Simplicity by Choice

Off-Grid Living & Self-Reliance

Homestead Critter Humor August 23, 2014

Filed under: homesteading,humor — ourprairiehome @ 6:06 am
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There are some moments in life where you just have to step back and not take life too seriously. Tonight was one of those times. During the early afternoon, I had handwashed my favorite sundress so that I could wear it when I went out to town for the day tomorrow. I love this dress. It is a Bohemian styled, light, gauzy, tie-dyed dress with pretty flowers embroidered on the front bodice. Very girly for me when compared to some of my other clothes. So, I gently handwashed the dress and hung it on a hanger to dry. It was a nice warm afternoon with a gentle breeze, so I took it outdoors to hang it on a nail along the porch roof.

This evening, after the kids were asleep, I remembered that I hadn’t brought my dress back into the house. Knowing that we have huge spiders and other creepy crawlies out here in the country, I wanted to make sure my dress was safely inside. We have also been known to have a bird make a little nest in my darling husband’s jeans pocket when a pair hung out on the clothesline too long during the daytime. So, I took the flashlight and went to retrieve the sundress. It was gone! I looked all over the ground in case the breeze had blown it off the nail it had hung from. No dress! I went into freak out mode. I came back inside to see if I may have brought it in and forgotten. Nope! No sundress to be found.

Back outside again, I widened my search for the dress. The kids were playing out there when I took it outside. Maybe our son had pulled it down and drug it off into the yard – or worse yet, put it into their wading pool. Nope! The dress was not in the pool or in the areas where Pookie plays. I came back in the house and woke up our daughter to ask where the dress was. By this time I was feeling a bit frantic. She sleepily stared at me with a blank look on her face as I told her my dilemma and asked if she knew where the dress was. After a few minutes, I realized that getting a coherent reply from an 8 yr old who is groggy from being awaken from a sound sleep is not likely to happen.

Again, I went outdoors and checked where I had hung the dress. Why I thought that the fates would be merciful and allow me to find my sundress where I had hung it is a mystery even to me, I did sort of hope that karma would stop having such fun with her wicked sense of humor though.

As I began walking the entire fenced yard to look for the dress, I caught a glimpse of some movement near our large apple tree. There, under the tree was a big opossum running across the yard towards the woods. Bouncing along behind the opossum was MY SUNDRESS!!!!! The cheeky little rodent had somehow got my sundress, hanger and all, and was running away with it! I ran after the little rascal, yelling for it to drop my dress. It stopped and looked towards me and hissed at me! The nerve of that little thief! In the heat of the moment, I totally lost all sense of decorum. I stood there in the yard pointing at that opossum and told it, “Oh no! Don’t you get a hissy attitude with me. If anyone had a right to be hissy, its ME because you have my dress!” (Yes, folks. I actually went there.) I tossed a small stick towards her, not anywhere close enough to hit her, but a couple feet away just to startle her. She turned and ran off into the woods – leaving the dress behind to the victor and rightful owner of said dress. Thank you very much!

Feeling quite pleased with myself, I brought the dress into the house. I checked it over carefully to be certain that the opossum hadn’t damaged it. The dress had come through totally unscathed. I even checked it for ticks since the opossums are known to get ticks just as a dog or cat do. Again, the dress was clear of any problems. Not even one stitch of the embroidered design was snagged. I handwashed the dress again. This time it is hanging up inside the house where it is safe from cheeky little critters who may share that opossum’s interest in sundresses.

I am so glad that I got the sundress back in good condition. The thing that really has me going tonight though is that I don’t know which bothered me more. Was it the fact that my dress had come up missing for a while? Or was it the fact that the opossum actually looked so cute in it? There is just something totally messed up in that thought.

I am just happy that my darling husband was not home. He laughed when I told him about it. He admitted that if something like this happened in the daytime when he was home, it would have been on YouTube soon after. Oh the horrors!


Newest Homestead Addition April 7, 2014

Filed under: family,homesteading,simplicity — ourprairiehome @ 6:15 am
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Well, in recent weeks, a new addition has been added to the homestead.  A stray dog showed up at the homestead.  Not just any dog, but a huge one!  When we first saw him, he had been walking along the state route about a mile from our home.  He was wearing a collar and dragging a heavy chain.  Evidently, he had broken loose and had wandered off from his home.  Off and on over the next couple of weeks, we would get glimpses of him.  At some point, the collar and chain had been removed.  Then, a couple weeks ago we found him in our yard.  Oh joy.  A huge stray dog.  The kids were thrilled since their dog died just before Christmas.  I wasn’t sure if we should try to keep him at first until I realized just how friendly he was.


I called the sheriff department to find out what we needed to do before taking the dog in as our own.  In our area, there is a huge problem with people either dumping off dogs they can no longer afford or want.  They also told me that it is becoming more common that families who have to move and cannot take their dog, will simply abandon the dog.  The lady at the sheriff’s office said that if no one had claimed or tried to catch the dog in the past weeks, it was likely an abandoned dog that broke its chain.  If we wanted to keep the dog, simply consider it ours and let that be that.  If an owner shows up, just present them with any vet bills for reimbursement.

Well, it has been 2 weeks now that we have had the dog.  He is so lovable.  Pookie is already bonding with him.  I named him Zeus.  He just has that regal and powerful look about him.  I was thrilled to learn that he is a Newfoundland.  We are estimating his age to be about 2-3 years old.  When he first showed up, he chased cars terribly on our dirt road.  Now, he is calming down.  He stays outdoors most of the time.  At night, he keeps the coyotes away.  He sleeps near our front door on the porch and hangs out with the kids whenever they are playing outside.

I tried to get him indoors but he won’t come in.  I did manage to half carry him into the house one day but he was happier outdoors.  Training him is proving to be easy.  He had no training prior to coming here.  He didn’t even know the most basic of commands, such as sit.  The training is going well however.  Newfoundlands are very easy to train as they are quite smart.  They are a true gentle giant.  Very tolerant of children.  Later this spring, I will take him to be groomed.  Living where we do, he will get too hot in the summer with all that black fur.  So, it is recommended that we get his fur trimmed by early summer.  When cold weather comes back around, his fur will have grown back in time to keep him warm next winter.

Zeus is already becoming a much loved family member.  We are fencing in a large yard area, about a 1/8 acre in size for a play yard for the kids.  The fenced area includes a portion of the side porch.  On that porch, we have Zeus’ food and water dishes as well as setting up a sleeping area for him.  Once completed, Zeus will be living in that fenced area to prevent him from chasing cars or wandering off.  The porch area will give him plenty of protection from the weather as well.  When we are out at the garden or working around the property, he will be running loose to hang out with us.

Each day when the kids go outdoors to play, Pookie looks for Zeus.  Being as he is a new-to-us dog, I wondered how he would respond to Pookie’s stimming.  Zeus ignores it.  Instead, he follows Pookie around or lays down near when Pookie is sitting.  I wonder how difficult it would be to train Zeus to be a service dog for Pookie.  He has the right temperament for it.  Whether we do that or not, Zeus will be a great companion for the kids here at the homestead.