Yesterday was one of those days when interludes of deep blue sky with lots of clouds were punctuated by sudden downpours of rain. Our neighbor Bernard drove in from Blois to mow his big yard across the street from us. He can't come do it this weekend because he's working in a polling station for the legislative elections tomorrow. He had been out riding around on his mower for just a few minutes when the bottom dropped out and he had to quit. He gave up and went back to Blois.
Late in the day I took Callie out for a walk in the vineyard. Walt had warned me that the dog liked to splash around in mud puddles when there were some, but I hadn't seen her in action. I got my chance. We've had three inches of rain over the past two weeks so the ground is saturated and water is standing in all the low spots. Who knew that border collies were water dogs?
When we started down the gravel road through the vineyard out behind the house, there were a couple of tractors working the vines farther out. Callie is afraid of the sound of engines — a car, truck, tractor, airplane, or helicopter passing close to the house sends her scurrying for a safe hiding place. Luckily, one of the tractors came out of the rows of vines several hundred yards ahead of us and putted on up the road, away from us. The driver had apparently finished for the day. The other tractor went farther out into the vines, toward the paved road over north of us. So our path was clear.
We got just a few hundred yards from the house when Callie spied the first big puddles alongside the gravel road. She raced into the water and started running like crazy, splashing everywhere. Then she stopped and beat the water with her front paws. She ended up covered with water and wet sand.
She was obviously enjoying it, so I let her play. I figured if we walked a little farther, she would dry out. There was a stiff breeze blowing, and the air wasn't too cold, so it wouldn't take long. On the way home, I'd put her on the leash and keep her out of the water, so she'd arrive at home dry and clean.
We hadn't gotten too far up the road past the puddles when I big black cloud started gathering on the southeast horizon. And sure enough, wind-driven raindrops started slapping my face. We had to turn back, or risk getting even wetter.
I did put the leash on Callie and kept her out of the water as we passed this time, but she didn't have time to dry out. We got back to the house and she was just too wet and muddy to take inside. And the rain stopped; the black cloud scooted by to the south of us.
At first I thought I would just throw the ball for Callie and let her run back and forth chasing it for a while so that her fur would have time to dry out and most of the sand and mud would fall off. But I lost patience, and Callie too wanted to go inside. Finally, I pulled the dreaded garden house off its rack and sprayed the terrified dog's legs and belly to clean her up. It's just as well that she get used to being hosed down if she's going to play in mud puddles on our walks.