Taking the old fence down had to bring back memories over eleven years old. I put that fence up to keep Bert and Sam in the yard while I was at work, and at that time I was married. We had been here for half a year but we could never save enough money to fence in the yard. When Sam showed up keeping two dogs in a small kennel was out of the question so I went down to the farm store and spent about twenty dollars less than what we had in the bank on fencing. If I had not bought enough of anything then it wasn’t going to work because there was no more money. I had married someone financially opposite of myself. There are only two types of people; those who do not care how much they spend because they think something will happen and the money will be there, and then there are those who do care how much we spend because we think something will happen and the money will not be there.
The fence isn’t easy to take down and I like the idea I built it so well. Men are like that. They like to build stuff and they like tearing stuff down, and they really like it if something they built puts up a fight. I put a piece of woven wire field fence in the truck bed and then start loading the remains of the tree tops that fell over a month ago. I have had neither the time nor a reason to move the stuff, but now with Lucas down with snakebite, it’s time to clear away some of the wooly looking stuff around where he might go. I still leave the eighteen gallon tub with water in the kennel for the dogs and I have another smaller bucket near the house. If something happens to me they’ve got at least a week’s worth of water on paw.
Living alone does things to a person and what it has done to me is make me self-reliant. There are pieces of that tree top I’ve cut with the chain saw which are far too large for me to move by myself but my luck isn’t running strong right now so I am not about to use the saw. I roll the two largest pieces onto an old gate that I’ve supported with four wooden fence posts. I use these as rollers and glide the pieces of wood down to the Firepit. It does take some doing this way but little real effort.
The rest of the stuff I pile into the truck and make sure I’ve got long brambly stuff on the bottom. You know, those long limbs with lots of little limbs on them that are such a bitch to try to move anywhere, yeah, they are perfect. I get two or three of these on the bottom and load the heavier stuff on top. There are some pieces past my strength but it doesn’t matter. I know how to lever things, manipulate mass, and use the limbs and branches as handles. I get pieces of a tree in that truck many people wouldn’t even look at twice. I know how to move a tree once it’s on the ground. I just wish they would stay up.
I back the truck up to where the gate is, the one I was using as a roller sled an hour or so ago, and tie a rope to one side of it, and tie the other end of the rope to the fencing under all the stuff in the bed of the truck. I pull off quick and the stuff in the truck slides easily out, and I keep pulling until the gate flips off the stuff that just came out of the bed. I’ve learned to tie a clove hitch knot so I can disengage the fence and the rope, and the rope and the gate. Some light cleaning up and ninety minutes after the fact, I am done with what I set out to do.
Sam and Lucas never get too close when I’m working. They learned branches fall, things swing about, and neither of them like being popped with wooden sticks that fall from trucks. They stay away, panting , sitting under an Oak tree in the heat, but neither one of them seems distressed at all. Blood oozing from Luke’s neck stains his chest with red. I hate to see my dog like this, but I understand what has happened and what will happen. Snakebite is rarely fatal but it is always nasty as hell. On the scale of dogs with snakebite Lucas has managed a spot in the area where there isn’t a lot of suffering and he won’t lose a leg like some dogs I have seen. He can still walk and as swollen as his neck is, he can still breathe on his own, and eat real food. I’ve gotten lucky in this bad luck and ever else may happen there is no indication Lucas will die. I’ll have spots of blood to clean up forever but if he’s bleeding he is still alive.
I turn the AC on and hit the shower. It’s so warm outside I can turn off all the hot water and revel in the coolness of a shower devoid of all heat. It’s a relief to stand under the water and feel the sweat and the strain of the day wash away from me. Lucas is still bite, still swollen, and this time next week he still will be, but it is not as bad as it could be. There is something to be said for that, you know, that in the middle of panic and realization of harm there will not be a burial. There will not be another lost dog, no, at least not this day. I get out of the shower and Lucas has gotten up on the bed, the one with the sheets I just washed with bleach yesterday, and there is a bloody stain there now. If he’s bleeding he’s still alive.