The Glamour of Country Living

The other night when I got home from work it was raining lightly but I knew it was going to continue all night and I had to feed the chickens. These are exactly the moments you question having chickens, but since it doesn’t rain every day, somehow they get through.

I’m out there in the rain refilling their food when Daisy dashes over to one of the many woodpiles and out comes a woodchuck. When I moved into the house, there was a lot of woodchuck evidence and I’d see them occasionally that first year before the fence. Once the fence was finished, Maggie and Suzie did a good job of clearing them out and I haven’t seen one since. Until last night.

Since it was happening right in front of me, I pulled out my phone and got a video. Lucky you. No seriously, watch it. Just be sure to watch to the end.
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My favorite part is how scared my 60 lbs of solid muscle is of this little woodchuck. On the one hand, Daisy doesn’t kill things so my chickens have a better chance at survival. On the other hand, I don’t want woodchucks and rabbits and squirrels infesting my yard. And it’s not my job to deal with them (I have enough on my plate).

As you can see, for as old as Suzie is, her hunting skills haven’t waned. She learned from the best (Maggie) and it is amazing to see it kick in.

After the video above, Daisy took the woodchuck over to a tree and set it down. The rain picked up so Suzie and I ran inside. Daisy didn’t come back and wouldn’t come when I called. I finally went out to check on the situation and found that the woodchuck was still alive and Daisy wouldn’t leave it. It was crying like a baby and it was horrible. I was trying to decide if it was time for me to clunk it with a shovel and put it out of its misery when Suzie came tearing back and gave it a few more violent shakes. She went back inside to get out of the rain and Daisy stood by, licking the woodchuck’s trembling face while it breathed its last. I’m not actually sure a woodchuck finds that comforting, but it was very sweet on Daisy’s part. She acted as though she was losing her best friend.

I went back in out of the rain and since the rain just got more intense, decided to clean up the following day. When I got home from work, it was my first order of business. Except when I went to where it had been, it was gone. What?? Please tell me there wasn’t some kind of resurrection!!! Weird. I looked all over the area and couldn’t find it. Hmm. Maybe some varmint carried it away. I moved on with my evening and was tasking around the house, door partially open as the dogs tooled around doing their thing. And then there was Daisy, at the patio door with a woodchuck carcass (fully intact, thank God!). Oooohhhh. Yeah, cleaned that thing up quickly as I am not interested in seeing it again.

The animal kingdom is an interesting and ferocious place. Well — at least parts of it are. Daisy Daze is 60 lbs of pure love with zero hunting skills. At least she looks scary and like she could protect me. Suzie looks like an elderly little love muffin but she can and will kill tiny creatures without a second thought. And all is well with the world.

Puppy Season ?

DSC_2552In the past year, my few friends who had dogs basically had most of them die. First Chance, then Maggie, then Buck, then Pepper. All within a couple months of each other. I was ahead of the curve (knowing Maggie wasn’t going to be around much longer) so I got a puppy the same year. This year, however, seems to be the year of the puppy for my other friends. What is really funny is realizing that I am not ready for a new puppy. Once in awhile I have the crazy thought that a puppy would be great for Daisy because she’d have someone to romp with and maybe she’d leave poor old Suzie alone. Then I come to my senses and realize I am not ready for a puppy yet.

Being a lover of all things cute and fuzzy, I assumed the minute I met my friend’s puppies, I’d go all mush and want to take them home.  Instead I loved meeting them -fluffy, tiny, adorable balls of love and mischief, and I left with an overwhelming sense of gratitude that they were not coming home with me. I guess I’m not quite recovered from my own puppy yet — or rather, we’re in the one year old puppy stage which is a big enough handful right now.

It also reminds me, once again, to look for the good in my current situation. Not that there aren’t struggles, but that there is always good to be found.

I do miss the tiny puppy snuggles. I do not miss having to be vigilant about shoes, anything on the floor, or someone peeing in the wrong place. Daisy is 1.5 years old. She is and has been completely potty trained for so long I barely remember that rough month last spring. She comes when she is called. She chews on toys exclusively and hasn’t destroyed anything in a long time (except that one day I left her out of the crate when I went to Mass — oops). She doesn’t even have to sleep in a crate anymore because she’s proven she can be trusted at night. This is all very good and makes my life a happy place. Would lack of these things ruin my life? No. No it wouldn’t. But it is nice to look back and see how far we’ve come. Now if I can get her to not occasionally knock over tiny people with her exuberance and drop the ball consistently on command, we’ll be really living the dream.

Dog Crate Table

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DSC_1584This is one of those home projects that is entirely about embracing the reality of my life. It isn’t Pinterest or magazine worthy. It simply accommodates my life, in all of it’s glory (note the sarcasm). I am person that lives with two large dogs. This means dog bowls in the laundry room, dog hair in the corners, dog toys littered on the floor, and dog crates that need to be part of my living space. Big unsightly dog crates are not my favorite part of dog ownership but they are a very real and necessary part of my life.

oldhouseAt my old house, I found an ikea cabinet door in the clearance section that served as a crate table to hold my house plants. It was never perfect but we got by with it.

In this house, I have two crates that are part of my every day living and I’ve found the best way to incorporate them into my living space is to hide them so I don’t feel like I live in a kennel. So the crates are behind the couch in the living room and I put plants on top of them. It works out rather nicely because the doors open and close and there’s space on either side of the couch for the dogs to get in their beds. And best of all they are nearly invisible.

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Crates without table top

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Crates with unfinished boards laying across there

Last fall I bought the 2x10s I needed to create a dog crate table for this space and had them just laying across the crates waiting to be connected and finished. Note: Next time, go ahead and make the table when you buy the lumber. Otherwise you may get really frustrated that they did not warp evenly and make finishing the table much more complicated.

This past Saturday was gorgeous out – mid sixties and sunny. I needed a project that I could work on outside (while the puppy ran around the yard like nuts and the old dog hid under my project for protection). I dragged the boards out to the deck, got out all my tools and finally did the project.

  • Measure boards – Since the dog crates would supply the base for this table, I wanted it to overhang on the sides by at least a half inch. I cut the 2×10 boards 1.5 inches short of the overall length so I could put a 1×2 at the end for a more finished edge.
  • Connect long boards boards with kreg jig pocket holes on the back side (I put pocket holes and screws every 8 inches).  This was my first project using my kreg jig and I love it! Admittedly, I made a couple rookie mistakes but wow, I love it!
  • Nail 1×2 end boards with ryobi nailer to hide rough edge
  • Sand the whole table top down
  • Apply wood putty in the cracks (If I was going to paint this, I would have used caulk to close the seams and hide the imperfections. As it was, I would be staining it and wanted the wood putty to blend in. So I put wood putty in the seams and then sanded again once it was dry).
  • Wipe down table with tack cloth to remove all dust
  • Apply wood conditioner
  • Apply first coat of stain + poly (letting them dry completely between coats)
  • Move inside to avoid the rain
  • Sand lightly, dust with tack cloth
  • Apply second coat of stain + poly and let dry completely (I gave it 24 hours before putting anything on top of the table)
  • Hide the dog crates
  • Add plants
  • Check that one off the list!

IMG_0088 As I mentioned earlier, the boards did warp unevenly over the last six months and the table top is far from perfect but I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.  (And yes I realize I have a houseplant problem).

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Maggie

Warning: Long and mushy post about my dog. Read at your own risk. 

IMG_7811My dog Maggie came into my life in that strange gap between college and realizing I was an adult. I was buying my first house and knew that I wanted a black lab mix and wanted to name her Maggie. Looking back I don’t even know why Maggie, I just knew that was going to be her name. Everything was in process to buy my house but we hadn’t closed yet. And then I responded to an add for a 9 month old lab mix. She came with a crate and toys and was reportedly “too energetic” for their toddler. I would realize in later months and years that she was
indeed too energetic and was probably kicked for her enthusiasm by the man of the house (poor pooch).

 When I met her, she was happy and energetic and something clicked. She was going home with me. I had borrowed a family minivan to make sure I could fit the crate. We got to my parents house, introduced her to everyone, and then I put my very own dog in my very own Ford Escort station wagon and headed for home. Maggie promptly ate a cough drop wrapper and barfed all over the back seat. And that was the humble beginning of a great adventure.

A few weeks later, I remember the first night in the Nichols Homestead. I had closed on the house earlier that day — yikes!! I borrowed a big van and brought a few things to the house and Maggie and I moved in (a few days ahead of the roommates). That first night I was sleeping in a sleeping bag on the living room carpet, Maggie all snuggled up next to me and I remember saying to God, “Lord, if this is what you have for me, I am content.” Little did I realize the next decade would be learning what those words mean in my life.
Maggie was delightful, energetic, and totally insane. She was potty trained and nothing else, with a fear of men, toddlers, strangers, and feet. And she was all mine. I look back on those early years and laugh at the shenanigans. The first spring in my house, I bought a climbing rose bush and planted in the back yard. Maggie dug up that same rose bush a dozen times. Every time she began feeling neglected or was left in the yard for too long, she’d dig it back up. It used to make me nuts. MAGGIE!!! I finally got the hint and planted the rose bush next to the front door where it became one of my favorite parts of the house and was one of the hardest things to leave behind when I moved. Ah Maggie.

When I had my first serious boyfriend, shortly after getting this crazed pup, he came to my house for our second date. We were watching a movie on this round couch together and he had his legs spread apart as he slouched on the couch. Maggie appeared out of nowhere, jumped up and crushed his nuts. In one fell swoop, he was on his hands and knees, crawling around the floor moaning. And of course I got a serious case of the “this is so awkward I can’t stop laughing.” I should have known then and just ended it. Thanks Maggie.

IMG_1616Maggie helped me become the person I am today. She needed extra understanding. She needed training, management, understanding, and love. I failed so many times, and yet she always forgave me. Maggie and I weathered many years of roommates in the Nichols Homestead, threw many bridal showers, baby showers, saw many boyfriends, fiances, and husbands come and go as roommates got married and moved out. Maggie was my companion through it all. Sometimes when a roommate was having a particularly hard time or being overly dramatic, Maggie and I would just look at each other. She understood.

A few months after getting Maggie, Lisa moved in, and shortly thereafter she brought home a dog, Rita. Maggie and Rita were fast friends. Maggie LOVED to chase Rita around and around and around the yard. Those two became inseparable. We went on walks, bike rides, parades, and more.

trioAnd then Lisa met a guy and moved out of state with Rita. Maggie cried for six weeks straight. I started sleeping on the couch to keep the poor dog company at night because she missed her friend so much. And then I broke down and got her a new friend: Suzie.
After the minor annoyance of getting used to her spastic puppy self, Maggie fell in love. It was always funny to me that though Maggie was wary of people, she couldn’t live without Suzie. 196252_4341589582_8399_nIf I took Suzie somewhere without Maggie, Maggie was out of her mind about it. Whining, crying, a complete mess. When you met Maggie, you’d think she didn’t need anyone, but in reality, she was mush on the inside and desperately needed a buddy.

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Maggie would always punish me when I was gone too long (stealing things, chewing up important things like my hair brush, etc). And if I was gone for at least a week, she’d stand up and give me a hug before the punishing began- so I knew it was all just a cover for her true feelings. Maggie loved my dad and threw herself into his arms for a stand up hug every time she saw him. He always asked “She’s the one that doesn’t like people???” When our roommate Leslie would come home late at night, Suzie would just continue sleeping, and night after night Maggie would get up, give Leslie a hug, and then go back to sleep. She loved her people fiercely and when Maggie tried to crawl onto your lap for a toenail ridden snuggle, you knew you’d reached the inner circle.

IMG_2674Moving from the Nichols house where Maggie kept me company for a good 11 years was nearly as traumatic for Mags as it was for me. She spent the weeks leading up to moving crying as I packed boxes. Our last day in the Nichols Homestead was a sad day for me. Maggie and Suzie napped on their pillows as though they never wanted to leave. Me neither, pups, me neither. We weathered a couple months at my parents house, where Maggie scared away many of the barn cats, loved on my dad, and was generally a needy mess (me too, Mags, me too).

DSC_3186On the day we moved to the Little House on the Hill, Maggie spent the entire day in and out of the moving truck. She did not want to be left behind under any circumstances. She was gleeful riding in the cab of the truck with me over to the new house. And boy did we love our new spot. The yard, a house of our own, restoration of our normal at home rituals, mmm hmm. Life was good.

Life was mostly good anyway, except for the fact that there wasn’t a fence so Maggie
had to be tied up when she was outside. She was not a fan. That first spring in the house, I thought she might be declining (12 is pretty old for a lab) since she was peeing on the floor every night. Maybe she’s just too old, I thought, although she was otherwise quite healthy. Maybe she isn’t going to be around much longer. Miraculously, the day I finished the fence and let her out into a two acre heaven without a leash, the peeing on the floor ended. That’s my girl Mags. Never miss an opportunity to express your opinion.

ef035-princessmaggieActually, Maggie was one of the most expressive dogs I’ve ever met. She had something to say about everything! Anytime she was at my parents, my mom would remark that she was constantly talking. I guess I just got used to it. The growl when she wanted to go outside, the growly/howly act when we launched on a bike ride, the excited singing when we went for walks, and mouthy responses to everything. She really did have something to say about everything.

 One time my niece Jane was over and we were getting ready to take Maggie and Suzie for a walk. I asked their favorite question “Do you wanna go for a walk?” Suzie immediately began jumping 3 feet into the air, up and down like a pogo stick, and Maggie started howling. Jane said, “Oh I see. Maggie’s the singer and Suzie’s the dancer.”  So true.

DSC_8346 Reenie and dogsThis past year I’ve seen her slowing down,  aging, and very, very happy. She would spend hours outside patrolling her fenceline, making sure everything in her kingdom was in order. There was considerably less carnage than I expected, but it is probably just because of her advanced age and declining eye sight.

I knew her time was coming, but hoped against hope Maggie would just pass quietly in her sleep (something that would be completely uncharacteristic for this dog). Alas, I had a tough decision to make.  Though she’d been slowing down and dropping weight for awhile now, she was getting frantic on a regular basis. She’d freak out if I didn’t let her inside immediately. Daisy would “sneak” up on her and freak her out (I think she couldn’t hear her coming). Maggie was running into the deck regularly, I think she couldn’t see the stairs anymore. And that last few days, she began falling down the deck stairs, unable to make it up the two stairs to get inside. Her hips were going. It was time.

Maggie is the first dog I’ve ever had to put to sleep and it was one of the hardest things I’ve done. I’ve seen this coming, particularly in the past month, and thought I was prepared to handle it. Just making the call to schedule that appointment had me bawling at my desk, even though it was abundantly clear that it was time.

IMG_7769We had one last weekend together. I worked on the kitchen while Maggie napped on the comfortable pillow nearby. We slowly walked the yard together a few times (she was limping so badly she couldn’t get far but wanted to be out there). I slept on the couch so she could sleep on the cushion beside me. And it was abundantly clear I couldn’t put it off any longer.

Our appointment was at the end of the day. I took a few last pictures of my old girl. Everyone went outside for a few minutes (Maggie needed help getting back in). And then I asked “Do you want to go for a ride?” One of Maggie’s favorite things. I felt like a complete traitor, knowing this was the final ride. She was super excited and even let me lift her into the car. Tail wagging, head out the door, this pooch was happy! And of course, I cried my way to the vet. I tried to sing her the Maggie song, but couldn’t choke it out. We arrived a couple minutes before our appointment, so I thought I’d make the car ride worthwhile and take her for a walk (another favorite activity). We barely even made it past the building before she was limping so much she could barely walk. Right. This is why I have to do this.

I was a bawling mess at the vet, petting her ear and telling her what a good girl she was to the very end. I thought I was prepared.  I knew this was coming for awhile. And she was just a dog, right? Well yes, she is a dog, not a person, but no. I actually don’t think there’s a good way to prepare to say good bye to a critter who has been the face you come home to for over a dozen years. A companion through thick and thin. Sure, she was a pain in the butt sometimes, but she was a faithful friend to the end.

Maggie changed my life. And I’m so incredibly grateful God saw fit to send her into my life and to give us so many long years of adventures together.

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Time with my girl

IMG_7483IMG_7514[1]We were overdue for a Jane and Aunt Reenie adventure. I’d planned to be in town for a baseball game and figured I’d bring the puppy and snag the niece to accompany me. When the door opened, she handed me this little square she had embroidered for me. Obviously this is Daisy. As it happened, torrential downpours cancelled the game (much to Jane’s delight) and the three of us made our way to a cute cafe for ice cream and puppy time, hoping the rain would let up so we could take the pup for a walk afterward.

I love having my nieces and nephews over in a crowd and it happens fairly often. But I do love some one on one time with these awesome little people. You get to really know them one on one in a way it is hard to do as part of a pack. At the coffee shop, over ice cream, Jane and I discussed their recent trip and the museums she saw, I teased her about being able to finish that huge ice cream cone, we played a game of Sorry, and I found out she is a dark chocolate girl like me.

IMG_7485 The rain finally let up so we took Daisy to Millpond Park, a big park along the river (which gets very swampy after a big rain), and there’s a dog park there so you can let the pup run free. Jane was SO excited. I mean, Daisy is her favorite dog (poor Suzie has been bumped I’m afraid). Jane was the first person I told when I got IMG_7484Daisy and she believes she named Daisy so they have a very special bond. As I handed Jane the leash (a bit nervous because Daisy isn’t very good at the leash yet), she looked up at me, eyes sparkling with delight. “Reenie, this is the best day ever. This is my very first time walking a puppy!”  She and Daisy took off across the field, flitting to and fro, splashing through the puddles and delighted with life. So stinking cute.

We practiced some finer points of dog training (practicing Come, Sit, and Down). I explained to Jane some techniques like “If she is hurting you or jumping on you, don’t be afraid to push her off. She needs to learn.”  Jane was in heaven and so was I. Such a nice evening spent with one of my favorite kids and my favorite puppy too.

IMG_7500As we flitted back to the car after a lot of park fun,Jane turns and said to me “Reenie, Daisy would be the PERFECT dog for me!”

Reenie: “What do you mean ‘would be’? Daisy IS the perfect dog for you! All the fun and none of the work!”  

Jane: “YES!!!”

When I got to her house to deliver Jane back to her family, the other kids wanted to play with Daisy. So they took her for a short walk around the block and Jane was clearly the dog expert. “Lucy, if Daisy is hurting you or jumping on you, don’t be afraid to push her off. She needs to learn.” “I know Jane.”  “Geno, here’s how you hold the leash – hand in the loop and then hold the leash like this.”  “I know Jane!”  It was pretty awesome.

I am so thankful for the wonderful little people God has put into my life and for moments like this to just be together. Life is good.

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The Summer of the Puppy

The Daisy Daze continues. daisy darlingLife with a puppy is not simple. Not even a little. But it is great. Monday she was bounding around chasing her tail, the recycling, a leaf, a stick and all I could think was: Life with a puppy isn’t simple, but it is better. (Obviously I mean that for me, in my current situation – not for everyone universally).

3dogsDaisy is a great pup, terribly sweet and learning fast. I was going to brag that it has been over a week since we had any accidents– and then she had three in the span of one hour. But generally speaking, we’re doing well on the potty training. Daisy turned 4 months this week and has been with us for six weeks. It isn’t simple, but I am enjoying her immensely. We are past the adjustment of just getting the new pup and things are settling into more routine.

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daisy buddies2cute maggieMaggie doesn’t appreciate Daisy but we have a lot more peaceful moments than we did at first. And Daisy is catching on that her best bet is to give Maggie some breathing room.

Daisy continues to impress me how much less intense she is than Suzie was as a puppy. And as an added bonus, Daisy spends most of her neediness on Suzie, which is really rather great for me. Suze is a great surrogate mom and allows her to hang on her a lot (I think sometimes she likes the puppy biting because it scratches her itch). She does occasionally lay down the law and insist on a few minutes without puppy shenanigans, but mostly she seems fine letting Daisy hang on her, spoon with her, and shadow her every move. daisy hang

snuggle buddiesAnd of course when I finally crate Daisy (for work or for the night), Maggie and Suzie huddle together thankful for the break from that active young whippersnapper.

It has been awhile since I last blogged because life is busy around here. Never, ever a dull moment. But we’re basking in the lovely warm weather, the yard, and the crazy puppy antics. It is clearly the Summer of the Puppy around here. And just for you, I’ll share my photos so you don’t feel any need to go get a puppy. You’re welcome.

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New Adventures

Announcing our latest Adventure over here at the Little House on the Hill…

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Daisy!

I’ve been thinking about getting a puppy since last spring – although at the time, it seemed like a bad idea (namely because there was no fence and there was one very angry old dog). I started looking again at Christmas time, knowing it would be better to wait until spring, but wanting to get one anyway. Well, I didn’t find one that looked like a good fit until this week. My friend Orsi volunteers at an animal shelter and texted me on Tuesday that there was a Reenie puppy at the shelter. I went over and met this little darling. So sweet!

Saturday we had to pass a “family” visit, meaning the bitches had to not eat the puppy in front of the people deciding whether or not to allow me to adopt the puppy. Orsi volunteered to come dog wrangle with me and it all went pretty smoothly and just what I expected: Suzie did a bit of barking and a lot of wiggling and smelling. Maggie was aloof until the pup got right in her face and then gave a sharp bark- at which the pup showed great respect so Maggie was happy. The long and short of it is that this adorable puppy came home with us.

Daisy is a lab boxer mutt. She looks more black in the photos and more dark brown in person. She’s almost 12 weeks old. She is very sweet, loves to cuddle, desperately wants to be friends with the big bitches, and seems to love everyone she meets.

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I’m not one of those dog people– but I’m afraid you may be in for a flurry of puppy pictures because ohmygosh PUPPY!!

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The big dogs are not sure what to do with the new addition but happily clue her into the fact that they are the top of pecking order around here.  She is rambunctious for sure, but I’m pretty sure she’s already more laid back than Suzie was at this age. And she does seem to respect being at the bottom of the dog pack, which is a good thing.

Besides, every good kitchen remodel needs a puppy, right??

It is bound to be an interesting spring at the Little House!

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Country Living with Killers… the adventure continues

SuzeOnly in this episode, nothing got actually got killed, but maybe we learned a lesson about the dangers of killing? One can only hope.
 
I was out for an evening with a couple of my girl friends and was coming home late – way past my bedtime. I let both dogs out to do their business before bed and didn’t even bother leashing Maggie, figuring they know the drill: pee and come back in.
 
Moments later I heard a couple high pitched barks from the far corner of the yard- I opened the door and called the dogs. Maggie came right in. Nothing from Suzie except I could hear her tags clinking and jingling over and over in that far corner. “Suzie. Suzie. SUZIE! COME NOW!” Nothing but some more jingling in the distance as though she is rolling around on the ground. Hmmm. This is a very typical response from Maggie- the not coming the minute I call- but not Suzie. Dread begins sinking in.
 
I decide to load the dishwasher while I wait, knowing she will appear any second. And sure enough, a forlorn little face shows up at the patio door and the second I opened the door it was very clear what had happened.
 
Skunk.
 
Amazingly in my 12 years of being a dog owner, this is our first skunk incident. But incident it was. The poor bitch got sprayed right in her face, which must have hurt like crazy because she’s been scratching her eyes because of her seasonal allergies and has open sores all around them. Poor thing!! Of course she reeks and is in pain and is frantic to come inside. And yes, it happens to be a night my cousin is (trying to) sleep upstairs so I feel doubly bad about the yipping to come in but I cannot possibly let her in until I’m ready to deal with the horrible smell.
 
I quickly google “skunk bath” and find the one that recommends a solution that I actually have the ingredients for. I consider doing this outside with the hose and kiddie pool, but it is midnight now and I can’t see a thing out there. Bathtub it is. I start the water and clear all the towels and rugs out of the bathroom and draw the shower curtain back and cover it with the liner. I’m not taking any risks here. I change into crappy painting clothes that I will happily throw away if they get skunked in this process. I find a pair of heavy duty plastic gloves and put those on. I mix up this solution, grab a leash, and lead in the pathetic reeking victim.
 
I feel horrible washing her face because of the open sores – but it is clear that’s where she took the brunt of the spray. Suzie tolerated the bath and the very thorough, repeated face washing and the stern lecturing about what we should do in the future if we ever see a critter like that (NEVER GO NEAR THEM AGAIN). She did seem quite apologetic and even more cooperative than usual. I dried her off with the rag towels and crated her for the night (not knowing how bad the smell would still be lingering in the morning).
 
Naturally Maggie reminded me in the morning why SHE is the one who gets crated every night now (two pee puddles to clean up – the old girl just cannot hold it through the night if she isn’t crated). Suzie smells faintly of skunk when you stick your nose right up to her but not horribly so. I think we’ll do another bath with the solution and see if that solves it. I also think I can officially endorse this skunk bath solution because it did seem to work pretty effectively.
 
Growing up, our dog Holly used to get skunked occasionally and I remember trying a lot of different things to get her to smell better. I will say though, the advantage to outdoor dogs is that they don’t stand outside whining when they reek. They just reek while still sleeping in the great outdoors as they always do. Not so with an indoor dog who isn’t accustomed to sleeping outdoors (with or without the stench). No sir, indoor dogs require much more immediate remediation of the stench if anyone in the neighborhood wants to sleep.
 
As it happens, living in the country with killers is great when there is a random chipmunk in your living room or when there’s a mouse with his face in the trap and you don’t know what to do with it, and it is significantly less awesome when there’s a skunk in the yard. Never ever a dull moment at the Little House on the Hill. Although lately I find myself praying for dulled senses.
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It’s bonkers o’clock

My favorite time to take pictures is in the late evening when the sun is low. Lately, that beautiful time is marred with a new tradition where the dogs go insane barking at the deer who traipse through our yard. What I love is that the last few days, the deer stop in the yard to stare at the two dogs who are going absolutely nuts at the door. Suzie is jumping up and down like a pogo stick and going bonkers. The deer stop there in the middle of the yard and just watch. I can’t help but wonder what they are thinking. In the meantime, I can step outside onto the patio to snap a photo or two while the deer are distracted by the bonkers dogs.

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I love living in the country. I love the deer traipsing across the yard (although when they eat my garden next year I will have other things to say). I love fall evenings and the light coming through the leaves. I love the peace and quiet of this place (except, of course, when the dogs are going bonkers over the deer).

Life is good at the Homestead and I am so very thankful.