Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Are the porcupine quills?

6/22/10 Tuesday
Our outside dogs, Ben and Gretchen, have once again gotten themselves into trouble. When Cherie got up and let the other two out I heard her plaintive “Oh My, Honey, the dogs got into something, They have stickers all over their mouths”. I grabbed some clothes on and went out to see. It looks like they got into some type of porcupine, whatever it is they have in West Texas. Dummies. I used some pliers to start what looks like will be a long process of removing the spines or quills, whatever they are called. It’s going to be hard for the dogs aren’t keen about setting still for this and I’m unable to hold them down well. So far I’ve pulled about a dozen quills and have barely scratched the surface. I purposely make sure they have a big fresh bowl of food set out every night with the hope it will reduce their wandering at night. Obviously that didn’t work last night. That’s West Texas for you. Everything has stickers or thorns out here.

Today I hope to make it to Midland, where I plan on fixing some chairs and doing cosmetic work on Steve and Janie’s pergola. It’s quite a structure he’s built and their landscape lady asked if I could build some for some of her customers. I’m an honest guy so told her that I wouldn’t know how to price such a job and had never built anything like that before. She appreciated me not trying to BS my way into a job and offered to help me figure that out. Up till then all I’d done was stain the massive amounts of lumber required to build the structure. I asked Janie to ask Steve to let me help him build it so I could gain some experience doing so and thus be better able to tackle such a job. Now that I’ve spent a few days working with Steve I have a good idea of what is involved and am confident it’s something I could handle.

So this seems to be a new direction I’m moving in, doing outside contract type work. Farming is hard and requires expensive equipment, equipment that we can’t afford for the most part though we are picking up a little bit here and there. There have been a few remarks sent my way that insinuated I was lazy because I don’t have a “regular” job. I’m probably being over sensitive about that, partly because I always kick myself about not getting enough done. But I welcome any chance to work for others, especially when it’s someone who has needs or difficulties in life. I just don’t do that for profit. When I built the table tops for the little diner in Stanton she asked me “How much will you charge me?” I told her to just pay me whatever she felt like after the job was done. When it comes to building things like a pergola that must change. For one thing, the people who would contract such a job aren’t poor and needy and the other part of the equation is this is something I’ll use to help some guys at the halfway house get back on their feet. So it won’t be a “Pay me what you feel like” kind of thing. I’ll have to figure that out. I’m cutting down a tree for a hundred dollars and I know that a professional tree removal company would charge $400 to $600 for such a job. But it’s an easy job and not a big tree. I tend to go with what’s fair instead of “how much can I get”. However I’ve learned that I can misjudge situations, with that barn in Crane being a classic example. And I tend to trust people, something I’ve found isn’t always wise. Oh well, I’ll trust in God and if people take advantage of me so be it.

Time to go pull some more quills out of dogs mouths.
This will be a tough operation for one man. Ben kept struggling and hiding his face from me. Gretchen will be harder because she is bigger, stronger, and generally afraid anyway. There's just no way we can afford to take them to a vet so I'll do the best I can.

There is so much to do. It’s already after 10:00 and I’m still working on getting those quills out of Gretchen and Ben’s nose and mouth. Ben’s almost all the way done as he is more gentle (Hence his name, Gentle Ben) and is laying in his favorite chair. I’ll probably have to finish this up in bits and pieces and must work on other things as well. Leaving Rascal and Trixie inside as they don’t help, don’t even come close to helping. They want to get involved and get right into it, plus they are jealous of any attention I give to the other two so are motivated to be in the way. Times a wastin and there’s things that need doing. Carman Kitty is trying to crawl on my lap for pets as I write. We love our animals and they love attention but finding a balance is sometimes hard to do.


Gwynne said...

Ouch! Poor babies. I trust the quills are not barbed so you're not pulling out skin with each quill? Still painful and tedious for you. Good luck!

Bob said...

They are not barbed but don't come out freely. Lots of blood and some are in deep, obviously pushed in as Gretchen aggressively went after whatever kind of critter it was. Ben was smarter so didn't get as many, nor are they in as deep as Gretchen's. Our pets bless us but they come with a price

KourJalopy said...

Our neighbors dog used to get into a porcupine at least 2 times a year and I can remember my dad and my neighbor sitting on him trying to pull them out. I did find this "how to" http://www.ehow.com/how_2132114_remove-porcupine-quills-dog.html

I have often heard to cut the ends off thus letting out the air. Not pleasant either way I'm sure. Good luck!

Lisa said...

My boston terrier got into the same fix! He refused to allow hubby and I to remove them. He did manage to wrestle them out on his own, poor thing!