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Farm Fresh Blog
Sunday, June 30 2013
As I'm sure the men in our audience will agree, women (particularly hormonal women who are armed) are dangerous creatures. Because of this, wise men know to tread lightly. (young and ignorant men either learn quickly, or they become statistics, and thus sad examples for other men)
And as we have already established, Other Half is a cow man - he barely admits that he even has sheep and goats. In fact, he is quick to point out that the sheep, goats, and Big White Dog that comes with sheep and goats, belong to his WIFE. (unsaid - "I wouldn't have those foo-foo creatures if not for her because I'm a REAL MAN. I have CATTLE.") Yeah.... whatever.
(Don't be fooled, folks. He kisses lambs.)
Although he isn't big into my livestock, he knows they are important to ME and by default, they are important to his happiness. (cuz "when Mama ain't happy, ain't NOBODY happy.")
And so it was, that no one was more upset than Other Half when he could not locate one of my goat babies the other night. He was walking the whole crew back into their pens when he did a head count and came up short one baby goat.
"DANGER! DANGER, WILL ROBINSON! DANGER!"
(extra bonus credit if you can name that quote!)
Other Half quickly backtracked and heard the plaintive cries of his missing buckling. But where was he?
Imagine it is dark, and this is your scene.
Yes! The baby goat was in the boat!
Apparently Raisin Bran had climbed onto the riding mower and jumped into the boat!
A goat in a boat . . . somewhere there is a Dr Seuss book in this . . .
Wednesday, June 26 2013
You know you're married to a K9 Handler when:
Your husband is grilling steaks outside. You receive a telephone call from Hubby and he says, "Put Dillon's vest on and have him bring me a beer."
Please forgive the bad cell phone photography. The dog was eager to complete his mission. This is actually a k9 backpack, not a vest. Dillon is more than happy to serve as a beer courier. While the Border Collies would like to do it, alas, they are not big enough to fit in the backpack.
Summer is upon us. So Ladies, may I point out that this an EASY skill to teach both dog and husband. The backpacks are cheap. AND . . . it saves YOU a lot of running back and forth outside to bring Husband things he didn't bring with him when he went outside to grill. Just sayin'.
Tuesday, June 25 2013
This particular adventure was overshadowed when Dillon got bitten by the rattlesnake but has colored everything since. Storms had rolled through north Texas about a week before we arrived and we worried that our little cabin had been whisked away to Oz. Thankfully, that was not the case, but we did find the two double doors standing wide open.
Our immediate reaction was "Someone broke into the cabin!"
Double doors were opened and swinging in the wind, but everything seemed fine. Relatively. Nothing had been taken.
All the important stuff was still there. Other Half decided that because the doors were still locked, he must have failed to bolt the top and bottom bars, and the storms must have sucked the doors open. Sounded like a valid theory to me. Now we had to address the next problem.
Mouse poop. Mouse poop. And RAT POOP! I'm not talking about Stewart-Little-cute-field-mouse-kinda poop. I'm talking Rat-the-size-of-an-oppossum-kinda poop. Apparently they had been dining on deer corn and catfish food. I can just imagine the party they had when they first discovered this bounty.
And then there was the next problem. Where you have rodents, eventually, you will have snakes. And since snakes are VERY plentiful at the ranch, I was definintely worried. So we kept a worried eye out as we cleaned, and cleaned, and cleaned. (I don't DO rodents!)
By dark I was satisfied that we could safely go to bed.
But wait! There's more!
Now what is the Golden Rule for Dog Handlers?
"Trust your dog!"
I am a firm believer in this rule. And so it was that when the sun came up the next morning, I noticed Lily (Barbed Wire Border Collies Pest Control Specialist) tilt her head toward the base of the cupboard.
Hmmmmm . . .
So I asked her, "Lily, what do you have?"
To which she eagerly crammed her nose under the cupboard and wagged her little butt, then looked back at me, and said, "Rodent!"
Oh crap . . .
By then Dillon and Trace were cramming their noses under the cupboard. And yes, they confirmed Lily's assessment.
Groan . . .
So backing away a safe distance, I got down on my hands and knees with a flashlight.
Ohshit!ohshit!Ohshit OHSHIT! OH SHIT!
(Said out loud)
I start to scream at Other Half (who is naturally still in bed). There was much screaming on both parts. The dogs were in a frenzy. They had cornered the suspect, but kept looking back at me. Clearly, since I was the only one with thumbs, I had been elected to flush the suspect. Groan . . .
So armed with my flashlight, a broom, and three snarly dogs, I got down on my knees again. Judicious use of the broom sent the suspect scurrying out and right past Dillon who grabbed it by the tail. At this point I began to scream (like a girl). Then I realized that Dillon had it, and I screamed some more, "Kill it! Kill it! KILL IT!" (like a homicidal girl)
By now Other Half was awake and up (and naked.) I want to give you this mental picture:
Imagine a happy dog, (a proud dog) carrying a rat the size of a possum, eager to show his prize to his horrified momma and his naked poppa. Yeahhhhhh . . .
Other Half sprang to the door and open it quickly to usher Dillon and his prize outside.
Trace and Lily were quite deflated and disappointed. Dillon didn't want anyone but his humans to admire his prize.
And it was quite a prize.
While Other Half got dressed, I examined the now-dead rodent. Holy crap. This wasn't some field mouse, this was a Fifth Ward Wharf Rat. I've seen BMWs smaller than this sucker.
Eewwwww . . .
I noted that she was a female and felt just a moment of sympathy for this rat as a person. Then it passed.
I don't like rodents in my house!
Other Half came outside to admire Dillon's prize. Dillon was just beside himself. I continued to build him up and tell him how proud I was of him. He glowed.
Then Other Half burst our bubble by saying, "Way to f@#& up a soft-mouthed bird dog."
Hmmm . . . good point. Very good point. Dillon's father was a primo hunting dog. Dillon's grandfather was a 3x Grand Champion Hunting Dog by the age of 5.
And I had encouraged Dillon to kill something . . .
Given some time to think about it . . .
. . .
I DON'T CARE! I don't hunt birds! I hunt rodents!
Monday, June 24 2013
Does this creature look dangerous?
Just in case she/he is sooo well camouflaged (not!) that you can't see her, I'll blow it up a little.
Yes, there. See this dangerous beast?
Yes, a deer blind! Out in the open! Friends and Neighbors, she did NOT blend.
Which might have been the point. Perhaps her mother was 49 and prone to forgetting where she put things. I could certainly understand that! Just sayin'.
So we kept a loose eye on her/him hoping that Mom would come get her baby before the coyotes found it. Fotunately she did.
So why do I consider this to be a dangerous beast? Well let me tell ya!
You see, we saw this little rascal a few weeks ago and were reminded that most baby deer WILL NOT move if Momma tells them not to. Therefore, when mowing the roadways in the forest, Blue Heeler and I went ahead of the tractor on a 4wheeler to make sure we wouldn't mow over any baby deer.
Keep in mind that I zoom up and down these roads ALL THE TIME on that 4wheeler. In fact, on this particular morning, a few hours earlier, I had zoomed down this path 3 different times. And so it was, no one was more surprised than me (and maybe Blue Heeler!) when I ran over a limb measuring somewhere around 4-5 inches in diameter and several feet long, that jumped up and whacked me in the elbow! LIKE A FREAKIN' BASEBALL BAT!!!
I kid you not, it was like I was just slowly cruising down the path, when a baby deer with a baseball bat smacked the crap out of me!
I was vaguely aware of the front left tire rolling over it a moment before impact. Then there was a lot of cussing. And gasping. Blue Heeler did a lot of gasping, since if my arm hadn't blocked the blow, he would have gotten a baseball bat to the snout.
I was certain it was broken. The elbow swelled immediately. Then again, since my fingers still worked, I decided it wasn't that bad. It swelled to the point that I couldn't bend my arm enough to brush my hair, or clean the red dirt out of my nose! (Sorry! TMI!) Still, I considered myself lucky. Not only is a broken arm inconvenient, but I can not AFFORD a broken arm! Frankly, who can? So we resorted to veterinary medicine again. After all, what's good for the horse is good for the human!
The elbow is still sore, just like the foot the damned cows stomped on earlier. (same side too) Did I tell you about that? I'm not sure if I did or not, but the damned cows stomped all over my left foot, thus leaving me hobbling and wondering about broken bones and the wisdom of having cows. For we all know that regarding cows, anything that big and that stupid can be dangerous, but who figured this little critter for dangerous?
Until Bambi runs out of the woods with a baseball bat!
Wednesday, June 19 2013
While I don't spend a lot of time wishing for rain at our south Texas place, I really want rain at the north Texas ranch. That area has received very little rainfall and the stock tanks (ponds) are low. The cattle and wildlife still have water to drink, but I won't rest easy until the tanks are full again, and the creek is flowing.
Except for the occasional spot where the underground springs pop to the surface, the creek has been dry.
This was last June.
North side of the creek
I was driving through here this weekend. There was nothing but dry sand.
After this weekend:
Same rocks, but on the south side of the creek. I had no intentions of trying to wade through that fast-moving water for a northside picture.
Here is the bluff from inside the creek bed. It was dry on Monday.
Here is the same bluff from on top looking down yesterday:
Monday night we got an inch of rain. I would swear the grass I had mowed that afternoon grew a 1/2 inch over night. Tuesday morning about 2:30 am another round of thunderstorms rolled through. This dumped just shy of 1 1/2 inches of rain.
I was driving through this shallow creek crossing the day before.
Yesterday the current was running so swiftly that I wouldn't let the Labrador Retriever play in the water.
This country is very different from south Texas. The rain comes down and rather than absorbing into the ground, it runs down hills to create rivers of muddy water on the landscape. The stock tanks got a lot more water, and the creek is flowing again. Hopefully once things slow down a bit, the sediment will settle and clear the water up again. Hopefully the water will still be flowing the rest of the summer, but without more rain, I doubt it. The plants are already bounding back, eager to take advantage of the rain while it lasts.
Thursday, June 13 2013
Warning: the photos are not the greatest quality, but they are graphic. I do not show them because I'm into torturing my dogs. The photos illustrate the shock, pain, and betrayal. We took no pleasure in doing this, but this exercise might just save their lives, so it had to be done.
So now we have an angry, hurt, pissed off rattlesnake. It is now time for an unsuspecting, trusting dog.
The Snake Breaker explained, we want to work with these three senses of the dog: Sight, Smell, and Sound.
First we set the snake up in an area that the dog will smell it. Then when the dog shows interest in investigating the snake, shock him. After that if he still isn't 100% convinced that he should give snakes a WIDE berth, shock him again. Then put the dog up. (and get another dog)
Happy dog barrels into snake so quickly that I missed the shot.
This temporarily convinced him.
Go get Lily . . .
who wades right into the snake.
She is now convinced.
He gets nailed just about the time he recognizes the snake.
(Breaks my heart)
There are complications with Ranger. He is so scared of The Snake Breaker that he doesn't even look at the snake. I also caution that if he gets zapped while Snake Breaker is holding him there is the distinct possiblity that blame will be assigned and the Snake Breaker will get bitten. Snake Breaker decides it is definitely a good idea to let Other Half handle Little Blue Dog.
After each dog has had one go round with sight and smell, then take the tape off and put the snake in an area they can see it. Then try to lead the dog around the snake. If the dog sits back and says "Go f@*! yourself" your job is done. If they show interest, zap them again. This is the part where the dogs feel betrayed by Other Half. They went the second time because he went. Every one of them KNEW that was a bad idea, but they followed him. (except Trace who told him to go *bleep* himself. )
And Lily . . .
who refused to go up to the snake.
He later just tossed the snake at her and got this reaction:
This is exactly what "I" would look like if you threw a rattlesnake at me too.
We felt horrible but they MUST know (as Trace illustrated) that snakes are bad news. "Don't just follow me through the brush. TELL ME there's a *bleeping* rattlesnake in that brush!"
Poor Other Half took the brunt of the blame because he was the Dog Handler and I was just taking pictures.
Dillon illustrates the betrayal perfectly. This broke my heart.
Dillon thinks this is a safe distance to view the snake.
"I don't know. Maybe we shouldn't. Do you think it's a good idea?"
He looks at Other Half as if to say
"I told you the first time we shouldn't go up there. Why did you want me to do that again???"
Thus they all ran to me for support even after Other Half called them. Dillon forgave him pretty quickly, but Lily is still holding a grudge.
I also took them to Dairy Queen for ice cream later. Everyone got their own ice cream.
Have we learned anything? I think so. Will Dillon still wade into another snake? Probably so, but it might be a while. Will this guarantee they won't get bitten? No.
The German Shorthair Pointer I know that died had snake proofing. She never even saw the snake as she ran past him. He bit her and she died. The only thing we can do is give our dogs the rattlesnake vaccine (to buy time), keep drugs on hand, and give refresher courses from time to time with The Snake Breaker. While a one-time training session might work with the Border Collies, I understand Labradors need it every six months or yearly. Since Dillon waded into another rattlesnake only two weeks after one bit him in the face, I can see that he will be a regular attendee at this class.
Wednesday, June 12 2013
I knew what it was the moment I saw she'd called. Tears welled up in my eyes. I listened to the message and took a moment to cry before I returned the call. Our beloved Zena passed away this morning. I'm sorry that she's gone, but I'm glad that she found a home where she could have one true person that was her own. I'm glad that she found someone who needed her. I'm glad she was able to live out her final years sleeping on the couch and watching soap operas. I'm glad that she touched all our lives . . .
In the classic country song, Tom T. Hall sang the praises of "Old Dogs, Children, & Watermelon Wine." There's something about old dogs and old people that tugs at my heartstrings too. Some time ago a friend of mine asked about finding a German Shepherd as a companion for her elderly mother. In one year her mom had lost her husband, her daughter, and her dog. (that alone, makes tears spring to my eyes) We immediately thought of Zena.
We love Zena, and she's happy in our home, but she deserves more. As much as I love my animals, I'm not so arrogant as to believe that we are always the best home for each animal. Such is the case with Zena. She is enjoying retirement, but she doesn't get her share of attention because she is one of eight dogs, and she is the well-behaved one. Thus, she ends up getting shuffled to the back.
So I spoke to my friend and she said Zena would be perfect for her mom. Unfortunately her mother got very sick before she was able to meet Zena. After a long illness, she finally was able to meet her new dog today . . . and it brought tears to my eyes. (This is why I would suck at Therapy Dog work. I would cry in every hospital room.) There is something magical in the touch of a dog. When she ran her twisted arthritic fingers through Zena's hair and said, "I dreamed of you when I was sick," I almost bawled.
Zena is always welcome back into our home, but it's obvious that this woman needs Zena, and Zena needs to be needed. So we're gonna give this a try and see how it works out. Something tells me that this pair will be just fine.
Wednesday, June 12 2013
This is why no one breaks into the Snake Breaker's property.
No way. No how.
His hobbies are common knowledge. You will note that the pictures aren't too good at this point. That's because quarters were tight and a certain woman didn't have enough FLIGHT DISTANCE. Plus, in this situation, being between Other Half and the door wasn't a good idea either. Yes, one way in. One way out. (Screw that)
Anyway, let's get to the business of snake proofing a dog.
First, you have to have rattlesnakes. One will do, but if you want to truly horrify the dog owner, you need an entire pit of rattlesnakes (at least 20). Interestingly enough, there is a safety mechanism that I have developed from years of working crime scenes. Photograph it!
If you see it through the viewfinder of a camera, YOU ARE NOT REALLY THERE! Yeah, I know, twisted but it works for the human mind. I can get so engrossed in the details of getting a good shot and learning, that the fear of the rattlesnake takes a back seat. (Until I view the pictures later.)
You need to have these really handy snake tongs.
Other Half announced that he wanted a pair of these for the ranch.
"WHY?!" I ask.
He then proceeded to ask what I planned to do if we found a snake in the cabin or in the camper.
"Shoot a lot of holes in the floor!" (Why do men ask such stupid questions?)
Anyway, back to this instructional: Kidnap unsuspecting rattlesnake from his pit of rattlesnake buddies. Snatch him up with tongs and put him in a trash can.
No top. Just a trash can. Tell Dog Owners to watch trash can and advise if snake is poking his head out. Righty then.
I didn't tell the Snake Breaker but he would know his snake was loose when the gunfire began. Just sayin'. If that rattlesnake came out of that bucket, Other Half would have shot it into little pieces, apologized, and then handed the man a $20 bill for the snake.
"Ooops! Ma bad! I got skeered!"
But fortunately the snake stayed in the trash can. The Snake Breaker then carried the trash can to the portal of Snake Hell. (Other Half noted that this area also only had ONE WAY IN AND ONE WAY OUT, so if you made a mistake with your tongs and you dropped that sucker, you had to go past an angry rattlesnake to get out of there. I can't even use chopsticks to pick up noodles, there is no way I'm gonna juggle a pissed off rattlesnake with tongs.
But he did. He snatched up that snake and put him in this box. If you look closely you can see the swipes of rattlesnake venom against the plexi-glass.
(Makes my butt twitch.) Anyway, you put the snake in the box. Then you pin down his head with the tongs and PUT YOUR BARE HAND in the box to catch his head.
After you have the snake by the head, he naturally wants to bite something, (Stands to reason) so you let him sink his fangs into the side of the box. (Which he does happily. Again and again) Venom is squeezed out into the plywood. (It's probably a safe bet that no one will reclaim that lumber later.)
Now that the snake is sufficiently scared and pissed,
you take a pair of hemostats, and rip out his fangs.
Yeah, this is Snake Hell. Rattlesnakes are like sharks. They continually grow more teeth. Our rattlesnake victim had 3 fangs. The Snake Breaker ripped them all out. No worries, he'll grow some more.
I still felt a teeny tiny bit sorry for the snake. (just a smidgeon) I advised The Snake Breaker that I felt a 'little' sorry for the snake.
"Why? He wouldn't feel sorry for you."
Good point. Then I remembered this
and I didn't feel sorry for the snake any more.
I made note that although this snake was in Snake Hell, if he was wild and free at my ranch (Apparently Snake Heaven) he would have been blasted to smithereens with a .410 shotgun, so at least here he is alive and well-fed. And he will be marked so The Snake Breaker knows he has already used this snake. How do you mark a rattlesnake?
Orange spray paint. That simple. Now that I think of it, ALL rattlesnakes should be marked with orange spray paint!
YES! That way I could SEE them. (my aim is better when I actually see something. just sayin')
So now we have an angry, hurt, pissed off rattlesnake. Now we want to tape the snake's mouth shut.
And we want to put tape over his tail so he cannot rattle. Why wouldn't you want him to rattle? After all, aren't rattlesnakes the gentlemen of the snake world? Don't they rattle to warn you before they strike?
My experience has been that they rattle AFTER they strike. And they rattle when they're really scared. Some folks say we are, through natural selection, breeding rattlesnakes that don't rattle because the wild hogs eat any snakes they find. Thus there are less "gentlemen" rattlesnakes around to breed because they get eaten by the hogs and aren't able to reproduce.
I've heard this a lot and don't know how much of it is true. As a child, I ran into a lot of rattlesnakes and I can only remember one snake rattling to warn us of his presence BEFORE we knew he was there. Most of the time they sit and wait and hope you don't see them. If you step too close, you're toast. They strike. Then they rattle. That was in Eastern North Carolina in the 60s. No hogs there.
Regardless of why they don't rattle. A lot of them don't. Nuff said on that.
So now we have a frightened, hurting, pissed off rattlesnake with his mouth taped shut and his tail taped up. Definitely Snake Hell.
It is now time to bring in one unsuspecting Gooberhead dog . . .
Tuesday, June 11 2013
(warning: some content may not be appropriate for children)
(Note: This is a live snake. He is not in a cage.)
I know people who have lost dogs to rattlesnakes. I knew a really stellar German Shorthaired Pointer who just ran PAST a rattlesnake and was bitten in the leg. She died before my brother-in-law could get her out of the field and to the vet. The rattlesnake is the #1 lethal biter when it comes to pit vipers. Those suckers don't play.
Now you can't sling a dead cat on our ranch without hitting a copperhead, which I have a healthy respect for.
I've killed 6 copperheads without having one dog bitten. The FIRST rattlesnake we saw up here bit Dillon square between the eyes. I don't f*@K with rattlesnakes! And sadly this is not the last snake that will bite Dillon. He is after all, a Labrador Retriever.
And so it was that as soon as we returned to civilization, we sought an "electrocutioner" for Dillon.
Unfortunately for everyone other canine who makes the regular journey to North Texas, they also had to attend the mandatory Snake Breaker Class. So yesterday we piled four dogs in the truck and headed west.
The Snake Breaker is an awesome dude. I expected a crusty old rude fart who loved his snakes and simply tolerated dog people in order to bankroll his love of snakes. I didn't expect a fellow police officer with a love of dogs. This guy had almost as many dogs as WE have! Kudos to him too! He's got more balls than Other Half and I have. There is no way on God's Green Earth that I'm gonna keep a cage of 20 rattlesnakes in my back yard. I watched him do stuff yesterday that would have made me say, "Stick a fork in me, I'm done."
Other Half showed him pictures of our ranch. He guaranteed us that Moss Bluff was crawling with rattlesnakes, even in the winter. He also pointed out something we had already figured out by accident last winter. In our area, snakes do not ever hibernate all winter. They crawl out in the sunny afternoon to get warm and sometimes get caught out of their den by colder temperatures that move in. This leaves sluggish, pissed off, frightened snakes just layin' around for dogs to find. He told us that quite a number of people have reported to him that they lost their dogs because the dogs were bitten by snakes layin' around outside in freezing weather. (even in GALVESTON!)
We also told him about the pile of discarded tires in the forest where we guaranteed him that he could come collect free copperheads whenever he wanted. He told us that this was the perfect breeding ground for copperheads and even if we burned it (we had no plans to do that) we could not rid that area of copperheads.
Thing 3: (warning: content not appropriate for children)
Despite the fact that we have poisonous snakes "just layin' around" at the ranch, apparently those little bastards are expensive now because the Asian market is paying $20 a pound for rattlesnake meat. That means a snake wrangler has to pay $20 for a half-pound live rattlesnake for dog training. May I take a moment to ask WHY Asians are paying so much for rattlesnake meat?
When I asked the Snake Breaker, he said that rattlesnake meat is supposedly an aphrodesiac. Yeah. Right.
Pardon me for asking, but I'm just curious. What IS it with these guys? How many different species of animals have these Asian market men murdered in some senseless quest for a woody? And do they have such a problem with erectile disfunction that tigers, rhinos, rattlesnakes, and Lord only knows what else must be consumed? (I'm just askin'.) Trust me, somewhere there is a rhinocerous writing out fake prescriptions for Viagra.
On the other hand, I shouldn't imply that I'm somehow morally superior. After all, I'm a 'snake murderer' myself so who am I to point fingers at guys with weak woodys. (or is that spelled "woodies?")
My attitude toward snakes tends to be:
Non-poisonous = let it go (tip of the hat, "have a nice day to ya."
So back to my inability to feel morally superior to Asian men in search of the perfect woody . . .
Not only do I murder pit vipers on sight, I actively seek out and support people (like the Snake Breaker) who keep rattlesnakes in what must be Rattlesnake Hell, for the mere purpose of teaching stupid dogs not to play with snakes.
So really, who am I to point fingers at Asian men in search of the perfect woody?
Tomorrow we will compare and contrast Rattlesnake Hell with Border Collie Hell. Stay tuned.
Preview: Lily still hasn't forgiven Other Half. And I'm really thankful that I took pictures instead of holding the lead. The dogs still like me.
One Last Lesson before we go:
While I knew this already, it became painfully apparent when I was downloading pictures last night. It was almost scary. This is an unedited photo. Just like the camera and the human eye saw it.
The grass was short. If you had been moving or not actively scanning for snakes you would probably have missed this 3 foot rattlesnake in your front yard. The snake isn't moving.
Here I have simply increased the contrast on the photo and enlarged it. If you had been walking, you STILL might have missed this snake. In the thumbnail pictures of this series, you cannot see the snake AT ALL. Keep that in mind if you live in North Texas . . .
Thursday, June 06 2013
I give you Exhibit A:
What have we learned from our experience with the rattlesnake?
Do we rush in and sniff strange creatures?
Maybe? Maybe not?
It would appear that Dillon is a tad more cautious than he was prior to his encounter.
Briar, on the other hand, definitely needs some snake aversion therapy before she moves to the North Ranch.
Oh well, for the time being, she isn't likely to encounter a rattlesnake. Dillon is scheduled for an appointment with a rattlesnake and a shock collar in the near future, but it's nice to see he's not quite ready to wade right in again to "Dangerous Creatures."
To prevent any harm from coming to the turtle from a curious Briar (or Aja who might use the poor thing as a Nylabone) I removed the turtle safely to the pond,
where he continued his little turtle journey, one step at a time.
Sunday, June 02 2013
Snapshots are memories captured in time. That's why I love taking pictures. I want to remember this moment, that flower, this texture, that tree against the sunset. But often the very act of taking the picture becomes a memory of its own. I love looking at calendar pictures and award winning photographs. They're nice, but they usually lack one thing. I really want the "behind the story" of each picture. I wish calendars including THAT. Yeah, yeah, any camera can take a good picture. I don't care what f-stop and ISO you used. Tell me the STORY behind the picture.
For instance, let's take these two pictures:
Not earthshattering, but cute enough to satisfy me. Now let's examine the story behind the pictures. It was raining. We had loaded the dogs up and were headed into town. At the end of our gate, Other Half had planned to turn right, but something caught my eye toward the left, so he waited there while I got out in the rain and walked toward this beautiful patch of red with my camera.
Keep in mind that it is raining. This clearly shows in the photos. I'm not sure what Rocket Scientist thought she could take pictures in the rain like this. Nevertheless, I took bunches of photos of wet flowers. But guess what? You know what wet flowers need? Wet dogs! So I motion to Other Half to drive the truck over to me.
He doesn't move.
I step out into the road and wave.
He doesn't move.
Surely he sees me. I dance in the road to get his attention. Nope. Nada. Nothing.
By then I'm a bitchy bear. That man is IGNORING me in the rain! I stalk back to truck. Other Half is happily playing on his iPhone. (high tech redneck) I snarl something rude about him ignoring me to which he defends himself by explaining that he never saw me motioning to him. (I could have been dancing with Fred Astaire in the rain and he would have missed it.)
So we drove over to the red flowers and I selected my first subject (victim). Lily. Always Lily. She is always the chosen one. Lily has had a camera in her face since she was six weeks old. She has this runway model thing down. Pouty face and all.
I snap my shots and exchange her for Trace. While he isn't keen on a modeling career, the camera likes Trace. He's a nice color for most shots. Lily's stark black and white often creates problems. So I chose Trace. He happily leaped out of the truck. All was well until he realized that we weren't on a bunny hunt, a snake hunt, a rat hunt, a cow hunt, or a sheep hunt.
We were having a photo shoot in the rain. I think these pictures pretty much sum up the way Trace felt about his photo shoot.
Gee whiz. Why do these dogs have to be such divas?
And Dillon? Where was Chocolate Thunder you ask? The D-Man absolutely sucks at modeling. He is a gooberhead with a less than stellar "stay" for posed shots. I am reminded of Alice the Bloodhound. When asked to model, Dillon stays for half a second, announces, "This is Stupid!" and walks off. Yes, we need to work on our stay command. Dillon is a perfect example of the Shoemaker's children. Two dog trainers have an ill-mannered, goofy puppy. Go figure.
So anyway, that's the STORY behind the picture!