Friday, July 19, 2019

Rust ~ Post No. 27





From the Hogwash* collection.



*Hogwash is a ghost town created by my friend Karen and her husband Bruce. It's located on their property in town. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Thanks for your feedback on my Picnic post, both on my diabetes complaint and on Walmart. Also for reminding me about their hiring of both the elderly and people with intellectual disabilities. My sister had Down syndrome so I have always supported organizations that were involved with that. And, of course, hiring older people as well, is a good thing. Maybe I will even see a robot in there!!!





Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The Dogs Of My Life ~ Post No. 1 of 12 ~ Troika


For some time now, I have thought about writing about the dogs that have shared my life. Honoring them, telling their stories. There have been 12 of them, some pure breeds, some mutts, most were rescued and only one was bought from a breeder. I will post about one dog a month for the coming year.

I first posted this on March 24, 2014.

Troika

When I was eleven and twelve, we spent long summer weeks on a farm in the province of Smaland in south east SwedenThe farm came with a large manor house that the owners turned into a small family inn. The guests, we were perhaps four families, ate meals together at a very long table made of blond wood. On this table appeared lots of good and healthy country food: Eggs, fruits, home baked breads, Swedish pancakes with fresh berries, and much more.


There was a lake nearby where we swam and fished. To get there, you walked through a meadow where a large working horse, named Bisman, grazed contentedly. I remember him being a friendly horse, who liked to be petted. 

There were many cows, calves, chickens, geese, and barn cats on the farm. And a bull we were told to stay away from as he was considered quite dangerous. 


And then there were the dogs. The farmer hunted and had two hunting dogs.  One was a Stovare, a Swedish breed, the other a black English Cockerspaniel, named Troika. I spent so much time with that little dog the last summer we were there, our bond became strong as our love for each other grew over the summer weeks. I was heartbroken when our vacation was over and I had to leave her behind. 


My dad often went on business trips to his company's headquarters in Copenhagen. In the fall of that year, my mother went with him. When they arrived back home, there was a big commotion. A dog came flying in the door! A black dog! She rushed up to me and licked my face and it was Troika. My parents had been touched by my devotion to this dog and, since Troika was not the best of hunting dogs, some deal was made. On their way home, my parents stopped by the farm and brought her back with them. 


She was young, less than two years old and she was the sweetest dog. She soon became the neighborhood dog, spoiled rotten by everyone. Her tendency to gain weight didn't bother her. On summer afternoons, as soon as the ladies in our street started dinner, there was Troika at their door, asking for a treat. In those days, we left our front doors open in the summer; there were few cars, dogs roamed free, and children played hopscotch, marbles, and jump rope in our suburban street.

Troika's puppies, my mom and the neighbor's kids.

Somewhere in there, Troika had three adorable puppies. My mother found good homes for all of them. 

Troika enjoying a large sausage.

I took good care of my Troika. She required a lot of brushing and cleaning of ears. We went for long walks together to fight the ever losing battle of her waistline. 


She went with us on the boat in the summers and, as we approached land, she would stand in the bow ready to jump. She loved to swim and when she felt we were close enough to land, she would jump into the water and swim the rest of the way. She had a rich and wonderful life with us kids, we were always doing things, playing, running, biking, skiing, boating and she was always there with us. 


More sausage! What were we thinking?

Troika was my dog, she loved me the best and I her. After I went to England, she missed me. I was so busy having adventures that I probably didn't miss her much. When I came home, Troika was old, but still, she was so happy to see me, she ran her fat little butt around the outside of our house several times before she calmed down. 


I was home when she died of kidney failure. She was around thirteen years old. Troika was my first dog, my first love, and you never forget your first love. Tears as I write this, after all these years......

Troika ~ My first dog, my first love.
















Monday, July 15, 2019

Picnic On The Mountain


When Jeanne, Mary and I were going for one of our lunch outings, Jeanne suggested a picnic in Tehachapi Mountain Park. 


Located at about 5,700 feet and only eight miles southwest of town, Tehachapi Mountain Park provides a great escape from the summer heat below. You drive up the same winding road as when you go to the monastery, a place I have written about often. I didn't take my camera, so I went back to the pictures I took on my birthday in 2013, when Errol and I had a picnic in the park. 


By chance, we ended up at the same picnic table where Errol and I had lunch back then. It's nice place and I didn't mind. Instead of being sad about that, I have been so upset about my diabetes that I shared my feelings with my friends. Then I felt bad I did. Oh, well, such is life. It ain't perfect, for sure. The picnic table sits on the only available flat part of the mountainside, surrounded by steep uphill and downhill slopes, filled with amazing trees, tilting this way and that, some holding on for dear life.


The trees were beautiful, the breeze was cool, no bears appeared, although there were warnings about bear sightings. In 2013, when I was 73, I wrote this: 'And the place smelled heavenly of pine needles and all the wonderful smells of the forest.' This time, I couldn't smell a thing. If you make it to my age, you will lose a thing or two, so I'm only taking note of a change here. No big deal.



After we finished eating, we sat there for a while, talking and enjoying the cool breeze, so much cooler than below where the real heat arrived this week. 


Something else has arrived in town as well. After many years, many hot debates, letters to the editor of our local newspaper, pros and cons among people in town, after many EIRs, a final approval, and it's here: A Walmart Superstore will open in the beginning of August. 


We passed it on our way home. Since I wasn't driving, I was able to get a picture of the side of the building. It looks huge. I have never liked Walmart, but a brand new store sounds like a good thing, so does one-stop shopping, and the prices, my goodness, I checked them out online and was amazed. When you live on a fixed income, prices matter.

I had a lovely time -- a picnic lunch with good friends is a very good thing, indeed.









Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Archive Favorites ~ Post No 8






Look how they greet you. 

They truly are the best critters ever!









Sunday, July 7, 2019

Samson Is 10!


HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR SAMSON, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!



Me: Dearest Samson, you are the sweetest dog that I have ever known. You are patient, loving and kind. You are the best watch dog, you hear everything from far, far away. And, as I once learned, you will protect me should anyone want to harm me. 

You have been ill so much in your ten years on this earth. But you have borne that burden with equanimity. When you went to the eye doctor, he put you on a metal table, put a muzzle on your sore nose, raised the table, turned out the lights and then shone all sorts of lights and put all sorts of drops into you eyes. You went through it all totally calm, you didn't flinch, you didn't move, you just stayed your peaceful self. 

Last week, you were at the groomers for almost four hours. Jennifer said you were so good the whole time, until it came time to do your tail. Almost four hours in, you lost a bit of your patience. You whined to let her know you had just about had it. As had she, so no harm done, she made you beautiful and clean again. 

You are feeling so much better now, but you still have to take steroids, in small amounts, which makes you hungry, so, so hungry. I wish I could explain why you are hungry. Sometimes, I fuss at you when I'm in the kitchen preparing a meal for myself. I tell you to leave, softly at first, then louder, then I may yell. This doesn't bother you, you don't leave, but Faith gets so upset when I raise my voice, I have to behave myself. 

And that's the only problem with you - you are one hard-headed Nordic dog. Maybe you Nordic dogs needed to be this way in order to survive under the harshest conditions. You are not my first Nordic dog. Maybe your ancestors needed to take charge, maybe they understood what to do better than the humans they lived and traveled with. Once a long time ago, when your breed was young and in the process of becoming. 

You are the best of dogs, my sweet Samson. Happy Birthday to you and many, many more.

I will always love you. So very much. ~ Mommy

Faith: Happy Birthday, dear Samson. And if there's any cake, cookies, or something like that ~ don't eat it all, make sure I get some (a lot) too!





Earthquake Addendum:

Friday evening, the earth out in the Mojave desert shook again, this time much more violently, a 7.1 earthquake near the town of Ridgecrest, in our county of Kern. I was in bed, watching TV, and the bed shook for what seemed a long time. This quake was so strong, everyone felt it, even in Mexico and Arizona. The dogs were fine, and I was too. So all is well here.








Friday, July 5, 2019

This/That And An Earthquake




I was looking for some July pictures and came upon this one. Definitely a treasure from the archives. Good thing I took it because the mailboxes are gone now, replaced with the latest modern, locked boxes.

Yes, there was a 6.4 earthquake in Ridgecrest, a town out in the Mojave desert about 55 miles, straight, from here (longer if you drive). I was in the kitchen and all that happened to me was a rattling sound in my kitchen cabinets. I didn't feel the earth move or anything, so I thought it was a small quake somewhere. 

Then my phone lit up like a Christmas tree of text messages, everyone worried. It was a large quake and I appreciate my friends being concerned. Of course, I feel bad for the people affected by this quake, I have been in a couple that really affected me, particularly the 6.7 Northridge quake back in 1994. Still, it became a good day for me, connecting with so many friends. I should really make the effort to call or text more. I prefer emails to all of that, but not everyone does these days. 


Then, and worse for me, I had a large brown spider in the bathroom. Not the first one this summer. I just looked at Google images, trying to identify it and it most closely resembled the Brown Recluse spider, which we don't have in California. This set me off on a Google image search that gave no answers and now that my head is full of spider images, I hope I won't dream about them.

I used to be so scared of spiders, but I have overcome that to a certain extent. Just don't come in my bedroom. When I first tried to catch the spider, it went in a tiny crack in my bathroom cabinet. When it appeared again the next day, I took my time, looked around my kitchen for a good box to put it in. The Tollhouse cookie tin was ideal, because it has a thin edge. A thick or slightly bent edge makes it more difficult to make a catch. The spider was on the wall, I lined up the tin, touched its legs and it fell right into it. I covered the tin and took the spider outside and left it by my rock collection, figuring it would have many places to hide there. 

And I now have a good spider removal tool.


This summer, we have another pest that's worse than ever. Flies!! I can't do anything about the additional horses that now live close by, but I need to start rinsing off the dog yard every day. This was always part of my morning chores, but the winter was so wet and there were no flies, so I cut back. Now, I'm starting again and hope it will eliminate some of the problem. Drowning fly babies used to help a lot. 


I feel much better and am now a bit embarrassed that I made a fuss on my blog. But last year, my friend Tom came to visit and, while here, came down with a cold. I got it, then I got bronchitis, and was ill for a good six weeks. This time, it was just a summer sniffle, combined with being tired.  So I rested, read, watched TV, and napped. 

As far as TV goes, I don't watch much, but I was still dismayed when Nexstar and AT&T blacked out our local NBC station due to a money dispute, blaming each other. I only get local TV and HBO. I know I can watch on the internet, but I only watch some of the morning shows, which I record to watch while I eat lunch, so a bit difficult to do on my computer. Did this happen where you live also? It happened to a lot of markets around the country. 


Feeling better, I walked the dogs, they were so happy. They felt the aftershocks yesterday and, when they were about to go to sleep, there came the fireworks. Samson barked at them, then came into the bedroom and fell asleep, so no panic among my dogs. 

Today is a beautiful day in the canyon. The summer heat has not yet arrived and life is good. 











Sunday, June 30, 2019

June 2019


Hello everyone, I'm coming down with a cold and with my diabetes, it may turn into something worse, like bronchitis, or it may just linger for a long time. Or I may be OK tomorrow. 

Because I don't know, I will take a blogger break after today, get some rest, and come back when I feel better. I must be back by 7/7 because someone has a big birthday then. Samson will be 10!!! 

I will read blogs on my Kindle, but I can't leave comments because I find it so hard to do all that thumb writing. 

Here's an update on the month of June.




June came roaring in with a rain and hail storm, accompanied by flash flood warnings. 


The storm only created a muddy mess. Seeing how so much of the rest of the country suffered with tornadoes and floods, this was nothing, just a surprise rain at a time when we usually don't get any. It may well have been the last rain we see until November. I heard more rain storms may come during the summer months, which would be nice. 


I continued with my green smoothies and, after about a month, began to feel something I had not felt for the past  two years - ENERGY! I thought it was normal for me to feel so tired, both due to the diabetes and my advancing age.


I came up with a fast way to rinse off the blender and just set it on the counter. It helped to have a designated space for it. I'm lazy in the kitchen, so anything that helps me do what I need to do is a good thing.


The metal shed got cleaned out and demolished.


Flowers that disappeared in the drought returned, as did chipmunks and loggerhead shrikes. I'm hoping the Western meadow lark and many other birds I haven't seen for a while will came back as well. Maybe a bear and some bobcats?? 


Still, we had some drama here. The Guernsey bull is now fully grown and there was a real bull fight where he got injured. Then he injured his leg. Here he's kept outside the fence, but still challenging the Devon bull. Joyce has to keep him separated from the rest of the herd while his leg heals. Then she may have to sell him. He's my favorite, so I will miss him, but two fullgrown bulls is one bull too may.


While I took pictures of the bulls, the rest of the herd looked on with interest. That's Ears or Angelears to the right. How she's grown so fast.


Joyce and I visited Sally, an English friend of hers. We went to see these puppies. They were only five days old and so cute.


Sally has a large, very English, garden at the other side of town. What she has accomplished in this dry climate is amazing. 


It was a huge surprise and so much fun to meander around, seeing hundreds of plants, one surprise after another. I loved the day -- and, of course, we were treated to English tea and biscuits before we left. 


Back home, the weeds grew scarily tall. 


And began to dry out. I have the 100 ft. clearance around my house, that's all this year. The tractor guy used to do this field and all my surrounding fields as well, but since we borrowed the tractor and I wasn't sure how much Mark was comfortable doing, we only did the required 100 ft.



Then it was Midsummer's Eve in Sweden, coinciding with the summer solstice and my birthday this year. I had several great surprises on my birthday and, according to my niece, it's not over yet. I will drive to Lancaster to visit with them in the coming weeks. It's only about 45 miles away.


Two new neighbors moved in on Joyce's property. They are both men, one brought three horses and a pony; the other a sweet dog named Cheyenne. 


As new people and critters arrived, old things had to go, including the old tow truck that I like so much. When an opportunity presented itself and someone really wanted it, I couldn't say no. 



Faith on my bed (not on her Blankie, where she's supposed to be) contemplating something. She often looks like she's deep in thought, more so than any other dog I have lived with. 


Finally, poor Samson, who was dirtier after this long, cold, and wet winter with a thick and matted undercoat, much worse than it has ever been, went to the groomers and came back white, fluffy and much relieved to be rid of all that fur. 

Bad mommy, me! 

It's clear  that I need to take better care of him, well, I knew that of course, and believe me, the guilt has been present, but so has my tiredness and feeling unwell. Now that the green drinks have provided some energy, I will work with him, beginning right now, while he's clean and trimmed back. Then I just have to keep taking him to the groomers throughout the year. 

So that was our month of June. A pretty good month with much accomplished thanks to good people all around. 






Saturday, June 29, 2019

Rust ~ Post No. 26




From the Hogwash collection.







Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Notes From The Canyon



Sugarloaf mountain and very green Rabbit Brush bushes.


When I first saw these flowers years ago, I so admired them growing in the sand close to the road.


They completely disappeared during the dry years, now they are back. It was good to see them again. Nature is amazing when given half a chance.


Most of the junk around here was left by others who lived here. This shed was a combination of other's junk and ours. Mark and Ronica cleaned it out for me. A horrible job that scattered at least a hundred mice every which way. One ending up in my bathroom. Don't know where it is now, I've seen no sign of it since.



They borrowed Joyce's tractor and demolished the metal part of the shed. Later they came back and cut up the floor and took the wood to the dump. We're saving all metal until we are done, then they know someone who'll come and pick it up.


The other day, the dogs went bananas, barking like their world was about to come to an end. I opened the back door and by their fence was Joyce's big chestnut horse. Faith dashed at him and scared him and his companions into a short, but thunderous, gallop. When they realized no harm was coming their way, they settled in for a snack in my front yard. A treat for me. Faith was proud to have scared three such big critters. 


Talk about being scared: We all are really scared and worried about the way the weeds took off after all the rain we had. As you can see in the background here, some of them are drying out and the rest will follow. They are so thick and so tall and this field, which borders the road is a huge concern. The fire risk seems to have increased by a lot. I will talk more about what I have decided to do in another post. Mainly be as prepared as I can be. 


Believe it or not, but Mark wanted the old tow truck. He priced it at $100 and he worked it off by cleaning out the shed I wrote about above. All I paid for was the fee at the dump for some of the junk. The truck doesn't seem to want to leave because Mark hasn't been able to get it on the trailer. I will miss it, but the more junk I can get rid of, the better. Mark's coming back to try again today, I hope it will work then. 


Bob and his three horses and the pony, named Pony, have now moved in up by the barn we used to own. I'm so glad to see it coming to good use. Pony was abused and gets stressed every now and then, like PTSD, and then she escapes. So that's why the electric fence is there. Maybe something will replace it later. She is the cutest little pony and I get so angry thinking about someone hurting her. So glad she's with Bob now, because he's a true horse whisperer and very kind and good with all animals.


It was so much fun to see Joyce's three horses get super excited over the new arrivals. When they came with the first horse trailer, her horses knew a horse was in it and went completely nuts. They neighed and neighed some more, then followed the trailer up the road at a full gallop, which, for me, is one of the most magnificent things to see, ever.

I also met the other guy who moved in to the right of the barn, a bit away. He seems very nice. It feels good to have neighbors close by, yet unseen by me and my dogs, unless we choose to go and visit.

The only additional noise I hear is when Joyce's horses are talking to Bob's horses. And horse speak is music to my ears, so that I don't mind. 








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