Cast of characters:
Two apple trees, very prolific this year. They have been dropping fruit freely. When these fallen apples are eaten by the Big Dog...bad things happen!
Big Dog and MiniMe: not their real names, but if you've been reading the past couple of days you know how I love nicknames. Big Dog is Mandy, our six-plus year old sixty-plus pound Golden Retriever. MiniMe is Roxi, puppy of our youngest child, a three and a half month old, six and a half pound Chi-Weenie-...Heeler? mix. She really does look like Mandy's Mini-Me, even though they are breeds apart!
Me: I've been sick for several days. It's either a Cold, or the Real Respiratory Flu. Not sure which. Every time I start to think, "Nah, it's just a cold," then my knee joints ache, or my neck feels stiff, or my skin feels all weird and sensitive and then I start thinking Flu again. I have been extremely careful to avoid the outside world, so I wouldn't share this oh-so-fun whatever-it-is with other people! This means that I have not really left the house since Thursday lunchtime. This is Monday.
I am so done with being inside, sitting around doing nothing! It is a continual surprise to me that I actually have a limit when it comes to sitting around, reading, napping, and watching old episodes of Designing Women on youtube. But I do. I actually do.
Even though I'm so done being in the house, I still don't feel well, so I didn't want to solve my problem by going downtown and running errands. My Eureka! moment came when I took the dogs out back for a potty break. Aha! I went back in for the shed key and some work gloves. I was already wearing rubber boots- standard equipment for venturing into our dog-bombed back yard.
And I spent the next hour picking up apples and raking up dog manure! Good physical exercise. A job that needed most seriously to be done. A good long time for the dogs to run and run and run like mad things around the yard.
One of the great benefits of our arid, high-desert climate: within just a couple of days, dog piles are so dried that you really can just rake them up with a leaf rake! I could go into how, when we got Big Dog six years ago, all these speeches were made about her being Everyone's Dog, and how Everyone would help with picking up after her...and about how long that didn't last...and about how unbelievably long it has been since Anyone bothered to pick up Anything from a dog in the back yard. I could...but I won't. ;)
What an odd combination of smells: the cidery fragrance of fallen apples....clashing with the acrid stink of disturbed dog piles!
In our back yard is an old blue plastic wading pool. Once upon a time, our wee kiddos used it for splashing play on hot summer days. They grew up, and it wore out, so now this somewhat broken wading pool is the summer bathing facility for Big Dog. Today, it became the Apple Basket. It is now about half full of broken, half rotted apples. And it is much closer to completely broken and useless than I realized, so this may have been its last hurrah.
The hour of work left me feeling tired out and breathless (respiratory illness has a way of doing that!), but also refreshed from the time outside, and pleased with my accomplishments.
After I came inside and recovered a bit, I started a pot of beef stew. The house is starting to smell all savory and good.
I must say, I'm feeling pretty good about myself right now. :)