Sunday, February 22, 2009

Up to my knees in it

My mother has always been fond of animals. She takes in the ones that no one else wants. The strays, the dumped, the hard luck cases from the Humane Society..Beagles are her favorite when it comes to dogs. She has one particular beagle by the name of Bradley whose main purpose in life seems to be escaping her back yard. The yard it fully fenced, but he will always find a way out. She has tried everything, including fitting him with a set of saddlebags made especially for dogs (they made him too bulky to fit through or under or over the fence). Those worked until he figured out how to chew them off of himself.

Last week he got out of his saddlebags and escaped. Mom was frustrated, as he refuses to come when called and will only take off running if you approach him while he's out of the yard. He is perhaps the most stubborn dog I have ever met. No amount of training has broken him of it.

I tried catching him once, when I saw him digging up mole holes along the side of her fence. Unfortunately he saw me coming at the last second and took off running. Half an hour later, there he was again..nose in the mud, digging furiously. So intent was he on his task that he didn't notice me this time. I crept up behind him as quietly as I possibly could. Traffic on the road helped mask the sound of my feet on the neighbor's gravel driveway as I crept closer and closer, intent on my mud covered and still furiously digging target.

Right as my fingers brushed his collar, he whipped around and tried to take off again. I wasn't having it this time, though. Yelling an inarticulate war cry along the lines of "BradleyARRRRRGH!", I flung myself on him like a football player sacking the quarterback, landing with a rather squishy thump on the ground. Unfortunately for me, his choice digging spot was right beside a ditch lined with fallen tree branches. It had rained recently. I believe I've mentioned before that Kentucky turns into sticky, clay-filled mud around this time of year. So there I was, half laying, half kneeling on the ground with one knee in a ditch full of water, tree branches jabbing me in the rear end, and one arm around 30 lbs of squirming, muddy, angry beagle.

Naturally a lot of traffic was passing by, so I had plenty of witnesses to my highly professional display of dog catching.

I managed to extricate myself from ditch and branches and got him into the house before he had a chance to make a break for it again. Mom is now only taking him out on a leash until she can figure out a different way of keeping him inside the fence.

I had to wash my jeans twice to get all the mud stains out. Luckily for him, Bradley only had to be washed once. Nothing quite like Kentucky mud...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Crow, anyone?

Watch me prepare to eat my earlier words about the weather.

It snowed and iced some more, and on Tuesday evening the power went out. No big deal, I thought. We have a generator, and when our power goes out it's generally not out for more than a few hours at the most. When a bad wind storm ripped through the region last year, we were without power for 8 hours while a lot of people were out for 10 days.

The first day passed, and I became concerned. I cannot even remember when our power was out for an entire day. Then the second day passed with no power, and the salt trucks and snow plows did not come near our road. My mother and sister had also lost their electricity, and my fiance and I tried to get down to my mother's house to check on her. Our road was a disaster area. It was covered with ice and littered with fallen trees, shattered branches, and downed power lines. We had to turn back because our road is a dead end, and our only way out was blocked by power lines and a tangle of tree branches.

Thursday afternoon finally saw us able to leave our road. Neighbors with tractors had been pulling the debris off the road and moving the downed lines off to the side, because the road crews wouldn't come near our road. We bundled up in layer upon layer of clothing and made our way down to my mother's house. Her driveway was completely blocked by massive branches. It took hours to clear it. Massive limbs from a maple tree had ripped her fence to pieces, and I had to patch it with a spool of fencing wire. It had to be laced back together like an old boot.

The electric company wasn't able to tell us much, beyond "oh, you'll get your power back by the weekend." Except the weekend came and went and no one had been up to assess the damage, let alone attempt to fix it.

We finally got power back today. It's certainly been an experience...I know there are still several thousand people who will be without electricity for at least another week.

I did get some pictures in the 3 days I was stuck here.

Behold, the icicle as long as I am tall. I'm 5'5, so that should give a good idea of size.