Sunday, April 29, 2018

Someone Just Had A Birthday!

Happy 4th Birthday Faith!

This is how little you were when you first came.

Let's treat our blogger friends to some puppy pictures: 

Yesterday was Faith's birthday, a day that I made up since I only knew she was about six weeks old when she arrived. Errol got her from some guys outside the Tractor Supply store. He had just been diagnosed with liver cancer and I so know why he got her. And why he named her Faith.

Although that makes me sad, I'm now so happy to have her. She's my love and Samson's too. 

Faith had a very good birthday with lots of treats, lots of running up and down the hills, ear kisses from Samson, and cuddles with mommy. 

Friday, April 27, 2018

Samson's Bark Signals And A Good Vet Visit

This is one of my favorite pictures of Samson as a young dog. He was truly awesome-looking and so sweet. And he still is, of course. 

This is just a quick post to thank you for your comments and to respond. First of all, thank you so much for reminding me that all of us responsible dog owners feel guilty from time to time. 

About the bears, yes, we have black bears here, but they haven't been around for several years. Back in 2013, my neighbors tried to keep bees, but that didn't work, the bears would first go there and get the honey, then come here and tip our trash cans. They also liked our vegetable garden, which was huge, so we had to put up a tall fence around it. And every fall they would come and pull branches off the junipers to eat the cones. In this entire area, black bears are most common here in the canyon, whereas cougars are more common in the areas to the west of town, where they have elk and a lot of deer. 

But I wanted to write about Samson's bear reactions as opposed to his reactions to other critters. I don't know why the way he communicates is so different:

Dogs: The strongest and most annoyed bark and running around displaying intense displeasure. Displaced agression fights with Faith, initiated by her. 

Coyotes: A strong, agressive bark, but less so than for domestic dogs. Seems more protective of Faith and me. Samson takes his protection duties seriously. No fights with Faith. 

Bears: No barking, just runs around the dog yard with nose in air, whining. Very anxious, but not giving way, staying out there, sniffing the air and whining. He never whines at any other time. Faith was not here when we had bears around us. 

Pocket Gophers: If one peeks out of a hole close to his fence, Samson goes bananas. He disregards all other small animals, including rabbits, but, for some reason, these guys drive him nuts. Since I walk him on a leash, I have to make sure I see their mounds before Samson does, or he will pull a sled dog move on me, his shoulders are so strong, and I will go flying. Wishing, I too had four legs. 

Do your dogs have different barks for different situations? 

I have done nothing about my new camera. I probably will find some time this weekend. 

So, no pictures of the bear tracks, which Samson set about to destroy anyway. I could have tried with my phone, but as I said earlier somewhere, I'm not good with phone pictures. 

Old picture too. 

Finally, the vet was very happy with Samson's eyes. He also didn't want to do another blood test to check Samson's kidneys. Instead we tried to make Samson pee in a ladle, without success. So I was sent home with a two-week supply of kidney medicine and the task to collect a urine sample. Never had to do that before, not sure what will happen. And I will use a pan, not a ladle. 

I also decided it's time for the groomers, the weather is getting warm, so a bath, a good brush-out, trim, and shaving his tummy will be so good for him.  

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

My Dogs And Me

Faith: See, I have such a pretty pink ball. Please play catch with me, mommy. Could you just throw the ball? Please.....

Me: I'm tired, Faith, let me rest and we'll play in the morning.

Faith: You know guys, my mommy, much as I love her, but this is the thing: She's kind of old. She falls down and hurts herself, then she can't play with me. Far as I'm concerned old folks should have four legs just like us dogs. Phew, I guess I just have to play by myself. First I chew.

Then I push it with my nose, see how far it goes. Hmm, not very far, this is sooo boring. I should go and live with some kids, then we could play all the time. 

Me: I bet you'd miss me if you ran away from home.

Faith: Yes, mommy, you know I would so I will just lie down here and guard my pink ball. Samson wouldnt' dare to grab it.

Samson Says: I couldn't care less about your stupid ball. I'm out here catching the last of the snow of the season. By the time mommy posts this, it will be hot outside. 

Me: So true. almost 80 degrees now, what a difference a week makes.

Faith: Mommy has been complaining. Her camera broke, she doesn't like her phone pictures (us dogs like the phone pictures because they don't startle us with lightning), then this came in the mail. Mommy says, it's awfully pretty but it scares her. So many new things to figure out! 

Samson Says: If it scares you why did you buy it then? It's red OK, but, as far as red goes, I prefer my carrots. This thing you can't eat it, so what good is it? 

Me: To take your picture, to take pictures of the hills, the junipers, the rabbits.....

Faith:  Much more fun to chase the rabbits, you should try it, mommy. But then, you only have two legs, so better not.

So this is how we live, me and my dogs. I feel guilty when I can't play with them, when I can't brush Samson, when Faith is itching to play catch or chase rabbits, and I get too busy or too tired. 

But feeling better now, we stared to play catch and walk again. For the first time in years, we saw bear tracks this morning. Samson got very excited and started digging where the large paw prints dented the earth. 

Life is good, I will learn the camera, Faith will run for her ball and Samson will soon find out where his main nemesis, the pocket gopher lives. I have seen a mound or  two, Samson has missed them, so far......

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

California High Desert Through A Windshield

On the way to Death Valley, Christina and I encountered long stretches of open road.

While Christina drove, I took pictures of the flat desert landscape surrounded by mountains.

With views I have so come to love since I first saw a desert sunrise back in 2006. 

We were high up here, going down toward the road to Death Valley.

Which lies behind those mountains in the distance.

Christina was great, she drove most of the way there and all the way home. And, once she figured out I wasn't attached to driving, she, my guest from Sweden, actually drove the entire time. 

While living in the high desert, in addition to clouds, sunrises, and sunsets, I have become very fond of rocks. I thought the ones straight ahead here, were just beautiful. 

I don't have a bucket list, but if I did, Death Valley would definitely be on it. High up. Here we are getting closer......

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Sunday Morning Reflections

For Errol,

We came here often you and I, but never in mist and rain. The sun was always shining, and we were, 
for the most part, happy.

Today, three years have gone by since you died. While new experiences have come into my life, and some adventures too,
I think of you every day. 

While I'm happy with my life now, with the dogs, with my friends, and with my home, I often want to tell you something, share something with you.

Just little, ordinary, things. But I'm not sad and, although I miss you, I think of our more than thirty years together with gratitude. 
~ Inger


Thursday, April 19, 2018

Pictures From The Getty Center

Below are some pictures of the Getty Center in Los Angeles. Christina and I visited there. She was mainly interested in the buildings and gardens, which was fine with me. Not so good was that my camera decided to give up the ghost, so I took the pictures with my phone. It takes good pictures, I  think, but it's so difficult for me to hold it and to make it work. 

Water flows from the top in this pictures, over the rocks, and continues down to this beautiful pond:

I think the location of the center, high above the city, with city and ocean views is gorgeous. The buildings themselves are beautiful and there are always surprises, new statues, that water fall I mentioned above, the views you never saw before. It's never the same and I never get tired of visiting there.

Monday, April 16, 2018

A Misty Day And A Samson Update

After Christina left, I took Samson to Sherman Oaks, a suburb of Los Angeles, to be evaluated by a veterinary ophthalmologist. Mary offered to come with us, which was great because it was not an easy trip. (It was this trip that made me realize that a "real" car would be a good idea.)

Samson got a very thorough examination and was a prince of a dog through it all. He was placed on an exam table that was then pulled up to a level where he could be examined. Then he was muzzled, something he's never been before, ever. Then he got eye drops, the light was lowered, and he was examined. Then he got more drops and we had to wait until his eyes were dilated. Then back in the exam room, where the same table procedure was repeated. Not a sound, no squirming, no fear nothing but the best cooperation from Samson.

The vet recommended surgery to create new tear ducts, but said it may not prevent future eye infections. He also gave us different eye drops, which turned out to work better than any of the drops we tried before. A pre-op blood test by our local vet was needed. When it came back the kidney counts were really high, indicating disease. After talking to our vet, I decided to not put Samson through the surgery. He will be nine in July, the surgery is difficult, the outcome uncertain, and the recovery would be hard on him. He would have to wear a cone for three weeks and return for two post-op visits to Los Angeles. The three trips would total 6oo miles in the Jeep, (the only car I had at the time) in the desert windstorms, and with a cone on for most of them. All that, and the fact that there are no guarantees. And at a cost of close to $4,000.

We are going back to check on his kidneys soon. If Samson has kidney disease and it's caused by old age, the medicine he was placed on should help. If it's caused by his chronic illness not much can be done, but I know the vet and I will try to find things to help. Our vet is into homeopatic meds, accupuncture, and so on. 

Meanwhile, Samson is acting as if life is just wonderful. The eye drops work, his eyes look better than they have in a long time, and most importantly, he's a happy dog and it's hard for me to believe that there's anything wrong with him at all. 

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Sunday Morning Reflections

In all things nature there is something of the marvelous.
~ Aristotle

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Cesar E. Chavez National Monument

My neighbor, Joyce, came with us on the last day of Christina's visit to see the Cesar E. Chavez National Monument, which is located down the mountain on the way to the San Joaquin Valley.

We were a bit early so we walked around the gardens while we waited for the Center to open.

Joyce gave me a hiking staff, made from the trunk of a yucca plant, like this one. It's wonderful, so light, yet so sturdy.

I loved the little duck at the foot of Saint Francis. 

Cesar Chavez and his wife Helen are buried here.

Reading these words, I felt emotional about my own life. Not done enough with it, perhaps..... It is a powerful statement, one I didn't know he said and one that I have never heard or read  before. 

And then we went inside and that was powerful too. 

I remember this so well. I didn't eat grapes for the duration. I had demonstrated before, in London, outside South Africa House, so long a go. Against Apartheid. This was the first time I gave up eating something I liked; such a small sacrifice, but it would make a difference when many joined.

Many powerful black and white photographs were displayed. I mainly looked, didn't take but a few pictures.

This is how the farm workers lived then. Not sure how they live now, it probably varies from place to place across the country. 

This was his office and I like the way they displayed it. As a light was pointed to different areas of the room, a recorded voice described what we saw. On the middle top shelf of this bookcase, there's a hoe with a very short handle, not sure you can see it. Bending over to work with such a short hoe, resulted in back injuries to the people who had to use them. This really disturbed me. Saving money on wood? Or just not caring, at all? It was so stupid, it really upset me. Fortunately, Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers changed that. 

After we left, we went to see the nearby Tehachapi Loop, our local engineering wonder. 

Christina and Joyce waiting for a train, reading this:

When a train finally came through, it was long enough to cross over itself, so Christina could get the idea. However, it had no containers, just the frame, which didn't show up on my photos. If your are interested in this, one of the wonders of the modern world, please check out this post:


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