Thursday, July 22, 2010

Topless Mermaids and CropDuster Boo-Boo

Here, I am lost in Ohio. What fun!  I'm parked in a field, surrounded by soybeans. The cropduster flew inches above my motorhome, spreading clouds of pesticide everywhere. Later on, in the evening, he crashed into a barn about 25 miles away. See? I told you, he was flying really low.

The news reads "Authorities in Sandusky County say they're not sure what caused the plane to crash while the pilot was spraying pesticide on corn Monday night.  It hit the barn, but the fuel tanks on the single-engine plane didn't rupture."

Hello...  Crashing into a barn MIGHT have caused the plane to crash. You think?  I would ask the FAA how come that barn was allowed to fly so low and  in the path of the crop duster!  Sheesh. 

The pilot walked away from the crash, according to the article and was later treated for minor injuries. Now did he walk away, crawl away, limp away or run like hell?  Seems to me if you had fuel left in your tanks, you would get the hell out of there pretty fast.

I've heard that any plane crash you can walk away from, is a good landing. So remember folks, next time you're in a plane crash, just calmly walk away...

The pilot's name was not released.
I guess they think he was delirious when he told them, all he remembers before crashing, was seeing a topless mermaid in a soybean field. 

You know mermaids have to keep up their tan. And well, I was out there in my lounge chair topless. The soybeans don't care.

Shame on me.

I guess the authorities aren't going to be asking around if anyone else saw a topless mermaid.

In Ohio.

In a soybean field.

However, I've taken refuge with the puppy dog between a barn and a house. I hope the barn doesn't go flying out in front of another cropduster.

I am parked in a rural farm area, catsitting. Lots of cats. I think there are nine. The cats' butlers  headed out Thursday morning for a long weekend event of camping and cavorting with other motorcycle enthusiasts. Cats aren't allowed.

I was invited to go, but someone has to feed the cats.  Besides, I don't have a motorcycle anymore. I used to have a 1977 Triumph Bonneville. Somewhere there is a picture of me on it in bluejeans and a tied dyed shirt and dark glasses. Motorhomes are allowed for the event, for a fee,  but doggies are not. I couldn't bare the thought of leaving my baby puppy behind for 4 whole days. He is such an energetic handful, I am sure I couldn't have afforded the dogsitting fee, even if I had found a willing dogsitter.

Little Harley is such an active puppy and we are in the midst of serious training. He gets some of it. I repeat the same commands over and over. Now and then, he looks at me  like "You talking to ME?  Those words are for ME?"

I thought he had learned to be left alone quietly. But recently he forgot everything he ever knew and  threw a major temper tantrum. It was embarrassing. He's not allowed in the cat house.  But he has a big shady yard to play in. Sure, he has to be on his doggy run, but it's plenty generous. He can run about 100 feet in several different directions. He also has four trees to tangle up with and he does loops around them now and then and lets out one loud pathetic yelp that sounds like a child saying "help!".

I always untangle him and reward him for just the ONE yelp help.  If he barks his head off, I make him quiet down before I untangle him. Now he lets out one yelp-help and I dash over to untangle the poor pooch.  He rewards me by dancing and jumping and getting super excited, as if he has been turned free from a decade of prison. I usually toss his toys around while he flies in the air to catch them.  I don't want him to be a yapper like some of those awful Yappaneese dogs.

At Haas Lake, I introduced him to Frisbees. He has one made of soft foam and covered in fabric, it's also made to float. Matter of fact, his foam football ended up in the lake. He stared at it in the lake, floating away. Then he rescued it, and was very proud of himself.

He learned to swim back in the foothills of South Carolina at the South Saluda River. We were boondocking there at Riverbend with a friend and his dog. Harley was playing at the river's edge and it runs pretty slow as it goes around the bend at Riverbend.  Ever wonder why they named it Riverbend?

He thought he saw another puppy, but it was his own reflection in the river water. He enthusiastically leaped towards the other puppy, making a big belly flopping splash in the cool river.

Amazingly, he calmly swam to the shore, got out and made  a fool of himself shaking out his fur. He looked so skinny, but very smitten with himself. Later, when I was in the river, (OHHHHHHH... it felt so good, the icy cold waters taking away every ache and cooling me off perfectly) I picked up Harley and walked a few feet from the bank and set him in the river. He again, calmly swam for shore and shook his furry funny long legged body so hard, he had trouble standing up!

So Harley can swim.

Phew.  Another milestone in his puppy life.

So at Haas Lake, I tried out the foam Frisbee and he loved it. Later at a Dollar General Store, we found a plushy soft Frisbee, for only a dollar,  that also flies and he catches it. When we arrived in rural Ohio, I set up his long tether then tossed out of the motorhome, his assorted outdoor toys which included his football, baseball, tennis ball, golf ball, the foam Frisbee, and the plushy Frisbee.

We played Fribee, we played football, we played tennis, softball and golf. Sometimes we played keep away and sometimes catch and fetch. He also likes to tangle himself up often. I hitched a ride to the Feed and Seed. There, I found a swivel and bought it. I attached the swivel to a round keyring, attached that to his leash, then attached the carabineer to the other side of the swivel, then the carabineer to the clothesline tether.  The tether is about 80 feet long, tied low to the ground to a tree about 50 feet away.  The other end, is tied to the metal step of the motorhome. This allows him a huge area to run around in, dragging the tether low along the ground as he races, and boy can that dog RUN.

Then his new friend, gave him a bright yellow Frisbee that is big and flies really nicely. It's made of a round plastic or metal frame, covered in fabric. It's now his favorite, cause sometimes when he picks it up and shakes his head, it flies away again.  He loves this!  He thinks he is so cool now.

His new diet gives him tons and tons of energy.  He races like all get out, all you see is a blur of fur going by.

He wears me out.

I chase around the yard with my sandwich baggies.  I daintily clean up after him whenever he leaves a deposit. Nobody likes to step in dog poop, so I try my best to pick up after him while it's still warm.  It's a thankless chore, but it's so pleasant here, we all run around barefoot. Like we did on our sailboats in the Caribbean. We were always barefoot. My barefoot friends are grateful, that I keep puppy stocked up in baggies. 

Afterwards, I tied the top in a super tight knot then dispose of it.

The things I do for this little fellow...

The cats have their own jumbo litter box.  A small plot the owners have plowed up to make it soft. They dig holes and bury their business in the poop plot. I guess you could say they plop poop in the plowed poop plot. Say that three times!  They plop poop in the plowed poop plot. They plop poop in the plowed poop plot. They plop poop in the plowed poop plot...

While I was visiting in the cat house, Harley threw his temper tantrum. I went outside repeatedly to tell him STAY. Over and over, I've tried to convey to him that STAY  means; You stay, I go, and you be quiet about it. I went back inside and he just went bonkers barking and crying and yapping. He has been soooooooooo good about STAY before, I thought he understood.

The temper tantrum continued. It was loud. It was annoying. It was showing a gross lack of training and making me look very bad. I felt even worse about it. I could see it was time for me and puppy to load up the motorhome and move along. Who wants an obnoxious puppy around?  Probably nobody.

In a fit of frustration, I went outside several times to tell him STAY. Then when I went back inside, his temper tantrum continued even louder. I went back outside and turned the waterhose on and from afar, squirted him gently with a loud splash. I calmly repeated "STAY!" He got quiet. I went back inside, but 5 seconds later, he was throwing a fit again. So back out, aim the hose and SQUIRT.

We repeated this again. I prefer to train him the positive way, when you praise and reward him for doing the right thing. I thought I could ignore the tantrum and he would calm down, but he would not.

However, when he made more ruckus, and I went back out to aim the hose at him again, maybe for  the fourth time, before the water came on, he ran and hid behind the tree. I reminded him to STAY and retreated back to what I was doing.

He got it. He didn't like it, but he got it.  He played quietly and quit making such a ruckus over me being out of his sight. No more water squirts.

Later, I went out and rewarded him for his new silence, by praising him and playing Frisbee and ball games with him. He loved this and forgave me for the hose squirts. He is such an enthusiastic puppy, I sure don't want to break his happy spirit, but I can't have him yapping his head off, creating a huge nuisance when he can't have his way ALL the time.

He is learning so much, and forgetful sometimes too. He is a puppy and the whole world, seems so new to him, plus we keep traveling. His dog runs keep changing, and he is constantly having to deal with new people, new campsites and different critters.

Let's see, I adopted him in Orlando, Florida, then a few days later we went south to Lake Placid, Florida.  When we left there, we broke down and stayed in an industrial area, in northern central Florida,  where he had no tether and had to remain inside with me, awaiting his walks on a leash. But I found time to walk him pretty often, and while he was in the motorhome, we tossed his stuffed toys back and forth. We do this often. It's fun!

After we were repaired, let's see, it might have been Longlook where we broke down, heck I am having trouble remembering. Anyhow, next we ended up camping in Brunswick Georgia, but after a few days, we went off the grid to a fun little campground on the Altahama river, for a few days. Next we headed to Mistletoe State Park in Georgia, for about 10 days. We changed campgrounds almost daily, and got to enjoy lots of different spots. Then we visited in a large driveway, in Mauldin, South Carolina, next Riverbend in the Cherokee Foothills.  Soon we were at Paris Mountain state park, where we had to change our almost never-level campspot almost daily, due to some sort of goofy reservation system. Then back to Mauldin, then up to the Blue Ridge mountains in Virginia. Next we got lost and ended up in Coolville Ohio, where we cooled off for a few days. Then another state park, this time in Ohio too. It was not so nice, but we made the best of it and got out of there after one night.

Next we were off to Michigan and in a lovely garden behind our friends' house. From there to Haas Lake for a few days, then down to rural Ohio, where we are now. Puppy has put some serious miles under his paws, in just the 7 short weeks he has been with me!

I don't know where we are headed next. We have lots up in the air while I figure it all out.
Harley is starting to eat often, finally.  He is growing and he certainly gets tons of exercise. I bet a pedometer would show astonishing miles on his little legs.

Well, we are off to bed.

I have pictures, but they have to wait, I can't post them now.  Internet is a mess, very  faint, barely able to get and send simple emails.

Life is good. Especially for one lucky puppy and a mermaid.

Please tell all your friends to buy my book. Thank you!

Warm and Sunny Regards,
Author of
Hurricanes and Hangovers (And Other Tall Tales and Loose Lies From The Coconut Telegraph)

Available in the USA, UK, France, Germany, India, PR and the BVI


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