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The Stone House Diary – A Busy Muddle

These are good days. Engaging. Challenging. A bit chaotic.

I have too much going on, too many interesting projects. Everywhere I turn there is something begging for my attention, something I’m more than willing to give my attention to. As a result, I’m constantly interrupting myself and just about everything these days is only partially finished.

Just yesterday, as I was doing my chores and feeding the animals around the barn, the two Great Pyrenees puppies started playing with the hose in my hand. Before I thought about what I was doing, I dropped the hose into the horse tank to finish filling it and started running around with the dogs. They’re so big now. Almost as large as Nikita, the largest of the indoor dogs. They’re eating a lot, too. They eat more than the five indoor dogs combined. In another month, they’ll be huge. A month after that, giants.

As we played with a toy in the barn, one of the newborn kids in the goat stall started crying. So, I stopped playing with the dogs and checked on the kids. They’re twins. Gorgeous. Healthy. Strong. A boy and a girl. White bodies, brown heads. Full of joy and curiosity. Their mother was with them in the stall, being helpful and attentive. All was well.

However, since there are four other does that are ready to explode, I checked on them, taking a good look at their udders and business ends, checking for swelling and discharge. Although it was getting dark, I could see that udders were filling, their business ends were unchanged. It would be at least another day before they delivered their kids. Maybe longer.

The geese were on the other side of the fence, nibbling the sweet feed spilled by the horses. While the horses are by far the largest animals on the farm, the geese are the rulers. Just after Bert and Dean brought them out, Take-a-Gander attacked Sundance, grabbing ahold of his tail and flogging him as he reared and bucked and Lucy Goosey screamed “that horse is trying to kill my husband!” It was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen animals do. Since then, all Take-a-Gander has to do is stretch out his neck and spread his wings and all of the horses will depart for the back woods.

I finished feeding the animals, then went back into the house where two writing projects, a stack of work, and the indoor dogs awaited my return. First on the list, feed the dogs. I went into the kitchen and poured dry dog food in their bowls, then heated up some leftover meat and juice and poured that on the dog food.

Seizures are fairly common in beagles and, Blink being half beagle, has developed them. As a result, she now has to take medicine twice a day every day for the rest of her life. The last time she was on medicine, antibiotics following a copperhead bite, I gave them to her as directed by the vet. However, I only gave them to her. Pretty soon she figured out that she wasn’t suddenly more special than the other dogs and what I was giving her wasn’t a treat and she started spitting out the pill and eating only the peanut butter.

So, now, I give all of the dogs a treat, only Blinks contains the anti-seizure pill. So, last night, I sliced some Swiss cheese, cut it into five pieces, concealed a pill in one of them and called the dogs. “It’s Sunday,” I cried joyfully as I handed out the cheese, making sure Blink got the one with the medicine, “everyone gets cheese on a Sunday!”

As soon as they devoured their snacks, I set their bowls of food on the floor, then escaped the kitchen as they noisily hounded down their suppers.

Sitting down at the computer, I opened a file and looked at the opening page. It was half filled with single lines. Ideas, really. Plans of attack. Nothing solid. Not even an opening paragraph. Unlike most of my writing which is done when the spirit moves me, this was an actual assignment with an actual deadline. And the deadline was looming large. Two and a half days and I’d have to have this rough list turned into something worth reading. I flipped through notes on a pad. I barely had enough to start with, but at least I had a foothold. I began to type.

And the telephone rang.

It was Dean. We’d had a good afternoon together. I’d been out to his and Bert’s house earlier in the day. We’d talked about all sorts of things. The Good John Weber, my dear friend, who’d suffered a stroke and was recuperating in the hospital. The morning church service I’d attended. Dean’s new building that we’re insulating. Bert’s sisters Ann and Ella May and Agnes. Our trip to Springfield this coming Thursday (and most importantly, our planned meal at the Golden Corral – an almost hallowed feeding spot in the sacred annals of our stomachs).

Dean had called to tell me that he’d talked with Sheila, another dear friend and she and Bert and he would like me to join them at another almost hallowed feeding spot, Ryan’s in West Plains. We talked for a while, recapped our earlier conversation, reconfirmed the planned feast, exchanged love and hugs, and hung up.

It was almost eight o’clock. I went back to the writing project on the computer. The cursor was blinking steadily. Waiting. It wanted me to write something, anything, but I’d lost my train of thought. I’d gotten hungry. My appetite had stifled my inner writer. The dogs had left the kitchen. I got up, broke out a pan, tossed the egg carton, the cheese, some veggies, and the bread on the counter, and began cooking.

Suppers seem to be getting lighter as I get older. While I enjoy a good dinner — the more the better – a supper just heavy enough to tide me through until morning is what I want most in the evening.  So, I heated up the pan, sautéed some bell pepper, onion, and a little spinach, shredded a little cheese, and then cracked the eggs and stirred the whole mess together. While it cooked, I toasted the bread, then buttered it.

Breakfast in the evening. Sinfully delicious.

I ate while cruising the web on the computer, then stacked my dishes in the sink along with the pan, put away everything I’d taken out of the fridge, wiped down the counter and prepared to do the dishes.

From the bedroom came the growly sounds of one dog barking, another snarling.  I could picture what had happened, Snippet, my little rat terrier, under the blankets, Lily accidentally stepping on her when she jumped on the bed. In a minute, my bedcovers would be on the floor and all the dogs would be leaping and barking.

Wiping my hands, I ran into the bedroom. “It’s okay,” I murmured, petting Lily, reaching under the blankets to soothe Snippet. The dogs froze. All of them. Then the moment passed. The stirring dogs settled back down, Lily and Snippet calmed. Peace was restored before it was fully broken.

I sighed, yawned. It had been a long day, one filled with false starts and disorganization bordering on chaos. Little had been accomplished. Enough, I thought. I’m going to bed.

A short time later, teeth brushed, pajamas on, I said a prayer, promised that the next day would be much more orderly. I’d stay on track, get things accomplished. Then I counted my blessing and fell fast asleep.

When I awoke this morning, there was a strange sound coming from just outside the living room wall.

What the heck? I wondered, going outside.

There, from the spigot poking out of the wall, was a steady stream of water.

I’d left the hose running. All night. In the horse tough.