Things that go boom!!

My big dog, whose proper name is Queen, but only ever gets called Big Dog, or good dog or just dog, is an outside dog. A maremma, a breed of dog known for its guarding abilities. She came from a co-worker whose family also had sheep and she had been brought up with the sheep. Very standoffish to people given her first close encounter with a human involved being stuffed into a crate and hauled away to a new farm. But she did love her sheep and her arrival on the farm resulted instantly in a zero predator loss. I witnessed her in action one day across the valley. Now you can’t see the hillside for the trees but when the sheep were here they turned that wilderness into a park like setting, grazing the underbrush to the ground and low hanging branches to as high as they could reach. The dog was with them as they were spread out grazing when all of a sudden she gathered them into a tight knot and placed herself between them and a rather large coyote approaching from the side. She stood her ground, barking and growling, and chased that sheep eater away. Then she circled the flock once and led them up the hillside to the meadow, the sheep following in single file up the trail. What a good dog!!

I sold the sheep and Big Dogs’ loyalty turned to the goats. She also became much more affectionate to her people, me in particular. She doesn’t really care for males at all. But still preferred to sleep outside in all weather. I would try to make some sort of shelter she would use every fall and she would just ignore it. The sheep of course, preferred to sleep outside. Big Dog would snuggle down between a couple big wooly ewes and be toasty warm. But the goats aren’t much for snuggling and would rather freeze alone rather than huddle together for warmth. So I think Big Dog suffered from the cold, out standing guard all night. Winter here on the prairies is not very kind. And she’s older now, must be pushing 11-12. Pretty old for a big outside dog. I was so happy last year when I saw she was using the goat shelter in the barn, sleeping under the heat lamp for the first time. But she is getting stiff and sore and struggles to rise. She must have arthritis in her hips and I can relate when I see her limping across the yard.

Last fall I decided I would try some CBD oil on her. Anecdotal stories flood the internet spouting miracle cures but a report closer to home convinced me. A friend used it on his elderly cat and saw a marked improvement. I went to the vet to get some, not realizing that he was using human CBD off label. Well that was a mistake 🙄🙄 So then I went next door to the health food store and bought a bottle of capsules.

Then the problem became, how to get the dog to take the capsules. I naively thought, I’ll just stuff them into pieces of sausage and she’ll swallow them. Nope. Ok I’ll coat them in peanut butter and she’ll swallow them. Nope. I’ll mix them into her mushy dog food and she’ll swallow them. Double nope. I was reminded of my neighbour’s wisdom in dealing with animals. “First, you have to be smarter than the (fill in the blank)”. I obviously wasn’t very smart. Finally I resorted to putting the capsule in her warm mush, then slicing a hole and squishing out the oil when the gelatin had softened. Whew, that worked. And she even downed the capsule with its few remaining drops of oil. Bit labour intensive but the oil was getting into her.

About three weeks later I noticed she was shedding. Great handfuls of hair!! Not good heading into winter but try as I might I couldn’t find any bald patches on her. On the contrary , she was looking really good!! Cleaner, brighter, whiter!! Her coat was shiny and lustrous and so healthy looking. And thick!! I hadn’t noticed how dingy she had been. And then I noticed she was moving easier. Not completely limp free but not so crippled up.

I used up all the capsules over the winter then bought a bottle of oil, so much easier to just shake a few drops over her food than fuss with capsules. So I think it was a successful experience.

Big Dog doesn’t like loud noises. Fireworks, gunshots, thunder. My son was out the other day to shoot some of the beavers decimating my trees. One of the best ways to get them is to make a hole in their dam and shoot them as they come to repair the damage. Also the tannerite makes a big boom which boys love. My son walked into the back carrying his gun and immediately the dog twigged to what was going on. I didn’t. I couldn’t figure out why she was so affectionate, following close on my heels thru one gate and then another, coming up to the house. My son placed the tannerite then called me to come film the explosion. One pound of tannerite. Equivalent to one stick of dynamite. (I think that’s what he said). A very big boom in any case.

Plus the gun shot to ignite it. Twenty minutes later my neighbor called to ask if my dog was at home. He had seen one on the road that he didn’t recognize. She wasn’t in the corral but she never wanders that far. I couldn’t believe it might be her. Unfortunately my neighbor was also shooting beaver. About 11:00 pm my daughter forwards me a text.

That’s my dog!! About 5 miles away from home!! So we bundled up and headed out to find her. I’d never get her in the truck. I just hoped she would follow us home. About three miles out my daughter said, there she is!! Sure enough, she was in the ditch heading home, a sad little tigger. I talked to her most of the way home. She was sooo happy to see us and did follow the truck home, disappearing every now and then into the ditch for a drink of water. It was pitch black by this time but she followed behind the truck, her eyes glowing red in the tail lights. Once home I walked her to the back where she lay down. She was in the same spot the next morning. Poor doggo. I can’t believe how obtuse I was not to figure out she was unsettled by the sight of the gun and how unwilling I was to believe she’d wander so far. So next time she’ll go either into the barn or I will sit with her while the loud noises happen. I love my dog 💕💕

Birthday girl

Today is my birthday!!

This a terrible photo—not the subject—she’s a cute little pumpkin, but the quality of the image. I couldn’t find a better pic so this one is enlarged AND cropped, a double sin. But clearly I’m thrilled with my cake and the candles. And the marshmallow flowers my mom made by snipping marshmallows into slices with THE PAIR OF SCISSORS NO ONE WAS ALLOWED TO TOUCH ON PAIN OF DEATH!! I think I count six candles there. Smokey the bear says no candles this year. It’s too dry and I don’t want to start a forest fire 🔥

My girlfriend who drives bus with me gave me a Cadbury fruit and nut bar for my birthday. Oh the memories!! My mother always had a huge family sized bar tucked into the picnic hamper on all our childhood adventures. We went exploring every weekend, somewhere different. And usually every neighborhood kid was with us, as many as we could fit in the car!! Remember, way back then, last century, there were no seatbelts so we fit in a lot of kids. I’m sure my mother earned all kinds of credits in heaven for giving all those neighborhood moms so much child free time. But as we amused each other, it was probably an easy sacrifice to make.

After our lunch of salami sandwiches on dark rye bread washed down with hot lemon tea, the big chocolate bar was broken into pieces and we all had our fill. Can you imagine kids today eating salami sandwiches on rye?!? we sure didn’t have any trouble with the chocolate either 😊

The bar also reminded me of a Stuart McLean story from the Vinyl Cafe on CBC radio. Stuart, who has sadly passed away, was a CBC treasure. He had a weekly radio show for years. Some songs, but mostly stories, funny but sad too. They made you happy while your heart broke!!

His featured bit was stories about Dave and Morley, and Dave’s vinyl record shop whose motto was, “we may not be big but we’re small.” This particular story was one featuring a Cadbury fruit and nut bar.

I think that things move too fast these days. No one has time to listen anymore. Our attention span has shrunk. These stories demand your full attention.

So find 22 minutes thirty seconds, a comfy chair with your cat or a blanket, a hot cup of tea and just listen. Give yourself the gift of doing absolutely nothing, but listening. You may just get hooked.

All these stories are available free on line thru CBC archives. This story is called, “Love Never Ends”. Please listen. And anyone who doesn’t shed a tear…while smiling…is a cold heartless grinch.

Same book, new chapter…

I hope that followers of “A Sheeps’ Trail” have managed to find their way here to my new site. I really hadn’t wanted to leave but I’d used up all my available storage space, forcing me to abandon my original site.

I make no money on my site, nor was it ever my intention to do so. I could have paid for more storage space but the idea just didn’t appeal to me. I’ve been dithering for literally months now but I must face facts and begin again.

A Sheeps’ Trail was a journal of my travels, a record of happenings on the farm and some navel gazing. I never wanted a huge following, these journal entries were first for my mother, then for my kids and finally for myself. Other interested friends and strangers paid me the ultimate compliment by reading what I wrote, and sometimes even commenting on it 😳😳. I love going back and looking at photos, or reading my entries, always with my internal editor scolding me, why did you write it like that—surely this would have been better, or wow, that line was well written… (very few of those)!!

So now I’ve started Tiny Tales. It will be a continuation of the type of stories I wrote previously.

I welcome anyone who has followed me here, and any new readers who may find me by accident.

So let’s turn the page…