Rain, more rain, then it rained. Yesterday was nonstop waterworks, and that meant the fence might be down. The hotwire around the perimeter definitely. Dawn arrived late, cold, wet, raw, and the wind drove all warmth away from bare skin. The dogs went out with me, but only Budlore Amadeus remained. Bud has a sense of mission, the idea if I am out in the woods working someone ought to be with me, and that someone has to be him.
Bud and I walk the perimeter first. I look for one of the giant trees to fall one day, or shed a large limb, and that’s going to be a job that takes an entire day, or many. Those huge limbs from older Oaks weigh tons, not pounds, and Live Oak wood is dense and knotty. I hope nothing like this has happened, but if I live long enough I know it will.
The perimeter walk shows only one small tree has fallen on the fence, but I’ll need to lift it from the base to move it. It puts up a fight, wedges itself between a larger tree and the fence, so I have to wiggle it up, work the end of it away from the bind. Bud doesn’t like me being on the other side of the fence, and he watches with his ears up, his body tense, and a look of concern in his eyes. Bud is a simple creature; if it is different it is wrong in some way. This is an animal that has some sort of working breed in his DNA. Bud is a guard dog, a protector, and the only way for anyone to be safe is for everything to be exactly the same all the time. The tree gets freed and I go back over the fence, and Bud is happy. But the hot wire is as cold as the wind.
The pack I have now is the most secure that’s ever lived here. Bud is not going to leave the yard. He’s been out there and he didn’t like it. He certainly isn’t going to leave Mom, ever, for very long. This might be the only real home Bud has ever known. His job is here. Mom is here, and Mom is Bud’s real mission. Jessica Elizabeth won’t leave Bud. She is his shadow and isn’t looking to escape. Wrex Wyatt has bolted out of the front door two or three times, but he never goes far. Lilith Anne can’t walk away from home, much less run. Lilith is not long for this earth, and it will be sad when she goes. Lilith is the last member of the First Pack alive. Her passing will mark the end of an era in my life.
Of course, minor branches, small limbs, and downed Spanish Moss litters the fence. That’s normal. None of this is enough to ground out the hot wire, but I’ve done this so many times before, so I know there’s got to be something. Finally, a limb that has pinned the wire to the fence is discovered. Small, and not a problem, yet it’s grounded out the wire. I remove it and put the tester to the wire. Four lights blink on and off, the pulsating power of the fence charger now energizing the tester.
Bud thinks we ought to walk the perimeter again, just to make sure, so we do. Bud zooms ahead, stops to mark his territory, sniffs the fallen limbs, marks them, and if I had ten acres he might die of dehydration. I find small stuff on the fence, noting serious, and pull a vine out that was creeping up the fence. But overall, it wasn’t as bad as I feared.
I’m cold. Bud is cold, and the wind picks up. We’ll have to do this again tomorrow morning, I’m sure, but for the moment, both Bud and I are heading inside to warm ourselves. The fence is up, the electricity is coursing through the wire, and Budlore Amadeus has once again kept me safe from anything evil. We stop on the deck and I scrub his back, pet his ears, and tell him what a good dog he is. Bud wiggles with excitement, happy that he got to go out and work with me, and happy to return to the rest of the pack, and the warmth of home.