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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

My Day at the Lake

Last week, my people took me to Lake Coeur d'Alene. They told me it would be fun, and it was. Lots of new sights and smells. It didn't take very long to get there in the little car, so I wondered why we just didn't run there.

We parked by a big area of grass with lots of trees and paths. My man joked that there was a sign that said dogs couldn't walk on the grass. I'm guessing it was a joke, because we walked over the grass to a big wooden bear. I knew it wasn't a real bear, because it smelled just like a tree that I lifted my leg on near our house. And, it didn't growl at me.

Next, we walked over to a big wooden eagle. At least my man said it was an eagle, but you couldn't prove it to me - it didn't have a beak. As you can tell from the photo, I wasn't

My people got tired - I don't know why, we'd only been out there a few minutes, or a few hours, I can't tell time - so they stopped at a big metal moose. My man said it's name was Mudgy. What a stupid name for a moose. None of the moose on our land have such dumb names. I've met Morty and Millie, and their little mooselet Mikey.
Finally, we made it to the lake. I was very impressed. It was much bigger than our spring, or even our creek. It was even bigger than the duck pond at Duke's place (I don't go there much now since two mastiffs moved in). I got to pose by the lifeguard's stand, and that was fun. but my man kept me on a lead, and I couldn't go for a swim. Eventually, it got cold, and we left for home.

But, I paused just once to give the camera my best "Jack London looking out to sea" pose. Nice, huh?

From the "Dump" to the Dump

Back before our valley had garbage service, and long before Kootenai County opened its recycling transfer center near Post Falls, my in-laws burned their garbage in oil drums and dumped their trash in a low spot of a normally-dry spring bed.

During my walks up the old trail that parallels the spring, I always noticed a rusting oil drum and an old metal stove down among the hawthorn trunks. This winter, I put cleaning out the spring bed on my to-do list. Today was to-do day. The snow had cleared, the trail was firm and dry, and I could access the junk without fighting my way through leafy hawthorn branches.

Pepper appeared as if from nowhere as soon as I started up the ATV, and ran alongside me to the base of the trail, where I unhooked the trailer and freed up the hitch ball for use as a rope dally. From there, Pepper struck out on his own, appearing now and then on his way among the trees. I stopped at the "dump" and tied off the old oil barrel, dragging it free of the spring bed with a well-used nylon lariat wrapped around the ATV ball hitch. Next came the metal stove. Then a large tangle of barbed wire I hadn't seen before. After clearing out the big stuff, I eased down into the spring and started throwing up to the trail a diverse collection of junk that I'd just exposed: part of a lawn mower, bits of a leather draft-horse harness, clear and brown bottles, tin cans, a car inner tube, plastic Clorox bottles.

When I finished, I turned the ATV back down the trail, hooked up the trailer, drove back up the spring, tossed all of the detritus into the trailer bed, and pulled it all back up to our house, where I switched the ATV for our SUV. Next stop, the recycling transfer station in Pleasantview. My reward: Mexican for lunch, and a cleaner spring bed.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Yeah, It's Spring

Still a few more weeks on the calendar, but when you can sit comfortably on the front porch, it's spring. Today, Karen took a break from her writing to sit on the front porch, on the glider, in the sun, with an old cat on her lap. Harry, our 15-year-old tabby, sat with her for a while (our younger tabby, Geordie, is tucked in beside Karen), then vanished. Apparently, he's got spring fever.

Karen and I walked Pepper down to Donovan's house so she could pick up a couple of books she'd sold on ebay and I could hammer in some T posts for the cattle fencing. There was Harry sitting against a wall of the house, sucking up the sun. After spending the winter indoors, he'd decided it was time to get out and go for a wander. Karen later told me he followed her back up to the house and fell asleep. This evening, his legs are more stiff than usual. I guess I'll give him a second dose of Cosequin tonight.

After Pepper and I came back up to the house, he also went for a wander, and didn't reappear for three hours. He was, as they say, dog tired. Apparently, though, he didn't take a dip in the creek or go crashing through the spring. His paws were dirty, but not muddy.

I spent the afternoon hauling dead tree branches to our burn pile (yes, I used an ATV and trailer, but even so my blood sugar dropped below my normal threshold). My burn permit was reauthorized today, so I guess I'll torch the pile this week while the ground's still wet.