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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Freezing Lambs, Cody the Wonder Dog and FWNO

Ok, I love winter in Canada. I really do. But I have truly had enough with this bitter, cold wind. This morning I woke up to find that twin lambs (born in the night to a mother who was more concerned with cleaning out the hay feeder than cleaning off her newborns) had frozen feet from being wet and neglected all night. Now they are lying in a blanket over the heating vent in the bathroom, warming up. When Paulina is finished writing her English exam this morning, she will be on lamb duty with bottles and heating lamps.
I feel like I spent the majority of the weekend in the barn. We had a dozen new lambs born since Friday, and our water pipe to the barn froze. So now we are running a hose from the house, draining it over a barn rafter (that in itself can be quite a feat – I have whacked myself in the head more than once with the end of the hose) and laying it out in the TV room to thaw. With the rolled-up hose and manure-encrusted boots on rubber mats, the d├ęcor in that part of the house has taken quite a nosedive lately.
Our Sunday dinner guests didn’t seem to mind. The rest of the house was clean anyway. And we did manage to find them something to eat that the dog hadn’t stolen.
I think I have finally learned my lesson about leaving food on the kitchen counter when Cody, our Gordon Setter, appears to be snoozing on his rug in the living room. His eyes may be closed but rest assured, his nose is not.
The other day Paulina and I were in the den, watching a video that I had made of the lambs in the barn. After just a few minutes, we heard something go crashing to the floor in the kitchen. Suddenly I remembered the thawing prime-rib roast that I had left on a cutting board on the counter.
“The meat!” I screamed, running into the kitchen, just in time to see Cody’s black tail disappearing around the corner. The cutting board was on the floor. It had been licked clean. I looked under the table for the meat. Nothing. Then I ran around the corner to see if Cody had taken the hunk of raw beef to his rug, to eat in peace. But he just lay there, looking at me. Licking his lips. Then he burped.
“I don’t believe it! He ate the entire thing! In about three minutes that dog consumed our entire dinner! In complete silence!”
Paulina scolded the dog and put him outside in his doghouse, where he spent the rest of the day digesting his feast.
Cody the Wonder Dog has an amazing nose. Very subtle food odours will wake him from the deepest sleep, and whet his appetite. He is a kind and gentle, beautiful dog, but he has no manners in the kitchen. I think we should lend him to airport security for their canine unit. He may not be able to sniff out drugs but if anyone is trying to smuggle a salami into the country, he’ll get them.
A friend suggested I take a break from life on the farm for a “Farmer / Farmwife Night Out” (FWNO) on Saturday, so the husband, Mom and I piled into the truck and headed to the Osgoode Legion to hear “Roxzilla” play classic rock. Phil Morotti, Andre Courtemanche, Ken Johns and Piero Presutti combine natural talent with an enthusiasm that is contagious. They had the crowd clapping and singing along during their very first song (David Wilcox’ “Layin’ Pipe”) and by the end of the first set, the dance floor was full.
At least two of these fine musicians claim to be self-taught. But if they are playing by ear instead of by the book, in my opinion they shouldn’t change a thing. It sounded great.
It was a nice surprise to see some of the band members’ teenaged sons and their friends wandering in to hear their fathers play. Most of these young ‘uns are talented musicians themselves – so it was endearing to see them spending their Saturday night cheering on “the old guys”.
The Farmer often finds himself coerced into one special event or another that is of interest to me but not necessarily to him. He never fails to make the best of the situation, however, whether he has been taken to an art show, a rock opera or a book launch. Occasionally he is on the receiving end of an added benefit to attending these events, like the time he thought he was going with me to the raceway to meet the mayor and wound up riding in the pace car beside Miss Ottawa. That was not a bad way to spend a Saturday evening, he figured.
I was pretty sure my husband would enjoy Roxzilla, as the band members are all around his age and were probably raised on the same kind of music. But as the night went on, I realized I knew more of the words to the songs than he did. I guess he wasn’t kidding when he said he had had a pretty strict, sheltered upbringing. His father wasn’t much of a fan of that “long-hair music”. But he really gave it away when he turned to me and whispered, after a very popular song by the Who, “hey – what’s a squeezebox?”
My feet were swearing at me the next morning (maybe those high-heeled boots aren’t so good for dancing in after all) but it was all worth it.
I’ll be humming to the lambs during their next midnight feeding.

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