Sunday, January 24, 2010

Two On -- One Off

Hi again, everyone, it's me, Princess! When I heard mommy changed her name from Dog Blogger Mom to Canyon Girl, I thought my blogging days were over. But she let me blog again today. I don't have much to say, except that I'm one lucky dog! Look at these two, Soldier and Angel. That's all they ever do, sit in the window and guard. And bark at the slightest little thing, even a raven hopping around in our yard. They are very good about it and don't miss much, I have to say that for them. As for me, I only bark when there is a WILD animal outside, like a coyote. I wouldn't waste my bark on a bird! So while they sit on the loveseat and guard, I just snooze on the floor below. And since everyone knows that snoozing is the best thing for a dog to do, short of chasing a ball, I know I'm a very lucky girl.

Posted by me, Princess!!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Winter Morning

We woke up to a beautiful winter morning with snow glittering in the sun, a bird in my tree, and three very happy dogs. Oh, how they love the snow, as do I, of course....nothing brings out the kid in me like snow. On with the snow boots and off for a hike we go.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Storm Diary

I haven't blogged for a while, so this will catch up on the past couple of days. Last week I played around with different templates for this blog. When I first started blogging, I just picked one and later found I wanted something less colorful and simpler. I also changed my blogger handle, or whatever it is called, from Dog Blogger Mom ( a bit heavy that one) to Canyon Girl. 

When big and powerful storms hit Southern California it can get pretty serious. Usually there are burn areas with no vegetation to stop mud from sliding down the hillsides, the surf crashes onto land and into homes, and here in the canyon there are no ditches, so the dirt roads tend to wash away. The storms that are coming through here right now are the biggest since 2005.

This is what I experienced when the storms of January 2010 came to our canyon. On Monday it rained on and off and in the evening dark, dark storm clouds gathered around the hills.

Tuesday morning I happened to look to the east and saw these beautiful clouds tinted by the rising sun. 

Well, the sun didn't stand much of a chance and it was raining as I drove to town and back home again. By the afternoon there was a large puddle in my front yard and I actually watched as the yellow grass turned green. That was pretty amazing! This lawn has been yellow since about last June – I thought it was dead and gone, but it came back, just like that.

After a while the rain turned to snow,

leaving Soldier, who doesn't like any kind of wet, sitting in the window, looking and longing for his walk.

Princess didn't mind the snow. Did she care about dragging a big mess into the house? No! The snowflakes were really big and the mess she made even bigger.

By Wednesday morning, snow turned to rain and the puddle outside my window grew into a small pond.

What to do on a day like that? First, of course, you need to make a big and roaring fire. And what a perfect day to bake a cake! Then I spied these apples on my table and had the  bright idea

to make some apple sauce as well. So I baked and peeled apples and made the sauce, all the while listening to the rain falling outside and the wind whistling around the corners of the house.

By the afternoon, the rain changed to snow again. Heavy, thick, snow fell into the night. Both the Internet satellite dish and the DirecTV one got iced over, so I just went to bed and read my book and had a very cozy evening. 

Today we had snow mixed with rain and rain mixed with snow and a big, huge mess everywhere outside. Angel and I walked to the mailbox after lunch to pick up two days worth of mail. I was slipping and sliding through the mud. It was fun, but I could just picture myself falling down in all that mess! My road is flooded at the bottom, but the rest is OK. 

I have enjoyed the storms and hope you have enjoyed my account of them. And if this keeps up, we'll have some gorgeous desert spring flowers to look forward to this year.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Hiking in the Hills

A Tip: Double-click on a photo to enlarge it.

On a springlike winter day, I take the dogs for a hike all over this hill. As you can see, it was a glorious day with a sky as blue as this and pleasantly cool temps.

The hill is steeper than it looks in the photo, so I walk the dogs around the side where the earth is soft and the slope gentler.

It's so quiet and we're so alone, it's an amazing feeling of peace mixed with a little fear -- black bears, mountain lions, an injury, perhaps -- who would ever know? But those feelings are soon overtaken, as they always are when we hike, of pure pleasure in the peace, quiet, and beauty of the day.

I see very little wildlife on our hikes these days. When we first moved here, the land was teeming with rabbits and we would see coyotes often and bobcats occasionally. A bear came to eat our juniper berries one night and I would always see bear tracks on our hikes and scat in my yard. And there were many, many more hawks and owls. I wonder if this is a normal cycle of life in a desert canyon. We moved here after a very rainy season and wildlife was abundant, but since then it has rained very little. I'm now keeping track of the wildlife I see in the sidebar of my blog and, so far, the count is meager compared to four years ago. 

There are many interesting rocks in this canyon with sandstone in a variety of colors predominating. On our hike, I find this rock that reminds me of a miniature Giant's Kettle. When I was a child, my interpretation of these large holes in the granite cliffs and mountains in Sweden, formed by rocks during the ice age, was of a giant stirring a soup at night in the forest, accompanied by trolls, elfs and other forest creatures from Swedish folklore. There was a Giant's Kettle in the woods close by our house and it held a great deal of fascination for me.

As I look at this rock, I think perhaps a small pebble was rotating in it to form the hole; maybe it was used by Native Americans to grind flour or spices. We have another one, not as pretty as this, sitting on our fireplace mantel. 

Here we are at the top of the hill with Princess checking out the view of our house and the road that curves and then goes straight down to the main road and our mail box in front of the hills in the background.

You can see our barn behind the junipers a bit right of center in this photo. I need to go up and work around there….much needs to be done and the weather is so perfect for working outside right now. 

After resting a while, we slip and skid (that is I do, the dogs have four legs to balance on, after all) down to the bottom of the hill and home. All in all it was a great hike and I hope you enjoyed checking it out with us.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Three Old Dogs and a Puppy

Samson is definitely the offspring of the energizer bunny!! And we've all had our different reactions to all this energy: I'm OK, but not until I've had my breakfast and don't you dare bother me while I fix my lunch (I blame my total loss of patience before these meals on my diabetes....I may have always been like this, but I can't remember before diabetes). All in all, my three old dogs are far more patient with the puppy than I am. It's wonderful to watch how they control their feelings even when they are thoroughly fed up with him.

Princess is not liking this, but puts up with it:
Ditto for Angel:

Soldier, who is nine, going on 10 years old, took on the brunt of the babysitting duties. The two boys played for hours on end, with Soldier teaching Samson the various dog fighting tricks he knows: like grab the side of the neck and hang on. I'm sure that's how it's done in nature; how wolves and coyotes train their young. It's interesting to observe and to realize that this play is not just for fun, there are lessons to be learned here. After Samson goes back to LA, Soldier sleeps for two days, so it's a bit hard on him.

After all the playing, chewing, and digging it's time to get clean, so I bring the brushes out and try to clean this puppy up. Believe me, not an easy task! I brushed...he chewed my hand...I brushed some more...he chewed the brush...he twisted himself into a pretzel...he made choking sounds, anything to get out of it. When we got to his tail, he got mad for the first time, but I didn't give up and when we were done, he was pretty much untangled and looked good and clean. So clean I guess he thought he could go to sleep on my best couch!

Not so fast... he soons gets moved to the doggie love seat, where he strikes a pretty pose. Petra: You may be right -- I told him about all the snow in Stockholm so he may be dreaming of coming to see you. "Maybe if I try to look really cute with my tounge hanging out a bit, she will let me come."


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