Friday, November 28, 2008

A Thankful Turkey

Wild turkey

West Cherry Street, Nevada, MO

This is 314 West Cherry, in Nevada (first a is a long a), MO. My grandmother, Grace Pauline Lancaster, was born here; her father, Thaddeus, was a cabinet and furniture maker - he ran his business from the bottom of the building, and the family lived on the top floor. The door on the left opens directly onto the stairs going up; the door on the right opens into the business area (now a wedding rental business).

Lights in Kansas & Colorado

It's 27 degrees outside now, with a wind chill of 15. My patio door is standing open, and a raven just chased Banichi across the backyard. One of the small squirrels is stuffing himself with peanuts and Lovey is on top of the cat-tree talking to the creatures outside. Last night was my first night in my own bed since last Friday; Lovey apparently didn't trust that I wouldn't leave during the night, as she crawled under the covers and then inside my nightgown to sleep for the night. It made turning over very interesting.

There were 28 people at the Snow Thanksgiving yesterday - we were missing sister Frannie, but Kent and his family came from South Dakota, and I was able to meet them. (The last time I saw Kent was at Kathy and Jim's wedding in 1981, and Kent was a senior in high school.) Everything went well, and we even saw a few snow flurries in the headlights of the truck on the way home -

I talked to Jim and Sarah about some of the things Kathy and I had seen on the way to and from Pomona... We both saw a shooting star Monday night in western Kansas; we were about 50 miles from the KS/CO line, and it was slightly to the south of I-70. ... Almost as soon as we crossed over the Colorado line, I started to see a reflection of light off the cloud cover to the west - it was light pollution from Denver that was visible all the way across the eastern CO plains. ...On our way east, in the dark on Saturday night, we saw this incredible light display to the north of the highway. Originally, it looked like a few microwave towers with steady red lights at different heights, and also with a few blinking red lights. Then we realized that it stretched out of sight over the northern horizon, it varied in height, and sometimes there was a small cluster and other times it seemed like long lines - all connected - and it stretched for over 10 miles. We felt as if we were inside Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and joked about power outages and waving mailboxes. Luckily, on our drive back west, we passed this place in the daylight - and saw that it was a wind farm. I've seen photos of wind farms, and I've seen bison and cattle at the base of one of the turbine masts in photos - but the first time seeing the real thing was simply amazing! I've felt short all my life, but here I felt like a pygmy!

I left Brandi last night and go over to Rosie and Remy today. Tomorrow I start with Silver and Smiley; it looks like I'll be driving Kathy and Jim to the airport in Denver on Sunday, where they'll take transport to norther Peru; and then I'll have Suki and Boo until the 14th or 15th of December. I'm going to move my kits over to Kathy and Jim's on Monday -

I hope each and every one of you has a super long weekend!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Self-portrait with mutiple chins...

I have found that I pull my head back on my neck whenever I take my own picture with this camera - (1) I need to stop doing that, (2) I am overweight so I really shouldn't complain, (3) this is Kathy and me outside of Limon, CO on Saturday, 22 Nov 2008 - I have sunglasses resting on top of my head.

Happy Thanksgiving!

We'll be happy to get to 40 degrees today - it's grey, cloudy and blah outside. We're expecting a light sprinkle of snow this evening, but nothing that will stick. We hope to have snow again on Saturday night - maybe a little more than tonight.

A wonderful lady (whom I regard as my sister) asked where my arms disappeared to in the previous photo (me outside Abilene, KS) - and I had to look to figure out what was going on. I had my hands behind my back while Kathy took her first photo using a digital camera - mine. Otherwise I'd probably have crossed my arms under my bosom and above my belly and looked even stranger! It was the first time I've ever stopped and eaten at a Sonic Drive-In.

I made 2 gallons of corn pudding yesterday evening and two lemon pound cakes before bed. I still have to wash and pat dry the blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries and arrange them on the serving tray (with a center of almonds). I'm currently at home, and need to shower and get back to Brandi's to finish preparing the fruit & nut tray. I need to check in on Ooch before we go up to Fort Collins for the Snow gathering; Brandi's folks get home late tonight; I get to sleep at home with the kits tonight, and then start off with Rosie and Remy Friday morning. Saturday morning I get Smiley and Silver, while Sunday afternoon I also acquire Suki and Boo - along with Ooch each day, too. My one hope for the weekend is that I get to watch the Florida - Florida State game on Saturday.

I got together most of my items for my first care package for my adopted soldier in Iraq - I'll put it in the mail tomorrow. It is Thanksgiving Day. I am thankful for my friends and family scattered throughout the US; I am thankful that I can have two wonderful cats like Leofgifu and Banichi; I am thankful for the health that I have, the roof over my head, and the food that I eat. I am thankful that I can read anything I want, whenever I want. I am thankful that the internet gives me a relatively inexpensive way to stay connected with my extended family, friends, and the world at large - since I am such a terrible letter writer. (That's why I make myself write to Matthew in Iraq once a week!) Happy Thanksgiving to each and every one of you today and every day!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Critter Sitter in Sunny Kansas - 24 Nov 2008

Millie, Charlie, & Kathy Nocks - 1954

Getting ready to Give Thanks

Yesterday we had a nasty, grey cloudy sky that made everything seem chilly. Today, the sky is a bright blue, it's sunny, and it's 30 degrees outside. The patio door is standing open and my kits are running in and out. Brandi and I had a nice stroll around the neighborhood this morning, and then I walked home. We're expecting a high of 60 today and 36 tomorrow, with snow falling tomorrow night. Usually in November, this area get 11 inches of snow fall and about an inch of rain; so far, we've had less than an inch of snow.... We're hurting for moisture.

We're having the Snow Family Thanksgiving feast at Laura's in Fort Collins tomorrow - I'm taking corn pudding, fresh fruit, and two pound cakes. I'll be baking this afternoon and evening at Brandi's. I haven't seen Jim's youngest brother since he and Kathy got married in 1981 - it will be interesting! I'm going to go visit with Rosie and Remy this afternoon, and get final instructions from Joel and Nancy, so I'll be ready to house-sit with the Irish kids on Friday. Brandi and I shared supper last night; she's been taking her meds with no problem and is such a big love - this morning she was scratching her back on my legs while we were in bed, and she was growling with delight. It was very amusing! And I've added caring for Ooch to my kid roster for the next 6 days, too.

The next few days will again be hectic, but I hope to be able to get to my blog each day - I thoroughly enjoyed my drive through eastern Colorado, all of Kansas, and through the southern part of Missouri. Kathy and I did have to laugh - I got Mapquest instructions for the drive to and from Pomona, but only really looked at the east-bound directions... Sunday morning, as we were driving along 13 north of Springfield, Kathy suddenly said, "How are we getting back? There are two lanes going south, here; but there's no road on the other side at all!" So it turned out we had a different return route scheduled, but we made our own alterations so we could end up in Nevada, MO for the night on our return.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fall in the Ozarks

         jaynenjoe       Ozarks

Wonderful Family, Beautiful Country

Wow! What an incredible past three days! I did miss my kits, but knew they were in good hands with Jim. Kathy and I left my apartment at 9:15 Saturday morning; we spent Saturday night in Clinton, Missouri. We arrived at the Nocks home in Pomona about noon on Sunday - we met and hugged and loved newly-met family members until about 6 pm, and then hit the road again; spending Sunday night in Nevada, Missouri. Kathy ran 3 miles in Nevada yesterday morning, and garnered a lot of stares. I drove around the old town center and found the house where our grandmother was born, and the shop-front that our great-grandfather ran his grocery and dry-goods business from. We left Nevada later than planned, and got into Kathy's driveway at 11 pm. We talked a few minutes with Jim, and then I crossed the street to Brandi's, loved her, gave her a few treats, and then she and I both crashed in Kyle's bed.

I was really happy to have done all of this without any of my usual clumsy accidents. I drove every mile to and from Sarah's, except the last 8 miles. I came home to my my apartment this morning; in crossing the parking lot to get to the front door of the building, I stepped on a few pieces of loose gravel, and fell flat my face. That fall took out the knees in one of my favorite pairs of jeans, cut up both of my knees, my right forearm, and scraped my chin. I guess someone or something was saying, "You're not home yeeettt." The kits are stuck to me like glue.

I've never tried to hide the fact that I'm much more comfortable with critters than with people, so I approached my meeting with our never-before-seen relatives with some trepidation. Within a minute, I was totally relaxed and knew that I was with family. I have been that relaxed with only a handful of other folks... I have photos to download and share; and I have a lot of wonderful memories of the family that I'll share. I'll start posting the photos tomorrow.... Take care!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Cumberland Gap - Nov 2008

Cumberland Gap

Travel Day... Will Write again Tuesday!

No wonder I felt chilled out walking yesterday morning - it was 19 degrees outside! It was a little warmer this morning; and I'm doing this early so I'll miss blogging only on Sunday and Monday. The kits are outside running like nuts - not knowing they won't be allowed out again until Tuesday. They know that something is up... but haven't yet seen me pack. That will be the big tip-off for them.

I went to Kathy and Jim's yesterday and baked two lemon pound cakes - the first one I put in came out fine; the second was burnt. The first will go with us to Glenn's memorial; the second was sugically removed from the pan and then trimmed and is sitting in tiny pieces in a tupperware box for Jim to snack on. The one that burnt was at the front of the oven, and cooked for a shorter period than the other... Oh, well.... At least I got one presentable cake to take with us.

Have to go pack - and get the kids inside...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Today's Critters

Buster doing haying jack russel terrier dog puppy spotted spots, puppies

Buster, a Jack Russell Terrier, during haying.


A homeless black beast.

Love You Bunny Much!

A snuggly pair of baby bunnies.

Dad and I

My first time as a bride's-maid - 1976 - Mom took the photo and she always cut off someone's head or a body part....

Foggy a.m.

It's grey, foggy and cloudy this morning - and it's 32 degrees outside right now. Lovey is sitting in my lap, watching my fingers on the keyboard; Banichi is curled up in a ball on the loveseat. I washed all of their blankies yesterday, and they seem to be miffed with me. Yesterday, when I came back from my walk, the tops of the Flatirons were behind clouds; this morning, one can't even see them.

Besides my morning walk, I've gone grocery shopping - cat food, snacks for the drive to Missouri, and Coca-Cola. I will definitely need the caffeine and sugar to keep me going. I've also thrown a couple of my favorite CDs into the grab bag for the drive. When I drove to Colorado four years ago, I drove west on 36, the Pony Express route; we're making the shortest drive on this trip, so it'll be I-70 across Kansas... I've been on I-70 across the eastern Colorado plains, but usually jump off the Interstate when I get into Kansas. A friend told me this morning that driving across Kansas on I-70 at this time of year is totally boring; "it's like a lunar landscape," I was told. Oh, well... I'm sure I'll see something I haven't seen before....

When I got up this morning, in the dark, to go walking, I stepped on something soft and furry on my bed-side rug... I hurriedly turned on the light and found a dead mouse. One of the kits is doing their job! I'll be headed over to Kathy and Jim's this afternoon to make lemon pound cake to take with us to Sarah's, and I'll brief Jim on caring for Brandi, as well as giving him the house key for her care. Then I'll need to pack and hopefully get some sleep for tomorrow's trip.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A baby bay Vicuna in Bolivia

a bay vicuna (a llama relative)

Could've used a buffalo lap-rug today!

Amerikaanse bizon (Bison bison)

Pike's Peak with New Snow - Nov 2008


It was 25 degrees outside when I started my walk this morning, and 27 when I got back home. There is a very fine, frozen mist falling; fog is occurring by the lower water-ways, snow is falling higher up; and we're expecting a high of 36. The small birds have been flocking to the feeders, the pigeons are making a crowd on the ground, and multiple squirrels are eating nuts. The word: "It's time to eat at Betty's place!" seems to have gone out. The kits went outside for a brief period, but soon decided it was more comfortable inside.

The widow of Allen Paulson, the multi-millionaire who owned the race horse Cigar, has informed the BLM and US government that she is in the process of purchasing a large quantity of land in Texas that will become a Wild Horse Preserve. The horses that the BLM says are too old to adopt or are not adoptable will be taken to this Preserve and they will be allowed to roam free for the rest of their lives. The BLM says it is very grateful to the generosity of Madeline Paulson (as I am). The exact place in Texas has not been disclosed, as she is still in negotiations for the purchase of the properties.

Kathy said the other day that we would leave early Saturday morning for the drive across Kansas and over into Missouri for our cousin's memorial. She called last night to settle some of the plans, and when I asked her what she called "early" (so I would be certain to be up and ready to go), she told me 8 or 9 in the morning. I had to laugh - early to me is between 3 and 6, not what I consider mid-morning! But we got our ducks in a row, and know what the other plans, now. ... Jim will come over and feed the kits and check the food and water bowls on Sunday and Monday; and he will take care of Brandi for me until we return home Monday. Brandi's owners know that Jim will be in charge until I get home Monday - and I'll just go straight to Brandi's and get home to the kits on Tuesday.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Chica Bonita - a Kiger Mustang Yearling Filly

P6180016  Kiger Mustang Yearling Filly-Chica Bonita

Samoyeds on Watch

Swiss Samoyeds

Slow-motion Chase

Sunrise was gorgeous this morning - and I had a very good walk along the Boulder Creek Path. I saw a few squirrels and a few birds, but mostly I was just enjoying the chuckle and chatter of Boulder Creek. The birds are just beginning to show up at my feeders, and Banichi just finished a hysterical slow-motion chase of a squirrel - at a walk. The squirrel would take two hops and stop and look at Banichi, and Banichi would pause, consider, and take one step; then the squirrel would take another two hops... The squirrel is now eating in the peanut chair and Banichi is lying at the foot in the sun.

Massoud, my neighbor from Libya, told me yesterday that he frequently hears Lovey talking to me in the morning - he asked if she was hungry. I laughed and showed him the three different dry food bowls, the two water bowls, and the canned-food plate. He, too, laughed.

I was happy to see that the Obama family was checking out a Quaker school in Washington, DC for the girls to attend. I hope they choose the Sidwell Friends School. And the President-Elect says they won't get a puppy until they are well-settled in the Whitehouse and have their routines set. That's good, too.

It was 78 degrees here yesterday, a record high temperature; we're expecting 68 today, still well above the norm of 50; but tomorrow we'll have a high in the 30s, with rain, snow, and possible "frizzle" - frozen drizzle, that is... The weekend looks to be fair, which is great news, as Kathy and I are driving across Kansas to go to Glenn's memorial celebration. I'm looking forward to meeting my cousins - and I'm terribly sad that I didn't get to meet Glenn.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A New Reputation?

I just received a telephone call from a complete stranger who lives in North Boulder. They informed me that they had "my dog" at their house. Since I don't own a dog, I found it curious. Then I was told that they had found the dog, with a collar, but no tags, with a used poop-bag tied to it's collar; and that the dog seemed to be happy to answer to the name of Sasha.
It turns out these folks had called friends, who had called friends, and finally my name came up, as well as the word that I knew "all the dogs in Boulder." I've checked Craig's List here in Boulder (no missing Samoyeds on it), and have also reported the find to the Boulder City Police, as well as the address and phone number, in case the owner reports the dog missing.... I've checked with my brother-in-law and his dogs are safe at home; the breeder he shows with doesn't know of any Sammies in North Boulder, either.... I hope the dog's owner turns up soon!

"Furbys" Re-found

A nice piece of news today - Texas A & M has reported the finding of three pygmy tarsiers in Indonesia; they had been thought to be extinct. They are less than 4 inches long from head to tail and weigh less than 2 ounces each. See:

Hope, an adopted Mustang, with Liberty, her first foal

Hope, IRAM mustang with 1st foal,  Liberty! 1/2Arab1/2Mustang filly


Somehow, I punched the wrong button and published the photo of a Mustang stallion watching over his herd in Nevada without typing anything else in a few minutes ago.... Oh, well... The wild horses and burros have received a 12 -month reprieve due to an out-pouring of letters about saving the symbol of the American West. The following is from an AP article:
" ...Deputy Director Henri Bisson said maintaining the wild horse and burro program for another year will give horse advocates, the BLM, Congress, ranchers and wildlife advocates time to explore possible solutions and let "cooler heads prevail."
"Let's focus on doing something positive before we have to look at last resort tools," Bisson said. "We're not making any decisions today. We're not making any decisions next week." ... "
I, personally, I very happy and also somewhat surprised by this show of common sense from the BLM directorship!

This morning's walk was quiet and contemplative - the changing of the seasons has brought home to me, once again, the idea and acceptance of the circle of life and death. I always get upset about death in the fall, having lost my parents and husband in September and November - and, usually, by Thanksgiving, I've regained my usual outlook on life and realize there are rhythms and patterns occurring that I have no control over (and that I would not want control over!)

The kits are outside sunning this morning - why, I don't know, as we are expecting a record high of 77 degrees today. But I guess their systems tell them to store up warmth for the on-coming winter and to enjoy nice days while they can. Before sunning, they were both hunting pigeons in the backyard and playing tag, a version that involves a great dealing of leaping and airborne acrobatics. I'm happy that they're getting back to normal and have realized that I'm getting better, myself. I am working on a branch of Kevin's family tree that is very distracting - Ignatius Pigman Ward was an extremely prolific man, whose children all followed his procreative patterns - this is creating a huge branch (so large that I'm tempted to partially lop it off - but I won't).

Mustangs get 12 Month Reprieve

Monday, November 17, 2008

State Views

Green Scene

A creek scene in western Oklahoma.

A Texas Sized Tree At Luckenbach Texas

Luckenbach, Texas post office

Castle Rock (Kansas) Badlands 4

This is part of the Castle Rock limestone formations located in the Smoky Hills region of Kansas. The primary Castle Rock formation was a landmark on the Butterfield Overland Despatch route (Overland Trail). Ruts from the stage coaches and wagons are still visible here just north of the big Castle Rock formation.

Missouri 8-21-08 to 8-22-08 042

The Bothwell Lodge and view - Sedalia, Missouri

Banichi knocks himself down...

The kits are out, basking in the sun, and hoping for birds. My walk this morning was cool and brisk - it's in the mid-30s - and the sky is a bright cloudless blue. Since it's gotten cooler and I'm still trying to walk relatively early, I don't see as much wildlife and birds as I used to. I saw a pair of raccoons this morning, and a couple of ravens, but most critters were already tucked in for the day, or still snuggling before getting up and going out.

Lovey is sitting at the bottom of the aspen, with several squirrels up in the tree scolding her. I just heard a little sneeze and twitched the curtain aside to find Banichi walking the inch-wide window sill. I placed my hand against the windowpane and the Nich-mon tried to rub against it, and pushed himself right off the sill. He's just wandered back inside and has plopped in front of the keyboard.

The FCC and powers that be are testing the HDTV broadcasting network today in Denver - supposedly, since I have cable, I don't have to do anything... Glenn's Memorial Celebration will be held on Sunday, Nov. 23rd, at his house in Pomona; Kathy and I will be there. I have adopted a US soldier - a 20-year-old young man from Texas, who does double-duty as a haz-mat technician and as a VIP security guard. So if I mention Matthew in Iraq, you now know why.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Mule Team in Lancaster County, PA

Plowing the fields with a Mule Team

The person who posted this photo says it is a photo of plowing; I beg to disagree, and state that it is a photo of mowing or harvesting hay/alfalfa.

Glenn Emory Nocks

Kits and Mustangs

The kits have been sticking pretty close to me, knowing I've been upset and that my emotions were in a turmoil. Of course, if they get a chance to go outside, they do run for it - we have a new neighbor, who actually lives upstairs, who has a new puppy. My kits and the puppy met this morning - the puppy was excited and friendly; my kits were freaked. Only once before have they met a dog in the backyard, and that time it took me forever to get Banichi out of a tree - this time both Lovey and Banichi came charging back inside. The puppy is cute - it's a mutt, mostly white with a few orange spots, and looks to be part hound/hunting dog....

If you've been reading my blog, you know that I love horses - any type of horse. Growing up on the east coast, I had heard of mustangs and read of mustangs, but I wasn't well informed about them. Then Marguerite Henry published Mustang: Wild Spirit of the West - about Wild Horse Annie and her fight with the US government to have mustangs protected under federal law. I read everything I could get my hands on about mustangs, their habitat, and the Bureau of Land Management. I wrote to my representatives in Congress, even though I was a kid living in Florida at the time.

I'm sure that most of you have seen the ads for "Adopt a Horse or Burro from the BLM" at some time. The BLM has never, in my opinion, used good judgement in their round-ups, holding areas, or adoption programs. It's one of the most poorly-run government programs in existence. The BLM has many thousands of horses, mules, and burros living in holding pens, without room for real exercise - but receiving shots, hoof care and food. The Wild Horse Protection Act passed in 1971 - and since that time, the US has reduced the living space of wild horses by over 20 million acres. The US government and the BLM are meeting tomorrow in Reno, Nevada to decide whether or not to allow BLM agents to kill or allow unrestricted sale of the horses and/or burros due to a growing dollar short-fall in caring for these penned creatures. A very good article about it may be found at

The Wild Horse Protection Act was passed, originally, to keep wild horses and burros from being inhumanely rounded up and sent to the slaughterhouse for dog and cat food (along with the occasional pet/show/blooded horse that might be out loose in open pasture). The "unrestricted" sale of these currently penned, relatively tame mustangs means they will be sold to slaughterhouses for both pet and human consumption (remember that horsemeat is the norm for steak in Europe and Asia, not beef). This is exactly what the Horse Protection Act was created to stop!!! Helloooo? Is anyone in the US government/BLM listening? I can pretty much guarantee NOT.

I realize that the symbol of the United States is the bald eagle (even though Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey); but I feel that a true symbol of America is the silhouette of a mustang running free and proud on a high mountain ridge!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Glenn loved old vehicles ....

'37 Chevrolet Coupe - British Columbia, New Westminster - Royal City Show and Shine Car Show 200

1937 Chevrolet Coupe: taken in British Columbia, Canada at the New Westminster-Royal City Show and Shine Car Show, 2008

Blue Chevrolet Truck Streetrod

"Blue Chevy Truck Streetrod" - Car Show, May 2008

Beige Plymouth car

A Plymouth Deluxe Special

In Memoriam...

The world lost a treasure yesterday. A man of fun, a man of family, a man of duty, and a man with a work ethic. Glenn Emory Nocks passed away yesterday in Howell County, Missouri. Glenn and I talked on the telephone for many hours - sometimes up to 4 hours in one sitting... I felt connected to him. I could hear hear him light up a cigarette and take that first deep drag, while we were connected by that telephone wire; I heard him drink his Dr. Peppers, and sometimes coffee; I heard him let the dog in and out of the house. He told me stories of our family - I never met either of our grandparents, and he introduced them to me; he told me about his parents, whom I had never met; and he told me about himself and his family. I have never met any of them in the flesh... I hope to be able to meet his daughter very soon, even though it will be under terrible circumstances.

Glenn is survived by a daughter, Sarah; his mother, Theoda Smith Nocks; his step-daughter and ex-wife; his sister Eleanor, and her family; and my sister and I. He was the last male in my father's line of descent... I missed the chance to check his DNA for genealogy purposes. I missed being able to visit him before his death. And, even though we never actually shared the same space, or met in the flesh, I do miss him. Rest in peace and without pain, my dear.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Boulder Views

Boulder's first snow - 14 Nov, 2008 - my backyard;the white spots on the fence are falling snowflakes at 8 a.m.

Looking west-southwest from my parking lot - the first Flatiron... on 4 Nov 2008.

Such a loveable face!

how beautiful is that face

First Snow

According to the TV news last night, we had a wind gust of 70 mph yesterday - and the first snow began to fall sometime around 4 this morning. The high was 66 degrees yesterday, so the snow is melting on roadways, sidewalks, etc. and we're expected to get back to the 60's before the end of the weekend, with 70 as a high on Tuesday.... if the forecast is correct.

Lovey was pretty disgusted with the snow - she went out in it and came in, shaking her coat like a wet dog, and proceeding to dry her tootsies in my lap. Banichi ventured out, and returned quickly, shaking his paws, and heading for the litter box. The squirrels have yet to appear today, but the birds are here in droves. I spent two hours with Rosie and Remy this past evening; Remy greeted me like an old friend, and Rosie was so excited to see me that she was jumping around like a jack-in-the-box. Rosie is still lame, and even had a spinal tap two weeks ago - so while we were delighted that she was that excited, we also didn't want her to do more harm to her hips. At least they seemed to enjoy my reading to them.

It's 30 degrees outside, but the sun has now arrived and the snow in the backyard is melting quickly. That means Lovey and Banichi will be having fun in the mud this afternoon... I've always felt like Pigpen in the Charlie Brown comics - I'll be perfectly clean and step outside and somehow am suddenly covered with dirt and smudges... Lovey and Banichi simply delight in getting filthy and the coming to my lap or sitting next to the keyboard and shaking all the -stuff- out of their coats and one me and/or the desk and computer... What can I say: Like Mother, like kits.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

West Virginia Views - Fall 2008

Country Road 14, Spruce Knob, WV

County Road near Spruce Knob, West Virginia

Wooly Bully 1

"...Have you any wool?..."

View from Spruce Knob Cabin 4, WV

View from Spruce Knob,WV

80 mph Gusts

It's windy this morning. The wind started picking up about 11 last night - and we're under a High Wind Advisory through this evening, with gusts up to 80 mph this afternoon. The northern and central ski resorts on the western slope are expected to garner 6 to 12 inches of snow by tomorrow morning. I wore my ear muffs out walking this morning - not due to cold, but due to the wind.

The kits are having a blast with the wind and are skittering about like maniacs. Yesterday I had the patio door open for them, and was busy in-putting data into Kevin's family tree, when I felt that I was being stared at - I tilted my head slightly to the right and saw one of the young squirrels sitting in the center of my bed, looking back at me. I slowly turned my head toward him/her and then moved my arm, saying, "You don't belong in here." As soon as I started to move my arm and speak, the little guy shot out of the door... (without leaving any presents in/on the bed, thank goodness!)

I'm heading over to the Irish Setter house this evening - I won't be pet-sitting until the day after Thanksgiving, but both dogs are older and anxious, and we want them to get used to my presence. The family is going to a basketball game tonight, and I'll be there while the family is gone, reading to Rosie and Remy. Coming up, I have Brandi, the blind dog; followed and overlapped by Ooch again; then Rosie and Remy, followed by Smiley and Silver, and then Suki and Boo. After a three day break, I'll have Lucy and Pepper, another 3 day break, and then 10 days of Rosie and Remy again. Wow -- I am really grateful to the person who first thought of and published a monthly wall calendar!!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Quail in Pansies, St. Louis, Missouri Botanical Gardens

pa220060 Quail in the pansies, Missouri Botanical Gardens, St. Louis, Missouri

Toss'n'turn night

After learning that my cousin is terminally ill, I didn't sleep well last night - and I had the strangest dreams! I was in search of a pair of stretch slippers that looked like they were made of emerald green mylar - a weird twist on the Wizard of Oz? And then I had to cross a raging river... I recently read about the discovery of cenotes in Mexico that archeologists think might have been a recreation of the Paths of the Dead - maybe that was in my brain, too.

The morning is bright and blue skied; the birds and squirrels are stuffing themselves on my patio, and Lovey and Banichi are out basking in the sunshine. Since I have the curtains open, the sun is shining through the windows and the temperature is very comfortable inside, even though the patio door is open about 8 inches wide. Walking was an enjoyable experience today, and I saw very few people out and about - and those people were swathed in heavy clothes. Me? My jeans, sneakers, T-shirt and a light-weight jacket... as usual, people were giving me odd looks.

I've just started on another section of Kevin's family tree, and am thoroughly enjoying reviewing and up-dating the information. I hope to go visit my cousin in Missouri, and if I do, this blog will be blank for a few days... Will let you know...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

E E Nocks family

Two sailor-boys home from the sea - Charlie and Elmer Nocks in St. Joseph, Missouri

All four Nocks children served in the US Armed Services in the 1940s - left to right in this photo are: Emery Eben, daughter Hazel, wife Grace, son Charlie, son Joe Bob, and son Elmer.

Veteran's Day

I've been over and seen Ooch today - it was very cloudy the morning, but great patches of blue are now visible and the sun is shining. Snow has fallen in the high passes and out on the eastern plains, but has missed us. Ooch was his usual self - talkative, loving, not too fond of being groomed and having his nails clipped - and hungry. He had consumed a good amount of his dry food, as well as water, milk, and his canned food that I feed to him slowly. He's definitely put on weight and went out to explore the front yard this morning.

My kits are fine - Lovey pitched a fit last night at 8:45 and wasn't satisfied until I opened the patio door; it was 28 degrees at that time, and she and Banichi ran in and out for 30 minutes before I shut the door and told them,"No more tonight!" Then they both curled up in my lap while I was doing research on the 'puter.

I was very happy to hear Barack Obama say that he hopes to adopt a puppy from a shelter or humane society for his daughters. Of course, breeders are now putting forth their dogs as the best type - the 5 most hypo-allergenic dogs (according to the AKC) are the Bichon Frise, the Chinese Crested, the Miniature Schnauzer, the Poodle, and the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier. The country of Peru has also offered a 4-month-old Peruvian Hairless dog - a type that has appeared on Andean pottery for over 3,000 years. "Machu Picchu" is grey-skinned and has huge ears, and seems a very happy young dog.
Speaking of adoptions, if you live in the Denver area and can open your heart and home, the Denver Dumb Friends Society has 650 adult cats up for adoption. The adoption fee is only $10 and includes a free micro-chipping for ID; of course, all the cats have been thoroughly vetted, are spayed or neutered and all are current on their shots. If you can, please help.

Today is Veteran's Day here in the US. In researching my family tree, I've found people who served in all aspects of this country's defense, as well as those who have partaken in Civil Wars in both England and America. I am extremely honored to be related to such men and women, who have fought for and, in some cases, died for their beliefs. My heart-felt thanks go to any and every person who has served his or her country!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Beaver dam, cascading falls on Maroon Creek, Colorado

Cascading waterfall of the Maroon Creek. Notice the Beaver Dam.


It's 37 degrees outside, the sky is cloudy, and Ooch is demanding more food - but he needs to wait for a few minutes. It's cool and crisp and my kits have already had one adventure outside this morning. I stopped in at the library on my way to Ooch's house and returned 12 books that I had finished reading; then walked up here for half of my morning walk - the other half will be walking back home. I need to pick up a few things at the grocery store on the way home, so I have a supply of re-usable shopping bags with me.

I don't see many magpies at my apartment, but they are definitely in residence around the rest of Boulder. Walking from the bus stop yesterday, I saw 10 mule deer does and a couple of weanlings - and a flock of magpies. So I started singing, softly, The Magpie, and while the birds flew, the deer twitched their ears in a gentle rhythm. The only magpies I saw growing up were Heckle and Jeckle, the cartoon birds on TV; I expected real magpies to be all black with yellow bills (but I did not expect to see them smoking cigars). I was amazed to find that they are black and white and an iridescent green, with a very long tail. So much for TV teaching me...

The weather folks are now saying we'll get a mixture of rain and snow tonight, with little or no accumulation of the white stuff. Once our first snowfall is visible on the ground, or in the air, I'll take a photo of it and stick it up on the blog. Why? Because I still get excited about each season's first snowfall - I guess it comes from having spent 34 years in Florida, and never having to really battle snow or bad weather like my parents did. I need to give Ooch another spoonful of food - he seems to be picking up weight with me around. More coming soon...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

View from Offa's Dyke Path - May 2006

On Offa's Dyke Path Walk, May, 2006

Lyla's Kittens at 5 weeks


Cambron, Alabama - May 2005

Cambron, Al

Ooch, and possible snow?

I was lucky to see a meteor streaking across the sky this morning while I was out walking - I decided I really hadn't seen it, until I arrived home and the meteor sighting was being reported on the early news. It's a cool, bright morning with beautiful blue skies; most of the leaves are gone from the aspens in the backyard; the kits are running in and out like maniacs, and the birds and squirrels are getting seed and peanuts. A single-engine plane just flew, rather low, over the apartment - it might have been Jim, saying hello.

As soon as I've finished this bit, I'll head over to take care of Ooch. Unfortunately the bus system has a very limited service on Sunday mornings, so I can only head that way once an hour - and I just missed the first bus. Ooch seems to be doing fine. I feed him a teaspoon of minced food, which is mixed with gravy, greens, and rice, every 30 minutes and he eats hungrily and heartily; and since I keep his intake at a slow rate, he doesn't upchuck his food. He is also drinking water, lactose-free milk, and eating his dry food. I'm grooming him daily, but he does have a lot of mats in his coat - I'll probably take my hair-cutting scissors with me when I visit him tomorrow.

Kathy and her daughter are at a Bed & Breakfast Workshop for two days - it's up in Estes Park and is aimed at Prospective Owner/Operators. Estes Park is expecting 4 to 8 inches of snow over the next 48 hours; supposedly we are expecting 3 to 5 inches by Monday night. I had to laugh at one of our weathermen - last night he said that the weather for Monday and Tuesday would be: "Grey, rainy, snowy, cold, and just plain blah." That's the first time I've heard a meteorologist describe the weather as Blah. I'm happy with yesterday's collegiate football results - but I still disagree with a call in the Florida-Vanderbilt game in Nashville. The Gators won anyway, but I still think the officials screwed up a call.... Need to gather my kits inside and head over to the Ooch-man's.... (I can't, for the life of me, figure out why spell-check doesn't like Ooch's name!!!)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

When can I go back in the water, Mom?

The Hottenstein's new puppy makes his first trip to the beach!

The Hottenstein's new puppy, a golden labrador retriever, makes his first trip to the beach in Florida.

And from Cousin Sarah...

Idiotically Stupid (Me)

I've already had my walk and am preparing to go over to stay with Ooch for a few hours. Lovey is begging me to let her out (quite verbally), and Banichi is just staring out the door. I slept like a rock last night - of course, I did have two warm bodies with me most of the time.

Yesterday afternoon I discovered an old pot in the very back of the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. There was a really gross covering of dark grey mold with some blue and green mixed in that had grown over the top of the contents, which were somewhat liquid. I turned on the cold water, turned on the disposal, and dumped the pot. The disposal hummed and chewed its' way through the contents of the pot, but it didn't want to process the mold. I thought I'd give it a helpful shove down the drain/disposal. - instead, I forked myself.

Yes, you read that correctly. I forked myself. Please never be as idiotically stupid as I was yesterday! I grabbed a fork by the tines and used the handle to try to poke the mold down into the disposal blades - with the disposal turned on. Big mistake. I poked too deeply, the handle of the fork got caught in the blades, and the tines pierced the ball of my thumb with a bit of torque. So the holes into and out of my thumb are not straight... Dumb, dumb, dumb.... I just was not using my brain at all! There was nothing to sew together, I'm current on my Tetanus shot, so I just washed and washed and washed the holes, soaked my thumb in hydrogen peroxide and then applied Neosporin ointment. I soaked my thumb in salt water last night, then washed, peroxided, and Neosporined it before bed and again this morning. The areas around the holes are a little bit pinker than usual, but that's to be expected.... I've had to laugh at my own idiocy!

Friday, November 7, 2008

How Do These Things Work?

how do these things work

I have trouble getting up on just two legs - thank goodness I don't have four to keep track of!

Longhorn cow and calf

Momma Texas Longhorn with baby Longhorn!

Open Countryside Relaxes

I'm posting late because I took the bus to Lafayette this morning and purchased a bunch of stuff for the kits and I at Wal-Mart. I am used to seeing the mountains always to the west now, but I grew up in the outer suburbs of a town, and I like to see open country. I hadn't realized how tightly wound my body was until I started looking at open fields and pastures as we traveled east on Arapaho Avenue, and felt myself physically relax. I was amazed at how tight my muscles were! And the more open the country became, the more relaxed I felt... I'll have to remember to ride out there at least every two weeks.

It's pretty windy here at the moment - Lovey and Banichi keep ducking back inside when the wind really blows. I swept the patio already but it doesn't look as if I had. Tomorrow is a home football game with kickoff scheduled for 11:37 - so the kits won't be able to go out in the morning. I'll let them out late tonight and again late tomorrow afternoon; but I know they are going to complain.

Ooch is hanging in there, so I'll be at his house this afternoon for a couple of hours and then for 2 or so hours every morning through Tuesday. He really is such a big love. His owner just worked out his age to be 18 - so he's had a good long life. Lovey has placed herself on the right front corner of my desk and keeps swiping her tail over the keyboard... Banichi is sitting just inside the door, watching the leaves blow madly across the yard. I need to start planning my lunch and the get ready to visit Ooch... Have a good weekend!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Jeffrey at Pony Penning Auction 2000

Jeffrey can be seen, sitting, immediately above this filly's poll and ears. July 2000

In Memory of Jeffrey, Photos of Ireland

home in fermanaugh

In County Fermanaugh, Ireland, where the Devine family lived - an old Irish cottage with newer additions.

Glendalough, Ireland -  Lake & Mountains

View of lake and mountains at Glendalough, Ireland.

Connemara, County Galway Ireland

Scenic view of Connemara, County Galway, Ireland

Brisk morning

The kits were warm and purring bed companions last night and this morning - I think they knew I was upset, and both have been sticking by me this morning, too. A word for this morning's walk was brisk. It was in the 20s and I bundled up for the first time this fall to go out walking. Currently it's 37 degrees, with a wind chill of 30; the patio door is cracked open, and birds and squirrels abound on the patio and in the backyard. Lovey and Banichi are chasing each other, and occasionally are half-heartedly chasing the squirrels that will run from them (if the squirrels stop and look at the cats, the cats stop chasing them).

I need to check with Ooch's family, as I am supposed to start taking care of him tomorrow. He's elderly and has been quite ill, and his owner is never sure that he'll even survive the night... After Ooch, I'm home with the kits until the 22nd of November, when I'll start at Brandi's house; a couple of days before Thanksgiving, I'll add Ooch to my care list (he'll be just across the street), if he's still with us.

Today is the 5th anniversary of my husband's death. As with all couples, we had our ups and downs - and I still love him dearly. I miss his quirky grin, the sparkle in his green eyes when he was teasing, and most of all, his love and support. Here's to the memory of Jeffrey Dale Devine!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Photos of Scotland

Isolation - winter in scotland

Winter isolation - Bluefolds cottage in Scotland, 2001

The Piper Scotland June 2006 034

Standing on the roadway,overlooking Loch Ness, a piper plays "Scotland the Brave" - June 2006