Jackson our ‘wild child’ dog is able to wait patiently when he knows that it will be soon time for us to start up the Gator for chores, especially when it’s feeding time.
If he only knew that mere feet below his snout, a black kitten was also waiting for the signal for dinner time to begin on the farm.
The kitten was waiting as patiently as the dog, and knows what is coming since the order of mealtime is run in a pattern.
The motor of the Gator starting sends cattle, dogs and cats into frenzied anticipation with copious amounts of saliva as they anticipate their upcoming meal. (Come to think of it, my tummy starts rumbling about that time of day knowing that our dinner time follows the critters meals.)
You would think that Jackson the dog would have been tired after spending the day running the woods while we were scarifying the clearings and bringing turns of timber down the hill.
But being tired didn’t stop him from finding a high vantage point on the top of the log pile in the landing. Once up there he spent several minutes looking each direction just in case there was something about that needed to be chased down. There has been a gray squirrel that has been hiding around the log pile and both dogs spend hours running around and around trying to lure the critter out of its secure hiding hole under the pile.
Jackson always runs on logs. He is very good at it and he does it for fun. It surprised us when he posted up on this tallest vantage point over 5 feet in the air.
The dogs act nearly manic as we release them from their tethers. It becomes a race to see which fruit tree they go to first. Jackson heads to the nearest plum tree and starts hoovering as quickly as possible, while Butler prefers a ripe apple or pear to begin his day.
Before long, both dogs are all hopped up on natural sugar and it becomes hard to get them to settle down to get in their positions on the Gator until we start the motor. In an instant both dogs settle in and expect to ride across the road before being allowed to follow the same ‘fruit circuit’ as the main herd.
They check the plum trees and the apple trees, the pear and the crab apple before they make a crazy dash to catch up with the Gator as we motor across the bridge.
All in all, it’s a pretty good day for the dogs.
The plums have gotten to the point where they are still crisp with just a hint of tangy-ness to them. Just right in my book.
Some have also started falling off the tree, so the job of ‘hoover-ing’ up the fallen fruit is given to the dogs just until the cows are moved from the far field. Normally, the cows would make the fruit circuit to the apple, plum and pear trees that are growing in the pastures near the river. But with the herd a couple of fields away, the dogs are more than happy to take up the slack by cleaning up under the trees at every opportunity.
It is a good thing that our critters enjoy the fruit as well as they do because the downed fruit attracts bees with the sticky juice. This is one of those years where the bees are everywhere and stings are a constant concern.
Jackson the dog seems to have a hard time knowing just what his job is on this day.
I had the Gator sitting along side the log landing and Mike started to move up the hill with the bulldozer.
Jackson would walk behind the dozer for a short distance, come back down to the Gator then back up behind the dozer again.
Finally, I put him and his brother out of their misery and started up the Gator. It was game-on and the second that I put the rig into low gear both dogs knew we were heading up the logging road. Since I only carry essential items to keep the payload as light as possible, the dogs are on their own and they would not have it any other way.
Going into the woods means a day of freedom for the pair and they prefer as little intervention from us humans as possible, unless we stop the dozer, the Gator or the saw for a bit and sit down. That’s when they want to be as close as possible, snuggle up when we are looking for a little quiet time, and want to place themselves in exactly the spot where we are.
The dogs are sure that the Gator is home base. They know that if they are on the Gator they will not be left behind when we want to do some chores, go up the hill, or just travel the fence lines.
Since the hay was already loaded in the back, Butler (with his chin on the passenger seat) and Jackson (flattened on top of the bales) wait patiently for someone to come and do the evening chores.
This is a common sight at feeding time and the dogs are on their best behavior. They know that their feeding time comes right after the cows feeding and they are not going to mess up that plan.
Jackson is known for his quirky personality, from riding on top of stacks of hay to diving into the river from the cliff edge. A bit OCD/ADHD, any thought or notion distracts him from what his good intentions were, except when he is in the woods.
While logging is going on, he is mindful of the dozer and the chainsaw and stays well away as work is happening. Yet the minute a tree is felled, he hops on to to walk along its length, many times he walks the log even before the limbs are cut off, weaving back and forth through his own little forest. Seems like he would much rather walk logs than on the ground.
This is his comfort zone, his playground, his forte. He doesn’t mind getting pitch matting his fur or oil on his back as he sneaks under the dozer for a nap when it has been turned off.
On those really warm days, he follows behind the dozer and when a new path has been gouged out of the earth, he lays down in the cool dirt. He is a very contented logging dog.