November 11 – Gretchen moves in

When I got home Tuesday Savannah said there was a bad smell in the laundry room.  I found a dead mouse in the trap in the broom closet and threw it out.  Still, some odor lingered.  When Stacey got home, Savannah told her to sniff the broom closet, as she had sprayed some special stuff there.  It was a dirty trick.  We looked online for scholarships for Portuguese Americans.  We found a few, but they were all east coast or west coast.  Sadly for Savannah, there are apparently no national or midwestern scholarships for those of our heritage.

Wednesday I drove the truck into work and dropped off the recycling.  I had lots of student in and out for advising and registration.  I took the Ecology class out for stream team.  It was the latest in the fall we’ve ever done it.  Fortunately, it was an incredibly warm and sunny day.  The water was kind of high, and we didn’t find too many invertebrates, but everything tested OK.  Recent floods have taken their toll on the stream. 

Thursday we went around and measured the CO2 levels of a lot of different places in Environmental Science class.  We calibrated the meter first, but it still gave us some wonky readings.  It can’t be 0 ppm outside.  We had an Environmental Club meeting in the afternoon, and we got some new recruits.  We watered the plants in the green house and put the recycling out for the first time of the year.

Friday I had no classes and no meetings (for once).  I stayed home.  I worked on data analysis all morning, making all new maps for the cicada killer biogeography study.  I looked at the elevation data and found some interesting trends.  By lunch time my eyes were fried from staring at the computer.  Stacey came home and we went grocery shopping.  This is where things got interesting.  I dropped her off at the grocery store.  There was a little white dog running loose there, and she picked it up.  After admonishing her that we were not keeping any such dog, I went down to Orscheln’s to pick up some hardware.  When I got back to County Market, Stacey was still outside holding the dog, instead of inside buying groceries as she was supposed to.  She had called the City to send a cop to pick up the dog, but we ended up taking it home “temporarily” until we could get the grocery shopping done.  This dog had no street smarts, and we didn’t want it to get hit.  We kept it in the cat crate while we were gone.  When we got back Stacey gave it a bath, as it was pretty dirty.  It’s hard to tell, but it looked like it had been outdoors for a couple of days.  It was well groomed and not emaciated, but it’s claws were overgrown and it had a nice case of fleas.  Turns out it was a West Highland Terrier, and everything the web sites say about this breed seems to be true of this one.  It seemed to have a fine disposition–playful but not hyperactive, friendly but not smothering.  small but athletic.  It wasn’t long before she had completely won us over.  We decided to call her Morgan.  We were keeping her unless we found the owners.  I am a complete sucker. 

We kept the dog in the laundry room all night because we weren’t sure what she might do while unsupervised.  She whined for awhile until Stacey shushed her.  Then she was quiet the rest of the night.  I got up early for the deer season opener.  It wasn’t too cold anyway.  I sat in stand #3A, which is one of my favorites.  I didn’t see much, except for more squirrels than have appeared all year so far..  Four turkeys flew down from the big oak by the lake at sunrise.  At 7:30 a little buck came down Lowell’s ATV road.  I glassed it to see if it was legal.  It was, but still too small for my goals.  I let it go on up the hill behind the catfish pond.  He never knew I was there.  I’m sure his death would have been a great shock to him.  I was impressed with how quietly he moved, considering the whole forest floor is covered in dry leaves.  I hardly heard a thing.  A few minutes later he ran down the edge of the woods toward stand #2, where I knew John Wilcox was hunting.  I heard lots of shooting in the area, and suspected that John had already harvested a buck.  I heard shooting from across the lake dam.  Later I saw the guy hauling his deer up the hill in the bucket of his tractor.  I got down at about 10:00 and walked around the east portion of the place.  I ran into the turkeys again.  By the fence I saw a couple of deer in the adjacent field.  I reached for my binoculars and lost my grip on my gun.  As I grabbed for it, the middle finger on my right hand caught the sharp edge of the scope mount and cut the heck out of me.  I dropped the gun anyway (on thick grass, fortunately).  I dripped blood all the way back to Lowell’s house, where we patched it up with a standard band-aid.  It turned out that John HAD seen that same buck, as hit came by his stand just before 8.  He didn’t shoot it either.  The only other thing he saw was a doe.  The guys weren’t going out to lunch, so I went home. 

While I was up on the deer stand I got a text from Stacey.  The original owners of the little white dog came and repossessed her.  I was distraught.  Stacey and Savannah were absolutely crushed.  It had run away from home because of the loud noise of sighting in guns.  It was only a few miles to County Market from her house.  So I thought, heck with that.  We’ll get our own darn dog.  I could not believe myself.  Stacey has wanted another dog for awhile, but I didn’t.  This dog had sold me on “Westies.” 

Sunday morning we drove to St. Louis to the Posh Puppies Shelter.  They get dogs from a three-state area.  There was a powerful kennel smell when we walked in the door, but everything looked clean.  They have one greeting room, and we had to wait our turn to visit with dogs.  We looked at a 3-year-old Westie first, but the poor thing had no socialization, and was not at all built like Morgan.  Next we looked at a white miniature schnauzer puppy, as we wanted to stay with a terrier.  Gretchen really lit up the room and played with the ball a lot.  We decided we didn’t need to see any more.  We had to wait again while they bathed her.  We completed the papers, paid the adoption fee, and drove all the way back home again (2.5 hours).  We had brought a crate, but she traveled in our laps quite well, sleeping most of the time.  So we burned a whole day just to get a dog, but it was worth it.  She’s just adorable.  It’s been a day and a half and she has not peed in the house yet.  I’m going to try to embed an image here.

From NewBlogPics

Monday I went to work.  It rained all day.  I was trying to find out what happened to the waxworms that I had ordered a month ago.  I found on the web site that the guy’s wife had been looting the accounts and not filling the orders.  Dang.  He’s trying to get things straightened out.  For lab we identified all the grasshoppers we had caught.  They’d been in the refrigerator for a month.  As the students were sorting them, one moved a little.  Gradually, it came back to life.  A student took it home for a pet.  It must have been only a half inch long.  At one point one of our escaped mice was noticed under the pop vending machine.  I tried to catch it but it crawled up into the machine.  Later a student brought me a sticky trap with the mouse on it.  I pulled it off and put it in a cage with her brothers and sisters.  I got out of the office as soon as I was able so I could go home and play with the dog. 

As usual, more photos can be found here:

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