Living Dangerously


I bought this bed for Precious, but Buttercup decided immediately that it was going to be his bed.
The new puppy and I gave in to his “possession is nine-tenths of the law” decree and I put a towel down on the floor for Precious. She wanted to be in front of the fire, too!
Everybody was happy for a few days, until Precious got more comfortable and bounced herself over to check out that pretty little dog bed while Buttercup was otherwise occupied.
Oh, my! That bed looked even nicer up close! She needed to try that bed out! Wiggle all over it!
Uh oh….
While the cat’s away, the puppy will— Oh.
Hi, Mr. Buttercup, sir.
You’re not mad, are you?
I didn’t go to do it.
I just fell in here….
….while I was bouncing!

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A Fluffy Arrival


My puppy is here!
Precious arrived on Friday with my friend Kat in tow. Or maybe it was the other way around. But anyway! Kat runs Long Road Kennel in Decatur, Illinois. She’s never been to West Virginia before. She’s never even taken a trip by herself before. She has five children. She’s mostly never alone. She made her first trip, by herself, eight hours to boldly tackle driving in the “high mountains” of West Virginia. She met my hired men, Robbie and Rodney, who told her these were just foothills, not mountains. She met my friend Jerry, who told her these were just foothills, not mountains. She met my cousin Mark and his wife Sheryl, who told her these were just foothills, not mountains. Of course, I had already told her these were just foothills, not mountains. But she’s from the corn- and soy-fields of Illinois and she said, “These are mountains!” I fed her venison and goat meat, and she shot my .22 and rode the four-wheeler. She had a weekend vacation in the holler! And stories to tell when she got back home to the flatlands.
And I have a puppy! I’ve had a lot of questions about the new puppy, so I’d better do some s’plainin’.

After I moved here, I started wishing for a house dog, a companion in the house. I didn’t do anything about it for awhile, until I heard about a Great Pyr that was available through a local rescue. I love my Pyrs. Now, I know better than anybody what it’s like to have a Great Pyr. They’re large dogs and best suited to the field. They need a job and lots of room to run. But, this rescue Pyr had been a house Pyr, with a small backyard, and I was convinced she would be suited to staying in the house and going on long walks with me every day. Since she was already a house dog. Knowing Pyrs like I do, I should have known better. I adored Gwennie and she loved to go places with me, but she didn’t like it when I went anywhere and had to leave her in the car. She ate the seatbelts out of my Explorer one time. When I left her in the house to go to the store, she ate all the blinds down off the windows. When I left her in the fenced fields or the barn while I went out, she ran a gate right off the hinges and broke down the fences. She did adore going on long walks with me, however!

Gwennie and Casper, puddlin’ on a walk on the ridge.
But anytime I had to go anywhere that she couldn’t go with me, safely containing her was a problem. I spent a lot of money and hired man hours trying to work out the fencing to where she wouldn’t get out of it, but she was not raised a field dog and had zero interest in becoming one, nor was she happy being left in the house. I would come home and find she’d broken out of wherever I’d put her and was running up and down the road chasing cars. This was a dangerous situation for her, and for my neighbors. Worse, she would break out and then break in where I had Coco and Chloe and fight with them. I thought maybe that would calm down–after all, Coco and Chloe fought, too, when they first met, but after a few months, they settled who was boss and became best friends. Over a year later, Gwennie and Coco were still fighting to the point of tearing each other up and leaving one another bloody. And believe me, I was not letting them get together on purpose. If they saw each other outside, they’d go nuts and break down fences to get to each other and engage battle.

Eventually I decided that for everyone’s best interests, especially Gwennie’s, she needed to be re-homed. Gwennie is a good dog–not blaming her at all. This was not the right situation for Gwennie. She was re-homed through the rescue, and I believe she is with a family in New York now. I’ve never given up a dog before, so this was not easy, but for the sake of all the dogs, it was the right thing to do.

Still, I had my dream of a companion dog in the house, but again didn’t do anything about it for awhile. I didn’t want to make another mistake, for the sake of my heart and for the sake of the dog. Now I have a little Chinese Crested pup and I’ve had such questions and comments about her! Why did I choose this exotic “designer” dog? Did I get her just so I could dress her up and write about her on the blog? Was I not thinking of my demographics? You guys? I don’t make personal decisions based on my blog! She’s not livestock, she’s a pet. A personal pet. Will I dress her up and write about her? Of course! But that has nothing to do with why I got her. I got her because I want a house dog. And I’m trying to get one that is better suited to being a house dog. I didn’t actually go out looking for a Chinese Crested, though. I didn’t go out looking for a dog at all.

Last summer when I went to Weston’s Army boot camp graduation in Oklahoma, I made a slight detour to visit my friend Kat in Illinois. I’ve known Kat for 21 years. I met her (virtually, online) right after Weston was born, on a romance writer message board. Ross was a toddler, Weston was a newborn, and Morgan hadn’t even been dreamed up yet! Lo, all these years later, with all our kids mostly grown, and emailing each other every day all this time, Kat and I had never met in person. It was time, and her home in Decatur was only a few hours out of the way on my trip, so Morgan and I stayed with her for a few days. Kat’s been a professional dog trainer for years, and I knew she bred Chinese Crested dogs, but I hadn’t thought much about them. The first Chinese Crested she got was a hairless and I didn’t pay that much attention to her dogs after seeing a picture of that one. Hairless Chinese Cresteds often win the ugliest dog of the year award. Because they’re so ugly. Well, to some of us! Chinese Cresteds come in three varieties–hairless (hair only on their heads, feet, and tails), hairy hairless (they have more hair than the hairless), and powderpuffs. Powderpuffs are fluffy little balls. They are ADORABLE. I didn’t realize how adorable until I stayed with Kat and her bunch o’ Chinese Cresteds. I fell in love with her dogs, took one to bed with me while I was there, and threatened to kidnap one. They’re small dogs (toy-size) with sweet temperaments–not real “yappy” types. They don’t bark as much as other toy breeds.
And so, I went to Illinois last summer and saw cornfields and soybeans and flatlands and Chinese Cresteds (and Kat took me to a Rural King! we don’t have Rural King here!) and when I left, I said, “Next powderpuff baby girl born, I want her!” And that, my dear friends and readers, is how I came to have a Chinese Crested puppy. In October, Kat’s Daisy had a litter of two–and one of them was a powderpuff girl. And now she’s mine!

And as for the battle over the dog bed….
Buttercup won that one.

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  1. IMG_3613

    December 2, 2014 - Countdown to Puppy

    My Precious!

    I think puppies don’t hold still very well so all of her pictures are blurry, but this is Precious, my new Chinese Crested powderpuff puppy. She’s not here yet–she’s coming in 10 days.

    Morgan can’t stand the name Precious and calls her a cat-dog.

    Yesterday, I went shopping for Precious–for a little pen for inside the house, a crate, puppy training pads, food and treats and toys … Continued…

  1. IMG_3526

    November 3, 2014 - How Are the Girls?

    Someone pointed out that I haven’t posted a pic of the goats lately. That’s because all the girls (except for Maia) are in hiding at the moment.

    Okay, they’re not really in hiding, but they’re stalled.

    It’s hard to actually go into the stall and take a photo of them because as soon as I open the door to go … Continued…

  1. IMG_3436

    October 21, 2014 - Glory Bee’s Weekend

    I was walking around the farm this weekend and went to visit the girls. I usually turn Glory Bee out with the heifers for the weekend. Let her reconnect with the younguns, and keep Moon Pie from getting weaned. I like keeping my alternate milk maid available.

    If Glory Bee sees me coming, she makes a beeline … Continued…

  1. IMG_3411

    October 16, 2014 - The Deal about Dumplin

    The girls, Dumplin and Moon Pie.

    I really like how Moon Pie’s coloring is shaping up. She’s a pretty thing.

    Look at those lashes.

    Nobody’s happy when mama’s gone a-milkin’.

    Especially baby Moon Pie!… Continued…

  1. IMG_8726

    October 8, 2014 - Everything I Know, I Learned from Cows

    In the past several days, I’ve made a couple pounds of butter, several batches of mozzarella, sour cream, and cream cheese. You can tell I have a retreat coming up this weekend! I’ve been milking Glory Bee twice a day. This morning after milking I turned her out, and she went running out to the pasture, literally kicking her hooves in the air, calling for Moon Pie and Dumplin. Sometimes she … Continued…

  1. IMG_3323

    October 2, 2014 - Night in the Hay

    So, I was sitting on the back porch last night chatting with an old friend who’d stopped by and suddenly a man came out of the dark, around the side of the house, and said, “You gotta move that tractor and that truck so I can get in the barnyard!”

    It was my hay man with a 24-foot trailer loaded down with 16 900-pound round bales and 50 … Continued…

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The Slanted Little House

"It was a cold wintry day when I brought my children to live in rural West Virginia. The farmhouse was one hundred years old, there was already snow on the ground, and the heat was sparse-—as was the insulation. The floors weren’t even, either. My then-twelve-year-old son walked in the door and said, “You’ve brought us to this slanted little house to die." Keep reading our story....

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