Critter Stories · Farmtastic Stories


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

Punky Brewster, anyone?

Okay this post absolutely must start off with a photo.

Farmtastic Photo - Mismatched farm shoes
My customized farm shoes, a la Punky Brewster.

Yes, these are my shoes, and yes they are on my feet.  You see, these are my favorite around-the-farm tennis shoes.  However, at one point I did have one of each pair.  (I’m not totally crazy).  But alas, Maybelle strikes again.

After one of my business trips I arrived home to hear Cowboy say, “Maybelle is very sorry.  I can get you a new pair, but she was nice enough to leave you a left and a right shoe.  It was cool in the ’80s to wear two different kinds of shoes, wasn’t it?”

To which I quickly replied, “It is NOT the ’80s.”  Which, let’s just be honest, was not my best fashion decade.  I mean I had hair bows galore, among other lovelies.  So my initial thought was, “Just dandy, two more new pairs of shoes to buy.”

But then I got to thinking, “Hey, I loved Punky Brewster at one point in my life, and for the farm, these could be fun, so why not?”  Y’all do remember Punky Brewster, right?  Quirky girl in colorful clothing all mismatched and always smiling played by Soleil Moon Frye.  As usual, I digress …

Now, for those of you keeping count, Maybelle is getting close to two years old.  One would think puppyhood, or puppydom as I’ve been known to call it, would be nearing an end.  Nope.  Not for our dear, sweet Maybelle.  When we had our first cocker spaniel, Madison, I remember reading that the breed could keep their puppy-ness for up to three years and was one of the breeds that took the longest to exit puppyhood into adulthood.

Oh how I forgot about this when we brought our little Maybelle home, but oh how my shoe collection is reminding me now.  The dog can chew, chew, chew.  I feel like I keep Nylabone in business just trying to keep her mouth busy.  It’s a good thing she is about as adorable as they come.

Anyway, these are now my farm shoes.  Great for all those chores like scooping stalls, working in the flower beds, feeding horses, you name it.  The million dollar question is will I actually remember I have them on my feet when I decide to quickly hop in the car to run to town to go to the post office or grocery store?  I’m praying so, but if I know anything about how my brain works, I am destined to sport this little fashion statement at least once in public.  You’ve been warned.

P.S. – In case anyone is wondering, the shoes are Keen’s Coronado style.  The are my absolute favorites, and unfortunately these lovely fabrics aren’t available right now.  But I do keep watching for fun new ones to add. 

Critter Stories · Farmtastic Stories


As I mentioned in my last post, things around the farm have been busy. One of those “things” that is keeping us so darn busy these days is a our latest addition, a new cocker spaniel puppy that I named Maybelle, or as Cowboy likes to call her, Squirt.  We needed a puppy like you need a heater on a hot Texas summer day in August.  That is to say, it’s completely not necessary and may just send you past the breaking point.

The truth is we were thinking that we would just let the doggy population here at Wild Horse Valley naturally shrink over time.  But my heart is often bigger than my brain, and so it goes that Maybelle is smack dab in the middle of it all.

You see, when I graduated from college I used my graduation money to buy the sweetest little blonde cocker spaniel named Madison.  We had that crazy girl for 13 years, and while we loved her to pieces, Cowboy said absolutely no more cocker spaniels.  While they rank high on the adorable scale they rate in the stratosphere on the high maintenance scale.  Madison costs us thousands of dollars with ear issues, eye issues, and just plain issues, but we loved her just the same.  Back in August of 2011, we lost our sweet Madison due to complications of old age.  That was a terribly hard day filled with tears from both Cowboy and me.  It’s never easy saying goodbye to a dear friend, but somehow they gently tell you when it’s time, and you muster all the strength and courage you have in your body to do what is best for them.

Fast forward to a March weekend this year, and Cowboy and I innocently decided to get out of the house on a Saturday afternoon. Considering what happened next, it is amazing Cowboy still lets me out of the house at all.  Anyway, we wound up at a flea market.  Well low and behold we met a family there with a litter of puppies.  They were a sweet family who said their cocker spaniels had one litter a year, and these cute squirmy things were the outcomes.  (Now before anyone gets upset, I do not condone or suggest buying from flea markets, this was purely a moment of heart and memories overloading brain. In general, I am a pound puppy type of gal.)

I reached down into the fur pile and pulled out Maybelle.  The littlest one, red in color, and one of only two little girls.  I could see Cowboy cringe and start to step away as I heard him very clearly say, “No!”  But memories of my sweet Madison kicked in as Maybelle cuddled up to my chin and I was done for.  Because they had no papers, they were very reasonable, and I happened to have just enough cash.  Sold!

Then puppydom kicked into full gear.  I think the brain has some sort of protective mechanism, because if we had ever remembered how much pure work a puppy is, well let’s just say we’d still just have three dogs. Holy smokes … potty training, crying in the middle of the night, chewing (oh the chewing).  If for one minute I was even thinking that two-legged children might be nice, puppydom  knocked it out of me in two seconds flat.

Puppydom has given me a whole new respect for my mommy friends.  The new favorite word at our house is “no,” as in “No, don’t eat that, ” or “No, leave the cats alone,” or “No, you really have to go outside again?” It’s 1/10 humor with 9/10 persistence and a whole bunch of puppy kisses, because let’s face it, who doesn’t love puppy breath?  Quite frankly, it’s a good thing puppies are cute, because otherwise … well let’s just leave it at that!

The good news is that I really think Maybelle needed to come live on a farm.  She is absolutely fascinated with the horses.  She’ll sit in our front yard and just watch the horses in sheer fascination.  If you hold her up to our big fellow, Smokey, she’ll put her floppy paw on his big nose and cover him in puppy kisses.  She loves nothing more than to be outside chasing butterflies, stalking grasshoppers, and tormenting my garden.  But she is our Squirt, and we adore her!

Dog Photo - Maybelle as a puppy
Maybelle on her first day home – already spoiled with love and toys.

Cowboy’s got photos of me passed out on the couch with a worn out Maybelle on my chest, both of us exhausted from puppydom, but someday I’ll look back and smile at those moments as my dear old Maybelle sits in my lap content to just be petted. How long do you think I’ll have to wait for that?