Monday, April 18, 2011

Hurley Dog's Day Off and Other Griffith Adventures

I'm pretty sure that Marc is laughing at us these days from heaven.  If ever this place has been the Griffith Zoo, it has been this past week.  Our collection of animals has kept us scrambling this week -- in good ways and in fustrating ways.  Marc's father is visiting this week, too. I always find it humbling to share our controlled chaos with guests.  He has had a front row seat to the undpredictable events that often erupt at our place.

This morning Bob decided to take a walk up the road.  He invited Hurley along, thinking he would be as obedient off the property as he was on and didn't leash him.   Well, Hurley caught the scent of the game trail at the end of the road and was GONE.  He answered The Call of the Wild without looking back.

Our house is at the end of a dead end road.  After the road ends it becomes forest and dense undergrowth that slopes dramatically down to a canyon.  We all spent the morning hollering for Hurley, crashing through the brush.  He was nowhere to be seen or heard.  I called the neighbors.  Alerted Dog Control.  We waited at home, thinking he would come home with his tail behind his legs.  No such luck.  I decided to take one last trip out.  We drove down the hill to my neighbor's house in the canyon.  My neighbor was out cutting wood and mentioned that he thought he had seen our dog trot through.  I was ecstatic.  When?  Where?  A half hour ago.  That way.  I looked "That Way."  A logging road, recently torn up by logging trucks.  The kids and I started hiking down in the muddy goo.  Much to our delight our stupid...I mean...uh....beloved  dog (that I would like to strangle at this point), peeked around the bend.  It was like an apparition because instead of coming to us he tucked tail and simply disappeared.  Needless to say catching him was not fun.  He knew he had been naughty and was in no hurry to face us.  At long last he came to us, tail wagging, visibly excited to tell us about his adventure.  Worn out, I loaded my kids, my father-in-law, the dog, and a good measure of mud into my van and headed home.   We are all worn out, I have mud everywhere, but we are very happy to have our Hurley Dog home safe and sound. 

Our very tired, very naughty boy!  All worn out from his big adventure!

Yesterday we ventured out to pick up our four piglets.  We raise four pigs every year to sell to several families.  I would stop the project, but the farm income allows me to defer part of our property taxes.  If I do stop I have to pay back the back taxes we have deferred and my taxes subsequently increase.  No thank you.  We'll continue with the pigs.  Sounds crazy given our season in life, but it's a minor inconvenience -- one that seems well worth it. 

Bob was a good sport and went with us to the feed store to pick up the piglets.  There is nothing like showing off your less than mediocre trailer backing skills to your knowledgeable-owned-a-ranch-father-in-law.  What seemed like hours and a hundred attempts, I finally got our stock trailer backed up into an area somewhat close to the pig enclosure.  I then had to convince the kids that though one pen did hold sweet, tiny, spotted piglets, that we should probably buy the ones that weren't quite as cute and twice the size.   They weren't impressed with my selection.  Marc would have caved.  He always came home with the most darling runts!

We got home and I got my second chance to impress Bob with the trailer backing skills.  Again, he was a fantastic sport, very patient, and....silent. Good man!  He is likely wondering what kind of gene pool his grandkids are drawing from.  After my performance yesterday with the trailer he has cause to be concerned.  After all the efforts to get the pigs to the barn, the rest was fairly easy.  We got the pen set up, the pigs unloaded, and they are now settled and content.  I'm sure Bob is amazed (and relieved) that we finally completed the task! My new goal is to learn how to drive the truck and trailer without completely humiliating myself or causing any damage.  I have so much to learn.

Ahhh....nothing smells like spring like the smell of piglets.....

The highlight of our animal adventures happened at some point in the middle of  Saturday night.  Julia's bunny, Sugar, delighted us with eight little babies!  Just in time for Easter!  This is the event that surely has Marc laughing.  To know why this event is so amusing go HERE.  The baby rabbits were my fault.  I admit it.  The day we had to put Jackson (the boys' horse) down I was so sad for my kids.  I marched in from the barn, grabbed Mr. Rabbit and threw him in with the female.  Thirty seconds of romance and ta-dah!  Bred rabbit.    My thinking was that in a month my kids would have a fun animal experience. I was so tired of death all around us that I was determined to see some new vibrant life.   I acted before I thought, though.  Subsequent reading has led to the discovery that a rabbit's first litter is often not a success.  All the kits will typically die.  I have spent the last month lamenting my brilliant plan.  Fortunately, Sugar seems to be doing a fantastic job.  We even have homes for all eight little fuzz balls.   The kids are delighted.  And, guess am I!  The bunny saga continues....

This little one almost didn't make it.  Bob found him lying on the garage floor several feet from the cage.  Apparently he was born outside of the nest box.  He wriggled out of the cage and across the cold garage floor.  We found him cold and very still.  Julia did a great job of warming him up and he returned to the nest with his siblings.  He appears to be just fine today.

So tiny! 

Julia's nest of sweet little bunnies.  Can't wait to watch them grow!

We hope your spring is full of fun and excitement, too! 
With love and gratitude...

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