Friday, February 29, 2008
Here he is...
In all his skinny-ass glory. He doesn't usually like to miss a meal, so I'm not really sure what they were thinking.

It was option #8
Beaker showed up while M was behind our property looking for them this morning. He doesn't look all that bad, not even much thinner. He was certainly happy to see us. We brought him right in and fed him and he laid down on the kitchen floor. Then we started quizzing him "Where's Jakey?" (Like that was going to do any good). I worried most about Jake, the dalmatian, with his short hair and wonky back end from being hit by a car.

After tending to Beaker M headed out back again to try and hollar for Jake. I was just so afraid that something had happened to Jake and that was why Beaker had come home alone. Interestingly, while I was making the bed the phone rang and someone called to tell us they heard two dogs running around in the woods miles away where ours were spotted on Monday. I told the caller that one of ours had just come home. It pained me to have to leave for work while M was still out looking for Jake, but I can't be late. While I was out scraping the windshield I saw Jakey making his way slowly down the mountain toward me. I called him and it was only then that I felt tears of relief stinging my eyes. Jake looks pretty bad. The hair over his nose is scraped away and he looks emaciated. I'll have a picture for you tonight. I hollared for M, hoping he'd hear me wherever he was. I led Jake in the house and fed him. After Jake ate he plopped down in front of the wood stove. I imagine he'll be there for a long time to come.

Thank you all for your good wishes and support. This has been a pretty stressful time and your encouragement and hope for a happy ending have helped me through it. You guys are great.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Another surge of hope dashed...
A lady came by the store this morning and told M that her husband had seen the dogs. He was bobcat hunting with some others and they saw them up on the mountain behind us. The good news was that they were still alive, after eight degree weather last night, and that they were on our side of the mountain again. M spent a couple of hours this afternoon driving up the mountain and calling for them. All to no avail. He didn't find them and they haven't come home.
Pre-Spring Gobblers
It's very rare to see a flock of turkeys this close to the house. Like, I've never seen them before. We've seen one or two at a time, but even that's rare. M shot this photo through the dirty glass in our back door.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Not back. It's 11 degrees outside. I was honestly coping better with the dog situation before there was a sighting and I realized how we missed an opportunity. It's been a horrible day for me. I'm in such a funk. It feels like the weight of all that ails me is crushing me today. Drugs would be good right about now. Anyone have a favorite happy pill to recommend?
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Still no dogs...
On my drive home tonight, while I was scanning the area, hoping to spot the dogs, I was also crafting this blog post in my mind. The one where I confront the possibilities of what has happened to the dogs. Here's the list:

1. They're still OK, just touring around and finding shelter where they can. They have no problem munching on carcasses so they may not be starving.

2. They are slowing starving and slowly succumbing to exposure, but still alive.

3. They've been caught in with livestock and have been shot dead. We'll never know about it.

4. They've found a cyanide trap laid by the animal warden and are dead. We probably would find out when he checks his trap and retrieves their collars.

5. They've found someone to hang out with, and that person doesn't know how to contact us.

6. Someone has found them and kept them. Or taken them somewhere else. Both dogs would have decent monetary value so it's not impossible.

7. They're gone forever and we'll never know their fate.

8. We'll come home one day and find that they've found their way back home.

As you can see there are numerous possibilities and most are not so great to dwell on. It's been weird around here without them. On the plus side, you can move around freely without stumbling over moving obstructions. The floors still look clean two days after vacuuming. M has all kinds of free time. On the minus side, they're our boys, our responsibility and we miss them. I've told Emma they've left home on an adventure, but she's starting to miss them too.

When I got home today there was a message on the machine. A woman I know called to tell us she'd seen our dogs. This woman lives about four miles south of us and a mountain over. She said the dogs were out behind their house all afternoon yesterday just laying around. Then this morning she saw them again, but they headed back up the mountain around 9:30 a.m. Unfortunately, she didn't hear the radio message until they were gone. So now we don't know if they'll be on this side of the mountain or her side. She did say that they had been in and out of a barn behind her house so it sounds like they have the sense to find shelter where they can. And they're still together.

Unfortunately tonight is going to be bad weather-wise. We've had a relatively mild few days since they've been gone. That luck has run dry. They're calling for snow again. I just pray the dogs can find their way to someone else who knows we're looking for them. I'm afraid that's the only way we'll get them back.
Monday, February 25, 2008
M's shelf is done
We carried it up to her room this morning. I had already bought the bins to put in it. Honestly, I think I got too greedy with the height, for that location. It will take some getting used to. Emma seems to like it a lot. M did a great job on it and gave me exactly what I asked for. I'm thinking when we move Emma from the toddler bed to the big bed the shelf can claim the space along the wall where the toddler bed is now. The best part of all this is we now have a lot of storage space for Emma's stuff. Mission accomplished.

The dogs are still gone
M let the SPCA know and called the radio again. We'll hope someone spots them.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
The dogs ran away...again
As I've mentioned before, this is something they used to do only once or twice a year. They always came home within the same day, even if it was the wee hours of the a.m. The last time they didn't come home. M ended up putting their info out on the radio and letting the SPCA know. Someone found them and called us. It wasn't so long ago. You probably remember.

This time, I'm thankful that I wasn't the one who let them go. The two of them should never be trusted together outside. I'm telling you, this is the danger of having two dogs. I don't think either one of them would do this on their own.

Nonetheless, they're gone. It's been two days now. M's been out riding around looking for them a few times, but nothing like the last time they ran away. You can almost never find them that way anyway.

So, we may or may not ever see them again. I'm guessing we will, but the hard part at this point is not knowing how it will end. On top of everything, Jake still wasn't back to 100% from being hit by the car. They're stupid, stupid animals. M spoils them horribly and they're stupid for leaving home.

Stupid dogs.
Playtime at 36 degrees
Emma was adamant that she wanted to go outside today. The best we could do for weather was 36 degrees and overcast. Emma and M spent a while outside playing on the swings, the slide and in the crow's nest. She carried around the sand box toys and set them everywhere, calling them "obstacles."

Now she's down for a nap and M is getting ready to paint the shelves he built for her room. That project was delayed for weeks while the shelves sat in my kitchen. Talk about "obstacles."

Mortality for everyone
A couple years ago I wrote here and here about a local 25 year-old girl who had died. It weighed heavily on me at the time because it was so unfair. She had a short, unhappy life. As a follow-up to those posts it turned out that she didn't die of an aneurysm. Unbeknownst to her she had a tumor on her stomach. A twenty pound tumor. On the night she died the weight of the tumor suffocated her in her sleep. Tragic.

She had an older brother. He was also like her, an outcast of sorts and mostly a shut-in. When she died everyone knew he would take it hard, because they were companions to each other. They both lived with their grandma. While she was a big girl, he was morbidly obese. Recently the news went through town that they had taken him to the hospital. The reason it was big news was because he was so big that they needed help from the fire department to get him into the ambulance. The next bit of gossip we heard was that they weighed him in the hospital and he was 684 lbs. The next bit of news we heard was that he was dead. He died two years to the day after his sister died. I'm pretty sure he died of staph infection. He was 30.

God, I hate February.
Maple sugaring time
Tonight M has been trying to make granulated maple sugar. To do this you take pure maple sugar and boil it and when it gets to 260 degrees you start to stir like hell. Eventually you will stir it into sugar.

Unfortunately tonight's batch has not been cooperating. He has boiled the same batch over and over and only gets a thick goopy caramel type mess. He finally gave up on one batch and decided to try to pull it into taffy. The picture below shows his creation. It actually is more like hard candy (think Jolly Rancher). You wouldn't want to bite it, but it's really good.