Monday, August 11, 2008

Dog poisoning update.

I talked to the local veterinarian this morning, and I no longer think I was a deliberate target (personally) for this. There has been more of it going on than I was aware of. There was a dog poisoned in Etna, a town about 12 miles from me, just about a week ago. That case and mine are the first the veterinarian knows of THIS YEAR, but there was a lot of it going on all around the valley last year. Poisons of choice have been strychnine or rat poison. Could be anti-hunters, environmentalists who don’t like people taking their dogs to the mountains, someone who doesn’t like farm dogs running loose, or someone who just plain doesn’t like dogs. No suspects so far.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Talk about a bad week!

I’ve already told about the passing of old Kelly. That was on Monday. Kelly was an old dog, and it was his time to go. On Friday some miserable excuse for a human being poisoned 2 of my dogs!

Bear and Dove slept in the house with me. First thing Friday morning I turned them out in the yard to take care of business as usual. Thinking back, I remember hearing a slight scuffle around at the front of the house where my pickup and horse trailer are parked, and I yelled at them. That’s when they had to pick it up, whatever IT was. Someone had tossed a poison bait of some kind into my yard. Dove must have got the lion’s share of it, and that’s what the scuffle was about.

Thinking no more about it at the time, we went back inside and I took care of the 3 S’s and fixed breakfast. Suddenly Dove began to throw up all over the place! I ran both dogs out of the house, and once Dove had heaved up she seemed fine. Bear appeared perfectly normal. I tied the dogs outside and went back in the house to clean up the mess which took quite awhile. When I went back outside to throw everything in the garbage, I could tell from the way she was laying that Dove was dead! Bear had drank a huge amount of water and heaved it up. He is ok, and now 2 days later you would never know anything was wrong with him.

I called the Sheriff’s office and they sent a deputy out. We looked around my yard and found exactly what I expected; nothing. Of course the dogs had eaten whatever had been there. I asked the deputy if they had any similar reports, and she answered no, at least not yet. This is a rural area, and it is impossible to find a veterinarian over a weekend. First thing tomorrow (Monday) I will call the local vet’s office to see if they know of any other dog poisonings in the area. Right now I am racking my brain trying to think of anyone who could possibly hold enough of a grudge against me to do such a thing, and I come up empty. Am I the only one, or are there more dead dogs in the valley that I haven’t heard about yet. Was this a direct attack against me, for no reason that I can think of, or were they just out to kill dogs? Anyone’s dogs. If this was a deliberate attempt to kill my dogs, might they try again since they didn’t get them all. Aside from Bear, the only other dog here now is old Sadie. She was tied at the time this happened, so didn’t pick up any of the bait. Right now I am up a tree. I can’t think of anyone low enough to do this, or what their motive might have been.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Old dog down.

This photo was taken 14 years ago on Kelly's first of many trips to the mountains. He died on Monday, 2 days ago. Kelly was an Airedale, half of a team of brothers, but not littermates. Casey was his older brother by a year and a couple of months. Casey has been gone over 2 years now. Together with a good horse, they roamed the mountains with me for a good number of years, and looked up a tree at many a bear, cougar, and bobcat. They were hunting dogs in the true sense of the word! I can no more have those dogs back than I can have those years back, but I sure have a lot of good memories stored away. Rest in peace old friends. Will Rogers said it best when he said, "If dogs don't go to heaven, I want to go where they go". May we meet again sometime in a better place.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Smoked in!

It’s been a long time since I’ve made an entry here, but today is my birthday, and I’m just kind of relaxing, so I’ll spend some time at the keyboard. I made my 3 score and 10, and according to some that’s all I’m entitled to; but what the heck. I’ve made it this far, I’d hate to quit now! :)
I guess everyone is well aware of the fires in California since the news has been full of it. Most are well south of here, but we have plenty of smoke to deal with. This is the 3rd year in a row that smoke from forest fires has settled here in our little valley, but the flames are a long way away. The closest fire is a few miles from the small town of Happy Camp (again), on the far side of the Wilderness Area from me. A couple more are burning in the Shasta/Trinity National Forest. Don’t know just where our smoke is coming from. Could be from just about any direction, depending on which way the wind is blowing. The really big, and destructive fires, are far south of here.
I had a busy spring with normal chores of cleaning up around the yard and getting a garden established. The garden is to the point of beginning to pay off. Green onions in my salad every evening now, with lettuce, chard, and sugar pod peas coming on fast. Have green tomatoes about the size of golf balls. Judging from the plants, I’m going to be loaded with Yukon Gold potatoes, so I’m at least assured of salads and hashbrowns with onions. With a piece of some kind of meat on the side, I can deal with that. :) My flock of pigeons is well established now, and provides me with a squab dinner about any time I want it. I have 2 dozen baby chicks (Araucana and Cornish) ordered and due to be delivered here next week. I ordered "straight run", so I’ll have roosters to butcher for meat and hens to hold over for eggs and to replenish the flock next spring. Judging from the blackberry vines and elderberry bushes in my backyard, it looks like this is going to be a good year for berries.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


I was fixing breakfast this morning when I noticed Bear and Dove (Airedales) staring out the window. Something outside obviously had their attention. My old eyes aren’t what they used to be, and it took me awhile to find it. Two animals were out in the field behind my house, and I couldn’t get a good clear look as there were a few bare tree limbs in the way. My first thought was that they were either dogs or deer, but they didn’t move just right for either. Their heads were down like they were grazing, which left dogs out, but they didn’t move just right for deer either. They remained in one area for several minutes, but I never could get a good look at them, and they were to far away for the old eyes anyway. They finally began to move off in a trotting kind of gait. PIGS! I don’t know of any of my neighbors who have pigs, and there aren’t any wild ones around here either that I know of; but I sure think that is what they were.

Friday, February 29, 2008


Due to the ever increasing price of gas I have been limiting the amount of driving I do; especially trips to town. There is no reason for me to go to town other than to shop, so the fewer the trips I make the better. I used to shop once a week. When the price of gas started going up I began to shop every 2 weeks. I now have cut that to every 3 weeks and sometimes longer. Won’t take much planning to get that down to once a month. I have a freezer and a pressure canner, and I make use of both.

Sure, I drive a truck; but the way I figure, it isn’t what you drive but how much you drive it. Besides, I need a truck for the things I do; like pulling a horse trailer around. When I shop for the long term I also need a truck to haul everything. You can’t fit a month’s worth of groceries, plus feed for the animals, in an economy vehicle. I put fewer miles on the pickup in a year than most people put on a small car. I alternate trips between 2 towns. The closer town just for groceries, and the farther town when I need to go to a feed store and large shopping center.

A couple of days ago I needed to stock up on dog food and grain for the chickens and pigeons, so a trip over the mountain to the farther town was in order. While I still have a foot of old crusted snow in my yard, the roads are clear and the other side of the mountain is practically in the banana belt! No snow at all over there, so the drive over the mountain was uneventful. I pulled into a parking lot and did some shopping in one store. Next stop was a store at the other end of the mall, so I got in the truck to drive over there. Surprise!!! I had no brakes, or practically none! I was only a couple of blocks from the Ford garage, so I limped on over there.

Turned out that something had hung up or otherwise got stuck in the brake assembly causing the brakes to drag. Not enough to be noticeable coming down the mountain, but darn sure enough to over heat the brakes in a big way. While I was in the store the brake fluid had literally boiled; the reason I had almost no brakes at all. The grease in the wheel bearings had liquified, but fortunately hadn’t ruined the bearings. Brake shoes on the rear wheels had to be replaced and the drums machined. The folks at the Ford garage furnished me a loaner, a little econo car, to drive home and return the next day to pick up the truck. Although there was no charge for the loan of the car, they handed me a bill for repairs that knocked a fair sized hole in my bank account. I’m just thankful that the brakes hadn’t failed on the trip over the mountain, especially on the down hill side. That could have been a lively ride to say the least!