Critter Stories · Farmtastic Stories

Skunked!

My Farmtastic Life - Maybelle the dog gets skunked
Maybelle after one of her multiple baths from her skunk adventure. Doesn’t she look thrilled? Bless her little heart!

Farm life can be idyllic, and it can also be downright nuts.  This week definitely fell into the latter category.  After the high of getting to bring our mustang Smokey home after 20 days in the horsey hospital (more to come on that adventure), Cowboy and I were exhausted and decided to head to bed a little early.

Nightly chores under way, we were so close to crawling under the covers that I could just hear sleep calling us.  Last chore – let the pooches out for their nightly visit with mother nature before we all snuggled up in bed.

As I stood in the kitchen, Cowboy said, “Hey come here, something is odd.  There is all this fog in the air.”

I took one step toward the front door and yelled, “Skunk! Oh my gosh, Maybelle’s been skunked.”

Why did Cowboy not recognize this right away? Well because, bless his heart, he had the amazing timing of missing the only other episode we’ve had on the farm.  And because it literally just happened, the smell was strange and strong, but it took a few minutes to set in with that ewe-we-just-passed-a-skunk-on-the-road smell we all know and love.

Well in the less than two minutes of this exchange, Maybelle, in all of her glory, dashed in the house before we could stop her, flew up onto the sofa with the flare of a pole vaulter, and began rubbing herself up and down all the cushions in a desperate attempt to rid the  skunk smell.  All. Over. Every. Inch. Of. The. Sofa!

Oh my good gravy what a mess.  It was a three-ring circus  as we rushed to get all the dogs back outside and began doing the oh so fun job of sniffing them all to see who else made friends with Pepe Le Pew. Lucky for us, it appeared to just be Maybelle.

All of the sudden I became a drill sergeant and the orders started flying.  Take the cover off the sofa and get it in the washing machine NOW.  Open the windows. Light a candle.  Find that homemade de-skunk concoction on the Internet.

Thank goodness Cowboy is a patient man, and when I ratchet it up a notch or 20 that man just calms down and goes into action.

In less than 10 minutes we had mixed up the peroxide-baking soda-dish soap mix and were slathering it all over Maybelle.   Let’s just hope Google satellites were not taking nighttime farm pics, as Cowboy I were out on the front porch in our jammies, hose going, latex gloves on, and sniffing and washing dogs.  At one point, Cowboy even put Maybelle in the pool for a quick swim. Anything to make that smell go away.

In an effort to gain some modicum of relief, Cowboy opened the doors from one end of the house to the other and used fans to move air through the house.  Great idea, and it actually worked.

However, we have inside cats.  That left us parked outside the doors yelling, “Hey. Stop.  Not outside.” Cats, as I’m sure you can imagine, are not great listeners.  Cowboy had to hustle after Rhino the cat on more than one occasion.  Some choice words may have been said, but hey at this point who’s counting?

On the plus side, it wasn’t raining or cold and the stars were beautiful.  Trust me, there’s always a silver lining.

After much washing, mopping, and breath holding, we finally made it to bed.  And yes, princess skunks-a-lot insisted on snuggling me.  So I wrapped her in towels and held her and my breath. Yes, I’m a sucker.

After far too little shut eye, we work up at 2 a.m. (yes, 2 a.m.) to find the inside cats had knocked the screens out of the windows and were having a play date in the yard. Yes, the same yard where we had just hours earlier found a skunk.  Oh for the love of all things holy, I said a quick prayer that they had not found Mr. Le Pew’s cousin.  Good news on that front, they were just escapees – normal smelling escapees.

Grabbing flashlights, Cowboy and I sprang into action and played 22-cat pick-up in the yard. (Okay, it was only two, but seriously at this point we were darn near delirious.)  As soon as I got my hands on Shadow, the instigator, she promptly vomited, as evidently on her grand adventure she chose to eat dandelions.  Seriously?  She couldn’t at least use her time to track down a mouse or two?

And again, back to bed we went.  Dear lord, would this night ever end?

Well we are several days out now.  Maybelle has been to the vet to get all caught up on shots and to be checked out.  She needed eye drops as she took a direct spray to the face.  Sadly, our sofa did not make it, may it rest in peace.  So a new sofa is on its way to the farm, along with a new collar for Maybelle.  We’ve tried multiple solutions and slowly she is smelling less like a skunk, however she’s still far from smelling like roses.

The worst part? I’m quite sure if that little pup sees a skunk again, she’ll be right back out there on the chase thinking she’s found another friend.  On that note, for the foreseeable future, Cowboy will be doing skunk patrol prior to our nighttime chores.  Gosh, I love that man!

Critter Stories · Farmtastic Stories

Rearranging Equals Chaos

Last weekend, Cowboy and I (umm mostly I) had the bright idea to rearrange the bedroom furniture.  Since the arrival of Max, the golden retriever who also insists on snuggling in bed, we’ve been toying with the idea of a king size bed.  It’s getting seriously crowded.  And let’s just avoid the whole  why-don’t-you-just-make-them-get-down discussion.  If you’ve followed us for any amount of time, you know that is just not how we roll around here.

So off we went scooting, shifting, and shoving to see if we could find an arrangement that would work, and that we would like just as much.  Truth is, Cowboy is quite the genius when it comes to space arranging (what can’t that man do). And after some newly discovered dust bunnies and the removal of an excess piece or two, we found just the new setup that worked.

I was delighted!  I wandered in and out of the room all day admiring our work. It really was a smart design.  In fact so smart, I was thinking, “Wow, maybe we should have had it this way all along.”  And then it was was bedtime.

Holy cats (and dogs)! You would have thought we moved into a whole new house, bought new furniture, and introduced a gaggle of new smells.  In came our canine and feline friends and they all lost their collective mind.  Our critters have a routine, and they know exactly where they fit and go at night.  It’s like a giant jigsaw puzzle.  Every piece has its place.    Not tonight. Nope, not happening.

All of a sudden, instead of the normal two to three dogs in bed, we had four.  Given that three of them weigh over 60 lbs., Cowboy and I were left scratching our heads trying to figure out where in the world we would fit.  We tried rearranging them, but they just kept panicking.  Climbing on top of pillows, scrambling over blankets, and just generally acting a fool.  Children!

My Farmtastic Life - All the Dogs In Bed
Seriously – where is there room for humans? Of course Goober’s current collar situation does not help, not one little bit. But those faces? Oh those faces!

Cowboy and I stood there laughing at them, and taking bets (err… ummm, volunteering) as to who would go sleep in the guest room.  After 30 minutes to an hour of settling, reorganizing, and settling again, the pooches finally settled down.  And then the cats decided to make it a party.  Wedging themselves into free space, and by free space I mean vertical free space, perching on top of us.

Cowboy and I were both a wee bit pooped the next day.  And I seriously wondered if were were going to have to put the furniture back just to get some sleep.  Luckily, night two went better, and by nights four and five we regained our collective brain and settled back down into a routine.

Now I know animals love routine.  I’ve written about it before with the horses.  But good gravy what an unnecessary adventure.  I’m happy to report we have all settled down and the king size bed will indeed fit. Lord help us when that thing finally arrives, as I’m guessing it will be one more night of chaos.  Just one. I hope.

 

Critter Stories · Farmtastic Stories

It’s All About the Ears

Goober is admittedly my baby.  He follows me from room to room, sleeps on my side of the bed, crowds my feet when I’m in the kitchen, and is just generally my best pal.  At the farm for four years now (read his story here), he’s a fixture, on the sofa that is. While he is a hound dog, he is most definitely a couch potato.  But no matter, I love my Goobs.

However, Goober has one super silly trait that always makes us smile around here.  We affectionately call it his “Gooby Ears.”  When I come back from a trip to town, even if I’m only gone 30 minutes or so, I am greeted by bouncing and flouncing and most definitely Gooby Ears.

So what are Gooby Ears?  Well, evidently long ago hound dogs were related to elephants.  Like an excited elephant, Goober distinctly holds his ears out to the side.  The happier he is, the more they flap.  I’m just waiting for him to howl like a trumpeting pachyderm.

So here you go.  Goober with normal ears …

And this is my happy Goobs.  Now those are some serious Gooby ears.  That is one happy pooch!

My Farmtastic Life - It's All About the Ears
That is my happy Goobs. I just adore that face (and of course those ears)!

What crazy habits do your pups show off to greet you when you walk in the door?

Critter Stories · Farmtastic Stories

Twas the Night Before Christmas – Farm Style

This Christmas season has been a busy one at the farm with critter antics and adventures galore.  Stories are coming, but we wanted to wish all of our farm fans a very merry Christmas with our version of Twas the Night Before Christmas, farm style of course.  We hope you enjoy.  God bless!

Twas the Night Before Christmas – Farm Style

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the farm,
Every creature was stirring, making one noisy barn.
While stockings were hung on the horse stalls with care,
Ranger hoped they’d be filled with carrots to share.

The dogs, they were dancing all over our bed,
Wiping visions of sleep right out of our heads.
Cowboy in his boots, and I in my coat,
Decided rest was not coming. Nope. Nope. Nope.

When out in the barn there arose such a clatter,
We dashed in to see what could be the matter.
Nightmare the cat had cornered a mouse.
Oh dear me, not another. When will we build a house?

The moon shone above all our crazy below,
Water troughs glistened like new fallen snow.
When, what to our wondering eyes should appear,
Jack rabbits, turkeys, and all sizes of deer.

My eyes, they lit up with the critters anew,
Cowboy chimed in, “No ma’am, not one more for you.
These critters are guests, and they’re just passing through.
There’s no room at the inn, all the bills have come due.”

I smiled and I nodded, a wink in my eye.
I realize he’s right, I cannot tell a lie.
But I love all our critters, odd quirks and all,
Even when dogs chew shoes and horses bust stalls.

“Now Dixie! Now Goober! Now Maybelle and Shadow!
Oh Willie! Oh Grizzly! Oh Chip, Bear, and Rhino.
We must get a grip if we want to see Christmas.”
Nighttime is ending, please Santa don’t miss us.

We called to the fur-kids to gather around,
We begged and we pleaded, “For once settle down.
Christmas is coming, and Santa is near.
Let’s make sure there’re snacks for all the reindeer.”

Suzy and Smokey, River and Ranger,
Set out their buckets, while we found the manger.
Mama and Sweetie shared their best hay,
As we looked to the sky, soon it would be Christmas day.

Sleep fell over the farm as we finished our chores,
Peace and rest came in the sound of sweet snores.
When out on the porch I heard the chimes blowing,
I peeked out the window to find it was snowing.

Just at the moment, I saw old Saint Nick.
He was chubby, and jolly and ever so quick.
I jostled poor Cowboy so he wouldn’t miss it.
Rubbing his eyes, he said, “Is it Christmas?”

Tears filled our eyes as we watched what came next,
Santa bent down, his hat to his chest.
He was saying a prayer by the manger so sweet,
Asking the Lord to meet all of our needs.

I watched as the critters all gathered around,
They joined dear old Santa, with heads all bowed down.
The scene on the farm this Christmas morn,
Reminded us why our Christ was born.

He came down to Earth to set our hearts free,
To love every person, even Cowboy and me.
We remember at Christmas and all the year through,
Jesus has blessed us with our own little zoo.

So from our farm to yours, we offer this wish.
From people to donkeys, to dogs, even fish.
We pray this New Year will bring blessings to all.
Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and a Texas yeehaw!

Merry Christmas from MyFarmtasticLife

Critter Stories · Farmtastic Stories

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s Off to the Vet We Go

With the herd of critters we have around the farm, going to the vet is just part of what we do. The goal of this little visit was an annual check-up and shots for Dixie Doodlebug and Goober.  However, the playful and mischievous Maybelle has never been left home alone, i.e. sans her pooch siblings.  So you guessed it, we loaded up all three for a farmtastic adventure.

Poor Cowboy drew the short straw.  Since his truck has fabric seats, it became the pooch mobile.  So we folded up the back seat in his truck, laid out the blankets and towels, and got it road worthy.  (Just FYI, as I’m sure you can probably guess, this farm mama does not approve of pooches riding in pickup truck beds.  It’s just too nerve wracking for me, and I’m convinced not the safest for our four-legged friends.)

Now the next challenge – how do you get the big guys in the truck?  Cowboy’s farm genius was in full gear, and he got out the horse steps. (For my city friends, horse steps are for shorties like me to make it easier to get on up on the equines.)  Amazingly it worked beautifully.  Goober and Dixie Doodlebug hopped up the steps and into their chariot.  Meanwhile, Maybelle had it easier as a medium-sized gal and got her princess paws lifted into the back seat.

Farm Photo - Horse steps
Cowboy’s farm genius. Horse steps to help the dogs into their doggy coach. (Cowboy’s shadow patiently waiting for me to take the photo. Pooches in the truck waiting to get out.)

All loaded up, we headed out for the short trip to the vet.  It’s about a 20 minute drive (yes, in the country that is a short trip).  Unfortunately, our fur balls can’t sit still.  All were panting and bouncing from window to window.  Maybelle, being the littlest of the bunch, found it easiest to walk under the big guys, so she had her own personal little highway for roaming back and forth.  Meanwhile, Goober thought surely there was something more interesting in the front seat and challenged Cowboy’s arm, the guard gate, for a chance to get at it.  Cowboy won.

Dog Photo - Maybelle and Goober in the truck
Woohoo! Maybelle and Goober angling for a front seat.

Once at the vet, we filed in like the circus had come to town.  At which point our wonderful vet exclaimed, “I thought you were just bringing two?”  We explained that Miss Maybelle had not been home alone, and because we wanted to come home to a sofa and doors still in tact, she had to come along for doggy moral support.  He cracked a smile and immediately understood.

Everyone checked out well and got clean bills of health.  And bonus, Dixie Doodlebug, who is a bit round and has been on a diet, lost nine pounds. Woohoo!  Now if this farm mama can just figure out how to follow suit.

Dog Photo - Dixie in the truck
Dixie Doodlebug – her new svelte self.

 

Critter Stories · Farmtastic Stories

My Funny Valentine

Valentine’s Day is a low key holiday around the farm. Cowboy likes to say, “Do you want to celebrate love just one day or wouldn’t you rather celebrate all year long?” And it’s true, he spoils me and vice versa. The farm is a pretty lovable place for people and our four-leggeds.

But this year, Maybelle decided to start the day off by getting in on the act. Truth be told, I was a sleepy girl on Valentine’s morning, as I had been up late the night before reading away. As usual, Maybelle was the first to stir and start the morning by dancing at the backdoor so she could go out and greet the day.

I stumbled to the door in a haze, and crawled back under the covers praying for just five more minutes. (You can ask Cowboy, try as I might, I have not yet mastered the art of being a morning person.) After a few minutes of running around and doing her thing, Maybelle came flying back in.

She had something in her mouth, but since this is the land of a hundred toys, I didn’t pay too much attention. That is until she hopped up in bed and unceremoniously dropped this blob of something right next to my head. At this point, the haze began to clear and my thoughts immediately went to, “Oh no, what in the world has she brought to me?”

I’ll be honest, a horse apple was the first dreaded though that popped into my mind. Please Lord, don’t let it be that. But oh no, Miss Maybelle had something even better. Somewhere she had found a small dead baby bird, feathers covered in dog slobber and little feet sticking straight up. Can we just chime in with one collective eeeeewwwwww?

Not only was I sad that we had somehow lost a baby bird, because let’s face it we love almost any critter around here, but worse it was now taking up residence next to my pillow. The cobwebs now completely out of my head, I scooped up Maybelle’s gift and apologized to the little bird as it made its way into a trash bag burial.

Maybelle was oh so very proud of her Valentine’s gift, which I think she really believed she could lick back to life and have as her latest friend. Let’s just say that we do not want to repeat that little gift all year long, or really ever again. My funny little valentine, next time a morning snuggle will do.

Dog Photo - Maybelle with her tongue out
Maybelle – a lovely Valentine all on her own. (Now to convince her of that!)

P.S. – Best Valentine’s present of the day, Cowboy made sure we had nice fresh sheets and pillow cases!

Farm Life · Farmtastic Stories

Pretty Girl

If you’ve ever loved an animal, today is one of those days that is the hardest. The day when after years of love, hugs, and kisses you have to say goodbye. You know it’s time. You know it’s the right thing to do. But as the tears stream down your face, your heart breaks, and a little piece of you goes silent.

Today was that day for our sweet Abby, our pretty girl. Abby was 13 1/2 years old, and the oldest of our canine crew. Truth be told, she was the last one of our original family of five dogs, so it felt in some ways like the end of an era. We’ve known for some time that Abby’s time with us was coming to close, but this weekend it became clear that she was ready to move on. A beautiful blond Shepard mix, Abby had dropped to under 30 pounds, just a shadow of her former self.

This morning I made the call to our vet, and through tears choked out that it was time to say goodbye. As always, he took fabulous care of us and fit us right in. Cowboy and I stayed by her side until the end. Tears rolling down our faces, holding each other, and whispering to sweet Abby that it was okay. She would soon be at peace and all of her friends who have gone on before her, like her best pal Pooh Bear, would be waiting to greet her.

As we said our goodbyes, we left with love in our hearts and her worn leather collar in our hands. One more of our fur-children gone from this world. No matter how many times we go through this, it never gets easier.

Dog Photo - Abby laying in the grass
Our sweet Abby. You taught us so much. Rest in peace pretty girl.

On the ride home, Cowboy and I tried to get a hold of ourselves. Talking about the good memories inbetween searching for Kleenexes and sniffling. Abby came to us as a puppy who had been severely abused and neglected, and ultimately abandoned to be put down. Some great folks rescued her, and we adopted her into our family, crowning off our crew of five dogs, which happened to be the perfect home for her. Truth was, at the adoption she picked out Cowboy. He picked her up, and she hung on as if to say, “Will you make me yours?”

Once we got her home, she didn’t so much trust people at first, given what the two-leggeds had put her through, but she loved our other pups, especially Pooh Bear. Abby lived under the futon until we she was too big to fit, and to this day hid her head under furniture when she was scared.

But even given her unfair start in this world, Abby was a sweet loving girl. She gave back so very much. She was simply the best. Here’s what we remember most about our Abs.

  • We laughed when at about six months old her ears went from flopping at the top to standing straight up. I can still see her turning her head with that questioning look and those great big ears.
  • We’ll never forget the day she found a blue gel pen and chewed it to pieces turning herself and our comforter bright blue. It was like our very own Braveheart.
  • We always said Abby could spot a lawyer. The only time she ever bit anyone was our neighbor and dear friend, the lawyer. Luckily he had done the reaching at her, had on gloves, and most of all had a great sense of humor.
  • She was never one to snuggle up to you, but she loved to be petted, and the porch was her favorite spot. I’d sit in the big wicker chair and she would back into me over and over for a good rump scratching.
  • She was a lesson in love, as she and Pooh Bear would always lay together, licking each other’s faces. They were never very far apart. In retrospect, after we lost Pooh Bear she never really was quite the same.

So as our hearts ache tonight, we want to remember the good times. That we gave her that second chance that she needed. That she gave us so much more in return.

Rest in peace pretty girl. Cover Pooh Bear in kisses and snuggle with your long lost pal. Until we meet again.

P.S. Again, I have to say big thanks to our wonderful veterinary staff who was just as compassionate as they could be, and I could see in our vet’s eye how this is the hardest part of his job. We are so grateful to have you caring for our fur-kids.