Snug …

I have mentioned before that we are keeping Lucy in a crate at night and also when we’re not at home. We and she are fortunate that she actually likes it. She spends most of every evening in it, unless she’s cruising for cat food in the kitchen, or pestering us for human food.


When she lived with my mother, every night at bedtime she raced into my mother’s bedroom and jumped up onto my mother’s bed. Then she burrowed under the covers.

lucy in mother's bed

This was when my mother was staying at an assisted living facility. We bought some fleece-lined steps so Lucy could get onto my mother’s bed without jumping.

When we brought Lucy to our house, we got her a bed that let her get into it like a sleeping bag.

lucy in her bag

Unfortunately, it doesn’t fit into her crate. We have to use fleece blankets and towels for her bedding. But Lucy is persistent. She has managed to find a way to burrow under the covers.

Going ...

Going …

Going ...

Going …



That’s her ear sticking up towards the back of the crate.

We have since found a large mattress cover that gives her lots of possibilities for burrowing.

Cool peppers

Our neighbor across the street gave us a jalapeño plant back in the summer. It was a nice, little plant with a couple of little chiles. They grew up, and we (mostly I) ate them. They were  essentially entirely without heat, but quite tasty. We brought it in when the weather turned, and it has been growing new peppers ever since.

jalapeno plant

It’s heavy with fruit now. The leaves are looking kind of ragged but it is still managing to ripen some peppers. I would have eaten a red one and a green on Sunday evening, but I was so tired* I didn’t feel like cooking anything that took longer than 90 seconds. There are a few tiny, little baby jalapeños on the plant, but I doubt that they will get the chance to ripen. Still, there are plenty left to eat.


* Leah and I spent a sleepless Saturday night at the ER. She had another episode with her chronic bowel obstruction. She came home Sunday morning, although her doctor would have preferred her to stay. She’ll probably make an appointment to see him later in the week. In the meantime, she’s feeling OK but now on a liquid diet. No jalapeños for her.

An intersection to be avoided

A wide cross section of Rome’s population shops at Walmart. There are white people, black people, Hispanic people and oriental people. There are people who are probably on the lower economic rungs, and there are those on the upper rungs. There are newborn babies, taken care of by their parents, of course, and some so aged that they should be taken care of by their children, or maybe even their grandchildren. I’m afraid that our steady exposure to all these different segments of society has turned me into a racist.

I’m afraid of old, white men.

I shouldn’t be afraid of old, white men. It’s wrong to judge every one of them just because of the actions of a few. After all, I am an old, white man. It’s just that some old, white men make me uncomfortable, uneasy, almost afraid. It’s the ones who are wearing pistols on their hips. We have seen at least four men carrying pistols in Walmart in the last couple of months, and three were old, white men. Now I notice old, white men in the store. I check them out. I look them up and down. I look for that gun riding up on their high-waisted pants. If I see one in the frozen foods aisle, I feel an urge to back away slowly and carefully and then dive into the ethnic food aisle. Leah wants to confront them, to ask them just why they’re carrying. But I don’t think it’s a good idea. Even a little lady like Leah might seem menacing to a scared, old, white man carrying a loaded pistol; who knows?

I don’t have anything against guns. I have been around them all my life and still have some. I like things that make loud noises, and I like knocking tin cans off rocks at 50 paces. (“Tin cans” – I told you I’m old.) And I have nothing against old, white men. Usually the greatest danger they pose is that they will bore you with stories of their glory days, just like I do. But these particular old, white men are different, and I’m afraid the set of old, white men who carry pistols is going to intersect at Walmart with another set of people.

Most Walmart customers, like most people in general, are friendly and polite. They say “Sorry” when they cut you off with their buggies, and they thank you if you hand them a can from a high shelf. But one night we saw the other kind. He was a large, white man who was very angry that someone had cut in front of him in line. He was loud, belligerent and profane, and he kept it up long after any normal person would have stopped in embarrassment. It got so bad that the manager told the man to take it outside. I’m just afraid that one day, the scared, old, white man with a gun is going to meet the aggressively loud, spoiling-for-a-fight, angry man at the checkout, and someone is going to pay for Georgia’s carry-anywhere law.

I don’t want to be there, and I especially don’t want Leah to be there.

I just wonder why I have to worry about that in a supposedly civilized country.




Zeke’s latest experiences off the leash

Faithful readers know how little I can trust Zeke off the leash. We keep thinking maybe if we try enough times, he’ll learn. So last Wednesday I gave it another try.

I have been working to locate exactly where our new house should go, and to figure out where to put the driveway. On Wednesday I loaded Zeke and Lucy into our side-by-side four-wheeler (it’s a Kawasaki Mule), and rode the few hundred feet to our new lot. It’s literally within sight of our current mailbox, but I take the Mule because I can’t carry a chainsaw, handsaw, axe, loppers, 300-foot tape measure and the rest on foot. As soon as we got to the center of the property, Lucy headed for home. She’s not the pioneer type.

I put a 12-foot leash on Zeke, figuring that if he wandered off, he would get tangled in the woods and couldn’t get far. I thought I could find him when he started barking for help. That worked for a while, but eventually he drifted off uphill into the woods. I didn’t worry much at first, since I really thought he couldn’t get far. After all, I had had to untangle him several times as we walked around. But he was gone, and he didn’t come when I called.

About an hour later I heard Leah calling from the street. We had spoken on the phone and I had told her that Zeke was loose, so she was watching for him on the way back from the dentist. She finally saw him lying in the woods near the front of our property. He limped when he came to her. I came down to the car and we found that he had nearly torn off his right dewclaw. Leah took him home and I packed up and followed.

As soon as I got home I phoned the vet, and they told me to bring him in right away. It was supper time for the dogs, so I offered him an animal cracker. He refused, which I attributed to pain. It turned out it was probably something else all together. It was almost exactly a year ago that Zeke got loose and gorged on something that looked like stew beef when he threw it up. This was a repeat.

Our vet is on the other side of town, about a half hour away. Zeke had started whimpering by the time I got him in the car, so his dewclaw must have been hurting. It certainly looked painful. The vet removed the nail but saved the nail bed; it should grow back. They had to sedate him to do it, so he was pretty groggy on the way back home. When I got him home, I found a double handful of meat that he had vomited up in the back seat. Fortunately he was lying on a canvas tarp, which caught all of it.

He ate a couple of dog biscuits and everything seemed OK. I took the dogs out at bedtime and nothing seemed amiss. About an hour after we went to bed, the sound of Zeke’s claws on the dining room tile woke us up. I put on some clothes and took him out. I was so sleepy I don’t even remember whether he did anything. We went back to sleep, and he woke us up again around 6, which is earlier than us old, retired people get up. I took him out again, and he relieved himself, I think. Before I could get back in bed, Zeke started making the “urk” that signifies that a dog is getting ready to vomit. He was standing in the middle of the bedroom carpet. I grabbed him and tossed him into the dining room, where he promptly threw up way more than another double handful of meat.

This was one of the worst messes I have ever seen, or smelled. I told Leah that if he had done it in the bedroom, we would have had to replace the carpet. The first time this happened I thought the meat he threw up looked too much like grocery store beef to be a wild animal that he had found or killed. But now I have to conclude that that’s exactly what it was. I have seen no sign of whatever it was.

Here’s the bottom line: Zeke’s dewclaw is not giving him any problems, he’s almost over whatever he ate, and he’s never going to wander free in the woods again.

Zeke is a gentle, affectionate, fairly obedient dog about 95 percent of the time, but I think that somewhere down inside, he has a streak of the wild, of the wolf. I probably wouldn’t have been surprised to find that out about a Doberman pinscher or maybe a German shepherd, but Zeke looks too goofy to have a wolf hidden inside. I mean, look at that face.

innocent zekeIs that the face of a relentless predator?

I couldn’t go back to sleep again after cleaning up Zeke’s mess, but at least I did get to see this from the deck.



Hanging on

The persimmon tree has lost all its leaves, and the hickories have lost most of theirs. However, they are still hanging on to some of this fall’s fruit.

persimmons and hickory nuts

The possums have been working on the persimmons, but the last ones are just too high in the tree to reach, and the limbs are apparently too thick to easily chew through. These persimmons will almost certainly last into next year.