Okay, let me back up, and let's start from the beginning. It's too complicated already.
Think about a homestead. A homestead is productive. Everyone earns their keep and has a plan. A purpose. The cow gives milk, butter, and cheese. The chickens lay eggs. The bushes give berries. The gardens give veggies. The trees give fruit and nuts. The steer gives his tenderloin (I could expand on this, but alas, I shall not). Point being – these are all productive things. They are allowed to be on the homestead because they produce. They give. I get to eat them; they aid in our survival.
I cannot eat my dogs.
I can't do anything with them. Except clean up their hair. And clean up their vomit. And clean up their poo from the yard. And fill in their holes they dug. And put chicken wire around my compost because they get into it and eat the egg shells and fermented brewers grains.
This past beautiful Sunday (picture this if you will) Stuart and I spent hours in our yard with plastic grocery bags, ahem, picking up frozen dog turds. The neighbors came out to say hello. I felt quite trashy… as I stood their holding a grocery bag full of poo-poo.
I have assembled a small list of the benefits of having my dogs, for your reading pleasure:
1. I don't have to buy an alarm clock. Because every morning, they wake me up with their wet noses and wining. 6:00 a.m. on Saturday. Yes, please.
2. I don't have to watch stand up comedy. Because watching my dog back up like a car in reverse (he lacks the ability to turn around) is humorous enough for me.
3. I don't have to sweep my floor because there is a constant vacuum at my heels, eating all my crumbs I drop, that I trip over constantly.
4. I always have a warm towel and/or pajamas when I get out of the shower. Because Cali will find them, lay on them (in all her fur) and keep them nice and cozy. Bleh.
5. I always have a good reason to clean my carpet – it's motivating when there is a stain left from where the dogs threw up, then ate it, then threw it up again, then ate it again. My parents have a real carpet cleaner. Oh, lawdy.
Have I told you that while Stuart and I were busy picking up dog poo this past weekend, Cali was inside getting into the garbage can? She can't resist those coffee grounds.
Have I told you that you can't milk these dogs? They don't lay eggs, either.
Someday, I dream of a homestead where the animals are good for somethin'. Good for something besides bringing home fresh, chewed up deer hooves. Good for somethin' besides almost tripping me every time I go up and down the stairs. Good for somethin' besides being all cute. Sometimes.
In closing, I would like to leave you with this question. What purpose shall I give my dogs on the homestead? Shall I teach them to hunt wild game? Shall I teach them to pull a cart full of goodies to and from the house? Shall I teach them to dig holes strategically in the garden beds, perfectly aligned for starting seeds? Shall I teach them to wear a saddle and ride them to town? Shall I teach them to babysit Georgia so that I can sit here and blog while she runs around the yard in her diaper?
Or perhaps, just perhaps, I shall teach them how to act like well manner dogs. That don't jump up on people, eat garbage, or bark at joggers.
Ya. I think I'll start there. The rest can come later.