Sunday, December 3, 2017

Sunday Walkabout 12-3

Just let me say…if the first week of the "off-season" is any indication, we might be in for a bumpy ride this winter.

In the past seven days, my brand-new Fitbit died without warning, my laptop wigged out and became unresponsive, and the printer randomly printed out at least twelve pages of unintelligible hieroglyphics. I hesitated to use anything else electronic for fear of somehow inciting a techno-version of the zombie apocalypse.

Then the Boss was back to coughing and hacking as he endured a repeat of the “cold to end all colds”. Or perhaps this was just round two. I suppose getting technical about it doesn’t really matter. But, we did spend a portion of every single day debating the necessity of another doctor visit. After nearly a week, he’s still sick and the discussion remains on the table.

But, germs and technical issues aside, there is no real reason to complain about the week. We even managed to take a fun little field-trip. (but, you’ll have to hear about that some other time)

If any of the residents of the hill could complain about their week, it would have to be Gus. Poor thing! It has not been a good week to be Gus.

after the "encounters"

First, it’s hunting season. For some unknown reason, Gus thinks that the hunters are after HIM. The sound of gunshots causes him to cower in fear. Sometimes, his fear overcomes him and he hunkers down in the shop, or underneath the shed. When he gets overly anxious, he feels it necessary to attach his 100+ pound frame to the nearest available human, shadowing their every step and rendering himself an utter nuisance. Fortunately for him, the rifle portion of deer-hunting season has come to an end. For now. (I think there is a return to muzzle-loader hunting later)
the deer are prolific

His week didn’t get any better when the vet showed up for Gus’ annual exam and vaccinations. Since Gus is such an awful patient and terrible traveler, it is far simpler for us to have the vet make a farm call. You must take my word that no one wants to try hauling a huge, furry, overly-anxious, drooling, stubborn beast across the county.

not a good day to be a dog
However, the vet farm visit didn’t go off without incident. Gus’ anxiety caused him to act out in extraordinary ways. He growled and lunged, causing the vet some concern. So, the Boss tried to man-handle him. Which, as you might imagine, didn’t work out to well for either party. Gus jerked to escape the vet and bowled the Boss over. The Boss lost his footing on the uneven ground and rolled over on his back, knocking his glasses askew. Neither was hurt, but the Boss was somewhat embarrassed and Gus found himself wearing a muzzle. 

Then the vet gave him 2 shots AND did a blood draw. It goes without saying that we do all this to maintain Gus' good health, although he doesn't seem to appreciate any of it. And, although there were no further incidents, I think we were all a little relieved to see the vet van pull out of the driveway.
don't worry, buddy...they're leaving...

Gus spent the rest of the day avoiding us. But, he didn’t have any reaction to his shots, so that was a good thing. Surely his week was getting better…?

Not so fast.

Gus’ main job is to ward off predatory threats. However, we may need to work on his definition of said “predatory threats”. Small mammals and rodents are some of his biggest worries, but pose no danger to the sheep. We generally try to find a way to co-exist with the bunnies, squirrels, ‘possums, groundhogs and skunks, eliminating only those that become problematic or show signs of disease.

But, Gus didn’t get this memo.

He has become fixated on skunks.

Now, skunks are a frequent sight. They wander through in the night or early morning and generally do no harm, occasionally digging for grubs in the garden. Sometimes they turn up in odd and random places but will waddle away without incident if they aren’t provoked. Years ago, a young skunk sat and watched me as I milked the cows. When I freaked out after realizing it was NOT the cat, it just sat and looked quizzically at me as I bolted from the barn. Later it was seen toddling back to the tangle of brush that edges the farm.

But, when the distinctive scent of “eau de polecat” drifted through the barn early the other morning, I passed it off, thinking a skunk must have met with its fate out on Mbrk Road and the wind was blowing just right.

However, when Gus walked in and the stench threatened to overpower, the Boss and I were struck with the realization that all the barking in the night must have been a turf war between the species. And, I’m afraid Gus lost. Or at least came in direct contact with the business-end of a skunk.

In other words, he reeked.

As did the side porch. Apparently, at the end of the encounter, Gus had laid down in one of his favorite spots next to the kitchen.  Skunk-smell permeated the doormat. Somehow it even scented the storm door. The kitchen was being permeated by the occasional whiff of skunk and dog. Oh…eww!
I got out my rubber gloves, bucket and cleaning supplies and set out to “de-skunkify” the dog and the surroundings.

However, Gus was having none of this. To his mind, he’d had enough. His trust in humanity had been sorely tried.  He had endured a week of gunshots…he’d been tackled, muzzled and jabbed. He simply wanted everyone to leave him alone.  I offered cookies and treats to no avail.

He took one look at those rubber gloves and that bucket and he turned tail and ran. He wouldn’t let me get close to him.

We continued the stand-off for a short while before I gave up. I finally got a little of the soapy mixture on him, but we will just have to let nature take its course at this point. I’m just thankful the incident happened AFTER the vet visit because he will probably stink until Spring.

Sadly, the doormat was beyond salvage. There was simply no way to eliminate the smell.  And, while the storm-door and porch benefitted from the cleaning, that job certainly hadn’t been part of my plan for the day.
can't say I blame him...
hiding under the porch sounds like a good option
(if only it didn't smell like skunk!)

…and that was pretty much the story of the week…getting distracted from the original plan by something odd and random.

But, all’s well that ends well.

And, on the plus side, all the electronics issues have been resolved and there have been no further casualties. Now, if we can just get the Boss healthy once more...

I hope you’re having a Happy Sunday! 

Here's to another week...
let's see where it takes us!

Thanks for stopping by. Come back and “visit” again real soon.


  1. Oh Barbara, what a week you have had. I think we all have weeks like that sometimes (although there are thankfully no skunks here). They are weeks to be endured. Hope nextweek is better and that the Boss's cough improves.

    1. You're right, Pat!
      And those weeks that we simply "endure" make us mindful of the weeks we can appreciate.

  2. Poor Gus, I hope he has regained his good humour.

    1. Hi Vera!
      Thanks for your concern. I'm pretty sure he will rebound this week.