Background Switcher (Hidden)

Slow Down, You Move Too Fast

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Gotta make this morning last...

When we last left Zick and Baker, they were playing shadow games on their favorite barn. Well, it's hard to pick a favorite among barns. Let's just say this one is our favorite for shadowplay. You'll notice I have a leash on The Bacon. It's necessary now, because he's got some new behaviors since he went deaf. For instance, while we are still on our road, before we turn out onto the main road, he will sometimes turn around and very quietly try to sneak home when I am distracted, which is most of the time.  It's not safe for him to do that, because he can't hear the cars coming any more, and it's a pain in the neck to have to keep an eye on him all the time.  So I keep him leashed on the first part of the outbound loop. 

Why does he do this? Well, it's not because he doesn't enjoy our runs--he loves them. But Daddeh gets up later than I do, and Chet knows that Daddeh starts the day by giving him a bikket. So if we leave before Daddeh is up, Chet will do everything he can to sneak home so he won't miss that morning bikket. Bikkets are inordinately important to Chet Baker. Bill slipped a bikket into my pocket as I was heading out on my last run (after giving Chet one), and that Bacon stuck to me like glue for the whole run! We may be onto something. But I didn't like having him beg from me. I like to watch him doing his thing without distraction.

For most of his 11 years, I've been able to softly speak to Chet, ask him to stay, to stick around, and he's been happy to comply. He'll just sit or lie down next to me until I'm done examining the tracks or photographing the bindweed. Now that he no longer gets that auditory input, he decides what he wants to do, and just up and does it. So if he feels like heading home, he heads home. And since he doesn't hear me call him back, he figures that's just fine. Yep, heading home, bum ba bum ba bum, nope, she's not calling me, must be OK to head home...
Time for a leash.

He leads me to interesting stuff. And because he's leashed, I have to linger for anything he wants to check out. New territory for both of us. He found a stain that I knew went with a car-killed raccoon (here's its last deposit, too, how sad!)

And then he found where the vultures had dragged it and reduced it to a stain and a felt of hair

and he still found something or other to scarf down, eccch!! No kisses for you!

I noticed then that there were snow-white down feathers sprinkled all over the grass around the vultures' picnic site, and one body feather. Clearly, they'd taken their ease after eating, and preened for quite awhile.

So if you didn't know that turkey vultures, sooty-brown as they are, have snow-white down and feather bases, now you do. I picked this one up and sniffed it. Yep. Vulture. Strong pungent odor, unmistakeable. 

Just love what Mother Nature did with this little old gaily painted John Deere tractor tire planter. The russet seedheads of dock, paired with foxtail. A bit sparse, but pretty nonetheless, seasonally appropriate.

We forged onward.

When we get well away from home and we turn onto a little dirt road, I hurry to let Chet off the leash. By then he's fully engaged and enjoying himself thoroughly. He leads me, and that's how I love it best. I like to watch those little haunches clicking away. He moves so beautifully, not a hint of stiffness in his joints. I'm grateful for that. I'm grateful for my fluid joints, too. 

And just like that, MonkeyBall season has begun! The first MonkeyBall* has been thrown out onto the great court of Autumn!

*Osage orange

and just like that, my photo got bombed.

We fetched up on the porch for a spell

and I scritched his lil' ole back, including the pleasantly itchy new divot on his withers where he proinked hisself crawling under the compost pit wire. When I got back from South Africa, he had a weird scaly hard lump on his back. Nobody knew how it had gotten there, but all agreed it had been there for a couple of weeks. Off to the vet we went the very next day, and Dr. Lutz looked at it, peeled it off in one smooth fearless vetlike motion, and decreed it naught but a scab! Whew! 

 I got up and took a look around the old farmstead and was pleasantly surprised to find a sofa where there had been no sofa before. Not one I would sit on, ick, but one that's clearly destined for burning at the stake. Note the fuel piled up nearby...doesn't look good for Joan D'Barcolounger. There was a little toy caterpillar and the cookie crumbs of the ages down under the cushions. 

The sofa made a pleasant, homey contrast with the autumn sky and the weathered old house, and Chet did a thorough inspection. If he'd have found a 50-year-old cookie in those creases, he'd have eaten it, for sure. The couch lends an air of surreality to this scene, as if someone was interrupted while preparing a photoshoot. It makes the old farmyard a living room, an inviting one at that.

We turned homeward. I loved watching that Bacon become a dot in the distance on this carless road. Of course I love him best when he's free to do whatever he wants. So I try to make sure he is when it's safe for him.

He's a little Black Beauty, smelling the barn, picking up the pace. 

And the last of the ironweed drains its color into the rapidly warming morning air. 

We find a curious relic by Fergus' farm pond. We're still looking for Waldo, but we know he was here. 

Coming down the hill, at exactly the spot where I found a northern red salamander this spring, I found the sad dessicated mummy of a garter snake. It had doubtless been bluish in life, but death had burnished that blue to an ethereal aqua. Whoa. What a thing to see. 

And you don't see these things--raccoon stains, vulture down, tractor tire planters, Waldo socks, snake mummies or monkeyballs--all within a two-mile stretch--when you're whizzing along at 50 mph. You have to take it slowly to see the good stuff. You have to look at the things that are there, and their shadows, too. Just another reason to be grateful for Chet Baker, slowing me down.


Was that garter snake a road-kill? Looks uncrushed in the photo. Around here when people hit a snake, it seems like they back up and give it a few more passess. I'm always impressed at how blue green snakes become after death.

Been trying to educate the locals, but snake haters tend to remain snake haters.

You must have been feelin' groovy today. Great story.

These are my favorite posts that you do -- so much to see if we just slow down and look :-)

Great post! My Bruno is a slow walker. Used to annoy me. I have a million things to do! Hurry- walk, walk, go potty, let's get home to do more stuff! But, he doesn't play that game. He stops to smell new things that appeared since he last was there. He stops to say hello to others on the trail. This can take some time, he has lots of fans! He refuses to rush. And because of him, I've made new friends, I notice changes in the landscape, have gotten to know the kids waiting on the bus and enjoy the sunrise and sunsets. I am thankful he's made me slow down. He's worth every minute!

So happy Chet is doing well!


Such a delightful read. Love those autumn hues. And sounds as if Chet and you have found a new routine! Ahhhh, the circles and cycles of life.

[Back to Top]