Thursday, August 29, 2013

Walking the dogs is not for sissies...

During Fair Week, and again last weekend, we were caring for Olive and Angus while Girl was busy with her other loves, the Riverview Clydesdales.

If I want to survive the day with the “kids” with minimal destruction of property, and without noisy wrestling, and disturbance to the Grand Dame, Daisie, a long walk is necessary.

And it usually seems plenty long, even though the distance is only a mile.

In the morning, Olive and Angus observe intently anytime I make a move toward the back door. If this move is accompanied by putting on shoes, and handling leashes, Wild Celebrations of Joy break out.

These wild celebrations involve a bunch of loud fighting, growling and biting between the kids. Daisie braces herself for the requisite Body Slam of Joy that she receives from Olive. “We’re going for a WALK!!!!! A WALK!!!! It’s the BEST DAY OF OUR LIVES!!!” Undoubtedly, it will again be the worst day of their lives as soon as we are done walking.

As soon as I load my pocket with treats – the sign of imminent departure – Olive and Angus are standing, noses to the door, staring as if they can open it by mind power. Daisie is looking at me with pleading eyes, “Do they HAVE TO COME?”

I double check that the leashes are securely fastened because as soon as the door cracks, they are out like a shot. Daisie gives one last pleading look, and then heads out, steering wide of the wrestling, growling, barking, jumping mass of black & white bodies that is ahead of us.

In spite of their gyrations, they are pulling me along. I barely get the door closed, and we are on our way.

It’s a sunny morning, and warm. Olive always huffs because she is at the end of her leash, with tension, and I presume her breathing is constricted. She’s on a walk; she’ll breathe later. However, by the time we get to the back of our field, she drags me to the shade and cool dirt of the neighbor’s field. Pig flop! – She calls a cool-down break, and stretches out. We are not going anywhere until she’s ready.

Finally after some encouraging pokes, Olive decides she can continue. We resume progress and then both Olive & Angus spy a pile of coyote poo. Excitement!! Unfortunately, they take opposite directions to investigate, and suddenly, I am not going anywhere, and trying to stay upright.

Daisie wisely watches from a distance – for much of the walk.

I untangle myself and we carry on. Soon we are at the wondrous Rabbit Condos, large piles of posts that are inhabited by the cute critters. Immediate sniffing consultations ensue…

…until Daisie is sighted doing some sniffing of her own. A rapid change of direction and they join her for further investigation.

We’re halfway through our walk, and Angus starts to lose focus. Olive is doggedly (pardon the pun!) pulling forward and Angus is wandering to and fro…and sometimes backwards. He has earned the nickname WrongWay Angus because we must say it so often…

And then, JACKPOT!, he finds a dried up pile of raspberry sort outs…A cache of delicious fruit leather, in his opinion…And he tries to eat as much as he can before we drag him away.

By this time, Olive is hot again, and she drags us to the shade, and does her pig flop into the long cool grass…It’s time out again.

Angus and Daisie find some late, low growing fruit and help themselves to a snack while we wait for Olive to regain the will to go on.

The delay is not too long. Angus continues his wandering, and reversals. The leashes look like they’ve been braided...

...I’m just grateful that I’m not caught between them.

We march on, and finally arrive back at the house. Then comes End of Walk Rituals:
Angus checks for blueberries.

Olive pig flops in the wet grass.

Everyone gets a drink.

Daisie refuses to come in the house “with those two”, and goes to her hideout.

Olive and Angus wait impatiently for After-Walk-Treats.

Olive turns around to crunch hers down in privacy. Angus swallows his whole, and asks for another one…"Please, Gram, can I have sum mo'?" Sorry, no, Angus...

After all this adventure, they are content for approximately 15 minutes. Then, they realize their lives are crap! They don’t want to be inside! The demands to go outside escalate, and when refused repeatedly, (MUST.STAY.STRONG.) they finally nap for about an hour…As long as I lay down on the couch and be their cushion.

You probably think I’m whipped, but, I tell you, that is not so. I’m really just being prudent…’cause you can’t believe what these two can do when they are not worn down, or catered to…It’s not pretty.

Being a dog grandma is a lot of work.
But what can I say…They love me for it!
And I like being loved...and I'm prudent...really...

Monday, August 19, 2013

In which I wax nostalgic...

For the last few days of harvest, we picked the berries into barrels for juice. This necessitated a nightly delivery to the juice receiving station on the Loomis Trail road. The route took us past Berthusen Park where, for the first days of August, the Threshing Bee was held.

Or The Shing Bee, as we often call it.

That misnomer dates back to the early days of this event, and the first banner that was made to announce the upcoming dates. The banner hung across Front Street for everyone to see.

Unfortunately, the maker of the banner misspelled Threshing Bee…a sad omission of the letter ‘r’ turned the proclamation into Theshing Bee.

And the Ivan Likkel Fam turned it into The Shing Bee.

We’ve been word snobs since our youth.

Anyway, the banner was still hung high because it was too late to get another, and likely no money for the correction. The next year, the banner was repaired with a doctored in ‘r’ – but we still could only see The Shing Bee.

But I digress…

This year, I went on the juice delivery ride just to observe, and wax nostalgic.

Good memories of our little family of five squishing ourselves into The Beasel, our first little old berry truck, and later, The Orange Bomb, to see the sights of the old tractors, engines, and sawmill on the way to bring the barrels in. The Farmer would drive slowly so the kids, craning their necks, could observe the goings-on. Oh, they loved it!

It was a happy time…the end of harvest approaching, the satisfaction of a good year, money in the bank, and vacation in the offing…

And already a long time ago…Now, it is just The Farmer and I craning our necks on the ride past the park…but remembering as we do it those blessed, blessed times.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Updates all around...

I didn’t really intend to leave the “House of Fungus” title up on the blog so long, but the end of harvest got a little crazy. Then, I felt compelled to catch up the maintenance items that had been piling up during harvest. More than a week after the end of picking, I’m finally feeling that life is returning to normal.

However, you can still write your name in the dust on any piece of furniture in our family room…Soon, soon.

And I’m feeling very lucky to have a whole month of summer left to enjoy! Most years, by the time I get back to a semblance of normality, there is one week before September fog and shorter days set in.

Anyway, harvest ended as well as it had gone all July…Great weather, good crop, nice price…lots to be thankful for! My only complaint would be that I had to get subs too much of the time. I admit to pining for the olden days when kids didn’t have sports camps, mission trips, and the expectation of engaging in a social life during the 5 weeks of berry harvest.

But before I go too far into THAT observation, I will move on to say that The Farmer had his own complaint about the season…Our little nemesis, the Spotted Wing Drosophila, made its migration north very early in the season. This necessitated the application of sprays during harvest to keep the fruit clean and uncontaminated.

For those who might not remember – and why would you if you are not a berry farmer! – the SWD is a tiny little fruit fly that has the unique ability to lay their eggs in fresh fruit, as opposed to rotting fruit, which most fruit flies prefer. This means that our lovely berries can be contaminated with hatched eggs, which become larvae, and those, well they become…okay – tiny worms!

NO thanks!

Fortunately, it doesn’t take really strong chemicals to kill them, but this year they were present for much of the season, and that meant multiple sprays…carefully applied so as not to interrupt the harvest cycle.

Tests at the processing plant let us know that we were keeping the right intervals to avoid either kind of contamination, but it is just one more variable to manage during the busy harvest season.

All in all, neither of the irritants is bad enough to tarnish our feelings about this season. It is a year where we end with feelings of satisfaction…and that is a blessing!

On the Fungus Front, we continue to make progress. The ring on my chin is now a semi-circle.  Re-growth of hair has been observed on Daisie’s multiple bald spots. I’ve learned varied methods of getting the medicine down her, most of which involve peanut butter, which, fortunately, she still loves. Angus ended up with 3 spots, and Olive – none, but they have both been on medication long enough that we dare to let the three of them hang out again. So far, I know of no other humans that were infected.

But then, I haven’t asked too many questions either. I don’t think I could handle the guilt…

Happily, the weather continues to be wonderful, and so, I have prescribed for myself a daily treatment of sun exposure. I must do it in the interest of defeating the ferocious fungus.

Really…it’s just the responsible thing to do.



About Me

Needing an outlet for various thoughts rattling in my head, I've created two blogs -- One about my real life ( and one where I can vent. (