Saturday, August 18, 2007

A walk in the woods

What a fabulous morning! Cool, with bright blue skies. I had plans on doing some baking after taking the dogs for a walk. Great day to turn the oven on.

I decided it was a perfect day for a hike through the woods behind our house. The walk is pretty much uphill both ways (no lie), so I don't like to do it when its hot out. Too much sweating involved. In fact, I haven't been back there since there was snow on the ground.

I let Jeff know where I was heading. Just in case we didn't come back, he would know where to look for us. There are wild animals back there. There have been bear sightings, coyotes, deer, turkeys and I have seen a very, very large cat myself.

Misty loves to hike in the woods. She is trustworthy enough to be let off the leash. She loves to stop and smell things, and then run to catch up with me. Much more fun than leash walking through a neighborhood.

Oreo has never been in those woods. So, I told him we were going on an adventure. Jeff told me the dogs would come back a muddy mess, since it rained a little last night. I didn't think it would be too bad, its been dry for so long. I don't mind having to clean up dirty paws. I did worry about ticks.

Off we went. Jeff watched us for awhile through the window. I must have looked lost, because Jeff yelled through the window, "Do you know where the path is?" In the winter,the path is much easier to find. Today, there was a lot of over growth. I told Jeff I kind of knew where I was going. If I hadn't walked that path all winter, I'm sure I would have gotten lost. Oreo jumped over a log, and I yelled to Jeff, "Did you see him jump?" He did. I had high hopes this would be a fun time.

We had to walk through a lot of tall weeds to get to the densely wooded part, where it is easier to make your way. I must be the only person who walks back there, because there was no path. I guess you call this bushwhacking, not hiking.

At one point early in our journey, I looked down at the dogs and noticed they were covered in green stuff. I went to brush it off, and realized it wasn't going anywhere. They were completely covered in tiny, sticky, green burrs. Yuk. Oh well, I said it would be an adventure.

As we walked, more stuff would attach to the dogs' fur. The burrs were like magnets, causing everything to stick to them. I began to think this may have been a really bad idea. I hoped the dogs were having a damn good time.

By the time we got home, it had taken us 40 minutes to walk less than a mile. It would have been much quicker if I didn't have to try and stamp down all the weeds to keep them from sticking to the damn dogs.

Jeff saw us in the yard and asked how our walk was. He came to the window and saw the filthy, sticky, and now mostly green dogs. Jeff said, "Oh my god. I hoped they had a good time." I told him to get me a brush.

Jeff came out with the brush, and I started the difficult task of removing the burrs. It was clearly not going well. Jeff came out to help, and I asked him to just get me a pair of scissors. I brushed and brushed and snipped pieces of Misty's hair, while Jeff worked on Oreo. Misty was getting a funky new hair do. I was ready to just shave them both bald. Jeff had to leave for work. He was upset, because most of the burrs had stuck to Oreo's chest. Jeff said with sadness, "That's his nicest fur." I took that as a warning not to shave them bald.

This 40 minute walk led to an hour and a half of burr clean up. Both dogs lost a few chunks of hair. I tried to cut as little off Oreo as possible. I had to work on him in 5 minute segments, and then take a break. That was about all he could tolerate, being the squirmy, wormy puppy that he is. I didn't want Oreo to learn to hate the brush. I'm sure it was painful, I yanked out a lot of his hair in the process.

I won't be walking in those woods again until there have been several hard frosts. I'll stick with fending off loose dogs on the street. It was an adventure all right. An adventure I will be reliving for days, each time I find a new burr buried deep in my dogs' fur.

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