Friday, September 25, 2020
Friday, September 18, 2020
After I posted the donkey picture the other day, and read your comments, I realized that these wonderful animals bring a lot of joy. I knew this of course, so I decided to tell more stories from the time I worked at the rescue.
After I retired from UCLA and we moved up here, the donkey rescue was located next door, on the property that Joyce later bought. As the rescue was just starting up, the owners asked if I would be interested in a part time job. I agreed and ended up managing the gift shop, writing thank you notes for donations, and writing stories for their news letter.
Of course I was also hanging out among the animals and, as I got to know them, learned how wonderful, loving, and smart donkeys really are.
But there were other animals there as well. This is the strange story of some goats, two of which ended up at the rescue.
Monday, September 14, 2020
Monday, September 7, 2020
Woke up to a very smoky morning. Fires are burning everywhere, it's scary and will get worse tomorrow and Wednesday because the wind will pick up.
As I drove around, I came upon the first Rabbit Brush in bloom. So happy! Fall definitely cannot be far behind. Or can it?
Happy Labor Day!
Sunday, September 6, 2020
Friday, September 4, 2020
In recent years, some opera houses have presented A Masked Ball as it really happened with the assassination of Gustav III.
How I would have loved to see this opera there. Sitting up high, third balcony I believe it was, where I as a teenager often listened in awe to the great Swedish singers of the time. I particularly loved Verdi's operas. Rigoletto was my favorite.
Wednesday, September 2, 2020
I was always fond of King Gustav up to this point. In Part 1 of the king's story I listed his impact on Swedish culture, criminal justice, civil and religious rights.
However, after 1786, Gustav III became more and more determined to rule without a parliament, changing from semi-constitutionalism to semi-absolutism.
He declared war on Russia in 1788, thus violating his own constitution. The conflict between Sweden and Russia had been going on since the 1600s and was about control of the territories around the Baltic sea, including Finland, which at this time was under Swedish rule.
During this war, the Swedish Archipelago Fleet, officially a branch of the army, scored the greatest victory ever for a Swedish Fleet as it beat a far superior Russian Navy at Svensksund. This gave cause for concern for the Russian Empress and she wanted peace.
Thus the war ended by a treaty between the Theater King of Sweden and Catherine the Great of Russia. The war didn't change much for either side and Finland remained a Swedish territory for the time being.
On March 16, 1792, a masked ball was held for the public at the Royal Opera House. While he attended a dinner before the ball, King Gustav received a letter threatening his life. Since this was not uncommon, the king ignored the warning.
Soon after he entered the ball, he was surrounded by three men, all part of the nobility, wearing black masks. One of them, a Captain Anckarstrom, shot the king in the back. The king was taken to his rooms, the doors of the opera house were sealed, and the conspirators arrested. King Gustav didn't die immediately, but his wound became infected and he died on March 29, 1792.
Captain Anckarstrom was later executed, but his co-conspirators received lesser punishments.
Some of you may remember that I spent most of my summers in Sweden on the waters and islands of the Stockholm archipelago. It was special for me to learn about the Archipelago Fleet, which was not large, but tactical, being victorious in battle over the Russian navy.