Monday, February 28, 2011

The Young Ones Come Out to Play


Welcome Leontien, a new follower of my blog. Leontien lives in Indiana and her blog is called   http://fourleafcloverdairy.blogspot.com. I am looking forward to getting to you, Leontien.

Yesterday, spring was in the air and, yes, thank you all my friends who commented, I did have a really nice day. Not only did I bake my oatmeal bread, I also cooked a real dinner for myself (when I'm alone, this does not happen often) and made some goodies for the dogs. Hubby is in L.A. again, working on prior commitments, I don't know if I mentioned that before. I got my walks in, but not my shoulder exercises. And I watched a good movie before going to bed and once in bed I continued reading this wonderful book about China, called Oracle Bones, until I fell asleep. Jane lent me this book, she hasn't read yet. Some wonderful friends I have. Thanks Jane, you will enjoy it once I send it back.


Outside it was spring-like weather yesterday. The neighbor's cows found some green grass/weeds to munch on and our yard was literally full of young ground squirrels running around, chasing each other and providing a lot of entertainment for the dogs and me.


I looked out my kitchen window and saw this little guy, a young gopher, busily nibbling on some weeds, then quickly popping back in its hole. Up and down he went. What strange underground lives they live and how nervous they seem every time they have to come up for a meal. There must be more of them, a whole litter of them down there, growing up underground. I never thought much about what goes on under the ground here. Between gophers, ground squirrels, and some snakes, perhaps, there must be large communities living under our yard. I enjoyed watching him though, he was good company while I washed my dishes. 


Angel and I walked to the mailbox to pick up Saturday's mail. On the way there, I took this picture of the snow in the mountains and the field where you can see some green coming up under last year's weeds.


Then this morning, we found out that winter isn't over yet. It was 14 F in the canyon and Samson was the only one happy to go outside. 


I don't know if you can see the frost, but it was there covering everything


and glittering in the early morning sun. I wonder if the gophers got cold. 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Morning Reflections



On this Sunday morning, I wish you all a day filled with peace and joy. 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

My Morning, Comments on Comments, and a Little Snow


I know that if you live in the US, Canada or northern Europe you must be tired of looking at snow, but I finally got some more and went out early this morning to take some photos. Hopefully, those of you in Africa, the Philippines, and other warm places will enjoy a few snowy pictures.




I am happy you enjoyed my Mama Llama and the Goats story. Manzanita, I didn't know you raised llamas for 35 years. What an interesting life you have had! Thank you Kittie Howard and Terry M. Scott, who saw the potential for a children's book in this story. I feel honored and inspired. I can't draw, but I may know someone who can. 


Our backyard.
On the Ravens and the Hawk post: I was happy you liked the photos and I agree with those of you who feel it is hard to capture birds in flight like that. I took several more shots where only a blue sky appeared. What one would have done before digital cameras, I can't imagine. Pay for a bunch of blue sky photos or get one of those contact sheets, I guess, and then have to wait forever.

Thank you Upupaepops – I always hope you will read my nature posts and let me know what is really going on. Also thanks to Kattsby, who lives in New Brunswick, Canada, and mentioned the eagles there. There are golden eagles here, but not in the canyon. I keep hoping they will do a fly-over some time when I'm outside, but so far no luck. Finally, both Kim and Nan commented on the size of the ravens in Alaska. I don't think the ones here in the canyon are very large. I don't remember any other ravens, except those at the Tower of London. (Are they still there, with their wings clipped? – I remember them as being huge, but I may be wrong, it was an eternity ago.) We don't have magpies here and I wish we did. 


The long road home from the mailbox. Angel and I walked there this morning.


Thanks also for your comments on My Three Dogs, I agree that dogs are really good to have around. As you may know, I love cats, but they don't require walks and they don't bark at strangers, so for me, living here alone so much, my dogs help me and keep me moving and happy in addition to feeling secure. I would not live here alone without a dog.


Friday, February 25, 2011

My Three Dogs

Welcome Laura, a new follower of my blog. Laura, if you have a blog, I would like to follow you there, but you didn't provide a link when you signed the Follow form. If you comment my next post, I can reach you that way. If you don't have a blog, then I'm just happy you decided to follow mine. Welcome.

It's a cold and windy day in the canyon with snow flurries and gray skies. Soldier, my 77 lb lapdog, has lately gone out of his way to show me what a good guard dog he is. Last night a big truck drove up and three guys got out. I knew them, they come up to the canyon every now and then looking for sheet metal, primarily. I let the dogs out in their dog run and they barked like crazy, of course. I noticed that Soldier was especially aggressive and continued barking long after the guys drove off. And then I knew that should anyone come here and try to do some harm, Soldier would be the dog that would attack. I never saw that so clearly before. This morning, the dogs went bananas barking again, but I couldn't see anyone or anything. After a while Angel and Samson quit, but Soldier went on and on. 


Then he bent down and looked low along the ground for something or someone. He was so intent and focused and in an aggressive mode. I've never seen him quite like this before. And I know he's no fighter and tries his best to avoid male dog conflicts with Samson, who is definitely the pushy one of the two, and by now the alpha male.


Inside the house, I gave Samson a new toy, a big stuffed dog that came up with my husband's move. Angel immediately wanted it too. But Samson was off and running wildly around the living room, up the love seat, down on the floor, up on the couch, chewing and shaking his new toy vigorously.


To make Angel feel better, I untied the dog's collar and gave it to her.


Samson continued to chew on his new toy,


but then he got curious and wanted to see what Angel had. 


Was it as good as his toy? No, much, much smaller, not nearly as good as his.


But too late! I heard a huge growl coming out of Angel and saw that she, who'd kept her eye on the prize the whole time, now had it firmly in her possession.


Samson says: Oh, please, I want to play with my toy, I was only checking your toy out. Can I have mine back, please, please?


Angel is having none of it. She picks up the dog


and carries it over to where she left the collar. Now she in possession of both dog and collar, while Samson stands there with his mouth open and a look of dismay on his face.


I'm wondering if Angel is teaching Samson yet another puppy lesson here: Watch your catch at all costs and don't get greedy. Or something like that.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Ravens and the Hawk

On our hike the other day, I heard a noise from above and saw a raven chasing a hawk.


I wanted to look and take pictures at the same time, not an easy task to say the least.




I had no idea if I captured anything, so I was pleased with a few images.


When they flew off toward the sun, I put my camera down and just looked.




While I was looking, I saw another raven coming from the north at a great speed. I took some wild shots and, with some luck, captured the hawk as it decided to take a dive and get out of there. Not the greatest picture, I know, but I really couldn't see a thing as I pointed and shot. In my imagination, I wanted to believe that raven number two came to help raven number one. But knowing these opportunistic birds as I now do, I am sure he came so fast because the hawk had something he also wanted. A mouse, perhaps?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wednesday's Story - Mama Llama and the Goats

First, thank you so much for your comments on our hike in the canyon and for your well wishes and congratulations on our 24 years of marriage. Your good wishes touched my heart. What a great group of friends I have found by beginning to blog and then reaching out to share my life with you guys. You mean a lot me and I want you to know that. I have been really busy and did not take the time to write a book review, so instead I'm posting another animal story. This time I'm a llama, go figure!

MAMA LLAMA AND THE GOATS

My name is Mama Llama, and as the name implies, I’m a llama.  Although that may be up for debate, because I’ve heard that I’m both a llama and an alpaca. It’s called a mix. Now that’s enough to make any poor animal confused.  Personally, I think I’m a big, bad llama. I know for a fact that I’m living with these goats so I can protect them from the coyotes that roam outside our fences at night. They wouldn’t hire a little alpaca to do such an important job!  No, you’d have to be big and scary looking, like me, to be able to handle a job like this.



But I must say it isn’t easy to live here with all these funny goats.  Goats can be very annoying, you know.  First of all, they eat everything! They eat their food bowls and they tried to eat mine too.  And they ate my food, so the humans had to screw my food bowl to the top of the fence post. See I’m very tall, and the goats can’t bother my food way up there. Then, when our humans have friends visiting, they try to eat people’s shoes!  I don’t think that gives a very good impression. And they're even worse with the human's kids. But those kids can be teasing bad right back at 'em. Maybe that's why both human and goat kids are called, well, KIDS!  

Another thing these goats are always doing is jumping up on the turned over bucket. They just love to climb up there and make a racket. Maybe it’s because they’re so small. Standing on a big tub probably makes them feel almost as big and important as me. That’s probably it, but it still annoys me. 

But even if I sometimes get annoyed, I feel better when I realize that I have a very important job to do here: I’m the protector of all these little goats. And no coyote would ever dare to come close. Then I feel like I truly love the little goats and feeling that love makes me a happy Mama Llama. The End.





Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Celebrating Our Anniversary -- Hiking in the Canyon

Yesterday, we celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary with a great trek through the canyon. Since today is Tuesday, this should be about treasures and what better treasure than the memory of this wonderful hike to celebrate our love.


If you are not familiar with the desert mountains, you may think nature here only comes in this brown/beige color.


Which is not true. Here old grass and new grass intermingle under a dead juniper tree.


More surprising colors.


The grass is so green right now. It only grows under the junipers and I, of course, don't know why.


Can you see the blue juniper berries that aren't really berries at all, but small cones. 


This red was so surprising in the middle of a dun-colored field. As I walked across this field, I thought of how different the fields look here from those that Louise so often pictures on her blog from Western New York state.


Even the rocks are decorated with bright colored lichen.


And in a crevice, I find some lovely, dark green moss.


Look at these colors, aren't they gorgeous?


We come upon the ruins from a different angle this time. 


OK, so my husband says I'm supposed to climb up this rocky hillside.


And Samson says: Come on Mommy, you can do it.


On my way to the top, I find water on a rock. From the recent rains and snow, I suppose, but since everything else is dry, I make a note of it.


My husband marches ahead with the dogs while I slowly make my way up.



Looking back from  near the top, I see the ruins (in the middle of the picture) and how far I've climbed.


At the top some water awaits the dogs and they happily help themselves.


There is a creek bed at the bottom of the other side of the rocky hill. In it, I find this. I hope it's from some animal, but what kind I have no idea. Since I read a lot of mysteries, I could let my imagination run wild.......


So I hurry up and leave to catch up with my husband and dogs. 


Finally we arrive at the old beer truck that we visited in the beginning of April last year. I wrote about it and the ruins here.


Ah, the long way home. And look at those clouds! Don't they look like they're on their way somewhere important?

This was such a special day that I will remember forever. A good way to celebrate all our years together. So this will be my Treasure for today. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Very Modest Redo

After my husband brought a tabletop copier/fax machine with him when he moved here, I needed to make room for it in the office. This meant I had to move some stuff from the lateral file cabinet that holds his office files. I also needed something that I could just put my stuff on when I work or blog in here. What I had was very flimsy and I didn't like it. Then I spotted my old nightstand, sitting out with the junky wood things in the area designated for potential future firewood. Oh, you should see our yard here. What a mess!


When I spotted it, I wondered why in the world I bought that bedroom set. When I lived in Los Angeles, I had a gorgeous Spanish style apartment. It was large with hardwood floors, beamed ceilings, arches, walk-in closets, built in bookcases and on and on. I will never win a prize for interior decorating, but now I wonder why I bought a modern platform bed and this nightstand to go with it. I later added antiques and achieved a somewhat OK eclectic décor, but still. 


When I saw the nightstand in the yard the other day, I thought it might work as a small table with storage in here. After cleaning it up with these trusty oils, it looked a little better.


And I carried it into the house. It's mostly solid wood and heavy.


It worked perfectly in the space. My dictionary fits on top with some pens and paperclips. There is room on the top shelf for envelopes, stapler, and other things. And a cloth drawer that went with the previous contraption I had here fit on the bottom shelf. It holds my printer paper, labels, and some empty file folders. 


You can see I found room for the copier/Fax machine on the file cabinet to the right. It doesn't matter that the nightstand is much lower than the file cabinet, it just makes it easier for me to reach over and put my work, papers, or whatever on top of that dictionary. And now that the dictionary is actually accessible, I may even learn a few new words of this great English language of my adopted country.

Have a nice Presidents' Day everyone in the USA! (Was that a rhyme, lol?)

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