Thursday, September 30, 2010

Coyote Visitor

Quote for Today:  I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. – D. H. Lawrence

The young coyote came by last week and had a long conversation with Soldier. She (I think it is a she) stood less than 100 feet away and yapped, yodeled and howled at him and Samson. Soldier barked frenetically while Samson observed quietly. At his Los Angeles house, Samson is used to people and dogs walking by his yard all the time and I can't help but wonder what he thinks about this place where no people walk by, but strange animals come to visit. I went out the front door and took a few pictures none of them any good. 

She is very pretty, her cheeks and chest are white. She has a good coat, a thick tail, and looks well-fed. I scared her down to the field, where she stopped and looked for a while. Then she took off behind the junipers and when I saw her again on her way up the mountain, she jumped and jumped, high above the field, full of joy and so pretty in the setting sun.

She came again the next day. Closer even, no more than 30 feet from the dog enclosure, she walked around behind my table and looked for food. Both Soldier and Samson barked this time. I tried to take her picture through my living room window. The ones that follow are the best I could do. 

Many, many ground squirrels live in our yard this summer and are the major attraction, I'm sure. But I also think she ate of the juniper berries that cover the ground under one of these trees.

As soon as we let Angel out to bark, the coyote turned her back and started to leave. Almost as if to say: "I like to interact with those boys, but keep that old girl dog in the house, will you."

Should I leave or shouldn't I? 

I guess I can stand here and pose for a coyote minute.

But then I'm off. Down the road and through the fields I go to see what else I may run into today.

She came by four days in a row and I think she'll be back again soon.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

An Award and Four Great Blogs!

First, I'd like to welcome Daniel Pascau, a new follower of my blog. My blog following is getting more and more international and, being somewhat international myself, I'm very much enjoying that.

Since I'm still kind of banged up and my husband and Samson are still here and we have to run around a lot to see doctors and such, I'm skipping my regular Tuesday and Wednesday features this week. I should be back next week to show you a treasure on Tuesday and, hopefully, on Wednesday, talk about this incredible book I just finished reading called: Strength In What Remains. That's one of those books that you will never forget, so I hope I can do it justice by then.

Instead I would like to accept an award today. It was given to me a few weeks ago by Cat, who has a great blog: Cat actually mentioned that she likes my Wednesday's Book – and, you know how it is, you get a bit insecure about some things, in my case, writing about books, and then…..

Thank you so much Cat for this fine award.

This award comes with the following:

Why do I blog?
 How do I choose topics?
 Pass the award on to three people.

I started to blog because some friends did. Before I began, I was worried about giving up too much of my privacy. Then, a friend of mine, who has a wonderful blog, wrote an email and told me how she saw blogging and what it had done for her. And I was convinced. On the plus-side, I thought at the time it would give me a chance to be more creative with my camera and my writing. Little did I know that I would make such wonderful and supportive friends on the blogs. And that sharing my adventures and misadventures with them, as well as reading about theirs, would be so rewarding, helpful, and just plain fun.

My Tuesday's Treasures & Things I sort of stole from Jabacue up in Nova Scotia, who has a recurring Saturday theme of Retro stuff with beautiful pictures of dishes, books, and other wonderful things. And Wednesday's Books I started because I wanted to work on improving my writing skills and also ensure that I paid attention to any book that I am reading. Enough so that I can later write about it and make sense of it.

Other subjects just seem to materialize: Dogs never stop their antics, wildflowers bloom in the spring, rabbitbrush in the fall, the canyon is full of rocks, ruins, old abandoned trucks, coyotes, bobcats, rattlesnakes, and many other wild critters. There are trips to town, yard work, physical therapy, hiking, walks with dogs, and on and on. To outsiders, it may look like I'm living a boring life here all by myself with two dogs (most of the time), but I am never bored, there is always something going on here worth living through, photographing, and writing about.

 I would like to forward this award to:

Hopeful for her wonderful blog about creating a simpler and more rewarding life. Despite serious setbacks, I feel her blog is about HOPE and I enjoy being inspired by that hope.

Sophie Sophie's blog truly gives you a perspective on the world from a dog's point of view. A very fortunate dog, may I add, who is living the best dog life there is. You have to read her blog!

Polly of Polly is a great writer and a wise woman with a great sense of humor. She also owns the most adorable goats and, as I'm sure you can imagine, when you have goats there is no end to adventures and mishaps that make for a fun read.

Thanks again Cat. 

Thanks for visiting and for all your great comments.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Samson Plays Doctor

Before I let Samson practice medicine, I want to welcome Jose Alba a new follower to my blog. Bienvenido, Jose.

Oh, hi Mommy, maybe you better take that camera and go away so I can examine Angel.

Ack, that nose doesn't look so good. It looks awfully red to me. I will prescribe some more medicine for you and discuss this with Mommy.

Now, let me check your ears. You are such a good patient, Angel, let me just sniff in there. It smells good and clean to me.

And now I have to examine the other end. I know you don't like it, but I have to make sure all your ends are OK.

Sniff, sniff: It smells good to me.

Oh, you want to go outside now? Ok, we can do the rest out there.

I know you eat very well now, but you're still awfully skinny. We have to do something about that. I prescribe some walks for you to make sure you get some more appetite and gain some weight. And I have to discuss your nose medicines with Mommy. Other than that, you are good to go.

These are my final instructions: Make Mommy take you for a good walk every day; eat all your dinner; let Mommy put that cream on your nose too -- those pills are not enough. And let me kiss your ears every time I come and see you.  Then you will feel at least a whole year younger. And that's seven human years.....

Posted by Samson, the Samoyed Pup

Friday, September 24, 2010

What's Been Happening....

Hello everyone and once again, thank you so much for your comments. It is truly beautiful here this time of year and will be as the snow comes and then the spring flowers. Only the summer is a bit hard to take for me.

I'm still recovering from the accident. We have hired an attorney, so now I am not allowed to discuss my injuries in a public forum like this one. I removed the post where I described the accident. My husband is here and that has been great. What has not been so great is going to doctors, lawyers, the car repair shop and finally meeting with the adjuster. Long story short, the car is totalled. It had some serious damage behind the front wheel once they took it off, in addition to all that body damage. I am very sad about it -- it was a very good car.
I am very tired and sort of overwhelmed by all this. So this is just a short post to let you now what's going on with me. After I rest this weekend, I hope to be able to focus better and write a real post.

It's interesting how much hard work it is to be in a car accident. So much stuff that needs to be taken care of and you have to go to so many places and get completely exhausted. I haven't been so glad to see a Saturday since before I retired from my real job.

Take care everyone and have a great weekend.

Monday, September 20, 2010

On A More Cheerful Note: Come for a walk with me....

Thank you for your sensitive, helpful, and caring comments yesterday. I can't find the words to let you know how amazed I am that so many people I only know from blogging (with a couple of exceptions) would take the time to comment and make me feel so much better. Thank you so much.

On a more cheerful note:

This morning I had to go to the mailbox. The mail has been piling up in there since my husband left. Maybe you would like to come along?

The rabbitbrush is getting in full bloom, cheering up our sand-colored fields with bright yellow flowers. 

Pretty clouds gathering around the mountains to the north-west.

Ravens taking to the sky as they saw me come. 

A field full of mustard tumble weeds. They should start to fly around soon, spreading their seeds in the wind.  

The creek bed. I have only seen water in it a couple of times after some really big rain storms.

A tiny lizard on the lowest and closest rock. I doubt that you can see it. Not much more than a speck.

Mountains in the morning mist. 

I'm shooting into the sun here and I couldn't decide which picture I liked best, so I'm posting both views of the mountains that border the canyon to the east.

Arriving at the mailboxes, where I find, much to my delight, two magazines with the rest of the mail.

The road home.

On the way home.

Close-up of a rabbitbrush in full bloom.

My husband is coming up tomorrow to take me to the doctor, so I'm skipping my Tuesday and Wednesday's features and will be back as soon as I can. I just wanted to leave on a happier note than yesterday's.

Take care and have a great week!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday Morning Reflections

Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;

William Wordsworth

It feels like so much in my life has been turned upside down since May. That was the busiest time here at the ranch with an incredible amount of yard work to be done, weeds and grass to be cut back, a fence to be painted, vegetables to be planted, and flowers too. I felt I mustn't get depressed and friends helped. Rachael came and helped with the yard work, Jane sent books, other friends supported me with emails and cards, and all of you my blogger friends helped enormously. Then Princess died and it was so sad. I am still so sad when I go outside and she is not there by my side like she always was, looking out for me. But you have to move on and not give in and get depressed about things. Then, when I am getting so much better this stupid car accident happens. 

What I am reflecting on this Sunday morning is that I have to keep my spirits up, I must not get down and feel sorry for myself, and I must not be afraid. And I am afraid. I am now afraid of falling and afraid of driving. I remember the rule of horseback riding: When you fall off you must get right back up on the horse again. Well, I can't drive right now and I feel my mind trying to play fear games with me. 

This may be difficult to understand if you are young, but I am not, and I keep wondering what will happen next and will I have time to recover. Will my left arm and shoulder ever be OK now? Can I have fun again? Will I ever be able to hike in the mountains again or walk in the hills with my dogs? Will I even ever be able to walk Soldier again, my poor boy. That's how my mind goes on and on.

Then Jane sent the book that's on my nightstand (see sidebar) and I opened it and on the front page I found  the poem by Wordsworth. And the book is about a person with strength to move beyond the incredible suffering that came out of Africa, in Rwanda and Burundi. 

Reading this book is putting my own modest suffering in perspective. The poem gave me a line to hang on to, just  in case: We will grieve not, rather find -- strength in what remains behind.

Thank you Jane you had no idea of the perfect timing of this gift. Now you know.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Samson Helps Mommy Blog

Welcome Marian Love Phillips, a new follower to my blog -- sorry Samson, our blog!

Samson Says:  Since my Mommy was in another accident and hurts, I decided to help her out with her blog.

This time, I will tell you about a SUPERNATURAL happening.

Here I am, sound asleep by the TV, when I hear Daddy calling: "Soldier, Soldier!" It sounded like it came from right above me.

So I jumped up and looked around. Sure enough, there was Daddy, sitting quietly on the couch. And there was Soldier; 

sound asleep in his favorite spot on the loveseat. Then I heard it again!! And it definitely came from the TV! What's going on here, this is getting spooky!

So I looked up on the TV and there was Daddy! And Soldier! Daddy was yelling at Soldier because he wouldn't come. And all the time Soldier was sleeping on the love seat and Daddy was sitting quietly on the sofa! Looking at himself on TV!

This one I couldn't figure out. So I scratched myself behind my ear and did what any smart dog would do when he can't figure out his person:

I did this! 

But if someone could please tell me what went on there, I'd love to hear it. 

Posted by: Samson the Samoyed Pup

Mommy: Thank you Samson. But before you put my broken down blinds on the Internet, maybe you should confess you were the one who did it!

Samson: Sorry Mom, I did it, but I couldn't see out!

Mommy: OK, just don't do it again.

Samson: I'll be good, Mommy. xoxo 

I just wanted to post something short and cheerful and Samson was happy to help out. I'm hurting a lot by now, so I will rest this weekend and give you an update on Monday. I'll also cheer myself up with reading your blogs. If I don't get to everyone today, I will later. Right now I wish I had a laptop so I could just sit in bed and read them all. Have a nice weekend!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wednesday's Book -- A DVD Today

This week it's not a book, but a film on DVD, based on the book The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, the first book in the Millennium Trilogy by Swedish author Stieg Larsson. I have been asked how I liked the film by several people, so I'll give it a try here.

I'm sure most people in the world are by now familiar with the Millennium Trilogy. I wrote a blog post about the heroine, Lisbeth Salander, in February. I called the post -- The Girl Who Made The Pages Sparkle -- because that's what Lisbeth did for me. Here is some of what I wrote:

These well-written and interesting books cover a wide range of subjects from crimes against women, Nazis and neo-Nazis in Sweden, financial crimes, the Internet, the Swedish Secret Police, running a crusading magazine, and much, much more. But the books truly come alive once the Girl of the titles, Lisbeth Salander, the most fascinating heroine to ever appear in any crime fiction I've ever read, makes her entry on a page.

Lisbeth is an astonishing heroine for our times, totally outside any middle class box and endowed with gifts that will make your jaw drop. She comes from a terrible and dysfunctional family, she spent time in a mental institution, she has many tattoos, a photographic memory, is a computer genius who can hack into any computer anywhere, dresses Goth, rides a motorbike, and well, you get the picture: there is nothing middle class about Lisbeth Salander.

While I didn't like the first book as much as the other two, I have the DVD here and I like it a lot. I think it is a very well made film, the casting is impeccable, not just of Lisbeth Salander, but of Mikael Blomkvist and all the other characters. The Swedish winter landscape is as stark and beautiful as it is in real life. A few more view shots of Stockholm, my beautiful hometown, would not have hurt. But then you can't have everything.

In Swedish, the film is called Men Who Hate Women and the crimes against women are horrendous and you see a lot of them. Many of the crimes happened a long time ago, but photos are available and people's imaginations are also used to depict what the women's mutilated bodies looked like when they were found. There is an exceptionally brutal rape and also women being held hostage that take place in real time. You get the feeling that the author had a point he really wanted to drive home, in case we were so complacent that we didn't think crimes like these happen.

While the film follows the outline of the book pretty closely, of course they have to omit a lot and change a few things. It seemed to me that the time spent in northern Sweden was shorter and more interesting than in the book, something I liked. The same goes for Australia. And the ending in northern Sweden is very intense as it becomes clear who committed some of the crimes. It is very, very well done, very intense, very scary and in the end some sort of justice is served.

I have to share one laugh I had at myself and at how Americanized I have become. There was a scene where Lisbeth drops some papers off to Mikael while he is in prison. Well, I saw this nice place, a lot of light, pretty IKEA-style Swedish furniture, potted plants -- I'm sure, though I don't remember, and I had no idea where he was. So accustomed have I become to the we-will-scare-you-straight kind of prisons depicted in American movies. It really took me a while to figure out he was in prison, the Swedish version of a low security prison. You have to see the film to find out why he was there.

This is a very good film and, as it has made its way across the world, it has become the highest grossing film ever made in Sweden.

I got an email from the other day that thrilled me no end. It said the DVD of the second book, The Girl Who Played With Fire, is available to pre-order and will be released for sale on October 25, 2010. That was my favorite book of the three, so I can't wait!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tuesday's Treasures & Things

Welcome Kent Island Red, Deborah, Joe and Farmchick and thank you so much for signing up to follow my blog.

NB: I'm having problems uploading the old edited pictures from my computer, so I had to use unedited versions. I have to connect my scanner too. Anyway, that's why the quality is so bad, the original photos are great. Very clear after all these years.

I love this photo of my father's family on an outing, circa 1914. These old photos and my grandfather's world history book will be the treasures for today. My father is in the bow of the boat and my grandfather is second from right.

My grandfather lived to be almost 90. He was probably the kindest, sweetest man I have ever known. Interestingly and sort of sadly, he was married to my grandmother, she of the dimpled chin, or as Louise said in an earlier comment: "Dimple in chin, devil within." I believe my grandmother was a good woman, but she had to take care of a slew of younger siblings when her own mother died young, so she developed a very domineering personality that affected her sons and daughter-in-laws, perhaps more than my grandfather. He just tuned her out, I believe.

This is my grandfather later in life, celebrating one of his many big birthdays.

My grandfather's world history book is very thin, indeed. Only 62 pages survive and I don't think there were many more when it was new. It is a world history book for maybe junior high school equivalent back then.
Published in 1884, my grandfather wrote his name, the level of his class, and the year 1892 on the inside of the cover. My grandfather was then 14 years old.  I looked through it just now and it covers a lot, but very briefly.

It begins with the Egyptians. And continues with the Greeks, their country, religion, some Greeks of prominence and some major battles.

Then on to the Romans. This is the Emperor Augustus. In a few short paragraphs, it covers Romulus and the founding of Rome; Hannibal and the march across the Alps; many battles, and then moves on to Julius Caesar, Augustus and Constantine.
The book explains how the religion of Islam was born. And the importance of the city of Mecca. It covers the crusades, Wilhelm Tell, Joan of Arc, Gutenberg, Columbus and others.

And someone important to religion in Sweden, Martin Luther. The Lutheran Church used to be the State Church of Sweden, supported by taxes. A foreign concept to my fellow Americans, I know. That support has ended, I learned when I was there last.

Queen Elizabeth of England. No need for the number I after her name as her namesake, Elizabeth the II, had not yet been born. Not much was said about England. There was a drawing of Louis XIV of France. But not much said about France either. There is a short paragraph about Peter the Great of Russia and somewhat more about Fredrik II of Prussia.

About one page of text and a drawing of George Washington. The text covers the war of independence from the British.

The final drawing in the book is of this guy, Napoleon Bonaparte. He actually gets one more page than George Washington, but then we are in Europe where Napoleon was a very busy man, so that's understandable. The book ends with the Russian-Turkish war of 1877-78, a war I have forgotten about, if I ever even knew about it.

When my grandfather was in his 80s, he was interviewed by the largest Stockholm newspaper and gave a marvelous interview about the old days and how it was growing up in Stockholm then. It's interesting that both my paternal grandparents were actually born and grew up in Stockholm. At that time it was still a small town with the influx of people from the countryside coming later, in the 20th century.

In 1892, the young people of my grandfather's generation were literally standing on the threshold, not only of a new century, but of a whole new world and a whole new way of life. My grandfather was born in 1878 and lived through so many changes, so many inventions, and so many discoveries that it boggles the mind. Imagine living from 1878 to 1967 through everything that happened: Electricity, radio, cars, movies, airplanes, space travel, telephones, TV, two world wars, the atomic bomb, all the medical discoveries, and so much more. I'm thinking indoor plumbing and the invention of the W.C., as it was called, the indoor toilet, was perhaps most significant to the common man. I don't know if any other generation ever did, or ever will, experience as much basic change as my grandfather's.

Here the boaters have embarked for a picnic. My grandfather is behind my dad to the right; my grandmother is to the left with my uncle, a cute baby, who grew up to be a very handsome man. And, as an aside, neither he nor my dad inherited the dimple in the chin from my grandmother. I, on the other hand, got my Swedish nose from my grandfather. Not the prettiest thing in the world, but I'm proud of it.

And I will never forget what a kind and thoughtful human being my grandfather was.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Samson Says: I'll teach you how to howl, you old coyotes, you…..

Before I let Samson say anything, I want to welcome two new followers to my blog:  Gerry and Chris. Congratulations, Chris, you are my 50th follower! You don't get a prize for this, but you made me very happy. I love to get new followers, I love comments, and most of all I love the new friends I have met through my blog. I had no idea this was possible. I also enjoy looking at my flag counter and seeing that people from all these different countries have visited here at one time or another. OK, Samson, it's all yours.

On Saturday, Daddy took me up to the ranch to see Mommy and the rest of my pack. About time, as far as I'm concerned. The first night I was there, we had some excitement! A lot of strange noises came from outside our bedroom window. It sounded like a bunch of little kids squabbling and every now and then someone let out a howling noise. Daddy thought I should learn about the wild animals, so he took us all out in the dog-run and there we stood and listened. Of course us dogs used our noses too but I've already figured out Daddy doesn't even know what his nose is for, if he even knows he has one.

But he knows a thing or two about wildlife and when he said those animals were coyotes, I got a little bit wiser. I was a little scared at first, but Angel and Soldier were barking like mad and I thought the coyotes would get scared and run away. But they didn't. They stayed for a long time and squabbled and yack - yacked like a bunch of chickens. I never got to see them, so I don't know what they look like, but I figure they must look like some kind of dog. They smelled bad too, not like a regular dog. I guess that's how wild dogs smell.

You know, my breed, the Samoyed, comes from Siberia. That's in Russia where it gets very cold and snowy. I heard they have an even bigger howler there, called a WOLF. I bet these coyotes would be real scared if they met up with a real Siberian wolf.

Hmmm…I think I just got an idea!! Wait a minute, since I'm from Siberia, maybe I can howl too.

That's what I thought and then I got started.

And once I got started, I had so much fun! So I howled some more. You just open your mouth wide, take a deep breath and let it out with a big sound to go with it. I don't really know where the big sound comes from, but you could try it.

Angel and Soldier were so surprised looking. Look at Soldier! He looks like he can't believe what he just heard.  But then, you know, they don't know how to do anything but bark those two.

I'm a happy boy here. Just you come back you old coyotes and you will hear some real Siberian howling. Now that ought to scare you away.

Posted by Samson, the Samoyed Pup

A PS from Mommy

Samson, if only you had been here yesterday. The cutest coyote pup came in our yard and it wasn't even really scared when the dogs barked. I tried to take some pictures so you could see what a coyote looks like, but it was way down in the field.

Hope you can see it a little.

Here it's howling too, but your howl was much better. Promise!

Samson: It's very pretty, Mommy – Is it a GIRL? xoxo

Mommy: Oh, you BOYS!!!


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