An Elegy for Ruby: Winter CSA ’14 – Delivery #3
Ruby was an awesome dog. She was loving, loyal, and friendly. She saw herself as a protector of the home and farm, and was a skilled rodent hunter. She has been a fixture on the farm for the last six years, and we already miss her so.
Her journey to being an A-1 farm dog is a pretty cool story.
Her life started out pretty rough. Badly beaten by a man who used sticks and brooms, she was a pretty scared dog when we first met her. She was living as a foster dog with a wonderful family in the town of Oregon. She had recently delivered a litter of pups. After the foster home had adopted out the pups, they put her up too.
When we first met her, she was romping around with a little pug. She shied away from any sort of petting, but it was clear she would fit right in to a home with cats and kids to come.
I’ll never forget how scared she was when we first brought her home. At the age of 5, she had met very few nice humans. She didn’t know whether she could trust us. I have a scar on my left wrist from that first night we brought her home. We were trying to let her outside, and she was so scared that she fear-bit me.
It’s remarkable how quickly Ruby turned around. After a few days, she began to trust me. Her loyalty and trust at that time was singular – for me only. That first winter, she learned I wouldn’t hurt her. Her eagerness to please me and her fearful personality (at that time) made it very easy to train her. I taught her to stay away from the road and how to walk on the field roads and avoid the growing beds. Soon, she had full reign of the farm.
After about a year, she began to extend her trust to Mike. And when Zea was born, it was immediately clear that she saw it her job to protect her. She stayed by the baby’s side always.
Fast-forward a couple of more years, and you would never know about Ruby’s tough past. She became buddies with crew members and quickly learned which delivery drivers and CSA members would bring her snacks. She was adept at getting people food – whether stolen or begged for. He favorite employees were the ones she never let pet her; she had figured out that to deny them the opportunity to pet her meant lots of snacks and treats from the lunch table.
As Ruby grew into her proverbial farm dog paws, she became a great little rodent hunter. She could rival the cats in her ability to find moles, voles, bunnies, and mice in the fields. And she was very effective at catching any rats around the compost or pig pen, especially on command from us. She always proudly showed her catch. We were also able train her to scare away birds – particularly the sandhill cranes that like to munch on sweet corn and melon. When the pigs arrived 3 seasons ago, she was pretty jealous of all the compost and kitchen scraps they received. If only we could explain to her that her chew bones were those same pigs – what satisfaction she would have gained.
Her cancer came on quickly early this summer. As the tumors grew and grew, she remained perky and active. But once these cold, cold temperatures came, she took a turn for the worst. Her bark hoarse, her breathing difficult, her legs beginning to swell – we knew it was time. We didn’t want her to suffer. Just before Thanksgiving, Mike and I took her to be put down. We stayed with her until she was gone.
The house seems awfully quiet. No barking on the porch. No click-clack of nails on the hardwood floor. No barreling down the stairs toward breakfast. No excited yips when we return.
She was a great dog, and lived a fantastic Act 2 of life. We miss her dearly.
In the Box:
- Beets (2#)
- Butternut Squash (~2-3 ct.)
- Cabbage, Red
- Carrots (5#)
- Festival Squash (1 ct.)
- Onions, Red & Yellow (5#)
- Parsnips (2#)
- Potato, Red (5#)
- Radish, Beauty Heart
- Spinach (.25 pounds)
- Sweet Potato, Fingerlings (1#)
- Winter Root Vegetable Soup
- Cabbage Beet Coleslaw
- A to Z’s Squash Cookies
- Great Dane’s Inner Warmth Stew
Winter Delivery #3: Wednesday, Dec. 3rd ” All REGs and EOs (final box for EOs)