Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Country Morning

Before I begin this post, I want to thank you for your thoughtful comments on my Emigrant post. 

Just one thing though, no I'm not homesick, this is my home. What I wrote were as Dee said: "Poignant thoughts of memory."


I drove up to Joyce's place and was greeted by a Carmen, who was recovering from having had a foxtail (a grass) removed from her ear the day before. She wanted nothing to do with me and Judah was busy eating a rabbit he'd managed to catch. 


I found Joyce milking one of her cows. This one kicks so Joyce has to sit a bit away on her cool stool that's only a little visible here. 


After spending her youth as a dark gray horse, this mare is now shedding her coat and will, maybe by next summer, become a Grey. I spell it the British way, and for those of you not familiar with horse colors, a Grey begins its days and the first several years of its life as a dark gray horse and then transforms to one that looks white, but is not a true white. So a Grey.


The llama's ears were pointing straight up as I came over, but as soon as he saw the camera pointing at him, his ears went back and I moved out of the way. Since all of Joyce's animals are so sweet, he probably would not have spit at me. He just let me know he wasn't into having his picture taken.


Here's my favorite, the Guernsey bull. And the mother of the horse I wrote about, a gray mare and the chestnut gelding in the background.


The other llama. He is a truly beautiful animal, mostly white.


Franklin, the very massive Devon bull, a small cow, and the chestnut horse eating breakfast. And my shadow photo bombing. 


It's truly wonderful to have a neighbor like Joyce and to be able to come and visit any time you want to. 











Monday, August 10, 2020

Faith And Her Orange Ball





If there's one thing Faith loves more than anything, it's her ball. Actually, it's chasing her ball.

Faith is one of the brightest dogs I have known and she's also one of the more interesting ones.

I will write more about her, of course, when I come to dog no. 12. 

My last dog. 

Faith and her orange ball.

Retriever par excellence!








Thursday, August 6, 2020

Thoughts On Being An Emigrant


emigrant

noun

a person who leaves their own country to settle permanently in another



It was November 1962 when I arrived in America. I was 22 years old. I didn't know it then, but I had in fact emigrated to the United States. At that time, I thought I had come for a year or two and it took a long time before I knew I was here to stay. Before I became a citizen of the United States.

Much is said and written about immigrants, but few of us probably consider that each immigrant is also an emigrant. Someone who left family members, friends, country, culture, language, a common religion, a common ethnicity, nature, food, and so much more. 

I have a picture in my mind of a grandmother somewhere in Central America, left behind, standing in a doorway, TV cameras pointed at her. For me it was my grandfather. I loved him so much. In 1962 he was 84 years old. 

My grandfather, Karl Blomqvist.

Some leave poverty, war, or lack of opportunities. I left because I was unhappy in Sweden. In a spoiled youthful way of being unhappy. I wasn't suffering, but I needed a change, some adventures before I finally settled down to become a grownup.

Perhaps some never look back, but I believe most of us do. 

I wonder if the things that I miss as I remember Sweden even exist anymore. 


My friends are still there and I miss them. Christina came to visit a couple of years ago and there was the ease of sharing common values, culture and background. The ease of understanding. The certainty of being understood, something I'm never quite sure of here.

Trolls by Swedish Illustrator John Bauer

When I was little, my grandmother would tell me old folktales of deep forests where trolls were known to come out at night, giants too, who had to retreat to their caves before sunrise or they would melt. She would tell me stories of goblins and of misty ponds where elves danced. 


Are there any grandmothers left to tell those fairy tales? Does anyone care? Are there just ipads now, ipads and smartphones for the kids? I seriously don't know.


There are still glittering lakes everywhere. There's the almost midnight sun on my birthday, light midsummer nights, fields of flowers, islands full of summer cottages. Snow, ice and dark  winter days too. 


Stockholm, my home town, is still there. Old Town with its cobblestone alleys and ancient buildings that lean into each other, with wonderful cellars where jazz was played when I was young. 


And the Stockholm Opera, where I fell in love with Verdi's music and the drama of his operas. It was so easy to get a ticket back then and sit on the highest balcony. 

I believe the concert hall must be there still. In the center of the city, where I went to a Louis Armstrong concert when I was 15 and just about fainted from the excitement of it all.  

In Stockholm, ferries plow the waters and ancient steamboats head for the archipelago. 

When I sit down to write about Sweden, I think of those things. 

Things that shaped who I am. Before I emigrated.

Blueberries, granite rocks, tall trees --  a Swedish forest.









Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Morning In The Canyon



I told Annette about this tree, a Cottonwood that died during the drought. As did the tree next to it, where now only a piece of the trunk remains. So the Cottonwood was dead, no leaves except it grew suckers. Then it rained and  rained and the tree came back to life. Not only that, it came back so much healthier and better than before.  I had wanted to find a leafless picture of the tree to see how many actual branches are left. I think there may be quite a few, but I'm not sure. Since Google just changed the blog format this will have to wait until I figure the new format out. Or until the tree sheds its leaves this fall. 


Half-grown coyote puppies have come by to visit for several days, usually in the early morning or a dusk. Faith has chased coyotes before, but she always comes back when called. I was a little worried because there were so many of them, which may have been too much of a temptation for Faith. I worried she would chase them right back to the pack, which may have ended badly for her. So I took the Jeep and drove it around for a while. Driving the Jeep around also keeps up my off road paths. 


I haven't taken a shadow picture of myself for a long time. So here I am with several camera angle pounds added, but who cares, it's just a picture after all. 


I wanted to take a picture of this weed that has popped up everywhere. It's all around my gate and on my road, so I will have to clean it up soon. 


This is my demolished old shed. Some guy was going to come and cart it away, but he didn't want to take it. So Mark said he'll take it to the dump. I don't want him to do any more work here in the heat, so we're looking to September.

Faith found mice or ground squirrels inside it and was fascinated. This is the first time she has shown any interest in catching anything. Basically, she's in love with the chase, not the kill. Good retriever that she is. But both the vet and I think there's some terrier in her. Her strongest drive is to retrieve and she has webbed paws and a Lab tail, but she has a terrier personality. And she can jump straight up, very high, like a Jack Russell terrier. 


Junipers, so many junipers. So many berries/cones the ground below them is lavender blue.  All animals around here, from bears to birds, love to eat the juniper cones that look like blue berries.


After all the running and hunting, Faith is tired. She's also gained weight, so I'm cutting back on her second meal of the day. She won't even notice it. 

I read something like this about Labs: We love to run around in the rain and mud, we love to jump in the lake and swim, we love to run up and down the hills, but if this doesn't work for you, we really don't mind just lying around all day, being your best friend and companion.

And after reading that, I feel guilty every day that I don't give her the best life of running free all across the land.









 

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Flowers By Jane









Jane brings her camera when she goes for walks in her lovely Southern California neighborhood and then sends flower pictures to me via email. She knows how much I enjoy them. 

Some of you may recall all the wonderful rust pictures Jane sent from all over the world when she and her husband traveled. Now that you can no longer travel, and I doubt there's much rust to be found in her neighborhood, I get flowers instead. 


Enjoy!






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