Report from the MountainsJune 16 | Posted by editor | Opinion Tags: Bette Sherman, Guest Column
People frequently ask, what exciting things have happened to you? My usual response is I don’t do exciting anymore. Exciting usually comes with pain, inconvenience, or monetary remuneration; sometimes all three. I try to avoid any of those mentioned.
I was due to be at the next pet sitting job mid afternoon. When I leave for more than overnight I turn off most of the house; water heater, wireless, modem, TV, stereo, and set furnace or A/C to just keep the house from freezing or boiling. As I leaned over to reach the electric box to switch the water heater off I noticed that the carpet felt cool. I stepped into the closet where the water heater is located and the carpet was soggy. Oh, shit, shit, shit….
I phoned the local electric co-op because I had the good sense to subscribe to their water heater program. For $1.99 per month I insure the water heater. If I had just built the house I wouldn’t have given this plan a second thought, but the house was 15 years old when I bought it. I probably have invested less than $120.00 in the five years I have owned my personal storage unit. Within three hours I had a brand new water heater installed and the old one hauled away. All that is left is a soggy carpet and I will have to deal with that when I get back in 5 days. Life is good and just enough excitement to keep the blood circulating.
I am now at my pet sitting job. This is one of my favorite homes. I don’t know how much acreage there is but it had a lovely home, a pond large enough to have to paddle a canoe more than twice to travel from bank to bank. There is a barn that houses two donkeys, two goats, one pot belly piggy, three chickens (there used to be 4 but one got killed in the last hail storm) and a number of barn cats. In the past when I have been here there has been someone else that takes care of the barn animals, but this time I was asked if I would mind feeding them. I have completed my first trip to the barn and I will have to say the hardest part of the job was walking to it.
I tossed a couple of flakes of hay over the fence for the donkeys and the goats; a cup full of pig pellets into his bowl; a helping of cat food divided into a few dishes and because I found an egg in the nesting box I threw a handful of cracked corn for the chickens. WOW ! ! ! Now that wasn’t hard. Oh, on the way back I grabbed a handful of fish pellets, stood on the dock and tossed them, a few at a time, into the water to watch whatever lives there make splashes. The three dogs wanted to fish. Archie, the Australian Shepherd, went in, but the fish eluded his attack. There are catfish in there that are 18 inches long and bigger around than my wrist – also brim and something else – no trout.
The last time I was here the pond was full – hundreds and hundreds – of pollywogs. I don’t assume they all made it to adulthood, but I neither heard nor saw evidence of frogs.
There are also two streams on the property. One is large and sings as it flows over the rocks, the other is a feeder stream and it just gurgles and does a little happy dance where it joins the larger.
I think this is the first time I’ve ever gone off on a job and forgot to bring a book. I keep a paperback in the car at all times so if I have to wait in line at the drive-in bank or sit and wait when we are all meeting up and going somewhere in one car I have something to do rather than just sit, itch and scratch.
I rooted around and found Gap Creek by Robert Morgan. I just started it last night, but so far so good. Will let you know when I finish it. (It’s an Oprah club book so I know, even before I start, that it is going to have a “strong” female character.)
I don’t know who, when or where the first person was who decided that the hard thing that squirted out of a hen’s butt was eatable, but I’m oh so glad they did. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a fresh – I mean really fresh egg from scratch hens. I picked it out of the nest myself. I thanked the little hen and had the fruits of her labor for supper. The yolk was orange-yellow and if it had stood any higher it would have needed legs. I’m going to have to find someone in the area that has a mess of hens so I can have fresh eggs and not those things that come from factory farms – not even organic eggs compare to what I had for supper.
The dogs get in bed with me every morning before 6. They cuddle and give me a lick and settle down – well there’s a nose that wiggles to get under my hand and another nose than burrows between my head and the pillow. I refuse to get out of bed before 6. Then there’s the donkeys that announce with that squeaky, rusty pump bray that it’s 7 and they want to be fed. By 7:30 my morning choirs are finished – the dogs have been fed and their morning toilet taken care of – the barn has been fed, the fan turned on to keep air circulating during the heat of the day and I have sat with a cup of coffee and relish in this job I have. Each house I take care of becomes mine for a few days. I bring my own things – coffee pot, food, snacks, computer, book (usually) so just the decorations change – and the light switches. I have to wander around turning on and off lights so I know what switch goes with what light. I used to have a time with the TV’s, but there is just “Dish” “Direct” and cable, and I’ve figured out how to use the remotes for CBS Sunday Morning and the music. I have Netflix and I watch movies on this machine or I pack a few DVD’s from home. The way I figure, I have the easiest job in the world. I let the dogs out. I let the dogs in. I feed the dogs. I let the dogs out. I let the dogs in. I feed the dogs. Cats are even easier. Once a day I scoop the litter box and feed them. Most cats would like it best if I would leave. I do have some who seem to like me as they are where I am – to the point of wrapping themselves around my neck like an old Stone Martin. Between those choirs I read, sleep, play on this machine, eat, nibble, nap, itch, scratch, and contemplate my future. For an old lady, that ain’t too bad.
For all my avid readers: http://www.readprint.com/
I watched the movie Infamous. It was a biographical drama staring Toby Jones. I had never heard of Toby Jones. Come to find out he’s the voice of Doby in the Harry Potter movies. Guess I have heard Toby Jones. Anyway he played Truman Capote in this film. He did such a splendid job that I had to view the credits to see if Truman played himself. Basically it’s almost the same story as the film Capote, and as great a job as Philip Seymour Hoffman did, Toby was better. What a strange genius Truman was – a tortured, damaged soul and I’m not talking about his homosexuality. Sandra Bullock played Nelle Harper Lee. Anyway, I enjoyed it.
Music Lovers: http://www.wolfgangsvault.com/performers/concerts
I have never been an avid picture taker. More often than not I forget I have a camera available, but I really do try to get a picture of all the pets that have been left in my care.
I have come to the conclusion that animals – like people – fall into the category of camera shy and hams.
I get out my little digital camera and no matter how occupied they seem to be in another activity, or how sound asleep they appear, the tiny whirl of the camera alerts them to the fact that they must quickly hide their face. Usually that’s the part of the animal I’m interested in.
This is for the time when you have nothing whatsoever to do. http://thedogpaddler.com/RandomUploads/Ball/ball.htm
Tri-State Business Women
This is a group of female business women who meet weekly to support each other, learn from each other and above all – at least for me – are friends. We are a not-for-profit organization and we donate to others. One of the “others” I would like to mention is the Glenda Gooch House.
The house is across the street from Union General Hospital and is available to anyone from out of town – free of charge – who has a family member in either the hospital or the nursing home. This link can tell the story much better than I.
TSBW donates paper goods – toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, kleenex, paper plates, disposable cups and utensils, etc., Many people in this area have no idea that such a place exists. If you know anyone who needs this facility or would like to donate time, money, services or items, contact them and thank you.
I don’t have anything more to say – except….
You can be anything you want to be – be kind
Bette Sherman is a favorite of the Georgia Mountain Beacon and is a regular contributor. She is retired and is a pet-sitter who loves to write.