Life in the Slow Lane: "Monsoon Season"

India isn't the only place where Monsoons are a given. Northern Arizona has its own rainy season and it started with a bang last Friday. Well, not a bang as much as multiple crashes of thunder.

This is not Moosie's favorite time of year. It didn't always bother him. I remember two years ago sitting on the porch watching the lightning and the rain with Moosie quietly by my side.

Then last year happened. If you recall (I do), my heat pump was struck by lightning and destroyed. This happened while I was watching the storm from the porch, which is only about 20 feet from where the lightning hit. Of course, the dogs were also on the porch with me, while the sheep were grazing right below me. There was a massive crash/bang as the bolt hit accompanied instantaneously with a crack of thunder that lifted me out of my chair, lifted the dogs off the porch floor and brought the (then 3) sheep straight up off the ground in grazing position, then back down to earth again without changing position as they continued grazing.

That was it for Moosie. He hasn't been the same since and Sunday night only made it worse. The clouds rolled in at midday, which is the good sign there will be rain. If the clouds can't make it over the mountains surrounding my house by noon, the storm simply circles around me. I watch everyone else getting drenched while I suffer the humidity and heat without any hope of relief.

By Sunday evening there was still no rain although it was clear there would be. I had gone to bed at my usual way-early hour and was blissfully asleep when it started. By 11 PM it was so loud that it woke me. I went out to check on Moosie and, sure enough, he was waiting at the door, panting. I let him in and he followed me into the bedroom. Usually, its enough for him to sleep by the side of the bed. Not Sunday night. He not only crawled onto the bed, he tried to lay on top of my head. I've always said that that dog is mostly cat. Since its not possible for me to sleep with an 80 pound dog on my head and since sleep is critical for me, I eventually had to lock him out of the bedroom. He slept next to the door.

Meanwhile, Bear was on the porch barking at whatever as the lightning strikes fell along with the rain. Good dog.

Sunday is also my cleaning day. I wash all the feeders, waterers and clean the coops. Hoping for rain, I mucked out the turkey barn, piling all that you-know-what on top of that growing compost area that the birds are creating for me. I was so glad I had. There was enough rain to saturate everything and Monday morning the roto-chickens were hard at work tilling for bugs. I let the piglets, who seem to have survived the weekend's sturm und drang without too much trauma, out of the orchard to give them a hand.

Speaking of the little girls, I once again lost a fortune on Youtube because of my inability to carry a camera. Since Mama's demise, the piggy girls have been much friendlier, even making up to Moosie who dearly wants them to play with him. Unfortunately, they don't speak dog and haven't figured out what he's promising them with all that sideways hopping. Mostly, the girls are fascinated by the sheep. Now that their mother isn't driving off the ovine crew, they've had a chance to get close to their fellow four-footers. Every day the girls bury their snouts into the sheep's wool and snuffle, examine parts that I don't think Cinco ought to let piglets near given their sharp little teeth, and make general offers of sharing the shady area in the back barn with their co-grazers.

Given this new rapport, I let the sheep into the orchard with the piglets on Thursday to clean up some of the fallen fruit. I came out a while later to find all the sheep resting on the ground, happily regurgitating said fruit and chewing their cud. One of the black piglets had braced herself on Peanut's back and was ever-so-gently running his ear through her mouth. As she did that, he tilted his head toward her as if to say, "That's nice. Don't quit." Sigh. When will I learn? (I'm guessing never at this point.)

Finally, to celebrate the onset of the Monsoon season, I had my first power outage with Friday night's storm--no rain, just steamy darkness--and of course, the outage fried something in the heat pump. Fortunately, I guess, it fried in the "on" position, meaning I'm using the breaker to turn my A/C on and off. Considering the alternative and the fact that it's still under warranty, I can't complain.

Welcome Monsoon!

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