Friday, July 31, 2009

2009 Pony Auction Photos

A nice, tri-color pinto colt, who isn't sure he likes what is happening...

This filly definitely doesn't like being handled by the younger firemen

I want my Momma! I want her now!

This little filly put up a fight when separated from her dam - that's why there are three handlers: Tyler Marks, a Reed boy, and Curtis Nock (left to right).

I'm positive that the auctioneer touted this foal as a "real Misty-family" colt, it's done with every palamino pinto...

Landrie Folsom, of Thomasville, GA, kisses the nose of her new possession - this is the last time she'll touch him until next year. This sorrel pinto colt was a "buy back", in which the buyer gets a photo, papers, and the ability to name the foal... but the foal itself will be breeding stock on Assateague Island, in the care of the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company.

Thursday's Pony Auction

In the early 1920s, most buildings on Chincoteague Island were made of wood. Then the Big Fire occurred, and more than half of the residences and buildings in the downtown area were lost. Yesterday's Pony Auction raised money for the Chincoteague Island Volunteer Fire Company - proceeds from the month-long Carnival and the sale of the Chincoteague ponies goes to fund, equip, and train the volunteer fire-fighters on the island. According to my sources, which are not official, 67 foals and yearlings were sold yesterday, for a total of $93,900.00, which is down from last year's sale of 104-thousand-plus. But considering the economy, I think it's still a good amount for the ponies to raise. ** I misidentified the photographer yesterday - he's the same photographer I used for today's shots - his name is Jay (not Ray) Diel, and he is from the Salisbury Daily Times newspaper. Again, I thank him for the use of his photos in my blog. ** I still want to be on the island - heat, humidity, mosquitoes, crowds, and all.... And today is the swim back to Assateague, during slack tide. There will be less than half of the crowds today to watch the swim back than there were on Wednesday.

Here in Boulder, we reached a high of 62 yesterday, with intermittent rain and mist. It was 47 this morning when I took the kids for a walk, and I have to admit that I had on jeans and not my shorts - especially since the humidity was 87 %. At least I haven't had to water all the flowers in the yard because of the heat! But we are (supposedly) to reach the lower 80s today, with thunderstorms in the afternoon - and that's the forecast through Tuesday. And starting today, I have charge of Suki and Boo until Monday evening. I think the girls will visit the red kids in the afternoons, and the red kids will visit the girls in the mornings... ** More horse info - On Sunday, Rachel Alexandra will race against 6 males her age in the $1.25 million Haskell Invitational. She is currently the favorite to win. ... At Del Mar, Bing Crosby's track, they have had 6 catastophic break-downs (resulting in the death or euthanization 0f the horse) in a space of 10 days. Three occurred during morning training on the PolyTrack; two occurred during races on the PolyTrack; and one happened during a turf race. What's happening at Del Mar? ...
** And, finally, two studies have been released showing that cats train their humans (as if I didn't know that!) to do as the cats wish - if you're interested, please visit the following URL: .... Have a great Friday!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

2009 Chincoteague Pony Swim Photos

Chincoteague ponies leave Old Dominion Point on Assateague at 9:44 a.m. Wednesday...

Swimming the one-eighth mile of the Assateague Channel isn't too difficult...

Solid ground again! Chincoteague Island, we are here!

Momma, where are you? Momma?!?

I'm here, son.... Calm down, this is a normal happening....

"Fenced in" by riders, the ponies head up Main Street for the Carnival grounds....

Yesterday's Pony Swim - Auction Today

The US Coast Guard signaled slack tide at 9:43 a.m. yesterday morning, and the round-up men of Chincoteague herded the wild ponies into the water for their swim across Assateague Channel. Four minutes and twenty-one seconds later, the swim leaders stepped onto the shore at Chincoteague's Pony Swim area, which is next to Memorial Park. Some folks went to the swim area at 1:30 in the morning, trying to stake out the "best view" for the swim. One foal turned back during the swim, and was put aboard the Saltwater Cowboys' barge, which followed the swimmers across the Channel. After a rest, the ponies were then herded west on Beebe Road to Main Street, and then north to the Carnival Grounds. I understand that the crowd estimates for this year's swim were between 40 and 50 thousand people. ** The auction of foals and yearlings began at 8 a.m. this morning, and will probably last until 11:30 or noon. I will report on the numbers and prices tomorrow morning. Above this posting are several photos taken yesterday by Ray Diel, of the Salisbury Daily Times newspaper. I'll have access to many others at a later date - but Ray's are excellent! If you'd like to see more photos, or a video of this year's swim, please visit - they have a very good site.

Our temperature got all the way up to 60 degrees yesterday. Early in the morning, clouds were high, but as the day wore on, the clouds began to gather on the crowns of the peaks, and then slowly clambered down the Flatirons. It began to rain at about 11:30 yesterday morning, and it is still misting. We hope to see a high of 67 today. I took the red kids out on 3 walks yesterday, working them in between the rain showers. We all slept like the dead last night - I had a quilt covering me, with both dogs beside me. Lovey feels awkward about this storm system... I think the prolonged low pressure is bringing back memories of Hurricane Katrina. She is much more "clingy" than usual and always wants be be inside my clothes, next to my skin. She and Banichi seem reconciled to the fact that I'm, once again, not at home with them. - But I miss them dreadfully! With no internet access at the red kids, I am not getting much done - and when I get home, the kits want my hands and attention focused on them (and I can't blame them!). I did read all of Catherine Coulter's lastest FBI thriller, Knock Out, yesterday. It was very, very good. - And, for some (completely unknown) reason, the musical theme from Misty of Chincoteague (the movie) keeps running through my head! I know when I headed for the bus this morning, with the temp at 58, and the humidity at 93%, it felt like I was on Chincoteague! ... More to come, as I can get to the internet!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

2009 Pony Penning Day!!

This entry will be rather short, as I am preparing to move in with the red kids. It's nice and cool here in Boulder at 5:40 a.m.; on Chincoteague, it's 73 degrees and the humidity is 96 %. I'm sure the ambulances will be kept busy with heat and dehydration victims. The Pony Swim Shuttles started running at 5 a.m. (which was 2 hours and 40 minutes ago, my time...) - and I've been struck with what I call my usual Pony Penning madness - even tho' I'm not there, I've woken up every 45 minutes, with my mind screeching, "Is it time to get up yet?" Slack tide is expected to occur around 9 a.m., which is when the actual swim will begin - by now, the Saltwater Cowboys (or round-up men) will have the herd on the move from the Tom's Cove holding pens on their way to Old Dominion Point on Assateague. As soon as the US Coast Guard signals that the tide is slack, the mounted riders will whoop and holler and crack their bull whips and start the herd moving for the water. After the swim across the channel, the ponies will be allowed to rest for an hour before they are herded down Beebe Road and north on Main Street to the carnival Grounds. The auction of the foals will begin tomorrow morning at 8 a.m.
I will try to post photos from this morning's swim later this afternoon or this evening.... I hope everything goes well for the ponies and for the round-up men!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Island Scenes


One of the ubiquitous grey and white kittens that abound on Chincoteague - looks like a miniature Buhger!

Beach Sunrise, Chincoteague

Assateague Beach sunrise

wild horses on the Chincoteague Island

A typical herd of Chincoteague ponies on Assateague in early June

A Muddy Pony Penning?

It's 7 a.m. here, and it's 57 degrees outside (with 65% humidity). We had multiple thunder and lightning storms yesterday afternoon and evening; this morning, it looks as if the tips of the Flatirons have fastened themselves to the heavy clouds. A little further north, one can see new snow that arrived overnight on several peaks. I saw birds, squirrels, a raccoon, and few other people out early with their dogs while I was walking this morning... While it is cool here, on Chincoteague at this time, it's 75 degrees and the humidity is 90% (according to NOAA). I have a feeling that Pony Penning is going to be a muddy mess at Memorial Park (where the ponies come ashore from their swim and the crowds are waiting for their arrival) - they received almost 5 inches of rain yesterday afternoon, and local flooding was reported.

During the past few days, the rounded-up Chincoteague ponies will have been looked at by the vet, hooves will have been trimmed, teeth floated where needed, and those ponies deemed unfit to make the swim will already have been trailered over to the carnival grounds on South Main Street. Right now, if you were on Chincoteague (and/or Assateague) you could see Chincoteague ponies in several places. [First, a word about Assateague Island... Assateague Island is over 33 miles long, and is located both in Virginia and in Maryland. There are Chincoteague ponies on the Maryland side of the island; they and their Virginia cousins are kept separate by a very well-kept fence. Those ponies in Maryland belong to the US Government via the Park Service; the ponies in Virginia belong to the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department, and are grazed on Assateague by a contract with the US Government. The numbers of the Maryland ponies are kept down by use of contraceptives. The Virginia ponies are allowed to breed naturally, and the foals and youngsters are sold annually at Pony Penning.] One could see the ponies in the holding pens on the east side of the Carnival Grounds on South Main Street, which backs onto Willow Street. One could see relatives of Misty, the pony who made the island famous, at the Chincoteague Pony Center, located on Chicken City Road between Church Street and Maddox Blvd (or Beach Road, as it is now commonly called). The Leonard family, who own The Refuge Inn on Maddox Blvd (just before the Assateague bridge), keep foals and mares in their east paddock (next to the only chain restaurant on the island - McDonalds). If a person lives outside the city limits, and has at least a half-acre, one can see horses and ponies in back yards. And, of course, if you drive over onto Assateague, and follow the road to the National Seashore, one will see the holding pens for the swim on the south side of the road beside Tom's Cove. There will be Saltwater Cowboys there, answering questions of the non-locals; and there will be locals there, checking out what mare is in which stallion's band, and what her current foal looks like.

Gee... do you get the feeling that I'd like to be there? I can feel the sun and the humidity; I can hear the calls of the gulls and terns; I can smell the sea and the salt marsh - and, off afar, I think I spy the spirits of Paul and Maureen Beebe, looking at foals for themselves... (Actually, Maureen still looks over the foals each and every year - but she's a very private person and avoids publicity. Unfortunately, one can visit Paul's grave in the Bunting Road Cemetery.)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Chincoteague Memories

Pony, Refuge Inn, Chincoteague, VA

Chincoteague pony mare, owned by Donald Leonard, at the Refuge Inn on Chincoteague Island, VA

Snow Geese Flight 73

Snow geese in the fall at Assateague National Wildlife Refuge

Marsh at the north end of Chincoteague

This was taken near the turntable on North Main Street on Chincoteague Island - this is what most of the island looked like prior to its development (building boom)

Pony Penning Week

Hopefully this week will be somewhat quieter than the past weekend... It's 63 outside with partly cloudy skies, and it was cool enough this morning that I had to pull the covers up over my legs to stay comfortable. At this time of year, the normal Temperature for daytime is in the low to mid-90s. An Arctic cold front is coming through this afternoon/evening, and we're expecting high temps in the upper 60s and low 70s for the rest of the week... Spring and fall weather for the end of July! The kits are fine, and I start house-sitting the red kids on Wednesday.

Wednesday - a special word for me at the end of July. Were I on Chincoteague, I would already be at the holding pens on Assateague - and forget about blogging! Wednesday is Pony Penning Day, with the pony auction on Thursday and the swim back to Assateague Island on Friday at slack tide. What, you may ask, is slack tide? Chincoteague and Assateague are islands in the Atlantic Ocean - and tides run through the Assateague Channel between the two. (The Chincoteague Channel is on the west side of that island, between it and the marshes and mainland.) For a short period between the daily high and low tides, the water between the two islands is not "pulled" in either direction - a time when, if you threw a float onto the channel, it would move whichever way the wind blows, rather than north or south with the current. The US Coast Guard is on hand on both Wednesday and Friday, and they fire a flare from their cutter to signal the Saltwater Cowboys that it's time for them to herd the ponies into the water to start their swim. In the past, the round-up of the ponies would have taken place on Wednesday - in today's world, the members of the Pony Committee start hunting the various herds on the northern portion in Virginia on Thursday. These herds are rounded up and kept in a holding pen on the north end of the island, and then are herded, en masse, down the Assateague beach on Saturday morning to the southern holding pens (which are conveniently located by the road to the National Seashore). Saturday and Sunday, the horsemen round up the ponies that are on the southern portion of the island, as well as strays, and take them to the holding pens. All the ponies - stallions, mares and foals are checked by a certified veterinarian - their blood is taken to be certain they carry no infectious disease, and the ponies are evaluated by the vet to assure that they can make the one-eighth mile swim between the islands. Those ponies that are about to drop their foals, those whom are in poor condition, who have open cuts, etc., and newborn foals (and their dams) are trailered over to the Pony Penning Grounds on Chincoteague. I have heard a lot of people over the years comment that it is cruel to make the ponies swim the channel. They have not been around when the ponies take themselves into the water to cool off and to get the flies away... It's always an awesome sight, even though I've seen the herds all my life, both in and out of the water. ...

I am seriously worried about my "Spell Check" - which I know is silly... but yesterday's check hit on my "double entendres" , and suggested that I meant entities, entreaties, or entrails (Yuck!) And you ought to see what comes up for the two island names!!! ... Since it's Pony Penning time, expect more Chincoteague thoughts this week. - Have a super Monday!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday Scenes

Discovering the pot pouri

What's this stuff??? - or - Discovering the pot pouri

The London Eye

The London Eye

The descent

One of the 32 pods of the London Eye making the descent back to earth


Goose and goslings

** Many thanks to Jayne Foster for the use of her photos! **


Yesterday turned out to be very stimulating and quite eventful. I cleaned up and wandered over to the Dairy Center for the Arts a few minutes after noon - I had a "side" ticket to see Into the Woods, which means no specific seating - first come, first sit... So I waited with a rather large group in the lobby until we could take our seats. During this time, I read (an old Elizabeth Peters' book, Silhouette in Scarlet) and spoke with the mother of the young actress who was the Narrator for the play. I saw and spoke with Nancy, and later saw Joel briskly arrive. When the doors opened, I chose a seat at the (stage) right front corner, right in front of one of the floor speakers. I had an excellent view of the entire stage, and only missed two lines of the play - both delivered at the stage left front corner. I laughed and had a great time! It seems as if my cheek muscles are sore from smiling and grinning so delightedly during the entire performance. And I got to see Max on stage - Max off-stage, at home, seems rather quiet and reserved. He played Rapunzel's Prince in Into the Woods, and was a superb as a leering Prince, delivering double entendres, and his delivery of his part of the "Agony" duet (with his "brother" Prince) was hysterical! My hat is off to the entire cast and all the directors! After the huge ovation (it was the casts' last performance), I meandered over to IHOP and had a very late lunch around 4 p.m.

When I arrived back home, I opened the door for the kits to play outside, and answered my messages. I made two more appointments to take care of clients' critters, loved my critters, and then found that the local PBS station was showing Fiddler on the Roof (the Topol version) un-cut and uninterrupted. So that was on the TV for musical and cinematic enjoyment. I then looked at my requests on Facebook - and soon after I had signed on, my cousin Mike Barnes of Kansas City contacted me by Instant Messenger, and we "talked" until about 11:30. Normally I close the patio door around 9:30 each evening; but I didn't last night... And so, at 10:20, both Banichi and Lovey began to growl at the door. I went to take a quick look, and shut the door in the faces of two large raccoons. They mouthed off at me for about 30 seconds, and then trundled along to the south. After signing off from my talk with Mike, I decided to finish the chapter in Silhouette in Scarlet, and then turn out the lights.

Most of you who regularly read my posts know that my patio faces east; after the green sward of the yard is a 6 1/2 foot high solid wood privacy fence, which separates the apartment complex from the Millennium Harvest House Hotel - a pretty nice up-scale hotel/motel. During city-wide events and at-home football games, the Harvest House can get pretty loud. Before I turned out my light last night, near midnight, I heard two men yelling - their speech was slurred and they sounded like they were drunk and partying. I decided to ignore them and try to sleep. About ten minutes later my eyes popped open in the dark when a young, high-pitched, breathy voice started to scream, and then to yell a variety of things. The yelling included the following phrases, repeated many times and never quite the same way twice - "No!", "Get your hands off me!", "Don't touch me!", "What have I done?", "Help me! Help me!" The "no"s were scattered multiple times throughout and between the other phrases, as well as a few screams. I called 911 and reported it. I was assured someone was on the way. I then heard multiple male voices (not the drunken ones) and things quieted down. Ten minutes later, a fresh round of screaming erupted, along with several more "Help me"s, and a couple of "What the ___ have I done?"s. I called 911 again, and was assured that police were on the scene.

By this time, I was wide awake again, so I got dressed, grabbed a banana to snack on, and walked to the Harvest House's back parking lot. The fire department was there, an ambulance was there, 3 police cars and 2 police SUVs were there. The screamer, whom I never saw, was in the back of a squad car. There were two people sitting about ten feet apart on the sidewalk - one male, one female (both with an officer standing guard), and another man was talking to a group of three officers. The man sitting against the side walk was inebriated, and I recognized his voice as one of the two males I had heard. The female in the squad car started yelling again, and I recognized her voice as the screamer and yeller. I have no idea what the police reports will read, but the screaming female was taken to jail in the squad car. Both men and the other woman were released, after officers got all of their personal information. An officer approached me after I had been there watching for 10 minutes, and I identified myself as the person who had called the report in, so I had to make a statement and show them my ID. I finally calmed down around 2 this morning, and eventually fell asleep. Please note that I did not walk my usual 5 miles this morning - but there is still snow on the high peaks to the west, and we have clouds again today....

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Hadrian's Wall

view over the cliff (and wall) into a lake


I very rarely like a grey, overcast day... but I welcomed the cloudy skies this morning! We reached our highest temperature of the year (so far) yesterday, when we hit 96 - the sun was blazing and the humidity was only 13%. And Banichi disappeared yesterday, and I didn't find him until 6:30 in the evening. He stuck to me like glue all the rest of the evening and all night in bed. - Poor thing! - And it was my fault... I opened the patio door yesterday morning as usual, and went out and called for the kits before leaving to walk the Rs. Lovey appeared promptly, and Banichi usually does the same. I called a second time, got no response, and decided that he was napping in one of his hidey-holes inside. So I closed the door, gave Lovey a treat and left. When I returned home at noon, I called for Banichi both inside and out, and got no response. The apatrment guys had mowed the lawn Thursday, and they came by around 1 p.m. using the leaf blower to clear everyone's patio. (Banichi does not like loud noises.) I left the patio door open all afternoon, and called for Banichi inside. I finally dug into his three most private hidey-holes and found he wasn't there, and being worried, I went out in the backyard to look for him. I checked and called and peeked into patios to the north of mine first - and every time I called, Lovey (who was escorting me, and leaping onto my back every time I bent over) meowed her own answer. Then I worked my way down the south end... about 12 apartments down, when I called for Banichi, I got a reply in stereo - both kits. Banichi sounded panicked, so I walked towards the building and called again, holding Lovey so she wouldn't cry. Banichi had backed himself into a hollow brick in the base of the wall by the south equipment room. I convinced him to come out, and picked him up and and carried him home. He kept a good grip on my arms the whole way, while Lovey trotted along behind. As soon as our patio came into view, Banichi launched himself and ran through the door back to the "safe" inside as fast as he could. He drank lots of water and cuddled all night. He is staying close to the door this morning.

I am now booked for pet- and house-sitting through December 31 of this year. At the moment, November is clear/open, but I'm booked for September, October, and December. I might not "work" in November - spend the whole month at home with the kits, doing genealogy research. That would be grand! ... Our local Humane Society is filled to the brim with cats, dogs, kittens and puppies needing good homes,; your local shelter probably is also. ... Ex-CU professor Ward Churchill has asked the judge in his case to change his ind and re-instate him as a tenured sfaculty member at CU. ... And I've been reading too much history - it was just announced that at the Roman fort in Vandlandia, along Hadrian's Wall, a large 4-foot-square pillar has been un-earthed. I took one glance at the photo, and said , "Mithra!" He is known by many names, but I identified the carving of man and bull with absolutely no problem. Am I really living in the 21st century? ... Here's hoping you have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday Photos

Caligo eurilochus - Owl Butterflies Lise20070404 006

The Owl Butterfly

Eastern Screech Owl (Buzz) at Cape Coral's 4th Annual Burrowing Owl Festival

An eastern Screech Owl - thanks to Paul Fernandez Photography

Burrowing Owl (October 5, 2007)

A young burrowing owl at the St. Louis, MO zoo

I still look the same!

Oh, gosh! I just looked at that photo of me as a baby and realized that other than adding glasses and grey hair, it still looks just like me - even down to the double chin when I hold my head down! That's scary!! It's in the low 60s already (humidity at 60%) and the sun is shining remorselessly; the sunrise was brief but beautiful - no clouds, just a sudden brightening as the sun seemed to pop over the horizon. I was back walking in town, so I saw birds and squirrels and one raccoon, but not the variety of critters I've been seeing up in the northern suburbs. The kids were happy to have me home and in bed last night - Banichi would walk up and down my body about every 90 minutes, demanding that his chin be scratched and he be made much of. Lovey just sat on the foot of the bed and stared at me - and when Banichi wanted to be loved, she'd burble with quiet comments. I tried to get her to come up a little higher, so I could love her, too, but she was having none of it.

I am looking forward to catching up with my requests on Facebook this weekend, and then starting in on more family research. I also have a lot of information that I need to enter so I can up-load it for Kevin's family tree. I will be going to the Saturday matinee performance of "Into the Woods," so I can see Max perform at the Dairy Center for Performing Arts. ... There are still quite a few homes without power in western areas of metro Denver following Monday night's rain and hail storm. One aspect of the storm that I had not thought about was covered in the local news yesterday - with the storm striking at night, and with the heavy hail, a lot of birds were killed and injured. A lot of larger birds have been taken to several local Raptor and Wildlife Rehab Centers - most with some type of head injury - some are blind, some have no feathers left, some have still have no sense of equilibrium, etc. The care-takers at the Rehab Centers will give the birds at least 4 weeks to try to recover from their injuries, feeding them by hand, and exercising their wings by hand, as well, during this recovery period. They plan on keeping all injured wildlife that cannot be rehabilitated for a life of freedom again. ... (Oh, no! I just had a Star Trek flashback! The word freedom triggered it. I can see Cloud William quite plainly, and hear the "E plebnista...") ... Deckers can now be approached via highway 67 now, but construction and re-building work is still going on on highway 126 in that little mountain town. ... And I want to wish a happy birthday to my friend Diana, in Florida! Enjoy riding this weekend!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Old Family Photos

Charlie, Betty and Kathy Nocks (left to right)

Kathy and Great-Uncle Ray Lancaster (his initials were R. R., and he told one early census-taker, in 1900, they stood for Rocky Road...)

Better Late?

Sorry this is hitting the 'net so late. I guess it's better to post late than never... I was hit by tummy flu at 3 a.m. this morning, followed up by a migraine headache. I've only been out of bed for a couple of hours, during which I had to make a bank deposit, switch out my ticket for tonight's play (going to the Saturday matinee instead), and stop in at Sunflower to thank Kathy for stopping by to check on me - even though I was out of it at the time... Lovey is currently sitting directly in front of me, blocking my view of the monitor. Pale green eyes with a few tiny golden wisps dotted about and thin black slits for pupils, surrounded by ebony skin - how beautiful. Banichi is sprawled in a wicker chair on the patio; the patio door is open, and I have the evening news on in the background.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Smiley and Silver - until I woke up ill this morning. They are both very eager to please and very loving - but Smiley has so much energy!!!! She is a sweetheart, and works hard to please - she needs a much younger person with tons of energy, several kids to help wear her out, and a huge yard to run in. I had to cancel my walk with the red kids because I felt so badly, but I plan on being there tomorrow. It's 92 degrees outside, with humidity at 29%... we're expecting the same for tomorrow, but then "unsettled weather" for Saturday through Tuesday with highs in the mid-80s, lows in the mid-50s, and thunderstorms in the afternoons. The weather person also thought to point out that if one is planning on camping up in the mountains between now and Wednesday, that the lows would be in the 30s, and to pack accordingly. The western areas of Denver are still cleaning up from Monday night's storm... And a final, solemn goodbye to Walter Cronkite.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wednesday Views

Machu Picchu, Lama View

Llama view, Machu Picchu, Peru

Appian Way

The Appian Way, outside of Rome, Italy

Justinian wall along the Bosphorus river

The Justinian Wall along the Bosphorus River - Istanbul/Constantinople, Turkey

Busy, busy, busy...

I'm back at home for a little while.... Lovey has been helping herself to my bowl of strawberry ice cream while I caught up with e-mails and checked the news. I haven't seen Banichi yet - I think he's hibernating in his closet hidey-hole; I'll roust him out in a bit, just to be sure he's OK. Silver and Smiley's Mom called me last night and told me that a neighbor nearby had sent her a warning that a mountain lion had been spotted in the neighborhood a block from her townhouse; I promised to block off the doggie door when I went to bed and to be careful walking and running the kids until she gets home Thursday afternoon. Smiley and Silver and I were out at 5 this morning - it was 57 degrees with 89% humidity - but we had a good 2 hour walk and run. I returned home and cooled off, having a blueberry waffle with raspberries on it for breakfast. Forty-five minutes after returning, I fed the dogs and then left to walk over to Rosie and Remy's house. Their walk went extremely well - Rosie barked twice at a golden retriever, and ignored 3 other dogs on leashes. After a quick run in Kathy and Jim's back yard, we returned to their house; just before reaching their walkway, a little girl fell off her bike in the road and began to cry, her mother let go of their puppy's leash and went to the girl. Of course, the puppy came right to me. We had very polite nosing all the way around three times, and the puppy was accepted. I grabbed the puppy's leash and walked her with Remy and Rosie over the the girl and her Mom... at which time, the puppy reared up and bit at Remy's neck. Remy, being the horrible, mean, vicious, aggressive dog that he is, took a step towards me and gave a small growl to make the pup back down. The puppy went down on her back, which made Remy feel good. The owner laughed and said that their older dog was setting limits with the puppy, also, and it was good to see her react the same with a new adult dog, too. Then I returned the red kids and came home... I need to feed my Hatchlings on Facebook before they all run away, and then I'll head back to Silver and Smiley's. I'll return home tomorrow afternoon, go and see Max in his play, and then be able to spend the night in my own bed..... Pure heaven!

This morning while out with both sets of dogs, I saw 18 mule deer, 2 skunks and 7 foxes, besides all the usual birds and squirrels. ... As of 9 this morning, more than 20,000 homes were still without power in the metro Denver area after Monday night's storm. ... And thanks in part to that storm, as well as more rain yesterday, the town of Deckers (due west of Castle Rock, but up in the mountains) is almost closed due to two different mudslides. Deckers is a small town that grew up along the T-shaped intersection of two roads. Highway 126 runs north and south, while Highway 67 runs east and west, and terminates at the T junction with 126. There is a mudslide closing the road on 126 north of Deckers; to the east of Deckers, 67 is closed by another mudslide. The only way into and out of town is along south 126 and through some very mountainous country.... Poor Deckers!! But at least they have some way to come and go! .... Ahh! Banichi has just wandered out and over to the food bowl. I need to give him some attention and love...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Denver - This Morning and Last Night

2.5 feet of hail still had to be removed this morning, after last night's storm

Lightning in Commerce City around midnight

That's the remains of a year-old car under that tree in Lakewood

Wild Weather

Yesterday was warm and humid - we had a thunderstorm around 3 p.m., and then just a pile-up of clouds. I was awakened by rain and hail (and Silver and Smiley barking at it) around 2 this morning... Luckily Boulder escaped the winds and hail that hit the western Denver metro area when a cold front came through. Two-inch diameter hail has been verified, and in one area two and a half feet of hail fell - DOT had to get out their snow plows and bulldozers to clear several sections of highway and interstate roadways. A seventy-foot tall fir tree was blown over by the winds; branches from a huge pine broke through the roof and walls of one man's home; electric poles were snapped off at high elevations like matchsticks. Jefferson County Libraries are closed for the day due to lack of power. The power company says they hope to have all power in the area restored by 11 tonight. This storm hit the Denver area around 10 to 10:30 p.m. last night... it was quiet here - I was reading Steel Bonnets and enjoying the solitude and silence of Wonderland Lake. Several college campuses around Denver are closed for the day; home and business windows have been blown out; and two tornadoes have been confirmed to have touched down.... Whew! Makes my Florida hurricane experiences seem tame!

What is it like this morning? It's (at 10 a.m.) 62 degrees outside with a heavy mist... I've walked Smiley and Silver and cleared debris from their yard. It was actually raining as I walked over to Rosie and Remy's, so I cancelled their walk. I'm currently at home with my kits, trying to convince them that I do still love them. As soon as I sit down in my reading chair, or lay on the bed, I have Banichi sitting on me and loving me like mad. Lovey is still a little piqued, and has been keeping her distance - after loving me to pieces when I first came in and fed them! Not sure when I'll get to blog tomorrow or Thursday... I'll try to, but I have no idea of what time, or how long, I'll be able to do it. (House-sitting without internet access really stinks! - Or, have I gotten addicted to the internet?) Have a good week!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Middleburg, Virginia Photos

Middleburg, Virginia, Horses

Horses grazing near Middleburg, Virginia


2008 Middleburg Hunt Parade on US 50 in downtown Middleburg

The Pink Box, Middleburg

The Pink Box, a shop in Middleburg; it was originally a blacksmith's house built about 1825...

Virginians meet...

I am once again writing with an Ooch in my lap. I was going to try to blog from home earlier today, but yesterday evening Kathy called and said that Ooch's Mom was still on the Western slope and could I take care of him this morning, as she would take care of him yesterday evening. Of course, I said OK; and took Silver and Smiley out for a 2-hour romp at 5 this morning, then had breakfast, and walked over here. There was an 8-point buck in the backyard, gazing in the kitchen window while I was putting together Ooch's breakfast. He's now grazing outside the garden fence. I'll go home and spend time with the kits after I walk Rosie and Remy a little later this morning. Someone just rode by on a bike, and I can hear Brandi barking in her driveway... why does it seem like I'm home?

I'm afraid I startled, or possibly frightened, a young lady this morning. As I was walking east on Poplar, an SUV with Jamestown, Virginia commemorative plates pulled up and parked in front of me. I stopped, and stepped back, so I could ask the driver where they were from in Virginia. Now, I'd already walked and run 2 dogs; I was wearing an over-large light pink T-shirt with two large muddy dog prints on it, a pair of shorts, sneakers, wrap-around sun glasses that cover my normal glasses, and a huge droopy-brimmed straw hat... it might be normal for Boulder, but it's still a bit odd. The driver cracked her door open, and I asked my question; "Sorry for being nosy, but where in Virginia?" She laughed and stepped out - wearing flannel pajama bottoms and a scrub shirt - and said she was from Middleburg. As I paused (in delight), she said, "Well, let's say northern Virginia... nobody knows where Middleburg is." So I started talking to her about several of the shops in Middleburg, including Jeff's favorite, which was Lola's. Lola's makes the best fresh-baked goods in northern Virginia - Jeff loved the pastries and huge cookies we would grab there. And then I said, "And, of course, Middleburg is where The Chronicle of the Horse is published." She was amazed that I knew of the town and had actually been there; then she asked where I was from and I said Chincoteague Island. She laughed and said that's where her mother is visiting this week - trying to get a taste of Pony Penning without the crowds on those days. We parted ways and I came on over to Ooch's house.

I also know of Middleburg, Virginia because that's where a few of my husband's relatives moved during and immediately after the Civil War. The Devine family had been mostly in Leesburg, in Loudoun County, with a few wanderers in Washington, DC. The family divided during the war, and those who supported the Union stayed in DC, or moved into Maryland. Most of the family moved back to Leesburg, but a couple of branches moved into Middleburg. Jeff and I visited there looking in the old cemeteries, and just driving the country back roads, enjoying the sights and sounds of what almost seemed a century previous - if we'd been on horseback, or in a pony cart, it would have been perfect heaven!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Scotland Scenes

St. Andrew's Cathedral, St. Andrew's, Scotland

St. Andrew's Cathedral ruins, St. Andrews, Scotland

Highland Cattle, Isle of Skye, Scotland

Highland cattle on the Isle of Skye, Scotland

Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland

* Many thanks to Joanne Lavell for the use of three of her photos! *

Critters, critters everywhere!

I spent the first part of last night sharing the slumber bed in the TV room with Smiley and Silver, but when it became apparent that they were both intent upon getting as close to me as they could, I switched over to the guest bed and let the dogs sleep in their beds. I've already had Silver and Smiley out for a 90-minute walk and run this morning; I've been over to Brandi's and fed her and given her medications to her, as well as taking a walk; and I'm currently at Ooch's. As I left Brandi's for Ooch's house, Brandi started to bark in my direction, so I said, softly, "Brandi, hon, there's no need to bark." Then I stepped outside the hedge and was face-to-face with an 8-point buck. No wonder she was barking! As I'm typing this, there is a 6-point buck outside the den window, grazing in the front yard, while a blue jay is sounding the alarm from a Ponderosa pine. Ooch wants me to let him outside.

The kits are resigned to the fact that I won't be home with them for a few nights... Banichi brought me his shoe string yesterday morning, and Lovey condescended to play ball with me. The Pearl Street Mall was packed yesterday due to the art show - in some cases it was difficult to even get a glimpse of an exhibit because of the milling crowd. Anne and I met at The Cheesecake Factory and had a marvelous lunch. Jim joined us a little late, but he decided he'd best shower (after running 14 miles) prior to sitting down with us in the restaurant. So we had an enjoyable, delicious meal, and the male waiter was enchanted by Anne's Yorkshire accent; his parents are Brits from Sunderland. Then Anne and I visited Kathy at Sunflower; I bought blueberries, raspberries, apples and peaches for my stay with Silver and Smiley, while Anne bought some Scottish oats for her morning oatmeal. Then I went home, loved the kits again, and headed off for Smiley and Silver. I walked them and fed them, then visited Brandi and Ooch, read for 30 minutes to Rosie and Remy (after walking them for 90 minutes), then put Ooch and Brandi up for the night, and returned to the S house. Boy, was I pooped!

It's currently 59 degrees outside, and we're expecting a high of 86. The sunrise was gorgeous - several layers of thin clouds were painted in a wide variety of pastel hues as the sun nodded above the horizon. ... Barbaro's brother was scratched from his first Stakes race, the Virginia Derby yesterday, due to a leg injury. Battle of Hastings won on the nod over Straight Stretch, in the mile-and-a-quarter turf race at Colonial Downs.

And the world has lost a man who is/was/and ever will be an icon... Walter Cronkite. This quiet, passionate newsman was the best of his generation... if "Uncle Walter" said something, you knew it was true... or he would state that it was his "own considered opinion" - and that rang true also. I grew up watching the CBS Evening News - and even my cats liked to watch Walter Cronkite: one evening my Mother paused between the sewing table and the TV, and PoohCat bit her behind because she was blocking his view of Walter. I salute the best newsman ever... Walter Cronkite; may he rest in peace.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Pearl Street Mall, Boulder, CO

pearl street mall

A view of the Pearl Street Mall in late spring/early summer


The Flatirons, from a block south of the Pearl Street Mall

Pearl Street Mall, Boulder

Flowers growing on the Pearl Street Mall...

Blogging with Ooch

I'm composing and typing this blog with Ooch in my lap this morning. I spent 2 hours reading Cemetery Dead to Rosie and Remy last night, then walked here to Ooch's house where I fed him dinner and gave him a lot of love. Then I wandered down past another door, and went into Brandi's. There I gave her dinner and meds and we had a wrestle in the living room with one of her toys. I read aloud to her until bedtime, when we curled up together... Thankfully we both snore! Had an early morning stroll with Brandi, and fed her breakfast and administered her morning meds... we're awaiting the delivery of newspapers to both houses at the moment.

My kits were not happy when they saw my alarm clock go into my overnight bag yesterday afternoon. I'll be heading home to them with the first bus - then I'll have lunch with Anne, visit the Art Fair on Pearl Street Mall (an acquaintance of mine is exhibiting her paintings), and then go to Smiley and Silver's house. This evening, I'll be back over to take care of Ooch and Brandi, but I'll be sleeping at Silver and Smiley's.... I hope I can remember all this! I won't have internet access at Smiley and Silver's, where I'll be staying through Thursday.... So my blogs might occur at very odd times of the day/night - whenever I can get home and spend some time with my kits, in between walking the two powerhouses. Smiley is still looking for a new, good home - she just has too much energy for her current owner. So if any of you know of someone looking for an athletic, fit, 15-month-old German Shorthaired Retriever, please let me know!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Critters


A trio of prairie dogs

BOBCAT 4-8-06

A bobcat on the hunt

white-bearded marmoset, Amazon

A white-bearded marmoset from the Amazon


This morning I had the extreme pleasure of needing to cover my legs in the early hours, due to the coolness. As soon as I covered up, I had Lovey as a bedmate, leaning against my legs - I guess I sweat too much when I'm uncovered. Well, I ended up visiting Ooch last night and going through his evening/night routine. I'm headed there this morning prior to grabbing the red kids for their walk, and then this evening I spend the night with Brandi. Tomorrow afternoon, I'll move over to Smiley and Silver's, and run over to visit Ooch and Brandi. Ooch and Brandi's families return Sunday evening, and then I'll just be at Silver and Smiley's house until Thursday. Of course, none of that includes me coming back home every day to spend time with the kits. I'm going to be pooped! - But I'll have Christmas present money...

American Idol, the TV show, had try outs in Denver this week. A couple drove down from South Dakota for the female to try to make it on... and during the 5 hours they were away from their vehicle, they left their dog inside it, with the windows closed and the temperatures in the mid-90s. The poor dog did not survive. The owners have been ticketed for misdemeanor animal abuse. .... The owner of Rex, the Shiba Inu, that was taped upside down to the refrigerator door, has pled guilty to misdemeanor animal abuse - he claims to have been in the restroom while his girlfriend bound and taped the dog. (But, he did not release it himself...) His girlfriend will go on trial this fall after pleading not guilty to felony animal abuse. ... In Westminster, a northwest suburb of Denver, fleas are carriers of the bubonic plague (the Black Death). These fleas have infested a prairie dog colony and wiped it out, and have also appeared in a couple of local dog parks. The dog parks and the prairie dog colony are currently under quarantine. ... The Barbaro Stakes will be run Sunday, while Barbaro's full brother will race in the Virginia Derby on Saturday..... Have a super weekend!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Sea of Color at Lucy & Pepper's

Facing the back porch.....

The young pullets in their moveable coop... 8 can be seen...

Early Rising

What am I doing blogging at 5:20 in the morning? I've been up since 2:30 - I was going to turn over in my bed, and was in such pain that it took my breath away. The only things that didn't hurt were my teeth. I've always had a weirdly wired nervous system - I can scratch a place on my right leg, and feel as if I'm getting shocked below my left shoulder blade.... Ah, well.... Anyway, I took some naproxen and then couldn't return to sleep. I was catching up on some correspondence when Lovey plopped down on the keyboard, and somehow managed to remove all search bars, URL address spots, etc., completely from the PC screen. It's taken until now to reprogram the systems the way I like them and get them back up and running.

The sky is a pale grey-blue to the east, with a hit of yellow at the horizon. The sprinklers in the backyard are on, and Banichi has just finished his morning attack on the hallway door. Lovey is grousing because I won't let her out. If I can get back to sleep, I'll take about a 90-minute nap, then shower and go walk the red kids. I read the last few chapters of Medusa to them last night, while their family was at opening night for their theatrical production. I'll walk the Rs today and tomorrow morning, and sit with them again on Friday night. Since I started Cemetery Dance last night, I guess I'll have to visit the library again to pick up some more books to read over the weekend... I'll also be caring for Brandi and Ooch over the weekend, both beginning tonight. Mimi notified me yesterday that her trip of Saturday thru Thursday might be cancelled or changed, so I'll find out about that this evening....

I'm also going to have to put my oscillating fan back together and get it running. I think a cool breeze from the fan might feel nice on these 90+ degree days we've been having recently. And the kids will probably agree - they cool off by laying in the bathtub or stretched out on the tile floor... Wish I could do that!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Around the World

Kongenshave a park in the center of Copenhagen

Kongenshave, a park in Copenhagen, Denmark

fishermen in ghana

Fishermen at work in Ghana

Kaikoura Coastline with one of the many Railway tunnels, South Island, New Zealand

The Kaikoura Coast on South Island, New Zealand

Cats at Isla AmantanĂ­, Lake Titicaca

Kittens playing at Isla Amantani, Lake Titicaca, Peru; on one of the floating islands of the Uros people.