You Know I like My Chicken Fried

We’ve decided to buy a full refrigerator, or a freezer-less refrigerator if you like that better. Our not-quite-full-size one can no longer handle the amount of produce we’re buying. I’d show you but it’s way out there and I’m way in here, and you really should have asked before I sat down. You’ll just have to trust me. As a kid, I abhorred folding and putting away my clothes. So I’d shove them into any drawer that wasn’t clogged, making it so when you pulled the drawer out later, clothes would spring up like a jack-in-the-box. That’s almost how our fridge is at the moment. We have reached maximum capacity.

Actually, that point has come and gone.

On top of needing more space for the produce, we also need room to prepare things for the week. Surprisingly, though we eat far less food, I spend way more time in the kitchen. Making breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day, using almost exclusively whole foods, takes a lot of time and effort. I find myself wanting to reach for a bag of cookies rather than spend forty minutes making something for myself. I’ve started spending a couple days preparing easy to grab items to help alleviate some of the work, things like yogurt parfaits, fruit cups, chicken salad for sandwiches and salads, mason jars full of carrots and celery sticks, etc. It’s been extremely helpful and cluttering. Our already maxed refridge went bulgy.

There has even been talk of getting rid of condiments, and I just cannot allow that to happen. Bubbie’s Bread & Butter Chips have to stay, and there’s no way I’m getting rid of the Golden Mountain Sauce. I want to be healthier, but there are limits.

Note: The rooster here is Bento. He doesn’t know that’s his name. No one does. He wouldn’t understand even if I told him. He responds only to morning light, afternoon wind, grasshoppers, his harem, thirty second intervals, leaves, someone talking about cheesecake, trucks, pebbles clanging together, and the letter five. Don’t worry about him, he’s not going in the fridge.

Title From:
Chicken Fried
by Zac Brown Band

Sunshine Beating on the Good Times

It was early May when I first noticed a scrawny grey cat hobbling around with an injured back leg. He could barely make his way across the yard, each step clearly causing him a lot of pain. There was no way he’d be able to escape if one of the neighboring ranch’s dogs went after him, and they’ve killed a number of their own cats, or if a coyote or wolf caught sight of him. So, I did what anyone who’s me would do; I suggested we trap him. Brian bought a raccoon trap, we baited it with a couple cans of wet cat food, and we waited. That evening it started to hail. We checked the trap on the off chance something may have been tempted by the food and found it had tripped. Assuming the hail had set it off, Brian went out to set it back up, only to find the injured cat fearfully crouching in the corner. There are a lot of cats here. Muggabee hasn’t been back for nearly a year, and although I saw him yesterday, Foosball is a rare sight since we put the pasture fence up, but there is still a gang-load of them. So it was a surprise to have caught the correct animal on the first go.

May was cold. Leaving him out there, unable to get to shelter, would have been cruel. We don’t have the room or the setup for a cat, but we had to bring him inside. The only place for him was the bathtub. He spent a few hours in the cage, in the tub, with his cans of cat food and a night light, as Brian drove to Wal-Mart to buy a giant dog crate, cat bed, litter box, and litter. The next morning he took him to one of the vets in town where we took Wicket when she broke her foot into forty-seven pieces, or so you’d have thought based on her cries (nothing was wrong with her other than she’s a tiny humongous baby), where he could be dropped off and picked up before and after work. It turns out, thankfully, his leg was okay. He had infected puncture wounds though, so something had gotten ahold of him. He was given some antibiotics, a rabies shot, his wounds were cleaned, and he was returned to us to be set free into the wild yet again.

We didn’t think it would make sense to release him while his leg was still obviously hindering his ability to get away from predators. For a few days, he lived in the dog crate on our front porch. It was covered with a heavy drop cloth to block the outrageous winds we have here, and a tarp to keep the rain off the drop cloth. However, we couldn’t keep him in such a confined space for a long period of time. So, we set up one of the tents we used in the summer of 2014, set his cage in the tent, and opened the door. He had a bit more freedom but was still safe from wandering teeth. He stayed there for about thirty minutes. I went out to check on him and found he’d ripped a clean cut right where the flooring met the wall. Well, at least we tried.

He disappeared for a bit, but it was only a few weeks later when I saw who I thought was him walking not too shabbily across the field. It wasn’t long after that when I saw him coming toward the back porch where I keep the cat raccoon magpie squirrel dog animal food. Naturally, I ran out flailing my arms, stomping my feet as though my life depended on trampling every speck of dirt between my clompy shoes and the porch boards, screaming maniacally about puffins while shaking a can full of pennies, which caused him to run a little. Not a lot of a little, just a little. I guess he was hungry enough to withstand my very menacing presence. He returned the next day and the day after that. He let me pet him as he ate within a handful of days.

He’s calling himself Nickajack, or Jack for short. Hopefully, he sticks around. It’s been a little empty out there without Pickwick and Muggabee.

Title From:
Sleeping On The Blacktop
by Colter Wall

I Got Blood on My Hands

Wicket was spayed Monday morning. I understand this is a common practice for most people, but our dogs have never been fixed.

I’m about to go against Blogger Rule #1: Express No Opinion.

The following comments are strictly related to indoor pets. This is not an opinion that necessarily applies to dogs often kept or used outdoors where unmonitored situations may occur.

I do not believe the anatomy of an animal should be altered for the sake of my convenience. I believe their bodies are their own, and it’s selfish to want to rip away what is natural because you may not want to watch them closely or deal with a “mess” every six months or so. I cannot believe the removal of important parts, especially while young, can be the healthiest choice for them. That being said, I’m aware a lot of people can’t watch their animals 100% of every day, especially in homes where there are animals of the opposite sex. In that case, I feel the male should be fixed since it’s a much less invasive procedure. I’m also aware that there are procedures that don’t require the removal of organs, but we live in 1825 and those procedures haven’t reached us yet.

With only two female dogs in our home, Wicket being spayed was a heavy discussion that lasted for months. Neither of us wanted to put her through the pain of surgery or give her a life that could possibly be less than she deserves because of our interference, but ultimately we had to do what was best for her personality and our sanity.

Neither of our dogs is ever left alone outside. Not. Ever. There have only been three times anyone’s been left alone inside. The first time, I had my gallbladder removed and was home the same day. The second time, I nearly broke my leg and had to go on my first ambulance ride, and I was home in a few hours. The last time, I went to the hospital because I had a terrible chest cold and woke up unable to breathe properly. I felt so guilty for Levee being left home alone that we ended up walking out of the hospital after two hours of waiting without being seen. That’s every moment any of our dogs have ever been without the company of one of us. So, an unwanted pregnancy has never been a concern.

The mess is easily handled with washable diapers and disposable pads. I’m not going to say it’s not disgusting because it is, but it’s a tolerable inconvenience.

The reason we finally decided to have her spayed was due to her personality and habits. She is a hyperactive ball of crazy, and she likes to eat things. So far in her short life, she’s eaten part of the following: two organic cotton blankets, two three fluffy winter blankets, every single flat sheet we own, one rug, two three throw pillows, three dog beds, our bedroom baseboards, an uncountable number of toys, and our broom. If we were to put diapers and pads on her, she’d end up with a blockage and surgery to remove velcro from her small intestines. It wasn’t something we wanted to deal with, so we made the decision.

I feel so incredibly bad about this, but I also believe it was the only way to keep her safe. Not having to change an extra cycle’s worth of pads and diapers is simply a bonus I will not fail to appreciate.

Note: If you’d like to see the aforementioned “nearly broke my leg” incident, you can click the warning below.

WARNING! GRAPHIC IMAGE CONTAINING BLOOD AND AN OBVIOUS INJURY. DO NOT CLICK IF YOU TEND TO INVOLUNTARILY DROP TO THE GROUND AT THE SIGHT OF BLOOD OR OBVIOUS INJURIES.

Title From:
I’m A Wanted Man
by Royal Deluxe

Breathe Some Air That’s Never Been Breathed

We spent some time this weekend sitting out in the pasture. It’s the first time I’ve put my butt on the bare ground since we had to slide down a rocky ledge while geocaching in Connecticut. The number and size of spiders and insects that scurry through the fields here is somewhat disturbing. I’ve seen at least two cat-faced spiders, there are yooge funnel webs leading to deep, scary tunnels in the ground, where Shelob’s cousins live, and just last week I was stung on the finger by something that injected a venom that caused pain to my elbow for, like, at least an hour — it was touch and go there for a while. Fortunately, nights have been chilly, so many of the crawlies are gone.

Levee has been packing on a bit of weight over the last few years. Until the cattle panels go up this spring, she can’t run free for hours on end like she could before. She has play time every evening, but she doesn’t get as much movement during the day as she should, would, and will. The weather was perfect, so while we enjoyed plucking at the grass, the dogs got to run wild, chasing each other, snatching their favorite pink waffle ball whenever the other would drop it. Exercise is good for the soul, they say, and also for that pesky neck flab.

I used that time to practice a bit with my camera, which you can see was quite helpful.

Title From:
Don’t Tell Me
by R.W. Hampton

Life’s No Fun Without a Good Scare


I finally charged my camera battery for the first time since the end of 2015. The last photographs I had taken are of a snow storm on January 4th. I wasn’t sure what all would be on the card, and I didn’t want to see Reyka’s face, so I avoided touching the camera altogether. Luckily, there were only pictures of our Christmas tree, the storm, and some flatbread we had made for dinner.

I seem to have forgotten how to take a good picture. Everything I attempted tonight came out wrong. I’m apologize. I need to start taking more again and perhaps not in the evening when things get grainy.

Wicket is growing fast. Brian built her a little temporary corral using some of our cattle panels, so she has a confined area in which to pee and poop without feeling vulnerable and frightened by the yips and howls of coyotes in the night, and so she doesn’t get carried away chasing leaves across the county. I already notice a huge change in her weight as I lug her outside every morning. Lug her I must, as well, since she’s a chaser and Muggabee’s a runner. They will likely never be buddies. C’est la vie.

She will have a buddy in Levee though, who has become so much more patient with her. There is a lot more playing than growling now, even though instances like the one pictured here are frequent. I’m sure there are some who feel we should intervene, but it’s not our place to determine the pack status between them, and no one is being hurt, despite Wicket’s sharp cries to the contrary whenever Levee decides she’s had enough lip biting. Babies will be babies. KnowwhatI’msayin’?

I can’t believe we’re already into November. I had been counting down the days to Halloween since July, and now suddenly we’re past it all. I didn’t even set Tommy out this year.

Let me find a picture of Tommy for you.

Here he is. See him there? We adopted him from Spirit Halloween in October 2010.

Now that Halloween has come and gone, it feels like Christmas is nearly over. Never mind my idiosyncrasies. This time of the year is my favorite, and I wish it could last as long as the rest of the year. Summers, on the other hand, I wish would pass as quickly as they did when I was in school.

Title From:
This Is Halloween
by Danny Elfman