It is 100% certain that Slate did not want a puppy. A partial list of Slate’s resentments: The house smells like puppy. The puppy eats his treats and is so stupid it still isn’t housebroken. It cries in the night, barks at Slate and gets all of his people’s attention. Luckily it has a cage.
So we are in the midst of teaching basic etiquette to a 9 week old McNab cow dog we named Carson. Adding yet another species to the ranch is something we debated all winter and it came down to needing the help. If all we can train Carson to do in the herding department is to hold the goats back when we open gates, he will earn his kibble. I think we can get him to do much more in time. Slate, however, is not willing to be his test herding subject. Why Slate hasn’t just popped him a good one and settled the pecking order is a mystery. I kind of wish he would provide the clarity I can’t about the dangers of cats.
At the same time, last night was a conjunction of seriously bad timing. R had to go back to the lab, our 12 hour irrigation turn started at 6 pm, and we are in the midst of testing the new irrigation system for the Bluebird orchard, meaning it was in a precarious state for receiving and distributing water without damaging the new pond (more on that later) or getting water onto the county road. Here’s how last night went:
- 4:00 pm Open headgates to empty pond to swales
- 6:05 pm Spill water to neighbor to empty our ditch so I can set dams
- 6:30 pm Set two dams in the ditch to water trees in the Kingbird Orchard. Feed geese, goats, ducklings, turkeys, meat chickens, layer hens. Carson “helps” but gets tethered off so he won’t chase chickens.
- 7:30 pm Heat up my dinner. Try to convince overstimulated puppy to eat and wind down. A gander is freaking out because he has been separated from the goose with new goslings after the flock tried to attach the mother. Gander proceeds to honk with fog horn regularity for most of the evening.
- 8:47 Sunset. Close up the chicken coop.
- 9:00 pm Put Carson in his crate. Pull first dam.
- 9:30 pm Call R. Cell phone tower having issues (again!) but we manage a short debrief. Carson falls asleep.
- 10:00 pm Slate deigns to come in for the night.
- 12:00 am Wake up Carson for house-breaking. Take lantern and pull second dam, sending water to Bluebird.
- 2:05 am Moonrise, but heavy cloud cover.
- 2:45 am Wake up Carson for second trip outside. Thwart Slate from slipping out. Gander starts honking again. Raining.
- 4:45 am Wake up Carson for third trip outside. Put him back in his crate. Drive to Bluebird to close valve to swales, begin refilling the pond.
- 5:05 am Attempt go back to sleep
- 5:15 am Slate claws me in the back, purring, to let me know he thinks it is certainly light enough to go outside.
- 5:30 am Approximate Civil Twilight. Let Slate out. Cloudy but not raining.
- 5:45 am Wake Carson up. Take him on a leash to Bluebird to check on the pond level in the daylight. Slate follows us down the road to “his” orchard. Slow walk as Carson locks onto 2 deer in the field.
- 6:01 am Official sunrise.
- 6:10 am The pond is 18″ from the upper outlet. Check swales: all filled in the night.
- 6:20 am Carson tries to climb on Slate’s rock and falls off. Inflow to pond starts to taper off as the neighbor takes the water. In a parade of the absurd, all three of us walk back up the road to the house.
- 7:00 am Regular feeding and watering resumes. Carson refuses to eat in his crate. Like a toddler who is AFRAID OF MISSING OUT, he doesn’t want to get tricked into a nap. Spills his water bowl for the second time on the floor. Move food bowl to the porch, which he empties.
- 8:00 am Eat breakfast on the porch. Slate takes up a chair opposite the puppy. Carson falls asleep on the bottom level of Slate’s cat tree, having already achieved another milestone in his record-breaking attempt for Most Consecutive Best Days Ever.
There might be a nap in my future. There might not. The gander is still letting the world know he is upset. We get to do this again in mid-July, when our next night turn comes around. By then, Carson’s streak will be close to 100 best days ever.