Category Archives: Animal Husbandry

Bruce Goodboy and the Puppers Move House

A few months ago, my husband decided that Bruce needed to move out of my sister-in-law’s backyard, where he’d been living since he found and adopted us earlier in the year. It’s not that she minded. In fact, she liked having a dog around, discouraging “rateros” from any B&E. She hasn’t moved out to La Yacata yet, and the house, nearing compilation, is sitting empty. And Bruce, well, he’s imposing, to say the least. His bark is resounding, his size is eye-widening, and anyone who didn’t know any better would think he’s a threat to their safety and wellbeing.

However, we know that Bruce is a good boy and isn’t interested in attacking anyone. 

Anyway, my husband would do things like take the house keys, which are supposed to be hanging in the kitchen, so we couldn’t get in to feed, water, or walk Bruce. After about a week of these shenanigans, we moved Bruce over to my son’s house. 

That, of course, caused even more lamentations because now, how could my husband possibly cook on his barrica (barrel) stove with a DOG on the premises? Whatever.

His next rant was about Fred and George Pupper in the backyard. They’d been living there for more than five years, but now all of a sudden, it was an issue. If my husband couldn’t cook at my son’s, then he’d move the barrica to the backyard and cook there, but the dogs had to go. It’s not like we don’t have a perfectly servable kitchen AND a grill area on the back porch upstairs or anything. 

Ok. Fine. Fred and George moved over to my son’s house too. No barrica has been installed for cooking in the backyard because the CHICKENS shit all over the place. But whatever.

Walk-time became more complicated. Now, when the boys go out for their promenade, it’s like the three-headed Cerberus emerging from Hell. Bruce, being really still a puppy, is so impatient and pulls at the leash, which disturbs the sanctity of the walk imposed by George and interferes with Fred sniffing new scents along the way. I’m sure though, everyone will get the hang of walking in tandem eventually. 

There have been some mishaps as well. George fell off the roof and onto the first-floor ledge and had to be coaxed back in. Bruce fell out the second-floor window onto the ground but was fine. Fred is mighty cautious and hasn’t fallen yet, but he did drop his skunk toy on the ledge and whined until it was returned to him. 

They also had to go “camping” back in my sister-in-law’s yard while the steps to the roof were being installed. However, all things considered, it’s been a positive change. The Puppers don’t have to deal with all the chickens crowding them out of their house. Bruce isn’t by himself anymore. Everyone got a thorough bathing before the move to the FLEA-FREE abode and are a lot more comfortable because of that. 

There’s been some fighting, mostly over my son’s attention when he’s over there. Everybody wants head pats and to crawl into his lap, although no one fits anymore and hasn’t for some time. In the early evenings, my son takes his guitar over and treats the boys to some music while they dine. 

My son has even introduced his boys to the girl he is sort of dating. Bruce behaved so well that it was like he was a different dog. He sat and allowed his leash to be put on, and on the walk, he didn’t pull at all. He’s such a good boy, you see! 

As it will probably take another year to complete the house, having the boys there isn’t a problem. Once the doors and windows go on though, some housebreaking might be in order. I’ve tried to encourage my son to start on that now, but he hasn’t. Oh well, he’ll have to do the cleanup.

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You know you want to read more about our animals!! And you can in the Animal Antics South of the Border series.

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Big Mama Steps Up

Big Mama, despite her enormous girth, only gave birth to a singleton. Interestingly, the little guy looked EXACTLY like Brown Mama’s boy twin. (The girl has a white “toupee.”) Big Mama is extremely overprotective of him. Cocoa, who barks at everything, has made himself a mortal enemy here. How DARE he bark at her lamb???

Things were going well for about a week when suddenly Brown Mama died. The small flock was out foraging just on the other road and left unattended for about 15 minutes tops. When my son when to check on everyone, he found Brown Mama keeled over and swollen to twice her normal size. We think it was bloat that killed her. She might have eaten a poisonous plant, or the kid visiting with his parents on a nearby lot might have given her a handful of corn, or even the few kernels my husband doles out to everyone in the morning might have caused it. 

So then we had two orphans that weren’t old enough to get all their nutrients by foraging. They refused to be bottle-fed by Papa Chivo (my husband), and we despaired of their future. 

Thankfully, Big Mama decided to adopt the twins about three days after their mama’s demise. She’s a hefty sheep and seemed to have more than enough milk for her own and the two twins. The urgency has passed now that everyone can forage, although we are keeping a close eye on everyone since the rash of poisonings. It wouldn’t do for the lambs to lick something that could kill them.  

Other cloven-hoofed news: Fuzzy Mama still hasn’t given birth, nor has Jolina, although both are mighty uncomfortably pregnant. The other nameless goat miscarried, and my husband sold her. 

Then the Questgiver has been sent along to another realm to carry on his important tasks, whatever they may be. My husband didn’t like the way his testicles hung. Something about how that trait would be passed on to daughters and their udders would be uneven. I’m not sure that’s true, but I have no say on which animals stay and which go. 

I’d really like for him to stop with the animals. They aren’t getting the care they need here anymore, and the outdoor area is riddled with fleas making everyone miserable. Be that as it may…

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More Mexican homesteading stories can be found in the Animal Antics South of the Border Series. Now available on Amazon!

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Manchas’ in the HOUSE!

So at least one miracle occurred in my world this year. Manchas is BACK! Here’s how that went down.

Yesterday when my son was giving water to Lady, who was tied across the street, he saw a white blur in the nearby mesquite tree. He called out to it, and it mewed back. Of course, he knew that he’d never be able to approach, so he ran and got me. 

I came rushing out, and sure enough, it was Manchas. The tree branch was low enough that I could have reached her, except for the fact that it was surrounded completely by brambles. As much as I pushed in, I couldn’t get close enough. 

Manchas panicked at my blundering and ran down the tree to an even more secure location. I circled around and called to her. She mewed back but would not be coaxed out. So my son, ever limber, climbed a tree and moved toward her so she would leave her hiding spot. She did move but in the opposite direction. 

I spotted her through the abandoned house, and she stopped and mewed at me, then took off running. I had to take the long way ‘round, but the dogs on top of my son’s house let me know in which direction she had gone. 

My son circled his house and scared her back towards me; only she ducked into a hole in the wall. So through the house, I went and out into the backyard. She was there but obviously frazzled, and I didn’t try to grab her. My son blocked up the hole and then got Fuzz as bait. 

Manchas felt more comfortable approaching Fuzz, who wasn’t running anywhere anytime soon. With Fuzz as the distraction, I was able to swoop in (slowly, mind you) and catch her up. We went inside, and I served her some food. 

She was skittish the entire afternoon, although she’d chirp at me when I’d talk to her. Finally, I settled down on my bed, and she curled up next to me. She was HOME! My heart is so much lighter, as those of you who are pet parents will surely understand.

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Pet, pet, and more pet stories in the Animal Antics South of the Border series.

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