Thursday, June 16, 2011

Testy Dogs

Yesterday was wet and sloppy, which means I need to spend time hauling wood chips from the big pile out front into the dog yard to try to control some of the sloppy mud that's making life uncomfortable to the dogs and their keeper.  I don't know if it is because of the wet, sloppy weather, the new kennel configuration, or just frayed nerves from forced idleness, but the dogs behavior has been challenging, and interesting.

The night before last the skies opened up in a regular Noah-style downpour.  As I contemplated the design of a boat large enough to contain at least two of each specie of animal, I stepped to my perch on the nice covered deck, where it was nice and dry, to look over the yard and wish the mutts a good-night.  Well, poor Chinook was all curled up in the mud, his house tipped over and useless to him.  I dashed out to fix the problem, slipped in the mud and slid face first into his circle.  I don't know which of us was more surprised, but I was definitely more muddy than he. 

Yesterday morning I was feeding when Capella and Midnight, living together in the same pen, decided to get into an argument over some stray bits of kibble.  Though more a squabble than a fight, it required my intervention to prevent it from escalating into injuries and vet bills.  It's VERY unusual for me to have to intervene in canine squabbles in this kennel, so that was rather startling.

Not so startling as the altercation that occurred when I was feeding the dogs their supper last night.  Grace and Innoko have been living in the pen that's attached to the house, and as I was delivering food they got into a squabble of their own.  By the time I made my way into the pen Grace was inside her house and Innoko was half-way in, pressing the advantage of his size.  Neither dog was injured, but it was again very surprising and unexpected, especially for a six-month old intact male to go after any female so aggressively. 

I probably should have been shoveling wood chips yesterday, but my back and shoulders still ached from my workout shoveling dirt, so I decided to go tractor shopping instead.  Our friends at John Deere are releasing a new machine that is basically a cross between a garden tractor and a utility tractor.  A small machine that can accommodate a loader, and with all the shovel work that needs done around this place, the thought of having a little loader seems pretty darned reasonable.

John Deere has been floating 'teasers' about a new series of subcompact tractors that I've been following with some interest.  They are basically slightly oversized garden tractors that can handle an assortment of small but capable implements such as a loader, snow-blower and so forth.  You can read more about their new mini-machine HERE.

Well, as I was chatting with the salesman at Craig Taylor Equipment and explaining the type of work I plan to do with a machine I asked about comparable machinery.  He pointed out that a somewhat larger tractor with heavier-duty implements and a tougher chassis built for harder work might actually be less expensive. 

I said "Huhn?  Really?"

I asked him to work up a quote, and sure enough the larger machine with the implements I need most (a loader and a dirt blade) came in a full $1,000.00 cheaper than the over-grown garden tractor.  That doesn't mean it's cheap, just cheaper. 

The larger machine offers some real advantages.  High on the list is a standard mechanical transmission rather than hydrostatic running gear.  That can prevent a lot of problems when it's very cold out and the hydraulic fluid runs as thick as half-frozen molasses.  The larger machine has a few more horsepower.  Most importantly, the larger machine can accept a wider variety of heavier-duty implements designed for agricultural rather than casual home-owner use. 

So, I am contemplating taking out a loan to buy the darned thing.  Whether or not I do so may depend upon how I feel after shoveling wood chips today.

1 comment:

  1. The first thing that came to my mind about the unusual scrapiness was all the new faces in the kennel recently. Am looking forwarding to a picture of new work horse :-)