I told me I should have got more rain barrels! I hadn’t even finished using the water from the last storm, when my barrel was over flowing again. I put an old t-shirt over it to keep the mosquitoes out. I have not seen any wigglers yet this year, but I seen plenty of fully developed skeeters big enough to take your arm off.
Some of my lettuce has gone to seed, the leafy green stuff, but the romaine is still producing nice firm leaves. I buy lettuce and spinach at the store now, been too busy to mess with gardening lately. I’ll just spit it out – our old dog Max has gone to Valhalla. He bagged two birds at Corning one beautiful spring day, and then he had a stroke, and we couldn’t get him to the vet before he was gone. Yeah, we were in The Nothing for about three weeks, overtaken with grief – and let me tell you people, the silence was deafening around here. Max – The Grite Li-zahd Huntah! (say it like Steve Irwin) has left the building.
Biscuit stopped barking. This bitch with a yelp that can take the paint off a ship just stopped barking. I realized, she suddenly didn’t have anybody to talk to any more. Silence!
So, last weekend, we went to Bend to bring some life back to Dodge City. Biscuit’s muzzle was turning whiter every day, and then the vet pinched her butt last week and said she was getting (EEEEK!) FAAAT! Let me tell you folks, there is nothing quite so unacceptable as a fat Queensland Heeler. I see them in Bidwell Park, and I just want to put a doily on them, they look like overstuffed settees. So we knew we had to do something, we got online and looked at puppies.
Seems all the Queensland owners around here leave the back gate open for a pit bull. Not that we wouldn’t take a mix, but we had a pit bull mix before – Old Venus – and I’m too old to do that again. She was an amazingly loyal and lovable dog, but at the same time a ruthless and completely efficient killing machine. She really wanted our PG&E man, so bad, my husband had to drill holes in the fence so he could read the meter from the outside of the yard. Frankly, she was an excellent judge of character, and that’s what worried me.
Queenslands are loyal, very protective, and formidable enough to make people think twice before opening that gate, but they don’t have a locking jaw mechanism with outward pointing tusks, a head like a rock, and a neck like a bundle of titanium cable. That was Venus. She was so wonderful, yet so awful.
We’ve had several different breeds, but Aussies have really been the easiest. So, we drove to Bend Oregon because the surrounding area is sheep and cattle country. It seems you are nobody up there if you don’t have an Aussie. They are everywhere, and we found a rancher who had a giant litter of Queenies. After we had an inbred Newfoundland who had diabetes, we like to know who the parents are – we don’t need the papers, we just want to know they weren’t siblings. She had a little male, just what we were looking for, just at the right age for taking on a new family. She was a big woman, looked familiar to me, like Tehama or Glenn County, with a mini-van full of yelping red and gray speckled pups. She handed us the male, told us she’d given him all his shots and wormed him. She seemed anxious, although she’d probably done this many times, she has a pile of her own dogs, all working dogs. But she must fuss over them somewhat, this little fellow was very friendly and easy to hold. There were two other families waiting their turn, one with small children all eager and excited. We took our little bundle and got in our car for the long drive home through Bigfoot Country.
Right now he is sleeping in a box at the bottom of the stairs. His name is Badges, cause he don’t need none. He weighs five pounds. Biscuit was leery at first – he comes at her like a flying crocodile, mouth full of needle teeth wide open, leaping at her through the air. She would get a funny look on her face and take off, looking over her shoulder with wide eyes as he pursued, snapping at her flank. But he had to make a move on one of her favorite bones, and she snapped at him. That sent him yelping under her bed for about 30 seconds, and then, as if to show her, he came charging out of there with those teeth, and she immediately dropped her bone and shim-shimmied behind me.
Now she likes him, although, she’ll snarl at him if he gets too in her face. And, she’s back with that ear-splitting bark of hers. Me too.