Tuesday, November 5, 2019

November 5th

Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot...

Monday, October 7, 2019

The last full measure

Circumhorizontal arc, aka Rainbow Bridge

She was just a little yellow cur dog.  My daughter had seen her, as we drove down the county road.  Just sitting, as some dogs will do, in the bar ditch.  We thought she was just sunbasking there.  We drove on, like everybody else.

On the way back home, from dropping off my daughter at her temp job, I was passing by the same spot, and there was now a large SUV pulled over.  As I slowed to move around it, I looked left into the bar ditch.  And I saw her, just a little yellow cur dog. Still sitting in the ditch, swaying back and forth.  So I pulled the Civic over, stopped, put my flashers on, and got out.

The woman in the SUV got out, and told me her husband had seen the dog earlier, and called her to drive down here and see what was wrong.  It was a small act of mercy that she did so, because that was what made me stop.

As I walked across the road and down into the ditch I looked at the dog, and I knew, deep down, how this was going to end.  As she rocked there, back and forth, I could hear and see the agonal breathing, I could hear the rattle in her throat and lungs.

She was just a little yellow cur dog without a name.  Young, never had been bred (thank God there were no puppies to find), maybe 30 pounds of dog.  No tags, no collar, I doubt she meant anything to anybody.  Thin, but not emaciated, at best she was someone's yard dog, one to be fed on occasion, but nothing more.

I walked up to her, talking gently as I approached.  Some animals when injured, will lash out in fear and pain.  I didn't want to get bit, nor to scare her into trying to flee.  As I assessed the injuries, I knew she was never going to flee.  She did not react to my approach, never looking at me as I stood right in front of her.  I reached out to scratch the uninjured back of her head, and she flinched slightly at first, but then relaxed, and I knew.  She couldn't see me.  She couldn't hear me.  But she could feel a gentle touch.  I stood close, and blew air down at her, in hopes that she could smell my presence and perhaps take comfort.

I told her I wouldn't leave her to die in this ditch alone.  I didn't expect it to take long, a few minutes at best.  The other woman called the Sheriff, and we thought they were sending a deputy out.  I called the game warden's number she had, but the voicemail was full.  Then the other woman had to go, but we kept in touch vy text.

I had nothing in my car to move the little dog, and was unwilling to just pick her up in my arms for fear of hurting her worse and getting bitten in her fear and pain.  So I stood there, keeping the flies off her, just stroking her head and talking in case she could hear something.  Many cars went by, some slowed, to make sure I was ok, but none stopped.

After close to 90min, far longer than I ever thought she would still be hanging in there, I called the Sheriff's dept, only to learn there had been a misunderstanding in the initial call.  They thought the dog was dead.  "Not yet,"  I replied.  They promised to send someone out.

After about 20 min more, I decided I'd try to move her to my car somehow.  I spotted a feed sack down the road, and went off to grab it.  Not long after I returned to her side, a deputy arrived.   We chatted about the situation, the deputy clarifying that they are not allowed to transport or put down an injured animal.  She then offered to help me get the dog onto the sack.

My plan was only to get her out of the ditch to the nearest vet, to end her suffering.  Her injuries were too extensive--shoulder, pelvis, jaw, brain, ribs, lungs....She struggled a little in fear at being unbalanced on the sack, but never lashed out.  She was such a good dog.

The vet confirmed my suspicions on the brain injury, and some of the others too.  He asked if I wanted her put down.  I said yes, that I had brought her in  from the road just to end her suffering as gently as I could.  I told him I'd been with her for 3hrs, and that she had been hit hours before that.  I stroked her as the vet administered the shot, and it did what she could not, it allowed her to let go immediately.

She was just a little yellow cur, but she was as tough as nails, yet gentle even in her final moments.  I wish she had never been hit, but she was.  I wish, once hit, that she had perished immediately, rather than suffer for the hours that she did.  I wish that I could've done something more to help her, but I couldn't.  So I did the only thing I could.
The only picture I took, for memory's sake, from her good side.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Shiloh, a final update

 Shiloh, our senior female Ridgeback is spending her final night with us, resting quietly on our bed.  Ever since her diagnosis, she has decided that our bed is no longer off limits.  Neither DH nor I were inclined to boot her off either.

The cancer has been as aggressive as we feared.  It's 3x as large as it was back in Feb, when we had most of it surgically removed.  The cancer has stolen every ounce of food, and every ounce of flesh from her body.  Despite being fed as much as we can get her to eat daily, she is starving to death before my eyes.

I had to go out of town this past weekend.  My fear was she would pass on her own, leaving DH to deal with it on his own.  I made a deal with Shi before we left--if she would hold on until we got back, I would make sure she didn't suffer longer.  So, we have an appointment tomorrow with the vet, to grant her that release.  Though she doesn't seem to be in pain, I know she is no longer enjoying life. I am well familiar with how well Ridgebacks can hide pain, but she isn't exhibiting any of those tricks.

She has been our girl since 2012.  I think she was probably 4-5 years old then.  That would make her 11-12 now.  She should've had another 3-4 good years, were it not for this cancer. 

I will miss her. The kids will miss her. But it is DH who will miss her most, I think.  She has always been such a Daddy's girl...

Thursday, July 25, 2019

The Platform

The deadlift platform...
There are many like it, but this one is mine.  However, at first glance, while the wood is pretty, the platform is a bit dull.  DH built if for our home gym, using Alan Thrall's plans from YouTube.  

DH suggested we do a logo for the platform, as that was included in the video he had seen.  We came up with a basic idea and he turned me loose on the project.
Working on the stencils.  The design was a bit more complex than I had expected, and it took a couple iterations to get them done right.

A finished stencil.
The first stencil,  I made the mistake of using painted on acrylic which bled under the edges of the stencil slightly.  but it cleaned up ok.

I wanted to use an old western style font for the text, but alas, Win 10 does not have any.  I had to make do with Playbill.  It's ok in this instance, and was certainly easy enough to cut out.

Final paint applied...Midnight Mare and Blood Red Roan, for DH.  Brownie points if you know where that comes from!
All I have to do now, is finish with the clear coat on top, and it will be ready for use!  It has been a fun project, and I think it came out pretty nicely.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Work getting done at Needs Work!

Last week our neighbor/seller was able to make the time to come by with his tractor and mower rig and cut our pasture!  From what we can tell, it's pretty high quality grass, with few weeds.  But having no livestock this year, and desiring to keep our Ag exemption intact (we'd be fools to let it lapse!) we needed to have the pasture hayed.

Last night, as we have had a brief dry spell here (look out for TS/H Barry due to move into the region by the coming weekend),  he was able to return with his rake and baler rigs and in less than an hour, he had it all raked and baled!

It was fascinating to watch how it all worked.  I've never watched it up close and personal before.  DH and OD Henry dog decided after the fact, to go out into the pasture to check out the bales.

We even ended up with a mini-bale, the last one to come out of the baler, and undersized.  Total was 8.25 large round bales, promptly exchanged to our neighbor who did the work.  He said it's pretty common for folks with small acreages to do that.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Work continues at Needs Work Ranch

Moving is so much fun!  And if you believe that, I might have some swamp land to sell you!  Moving may be exciting sometimes, what with the exploration of the new and shiny, but I don't think it's ever fun.

Stuff gets lost, misplaced, abducted by space aliens never to be seen again until you purchase the replacement for it...but hey, 2 is one, and 1 is none, and 14 of 'em is an obsession, right?

Our dear friends at the rescue ranch gifted us with a long unused but well stored Husky riding mower.  It had been stored for about 12 years according to their records, but for $140, I got it running, and it works great.  I was thrilled!  Like our ranch. it needed some work, but now it works for ME!  

We are still searching for someone to come mow, rake and bale our 4+ acres of pasture.  Our seller said he would come cut it when he has time, but every time he has had time, it has been too wet to get into the pasture.  We may have to look into renting at least a raker and baler (and a real tractor to pull them).  

DH and Monkeyboy were working on a project the other night.  DH wanted to put some walls up in the shop, as we are planning to wall off half the shop and possibly drop in a mini split HVAC unit to make it tolerable there in the summer.

DH had just bought a pneumatic nail gun, and wanted to use it.  It worked great, and it took longer to get the wood ready to nail than it did to build the entire section!

 DH also built me a deadlift platform!  I did the stain and finish on it, and am working on a logo to paint.  My problem is figuring out the graphics programs, and scaling the images up enough to print out and make stencils from.

The next big project we have on our schedules, is the garden.  We have figured out a place to plant, but need to burn the brush piles first, and then till it all under, then plant a cover crop (probably buckwheat), then till the buckwheat under in the fall, and do a spring planting.

Other projects include more walls in the shop, more gravel for the driveway, working on plans for when we decide to build here in a couple more years, and other stuff that escapes my brain at this time of the morning.

One milestone has been reached in life though--our oldest, Monkey1 just got her drivers learner permit!  She completed the Drivers Ed class at PJC last month.  Now to boost her confidence, and get her some windshield time!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Moonlight over Needs Work Ranch

A distinct lack of internet access is limiting my posting ability. Bear with me... 

Monday, April 1, 2019

It's official

We're moving!  We signed final papers on a purchase of some property, east of our current home, early this morning.  5.28 acres, fenced with a pond, 3 large really nice outbuildings, and a much smaller home in need of some mostly cosmetic maintenance.  The best part??  We will be mortgage-free!!!!  Which means, we will be fully debt-free!

That just boggles my mind in a way.  My folks, half a century ago, paid cash to build the large split level I grew up in, and in which my mom still lives.  They used to have a pair of trivets over the kitchen stove that read, "Home Sweet Home"  and "99 more years and it's ours!"  As a kid, I knew it was funny, but I didn't quite grasp how or why.  As an adult, I get it. 

I'm looking forward to getting moved, and figuring out the new place.  Though we won't be joining the local church, instead we will continue to attend our existing church.  Plus DH and I will likely be joining the volunteer fire department (fire relief & support, as neither of us are well suited to actual firefighting.)  We also have to figure out what we need to do to maintain the Ag exemption on the property (lower taxes, YAY!).  Eventually we hope to run a couple yearling steers on grass until fall slaughter, so we can get a freezer full of good beef.

Wish us luck.   It's going to be an adventure.

Monday, March 4, 2019

On Shiloh...

Shiloh, our only female Ridgeback, has been aging gracefully.  Gracefully, until perhaps now.  The other week, Monkey1 noticed one side of Shiloh's face seemed swollen.  I looked, and agreed.  We did a little research, and it seemed like it was likely an abcessed tooth in her upper jaw.

A vet visit was scheduled, for a dental cleaning and exam.  Unfortunately, the call from the vet afterwards indicated that it was a tumor, not an abcess.  He surgically removed most of the tumor, and we opted to have the pathology done on it, to see what it was.  Vet said to assume cancerous, until proven otherwise, based on his exam.

Shiloh recovered well from the surgery, while we waited on the pathology to come back.  When it did, it wasn't good news.  She has malignant mesenchymal neoplasm.  It is aggressive in nature, and was already attached to the upper jawbone.  The outlook is for it to move into her lungs, and then it's Game Over.

Shiloh is somewhere between 9-12 years old, and has been with us since 2012.  She has always been so steady, in behavior, and health, that this is a shock to us.  Even now, I cannot really tell any changes in her.  In a way, knowing what is happening makes it easier.  We can plan to spoil her, and know what to watch for in the disease progression.  That should mean we can keep her comfortable until the end.

However, DH did come across an article out of the Univ. of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine, regarding some success in using immunotherapy for dogs with osteoscarcoma.  I am reaching out to them, to see if possibly Shiloh could qualify for their ongoing research study programs.  Our vet said he would be happy to help me out, if I contacted UofM.  So, now I am waiting for a call back from their research coordinator.  Maybe, just maybe...