Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Let There Be Light(s)

The Lovestead outdoor Christmas-light display went up yesterday.  Mind you, ours could not hold a candle to the Butler extravaganza down at the other end of South Center Valley Road. 

Now that he's retired from his teaching career, Dan Butler's Christmas light show---which has been adorning his neck of the Selle woods (not to be confused with the family of Woods)---pretty much since after Halloween, has pretty much doubled in size.

We've already enjoyed his thousands of colorful jewels lighting up the darkness a couple of times while driving to ZAGS games/gobble fests at my sisters' house over on Center Valley Road. And, I'm sure we'll love seeing it for the next several weeks. 

Dan's colorful array of lighting winding around his trees and adorning his buildings is truly something to behold, especially out in these parts. 

That said, I'm rather happy with my deck lights, especially because they made it so easy on me yesterday as I put them up.  I guess past years of hard work, involving just where to put the nails has paid off.  

It took all of ten minutes to complete yesterday's job.

Plus, I already had installed that string of little twinkle lights for the Cousins' reunion in early October. 

Anyway, a small but effective dose of Christmas magic outside the window should add a festive touch to each day from now until New Year's Day.

Yesterday turned out to be the holiday "get started" day with several gifts ordered on Cyber Monday and most of my Christmas cards addressed and stamped. 

The baking has not yet begun, but the $$$ needed for ingredients have been spent at the grocery stores.  After Thanksgiving, it's always hard to think about having more fattening food on the premises, but I'm usually pretty careful and disciplined with my cookie baking.

Two or three of each new batch will sit on a plate for free grazing while the rest will go in the freezer. 

Among the other items on yesterday's agenda, which involved taking the car to the body shop and Bill's trouble shooting for our stove which has some problems, we teamed up to back the travel trailer into the storage shed/shop for the winter. 

Its additional length over the R-pod means taking up a lot more space inside the shop, but I found the walk to the barn rather dramatic this morning as a whole lot of outdoor space opened up along the route where the trailer had been parked for a few weeks. 

In other news, two furry buddies just raced upstairs and are vying for my personal attention in a small space right next to my computer.  So far, Foster has dominated the competition.

In adhering to balanced reporting of the good, the bad and the stressful, I must announce that those two furry boys did a bad thing yesterday.

They ran away. 

Feeling sorry for them for having to stay inside so much of late, I told Bill that I would be giving them some extra freedom besides their usual morning pasture play.  They, along with Kiwi, could play with their ball in the yard while I raked a few leftover leaves.

Of late, that ball has served a stress reliever for me, knowing that their focus is pretty fixed on getting it away from the holder or holding on to it so others can't have it. 

Well, I think Foster and Liam had devised a plot.  As the three dogs stayed within a 10-foot radius, taking turns with the ball, Kiwi grabbed it.  She usually holds it for some time before Liam figures out how to distract her and grab it away from the clutches of her teeth.

At the very moment, Kiwi got the ball, Liam suddenly darted off toward the woods with Foster following right behind. 

The experts tell me and I've become a believer that "DOWN" can save a dog's life.  For the past several weeks, after much practice, whenever I have yelled "DOWN" to Liam, he has immediately collapsed to the ground and remained in place. 

Not yesterday!

Once they hit the starting gates, those two were off to the races bounding through the woods, headed west, which is not good. 

I desperately yelled "DOWN" at least half a dozen times, running after them through ankle deep water. They would hear nothing of my rather emphatic suggestion.

Soon, Bill came outside as I moved on through the woods.  Finally, I yelled to him to get in the car and head down Selle Road.  Then, I moved on through the woods, completely losing sight of them. 

By the time I reached our west boundary, I could see no dogs of ours but could hear loud barking from two sets of neighbor dogs. 

I left our woods and headed down a lane slogging through calf-deep water. The lane, next to our neighbor Wes' place runs north and south to Selle Road.  Calling and looking all around me, I saw no sign of them!

By the time I returned to our woods, tears were flowing along with thoughts of never seeing them again or learning that they had met with a horrible end.  

Walking north along the swale, I through my tears, I suddenly spotted Foster but no Liam. 

Foster was coming from a pretty scary area.  For a minute or two, I was sure Liam had probably gone where no dog from our place should ever go, so I kept walking and crying. 

Reaching the lodgepole pasture, I saw something black and white, looking back at me, a most beautiful sight.  

Liam had stopped and was waiting in precisely the spot where I had found him once before on an unauthorized freedom run. 

I wanted to hug him but maintained a neutral demeanor as I grabbed his leash and we walked back through the woods where Foster had met up with Bill. 

It was a horrible 15 minutes that turned out okay, but we now know that we cannot trust those two when they're off leash and in the yard together.  

I hate the reality of the situation, but we'll keep adjusting to keep them safe.  This morning I'm just thankful to have them back so they can keep coming upstairs to my computer and compete for attention. 

Who said having dogs was ever easy?  Still, it's a relationship that goes along with another word I've used before in regard to these two renegade pups----priceless. 

Happy Tuesday. 

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