Sunday, November 15, 2009

Big Fat Scoresheet

It is a lovely day on Bully Hill. The little weather widget I recently put on the side of this blog informs me that it is sunny and a balmy 67 degrees. My chores are done, and I get to watch some football on the couch with sleeping dogs.

Sunday is not just for football, but it's also a day of reflection. As such, I'm reflecting on my first week of vacation. Yes, I'm through the first quarter of vacation and I'm checking the score.

Now, as any well-tuned athlete will tell you, you've got to pace yourself when undertaking a marathon event such as a month-long vacation. As I mentioned, I have not had a vacation in five years. The last thing I want to do is come out too strong and pull something. That could be disasterous. Still, I want to get a good pace down and set the base for a productive vacation.

I started off smart and did a little prep work for stuff I planned to do later. I got some wood, screws, fencing nails, and I went to pick out rock for my patio. Unfortunately, the weather was terrible all week and it was not a good time to start grading, but I could get some stuff done in the garage.

I have previously noted that I felt like a bad chicken owner because I had not set up a proper brooding box for the hens. I was using a small, store-bought, brooding box made of very thin plywood and it was just sitting on top of a garbage can. It was pretty sad. Thus, I constructed something better:

I mounted the new brooding box above the trash can since the chickens are comfortable with that location. The set up works much better and the chickens seem happy with it. The morning after I installed it, I found an egg in each compartment and one of the other Orpington gals layed her first egg later in the afternoon.

Next, I did some environmentally friendly work on my property. Bully Hill Farm is bordered by streams on two sides. In one location the fencing was extended to permit the horses to get a drink of water from one of the streams. This was good for the horses, but they were really destroying the stream bank and were creating a lot of erosion. This was bad for the stream's health and the ecosystem in general. Thus, I fenced off the area and planted a white pine sapling to firm up the soil and prevent further erosion. The tree will also help to shade the stream and keep the water from heating up in the sun. All of this is important for the brown trout which live in the larger creek into which our streams flow.

Finally, I saved a furry life. True, it is a big deal, but despite what you are obviously thinking, I don't like to call myself a hero. In truth, it has been rather easy because Kane is a really good dog. We went out and did some glamour shots this morning:

We started out with a big, happy smile. It's a crowd pleaser.

Then we went with the "you see something funny over there" profile shot.

Serious and brooding. Yes.

Finally, we did the classic profile,


and the very new, rolling in chicken poop pose... very nouveau, very raw.

Despite rolling in poop, Kane has been a very good guest. I let her play with Petunia for a bit last night. Petunia is really dog social and submissive, so she is a good test dog. Kane initiated play by doing some pretty stiff nose-bumps to Petunia's neck. They ran about after that and Kane did some play bows to keep the action going. Things got a little crazy and there was some humping, but Petunia took it all in stride. Nobody got bent out of shape.

I did get some shots of Kane interacting with Cowboy. You can see that she is upright, but relaxed; her tail is raised a bit, but she was wagging in a relaxed manner.

I took a video of a subsequent interaction. It was rather uneventful, but that is a good thing.

I also got a chance to test her for food aggression. She responded perfectly and did not even attempt to follow the food bowl when I pulled it away from her. Note, she does seem to do some resource guarding with her food when HT is near her.  I generally recommend feeding dogs in different areas anyway. She was picking up "heel" when we started training, but she does tend to get distracted by all of the new smells and stimuli. Finally, I bathed her this morning after the chicken poop incident and she was very well behaved.

Kane is a really good dog and should make a fine companion animal.

Thus, at the end of a week, I'm off to a slow, yet steady start. Since I don't really have any competition, and despite my inability to stick to a single sports metaphor, I'm off to a very subjective 3-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. It's all part of being a chicken owning, tree hugging, life saving, ecowarrior/hero.

1 comment:

Vegan Burnout said...

Kane is a beauty and is clearly thriving under your guidance. Lucy would love to play with her. I know she'll find a wonderful forever home! *shannon