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It was a crisp autumn day, the sun was shining and the wind had finally stopped blowing. A perfect afternoon to split up a few chunks of wood to feed our outside wood-fired boiler. We have wood stacked in the woodshed and an extra supply outside the woodshed already, but I had a few big end pieces that had been sitting around by the log landing that needed to be cleaned up before winter.
The dogs, Jackson and Butler were busy with their own tasks of chasing a grey squirrel that had holed up in the limb pile and was chattering noisily. The sounds of squirrel chatter sends the dogs into a frenzy and the game is on.
While I attended to the wood, the dogs could be seen going round and round the limbs, twigs and rotten wood. They would stop and dig for a while then stick there nose in as far as it could go before moving to another spot to try it again. A couple of times the squirrel would pop out of the pile and scamper over to the trunk of the large maple tree at the other edge of the landing where he apparently has a vacation home set up. The dogs follow to try to extricate the squirrel, but the vacation home is as armored as the limb pile.
Between watching all the excitement I was able to get about a Gator load of wood chunks split small enough to fit the boiler and began loading the bed. Two pieces of wood were loaded before Jackson, all tuckered out from squirrelling, commandeered the bed space for a much needed rest. I could not get him to move so I stacked a few pieces around him and called it a day. I figured that wood will still be there tomorrow and maybe by that time the dog won’t be so tired.
Jackson and Butler, the two farm dogs, keep us company while we are working. They complain and pout if we go across the river for any reason and don’t take them along. The John Deere Gator is a sure fire clue to the dogs that someone is about to go somewhere. If we head toward the Gator, the dogs perk up and begin to anticipate the next adventure.
On this day, Mike had just completed another crib to hold firewood. This crib was fashioned with a regular sized pallet for the base and salvaged wood from the house that we tore down about 10 years ago.
It fits nicely into the bed of the Gator so it can be hauled across the river where a stack of wood is waiting to brought inside before the rains begin that are expected to last a week. Continue reading
This time of year, with the fresh fruit on the apple, pear and plum trees, we are not able to simple load the dogs on the Gator to begin work for the day. Both Butler and Jackson will forego the immediate loading procedure for a quick run into the garden to see what tree has dropped some fresh fruit during the night.
Jackson prefers plums and will head for that tree first, but Butler will eat a pear over plums or apples but will be content with whatever he finds.
Jackson will grab a piece of fruit and run head-long and jump onto the Gator before he begins to eat. Butler will stay with his fruit until he has every last nibble cleaned up before he heads for the ride. He has figured out that we are willing to wait as long as needed before heading off to work for the day.
The John Deere Gator is home base for the two farm dogs, Jackson and Butler. They know that if the Gator is not parked in the shop, there is a good chance that a farm task will be worked on soon and the Gator will be part of that task. Neither dog wants to be the last one one the Gator.
On this day, the bed of the Gator was filled with large tubs of kindling for our firewood project.
Neither dog was able to get into the bed with it already being full, so they did the next best thing and made do with the smaller space on the front where the passenger legs area are supposed to go. Once on board, these two stood stock-still for about 10 minutes while patiently waiting for a driver, neither one attempted to sit on the seat because they know that the bench is off limits.
When the dogs were little they both would fit in this space easily with still enough room for a human. Now that they are full grown it is a little tougher, but they are not about to lose the chance to go to work. And just who needs another human passenger anyway?
Springtime is when the varmints become more active. Mounds from moles and gophers begin appearing out of nowhere. Aside from the critters disturbing the roots of the grass we are trying to grow, they create ankle-breaking depressions(dangerous for cattle and humans) in the grazing areas. Continue reading
Pulling the Gator into the driveway after the morning chores across the river, Butler the dog was sure that there was more work to do since we did not park inside the shop.
For the next two hours he stayed vigilant (as he napped) so we didn’t drive off without him.
Both dogs consider the Gator to be home base no matter where we are or what we are doing. We could be in the riparian zone along the river, out in the hay field, in the deep woods of the hillside, or fixing fence along the perimeter, the Gator is their ticket to adventure and they will not wander far from their home base.
This week has been glorious with the warmer temps and all but a bit of snow remaining from the piles scooped from along the roadway. Spring is in the air, the mud is drying, grass is growing, things are beginning to come out of dormancy. Continue reading