Friday, June 29, 2012

Foto Friday

Subway Station, Stockholm, Sweden 2005 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Hawk

The other day, I heard a lot of little upset sounds as Soldier and I walked past this post. I looked up and saw a hawk being attacked by a little bird, no larger than a sparrow. It must have had little ones in the field below. The little bird kept buzzing the large hawk, a bird many times it's size. After a while, the hawk would get fed up and make a threatening move, which would make the smaller bird retreat, but just for a second. Then it was back at it again. This went on for quite a while.

Hoping they would continue their disagreement, I hurried home to get my camera. Birds of prey are very patient, the hawk put up with quite a bit of annoying behavior by the smaller bird. He was still there when I got back. Alone now and aloof, as he looked down on me and my camera, probably wondering if I was going to be some sort of new annoyance he would have to put up with.

I took a few pictures and then the hawk decided he'd had enough disturbances for one morning and took off  full of grace.

Circling a few time overhead, then circling higher and higher on the wind 

he soon disappeared into the blue sky.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Waiting ~ A Poem by Samson

I sit by the window all day long

Waiting for Daddy, cause he's been gone

My wait has paid off, here comes the Jeep

Please hurry up, the hill's not steep

My Daddy's home and I'm one happy boy

Barking and howling, I'm full of joy!

Samson Says: Once I stole a banana and got really sick. To read my poem about it, click here.  I have only written these two poems, but I think I may like to be a poet when I grow up. 

Have a nice day everyone!

Posted by Samson, the Samoyed Pup.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tuesday's Treasures & Things & Donkeys Thank You

For a minute there I thought I had run out of treasures, but then I looked over at the bed here in the office, which is also our guest bedroom, and saw this little pillow. And I realized that I still have treasures I haven't shared. This may be small thing, but it's close to my heart. 

This pillow belonged to my mother and I brought it with me back to the U.S, after she passed away.

When my husband and I both had that horrible virus this winter, I slept in here and rested my tired right arm on my mom's pillow. It was very comforting; I felt her presence.

I like the very Swedish bedspread too. It was my sister's and another thing I packed up and brought back with me. Sweet memories.



Us donkeys want to thank all you nice humans who signed the petition to put a stop to donkey roping. Thank you very, very much!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

About Donkeys

When I lived in the city, I didn't know much about donkeys. So if you read this in a city somewhere, I don't expect you to be particularly interested in this post, but I ask you to stick around for a moment. I will write a lot about donkeys in the weeks to come, but I will break it up and try not to bore you. You see, I have to write about donkeys because I need to ask as many people as possible to sign the petition at the top of my sidebar.  

After I moved here, I worked at the donkey rescue next door for about a year and a half. I managed the gift shop, did office work, and wrote articles for a local paper and the rescue's newsletter. And that's where I learned that donkeys are the most misunderstood of animals. Some people think they are stupid, stubborn, obnoxious, and so on. This seems to give them a reason to abuse donkeys.

Donkeys were one of the first animals to be domesticated and throughout history has been one of man's best helpers. Donkeys trampled seed, turned millstones to grind grain, and pulled plows. They were the transport trucks of ancient times because, despite their small size, they can carry great loads. They need a fraction of what a horse needs to eat to sustain them, so they were economical. They are comfortable to ride and in ancient times, they were ridden by rich and poor alike. In the Bible, the donkey is the only animal God gives speech to (Numbers 22:28) and the animal that Jesus chose to ride into Jerusalem. In the Middle East, families care about their donkeys, and often decorate them with beads and ribbons.

I learned that donkeys are highly intelligent, they are able to assess a situation, as Balaam's donkey did in the Bible, and if they feel it is not safe to proceed, nothing will make them move, thus they gained their stubborn reputation. Donkeys are also sensitive, loyal, and loving animals. They make best friends and if they lose their best friend, they mourn. Donkeys in the American West were abandoned when they were no longer needed, back in the late 1800s. They then formed herds and managed to survive and thrive in the harsh desert environment where they were left. Donkeys can dig four feet deep in the ground for water, they can kill mountain lions, and have no natural enemies here, but man.

I learned about donkey roping while I worked at the rescue and was involved in whatever they were attempting to do to put a stop to it at the time. Most of the donkey rescue has moved to Texas, where unfortunately most of the practice of donkey roping takes place. Donkey roping has nothing to do with real cowboys, just with sick people who enjoy watching the torture and killing of innocent animals. 

Thanks to social media, a "world championship" donkey roping event that was to take place this weekend was cancelled. Note that this has nothing to do with official rodeo events, which do not condone donkey roping. While this victory was wonderful, it was just one small battle won. Roping will continue and we need to put a stop to it NOW.  A petition is going around social media and the blogs right now to make donkey roping illegal. I posted it at the top of my sidebar and I ask you, my blogger friends, to please take a minute to fill in your name in support of the donkeys. 

Tina in Canada and Dreaming in Colorado recently posted excellent posts about what donkeys can do -- one led her friends out of the Colorado fires to safety in a field where her  group of donkeys and horses were later rescued -- and also what donkey roping is all about. If you don't want to read these posts, let me tell you a little: Donkeys are not built like cattle and when roped their windpipes, which are more exposed than cattle's can get crushed and they suffocate, their legs break, their necks break, their backs break, they suffer incredible pain, while the audience sits there and laughs at them. They are frequently killed, which may be the best outcome for them since they will be permanently damaged, both physically and mentally from a donkey roping experience. Please sign the petition at the top of my sidebar.
Thank you so much.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Midsummer's Eve

As Midsummer is celebrated in Sweden this weekend, I am reflecting on the Swedish National Anthem. My friend Fran, AKA Fishducky, went on the Internet and found an English translation after I talked about it on Swedish Flag Day earlier this month. What a nice thing to do, thank you Fran.

Swedish National Anthem

Thou ancient, thou freeborn, thou mountainous North,
In beauty and peace our hearts beguiling,
I greet thee, thou loveliest land on the earth,
Thy sun, thy skies, thy verdant meadows smiling.
Thy sun, thy skies, thy verdant meadows smiling.

Thy throne rests on mem’ries from great days of yore,
When worldwide renown was valour’s guerdon.
I know to thy name thou art true as before.
In thee I'll live, in thee I'll die, thou North Land,
In thee I'll live, in thee I'll die, thou North Land

That first verse does it for me, brings tears to my eyes and makes me homesick. 

Happy Midsummer's Eve to my Swedish friends. I hope the sun will shine, the Maypoles will be beautiful, and you will enjoy this most special of holidays. This time of year, it's difficult to be away from Sweden, believe me.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Foto Friday

From Archives

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Congratulations Mia!!

This past Saturday, our god-daughter, Mia, graduated with a B. A. degree from the University of California at Riverside.

 The bell tower, a landmark on the UCR campus.

Hubby and I ended up pulling an all-nighter, which at our age takes several days to recover from. Believe me! The party for Mia started at eight in the evening and for various reasons, including traffic problems, a late start, and a three-hour drive to begin with, we didn't get there until after eleven.

I was touched by how happy Mia and her family were to see us, once we finally arrived. We had a really great time catching up with Mia's parents and relatives. And it was fun  meeting her friends, boyfriend, and sorority sisters. 

Who were all lovely young people. And so tall, as I said to the young women. They went, "oh, no, no, it's the shoes!" Goes to show what an old country bumpkin I've become, I had no idea about the shoes!

Apparently, these days everyone wears shoes with very, very high heels. It worked for me, because now they were all my height, which made it easier to talk, eye to eye, so to speak. I had such a good time, I forgot to take but a few pictures.

But I'm so glad I got this one of Mia's sister, Melissa. (You may remember her wedding that I posted last December.) Melissa has become very interested in fashion and I noticed her classic outfit right away, including the low heels. It looked really great on her and, as we talked, I found out that Melissa has started a blog about fashion. It's called Mad 4 Fashion and you can check it out here. I will post more about her blog later. I really like it and I want her to find other bloggers interested in fashion to share ideas with. 

But this was Mia's night and we are so proud of her. She will be working with art in some form or other. She is a very talented artist and we wish her all the best. I get sort of teary-eyed, thinking about how much I love these girls. I have known Mia and Melissa all their lives and now they are grown up, ready to go out into the world and take it on.
Hubby and I got home around 5:15 a.m. He drove both ways, and it was a long, long drive home. As we drove through the desert, the sun began to color the eastern horizon orange, yellow, and red. I have only seen a desert sunrise once and I will always remember it as one of the best nature experiences of my life. However, we were just too tired to wait another half hour or so to see the sun rise that morning, so it has to wait for another time. 

Congratulations, Mia, and all the best to you!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tuesday's Treasures & Things

Today is Tuesday and Treasure day, which I completely forgot. But I did bring my camera while walking Soldier to the mail box to pick up yesterday's mail. And since our walks are something I treasure more than most things, why not make it the treasure for today. This is what we saw:

Some people's weeds are other people's flowers: Yellow mustard in bloom.

Our good neighbors the cattle are back, chewing up the large field to the west of us, thus helping to protect us from wild fires. I missed them a lot, they add a country flavor to our walks.

The road we walk to the mail boxes.

I don't know the name of this plant. It has a strong smell and a sticky stem. I tried to find it in my books, but no luck. 

The gray rabbitbrush bushes are green and healthy looking, taking over every field around here. I'm not happy about it and hope we can remove them from our fields. These fields belong to the donkey rescue.

When Angel walked with me, she was so good and stayed out of my photos. Walking with Soldier is another story, I always find his shadow, his leg, or like here, his tail in a picture. Or he will drag me away just as I click my camera.  Here's that plant again, I don't think I've seen it around here before.

These phlox come back every year. Not only do they grow in a sandy road, but the donkey rescue trucks run over them, the tractor erases them, but they keep coming back. You have to admire their tenacity.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Desert Road Trip ~ Part 2

I have mentioned my blogger friend, Graham, who lives in Namibia, before. When he drives through the African desert, he always comes upon the weirdest, most beautiful, most creative stuff, be it junk-art, signs, pottery, branches, rock-art, or an old truck with flowers sprouting out of it, put up along the roadside by the people of Namibia for all to enjoy. You can check out Graham's blog here. On this trip, I decided to see if I could find anything interesting to share. I was surprised at what I discovered, for example, about Mojave, CA, a small desert town 20 miles from here.

There are the signs along the freeway. This one indicates the turnoff to Edwards Air Force Base, where the shuttle would land when weather conditions were bad in Florida. I never saw it land, but I heard it, and the magnificence of those sonic booms is hard to describe and will never be forgotten.

Casinos are allowed on tribal lands in California. Here is a sign for one north of us in the town of Bishop. 

And here is one on our way. My husband drove in here and parked on our way back. He just wanted to see what it looked like inside. Well, it didn't look like much, a group of people playing cards, no slot machines or anything easy like that. It looked kind of depressing, actually, like out of some movie about lost souls. But I like the picture I got, all the blue and white with a dash of red.

This fun sign welcomes you to Mojave, Gateway to Space. Mojave is a small desert town that now has become the place for private flights into space. SpaceShipOne was launched from here in 2004, and Virgin Galactic is working on SpaceShipTwo, a larger craft that will take private passengers into space. I found a pretty good and recent article about the  Mojave space program here.

I have always wanted to take a closer look at this place, the airplane graveyard, also in Mojave. We went off the freeway to take a closer look. I think these are old retired Pan Am planes. 

This is a huge place that I wrote about a long time ago now. I'm sure you never wondered where airplanes go to retire and maybe you are not interested, but believe me, it is worth your while to take a look at the photos here.
Just to give you an idea, here are two of them:

On the way back, I noticed this blue truck and thought it would be a nice photo with the wind mills in the background.

OK, I've always wanted to take a picture of this "find," which rivals the stuff Graham finds along the deserts in Africa. This time, I had my camera and my hubby slowed down along the freeway, long enough for me to take a few pictures. What is it? 

It's a boat! Poor thing, she's been abandoned here. Her name is the SS Minnow, and I wonder where she went in her younger days. Which lakes did she travel on? Did she have sails? Did they catch fish from her stern? I guess this is her graveyard, a bit lonely, perhaps, but I'm sure she's providing shelter and a home for all kinds of critters. After all, nothing goes to waste in the desert. 


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