myself trips to the ER or surgery.
The most recent I think I forgot to tell you about…

I have been desperately trying to take back my independence and pull my share of the load around here. One of the ducks (the stupid one) had a nest under the back porch and let a whole passle of eggs go bad. I figgered I could grab them up and take them to the dump. I got an armload of them but my bucket was on the porch out of my reach. I looked at the steps which were about 10 feet further down and thought, (in my little pea brain) I bet it would be good therapy for me to just step up on the porch without using the steps…it would surely strengthen my legs so I can get myself back up in the saddle again soon! (yes..this really was my thinking) With my hands full of rotten eggs, I put my stronger leg up on the porch and with a mighty heave, attempted to lift the rest of me up beside it…

I ALMOST made it. I was just a wee, tiny bit away from my leg straightening which would have resulted in  my standing on both feet, when it suddenly gave out, pitching me forward. I landed on my right shoulder first, followed immediately by my face…on top of the now broken, rotten eggs.
The pain was excruciating, so I figgered I must have busted my shoulder, as it didn't hurt near that bad the last time I dislocated it. I laid there for a minute, trying to catch my breath,  then realized I was helpless. I could not get up, nor roll over. I had no idea where TheMan was or when he was coming home. Heath was licking my ear (rotten egg didn't bother him). I began to scream for help, along with my screaming from pain. I just could not help myself. I screamed and begged for TheMan to come find me and help me. Over and over. 

Meanwhile, up at the boss's house, about a city block away, the boss and the ranch vet were outside having a gab session. He went in the house and asked his wife "hey, what kind of critter have they got down there that makes a sound like a woman screaming?" To which she replied "KIM!!" (my real name) Mortifying when I first heard the story, but kind of funny now. He called TheMan who came to find out what in the tarnation was wrong. He saw me on my face, crying and breathing heavily, and with a concerned look stepped over and reached out for me…then suddenly he began to gag and turned around and ran the other way. After several attempts to get near me, as he was dry heaving, he finally manned up and helped me into the house, insisting that it didn't matter HOW BAD I was hurt, I had to get rid of my clothes and take a shower before he would get in the truck with me to take me to the hospital. He helped me through the process and as I got out, the ranch vet was there. He checked the shoulder and said it was for sure dislocated and possibly broken. He wouldn't want to set it without x rays. So, 5 hours later, after our 55 mile drive down the gravel road and the 200 some odd miles to town after that, we made it to the hospital. It wasn't broke, just badly dislocated and they put it back in place and sent me home. Glad that is behind me. I wasn't the only one to suffer, as the boss' wife had the ranch kids give Heath a bath as he wasn't smelling like roses either. He was pretty unhappy about that.
 But other than that little episode, I've done good and all is well.

There were a few really hot days this summer. July 4th especially so, as two tires at the shop exploded. A really neat gal from Idaho on one of the FB forums came with her 11 year old son to help me out a bit and see the ranch. I am hoping more people will follow suit.

We've made several trips to town lately. Once was to take the Maremmas to Burns to see a groomer, as they didn’t shed well this year and my condition limits me as to how much I can do to groom them out. I can’t get on the floor (yet, anyway) and my right hand isn’t worth much these days. It was quite an experience. 

For those who don’t know, a Maremma is an Italian breed of Livestock Guardian Dog. They are one of several giant breeds of dogs developed over thousands of generations to bond with their livestock, live with the herds 24/7 and protect them from all threats. Unlike other breeds or genres of dogs, they live only for this. Where other breeds will bark and retreat, LGD's will not back down. Even with human predators, someone might feasibly distract a normal guard (not the same as a guardian) dog by throwing it some meat or a treat, but that will only serve to enrage a Livestock Guardian. The only thing that will appease them is for the intruder to LEAVE and they will make sure that happens by whatever means is necessary, beginning with verbal warnings, and escalating up to killing if necessary. Yet, these same dogs are so gentle, that they instinctively nurture the young of almost any species. They are known to be exceptionally good with children. Orphaned lambs at our place are usually seen snuggled up with the dogs, they know which calves are 'ours' and which belong to the ranch, even though they run together. Although they are not bonded to our free range poultry, they still vigorously protect them from both ground and aerial predators.  These are seriously powerful dogs who are very serious about their jobs.

So, we loaded up my big, powerful 100+ pound guardian dogs into the big stock trailer trailer (as there is no way to get them into the truck). We drove the 2 hours into Burns and be-bopped around looking for the groomer's. We had never heard of the street before and with Burns being a 1-horse town, (if that) it shouldn’t have been too difficult to find it. We eventually located it after finding a street by that name which kinda dog legged and no house numbers anywhere. We pulled over and called the number I had written down, to get directions. Turns out we had parked right in front of the place. Don't that just beat all?

Heath went in a crate in the trailer, and Scottie went in loose, so they would stay cool while we worked with the polar bears. I took Bruno, as he is a bit easier to move forward and is bolder than Mr Potamus, who has a phobia of pavement and buildings. (The vet has to come out to the horse trailer to work on him) We threw several towels down on the concrete pad in front of the groomer’s shop door and kept moving them in front of the last one to walk Bruno into the parlor. I then was able to get him to follow me into a big kennel (with towels on the floor, of course)

Mr Potamus wasn’t quite so willing. It took me AND TheMan to drag him (literally) to the edge of the concrete pad, after which TheMan had to pull his front end and I had to lift and carry his backend with a towel under his belly and we finally, after much coaxing, grunting and pushing, got him inside the  building. He went in the kennel with Bru. 
Next we managed to get Bru on the grooming table, and the two of us held him while she rolled it to the bath tub. She (the groomer) managed to give him a shove and pushed him into the tub and had him hooked up before you could say Jack Spratt. He got his bath, with LOTS of soap (it was his first ever and he is 5 yr old, but normally, these dogs have self cleaning coats). He was clearly not thrilled with it, but being as they are both socialized to me, he pretty much behaved. We managed to get him back up on the table after his rinse and rolled him forward again by the powerful blow dryer. Potamus, who had been shaking and trembling with nerves, looked on, enjoying the fan that was blowing on him from the next kennel over. She turned the dryer on Bru and as long as I stood by his head and talked to him, he was ok with it, although she had me dry the front of him. She thanked me for staying, admitting that usually she prefers people leave and allow her to do her job without interference, but she said “I can see these dogs are very bonded to you and I would not have been able to do this on my own”. Mr Potamus, who was SUPPOSED to be observing, so as to make his turn easier, was snoring in the corner.

It took hours to get Bruno dry, but he was beautifully white and fluffy. Unfortunately the mats in his tail were SOOO bad, we couldn’t get them out. As I didn’t think I’d be able to work on them at home much, she cut the mats out of his tail. It’s kind of funky lookin; but it will grow back, no doubt.

Mr Potamus' turn was next. I put his leash and collar on and led him to the table. TheMan had left some time ago to pick up parts for the ranch. We tried to lift him but he somehow managed to make his 120 lb turn to 400 lb of dead weight. We pushed, pulled, begged, coaxed and decided, Mr Potamus was not going to get a bath and blow dry. The lady sat on the concrete floor with him, combing and carefully working out his mats.

We arrived home with a happy little sheppie, because he got to get back in the cab of the truck with us, a filthy Scottie dog, who we had intended to have replace Potamus in the event Potamus refused to cooperate, but TheMan was not there and Scottie was with him. So, the score was 1 clean, fluffy dog with a pitiful looking tail, one very dirty, very matted Scottie, one frightfully cute sheppie, and one rather dingy, but well combed out Mr Potamus. 

I proceeded to go online that night and ordered a standing plastic tub and a heavy duty blow dryer. I decided it was worth it, as it costs as much to groom 2 dogs as it did to buy the equipment to do all 4, and we wouldn’t have to leave home and spend a whole day off work to do it.

Scottie got his bath 2 weeks later when the stuff came. The little Heathen is going to get one...eventually, and hopefully, so will Mr Potamus. First I have to bait him into the tub. Heath rolled in poop, so he got a bath and blow dry yesterday, amid much verbal protesting meant to make me feel bad, but only served to make me laugh. He has a lot to say for a little pup. He did get revenge, however, by sleeping on the bed that night and throwing up. I do think it was intentional, he probably pushed a paw down his throat.

It was a worthy investment. My robo-vacuum, “Jeeves the Houseboy”,  is much happier now that he doesn’t choke on gobs of hair every time he goes to work. I’m happier because the stickers don’t stick to the Maremmas so much anymore, giving me a lot of relief from anxiety over them getting a damaging foxtail under their skin. Scottie, well, he’s not so happy. Heath doesn’t care and TheMan never gets too excited about anything.

This past week has been a lucky one. We found both radio receivers that Bruno had lost, as well as his collar with the new GPS that I had not charged. It is like winning the lottery!

With all the egg laying going on around here, there are 7 surviving baby ducks. (We found the drake was killing them) The ducks reside in the backyard, where Heath is king, and makes sure they are in their shed at night. (I was told that English Shepherds were control freaks, and I can now testify to that). 

We also have rabbits now. We will be breeding them both for ourselves and for the dogs. I have not been comfortable with the numerous recalls on commercial dog food and it’s so pricey with 4 dogs, we decided that with all the extra chickens, ducks, rabbits, some beef, some lamb and whatever the hunters leave from the deer, we can put the dogs on a healthier, raw diet. It will simplify things as far as not having to run to town account of the dogs needing food...although simplifying life doesn’t always really make it simpler...but everyone keeps telling me how easy it is to raise rabbits, so I am going to take them at their word. I’ve never been a rabbit fan, so it’s new territory for me. I do kind of enjoy reaching in and petting their soft fur, and they are getting a little friendlier towards me. 

"Copper" Our New Zealand Red Buck

The dogs are quite taken with them…Heath mostly likes the poop. Bruno and Potamus take turns making sure Heath doesn't annoy them too much. They've been spending the days with me, to keep the cats away from the house. (I am deathly allergic to cats and one ranch cat has decided that out of 250,000 acres of ranch she could live on, she needs to break into my house at every opportunity, along with her kittens and kill me)

"Cora" New Zealand/Flemish Doe (I think)

"Callie" California Doe

SushiMoo will be calving anytime and I am getting really excited about it. I just hope my body will hold up to the demands being made on it. I plan to have Mr Potamus help me out. I've ordered a backpack for him to carry the 4 calf bottles for the leppie calves and am measuring him to have a harness made to train him to pull a little wagon with the heavy milker and the rest of the calf bottles for me. 

It will be a busy month, with 54 meatie chicks coming, the possibility of 24 rabbit kits shortly thereafter and a new calf-which will mean twice a day milking for me. I am looking forward to it and with Heath's help, I hope to be strong enough to manage all that needs to be done.

And just to make my day, Heath brought me this…I wonder if I have a vase to fit…?

Hope you all have a fabulous month…I know I plan to!


  1. Oh how good it was to read your post. Well except for the part about the dislocated shoulder. Ouch! Now that you recovered from that the story is kind of funny. Bad smells and all. ;) LOL
    My goodness what an ordeal to get the LGDs a bath! It will be well worth the cost to do it at home.
    The new bunnies are sleek and handsome. Better the short fur than the angoras we had. What a mess of matts and dirty fannies they could be in short order. ugh.
    What a sweet Boy Heath is bringing you pretty things. Better weeds than bugs, right?

    1. As much as the shoulder episode hurt, it was pretty funny. There were just SO many things WRONG about the whole experience that the next day (when it no longer hurt so much) I could not stop laughing!

    2. Good to laugh. :) Laughter is good for us. Good for our abs and god for our soul. ;)

  2. You really need to stop being so adventurous. Slow and steady win the race :-)
    Take care of yourself!

  3. So nice to hear from you again!! I was just thinking of you this weekend, wondering how you were doing. Sorry to hear about your shoulder. Can't imagine having to go so far for medical help. I guess it really makes you think before you hop in the car and go to town!! I love hearing about your dogs. They are always up to something new! I have read about the raw diet for the dogs. Considering it, but haven't made the plunge yet. I would be happy to read of your experience after you have done it for awhile. And, of course, love, love, love the special flower your pup brought you.

    1. I will try to remember to do that!

  4. Thanks for posting. I always enjoy reading about your life on the ranch and the animals. I love your dogs even though I have never met them. :)

  5. You always give me a heart warming smile with your writing and antics around the ranch. Thanks for taking time out from your very busy life to share it with us!!

  6. I'm glad you've had some tamer adventures since the duck and the porch one. :( Our Great Pyr had to get her tail hair cut off in one big hank because of mats. It looked kind of like a sheepskin laying there! I enjoy keeping up with Heath's antics, too. He is quite a guy!

  7. I'm so glad the knee surgery (which is another episode before all of this happened - whew! you are busy!) has gone well and you are up and moving again. It does seem like you encounter one mishap after another - but Lord willing, you'll have better days ahead! I'm also glad that Heath has become a great companion for you - and he even brings you lovely garden gifts - lol!! Take Care Kim - God Bless you!!

  8. I've been trying to get back to my favorite blogs and you are one of them. This post was a great example of why I love to read your blog. Love the dogs and your life. Glad you didn't break anything dealing with the rotten eggs and the porch. Please be careful. We always think we can do more than we really can. Take care.