Leaving Gateway Nationals all aglow!  Sienna received another Rally title, Indigo had another leg toward his grand champion title, Fiamma earned her championship title and we had another baby, Roux.  As we hitched the trailer it was obvious that fall was waning and that pixie sprite Jack Frost had arrived to announce Ole' Man Winter would soon come calling.

We unloaded and winterized our "Long, Long Trailer"; tucking it to a long winters slumber.  As we pulled out of the storage area I have to admit to certain remorse; similar to that last look inside a home before you close the front door for the last time and move into a new house that is not yet home.  Home is where the memories are made and our trailer was like that for us. Dog shows, campfires with Hobs and friends, trying to maneuver over sleeping poodles laying on the floor in the middle of the night and adventures that are now scrapbook memories.

It wasn't long and just as Jack Frost had heralded, Old Man Winters brought bone chilling cold and lacy white flakes began floating on the unseen wind.  Poodles love snow and they were oh so excited to spend time outdoors in cold, white back yard.  Roux, was experiencing his first winter and embraced all this newness with the enthusiasm that only a poodle can show!  Leaping to catch those flakes of ice, twirling on hind legs that would make any ballet dancer jealous and tumbling over each other in their excitement.  Bringing in 4 poodles with legs covered in small snowballs and slippery feet was a new, unrewarding experience!  Remember the scene in Bambi as he slides legs splaying out on the frozen lake; imagine 4 poodles on my kitchen tile floor!  What a circus it was!  I soon realized that having 4 poodles is a whole new family dynamic!   

Winter was long and cold; I was beginning to think that nasty Ole Man Winter had Spring in a dungeon!  It was April before the snow melted into little streams that traversed my back yard on its was to the creek deep in our woods.  In my desire for Spring to arrive I neglected to consider the ramifications of all that melting.........mud!  Poodles love to run and chase each other and before the ground froze; my four Poodles managed to create a dirt race track what once was a lush lawn!  Now that the thaw was here, my race track was now a mud wrestling pit........what a chore every time they went out and came in.  A bucket ready by the door and a towel hung from a hook.  It was paw/leg washing several times a day and I have to say I was always wet and mud covered by the end of each outing!

As we lay in bed one night I turned and whispered to Rob, "Fences".  Now our lot is .75 acres and 1/3 acre is fenced in; that being the grassy area with woods beyond.  What I was saying in that whisper was we needed to fence off an area just for the dogs and leave some of the yard intact for grass to grow!  We enjoy playing bocce ball, croquet, badminton and soccer with Hobs; the wasteland created by the Poodles was no longer our playground.

Over coffee the next morning we planned our attack, it was military strategy time!  All we needed was army green helmets and khaki's to complete the look.  Rob, an architect, had his graph paper and ruler; laying out the dimensions of the yard with precision.  After several drafts of different schemes we had one that we both could agree on!  Like war.....it was treaty time!

With our blueprint plan in hand, off to the hardware store we went.  Hardware stores are like going into a labyrinth; you never know when you will get out!  After several hours and dollars later we emerge into what is still daylight.  Load up the SUV with, posts, cement bags, sand, and yes fencing.......TADA!  

At home we lay everything out according to Rob's drawing; don't even think an architect will allow you to change their plans.......

The Poodles were all lined up on the deck, head looking over the lattice, curious as to what their humans were up to now.  An audience watching a stage play couldn't have been any more attentive! 

Placing posts, spacing them on the grid, digging holes leveling posts and pouring in concrete was quite the task.  In our treaty we had arrived at a 4' high, green (I thought it would blend into the landscape better) wire fence;  I compromised from 5' due to an impasse in the negotiation. After several hours of placing posts we took a break and admired our handy work......seems we do that a lot....admire our work :)  Picked up our tools and waited for cement to harden; yes it like watching paint dry! 

The next morning we began the process of attaching fencing.  Our audience had grown from 4 Poodles, 2 Yorkies and a Pomeranian to include our hens!  They stood in their out door pen, heads tipped to one side and watched, with a few cackles thrown in, as we unrolled THE FENCE.

This process was slower as it required me to pull the fencing tight as Rob attached it to the posts.  Cowboys had nothing on me, except for the hat and the chaps!  I realized about 1 1/2 hours into it; that I really needed to build upper body strength!  My arms felt like a bowl of cherry jello......cherry for the red of my skin from the sun.  By the time the fence was all in place, I looked like a gorilla with my arms dragging on the ground, scraping my knuckles!  Okay, they weren't stretched like that BUT felt like they were!  Once more my hubby, stepped back to admire HIS handy work.....while I went inside to soak my tired, sore body in a Epsom salt hot bath!

Rob finished the gate and Voile' the dog area was complete!  Now for a trial run......drum roll please........we opened the gate from the deck and the Poodles barreled into the back yard.  If they had tail lights ...... hmm just envision that.....funny right!  well anyway they put on the brakes, stopping short of the gate and stood there......the race track was blocked!  It was so funny because in unison, 4 Poodle heads swiveled around to look at us.  If they could have spoken it would have been, " What have you done!  Open that gate this minute!"  Never mind that they still had 1/3 of the yard still to themselves and we had a pool for them to play in.  Nope.....the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.....as they say.

Fences do make good neighbors.  I now have a grassy lawn to walk barefoot through, the dogs have the Poodle pen with a new race track and pool and I would say everyone is happy.

AuthorKaren Winters