Thursday, July 30, 2020

Favorite Pictures From The Donkey Rescue

On a cold and stormy December day in 2007, I had the privilege of watching a burro give birth. And see this newborn take her first steps. In my mind, I named her Storm.

Later I took this picture of her, her mom, and an auntie burro. You would often see another burro helping the mother and watching out for the young ones. 

Rescued female burros would often come to the rescue pregnant. The males would be castrated upon arrival. 

Here in the American West, a burro is a feral donkey. Many were rescued by the Donkey Rescue where I worked part-time in 2007. It was located next door here, where Joyce lives now

This is my favorite photo ever. I have an enlargement on my living room wall. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Masks By Jeanne And More

Jeanne made these masks for me and this is my favorite. Isn't it just so pretty?  With a Scandinavian look that suits me well. Of course, you can't really see me, but that's OK. 

A woman I ran into outside the post office was so sure I was someone else that she continued to talk to me as if I were that person after I told her I was not. She went on and on. I kept my mask on, hoping my Swedish accent would deter her. After a while she moved on.

I haven't worn this one yet, but I will. I'm just so fond of the one at the top. These colors suit me well too. I know Jeanne thinks of that before she gives her masks away. 

I'm so grateful for thoughtful friends like her.  

There is a mandate for all Californians to wear masks when out and about. I noticed that Glenn wears one when he comes by, as does Jeanne, of course, but none of my close neighbors and helpers do. They all maintain the appropriate distance and we only meet outside, so hopefully that's OK. 

I hope wearing masks will help our state, but I am concerned and will continue to stay home, shelter in place, unless trips to town are absolutely necessary. 

Highlights of my week: Trips to the post office; Walmart to pick up online order; the Dump with my trash and cardboard recycle. I don't want to go to our bottle recycle place, so they are piling up.  

But the drive to town is pretty with the mountains all around, wild sunflowers blooming by the side of the road. 

A lousy picture of them and now I can't find them again. Maybe next month there will be more of them. The hillside shows a bit of our canyon nature.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Rust ~ Post No.32

I think Ronica must be the one who put a found old and rusty roller skate on a post by my driveway. It was a lovely surprise and to enjoy it even more, I moved it to a post I can see from my living room window. I guess I photo bombed myself this time!

This must have annoyed the ravens because not only do they leave their "mark" inside it, but they manage to almost make it fall to the ground. I'm sure they are the culprits as they definitely consider all my posts their own. 

Friday, July 17, 2020

Canyon Views

For me, this is the quintessential country picture. 

I almost stepped on this plant this morning. I don't know what it is, but thought it looked nice and took it's picture.

We walk here often, but I don't see any dogs, not even photo bomber Samson, so I must have been alone. Just with my phone. I always take it with me, a sound advice for anyone my age wandering about in the "wilderness."

Another picture of my property.

And one from a friend's house with a variety of trees and plants that you don't see at all in my part of the canyon.

What you see though are these two.  Samson has a thing for ears and always makes sure Faith's are clean and healthy. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

The Dogs Of My Life ~ Post No. 8 ~ Angel - Part 2

Angel and Bandit (AKA Bonnie and Clyde)

As it turned out, we never found Angel's owner. We lived in the middle of Los Angeles, one block south of Olympic, a very wide boulevard with, this being LA, continuous traffic. A few blocks away were two other wide streets full of cars, always. 

We took her picture and posted it all over the neighborhood, but never found an owner. So she stayed and became my Angel, also called Angel Cakes by me. She turned out to be the sweetest dog ever, so playful, so loving, so funny. It didn't take long for her and Bandit to team up to make our lives just so much more fun. 

This is what Bandit had to say about her in those "poems" I wrote for him:

My name is Bandit
And I am tough
But when Angel plays
She gets so rough
She pretends I'm a sheep 
And bites me so hard I could weep
Instead I lick my wounds to the bone
And have to wear the dreaded cone

Angel was so much fun and she made me fall in love with the German shepherd breed. Of course, with all the dogs Errol kept finding, I would never have a chance to choose a specific breed, but still, I think they are just wonderful dogs. 

Living in the Canyon

And when they run! Sheer beauty in motion. I loved to watch her run once we moved here to the canyon. 

Angel was about eight when we moved. I'm so glad she got to spend her senior years here.

She was the sweetest, kindest dog who cared for everyone in our family. In addition to the other three dogs, we had two cats and two birds. Sindbad is the cat in the picture below.

As she got older, she became the matriarch of her pack. She took good care of all the dogs that arrived after her and helped to raise Samson to be the dog he is today

Angel died in May of 2012. This is what I wrote on my blog:

After a rough night, Angel died early this morning. We buried her in the yard next to her beloved Bandit, with the scent of lilacs floating through the air and turtle doves flying low above. 

Angel was 13 years and approximately 7 months. She came to our Los Angeles house in July 1999, and refused to leave; she has taken care of all of us ever since. Angel had discoid lupus that only affected her nose. Other than that, she was never sick a day in her life, she didn't suffer from age-related arthritis, she could jump, run, play, and guard still. I am devastated and will take a few days off from blogging to take care of myself and spend time with Samson who was so attached to her. She raised him and taught him all he knows.

When we told our vet what had happened, he diagnosed her sudden illness as bloat. Something we were soon to experience again, but at that time had never known a dog to suffer from.

Angel was our vet's first patient at our Veterinary Hospital and I know she had a special place in his heart. He always tried to help her with her fears, her shaking and shivering every time she had to come to see him. 

Angel was my love, my protector, my very, very special friend. 

Monday, July 13, 2020

The Dogs Of My Life ~ Post No. 8 ~ Angel - Part 1

Finding Us

In the early summer of 1999, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was found early via mammogram and I was scheduled for a lumpectomy at the beginning of July. This was to be followed by six weeks of radiation, later an extra week was added, and then five years on the drug Tamoxifen to prevent a recurrence. 

The night before my surgery, Errol and I stood by our gate saying goodbye to Glenn. Our Los Angeles house was close to the sidewalk with steps leading down from the gate. 

The steps outside our LA house

A couple walked by, followed by a German shepherd dog. The dog saw us, ran up the steps and sat down outside the gate. Errol called for the couple to get their dog. "It's not our dog, it has been following us," said the man. We all looked at each other and the dog, like what in the world do we do now?

I said, "Glenn, do you want another dog?" "No," he replied. And then made a fast exit, leaving us to figure it out.

Three pets per household were allowed in Los Angeles. At that time, we had: Sundance, our disturbed Doberman, Sashi, our loner Siberian Husky, Bandit, our mischievous hound dog mix, who did not get along with Sundance; Samantha and Sindbad, our two cats; Tweetybird and Pippi Birdie, our two parakeets. 

I was having cancer surgery the following day, had to be at the hospital very early. Then radiation, not as bad as chemo, but no piece of cake. 

Angel as a young dog

And here is this adorable dog, wearing no collar, looking a bit thin, but very well taken care of. 

First thing, check to see if male or female. It was a female. She had been spayed. She was very young (later the vet estimated about eight months). She seemed to have been very well cared for, but she had no collar. 

I told Errol I couldn't cope. I would have a fit if we took in another dog. I knew she had chosen us, or so it seemed, but still. I was overwhelmed. 

Errol took her to the pound. A while later, he came back with the dog in tow. Errol said, "she started to shake so violently when she heard the barks from inside. She shook and struggled to get away from me, to just run away again. I couldn't take her in." 

Errol promised to look for an owner, I said I would take her picture so we could post it around the neighborhood once this surgery was over with. 

Then we looked at each other, the dog and I. I felt she belonged with me. Maybe an Angel come to look after me. Help me through this ordeal I was facing. 

But much as I like the concept of angels to protect me, I'm also a realist and of course I knew this was a lost dog, a dog that I would have to feed and walk and take to the vet. With cancer, no matter how small the tumor, how early it was found, there's always fear of what will happen.

I felt I needed all my strength to fight this uninvited cancer.

Not the ideal time for yet another lost dog to come and live with me. 

But we had bonded, whether I liked it or not. 

Part two will follow soon.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

The Old Juniper Tree And Me ~ Part 2

I posted the first part of the tale of the old Juniper Tree and Me in August, 2016. I will share a few pictures below from that post and then tell the story of the big snowstorm of 2019, of damage done and damage repaired. It's interesting to me how much you can come to care about one particular tree of the many that surround you.


I've always liked this juniper tree, so large and healthy. But like an overgrown hairdo, it needed some trimming. It's too close to the house and branches dragging on the ground are not allowed within 100 ft of structures here for fire safety reasons.

I didn't know how much I could do by myself. I had never tackled a juniper before, but I brought my lopper and started trimming the twigs off the larger thicker branches. 

Looking at the thick, twisted and gnarled trunk of this tree, I believe it must be pretty old. Some California Junipers may be more than 250 years old. And they are the only trees growing on my property, except for a few others planted by people. The latter are not doing well in the drought and may all die before it's over. Several junipers have also died, but most are doing OK.

I loved sitting inside the canopy of this tree, resting. It's a magical world in there, so shady and quiet. With the ground covered by juniper "berries" that are not berries at all, but cones, a favorite autumn food of our local black bears, coyotes, as well as birds, rabbits, ground squirrels and other small animals. 

The junipers were also important to the native peoples of this area, who would eat the berries and use the wood for bows, arrows, and other tools. 

I was thrilled, it went really well. Glenn helped me cut back the thicker branches, but I did a lot myself. This is the end result. The tree thrived for the next three and a half years.

Then, the day after Christmas last year, an epic snowstorm arrived dropping about two feet of wet and heavy snow on the canyon.

The junipers left in their wild state did pretty well, but those that we were mandated to trim back did not. I tromped as far as I could in the heavy snow and took a few pictures. My tree looked bad, its top broken, its branches weighed down by the heavy snow.

I felt a sense of loss, but hoped that most of the tree could be saved in the spring. I hoped that it would thrive again while abiding by laws designed to protect its human caregivers from fires.  

Spring arrived and I asked Mark if he could cut down the injured parts of the tree. He could and this is what's left of the tree now. If left in peace to grow and thrive, I think it has a good foundation. But what a difference from what it once was.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Tales From The Vicarage ~ The End

Thinking back on my time at the vicarage, where I had a Guinea pig of my own, where there lived an orange cat, named Ginger, a rabbit, named Biscuit and of course the vicar, his wife, Mrs. Smith, and three lovely kids I realize what a special place it was. A family place of traditions, peace, God, and love. I went to church on Sundays. I learned to cook a Sunday roast, including the always present Yorkshire pudding. I looked after the kids and, as I wrote in an earlier post, kept the vicar on the straight and narrow. 

Looking back now, I wish I could thank them. From the very beginning, I became a member of their family. Living there, I met the Bishop of Woolwich whose testimony in the Lady Chatterley's Lover trial helped secure a historic verdict against censorship in favor of Penguin Books. I met a young actor who worked at the Old Vic and his family. I learned to play Scrabble. The vicar and his wife were very kind to me and made sure I was included in everything the family did.

Their daughter, Janet, who was twelve, loved horses as did I, so we went to a riding school together -- did someone drive us - I don't remember. But I do remember the aptly named Everest, probably the largest horse I ever rode. A perfect match for me, being tall myself. We rode together in small groups, setting out on roads with heavy traffic, something I was not used to and found a bit scary. I remember a large road with many cars that we had to cross before we reached the lovely fields and woods of county Kent.

This is where I went to church on Sundays. I didn't have to, but the vicar was good, his sermons were worth listening to and the community was so lovely, so English, so by the book old-fashioned English, and I was charmed.

But changes were coming, changes had to be made in England as well as in America and the rest of the world.  There were huge anti-apartheid demonstrations outside South Africa house in Trafalgar Square. 

Bertrand Russell, the philosopher, mathematician, social critic (and man of countless other interests and achievements) led ban the bomb demonstrations at Easter that ended in Trafalgar Square. The above symbol was initially designed for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, the CND, and later adopted as the Peace Symbol we all know so well.

I never participated in anything as I felt was a guest of the country. But I observed and learned. It was all so different from Stockholm, Sweden where I grew up. 

This will be the last tale from the vicarage. I only lived there for about nine months.  This was agreed on ahead of time because little Stephen, my main responsibility, would then be ready for a longer day at school and would not need to be looked after at home.  

I lived an old-fashioned English life for those nine months. I landed in the midst of a culture that would change in a few years with the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Bob Marley, Mary Quant, mini skirts, Mod fashions, and the Dawning of the Age of Aquarius.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Someone Is Having A Birthday!


Samson turns 11 today! The picture is from last year, as he's not quite that clean and pretty today.

But still the best dog ever, so sweet and kind.

Dear Samson, I love you so very much. I will make sure you have the best birthday today! 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 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!

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Happy Fourth of July

Happy Fourth of July

Have a great day!

Friday, July 3, 2020

Snakes and Me

Some of you got worried when I described my encounters with not one, but two, juvenile rattlesnakes that had somehow made their way into my house. 

I don't blame you, I was worried too and still have not been able to figure out how they got in. 

Other than that, I have a good relationship with snakes. I know their habits here. Because they don't tolerate heat, you have to watch for them mostly in April and May and then in the fall as the summer heat subsides. 

I'm not outside, walking around at night, so I don't have to worry about them then during their active time.

Even so, sometimes snakes like to snooze in the sun or rest in a shady spot, so all summer long, I scan the ground that I plan to walk, it's a habit now and I don't even think about it. And I always check the dog yard in the evenings and early mornings as I let the dogs out.

While I would love to be a really good photographer, I have a good eye, but not the patience. To me, this is one of my best nature photographs. Even if you don't like snakes, I hope you can see it's beauty. It is a Northern Pacific rattlesnake, common in this area.

Unless you step on them, rattlesnakes are really good at taking care of themselves, saving their venom for their dinners, and taking care of you as well, but using their rattles to warn you off. If you heed their warnings, nothing bad will happen to you. 

Below, are a couple of pictures of me handling Rachael's constrictor snakes, the first is a Ball python. 

The second is a Gopher snake. At the time of my visit, in the winter, it was the most alert of her snakes

Rachael's snakes are some of the animals she rescued from the Donkey rescue under dire circumstances. But that's another story and not a fun one, so I will leave it at that. Good thing is that Rachael will care for these snakes for as long as they live.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

The Joy Of Coloring ~ Post No. 2

I thought of my blogger friend Sandy as I colored these  houses. Sandy lives on another mountain in Southern California and has a couple of blogs. This is the one I follow,

on it Sandy writes short stories, charming, sometimes quirky  stories, accompanied by her sketches.

She has another blog full of photos of houses. Which is why she came to my mind as I colored these. I could wish that I was talented enough to also draw them but, alas, I'm not. So I'm grateful for my coloring books, thank you Judy, as they provide peaceful times in a not so peaceful world. 

I love Sandy's blog, please check it out. 


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