Archive for the ‘Life on the Farm’ Category

thanks to what I thought would be a brilliant purchase.

Feeling the need to buy something for my dog (because I’m a sucker for those sad brown eyes and I figured she needed something other than the carpet to chew on), I made a trip to Sunny Farms to check out their line of dog chewies o’ natural. What I found was a plethora of organic rawhide chews ranging from medallion shaped goodies to pig snouts to ears and other doggie delectable delicacies. I made my decisions, choosing one of the pancake sized flat chewies that smelled like processed meat and molasses – I’m gonna say that dogs find this appetizing – and a “bull stick”. Now, if one has never seen a “bull stick” it is exactly as it sounds, a long slender stick of tightly wrapped bull skin of which once was indeed a bull’s stick. In other words, a bull penis packaged as a delightful dog treat.  I bought it out of sheer amusement. What I did not know was that this hilarious (and slightly disturbing) present for my dog was also a cleverly disguised stink bomb.

When I got home Scout’s nose immediately picked up the scent of something lovely from the grocery bags. She danced tight circles around me until I presented her with the source of the sweet smell. One bull stick in mouth she headed straight for the couch where she fell into a state of doggie bliss, chewing contently on the treat.

It was only a matter of moments before a strange aroma filled the room. A smell described best as smokey and pungent. With ever drooling bite, Scout’s saliva was transforming the bull stick into bull stink. After a few minutes I decided it was time to take away the treat and hope that the malodorous odor would dissipate once the chewing had stopped. I could not have been more wrong.

It seems that this dog treat is some horrid joke perhaps cooked up by some disgruntled rancher. I set the bull stick on top of the dryer – one of the few places high enough that Scout would not be able to reach it – and bustled off upstairs to my office to work on some illustrations. I hadn’t more than sat down when my nose wrinkled. What the heck smelled like sweaty gym socks? I got up and followed the foul smell down the stairs to the kitchen where Scout stood nose plastered to the dryer, wagging her tail. The sun was beaming in through the window directly onto the bull stick. Apparently, slobbery dried bull penis + heat is the formula for creating tear gas. Through coughs and gasps, I quickly removed the foul thing from the house.

Much to Scout’s disapproval the bull stick has found a new home in a plastic ziplock stashed out on the back porch. Despite removal of the botched purchase, the house has yet to give up the lingering odor, of which Scout seems pretty content to have as our new air freshener and for me will be a strong reminder to think twice before buying questionable animal parts for my dog’s chewing needs.

Mmm-mm Good!

Happy Scout with her "bull stick".


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If you are in the process of re-roofing a person’s house and you are now a week behind on the work forcing this person to live out the day at their parents’, it is advisable to finish the roof before asking them out. Believe me, the person is probably not in a good mood and would prefer to hear the words “Hey the roof is done!” rather than “How about dinner sometime?”

*Though I give the guy credit for bravery in the face of a grumpy Irish woman.

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So I’m going to assume the fresh perspective I was hoping for this morning was not in the form of fresh roadkill directly in front of my future place of residence. Is it a bad sign to walk out and find a deer carcass laying in front of your house? I consulted a friend who replied with “I’m sure it’s not significant…unless the Sequim Mafia is trying to tell you something.”  This made me laugh, hard. I just have this image of a bunch of old retirees dressed in trench coats dragging this deer carcass out of the trunk of one of their monster Buicks and depositing the “message” near the fence of the old farmhouse. “Let’s hope the new girl gets the hint,” one of them grumbles in a New York accent.

It is true that I am already the talk of the neighborhood. News travels quickly in small towns, and the hint of change and fresh gossip brings people out from miles around. I had my first encounter with one of my new neighbors – an old codger with grizzled face and young Springer Spaniel pup in tow. I gave a wave from the yard as he was walking by. It was all the incentive he needed to stop and gab a while. I must say, I welcomed the company – it was certainly an improvement over the deer. It is a puzzlement to me how friendly and wary people are in the country. There is an instant trust that is given over to the newcomer and also an understanding that one earns their keep in these parts. As he talked about the cougars prowling on the mountain behind us (known to the locals as the Burn), and the threat of coyotes and how he’d lost his favorite cat to one a while back, I realized this paradoxical welcome is an invitation into a community that relies on camaraderie to survive in such a rural setting. There is a thirst for conversation when neighbors are separated by acres rather than a side yard, and an understanding that there is a working together in order to protect what is. Fences are mended together, cattle are watched over by neighbors as if protecting their own, and the weather is always on people’s minds. I will be a strange addition to the mixture of this country lane, and I wonder how they will take my “city” ways with my emphasis on recycling and wonder, rather than fear, of the local wildlife.

As I left for Seattle, I had mixed feelings about this move. I am both excited and apprehensive about leaving Seattle. But I know now, there will be opportunity to grow. I bring myself to this place, with all that I have learned and experienced up until now. It is not that I am abandoning my friends or my life that I have created here in the past 6 years. I am taking those things with me. Most importantly, God is with me – no matter where I find myself or what path I choose – walking alongside me as I journey to an old place and into a new adventure, and that is what makes all the difference. The Sequim Mafia got nothing against that.

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All good stories begin with change. Bilbo had to take that first step out the door to leave the shire and start his adventure. I really hope this is the case with the step I’m about to make. The problem is with one’s own adventure we don’t have the advantage to flip a few pages ahead and see what is coming down the road.

About two months ago I decided to take the big leap I’ve only dreamed about for the past 5 years – moving away from Seattle. This has been an off and on bitter sweet desire that has kept me wondering what it is I’m searching for and why Seattle has not yet provided it. So, in the fashion of a good adventurer and one who doesn’t necessarily think things through, I finally decided it was time to up and leave this place. Where to you might ask would my wandering spirit lead me? Of all places, back to my home town of Port Angeles. Yes, a bold move. Even more bold — moving into the farmhouse on my parents property. Ah, yes, the peace and quiet of country life coupled with the big perk of not having to pay rent. Genius, right?

This may very well be the dumbest move or the most important I’ve ever made. I came to this conclusion as I pulled out of my driveway this morning to make one last visit to PA (Port Angeles) before the final move on May 30th. Much like buyer’s remorse, my stomach has gone sour on more than one occasion today as mover’s remorse has set in. I haven’t even officially moved in yet and already the implications of what I’ve committed to are beginning to shake my confidence. I’m moving in two weeks. Returning to my hometown to live in a hundred year old farmhouse that sits at the foot of my parents’ property. I’m leaving my friends, my community, my church and all that I’ve held on to for the past six years. This move is both overdue and foolish, and the rash on my arms tells me my anxiety has peaked and my body is picketing the bombardment of so many worries.

I’m beginning to think the old saying “you can’t go back home” is true. Not that you can’t go back, but that you find you don’t want to. This morning as I woke up an hour before my alarm, having tossed and turned all night with anxiety building about my impending move, the impact of what I’m about to do smacked me like a limp fish in the face. It was rather unpleasant.  As I packed up moving boxes, crammed my dog in the backseat of my “mini me” Subaru Outback (the sport), avoiding her look of “No! Not again!”, I contemplated what sort of faux pas it would be to call my landlord and explain in a frantic voice what a horrible mistake I’d made and could I please please stay another year. Thankfully, by the time I’d grabbed coffee and a muffin I’d talked myself down. The ferry was a short drive away and once there I couldn’t turn back, right? My sour stomach grumbled something about the idiocy of indecision and I slurped down a few mouthfuls of iced latte to shut it up. The caffeine apparently worked to lull me into a false sense of security for by the time I’d reached the ferry I’d convinced myself that either way this move would be a good thing. God uses everything for good  – even ridiculous decisions to move back to your parents’ place, right?

The ferry ride and following hour long drive to the Peninsula proved uneventful aside from the battle still raging in my brain about why I’m making this move. The conclusions I came to were all too truthful to handle. I was moving because I had somehow come to the conclusion I needed to be someplace else to write, to draw, to get published. What shocked me was that I no longer believed this. I have been seeing success in Seattle for the past month or so. It was a matter of me sitting down and admitting I’m a cartoonist, a writer, and a darn fine illustrator, so I better start acting that way. As that little lightbulb clicked on over my head, I found myself standing on a proverbial ledge. Actually, the ledge was about three feet to my left and I, like that lovable unlucky Looney Toons’ coyote, was hovering in mid-air with about two seconds left before I plummet into the abyss. I hold up my “DRAT!” sign and give a short wave.

I’m still falling as I finish up this first day of pre-moving preparation which has found me in the midst of cleaning dead flies from every windowsill in the farmhouse. There’s more dead bugs in this place than an entomologist’s specimen collection.

Where flies go to die...

I’ve also had the privilege of meeting a few live creepy-crawling roommates which I welcomed by quickly vacuumed them up. The worry of this move is still coursing through my veins and despite the amazing conversations I’ve had with my parents about my concerns, I’m undecided whether I should follow through with this wacky plan or not. For now, I’ll have to trust that sleeping on the matter will bring a fresh perspective in the morning.

I was alarmed to discover this little remanent of a housemate and didn't hesitate to vacuum him up. Praying spiders this size only come in the dead version.

And the "vacuum" quickly arrived to deal with the matter.

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