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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Parades and Candy. . .

My children love parades.  Not because they are community events in which all ages participate.  Not because you can see the talents and efforts of community groups showcased in one place.  Not even to see the shiny red firetrucks or for the old men in silly hats careening down the street in miniature cars.

My kids love parades for one reason.


A few weeks ago, our local town held its annual Firemans Carnival.  One highlight of the week was the Fireman's Parade.  Years ago, this parade boasted that it was the largest fireman's parade in the state.  Having grown up in a similar rural town in the central part of the state, I beg to differ, but I digress . . .

The day of the parade was a dreary one.  It rained off and on all day and it was kind of humid.  About an hour before the parade was to begin, I had doubts about our attendance this year because we had a down pour.  It soon was over and the place started to dry (and heat) up considerably.  As a precaution, I made Erik pack up and haul our Eazy Up tent with us so that if it did rain, we could quickly set up a shelter.  Erik did this for me without any hassle.  I am so grateful for the fact that he rarely hassles me about anything.  

We parked the car in a lot as close to the parade route as we could get and walked our way to the spot our friends had saved.  We spread out our blankets, got out our chairs, snacks and drinks and waited for the local high school marching band to make its way down the street to kick off the parade.  

My children waited in eager anticipation for the firetrucks.  For they know it is the firemen that throw the candy.

Never mind that I have packed them a snack of "trail mix" and some popcorn.  "We want CANDY!"
We will endure watching these silly men dodge in and out in figure eights down the street with bravado so we do not lose our spot to get some candy!
"Go ahead, Mister!  See how close you can get to us.  We're not moving unless you throw us some candy!"
Will sits patiently.  His brother and sister have wisely advised him that people in the parade will throw him candy - for no particular reason - if he sits carefully on the blanket and waits.Soon the children realize that sitting patiently isn't going to cut it.  They see kids across the street getting candy and understand that in order to compete, they are going to have to pull out all the stops.  In a valiant effort to distract the candy throwing firemen from the candy hoarding hoodlums from the opposite side of the street, my children start politely waving and hollering out, "Hi Mr. Fireman!"  DRATS!  it still isn't working.  It is time to get some attention!  As the next fire truck approaches, they stand up and start jumping and waving.  "Hello, Mr. Fireman!  Hello!  Thank you for trying to protect us from fires!"  
"Just let  us dash out onto the street here in front of you, big green fire truck, so we can pick up these fruit flavored tootsie rolls."  
Will collapses in relief!  "SCORE!  The guys in the green fire truck threw us CANDY!!"

and GUM!!!  

The queen of candy takes a moment to enjoy her hard earned lollipop.
Thank heavens for parades.  Where else would I get my stash of bribery candy?  

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What kind of Guard Dog is that anyway???

This is our Livestock Guard Dog (LGD) Rocco.  He is a beautiful and grand Great Pyrenese.

"The Great Pyrenees excels at protecting livestock, especially sheep (goats in our case) that are grazing or hanging out in the pasture. It tends to sit around in a comfortable spot and then jump and let out a steady succession of loud, deep, bellowing barks to alert the shepherd to the threat. The dog will then dart to the threatened area and defend its livestock and territorial hegemony. Hesitant to attack and quick to intimidate, this dog is a safe bet when protecting your livestock. Intruders will probably not be maimed or assaulted by this dog.  They're 27 to 32 inches at the withers in males, and they're 25 to 29 inches at the withers for females. Some can reach 40 inches. The tallest dog ever is 42 inches, and so Great Pyrenees is huge! They can weigh up to 100 pounds, the males that is. Females are lightweights at 85 pounds or more. The Great Pyrenees is courageous, cautious, and devoted. It's reserved around visitors, whether they're human or animal visitors. It's wary of new things because it's a guard dog by nature."

I explain all of this because this beautiful, LARGE, supposedly intimidating GUARD dog is afraid of thunderstorms!

In an older post, I displayed pictures of the time Rocco got stuck under my mini van.  We never really understood why he crawled under there but in recent weeks, we have come to realize this big, giant, scary dog hid himself under my mini van in an attempt to hide from the thunder! And it is only getting worse as evidenced by his most recent attempts to find shelter from the thunder.
That's right.  This giant actually clawed his way through the screen door to get into the house. Unfortunately, we were gone the night that this happened or perhaps we would have been able to prevent it.  Now, I have to figure out how to re-screen my french door!

We had on and off storms today and usually I enjoy having the doors and windows open to hear and smell the storms.  It also helps cool the house down.  I no longer can do this as Rocco has busted through and ruined all of the screen doors and Erik showed me the evidence of attempts to claw through the windows in the sunroom.  

He sneaked in twice today and I had to practically drag him out of the house by his fur.  It's not that I don't appreciate house dogs - I just have vivid recall of the time one of our pets brought fleas into the house and how I had horrible bites on my ankles for weeks and all of the cleaning I did and bug bombs we had to set off in the house in order to get rid of them.  It is not fun - and that is why we do not allow the dogs in the house even for a short stint.

I'm just grateful the children are not afraid of the storms.  I told them that my Grammie used to tell me that thunder is just the angels bowling.  They get a kick of of hearing that and never seem to mind the noise.  I wish I just could get Rocco to understand that the thunder won't hurt him because it is just the angels bowling!