Saturday, September 18, 2010

Cacti, Puppies and Augers - On Our Land Day 4

Eventually I should probably stop numbering the days, but hey, it took us 19 days (not counting the weeks and months before the move) to get here, so I suppose I can go at least a month before I stop my numbering. I'm pretty amazed that this is only Day 4. It feels like its been much longer.

Having had no luck yesterday with the auger, we decide to go to Pueblo. Home Despot (spelling intentional) has an auger we can rent. Or we can go to Harbor Freight and buy one. We're leaning on the side of buying. If we had rented the huge clunky thing in La Veta, it would have cost us $85/day. The one in Pueblo is less expensive, but is going to take a long drive just to get it and bring it back.

Quantum and I set off to the feed store. Having dumped the tires off the roof of the Blazer (spares that had traveled with us from FL) we figure we can fit two more bales of hay on top, to replace some of the hay T has used to feed our yaks. I ask CK to walk the puppy, both because he needs it and because it'll distract him from the fact that Mommy & Daddy are leaving. As we're about to drive off, the puppy makes a lunge towards us, dragging CK behinds him, and lands on a cactus. All three of us grab him and we pull the spines out of his foot with pliers. CK of course wants to use the (DIRTY!) tongs from cooking last night until I scream at him to get a freaking pliers.

Poor baby, his foot looks a little swollen and sore, but I'm confident we got all the spines out. I swab him down with alcohol. Naturally this means we won't be thinking of anything else till we get home.

45 minutes later we show up at T's place and dump the hay for our yak girls. T's there and full of sage advice such as, "that's ranching!" "Never ask what else can go wrong," and other sayings culled from the teachings of Murphy. The yaks are hungry but not starving, and they munch happily away at the new hay. I can't wait to get them up on our land, and no doubt T feels the same. I so much appreciate his help, and don't want to take advantage of it much longer.

Yonkers does a dominance thing, pushing Yazoo away from the hay. Then she decides that the hay inside the fence isn't good enough and wants to nibble at the one outside the fence.

We head up 25 to Pueblo. As we're driving, I remark, "Oooh! Guess what! We're going to pass the World's Largest Pile of Shit!" This is a feature we noted last year on our visit here. Incongruous against the yellow-brown dirt and rock of the terrain is a huge hill of black dirt? rock? actuall poop? we're not sure. One of these days we'll look into precisely what it is and how it came to be there. The funniest part, is that right before you get to it is an exit for Butte Rd. One of these days I'll have to get a picture of the sign with the hill in the background.

Since we don't have a Pueblo phone book, no internet yet, and we didn't even have cell reception till we hit town, we decide to go for an exit we recall as having the Home Depot and lots of other stores. With any luck the Harbor Freight is there too.

There's a Petsmart and we go in to get a lamb-rice sausage for Zen. On the way in we meet a woman with a HUGE mastiff. Only a year and a half old (about Zen's age) he weighs 115 lbs, and will no doubt put on another 30 or so before he's full grown. He's a sweet, adorable beast and gives us several kisses. He's a trained balance therapy dog too. Not something your average Chihuahua could do!

Next we head to Home Depot. They've got the propane line regulator we need. Actually they've got two kinds, and we're not sure which one we need. We decide to buy neither and instead we'll go to Harbor Freight - they should know, since we bought the stoves there.

We get directions to Harbor Freight and also to Big R, a store that specializes in farm and ranching needs. Everything from boots and jeans to guns and ammo, feed, mineral blocks, pvc pipe, you name it. Not the kind of store you find in Orlando! We'd seen an ad and they were supposed to have workboots for as little as $39, but the only ones we find are from about $80 to $160, and none are really the kind we want. (I guess that was last week's sale.) What they also have are live baby chicks. How adorable! Fortunately all they have left are roosters (we only need one rooster), so we don't have to figure out how to get them home and keep them warm till we can build a coop. However they're expecting a new shipment next week. ACK! More work!

While we're in the store we notice a guy walking around with one of the biggest Rotweillers I've ever seen. We strike up a conversation with the guy. Matt is a dog trainer, specializing in training dogs off-leash. We're very impressed. The puppy (again, right about Zen's age) is perfectly obedient. I definitely want this guy's help training Zen, who is presently known for being stubborn and boisterous. At the moment (because the kitty and him are still working out their relationship) we don't even feel comfortable leaving Zen offleash in our trailer!

We tell Matt our plans for an eventual dog rescue/training facility, and he seems interested. We go home wondering if maybe we can let him use our land for training, and maybe even involve him in our rescue setup. It would mean space and potentially advertisement for him, and might get our dreams up and running faster. I'd love to be able to offer rescue dogs who were more valuable than "just any mutt out of the pound" because they'd been obedience trained and maybe even therapy trained. That's been our plan for a while, and maybe being forced to go to Pueblo might make it more of a reality. It occurs to us what a huge amount of land we have. Plenty of space for an agility course, a training area, and eventually kennels.

Enough dreaming, off to Harbor Freight for the auger. Except the darn thing has moved. Quantum flags down a postman and we get new directions.

Quantum describes the manager of the Harbor Freight as the perfect Shaggy if they're going to do another Scooby-Doo movie. They have an auger. One. It's the display model. They won't sell it to us. They'll have more in on thursday.

Today is tuesday. That means two more days without being able to start the fencing for the yaks. Three, since we'll lose a day coming back to get it. And a wasted trip.

I recall that while we were getting directions earlier, a woman told us that there was a Harbor Freight up in Colorado Springs. It's already about 3, but it's either go up there, come back thursday, or do the rental thing. We get them to call the CO Springs store and sure enough they have a bucket load of augers there. Its about a 40 mile journey and we wonder if we'll be able to make it home before dark.

An hour later (and about twice what we'd expected to pay) we've got our auger and are heading home. I'd thought to stop in a brewing supply place for some yeast and hops, but we're getting worried about Zen and his cactus wound, and decide we'd rather just get back.

Sunset is coming as we travel down the road to our land. There are patches where there are no trees, and the sun is blinding. There's no way to navigate those small stretches other than keep your eye on the gravel at the passenger side of the road and pray there's no car coming the other direction. Scary. But potentially safer than trying to navigate our rutted dirt road after dark.

I see a little gray bunny hopping around in the brush alongside the road. He freezes, ears alert, nose snibbling (no, that's not a mis-spelling its a Lemur-ism) the air and watching me with his little black eyes.

CK is out walking Zen again, and it looks like his foot is fine. While we were gone CK took a walk down into one of the gulleys and then cursed himself, realizing he'd have to climb out again. At some point during the day he heard something that he describes as either "the bear or an angry elk." I recall that it should be nearly rutting season and suspect the latter.

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