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Three weeks ago I was minding my own business feeding the Royal Canines.

The Royal Canines - Mr. Frodo & Jake Man

Cute, harmless looking 200 pounds of  labradors, are they not?

Looks can be deceiving, while they are docile most of the day when afternoon arrives and they are about to reap the dog food rewards from the hard labor of The King & I, they spring in to action.  If you have small dogs this may not be a problem, but when they repeatedly demand your attention by slamming in to your backside while filling their water bucket you will turn around.  Just for a moment, only to stung repeatedly on your right hand by the lovely bees that nest On The Ponderosa.  Normally, I am honored that these bees spend their summers pollenating my lilies, hydrangeas and other floral matter.  My policy for bees is get busy on my flowers, tell your friends, but stay away from me.

Did I mention I am allergic to bee stings?  Not the take a Benadryl kind, the I stop breathing kind.  Never fear Epipen to the rescue.  Immediately after being stung I run to the house and grab the Epipen, inject myself in the thigh.  For those not familiar with Epipen medication, the side effects are similar to drinking a two liter of Red Bull energy drink in two minutes.  Jump around the kitchen, remove stingers and flail about screaming obscenities.  This is helpful to me personally.  Reminder to myself: no more dog treats for a week as this is clearly the Royal Canines fault.

Four days later, I realize something is wrong as my hand and arm clearly resemble one of those giant foam hands folks wave around as sporting events, accompanied by spreading red streaks and severe itching that makes me consider removing my limb permanently.  Clearly I needed medical attention.  Our family physician declares the diagnosis of cellulitis and provides antibiotics with a side of steroids that turn me in to one of the giant mythical characters dancing around in need on the Pepto-Bismol commercial.

Three days later my arm now resembles that of a giant, the red streaks have exceeded their inkpen boundaries designated by my physician.  It is decided hospitalization is clearly required with IV antibiotics. 

If anyone is under the delusion that you will get rest while healing in the hospital, let me enlighten you.  Hospitals are full of people whose primary job responsibility is to keep you awake.  They have secret devices that alert them when any patient has dosed off, no matter the time of day they will come in to your room and wake you up under the guise of performing some necessary treatment. 

As a public service announcement to all women who dream of spending a few days in bed away from the demands of your family while watching tv, reading a bestseller and having your meals delivered to you on a serving tray:  BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR.

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IN MY BACKYARD

This is my first official post.  You have been warned!  Let me set the scene for you a couple of weekends back.   Friday night, 10:30pm and The Royal Canines (Mr. Frodo & Jake Man) begin barking.  Since we live in the country this is not a strange incident.  All manner of wildlife will peak the interest of The Royal Canines, but this bark was a warning that Satan has been unleashed in our backyard. 

The King is asleep and must rise at 4am for work, this is not my current concern since this is the man who would have slept through Hurricane Hugo, had I not awaken him to move to the basement.  My view from the kitchen bay window shows The Royal Canines up on the back fence obviously trying to scare the Jesus in to something that was about to invade their Ponderosa.  This goes on for 10 minutes and the third Royal Canine (Mr. Rat Dog who lives a privileged life inside our home) joins the ruckus.  It even attracts the attention of The Princess who dares to break from her two connections to the outside world, the Internet and cell phone, to help me investigate.

Beyond our backyard fence lies a pond on the neighbor’s property, this is about 60 feet from my bedroom windows.  You can see that sleep will not be forthcoming anytime soon.  The Princess and I spy from the back door window that two men are walking around the pond carrying a lantern near the ground.  Have they lost something?  Is this really an effective time to look for something?  Are they unsavory characters?  Not to fear The Princess has her current love The Duke of Honda on the cell phone for our protection.  We continue watching for a few minutes until we decide that they are watching us in our PJs watching them from the back door.

In my motherly wisdom, I deem that they will find the lost item or give up soon…all will be well and The Royal Canines will sleep soon.  Let me admit, I was wrong.  Not only did they not leave, but they were joined by two more men driving trucks, delivering equipment of some sort to aid in their search.  

In the almost two decades I have lived here never has this body of water attracted this much attention.  This melee with The Royal Canines continues for two more fun filled hours.  Sleep was not to be for The Queen tonight, did I mention The King had yet to stir from his chamber?  Added to spirit of the hunt was a million powered spotlight that lit up the bedroom as if the Coast Guard was searching for a lost boat.  This is an exciting night on the Ponderosa.

Finally, The King is stirred from his chamber (due to a nature call, not the incessant barking) and receives the report of nefarious activities behind the house.  We advised HRH that the men have lost something and are using what looks like poles to find the missing item.   The King decrees that the men are frog gigging.

Excuse me?  Although I grew up in California, I know of this concept.  I have never participated, but am aware of the general idea of this southern pasttime.   During summer we have lots of visits from frogs and their sounds add to the Southern atmosphere from our porch.  To my knowledge, no one has ever hunted amphibians in this pond for almost twenty years.  Why has this pond now drawn the attention of four grown men?  The Princess and I decide the following:

  • Our neighbor is bringing back a lost art?
  • The frogs have experienced a population explosion?
  • Neighbor was hungry at midnight and out of meat?
  • Deer hunting season ended a few months ago and the men are bored?

Believe me when I tell you, the last one is most likely the instigating factor for hunt for amphibians sixty feet from my bedroom window.  Since I am unfamiliar with the actual practice of frog gigging, I researched the particulars.  Basically, you drive to a body of water armed with a flashlight and frog gig.  Sneaking up on unsuspecting amphibians, you blind the frog with the flashlight and the plunge the business end of the gig into to the unsuspecting frog.  The frog’s fate is then sealed. 

So my question to the amphibian hunters sneaking around my back fence, how do two hundred pounds of barking Royal Canines add to your covert activities?  Not to be deterred these men have returned two other nights in the past few weeks to repeat this process. 

Pray for me, as The King is sleeping through the night.  Pray that the neighbor does not commence some sort of commercial amphibian safari from the pond as extra income.

My advice to the amphibian hunters, bring dog treats to The Royal Canines and The Queen may bring you cake!

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