Saturday, August 29, 2009

Dog Wash Day

Hello again everyone ..... it's me .. Princess!

This morning I jumped into the kiddie pool as soon as we got back from our walk. I was so hot! Then Angel came and drank a few dainty sips of water from the pool. Then she put one paw in the water, then another, and before you knew it, all her paws were in and she was having a great time with me. We went in and out and made a muddy mess all around.

Mommy decided we were so dirty, we needed a bath. She filled the buckets with warm water and got our brushes, towels, and shampoo.



After a good brushing, a nice rub down with the shampoo, and the dreaded rinse with the garden hose, I felt so good and clean, I had to smile!



While Angel tried to figure a way out of this bath business,



Soldier behaved better than expected. But when he was done, he just wanted to come in the house.



And once in the house, we all made a big mess!!



Posted by me ... Princess!

Friday, August 28, 2009

My Container Garden

This year, I planted a small container garden for the first time since I moved to the ranch. I wasn't at all sure it would work in this hot and dry place. Some of it didn't -- but some plants did really well. And I got an unexpected joy from taking care of the plants. I hadn't gardened for a while and had forgotten how rewarding it can be. To be on the safe side, I selected easy to grow flowers: Marigolds in buckets around the fenced in area.
I planted these petunias in hanging baskets around the fence.
And these larger ones grew in a pot on the ground. And they flourished throughout this long, hot and very dry summer.
The pepper plant that was supposed to be a chili pepper, but turned out to be some other kind, but good nevertheless, also did really well. And it's in its second flowering now. Can you see the small white flowers? I hope the peppers will grow big before the freezing temps arrive.
None of the plants I tried to grow from seeds did anything much. The tomato plants grew to great hights, but produced the smallest Big Boy tomatoes ever. And to make matters worse - got worms. The other day I decided to beat the worms to the harvest and picked the small green tomatoes. I had Fried Green Tomatoes on my mind, but suspected that would involve some kind of deep-fry with a coating of breadcrumbs. Not really for me -- so I added them to the olive oil after I finished sauteeing a salmon filet, turned up the heat and burnt them a little. After I drained them on a paper towel, they were crisp and really good. So now I know that even a failed harvest can produce a good dinner.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Trash Day

In the city, trash day comes once a week with the minor inconvenience of alternate side street parking and moving your various cans to the curb. Here in the canyon, it's a do-it-yourself project. While a pickup truck would work better, our's is working in construction right now, so you do the best you can. For me that means lowering the backs of the rear seats in the SUV and spreading these brightly colored covers across the back.

Then I put on my plastic gloves and grab the sturdier trashbags in case they are needed. With hands protected, I empty the trash cans and put the trash bags in the car, open the windows, and take off for the dump.

There it is, below the taller hills. I doubt you can see it.

Here is the entrance.

On the way up the hill to the actual dump site, the road is lined with wild sunflowers. I'm always amazed at nature here and all the flowers, plants, and bushes that grow without rain. And the animals that survive here as well.
At the dump site, a nice young man who works there, helped me unload the trash. He always helps me when he isn't busy and I appreciate that so much.

Back home, it's now hot, so I put on my strawhat and my determined look. There is work ahead -- clean up time.


First I hang the covers on the fence and rinse them off. Then I brush out dead leaves, sticks, stones, and whatever else does not belong inside the car. After that I pull the hose through the fence and start to rinse off the car.
I hate when this happens! There I am, happily spraying the car, playing with water, like a kid and then the hose gets snagged!

I fix the hose and continue to spray the car, making a rainbow as I hose it down. Well, I just lost that pretty picture, so you have to trust me on the rainbow.
After the car is clean, I rinse out the trash cans and clean some with bleach. Before I go in the house I take my boots off and rinse them too. And that's my trash day. A little different form trash day in the city.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dog Days of Summer

Hello again, it's me, Princess!

It has been a long and hot summer here in the canyon. Mommy is pretty good to us and takes us for our walks early in the morning, while it's still cool. But in the summer we have to stay on the road because mommy is worried we may run into a rattlesnake if we go hiking in the hills. I saw a rattlesnake earlier in the summer and started to attack it when it made a strange noise and went for me! Lucky for me, I'm still pretty quick and managed to jump away without getting bitten. We all have our vaccines, but it's still dangerous to get bitten by one of these critters:

A while ago, mommy bought us one of those kiddie pools on sale at K-Mart, so we could step into it and cool off. I'm the only one who has put my paws in it. Angel and Soldier don't dare to put theirs in, but mommy does in the evenings. She says it really helps to cool her down.




Here are mommy's feet in the water. They look funny, don't they?

In the evenings, when we are all outside, we can get frisky and start a play fight. This picture shows our different techniques: Soldier hangs on to the scruff of Angel's neck; I bite her hind legs (I'm part herding dog, so I know that from -- I think they call it -- instinct); and Angel puts her front legs on Soldier's shoulders so he can't move. They are all very good fighting tricks!


Here we are, friends again after our three-way dog/play fight. It's only for fun and we really like to play together.

Blogged by me -- Princess!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Dust, Rain and a Birthday Party

I get the weather forecast in my AOL email and all summer long seven round little yellow suns kept showing up, week, after week, after week. The last snow fell in the canyon in mid-April and I don't think there has been any precipitation here since then, until Saturday, when perhaps 15 minutes of rain fell on the dry land in the canyon. The system generated some magnificient clouds and the fresh smell of rain was priceless to my parched senses.

Last week, before the rain, I came upon some white flowers, growing by the dusty road. I felt an instant admiration for their tenacity.


As I was taking their picture, a truck drove by, followed by the huge cloud of dust it just generated.
A tractor at work at the neighbors' house stirred up more dust. It looked almost like the dust devils we get here on really windy days. They are very fierce as they come through and blow the mustard tumble weeds up in the air and twirl them around like rag dolls. Nature certainly has come up with an imaginative way to disburse the seeds of these common weeds. And to make so much more work for me in the spring to try to keep them at bay.

Then on Saturday, I woke up to a gray and overcast sky. That instantly improved my mood and level of energy. Then that little bit of rain fell and the flowers and chili plant looked like they were happy too.



Later on Saturday, I went to a birthday party for my niece and her niece, my grand-niece. They have the same birthday; one was 30 and the other four. It was fun to catch up with some relatives I haven't seen for a long time. At the party, I met a Princess with her magic wand!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Animal Caregivers


"Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world." Archbishop Desmond Tutu


In recent years, I have had the great fortune to meet three truly exceptional women who have dedicated their lives to rescuing and caring for animals. Their animals range from horses to hissing cockroaches and everything in-between. These women do not run non-profit organizations and they do not collect money from donors. They just get up every morning to feed, exercise, and care for their animals.
They take them to the vet, make sure hooves are trimmed, donkeys get to go on walks, dogs go on trips, cats go on diets, hay is distributed, water is available, flies are taken care of, horses are hosed in the heat, poop is picked up, lizards get baths, snakes get soaks, tortoises get salads, and on and on. They make sure fences are mended, equipment is in working condition, living spaces are clean, and much, much more. In addition to all that they do, they donate money and pet food to animal rescues, even when money is tight, and one friend finds time to volunteer at a rescue after taking care of her own critters.
As I am hoping to make my Sunday posts a bit more serious and reflective than the week-day ones, I want to take a moment to let Cindy, Jan, and Rachael know how very much I admire your commitment to what must be close to one hundred animals in all. Well, that includes the chickens, but you get the picture. Many, many animals whose lives have been saved and that now live in secure and loving environments. I am completely in awe of you and the work that you do and so blessed to be your friend.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Blog Post by Princess

Angel's Outburst of Joy: The Slipper and the Sock

Sometimes my sister Angel gets such outbursts of Joy! She just has to grab something, usually mommy's slippers or a sock. This morning, Angel was running wild, first with a slipper and then with a sock. She was running so fast that only one or two pictures that mommy took came out OK, even though the camera setting was on Kids & Pets. (That's for when you play and run.) But I hope you can see the pure joy in Angel's face as I try to catch her and steal the sock!


Oophs! She got some papers too and tore them up.


And here she is, trying to look innocent, but anyone can see how she slobbered all over the slipper.
Here she is with mommy's sock!


And here I am, trying to steal it from her. No such luck for me!

Posted by Me -- Princess!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Diabetes Support Group

I wanted my blog to be a photo essay of my life here at the ranch and I wasn't prepared to write a lot of text. But life throws you a challenge every now and then and here I am, faced with computer issues, including being unable to upload photos to my blog. I have a lot to learn and all will get resolved, but until then -- text it is. This morning, I went to my diabetes support group. I've had Type 1 diabetes for almost 20 years. Eve, the nurse/educator who runs our group, has done so for 15 years on a volunteer basis. She travels across the country to attend every major meeting associated with the disease and then brings us all the latest information. She is wonderful, and it's pretty remarkable for a small town to offer a support group like this. It is very well attended, including perhaps as many men as women. Today, the guest speaker was a local audiologist who spoke on the subject of hearing loss in diabetics. We all know the gruesome complications of this disease, but hearing loss? It never occurred to me. But according to a new study, there was indeed a higher loss of hearing in those with diabetes compared to those who didn't have the disease. For me, it was most interesting to learn how the ear works and how we hear. The reason for hearing loss in people with diabetes has to do with damage to the nerves of the inner ear. I have an accent when speaking English, and today I learned that it is harder to hear and understand people with accents when you have some hearing loss. I also found out that one partner's hearing loss can be cause for serious marital discord. Understandable, but really sad, I think. All in all a great lecture! Then I had to laugh out loud: After the meeting, I went to have my hair cut. I have an accent and my hairdresser is from Columbia, so we both have accents and both of us were going: "What, what did you say," over and over again while she washed and cut my hair. I didn't tell her what I had just learned, but I was wondering if I should be a bit concerned. Have a great day and keep that music down low!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My Weekly Trip to Town

Yesterday, I went to town to run some errands and do my laundry. Right now I have no room for my washing machine at my house, so I go to the laundromat. This time, I was to excited because planned to take photos and blog about my day.

Unfortunately, when I opened Blogger, using my new satellite service, I couldn't get onto the Post page. I kept getting a message: Error on Page. Something I never saw while having AOL. So I thought this would be a very good excuse for me to cleanup and defragment my computer. I did that and I also cleaned up a and got rid of a lot of files, then did some research in Google and found several other people having the same problem, but I never got to the solution, if any. Well, I know there is one and I will continue looking until I can find one that works. Or ask for a little help from my friends.

Back to yesterday, I took a lot of pictures. We have a state prison on the other side of town and when I stopped to take a picture of our post office, I pulled up next to a group of prisoners who were whacking weeds along the road. I didn't think much about it, but right away the sheriff who was guarding them, came up to my car and took a good look at me. I guess I passed inspection because he didn't say anything and I hurried up and drove on to take care of the rest of my errands.

While at the laundromat, I ran into a neighbor and we had a nice chat with another woman. Both these ladies own Jack Russell terriers and it was really fun to listen to them comparing notes on the energy, hunting instinct, and tenaciousness of this particular breed of dog. Going to the laundromat can be an interesting experience. I have met some real characters and have had some strange and funny conversations with people there.

Since I still have AOL, I thought I could try to post to my blog form there. It said that the picture I tried uploaded, but I can't find it. So, I decided to write a message to those who follow my blog and let you know what's going on. As soon as my problem gets resolved, I'll be BACK!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Nature

"Treat the Earth well: It was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children." Ancient Native American Proverb

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Our Pets

These are our pets -- all very excited to be on my blog and so pleased to meet everyone: This is Pippi Birdie who turned his back and didn't want his picture taken.
But after I told him all the dogs would be on my blog, he changed his mind and didn't want to be left out.
This is Soldier. By pure chance, my husband rescued him the day before he was going to the pound. Soldier is a very energetic, highly excitable, nine year old. And he is my cuddlebuns and 76 lb lap dog.
Princess keeps an eye on the other dogs and makes sure they don't stray too far. She only barks at wild critters, while the other two bark at everything. She is the sweetest and most even-tempered of the dogs and has told me she wants to be a dog blogger.
This is Angel, my protector and best friend. She will soon be eleven and we rescued her from the streets of the big city ten years ago. She will protect the house and all of us, but is scared of moths flying into the lights at night. She is a finicky eater and has some medical problems, but when I let her loose, she can still run like the wind. I believe her great-grandfather must have been a greyhound.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Satellite Dish Arrived

Last Monday was the big day: the Wild Blue satellite arrived and was installed by two guys from Gilroy. They were pretty efficient and got everything working for me. So now that I have high-speed Internet, the time has come for me to finally start my blog. I have discussed this with Princess to see how she feels about having her own Dog Blog and she seems excited about it. You know I'll need a partner in crime and some help with all these new things.

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