I'm nonetheless making progress, though. Most of yesterday was spent in town. The truck needed service and I then needed to run some errands. The most important of those was the acquisition of enough straw to bed the dogs through winter.
The last few years, we've consistently required the equivalent of 1 bale of straw per dog just to keep a nice bed of straw in their houses and in the compartments of the dog truck. Normally it's not too difficult to purchase a good stock of straw in September. This year was an exception as the early summer heat and dry weather wreaked havoc on the hay and grain crops up here. It's been very hard to find straw available for sale at all, and horse owners are having an even worse time finding hay for their animals to eat.
Normally I buy straw directly from the farmers, but this year I just couldn't find any. I finally had to bite the bullet and spend the additional money to purchase it from our local feed store. Combined with the surplus from last year, the 20 bales I bought should be sufficient to get us through the season in good shape.
I hauled it home on the trailer, with the dog boxes in place. I was pleased that load of straw fit so nicely on that unit, with plenty of room to spare.
|20 bales of straw loaded, stowed and secured for transport.|
Of course, the day wasn't done yet. Once home I had to remove last year's straw from the storage shed, unload yesterday's purchase, and then put the surplus straw back under cover. The whole point of that exercise is to ensure we use the old stuff first, thus rotating our stock.
Today Trish and I focused our efforts on kennel maintenance. Trish needed to learn how to operate the tractor not only for maintaining the yard, but also for removing snow in our driveway while I'm away at work. Just as we were preparing for Trish's first tractor lesson I heard a terrible ruckus up in the chicken coop. I went dashing up the hill as quickly as I could to find our house dog Shadow with a pullet in her mouth. I was surprised when I relieved her of the bird to find she (the pullet) was still breathing. I didn't feel she was doing particularly well, but when I examined her I didn't find any punctures nor fractured bones.
We put the pullet into a small cat-sized airline crate in a quiet, warm room. So far she seems to be doing better than I would have expected. She's eating and drinking water, but has trouble trying to stand or walk on her left leg. We'll give her a day or two and see how she progresses. I'll admit my first inclination was to butcher her for supper, but Trish has other ideas.
In any event, once we'd nursed the chicken we headed outside for Trish's tractor lesson. Trish was a born country girl and she really is very good with machines. We were no more than 10 or 15 minutes into the lesson when I captured this image:
|Trish's lovely smile tells the story|
In any event, tonight we have a safer yard for both dogs and humans with some of the worse holes filled in. We've reinforced the gate of the chicken coop making it safer for the birds, though considerably more frustrating for Shadow. We have enough supplies to take care of the dogs for quite a while and, one more thing.
This afternoon I started putting my cotton summer clothing into storage, and brought out my silk long-johns and woolen winter stuff. The additional insulation was very welcome today and I doubt I'll need my summer gear for another 7 or 8 months. There is clearly a chill in the air warning us that winter is rapidly approaching.