Once Upon an Enchanted Time

It was early afternoon and the birds were out with their delicate songs of beauty.  The air had a crispy nip and the sweet fragrance of pine danced upon the gentle breeze.  As I strolled along, I saw a forlorn and long forgotten road into what looked like an enchanted forest.  It was overgrown with foliage and had fallen trees blocking its path.  It appeared to me the trees had somehow downed themselves to deter humanity from entering.  Why would these tall timbers and little saplings want to keep this wonderland hidden?  Maybe because of the secret it was protecting. You see a long time ago a human with the ability to fly without feathers or wings hid a highly desired trove of riches. I not only wanted to experience the exquisiteness of this woodland area I was also after the elusive hidden treasure it cloaked.  It was hidden for only a select few to find… and I was hoping I would be one of them.

Beauty abounds in this little lost world.  I took my time gazing with dancing eyes into the Ponderosa pines and lingered among the colorful wildflowers.  The birds were fluttering around me in excitement and song.  I slowed to their melody of happiness. What a marvelous Shangri-La I had stumbled into.

I continued on my walk until I was halted by a fallen tree branch.  Ms. Offshoot had reached up and clutched my pants leg.  I am sure she only wanted to introduce herself to me.  However, the sun was disappearing. I had no time to stop and chat I had to find the hidden cache.   She must have been very lonely because in that brief moment she decided to introduce me to her closest and dearest friend Mr. Ground.  We had an engaging but brief chat then I was on my way again.

I found the treasure nestled at the bottom of a magnificent tree.  It was hidden within the exposed roots of a fallen tree.  Truly a splendid haven for such a monumental treasure filled with trinkets of silver, copper, pseudo gold, and synthetic dreams.  I took only a single object and bestow upon the vault a single gift in return.  I then thanked the tree for allowing me to spy its concealment. I returned the box and bid ado to this spellbinding Nirvana.

And as the story goes She lived happily ever after.

Now what really happened……………..

It was a beautiful morning.  Crisp air and a very steep uphill road was ahead of me.  There were so many birds squawking and talking it was almost deafening. The purpose of this day was to find the geocache and not come back without the find.  But still, I wish I would have had my NM bird book to identify some of the different songs and sounds. Sorry I sometimes stray off subject.  When I walked up to the entrance I saw a multitude of trees that had been felled.  They lay across the now non-existent road to prevent people from driving into the forest.    As stated before, I was absolutely determined to find this cache.  Earlier in the day I had walked over 6 miles for two caches and came up empty on both hunts.  The uphill climb was daunting but that would not deter me.  I had to find this one if for no other reason than to stroke my bruised ego.

In the storybook version, you might have imagined me in a long flowing dress… in reality; I was decked out in my camos, Indianan Jones hat, hiking boots and a walking stick.  In storybook land, I was practically floating on air in awe…in reality; I was laboring over forest debris and deliberately forcing my steps to get up and over the downed trees.  Remember Ms Offshoot gently clutching my pants leg?  She was actually entangled in the tie on my boot.  I was not going to let a little tiny branch slow me down so I gave a swift jerk while in full stride. Now this is where everything started going wrong!  My leg flung itself from the tangles of the branch only to find the end of my walking stick which was supporting almost all of my weight. The next thing I see was my stick flying through the air to gosh only knows where.  In that split second my brain starts to engage but it is seeing things in sssllloowww-mo.  In my head, I was screaming “YOU ARE FALLLINGG” and I was.  I was screaming “BRACE YOURSELF PUT YOUR HANDS UP STUPI…”  The thought never got a chance to finish.  Before the last syllable could be mentally formed, my face planted itself into her old buddy Mr. Ground.   I laid there face first and stunned. And when I said in the ground I meant it.

My front teeth were wedged in the dirt like a backhoe to a ditch.  After I freed my teeth, I laid there for a few moments collecting my thoughts then let out a meek and pathetic …”timber”.  I slowly rolled over to sit up then looked around for any observers.  Only the hundred or so birds were watching.  I must have been pretty entertaining because they were shocked into silence! Yep, not a peep.  I then noticed my boot and to my surprise it was still caught on Ms. Offshoot!  Don’t ask me how she could have hung on through all that! I then checked to make sure all my teeth were there.  To my delight, they were but they were sore, pushed back a little, and bleeding. I think I spit dirt for at least 10 minutes.  I checked my knees.  I knew there was a problem because my camo was sporting a brand new color.  RED.  Yep it was a doosy of a fall.

I then made a quick scan of my GPS to see how far away the prize was but the GPS had no signal.  I was not going home without this smiley! (that’s what they call a find)  I headed back up the hill and in short order found the grand treasure chest.  It was full of cool stuff.  I took a little something for the kid and dropped a travel bug. (that’s an item that travels the world from cache to cache with the help of geocachers like me)  Then I packed out of there and headed home to my own castle to nurse my wounds.  Next morning I COULD NOT MOVE.

As the ending goes. ”I lived happily ever after”

WHAT AN AWESOME DAY

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Holy Toledo Don’t Move

If you follow me, you know that I have a few dogs.  Mutt is the biggest of all three and the biggest chicken of them all.  This scaredy cat syndrome she has leads to a lot of uncontrolled barking.  My neighbors hate it and so do we.  My husband had threatened for years to buy one of those shocking dog collars for barking, but I forbade it.  All I could imagine was the ‘youtube’ video where the dude had the collar on and he barked.  Each time he barked louder and each time he was shocked with more intensity.   The poor guy was crying uncontrollable by the time he got it off.  NO WAY WAS THAT HAPPENING TO MY BABY GIRL. PERIOD.

Mutt is totally afraid of everything and everyone.  If she sees white on the ground, she refuses to go out.  It does not help that she was clobbered by a 2 foot avalanche of snow off the roof one year.  When she sees anything out in the yard that has not been there all her life, she spazzes out especially if it is black.  In out, in out, barking for one of us to come see what is in her space.  Fall is the worst.  Leaves…do I need to say more?  She has a dog door but you can forget about her using it after sun down.  In the rare cases she has tried to brave the night, she has high tailed it right back in with eyes as wide as apples, hair ruffled on her back, and barking to beat the band.  Heck, half the time she is running so fast and out of control to get back inside she misses the dog door completely and smacks her head into the door facing.  She is definitely my 80 pound chicken little.

One day I came home from work.  Hub was avoiding eye contact.  I knew something was up right then.  He only does this when he has done something he knows I would not approve of.  I looked all over for evidence to support my suspicion.  I found nothing.  As I was fixing dinner, I noticed Hub was becoming more fidgety and shifty eyed.  Hmmmmm.  I served dinner and all were in attendance except Mutt.

MUTT.  I look at Hub. Not a word escaped his lips.   He had that deer in the head light look.   I got up and looked out the back door.  There was Mutt in the corner of the yard pressed against the fence.  She was just sitting there not doing anything.  I opened the door and called her in.  She came walking on her tip toes.  What the heck was going on?  I asked Hub if he had beaten my dog.  He looked at me as if I had asked him if he’d killed one of my kids.  “Of course not!” he said with disgust.  Mutt comes in with a mixture of calm and defeat.  I thought maybe she was sick.  I resumed eating.

It was not until later that night I realized she had not uttered a sound all evening.  She went out and came back in without incident.  What in the world was going on?  I called her over to the couch.  She jumped up and laid her head in my lap. And that is when I saw IT.  Hubs had gone and bought that shock collar!  I throw my evil eye upon him and he immediately started with his defense.

He pointed out the fact that we had not heard a peep out of her all night.  (evil eye).  He pointed out that she has calmed down to a normal dog’s energy. (slight evil eye).  And the most important thing was the collar seemed to have a calming affect on her that made her a bit braver and more confident.  (Are you kidding me?  Huge Evil Eye!).  He gave me a little cockeyed smile.  I went to take it off but he forbade me.  Oh boy, but I went along with it.  I was going to trash it as soon as he went to sleep.  However, something happened that night.  She did seem a bit more confident.  She went in and out the door with ease.  No barking and no frightened looks.  It was as if this collar was protecting her at all times.  I’m sure in her mind everything around her was getting shocked too and therefore nothing would dare move or grab her.  I did not throw it away.

Next morning, I asked him about her reaction to the collar.  He said she was barking her fool head off at something, probably a falling leaf.  He put the collar on and walked back inside.  She started to bark again and got a surprise!  It shocked her and he said she yelped.  She tried it one more time, yelped, then never barked again.  It broke my heart to hear this but she was being quiet and acting very content.

Over the years she has become friends with it.  She knows the collar gives her more freedom and willingly comes to you to put it on.  (we can let her out without fear of the neighbors complaining)   You can even ask her where it is and she will look around the room as if she is really looking for it.  She has figured out she can bark but only intermittently.  The collar gives her a couple of times before it shocks. Please don’t think of this as cruel the why I did at first.  We give her the bark time she need to be queen of the back yard and, at least for my dog, it has helped her and us so much.  Now to the reason I started this story.

Jeff, our Pomeranian, has a vocabulary of about a billion barks. He loves to continually show off his aptitude.  Today was an extremely vocal day for Jeff and Hub had reached his limit.  He snatched the collar off Mutt.  She gave him a surprised look.  He then proceeded to adjust the size to fit Jeff.  No! No! I yelled. Mutt started walking in circles.  I kept telling Hub he was too little.  It would hurt him.  But Hub continued with his mission.  Before you knew it, Jeff was sporting a new shocking device around his tiny little neck.

I was freaking out.  Hub started laughing and I looked at him with contempt only to see him pointing at Mutt.  Mutt was sitting on the couch reared back with the whites of her eyes showing.   She and Jeff had locked gazes.   Her ears were lying down and she was so still she was not even breathing.  It looked as if she were telepathically warning Jeff not to make a sound or make a move.  And Jeff obeyed her every telepathic thought.  He stood there frozen stiff.  It was as if she had told him all about that collar.  He never made a peep.  And she never took her googly eyes off of him.  After a few minutes of laughter, from both of us, Hub felt sorry for him because he told me to take it off.  I did and off he went out the dog door to educate the backyard critters with his verbal skills. All I can say is I sure am glad the boy knows how to keep his mouth shut when it counts.

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Until next time remember this: When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person, err, dog who can live in peace with others.