Friday, July 18, 2008

Meet Our "Newest Addition"......

Not by CHOICE I might add!!! I've spent the last 3 weeks trying to chase this cat off!! Our few neighbors cats have all died off from distemper and apparently one from an area farm decided to come to our place looking for "love".

Having only seen it from a distance, as I was usually screaming at it, throwing something at it or turning the dogs loose to chase it....I'd assumed it was a girl. It would scream out in the corn and sounded like a female cat in heat. After catching it in the live trap however, size alone told another story. He's one big cat!

So last week I finally decided we should just catch this cat, spay it and be done with it. If it wanted to hang around here, fine. But you will NOT be having kittens in our barn! We set the live traps a few times and all I ever caught were "our" cats or our chickens! UGH! I was about to give up when Tuesday night Bill was sitting on the back porch and this cat - came around the corner of the house to eat. She didn't see Bill until the very last second and then of course RAN!!!! So, Wednesday night we set up the live trap there and put our 3 cats in kennels. At 10:30 that night, we had our prey!! One white and orange cat!!

The next morning I didn't really pay it much attention (except to move the live trap into the shade for the day). Let me tell you, it is WILD!!! It would bounce from one end of the live trap to the other! YIKES!!! I wore gloves when I moved the trap so as to not get scratched, it never tried to "get you", but it wanted out!!! It's growling was something else. Kind of freaky!

So when I got home Thursday afternoon I took a closer look at the cat. It was obviously NOT a girl. Okay, cheaper to "alter" that way! It was also not young, blind in one eye (probably uclerated) and scratched up pretty well. "Dude, you've been ridden hard and put away wet!!".

I was off today, so Bill called a local vet to see if they could neuter him today. Honestly, do you know what Tom Cat urine smells like!! He couldn't stay in that live trap much longer....EEEWWWW!!!!! They could get him in, so I put him in the back of the truck and off we went. I also took along a nice clean 400 vari-kennel with clean straw to put him in while he was out. As we drove along the countryside I noticed many nice farms that this cat would have gladly gone to, but I just couldn't do that to someone else. To the vet we continued.

When I arrived I carried in the live trap and I used a dowel to trap him in a corner while the vet stuck him with a sedative. I told the vet that this was either this cat's lucky day or worst day, he'll have to take his pick. The vet agreed and said he looked like he'd used up plenty of his lives already. So snip, came the 'parts', a poke with a rabies shot and we're good to go.

He needed a name for the cat to fill out on the rabies card. Him, all my cats names start with a "C". There's Chemi, Cher and Cougar. Gosh, he plenty "pissed off", so how about Cross. So, Cross it is.

I ask how long the sedative will last as I'd like to give him a distemper shot when I get home. He tells me it should last about an hour and he'll be slow to wake up. Well, let me tell you, they are NOT slow to wake up when you come at them with a needle!!! LOL So I guess the distemper shot will have to wait until he tames down. Or, maybe he'll have to live without one. I'm not sure if after chasing him away for the last several weeks if he'll ever get tame. We'll see.

So for now he's in a kennel, with food and water. We'll let him in there for a couple days and then turn him loose to see what happens. At least he won't be making anymore unwanted kittens!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

New Dog Name!!!

Dog people are ALWAYS looking for a new dog name. It doesn't matter whether you just got a dog or are getting a dog soon, it's a law, you're always trying out new names!

So this weekend up in MN I noticed a women wearing a T-shirt - very common apparel at agility trials. In fact, we're usually thankful they have that much covered!! LOL. Anyway, on the back of this "T" it said,


So of course I think of the Disney movie with Dick Van Dick in it. Yes, I'm OLD!!!

Then I got to thinking, what a GREAT DOG NAME!!! Of course it would CHIT for short!!!

Of course you need to give it the big ole' "porch" test. (That means stand on the porch and yell as loud as you can) CHIT!!!! Hum, it has possibilities.

I decide I should try it out on Seeker, after all, what better way to test a new name.

So Seeker and I head out to the Agility yard to practice.

So, here it goes!!

You need to say the following out loud and with some volume to get the

Seeker runs off ahead of me, he's suppose to be walking with me.....NO CHIT

He comes back ..... GOOD CHIT

I have him set up between my feet, FEET CHIT

I release him to the dog walk.....OKAY CHIT....GO CHIT...BOTTOM CHIT....

He does brilliantly and I give him his tug....GET'ER CHIT.....and when we're done....GIVE CHIT

So we head over to the weave poles and set up again, this time I just ask to CHIT SIT ..that's a pretty hard one to say! Say it out loud and FAST!!!

WEAVE CHIT...more tugging and all that CHIT.

Over to the A-frame without a set up..... A CHIT

Through a tunnel SSSSSS CHIT (hum....interesting)

Over a jump....wait, he goes around....GET OVER CHIT...Seeker looks back and says, "WHO GIVES A CHIT".

Cougar comes out to help and is stalking Seeker, I try to warn him..... CAT CHIT

Too late, Cougar swiped him and walks away thinking.... DUMB CHIT

So finally we head to the table - Seeker has an auto down on the table and I pop him into a sit. So, TABLE CHIT, GOOD CHIT, SIT CHIT......he pulls a Bea.....OH CHIT..... (JUST KIDDING!!) LOL

Yep, definitely has possibilities.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Mole Whisperer...

Mole Valley is a farm store in England - like our TSC or Theisen's.
I think I'll open my own chain of Mole Valley Stores here in the states!!

Hopefully you've all seen the movie Caddy Shake. Although we don't golf, we sure do have enough holes and mounds to support an 18 hole course. It's getting pretty crazy out there with new mounds popping up EVERYWHERE!!! Yes, you've guessed it!! We've been INVADED by the MOLES!!!! I must admit, they are rather cute.

Armed with a spade and a 5 gallon bucket I must say I've developed some skill and may have taken "redneck" mole hunting to a new level. I'm actually ENJOYING IT!!!

Now for those of you that don't know much about moles, the girls are sows and the boys are boars. (Isn't that true of MOST boys - LOL) A group of moles is called a labor. I think that's because of the amount of work it takes to get rid of them!!!! In Germany they are a PROTECTED animal!! OMG!!! Come get MINE!!!!! In Russia, they have moles that weigh up to ONE POUND!!! I'm gonna need a BIGGER spade!

I always wondered if they even have eyes? But apparently the do, very small and some are blind, those that aren't have poor eye sight, what would they be looking at anyway?? They eat worms and grubs, they do not eat plant roots.

This year as been pretty good for mole hunting. I am currently up to 4 captures in the last two weeks, 3 live releases and unhappy ending. This week has been extremely good with 2 in the last two days. One did NOT have a happy ending, I'm sad to say. You see, I prefer the "catch and release" method of hunting for these little guys.

Monday after work I was out in the yard checking on plants and seeing what needed to be watered, JIC it didn't rain like it was suppose to. I spotted the fresh overturn of dirt and FROZE!!! I believe that the moles can feel the vibration of the earth (AKA "impact tremors" for those Jurassic Park fans!!) and the moles stop moving when they feel them. SMART LITTLE BUGGERS! Anyway, sure enough, the dirt was MOVING!!!!

I backtracked and ran out the front yard to get my hunting materials! Back to the mound and I carefully turned my bucket upside down and sat on it! Yep, that's your OFFICIAL hunting position, sitting on a bucket! G They are quite interesting creatures, they seem to push up the dirt and then wait for a little while. Flies and other bugs land on the moist dirt and they mole EATS THEM! How amazing is that? Okay, game over, it's time for the ACTION!!

There is true art to this type of hunting. You need to be able to tell which way the burrow is going, if you can't tell or guess incorrectly you are at risk for losing your mole. I HATE that when it happens!! So I have my spade in hand and drive it into the ground and quickly flip the dirt onto the yard surface. I GOT HIM!!! Unfortunately it was a "kill" shot, RATS!! That's actually the first one I've killed and it was an accident. )': So as I'm leaving the yard with my mole carcass in tow I notice another mound moving. I go for it and I must have been still depressed by my loss of the first mole because I choose the wrong side and the little bugger disappeared down his burrow. I just saw his little hind feet and tail as he dove under! I'll save him for another day!

So last night we had class. The late class was really small as some people were on vacation, etc. So I ended up with one person! Amy and Ritz. Actually this worked out really well as we could work with Ritz on his weaves and dog walk issues. I'm putting food at the end of the dog walk, which just happened to be close to a mole run. As Ritz is coming over the dog walk, I see dirt MOVE!! Do you know how hard it is to watch a dog and a mole at the same time!!!! FOCUS ESTER!!! G

So I say to Bill, I'm having a "spade emergency". Funny thing is that he knew EXACTLY what I was talking about. Amy was oblivious! So Ritz continues working on the dog walk, I'm holding the spade and Amy walks back to the beginning of the dog walk. I tell her to hold on a minute and drive my spade into the ground and uproot a MOLE! Amy freaked out, she didn't even see it coming.....yep, I'm SPECTACULAR!!! Well......

Almost. Um....I kind of cut his tail off. EEEWWWW!!!!! They have a tail about the 1/2 the length of a mouse. Talk about a perfect bob!! It was still stuck on the end of the spade, the tail, not the mole. I felt bad for the little guy, but at least I wasn't up a few inches or he would have ended up like the one the day before. We put him in the bucket for release back into the wild after class. As Amy left, I asked if she wanted to take him home? She said NO!!! I asked if she'd like the tail, she said "That's just GROSS!!! I could NEVER live in the country."......makes me wonder what City Folks do for fun?? LOL

I hope the other moles don't make fun of him......

Monday, July 7, 2008


It's that time of year! Actually, it's a little LATE for 1st cutting of hay, but it's been so wet it's been hard to get the timing down. Last week was IT! Hay was cut and ready to bale!! The neighbor has sheep and doesn't need a lot of hay, so after talking with my riding buddy, Julie, she suggested I ask if I could find someone to bale his hay for my ponies. He said "sure"! So Julie's brother and girlfriend came over last Tuesday night and we baled the "small" pasture that the sheep generally graze in.

I wasn't expecting a whole lot from that field and was pretty surprised (happily, I might add) when we pulled 185 bales out. WOW!! That's over 1/2 the hay I need for the winter. Many hands made quick work of the baling and stacking. How nice was that!!!! The neighbor pitched in for the unloading of the last rack and said he'd be baling more this weekend if I needed any more. I just had to help! WOW!! Color me THERE!! I told him that I would be home Friday and Sunday, but gone on Saturday. Based on the weather forecast, the plan was to cut on Friday, rake on Saturday and bale on Sunday. PERFECT!

Well, best laid plans and all that! We arrived home on Saturday evening about 6:30PM and we're getting ready to attend the Watkins fireworks with some friends. I'm finishing getting cleaned up and there's a knock on the door. Guess what, the neighbor is looking for trailers!! They baled today, Saturday, as it was suppose to rain tomorrow. They had 4 racks filled and we're needing some place else to stack hay. The only thing I had available was the stock trailer, so Bill, Alan and I headed for the field. So much for the fireworks!! Priorities and all that.....

The bales were all on the ground, so Bill drove, Alan stacked in the trailer and I walk/ran along side tossing bales into the trailer's escape hatch and into the back of the pick up when they were light enough. We filled that and still had a narrow row up the water way to go. It was getting dark and we didn't have time to unload the truck and trailer, so Alan decided we'd see how many we could get in the back of his S-10 pick-up.

I was a little concerned as it's just a baby truck, but Alan said not to worry as it had heavy duty shocks. Um....I sure hope so!!! This time, Alan drove, Bill walked and I stacked. Half way full, I asked Bill, "Don't you LOVE THOSE PONIES!!" Alan laughed and Bill said, No. G

We filled that little truck and and headed back home the 1/2 mile or so to unload it. It was quite an impressive stack job considering it was a short box and had a tool chest in the back. Alan tossed them out and counted (he's very good and didn't get distracted at all!!!), Bill and I stacked. 25 was the end total in that little truck! WOW!! Impressive!!!

We jumped back into the little truck and headed back down to get the last remaining bales. It looked like a LOT and I wasn't sure we'd be able to get them all. We were all hoping to still make the fireworks! So we started down the row with the same work posts. Halfway through I looked up and said, "there is no way they are all going to fit", but we kept on stacking. This time I had to ride in the jump cab of that little truck! Gee, wouldn't want to do that for long! Alan again counted to see if we would beat our first record! Yep, we did!! 26 bales!!! After some yipping and cheering (mostly by me, imagine that!) we went our separate ways to the fireworks.

Bill ran in and got the soda, I grabbed my camera and off we went. It was about 9:30 PM and we were guessing they'd start at about 9:40. Luckily we're only about 5 miles away. We pull into town and it's pretty obvious most of Benton County is HERE!!! G We drive down a street filled with cars on both sides of the road. Bill makes a right turn toward the baseball diamond and KA-BOOM!!! Um, they're starting. Honestly, what is a person to do but turn off the headlights and sit in the middle of the street. RED NECK!!! LOL

I didn't even bother with my camera, we were WAY TOO CLOSE!!! I can obviously say I've NEVER been that close! YIKES! It was like giant mushrooms over head, and the sound was truly amazing!!! Spectacular colors and sound. Occasionally you could hear the 4th of July music in the background, but no often! G What spectacular timing we had! We could NOT have planned it any better. Easy in and when it was all over, easy out!! Back to the thoughts of hay!!!

We got home a little after 10 and Alan was going to bring over the 4 hay racks and park them in the building over night. We would unload those at his house in the morning, hopefully before it started to rain. I headed for bed around 11 and knew it was going to be one BUSY Sunday!!

I got up around 5 and headed out the door to unload the truck and trailer from last night. No, I didn't wake up Bill, I figured he'd get his workout later. So another 150 bales later, the ponies are all set for the winter! YIPPEE!!!!

Alan didn't forget about his 4 rakes in the building, so at about 10am he came over and we started putting them up in his barn. It all went pretty well, but 1/2 way through the second rake Bill and Alan started talking about the benefits of Big Rounds! I tried to blend into the background and stay quite. It was hard for me to stay quite, but it was easy to blend in as I was covered in dirt, sweat and hay...not to mention I was up in the loft stacking. Alan explained that sheep or ponies for that matter don't really care what shape their food comes in, as long as it's there. After the 3rd rack, I must admit I was starting to see the light. G

Next year, who knows. By that time I might forget how much work it was. Obviously it was much easier unloading and stacking rakes with 6-8 people vs. 3, but we gott'er done! I'm pretty sure Alan won't forget and it'll be big rounds next time!! LOL