Friday, February 14, 2014

Rosey, My Hawk-Eyed Mama

I woke up at 3 am having fallen asleep watching a Russian ice skater grimacing in pain. Must speak to my exhaustion as I'm usually very careful as to what goes into my subconscience mind while I sleep. Most nights it's motivational books on tape, soothing music... But last night I slipped up, and I'm paying for it today. Seems the pain-filled vibrations of an ice-skater halfway across the world, came oozing through my TV and into my psyche, a proposition greatly enhanced by the pretzel angle at which I fell asleep. Nothing like knife-jabbing lower back pain to bolt you into waking. It was going to be a slow moving day for sure.

Farming 101: the chores must go on, after all, everybody's gotta eat. Slowly I worked my way through the morning rituals starting with inside critters (Minsky and Boo), then outside critters (Rosey, TJ and 22 goats...Rosey now sleeping anywhere the puppies aren't). Then we take inside (basement) critters outside where they eat, pee and poop in a neat portable pen a friend has loaned me, which buys me a good 10 minutes to clear their overnight papers, change out their bedding, tidy their room and refill their water bowls. Three shifts of three different sets of critters normally takes about an hour. Today it took more than two, as I carried bowls of food and buckets of water in one at a time, as my lifting skills were shot.

Back pain aside, the day was otherwise gorgeous, with the warmer weather a much welcome reprieve for puppies now 5 weeks old and wanting very much to play outdoors. No sooner do I crack open their door to the world, do they bound out, toppling over their feet, my feet and anything in between before stopping one by one, to pee the second their little paws hit terra firma (a pattern I have learned to anticipate, since it'll net you some yelps if not some really nasty shoes if you're not paying attention).

So gorgeous was the day, I decided to do my writing outside, so I gathered my laptop, camera, phone and writing tools and headed out w/blanket to do my work from Mother Nature's office. Great idea, is it not? Can't you just see the picture perfect moment? Well, let me paint you another picture.

No sooner are pups frolicking in the yard, when out bolts Rosey from around the house, NOT to feed her babies, mind you. (Again, we're at the "dodge the puppies" stage of things now.) Rosey has for the last 3 days, been barking incessantly at a rather large buzzard that has taken up residency in a tree between goat pen and house. (TJ, is barking just as loudly, only from inside the goat pen.) Rosey races to scare the vulture away, maternal instincts firmly in tact. Only problem is, her racing toward the thing sends puppies racing after her, some beside her, some beneath her...others piddling along behind, stopping to smell things, tug on each other, etc. In short, my picture-perfect puppy playdate is shaping up to be smorgasbord for a bird, so we ix-nay'd that plan. (Ok, puppies. It's back to the playroom for you.)

Only now the pups are puzzled. "Didn't you just let us out?" "Why isn't Mama coming with us?" "Where's Mama going?" "I'm going with Mama." (Such were the cartoon bubbles sprouting from their little puppy heads.) In a nutshell: "utter fiasco" ... accentuated by a rather large winged bird flying to a new, loftier perch. (Another one of those "Didn't quite think this through" moments of which I'm having lots these days.)

Since Rosey wants only to protect (and not nurse so much now that her babies have teeth) she's planted herself firmly on the outside of their door, meaning they are hovering outside the door with her, falling over each other trying to sneak a drink while sitting on their little puppy haunches as their mama stands over. I encourage her to come, hoping the pied piper of pups will make this task a tad easier, but she's not buying it, after all, there's a hawk out there and it needs to go away, only the puppies want to go wherever she's going, thus defeating the whole game plan. With the magic word ("Cookie?") her ears perk up, as she makes her way through the door, stepping on puppies, padding and all. Eventually I get everyone in, confirm I got 7, and manage to let Rosey back out while doing my best goalie impersonation with a bunch of fluffy white balls bouncing off the goal (aka doorway) from all angles.

For the past two weeks I've been woefully concerned about saying goodbye to these little guys-- poster pups for puppy dog eyes everywhere. But it appears God is two steps ahead of me. There does come a point when you realize you and you alone cannot physically do all this, so assigning the puppies their forever homes now becomes a smidgeon easier --my lesson in detachment, next on the agenda. (I have one full week left. First round of puppy shots happens Thursday and after that, Rosey gets her human all to herself again and I get to clean up my basement.)

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