Thursday, November 25, 2010

Through Rain Or Snow

There are few things more tranquil than sitting inside snuggled next to a roaring, crackling fire, sipping something warm while watching the beautiful white snow flakes cascade softly to the earth. Or remembering my thrill at hitting the slopes at the crack of down, skiing all day and partying all night, a very long time ago, or even ice skating was great fun....I imagine everyone “loves the snow” when they see it from those perspectives, but what about from a different perspective? What if you have to actually be outside working in it?

Today's Thanksgiving animal count at Happy Tails is:

4 horses in 2 pastures that are several hundred feet apart
8 Oberhasli goats in 2 different pastures
2 llamas with a horse
chickens everywhere, some in their hoop house, some with goats, others roosting where they will
cats, hard to tell how many new ones were deposited by transient moms, maybe a half dozen or so
39 Rotts with straw stuffed Igloos and partial roofs

Imagine that 18” of fresh snow fell on all of us with temperatures hovering around -5 degrees. To survive, everyone now requires extraordinary winter care, such as:

plentiful dry straw must be stuffed into Igloos for warmth & scattered in front for lounging.

18” of snow must first be removed from the tarps covering the snow

18” of snow must be removed from the front of each kennel, from the front of the barn, from our paths

all drinking water must be broken once daily, it still will refreeze quicker than we like

hoses must be manually drained, holding overhead and draining 3 times and then carefully laid flat

hoses must be dragged up to 300'+ to reach farthest pastures

kennel gates freeze and require human intervention to get them open

snow accumulates in front of gates and freezes and must be hacked away for access

snow must be shoveled off the partial roofs or they will collapse

many of our chain link kennels have been squished down a foot or so due to past heavy snow

wooden 2 x 6 supports must be built and installed to add support so roofs won't collapse

paths in snow must be made for chickens that stay out so food can be scattered in those paths

food for our cats & guest cats is in barn and under parked trucks trailers

1 of our cats insists on special accommodations on our covered porch, w shelter, food & water

hay must be delivered to horses/goats, after removing all snow from the tarps

dogs eat from 5 gallon buckets

dog food is stored in one of our 45' trailers, those doors always freeze shut & require attention

dog food must be loaded into something to carry to the runs

With this number of dogs and these temps we're looking at 4,000 to 5,850 lbs of dog food monthly

We still have to get dog food from Portland, Vancouver, Yakima during the winter

We are off grid, meaning solar when there's sun, but in the winter and these low temps we need full time diesel generator operation. Equipment fails, as it did day before yesterday, meaning we're all without basics of electricity, heat or water until we humans can trouble shoot, find & resolve any problems, irrespective of the weather, inclination or energy.

Our tractor doesn't “do” winters, our ATV needs repair. We hand carry food in 5 gallon buckets, we sometimes hand carry water when an outdoor frost free hydrant freezes. What normally takes 2 humans a couple of hours in good weather can take 6-8 hours leaving us drained, freezing yet sweating from the exertion.

The little Suzuki Sidekick is small enough to help deliver the hay to the pastures and as winter progresses, we will give up trudging things by hand, dig open the fence panels so we can drive into the dog area.

Our blessings are not only saving the lives & serving those that need help, but also in seeing the numerous birds that share our chicken food & hay, they land by the dozens and belly right up with horses, goats & chickens. We left hundreds of apples on the trees. Their bright red color contrasts nicely against the snow, and it's particularly rewarding to see visiting birds land to dine. I doubt there will be any left by spring. There's also some herbs, seeds & veggies in the garden that birds seem to find enjoyable. We also have dozens and dozens of smaller birds who have decided that they live with the dogs, they build nests under their roofs and swoop down to share their kibble & water.

We are thankful today, but grateful all year!

This is the view from Happy Tails humans.

Be thankful that you're inside or outside by choice.

Happy Tails could use:

building materials for repairs
building materials for a permanent arena style roof over the dogs 90 x 120
an operational ATV
a 4 x 4 tractor that does winter
a lower mileage 4 x 4 truck, our rigs are 250k plus and taped together
an operational 15K + generator

Contributions are tax deductible.

Safe Journey!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Don't Touch My Junk ~ TSA Rap Video

This video is rated not suitable for children, but rather than shield them from the reality of the potential sexual molestation they face if they try to board an airplane in the US, you might consider showing them the video.

Don't fly and be molested, the airlines can stop this. We can stop this. The original program initiated in 2001 has a 2 year contract.  Vote with your dollars, do not fly until sexual molestation stops.

Check the creative video by clicking on the Title.

"With people getting partially molested at checkpoints, all that is going to be a real shock for them,"  said Greg Wells, senior vice president of operations at Southwest Airlines.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Xena The Adorable

Xena was adorable as Rotties get.  Like Seabiscuit, though she was small she was mighty.  I have been blessed to know 5 Rottie females.  The first 2 were purebreds from champion lines.  One of which was the sweetest pup I have ever known, until Xena.  Xena was not outdone and fairly matched by my sweet Maggie.  

Xena is missed greatly by her two brothers, Taj (a chow/dobie mix) and Strider (a Gordon Setter/Border Collie mix).  The only thing that these two boys ever agreed on was their love of Xena.  She kept the both in line and happy as all get-out. 

Although she was generally accepting and friendly, she was super protective while riding around in public.  To both dogs and people she was vehement should any approach her beloved car and family.  Car riding, walking, playing with her brothers, belly rubs were all her favorite things.  My wife and I dearly love and deeply miss our short-legged, barrel-bodied, nub-wagging friend and sister. 

We only hope our next female Rottie will be half as sweet and loving as our Xena.  My God, how they grow right into our hearts.  Bless you sweet sister.  I hope you are enjoying the Kingdom of Bliss.  Bob & Jacque.