Our piece of paradise, so beautiful in the spring, winter and fall,  comes with a bit of a price.


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When the grasses and other flora dry and whither under the increasingly hot, hot sun. When the awareness of fire becomes acute.

When it is dry, the fox-tails and rocks and other buried detritus seem to take on a vicious countenance. Fox-tails get stickier and  want to burrow deeper. The rocks get hotter and sharper. The detritus gets…

Let me tell you about detritus in this little space of ours. Several of the previous owners had young children. The family just immediately before us had three small children. One in elementary school, one in kindergarten and one in diapers. ( I can’t imagine someone driving 15 miles each way three times a day. Never mind crossing our wonderful dirt road just to get to the regular road)

The children had toys. We have found 6 or 7 unclothed Barbie dolls, innumerable Troll dolls and plastic horses, zebras, lions, tigers (no bears) even a pacifier or two. All were buried and have somehow risen to the surface.

The adults had toys as well. Rising to the surface are shards of broken glass, shell casings (yes, you can shoot out here), arrows, saw blades, old (really old) iron nails and the occasional piece of concrete.

We spent our first two years here cleaning the yard but things still “pop up”. Rain, windstorms and heat extremes tend to make cleaning a constant.

Every spring there is a glorious battle with the fox-tails. They are pervasive. Our hillsides are covered with those glowing little heads of dog hell.

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A fox-tail to our dogs can be a very painful and expensive item. They stick to fur and creep between the pads of their feet. A day outside means a thorough examination of feet, eyes and ears for those little buggers before they come inside the house.

But no matter how careful that examination is, one of those suckers can get by. It can hide in the tiniest of places.

Two days ago George started licking his back left paw. He wouldn’t stop. We checked it for stones, fox-tails, glass, anything that could have hurt him. We could find nothing. He had stopped running. He wouldn’t even run after the tennis ball. He would walk to where it stopped and slowly bring it back.

So to the vet we go.

They shave his foot and, lo and behold, there is a small puncture in his foot pad. Hiding. Hurting. And a tad infected.

Headed home with pain meds, antibiotics, and instructions to keep him calm.

Calm? He is a Cocker Spaniel. There is no such thing. There is go and there is stop. At least for the first 10 years! But pain pills help. And a new handsome collar of shame prevents the constant licking.

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George asleep with new collar of shame and shave back foot. (His head is at the top)

What caused this catastrophe?

Well, a fox-tail, a piece of glass, a bit of barbed wire, a rock. Any of those or any other left overs in our area.

It isn’t officially summer but it is dry and the fox-tails have had an outstanding year. We bet on the fox-tail.

Which brings me to the spouses advanced birthday present.

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Take that you stupid fox-tails.

Categories: DOGS, George and Gracie, UncategorizedTags: , , , , , ,


  1. Poor George! I hope his paw will mend quickly and that soon he’ll be running free again, without a care in the world. As for you: Congratulations on your new fox-tail-whacker! I hope that in time there will be fewer and fewer of those annoying botanical pests — and fewer naked Barbies popping out of the ground too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Barbies were a little disconcerting at first. Some of them were missing “parts” which we found later. Weird.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow. As I remarked about my youngest niece after she used one of her dolls for batting practice, “Looks like someone’s going to need some extra mommy training.” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Those fox-tails look like vicious beasts. Poor George

    Liked by 1 person

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