Sunday, January 26, 2014
A DELICATE BALANCE.
4:58 pm est
"You'd better cut that tree down. It's
dead," they all proclaimed with great authority from the time I bought this farm in 1987. Now the doomsayers proclamation
has come true. The big old walnut tree has been "dead" for decades, but every year it surprised all of the
would-be arborists by leafing out and dumping a ton of ankle-breaking nuts along the nature trail while producing dozens of
new walnut trees that are now quite sizable. But last week Nature finally took the old tree. The brutal winds
broke it in half leaving just an empty half husk of a trunk. No more will I see a great horned owl silhouetted on a
scraggly limb against a moonlit sky. The old tree is officially a goner, but still delicately balanced with the broken
horizontal limb supporting the bit that remains vertical.
think of life here this harsh winter also as being delicately balanced. Winter is my favorite season, but admittedly
this one is more challenging than enjoyable. The numbing cold doubles the time required for every chore. The bored
bad asses hate winter and all that comes with it and glare at me as if I'm responsible for the bitter winds and snow.
I close their stall door at night and while they wouldn't dream of venturing outside anyway, in retaliation they are dismantling
the hay rack and every supporting piece of wood. The bright red stall ball purchased for their entertainment fails to
amuse them. After barely a glance they shuffle past it and rip off another part of the hay rack.
The new dog has fit in beautifully and brought a great deal of energy
to the household. It wasn't as if I actually needed a fourth dog (Ernie missed this photo op...), but she's been a marvelous
addition and all the other animals adore Girlie.
It's with great sadness that I report the disappearance of Tom who
has vanished without a trace. He has been gone for a week now and I fear that he may have become a victim of the area
coyotes. While he spent most of his time in his cellar-way apartment or in the garden shed with Rattycat or accompanying
me when I hauled firewood, pumped water or cleaned the stall, he had also been known to venture beyond his home ground.
The dogs and I have searched, but there is no sign of our dear Tom Cat. He is greatly missed.
Now that I've
suffered and survived a lengthy bout of the flu, a very expensive truck breakdown, tow and repair and most aggravating of
all, a costly speeding ticket I like to think that 2014 is just off to a delayed start of what's going to be a year of good
health, opportunity and joy. I'm counting on it!
Monday, January 6, 2014
HAVE COMPASSION ON THE ANIMALS!
Opened the shed door to feed Rattycat this morning and discovered a new squatter,
a pathetic bedraggled black and white thing. At least now it has shelter, food and water. Even Rattycat seems
to take pity on the poor creature and is not making a fuss about sharing his condo. My heart breaks thinking about all
the dogs and cats that will suffer because of human laziness or apathy. Please don't turn your back on them. Make
room at your inn.
6:01 pm est
Saturday, January 4, 2014
11:26 am est
"Don't you get lonely? Aren't you afraid?" I
hear such questions all the time and suspect that the inquisitors don't believe me when I answer "No." But
it's true. I am 99% content with my chosen lifestyle. How could I be lonely with so many four-legged friends to
keep me company? And until the sad passing of my beloved Ted, who I knew would have risked his own life defending me,
I felt safer than if I had a bevy of armed guards. The current canine population doesn't instill such confidence, but
I like to think their barking would thwart any would-be intruders. At least they sound ferocious!
Now, about that
nebulous 1%.... When illness invades my otherwise comfortable life I admit to feeling vulnerable and that's been the
case since a nasty flu knocked me flat on my back, totally out of commission since 12-26-13. When the goal for Monday
was to wash the dishes from Saturday's lunch I knew things were bad, but animals still needed to be fed and watered. Life
alone was challenging to say the least. Thank goodness for neighbor Sandy and for T. who took over barn chores for a few days.
Mostly I just
laid in bed or on the sofa staring at the ceiling until a newscaster's ominous words broke through my fog, "...and the
CDC reports that 49 people so far have died from the flu...." I felt bad enough to up that figure to an even 50,
so with great difficulty I made my way to the doc in the box. He prescribed some miracle drugs which eventually took
hold. I'm still weak and still coughing, but I think I'm on the mend at last and a flu shot convert for next year.
Tess had taken up ice skating on the mostly-frozen pond. My pitiful cries from the house for her to, "Get off
that ice!" went unheeded. Clad in her purple winter coat the black terrorist raced around and around the pond
fast as a rocket, slamming on the brakes and skidding across the ice, falling down and generally having a great time down
there while Julie and Ernie wisely watched from the safety of the porch. Then it happened.
The ice broke
and in she went. Lifesaving, even when feeling healthy would be daunting, but when the temperature's only about 10 F.
and I'm feeling weak as a kitten, the prospect was overwhelming. Thankfully the fall was near the edge and fatso quickly
dragged herself out of the icy drink. The plan now is to haul the kayak down there just in case. Tess is none
the worse for wear, prefering to rest on the sofa and prepare for her next adventure.
I'm ready for spring.