Hear No Evil

As a member of one of the more sensitive dog breeds (and smart but that’s for another blog post), I’ve always been a bit more, shall we say, aware, of strange, loud, or otherwise bothersome sounds. Things that beep, for instance, which includes many household objects: the stove when it comes back on after a power outage, the battery backups on the computer equipment, the dreaded smoke detector.

 

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I’ve spent my fair share of time hiding in closets.

 

And then there are cell phones. Why can’t they just ring like the phones of my puppyhood? There are umpteen different rings, chirps, beeps, and chimes, most of which are alarming to my ears.

Movies and television shows are chock full of disturbing noises—explosions, gun shots, roaring engines, booming music, to name just a few. What is the human obsession with all things noisy?

 

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What’s that noise?!

 

If it were safe outdoors, I’d just spend my time there, but then Nollind starts up the compressor or, horrors, a nail gun, a thunderstorm rolls in, or some duck hunter is firing off rounds. And then there’s fireworks. Seriously, whoever invented that crap must have been a real dog hater. Scares the bejesus out of most of us canines.

 

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One of our hair-raising summer thunderstorms rolling in.

 

In 2012 we were on our first RV trip over the Christmas holidays and Teresa and Nollind took us walking on a beach at Oceanside on New Year’s Eve. We went early, so that we’d be tucked in safe and sound at midnight when the fireworks started. At least that was the plan. At 8:00, the sky exploded just up the beach and if I hadn’t been attached to my people with a sturdy leash, it’s possible I’d still be running along the coast of California.

 

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The beach was great during the day.

 

And it’s not just me. A lot of dogs are sensitive to noise. My buddy Aspen, who lived with Teresa and Nollind when I first came, used to run blind as soon as she heard a gunshot, even if it was so far off it was imperceptible to anyone but her. In fact, it was what did her in in the end. She ran right into a tractor in one of her panicked states and damaged herself beyond repair. Poor silly, sweet girl.

 

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Aspen.

 

Other than that night on the beach, I’ve never been panicked by noise quite like Aspen, but lately, it’s like I hardly notice noises at all. An abrupt bang or a loud sneeze will launch me out of a nap but, generally, the world has become a lot quieter. Teresa and Nollind think I’m going deaf in my old age, but I don’t know about that. I still hear the important stuff, like the fridge door, a cheese wrapper, or someone driving into the yard. Maybe hearing just becomes more selective as we age, so I’ve opted out of thunderstorms and gunshots and the like.

 

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An undisturbed sleep.

 

Whether it’s loss of hearing or just being more selective, lately the world is a quieter, friendlier place for a sensitive dog, and that’s a good thing.

 

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This photo’s not really on topic, but it does feature ears, and we just had to post it somewhere.

 

The Dog Days of Summer

Apparently, this time of year was referred to as the dog days of summer by the ancient Greeks because they associated the hottest days of summer with the star Sirius, or “Dog Star”, and its rise just before the sun. I can believe that. It most certainly wasn’t because creatures covered in fur who have just a few sweat glands on our paws and cool off via panting are at all comfortable at this time of year. You’ve seen it. Dog on a hot day with its tongue on the floor. It may look like a big smile but, believe me, I’m not smiling.

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Yes. I know. It’s long.

 

Holy hot, what is going on this summer? It’s been hot almost every day since the beginning of July with most days out here on the farm rising above the thirty degree mark (that’s 86 Fahrenheit). Now I know it’s not Arizona or Australia kind of hot, but for many of us northerners, especially those of dressed in fur year-round, it’s just too hot.

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Morning road walk. Anybody have a bowl of water?

 

Teresa tries to get us out early for our daily walks, but even in the morning that sun seems to blaze into my black coat. Since the start of the heat, we’ve been walking along the canal so that we can swim and drink as much as we want to. And then they sprayed weed killer. Teresa’s not a fan of chemicals and won’t walk us down there until there have been a couple of good rains. I appreciate the consideration but, man, I sure miss the water when we’re baking in the hay field or down the road. Come on, rain!

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Rain dance in the hay field.

 

I went out with Teresa late this morning on a horse manure pickup mission. Thankfully, the area the horses had dropped most of their piles was near a shady spot where I could lie and watch. I said I went out with her, I didn’t say I went along to help. Not much I can do anyway other than supervise and I think I handled it just fine from fifty feet away in the shade. But, even with the shady vantage point, by the time we came in I was panting like a locomotive and seeking a little cool from the hardwood floor. I used to spend a lot of time in the basement during hot weather but, now that I’m getting on in years, I try to limit my trips up and down the stairs. Preservation, you might say.

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Maybe next time I’ll stay inside for horse chores.

 

On a positive note, Dictionary.com says that the Dog Days of Summer is “a period marked by lethargy, inactivity, or indolence.” Well, at least I’m doing it right.

Making Hay

I’ve been here on the farm for thirteen summers. And almost all of those thirteen summers, Teresa & Nollind have been making hay. It started with a couple of acres and some old equipment, and has expanded into over half of our land, two other properties, and newer, flashier equipment.

What hasn’t changed is my supervision of the process. As a fellow four-legged, albeit a carnivore, the horses rely on me to oversee the production of their winter food. I let the humans do the heavy lifting, literally, but I am the brains behind the operation.

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Supervising the first load. They were a good crew so I didn’t have to watch them all evening, but I did wander over to check their work while they were having post-stacking drinks.

 

Teresa has her microwave testing process set up in the garage and she checks the moisture levels before they bale. They could just ask me. I’d give them a moisture reading with one sniff. But I hear it’s good to make your people feel empowered.

 

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Checking hay moisture. I’d say … 16%.

 

This week the sun is shining and a breeze is blowing across the prairie which makes for perfect hay drying conditions. There’s also an excessive heat warning for our area, which makes for not-so-perfect hay stacking conditions. Luckily, I have paws rather than hands, so am not well designed for picking up or stacking fifty-pound bales.

I was out checking the moisture on the second field this morning. Now that Teresa has confirmed the results of my nose test, Nollind is over there raking and they’ll be baling this afternoon.

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Canine approved – ready to rake and bale.

 

Me? I’ll wait here in the cool until my services are required again.

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My favourite place when it’s 30+ degrees outside.