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.

 

Just Us Guys

Teresa’s been away for just over a week now and we three guys have got on just fine. We miss her, of course, but there’s something about guy time, something … primal maybe.

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She’s kind of like a mother, you know, caring for us, worrying about us—especially me in my senior years with my various health issues and anxieties. I appreciate it, of course I do, and I’m probably still running around because of it, but sometimes it’s nice to just chill.

For example, Teresa will buy an assortment of canned foods to add to my morning kibble to make it more palatable. Tasty, very nice, yes, but Nollind’s system of tossing in a glob of bacon fat works well too. I clean the bowl every day.

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Teresa is inclined to keep me on a leash during walks to keep me from overdoing it, even though I’m not inclined to run after coyotes much anymore. With Nollind, if I’m sore at the end of the day, he tosses me a bit of medication.

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Nollind goes to town more often than Teresa so trips to the dog park are more frequent, even though all that roughhousing can be a bit taxing on my old body.

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And then there’s that bacon fat on my breakfast.

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The biggest concern when Teresa’s away is … well … Nollind. A few years back when she was up visiting her mom in the fall, he jumped off a boat and badly sprained his ankle, bad enough for an ambulance ride and a cast. Last year, when Teresa was up north visiting her mom in October, he fell off a ladder and broke his arm, badly enough to require a plate and screws and months of rehab.

So, since she’s up visiting her mom again, she asked us to keep an eye on him while she’s away, keep him safe. It’s exhausting.

So far, so good, though, and I saw on his calendar that she’s coming home on Monday. If we can just keep him away from ladders and other dangerous places until then. He was sailing on Wednesday and that went okay. Thank God for light winds!

Well, gotta go. Nollind’s headed outside on a mission of some sort. I’m back on duty.