Monday, September 2, 2013

Fancy Meeting You Here... Or Not

Last night after dark the dogs needed to go outside.  The process of taking them out to do their business can be a laborious one.  I sure do miss our dog yard at our old house.  When we first moved into this house, we started taking the dogs out on leash in the front yard where we had a porch light and some footlights, but that proved to be a problem because rattlesnakes and poisonous toads camped out in the hedge, while poisonous spiders, tarantulas and scorpions lined our front door and the front wall of our house.  Also, it was extremely difficult to clean the dog poop up out of the decorative rock.

Then we started taking them out the back door into the planter area, but the neighbors' dogs would bark at us, the light wasn't good enough at night, and the Lantana overgrew the dirt path.  We had only one choice left, and that was to take them out the garage door into a dirt courtyard.  My husband got a floodlight working and installed some footlights, but all of them broke, so now we have limited visibility again.  Also, I know the sound of our garage door grinding open and closed must bug our neighbor and possibly wake him up at night since his bedroom window is right there near our garage, so I try to keep the trips outside at night down to a minimum.

Normally, I just open the garage door, walk through the dark garage, out onto the dimly lit driveway, then into the dark courtyard, and I try to keep an eye out for coyotes, rattlesnakes, big cats, and wild pigs so that they don't attack my dogs.  However, last night I felt dread while putting on the dogs' leashes.  My mind was focusing on this spot where the courtyard meets the driveway, telling me that something was there.  I turned on the interior garage light first, and then opened the garage door.

Midge was pulling me across the garage, so I figured some animal got in and she was smelling it.  I pulled her back toward me while I surveyed all the leaves the blew in to make sure none of them were poisonous toads or tarantulas.  Just as we were approaching the driveway, I remembered to look toward the spot that my mind was warning me about, and sure enough, there was a little snake poised with its head in the air looking at us.  I couldn't tell what kind it was because the light was so bad, but I decided to assume it was a viper, and I said, "I guess we won't be going this way tonight."

I pulled the dogs back into the house and shut the garage door before the snake could get in, and took the dogs out the back door with a flashlight, ordering them to pee where I took them.  Scrappy is pretty good about lifting a leg wherever I take him, but Midge is particular.  She has to go to the same spot and sniff around before she will go.  The only thing Scrappy is particular about his that he has to push his butt up against something like a bush or a wall for protection while he poops.  Maybe something bit him on the butt once.  Fortunately, no one had to go number two, and it took some coaxing, but Midge did pee in the spot I insisted upon.

We realized, after seeing the kingsnake in the courtyard the other day, that we haven't seen the alligator lizards that lived in our bushes in a couple of weeks.  The kingsnake probably ate them.  We have a few tiny lizards around still, so I guess that is what is attracting the snakes.

This morning I went outside to feed the horses and came face-to-face with a bunny sitting under the tarp on my haystack.  It hopped off onto the ground and I said, "I see you."  Amazingly, it decided I wasn't a threat, so it hopped back up and started eating hay right next to me.  I reached out to pet it, and it hopped further away, but still stayed close.  I don't really want bunnies on top of the hay, because they leave droppings in my horses' food, so I will have to start cutting open those low bales sooner than later.  I kind of liked having something soft to stand on while I pull the higher bales down.  Maybe I'll just add a second row of bales on top of the existing layer, and then it will be too high for the bunnies to jump on, because once I start removing the bottom row, I'll expose my lizard buddy, who lives under the pallets, to the elements and predators.

My lizard buddy is an amazing creature.  He looks like a miniature dinosaur.  He's so ugly that he looks like someone attached a different head to his body.  I'm pretty sure he's an iguana.  Come to think of it, I haven't seen him in a few days either.  Hopefully, the snakes didn't get him too.

This is a blurry picture of one of the remaining little lizards that lives in the Lantana...


lytha said...

as i pull weeds, still, i think of you. in arizona, we wouldn't be breaking our backs bending over pulling with all our might to get these things out of the earth.

but we'd be feeding hay all year. every day.

but the hooves! the horse's hooves are so much healthier there.

and i know your arabs love that sandy soil to roll in.

this weekend they predict 90 degrees plus humidity. i will be hiding in my house with my (very american) AC. and praying this is the last of it.

i miss seattle's rain so much. in seattle, the weather never keeps you from doing (horsey) things. here it's too hot for me for 3 months, and then solid snowdrifts for another 3.

so...what's lantana?

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Lytha - Yes, it is a relief to not have to maintain a pasture, but we do have hardy weeds on our rock driveway and in our cactus planter that we are supposed to be pulling, and the timing has to be right. If we don't get out there right after it rains, we can't pull them out. The humidity is the number one thing that keeps me indoors here. It sucks. Feeding hay year round is a gamble, especially when the local hay farmers are shipping their supply off to foreign countries and they run out at the end of summer. I think I'm going to get caught with my pants down this year and may have to ship hay in from out of state. Lantana is the orange flowers I sometimes take pictures of.