You Miserable Vomitous Mass

If you’re a regular reader, you’re familiar with my dog, Katie. She’s a sweet, cuddly, smart, and stubborn Rottweiler. I love this dog to pieces, but she has some annoying quirks.

Katie Up

Katie has an eating disorder. She eats everything–fabric, sticks, plastic bottles, rotten food and compost–and it makes her sick.

I threw a bag of trash out the back door into the sunroom for my husband to take out. Katie and I later discovered it had leaked ick all over the floor. She decided to help clean it up with her tongue.

My philosophy is not to clean anything major until something disastrous happens. And it always does. For example, if I mop the bathroom floor and then the toilet overflows, I’m mad. But if it overflows on a dirty floor, it’s not such a big deal. I needed to clean it anyway. (Our old house had plumbing issues. The bathroom floor got cleaned a lot this way.)

This method has worked well for me. Living with boys, a husband, and a dog ensures disaster on a regular basis.

As I said, Katie decided to help me clean by licking the icky, sticky stuff off of the floor. I figured She’s a dog. She knows what she can eat. Animals always do. It’s instinct. Apparently, she’s missing the genes that impart that particular insight.

I shooed her away and finished cleaning the sunroom. Soon I heard, “Mom! Katie spilled her peanut butter on the carpet!”

Just fill with peanut butter or dog treats for hours of entertainment for your dog!

Just fill with peanut butter or dog treats for hours of yummy entertainment!

ASIDE:

Some people buy their dogs a Kong. You know, the dog toy that you put peanut butter inside to keep them entertained while they try to lick it out. I invented the poor-man’s Kong, or the redneck Kong. It’s an empty jar of peanut butter. There’s always peanut-buttery residue left in the jar, and Katie’s tongue is almost long enough to reach the bottom of the large one. This keeps her occupied when we leave the house for a bit.

BACK TO THE STORY…

“Peanut butter doesn’t spill, honey,” I replied, walking around the corner.

First the smell hit me. Then I saw the pool of dog barf on the carpet.

Have you ever watched the Princess Bride? Where Wesley calls Prince Humperdink a miserable, vomitous mass?

Worst. Insult. Ever.

"You miserable, vomitous mass."

“You miserable, vomitous mass.”

(My favorite movie of all time! Long clip, and it doesn’t start for 12 seconds. Tried to start it at 1:50…”You miserable, vomitous mass.” But I’m technology challenged.)

Not until that very moment when I rounded the corner did I feel the full weight of that insult. My nostrils were in pain. I stood there staring, unsure what exactly to do about it.

My next thought was Thank God my husband’s not home. He has the most sensitive gag reflex in the history of mankind. My 8-year-old was doing a nice job of imitating him as both boys ran out the front door. (Note to self: stink up the house to get the boys to play outside.)

That doozy of a puddle almost made me imitate Mr. Rains, too. And I’m like Wonder Woman with the stinky stuff.

I shall deflect the offensive odor with my bracelets made from Athena's shield.

I shall deflect the offensive odor with my bracelets made from Athena’s shield.

My first step was to get the dog outside before she erupted again. Katie thought she was in trouble and hunkered down on the floor with her droopy-eared, sad-eyed, I’m sorry look. And she wouldn’t budge. So I carried her. A 50 pound puppy. I’m surprised I didn’t Heimlich more out of her.

Now, she’s playing outside with the kids in the fresh air like she didn’t just expel a demon through her throat. And I’m in here on my hands and knees over this toxic puddle.

I squeegeed it out of the carpet with a dust pan, sopped it up with an old towel (which promptly got thrown in the trash), and used a special enzyme cleaner for pet messes.

Still stinky. Putrid.

Next, I mixed alcohol, vinegar, and Febreze. I inhaled the fumes of the mixture to make sure it would be potent enough. It burned my nasal membranes. Perfect. Poured it on. Sucked it up with my carpet cleaner after soaking a while.

Still stinky.

Next, I shampooed the entire room for the fun of it. (This validates my cleaning philosophy. We moved in February and I hadn’t shampooed the carpet yet. Silver lining!)

Still stinky!

So, I took the spray head off of the Febreze, imitated Katie’s puking sound, and dumped it in the biohazard zone. After a short soak, I sucked it up with the carpet shampooer.

SUCCESS!!! Febreze is made of magic.

...and horrid dog-barf puddles!

…and horrid dog-barf puddles on carpet!

But that dog is not to be trusted.

She later hoarked down a 1/2-inch-thick disk of solidified milk that my youngest had left in the truck for a week. She got to it as I was trying to dump the cup’s nasty contents into a drainage whistle where she couldn’t reach it. But she was too fast. Motivated by putrescence.

"Bow down to the queen of slime, the queen of filth, the queen of putrescence!"

“Bow down to the queen of slime, the queen of filth, the queen of putrescence! Her name is Katie!”

Her crate and the porch had to be hosed down and bleached the next day.

She does this so often that she’s not allowed to sleep anywhere near carpet. But the porch and linoleum get disinfected regularly.

If I am to look on the bright side of this,  I could say, “Thank you, Katie the Queen of Putrescence, for motivating me to keep the house clean.”  But I wouldn’t mean it… At. All.

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New Books and Blog Tours

Since starting this blog, I’ve had so many stories about our adventures on Copperhead Farm to tell that I’ve neglected to talk about my books. Gasp! I was invited to participate in a blog interview and figured that this would be a perfect opportunity to share that side of my life with you.

What are you working on right now?

A young-adult paranormal novel. It’s a total departure from everything I’ve written so far, but it has been fun. Especially since it’s a collaboration with my husband. We will release it under a pen name, and we’re currently arguing about keeping it a secret or not.

As far as a new children’s book, I’m working with my publisher to get Breakfast is for the Birds released this fall/winter. It’s in the illustration phase.

Mother bird is so frustrated with her little birdies. They don't want barfed-up worms again!

Mother bird is so frustrated with her little birdies. They don’t want barfed-up worms again!

How does Breakfast is for the Birds differ from other works in its genre?

It’s for an older group of children than my first book. The reading level and interest level fit with young elementary-school students. It’s an early chapter book.

Here are a few lines from the story:

Mama dung beetle yelled from the family burrow, “Dinner time, my little scarabs!  Come and get it while it’s still warm!”

“Mom, can’t we have something other than poop?” asked the oldest dung beetle.

………..

Mama dung beetle had had enough. “You know, it could be worse. If we were humans, we would eat meatballs.”

“What’s a meatball?” the youngest dung beetle whispered to his sister.

“I don’t know, but it sounds gross,” she replied.

The beetles decided that their dinner wasn’t so bad after all, and dug in.

If you eat your June beetle, you can have honeybee for desert!

Mama spider says, “If you eat your June beetle, you can have honeybee for desert!”

My first book, Sleep My Child, is intended to be read aloud just as early as the parent wishes to begin. Some start while still pregnant. I started reading to my son as soon as I could sit him on my lap. He is nine and his brother is six, and we still read at bedtime. We all miss it when we don’t get our reading time together.

*Getting on my soap box* Even if your children can read for themselves, it’s still important (and fun!) to read to them. How else are you going to justify reading fun children’s books? I even wrote a poem about it.

Why do you write what you do?

Frustration! My children’s books are born out of total exasperation with my children. Somehow, my frustration comes out as positive and silly stories. I have no idea how that happens.

Sleep My Child: my baby was fighting sleep

Breakfast is for the Birds: picky eaters

Horrible Hal of Halitosis: sibling rivalry and constant fighting

(Horrible Hal is finished, I just need to submit it to publishers! I really procrastinate this step. Rejection is no bueno.)

Other stories that my husband and I are working on come from dinner conversations. He really is full of ideas!  Most of them are crazy. Just crazy enough.

How does your writing process work?

Writing times are few and far between. So, the process starts with reading back into the story to see what’s in print and what’s still in my head. That’s really my biggest obstacle. Writing main points on a calendar to establish a time line and check off significant events really helps.

When the kids leave for school and the house is quiet, Katie (my Rottweiler) curls up beside my desk, and I write. Until the kids come home and the peace and quiet is shattered. Chaos ensues until they go to sleep.

(I really do love my boys! But they’re…you know…BOYS! <3)

Look for these authors next week:

Monday, September 23rd, the following (very talented) children’s authors will continue the blog tour and answer the same questions. Enjoy!

Kelsey Wagner

Laura Wintczak Eckroat

Joan Edwards

Wild Pigs and Car Trades

“Redneck is a derogatory slang term used in reference to poor, uneducated white farmers, especially from the southern United States. … [S]ome Southern whites have reclaimed the word, using it with pride and defiance as a self-identifier.” –Wikipedia

‘Cuz we ain’t all technically farmers, ya know. And farmers around here sometimes have a degree in agriculture. And a crazy streak.

'Nuf said.

‘Nuf said.

My neck is not red (long hair), but I am rockin’ a farmer’s tan. My husband still requests a short version of the mullet.

“Just leave it long in the back so my neck doesn’t get sunburned,” he says.

But I’m in charge of the clippers, and mullets are banned. At the rodeo, I noticed a teenager with a mullet like my husband used to have when he was a teenager. (That’s when I fell in love with him. What was I thinking?) Our son laughed. Hard. My hubby said he missed that haircut. He’s so lucky to have me. I won’t let him wear a certain plaid, button-down, sleeveless shirt in public, either.

Okay, I've done this before. But just because the 1-ton jack was too hard to roll through the field.

Okay, I’ve done this before. But just because it was too hard to roll the 1-ton jack through the field.

He has some redneck qualities that aren’t going anywhere. And I kinda like ‘em. For instance, trading guns for vehicles. Seriously. We’ve done this twice. It makes me laugh, because it confirms the stereotypes Okies have earned. Like when we took our gun-permit class at a Baptist church.

Stereotypes: they come from reality.

Stereotypes are based upon reality.

Years ago, the hubs bought a 50 caliber Desert Eagle. Then he decided a hand-held cannon was no fun to shoot and traded it to another redneck down the street for a truck.

Recently, our boys complained that the back seat in my fun little sports car was too cramped. Apparently, not enough leg room is a good reason to sell my cute car. Their priorities are messed up.

But in sparkly dark green. Sniff... I'll miss taking corners at high speeds in you.

My Rexy (RX8) was sparkly dark green. Sniff… I’ll miss taking corners at high speeds in you. And your suicide doors.

The hubs texted a neighbor that we’d sell it for X amount. Said neighbor countered for less. Hubs’ reply: “Do you have any semi-automatic rifles to trade?” Yes, he did.

So, we traded my car for cash and an assault rifle. (It has a friggin’ bayonet!) And bought a sensible family car. (Sad face.)

Our new car has much more kid room, a big trunk, and gets very good gas mileage. But my inner punk fantasizes about this truck.

Drool. Fuel economy, Schmool economy!

Drool. Fuel economy, schmool economy!

Why do I need a large-caliber, fast-shooting rifle, you ask? Wild pigs. With thick hide and thicker skulls. If they’re charging and you don’t shoot them in the right spot with a large-caliber bullet, you better shoot them a whole lot and quickly.

Wild pigs are an invasive species, and they reproduce at an alarming rate. While mountain lions, coyotes, and even large birds will eat small pigs, that’s not enough to keep the population in check. That job falls to land owners.

I've heard rumors of helicopter pig hunts along the river.

I’ve heard rumors of helicopter pig hunts along the river.

According to A Pickup Load of Pigs: A Feral Swine Pandemic video series by Mississippi State University’s Extension Service, “wild hogs damage crops, farmland and pastures, spread diseases to livestock, pets and people. A male’s average weight is over 200 pounds and a female’s is 155. But they can get a lot bigger. ”

And they’re mean. But if you cook one under 70 pounds, I hear they’re tender and delicious.

Because of all the rain we’ve had this summer, the river is well beyond its banks. Wild pigs have been coming closer to our homes. Some friends a few miles north were horseback riding with their full-grown Rottweiler tagging along. They ran into two sows with twenty babies. The two women on horseback got away, but they never saw their dog again.

I’m not carrying that big gun around. It’s too heavy. Plus, I might stab myself in the foot with the bayonet. If I ever see any pigs, they will have to wait until I run into the house and unlock the gun.

Here, piggy, piggy. Mama wants a luau.

Wait here, piggy, while I get my gun. Mama wants a luau.

I’d probably have to go looking for pigs, though. They are active at dusk, dawn and at night. Maybe I’ll track down a sounder of pigs, sit in the deer stand at sunset, and score a luau pig or two. We have a deep freeze that would fit a few grown men.

My husband’s grandfather used to hunt wild boar with only dogs and a knife when he was stationed in Hawaii in the military. The Hawaiians taught him how to cook a pig luau style. After a hunt, he’d invite the whole neighborhood over to help eat the day’s game. So if we ever get one, I’ll be calling him. “Grandpa, bring your grass skirt and lets dig an imu (Hawaiian for pig-roasting pit). It’s luau time!”

Watch your inboxes for invitations.

My redneck, stud-of-a husband wants us to have every kind of gun for every kind of emergency he can think of. Zombies, burglars, dystopian regimes and looters, angry sows, snakes, etc… So what if he trades my sports car for an assault rifle. I guarantee that if times get tough, my boys and I will be in good hands.

Hide and Seek

It has been unseasonably cool, lately. I heard that we haven’t reached 100 degrees this month. That’s a very unusual August for Oklahoma. I like it! Unfortunately, so do the snakes. When the temperature is high, they come out at night when it’s cooler. In weather like this, they could be out any time.

The boys and I were leaving the house this morning after 10:00. My youngest yelled, “Snake!” just as he stepped off the porch. I ran to look. Sure enough, a black and brown snake raced from in front of him to side of the house. It slithered along the concrete foundation and behind a rose bush. Our Rottweiler, Katie, sniffed after it.

“Stay away from it!” I yelled to my youngest as I ran inside to get my gun.

My oldest followed me inside to grab his new weapon. He bought his first BB gun for his birthday.

An elderly man said as we were leaving the store, "You're going to shoot your eye out."

An elderly man said as we were leaving the store, “You’re going to shoot your eye out.” I laughed for a long time.

 

“Don’t let it in the house!” I yelled.

Gun in hand, I ran back out the wide-open front door. You’d think my boys would listen better to a mother who sometimes carries a gun and machete. But no. He left the front door open, inviting the snake to enter. It’s cool inside, creep. Come on in!

Katie was still sniffing around the same area, so I thought the snake was hiding in the iris leaves that Katie had flattened for a bed. It looked like a good place for a snake to crawl under and hide.

"Guard the snake, Katie!"

“Guard the snake, Katie!”

“Cover your ears, boys.”

BANG!

The shotgun shell peppered a 2 1/2 inch pattern in the underbrush. I dug through the leaves with a stick. Nothing. My oldest kept shooting the area with BBs, just in case.

The youngest had no idea where it was. I figured he would have been watching it for me. Nope. But I trusted Katie more than him. (She minds a lot better.) She had still been sniffing around the spot where I shot. Right above that spot is a vent. There’s an inch gap where the snake could have slithered through. Maybe it crawled under the house?

“Let’s go under the house looking for it,” my oldest said.

“Not a chance.” I’m not that brave, so I kept looking in the relative safely of the open air.

A few feet farther where the foundation met the porch, there is another hole. This one is a good 2-3 inches and barely covered up with rocks. Another way for it to get under the house. Near that is a ramp to the porch. Maybe it was hiding under there?

I jabbed a stick under the ramp to see if anything would bolt out at me. Nothing.

Maybe it IS in the house!

The boys and I searched the internet trying to identify the snake. We could tell immediately that it wasn’t a copperhead. It was black with brown spots. I didn’t stick around long enough to look at its head and eyes, so I can’t positively ID it. We’ve narrowed it down to a black ratsnake (nonvenomous) or a cottonmouth (venomous). Honestly, I think it looks like the scarier option.

Black Ratsnake

Black Ratsnake

Western Cottonmouth

Western Cottonmouth

So, where’s the snake? And is it poisonous? It’s still a mystery.

Years ago, my great grandmother stepped out her front door and was bitten by a copperhead hiding under the threshold. So, no one’s allowed outside without boots and jeans for the time being.

I just hope it doesn’t turn up in the house! The game warden will be getting a phone call. I don’t want to shoot a hole in my floor, and I’m not going to drag it out by the tail. Maybe I should get an animal trap. Hmmmm.

And I thought I was creeped out putting my toes under the couch before!

I’ll keep you posted. Prayers are appreciated.

Shadows and Shotguns

I ran into a friend in town today. She asked if I had seen any more snakes and said that she’d be terrified to run into one. I hear that a lot. And it always surprises me. So I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not too bright. I should have been more frightened to hunt through a straw-covered floor in a dark chicken house for a snake that could kill me. But I felt it was something I had to do. So I did it.

I told her I’ve been closing the coop before dark to avoid snakes, but if I’d had a bad day, I’d go looking for trouble. Well, today was a bad day.

After talking with my friend, I took my boys shopping. That always does it. But this time it was for school supplies and clothes. Naturally, my nostrils were flaring and smoke was rolling out of my ears halfway through.

See them smiling? Liars.

See them smiling? Liars.

Loud heavy metal on the drive home helped, but I forgot to close the chicken house when I got home. Subconsciously? Maybe.

I strapped my revolver on my hip, put in one earplug, grabbed the machete and a flashlight. Katie, my 6-month-old Rottweiler, tagged along.

During my last snake hunt, I held the flashlight between my teeth to put both hands on the gun. Slight problem. I pointed the gun where I wanted to see instead of the flashlight. Understandable habit. (Surprisingly, I’ve never before pointed a flashlight with my mouth.)

I told my husband this, and he said that he saw the perfect weapon for me. A triple-barrel shotgun with attached flashlight. “Pfff,” I said. “Why would I need something as ridiculous as that?” Then I saw it on the cover of Personal and Home Defense Magazine while shopping. With my boys. (Read already angry.)

http://www.personaldefenseworld.com/2013/04/triple-barrel-12-gauge/ I just pinned this on Pinterest. http://pinterest.com/eyvie/farm-life/

I just pinned this on Pinterest.
http://pinterest.com/eyvie/farm-life/

I saw that ridiculous, over-the-top firearm and heard a choir of angels. aaa Aaa AAA! <—singing angels

That’s what I was fantasizing about while walking through the dark with a crappy flashlight. Those snakes might think twice before crossing my path with that baby shining in their beady little eyes.

My beam of light swept the foundation of the henhouse and its interior. The hens were nestled in for the night, and I closed the door without incident. A quick check around the brightest side of the coop showed no slithering, either. I didn’t venture any further.

Katie started barking at something in the shadows behind the coop. I shone my dim beam into the tree line with absolutely no effect on the darkness. So I started for the house thinking she’d follow. I turned around to see if she was behind me, but she was gone. (Cue spooky music.)

My first thought was mountain lion. The Department of Wildlife drops them off around here to keep deer and wild pig populations down. A neighbor’s grandchild came face to face with one in his back yard. About 2 miles down the road.

Soft kitty, warm kitty, giant ball of death.

Soft kitty, warm kitty, giant ball of death.

I would have investigated further had my flashlight been brighter. (That’ll be my new excuse…until I get a better flashlight.)

I whistled. Nothing. I called. Nothing. I waited, wondering if I should barge into the shadows and rescue my pup. Then I heard jingling tags and she appeared. Whew. No playing Rambo tonight.

My husband has since conceded that a regular Mossberg shotgun with a tactical rail for a light would be a more practical option. And cheaper. I can hit the lowlifes with one barrel well enough.

In conclusion, no snake shooting tonight, Lea Anne. Maybe tomorrow.