Sunny was due to have her stitches removed today. So I took her to the vet and sat in the waiting room, biding time till it was our turn. In the chairs across from me were two towhead boys, both with missing teeth, patiently waiting for their dog to be released from the exam room. It's been my experience that under normal circumstances, boys and dogs are magnetically drawn to each other. Evidently, Sunny knows this, too, and took one look at the youngsters and began lurching over towards them. What I saw was my sweet yellow lab walking over to the boys with a big smile on her face and a wag of her tail. What the children saw was a duct-taped, slobbery plastic cone collar flapping around and sounding like hillbilles playing the saw. They saw a shaved and swollen and red ear with wiry black sutures poking out of it every which way. They saw four feet, all with missing fur from being chewed, attached to an almost 100 pound body that couldn't seem to walk a straight line.
As she approached them, they involuntarily flinched and their faces wrinkled in undisguised disgust.
Taking a look at her from their eyes, I couldn't say as I blamed them......
The fenceline between our lower field and the neighbors' manicured lawns runs along a hedgerow. With any luck, your collective memories are scanty as mine and you won't remember from last summer when I proudly posted that my girls and I patched it all up so the horses could graze in that field once again. Not that our patches haven't held nicely to the effects of wind and weather and the push/pull nature of errant vines. I'm sure these are all new areas of the fenceline that have recently become red-carpet invitations for my horses to walk on through to where the grass is, quite literally, greener and weed-free. Invitations with the not-so-surprising result that a neighbor woke up one early summer morning to a new, adorable lawn ornament in the form of our yearling colt Pippin. After sheepishly collecting him, we returned him to our upper field where, all summer, along with his Mom Genevieve and his baby brother Finnegan and their six goat friends, they have chewed what little grass there was down to nubs. At this point, what with all the heat waves and grazing going on, we look like dirt farmers.
So I ordered some new fencing materials and waited for the perfect day low in humidity and high in childhood summer laziness, and ordered the troops outside to put in a couple hundred feet of fence. You'll remember, I'm confident, the wails and moans from the cherry tree branches debacle. Similar effects can be obtained when mandating that their behinds get busy constructing a fence. But get busy they did, and over two days' time they pounded in t-posts, measured distances, lugged wire panels into place and fought battles with little wire clips. The big boys got to feel like the men they like to think they are as I handed them my keys and asked them to drive up to where the panels had been deposited, tie them to the back of my car (which is a wannbe pick-up truck) and drive them back down to where we were working.
At long last, after much toil and sweat and a healthy dose of bickering (I called the blue pliers!) the fence was complete and we turned the horses into the field. One mouthful of that sweet long grass and their eyes rolled back into their heads in delight.
We then took the kids into town for some water ice, where their eyes rolled back into.... oh you get the point.
Good job kids!
This is the field they were grazing on.... And this is their new and improved field.
Sunny is only 4 years old. The prime of her life. Should be the picture of health. Instead I have this dog who chews herself to the point of oozing and whose sizable ears seem to take turns getting infections.
Sunny's latest ailment was a huge hematoma in her ear. Her ear looked like a giant engorged tick. In order to save yet another costly trip to the vet, I talked Fred into bringing a syringe home so he could drain it himself.
It did not go well. Blood and body fluids, a yelping, twisting 95 pound dog and a frustrated and disgusted surgeon-turned-vet does not make a pretty picture. And of course, like the Gulf oil geyser, the thing refilled in no time flat. Took her to the vet finally, piggy-backing her onto my regularly scheduled appointment with another dog and two cats, and the vet said to leave it alone and it might go away. Which, I think, is Fred's philosphy with our animals in general. But, like the philosophy, the vet's theory didn't work. The thing kept getting bigger. And bigger.
She finally got to the point where she was walking around with her head held sideways. Whether from discomfort or the actual weight of the thing I don't know. But we bit the bullet and scheduled the surgery. More than $600 later, and armed with a bag full to bursting with medications, I walked out the door with her in one of those E-collars. The vet told me she might bump into things for awhile, but there was a learning curve and she would soon get the hang of it. Thing of it is, Sunny's learning curve is more like a flat line, so she pretty much continuously walks into doorways and flips over kitchen stools.
Less than a week later we were back at the vet's because she managed to develop yet another ear infection while she was on antibiotics.
They removed her bandage and gave me more antibiotics, a topical spray, and drops to put inside her ear.
She's still bumping into things and scraping everyone's legs and her collar is now duct-taped because she managed to rip the plastic from catching it on stuff so often.
Hey, at least she can't chew her legs right now.
And, if I want to remain positive, she has matured to the point where she pretty much only chews on herself, which is a good thing. In her younger days, she has been know to chew up pool noodles, hoses, pricey water pumps, and the siding on our house. I can truly say I have a dog who eats us out of house and home.
I know it's cliched to say the Amish are quaint. But my dealings with them last week left no other words on my lips. Read for yourself and then you be the judge:
Slice 1 Nine year old Fannie opened the screen door before I got up the steps and told me, sorry, they were out of eggs. Hmmm, I thought. This had been happening a lot since they moved a few months ago. Either out, or not enough to fill my usual order of about 3 - 4 dozen (a week's worth). The hens must not be diggin' their new digs. I leaned in a little closer and said to the girl, "Do me a favor?" Fannie was the egg-gatherer of the family and she was s tarting to look a little nervous now. "Tell your hens to start laying more eggs." She looked at me very seriously for just a moment, processing my request, then broke into a gap-toothed giggle.
Slice 2 Out picking up milk, I noticed more kids than usual running about the place. I asked Katie if she had relatives visiting, but she said no, she was just watching some neighbor kids for a few hours. Next thing I knew, I heard a brisk clip-clop turning into the barnyard. I turned in time to see a little chocolate and cream miniature horse turning in off the road, pulling a cart full of grinning and laughing Amish kids, all outfitted in their usual straw hats and suspenders and aprons and bonnets. The boy at the wheel, so to speak, expertly pulled his charge up to the barn and in the blink of an eye the cart was unloaded and the kids clambered all over the pony like termites on a log, unbuckling the leather straps of his harness. Within seconds the little horse was free of his trappings, walked into the barn, and the cart parked. Why is it that my kids can't even put their cereal boxes away?
Slice 3 A couple days later I was at the same farm. While Katie was filling my milk order, I noticed her husband walking their new horse from the barn out to the paddock. He turned him loose, then shut the gate and leaned on the fence railings to evaluate his newest piece of horse flesh. Soon enough, their oldest son joined him, and he leaned identically against the fence, watching the horse in the manliest way he was able. Father and son were near mirror images of each other in their black woolen pants with suspenders, worn work boots, blue cloth shirts and straw hats. It seems no matter the culture, older men and younger men will convene together and talk cars. But then as I was leaving, I noticed their youngest son had also joined in the observation and discussion. Between father and teenaged son, squatted down on his haunches and peering through the fence, was their three year old boy. Red hair sprouted from under his straw hat, and he wore the identical black pants, suspenders and blue shirt that his elders wore. But as I drove past, he turned to wave, still squatted down, and I saw he was clutching in his arms a cast-off rag doll from one of his older sisters.
Quanit? Please. The word doesn't even begin to descibe the scene.
Like Mr. Rogers used to say (paraphrased), Won't - you be - my Followers?
A Little History
Quite frankly, I don't know what I was thinking at the time. We went from 3 kids by birth to "oh, let's adopt a 4th" without a whole lot of deliberation.
While adopting said 4th (in Kazakhstan), we met a young man of 8 yrs by the name of Borya. Thought he was a pretty nice kid and years later found out we could adopt him too. Only thing was, he came as a 2-in-1 package with his younger sister Ylia. What the hay, said we, and rushed headlong into the adoption process. Again. To adopt two kids that were 10 and 13 at the time.
Started a blog to keep track of where my head was in this adoption game. When Borya and Ylia arrived home, we were suddenly the proud parents of six kids, ages 9, 10, 11, 11, 13 and 13.
That was back in 2009, but I still blog. I figure what doesn't make us laugh makes us cry, and I'd rather be laughing.
Also? We live on a farm(ish) with a few dozen critters. You're just as likely to read a post about the farming side of things as you are the parenting side. Thought you might want to know in case you have allergies or something.
As for the structure of this blog, I pretty much post on a daily basis, and I tend to be all over the place in what I write about, so if it's nice, neat and compartmentalized you're looking for, be off with you now, you won't find it here.
I do have some structure, though, I'm not a total bohemian. I roll like this:
Mon: Mirth Monday. A little somethin' to make you chuckle.
Tues: Sometimes Adoption Tuesday, sometimes A Tip For Tuesday, sometimes random thoughts.
Weds: Wordless Wednesday. Usually a photo or some artwork from myself or one of my oh-so-talented children.
Thurs: all random, all the time.
Fri: Farm Friday. Speaks for itself.
Sat, Sun: More random musings.
Feel free to explore and don't be shy -- drop me a line to say hello, and be sure to add yourself as a follower. Feeds my ego in a big way. I'm very insecure.
Cast of Characters
Meet the fambly:
Our Family in 2009
I'm on Top Mommy Blogs!
An award? For ME?
The Lazy Mom Award for Most Popular Lazy Mom Tip of 2011 is.....