Guard Dog

Because
All
Residents
Know I will protect them

This little thing popped into my head while my dog Vincent was chasing a skunk away from the hen house a few minutes ago. He does regular round around the property at night at random, but he spends most of his time either near the hen house or the garage so that no predator, however small, gets to the chickens, ducks, turkeys, or the rabbits. I’m pretty sure he would chase them away from the goats if we could leave their gates open at night.

(I think the only reason Vincent doesn’t get grumpy with us for cutting off his access to the goats is because the goats are bigger than him and aren’t afraid to use their horns on anything that threatens them.)

I guess the biggest difference in his behavior now versus in winter is that he pretty much stays outside all night. In the winter, Vincent would wake someone up (usually me) to let him outside to check on ‘his’ animals and then wanted back in again because it regularly gets below zero here at night in the winter. (The winter of 2016-2017 it actually reached -15 degrees several times. Vincent as a nice thick coat, but it wouldn’t be good for him to be outside in those temperatures for too long.)

And now I’m going to sign off, because I am reaching the tired-rambly stage.

The Reveal – Eclectic Corner #4

IMG139

image: martha0stout’s phone

 

Can’t quite manage to reach every point
Or block a wandering dog;
Very often, though, it does what is needed
Especially when the wind starts blowing and
Rain, snow and hale beat down.
 

Here is the bigger picture that the little cropped part came from in my post Eclectic Corner #4 – Protection What? for my answer to Justine’s Eclectic Corner: Protection.

IMG140

image: from martha0stout’s phone

 

I hope that y’all enjoyed the guessing game!

No Envy In Her Eyes

Star did not envy her sister even as she watched from afar. This was the life that Star had chosen just as this was the life that her sister had chosen. What worked for one half of their once whole did not work for the remaining part.

They were very different and not just in their choices.

Star didn’t need to be close enough to see the careworn look on her sister’s face nor the wrinkles acquired through laughter and sorrow. Her own face was line-free and as smooth as if she was going through puberty for the first time, though without the curse of blemishes that many teenagers lamented over. Her hair was bright, thick and full while her sister’s was thinning slightly and going grey at the temples.

The biggest difference about her sister was the joy in her face and the light in her eyes. Star smiled her own, though it was wistful.

She had no way of knowing that her sister would change so drastically when she left at the end of the day. Star didn’t know that in the weeks to come her sister would have to file for divorce and separate from her husband. She wouldn’t know that this was a facade to protect her sister and her nephews. Star didn’t know that her sister’s husband (the divorce was never supposed to be finalized in their scheme to protect their sons) would die in the following months because of corporate corruption and crime.

It was just as well that Star didn’t know any of this or she would have never left and a greater harm would have found her sister’s family.


This was inspired by the Light and Shade Challenge for this last week.

Envy can be a positive motivator. Let it inspire you to work harder for what you want.
Robert Bringle

Eclectic Corner #4 – Protection, What?

Here’s another attempt at Justine’s Eclectic Corner: Protection. Please forgive my poor camera phone’s lack of ‘skills’ when it comes to the finer details. Have fun guessing what this is cropped from! And don’t worry, Justine, I will include a poem with the reveal post once the challenge is over.

image: martha0stout’s phone

 

 

A Day of Hope

Today is Easter, a day of hope, a day of renewal, a day of peace and joy. There are many different traditions on this day: going to church for a service (whichever church you may attend, if it’s Christian in any way, there’s likely to be an Easter service), family meals with extended family, gifts and (the favorite of many children) Easter egg hunts and baskets of candy.

Easter is always the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox and so it is one of those few moving holidays. There are other holidays that surround it, are a part of it or are related to it in some way (Lent, Eastertide, Holy Week, Passover, etc.). There are different days where Easter falls that mean different things to some people. One year, my sister’s birthday was on Easter.

This year, something similar has happened. Easter is on the 15th anniversary of the shootings at Columbine High School. If ever there was a day for hope and the escape from the tomb, it is today.

There is hope for those who both die and survive shootings. There is hope int he resurrection of Christ, but there is also hope to find healing. Survivors of Columbine reach out to help others who have suffered from similar traumas in their lives. For example, two former students at Columbine have reached out to their classmates and started a community group that has extended far beyond just those within their former school or even within their state of Colorado. I would write and try to describe the organization that they have started, the Rebels Project, but I would just be repeating what another has already written. I came across Jon Schuppe’s article on the Rebels Project and it gave me hope.

His article can be found here: http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/columbine-15-years-later/lost-class-found-columbine-survivors-discover-new-purpose-n83436

There are five other articles as well and I hope that you, whoever the you reading this is, read them all.

I have never heard gunshots go off in my school halls, but that is because the student who was going to do so was identified and the weapon removed from his care before anything could happen. I never had to fear another bringing a gun into my school because I was near an outdoor store being held at gunpoint across the street because my school had lock-down procedures that were put into effect as soon as possible and the police were able to arrest the individual in question. I never had to feel what it was like to be in a building when a bomb went off because my high school was evacuated before the threatening call was even completed.

Not everyone has been as fortunate as I and my classmates have been. The news may not be filled with only stories of when things went wrong, but there are enough that have made me pause whenever there is any hint of it.

I have received a phone call that my sister’s children’s school was in lock-down because there was a man who’d threatened to bring his weapon to a school nearby. I have received another phone call that the elementary and middle schools near my house were in lock-down as well because an armed robbery had occurred on the same street and they were taking precautions. Nothing happened and none of the students had to be sent home either of these times, but it is because of dangers in the past and people sitting up and listening that these procedures are even in place.

I was in the 5th grade when Columbine happened. My second eldest sister was a senior in her high school, Class of 1999. It is her children who I have received phone calls regarding lock-downs. I shudder to think of a world where she died from a school shooting and her children never came to be.

It is Easter Sunday and it is a day of hope. I am more grateful than I can ever express for the hope that I have received just by knowing how preciously people are guarding their children and working to help those who have needed to survive anything.

God bless you.

Absent

What’s love got to do with it, got to do with it? …Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken. -Tina Turner

When you love someone, you give them the power to hurt you. The more you love them, the more power they have until they hold enough to completely destroy your life.

If you’re a special kind of lucky, then they can destroy the lives of those around you as well.

She missed her family, missed them with something that boarded on hysteria if she allowed herself time to think about it. But she didn’t really have much of a choice here.

(She was lying to herself, she had a choice. It’s just that the consequences of the other choices available weren’t something that she could live with.)

Mary glanced back at where her sons were sleeping. She’d left the cameras installed after Warren had left out of reflex. If it took longer than they’d initially predicted then he’d still be able to watch over his family even if he couldn’t be there in person. The fact that she now needed to use them for the same purpose was not reassuring.

“Maybe I should have left this to Al to take care of like he offered,” she murmured to herself as her youngest rolled over in bed, his face scrunching up.

Matt was likely having a nightmare, again. And she wasn’t there to sooth him through it should it actually wake him up this time. She’d likely not be there in the morning either.

It broke her heart to know that she was losing both her sons so slowly, but as Warren had said when they’d first separated, if they would live to grow up then the price was worth it.

Favorite Pet

There have been mentions of animals in the news. There have always been mentions of animals in the news and this is a trend that will likely continue. I honestly can’t think of a reason why there wouldn’t be. These animals, whether they be exotic or wild or domestic seem to speak to us in a way that means we can’t ignore them and their own feelings and thoughts even though we don’t understand their own language.

I was going through my bookmarks on my laptop (I have way too many) when I realized that I had a lot about animals. I won’t mention them all in here, but it didn’t surprise me at all just how much animals are talked about online. I know that I love reading about them and talking about them and looking at pictures about them…

Anything to do with animals really makes me smile or cry.

(And as I sit and write this my cat Usako is staring out the back door, with occasional glances in my direction, just waiting for her mother Cotton to want back in.)

It has been mentioned that I should write about my favorite family pet in my life. I can’t pick one, unfortunately, because each animal member of my family, past and present, have been my favorite for this or that. Their personalities are very different, just like the human family members that I have.

My favorite mothering pet was Ginger, a husky-golden retriever mix who was absolutely convinced that my younger siblings and I and some of our friends were her puppies. She would try to get us to eat this or that and drink and would shoo us into her doghouse when it was nap time before curling up around us to make sure we were warm enough.

My favorite teddy bear pet was Taffy, an orange tabby that followed me everywhere when I was a toddler. He let me cuddle him however I wanted. Unfortunately this meant that sometimes when I’d wonder off after a nap I would tug him along with by his tail or a paw. Mom says he was totally fine with it and thought I was awesome.

My favorite guard dog/exercise trainer was Rascal, a black mutt who my brother brought home from the street after he’d escaped previous owners who were not good to him. (No one ever came to claim him, so he was ours.) He was super protective of our family (especially Mom) without actually attacking people. (With the exception of my dad after our parents divorced.) He never actually bit anyone that I can recall and he thought that Mom was the most precious person in the house. He also ate everything except carrots.

My favorite ambush pet is Usako, my tortoise shell cat. She is absolutely awful at actually attacking anything. She is not the cat that defends her territory. She is excellent at waiting for the right moment to strike and then dashing off before her victim can retaliate. She’s also great for cuddling at night when it gets cold. She manages to do that without making it hard to breath and is as soft as a bunny. (She also likes salt and vinegar chips and low-sugar sugar cookies.)

My favorite boss pet was Tommy, a grey tabby long-hair. He would often glare at me until I went to bed. He had something like 60+ different looks that all boiled down to “Why are you doing that? Stop being an idiot.” That cat saved my sanity in my teen years when a lot of crap went down for my family. He was always very good at curling up on my back with just the right amount of warmth and weight to ease the tension running through it. (I had a lot of trouble with my back and neck during my teen years and he was one of the best parts of my physical therapy.)

I really can’t pick out of those mentioned and I have too many to write them all down. Each animal that my family has had have been a part of us and integral to our continued health and growth as people and as a family. They protect a part of our hearts and souls in a way that humans aren’t always able to do.