What is a "tiehacker"?

"Tiehacker" is a term originating in the Ozark hills of southern Missouri. It referred to a class of people from WAY back in the hills that made a living cutting trees into ties for the railroad. I first heard the term from my wife shortly after we married. I had been working outside all day and was dirty and stinky. She had learned it from her father, and thought it just meant "a bum". Never having heard it before, I looked it up. Although I am not really a bum, I thought it was interesting, and I do have a life-long love affair going with the Ozark hills, so ... there you have it!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Dogs or cats? Seriously? You really need to ask?

Just for giggles:

I am a dog person. One hundred percent. I have owned a couple of cats over the years, but always because some person of the female persuasion begged me to take in her cat for one reason or another. I have never sought to have one. Don't understand why anyone would, really. Maybe, if I had a large garden or a farm, with a couple of outbuildings, I might have one, neutered to prevent multiplication, wandering around the outside to keep down the rodent population. But otherwise, what is the point? Every cat I have ever seen sits and stares at you with an expression that says, "I know things about your mother, and I will not tell you what they are." Dogs are never that rude and arrogant.

Dogs, on the other hand, are indispensable, period. The more of them, the better. The bigger, the better. I have had a lot of dogs over the years, often more than one at a time. They were all wonderful, each in their own way. All but one were mutts.

Just a partial list would include, in sort-of-chronological order, King, Puppy, Sam, Lady, Princess, Teddy, Tee-Rex, Killer, Highway, Brandy, Fritz, Sammy, Chelsea, Stempey, and Miss Daisy.

My first dog was King. Here I am, about 4 years old, with my buddy:

This one was Ted, probably the best dog I ever had, about 1980 or thereabouts:
Ted's father was a pure-breed Labrador Retriever, his mother a pure-breed German Shepherd owned by my aunt. He was the result of a "cross the fence accident", and the runt of the litter. Full grown, he could stand on his hind legs and rest his chin on the top of my head, and I am almost six feet tall. A smarter and more steadfastly loyal dog could not be found anywhere. When he was around, nobody, and I mean NOBODY, could so much as look cross-wise at me and get away with it. I was still in high school when he was given to me, and by the time he reached maturity, I always knew ahead of time if my mom or dad was going to scold me about something, because they first would politely ask me to lock my dog in my room or put him outside so they could "talk" to me. It got to be kind of a joke in the family, because at any other time, he loved my folks almost as much as he loved me. He also had an uncanny ability to almost instantly judge a person's character, and react accordingly.

Another great dog was Highway, my "gospel dog". A small-ish Lab mix, he had been found by some friends of mine as a half-grown, mangy, underfed stray wandering the shoulder of the interstate (hence his name). Although he was "their" dog for the first couple years, he became so attached to me that they eventually told me to just take him home and keep him, because they couldn't bear to listen to him whimper every time I left their home. I came to call him my "gospel dog" because of an incident in 1996. In a previous post, I described a day I spent fishing with my friend Daryl, and how he told me about the gospel of Jesus Christ. I had Highway with me that day, and Daryl remarked upon how close the dog stayed to me, never allowing more than a few feet between us. I laughed and told him that it was a little weird, because if I put a leash on him, he fought it and did his best to run away, but when it was off and he was free, he stuck to me like glue. Daryl got a thoughtful look, and then said that was a lot like the difference between Law and Grace. It was an off-the-cuff remark that later Daryl didn't even remember making, but it struck home, deeper than just about anything else he said that day.

This one was Sammy
He was a Lab-Spaniel-Chow mix. Sad day last year when we were forced to have him put down.

This is Chelsea, a Lhasa Apso - Poodle mix.
She technically belongs to Debbie. We got married on Chelsea's 2nd birthday. She will be twelve this year, when we celebrate our tenth anniversary. She is affectionately known as "Fuzzy-Butt".

This is Stempey. He is a Dachshund - Golden Retriever mix. (Go figure, right?)
He was a puppy of about 10 months when he was given to us shortly after we were married. He turned eleven this past January. He's my little buddy. As you can see, he loves a comfy sleeping place, and arranges himself in some weird positions!

Our most recent canine companion is Miss Daisy. She is a terrier of very indeterminate heritage.
She is another foundling that came to us last year from a woman that I work with. Her daughter had found the pup wandering their neighborhood. They tracked down her owner, but he said he was washing his hands of her and didn't want her back. Janet and her daughter kept her for awhile, but finally decided that they couldn't keep her, and asked me if I wanted her. The Debster and I went to meet the tiny mutt, and fell instantly in love with her. She is now about 18-24 months old, and very energetic, feisty, and playful. She and Stempey are virtually inseparable. She torments him unmercifully, goading him into playing longer and harder than he ever has before. At his age, he conks out early, climbing into the Debster's lap for a nap. Even then, Daisy has to stay right with him. Chelsea usually keeps her distance, not allowing herself to be drawn into playing with the younger ones. She prefers to lay off to the side and just watch.

That's enough for today. I got home from work a couple hours ago, and I am whupped. That pic of the snoozing dogs reminds me that I too need a nap, and then lots to get done today.

God bless


  1. One mistake. Stempey turned ten in January, not eleven. Ooops

  2. Fabulous post....My husband has a cat...he adores her! She spends a lot of time giving me that look thats tells me quite "loudly" get your hands off my man! I have always had dogs until Ralph and I got together and now live in town. Someday I will have another Border Collie...oh heck any kind of dog! Dogs are just the best! [Golden Retriever/ dachshund..too cool for words!]

  3. I love my fur-babies!
    Deb Johnson
    aka "The Debster"