Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Tribute to Theoda Smith Nocks

Aunt Theoda passed away yesterday evening. I do not think that a family member was there with her in her last hours, because her daughter did not let anyone in the family know that her Mother had stopped eating ten days ago, and that the daughter had approved of water given only orally. Now, please don't read this the wrong way. I'm certain that's what Aunt Theoda would have wanted, in the end. But it would have been nice if her daughter had told other family members that her Mother was not long for the world. Aunt Theoda has been in the hospital, followed by a nursing home since falling and breaking her hip more than five years ago. After her hip replacement, she would not do her physical therapy; after 9 months in the rehab facility, she began showing signs of Alzheimer's. For the last three years, Aunt Theoda has not recognized anyone within the family when they visited. Elenor, Aunt Theoda's only surviving child, called and informed my cousin Sarah of her Grandmother's death with very little feeling. Sarah, who had grown up seeing her Grandparents every weekend, if not every day, was stunned by the death, as Elenor had not told anyone that Aunt Theoda was failing. Sarah and her sister Pam would have been there in a heart-beat to sit with their Grandmother; to talk to her, share memories, read to her, and discuss family times together even if she could not respond. Instead, Aunt Theoda died alone.
Aunt Theoda was one of those who grew up during the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl years; she and her family were of old farmer stock, and, like the Nocks family, the Smith family made do with what they had when they had it. They worked hard, they played hard, and they loved deeply. Aunt Theoda married Uncle El while she was in high school, but managed to finish her senior year, while Uncle El worked on a neighbor's farm. While Uncle El served in the Navy, Aunt Theoda worked their own farm and raised their kids, two sons and a daughter. Uncle El was a good farmer, and preferred to use the horse and plow on a field, rather than a tractor. Aunt Theoda raised prize-winning rabbits, domestic fowl, and usually won the baking contests at the local fairs. She was brought up to believe in community service, and, up until her fall and broken hip, she drove other locals without transportation to and from doctor and hospital appointments, even if it kept her out and about all day. Uncle El passed away quite suddenly, from a heart attack, like my Dad, his brother. Aunt Theoda spent three months recovering from the loss of her love, and set out once more, doing kindnesses for her community.
Theoda Smith Nocks will be greatly missed by all who knew her.

Monday, September 27, 2010

FEI World Equestrian Games

Driving a four-in-hand carriage on the
cross-country course

Home Once More

It is so nice to be at home again. The kits are out on the patio, I'm getting ready to go grocery shopping, and then I need to wash a load of laundry. I moved the kits home late Saturday morning, using Skippy and Finn's BMW. Their parents returned home at 7:30 Sunday evening, and then brought me home. I spent the early part of the evening dealing with the 28 phone messages that had been left for me, then watched the 10 o'clock news and went to bed. This morning, I got up, showered, dressed, fed the kits and cleaned the litter boxes, and then headed out to walk Rosie and Remy. Since construction is still continuing at the Rs', I then kept them at Kathy and Jim's until after noon. Then Kathy and I grabbed lunch and came back here for her to do her and Jim's laundry from their trip. We did get three loads washed and dried, twice. I think she still has some non-essential stuff to wash.... I need to wash my shorts and the Ts I've worn this past week. Lovey has been all over me, loving and licking. Neddy has nursed on both arms and seems content. I am just flat out tired. Starting tomorrow, I walk Lucy each Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday until winter break, as well as the red kids. Getting ready for my work in Brighton next month, with four dogs and five cats in the same house.... then, my vacation! - Hooray!!! - If you want to know what's happening at the FEI World Equestrian Games, please visit:

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Windy Day

It's warm and windy today - I've given Finn his lunch after giving Skippy a snack. And that doesn't take into consideration the feeding of Suki and Boo, and my kits, and then taking the Irish kids out for two hours. Lovey was very upset when I got ready to leave the Snow house, so I gave her and Neddy some of their really special treats - they were both gobbling up food when I slipped out the door. Skippy is on a diet and is always hungry; Finn is turning out to be a super little boy. He listens, responds, and obeys very well for a puppy. And, bless them, Finn and Skippy's owners have given me the use of one of their cars, so I don't have to walk the 3 miles between houses late at night or early in the morning - I'll return my kits to my apartment Saturday, so Kathy and Jim won't have to worry about them upon their return that evening. So it looks as though I won't be as stressed as I thought I'd be this weekend. (Hooray!)

SuperSaver, the winner of the Kentucky Derby, has been found to have deep circular bruises surrounding all his canon bones, almost as if he has suffered condylar fractures in all four legs. He's getting a long vacation for these problems to heal. Afleet Express, another good three-year-old, has suffered a suspensory ligament injury and won't be in training for the rest of the year. Zenyatta had a very good work last week, and is looking super for her race next weekend. The big International Horse Games begin tomorrow at the Kentucky Horse Park... I do wish I could be there!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


We actually had about 2 hours of light rain this afternoon - I had just taken the red kids home, so the kits and Suki and Boo and I curled up and finished reading Sphere. It's cooler, too; currently it's 64 outside, and we're expecting a high in the low 70s tomorrow - but, then the temps go back up. All of us critters are fine; I start running around like a lunatic tomorrow. Speaking of lunatics, please enjoy the gorgeous harvest moon tonight - 9:09 (MDT) marks the autumnal equinox this evening, and with Jupiter and Uranus also visible, it's a nice night show.
- And, happy birthday, Bilbo and Frodo!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Garden Produce

I have to admit that I'm certainly enjoying the largesse
from Kathy and Jim's organic garden!

New Season and the Kids

Well, while I enjoyed seeing the revamped Hawaii Five-O last night, it wasn't an instant hit with me. I like the casting, but (I think my age is showing) the music was too loud, as were the explosions and gunfire. The new show seems to be clear and crisp; the relationships will, I hope, continue to evolve - and how does Kono get away with this new task force work as "extra credit" for her last week at the police academy? I'm hoping that with the wonderful location shots, and with stronger writing, the series will improve. Tonight, NCIS was its usual, excellent self - although I do get tired of DiNozzo teasing McGee so much. And I have loved Ralph Waite for years.
Lovey and Neddy ran outside this morning before the red kids came over. Alexy stopped by to meet them, and was amazed that if I came back into the house and ignored the kits, that they came inside to check on me. We shared tea and homemade blueberry pancakes this morning, before she returned home to teach her classes. Lovey almost got stranded high up in one of the cottonwoods, but finally figured out how to come down (she comes back to earth head-down - don't ask me how!). Neddy was playing in the willows and the ivy in the pet graveyard most of the time. All of the dogs were very good today; I guess they realized I was not happy with them yesterday... We've had record highs for the past three days, and are expecting the mid-80s tomorrow. Thursday, the first day of fall, we're supposed to have a high of 78, and then go right back to mid- and upper-80s. It doesn't look like we'll have our first frost until after Kathy and Jim return, for which I am thankful. Don't know if I'll be blogging this Thursday through Sunday; it will depend on how much time I have....

Monday, September 20, 2010

Lovey and Neddy, and the Canines

Neddy is feeling much more at home in the Snow house; Lovey is feeling much better when she sits on me. Lovey really enjoys the couple of hours that she and Neddy have to explore the backyard; Neddy gets so exhilarated that I frequently have to catch and hold him to get him to settle down and stop panting for air - he feels that he must run and see and explore everything, or it will all disappear in an instant. Neddy is beginning to accept Boo's presence, but Lovey still goes a little faster, and ends up with Boo hot on her trail. Both Suki and Boo are "in the dog house" with me right now, because they would not sit and stay while I ate my dinner. They can do it. They have done it. There was no reason for them to keep creeping closer to me, and then try to nudge my elbows with their noses. I put them outside immediately after verbally chastising them, and they didn't get to clean the plates. Rosie and Remy made me upset today, too. (I guess there was just no pleasing me...) The Snow house has double sliding glass doors to act as insulation; when it's cool, there is also a screen door available for use. After I had walked the Irish kids, and we had greeted Suki and Boo in the Snow back yard, I had to use the bathroom. While I was inside, Rosie and Remy saw Lovey and Neddy inside through the sliding glass doors. They both started leaping at the glass, hitting it with all their weight, and baying at the tops of their lungs. The kits went upstairs and out of sight. Rosie and Remy calmed down when I stepped out, but any time for the next 4 hours that they thought they saw movement, they would hit the glass again and start baying. It was pretty annoying and nerve-wracking. I guess I'm getting old and cranky, and tired. That vacation in October is looking sweeter by the second!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Around and Around

Well, Alexy has arrived home, so I don't have to worry about Cloudy and Shady now. Thankfully the Clark's will return home tomorrow, so I can remove Sasquatch and Tugger from the list also. That leaves me with my kits and Suki and Boo, plus the red kids during the day. I still haven't made it to the library yet, but am into the B section of the 1936 Webster's Collegiate Dictionary... Tuesday at 4 I meet with Skippy's people to learn the ins and outs of Finn caring - which begins on the 23rd and ends on the 26th. I do not like having two houses to care for so far apart, and without motorized transport between them. - Kathy had told me that she and Jim would be going away for "a few days" for his birthday: to me a "few" is more than 2, but less than 5. So that was OK, because I knew I had Skippy on the 23rd, and they were leaving on the 15th. Kathy's "a few" is actually 10 days - they are due back sometime on the 25th, as they have a race to run on the 26th. Skippy and Finn will get my complete attention - there is no doubt about that. I'm just irritated that Kathy, as usual, assumed that I'd be available to care for the dogs (and my kits are here, too) for however long she decided upon.
The kits had a great 90 minutes playing out in the back yard this morning - they kept chasing each other up the huge cottonwoods that are scattered around the yard. Neddy also caught a moth, and Lovey tried for a bird, but missed. Suki accepts both kits, but Boo is still trotting after Lovey and loves to make Neddy fluff up and hiss. Both kits were in awe of the mule deer in the back yard last night - 3 does and the 10-point buck were eating apples from the tree, and wandering around on the patio, next to the sliding glass door. Neddy's eyes were enormous while he was watching them. And we now have a dark grey fox with a white tipped tail living in the den across the back fence. It is a very handsome critter.
The new season on commercial TV starts tomorrow night - I'm only planning on watching three new shows - the new Hawaii Five-O, Blue Bloods, and The Defenders. I would watch Jimmy Smits new show, Outlaw, but it's scheduled against Blue Bloods, and I'm afraid that my heart and TV vote will go to Tom Selleck instead. (And all my college teams won yesterday, while in the pros, one won, and two lost.)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Fall Colors in the Mountains

Peewink, et al...

After posting my blog last night, I spent 20 minutes hitting the Re-Dial button on the telephone, trying to get hold of Grandma Anne. All circuits were busy - well, of course! They were having a fire! I did get her on the phone, she was evacuated; but she never made it down to Boulder. When I was speaking to her, she could see the flames from the fire on the horizon. As she lives off Sugarloaf Road, she drove east on it to arrive at Boulder Canyon to come to Boulder; Boulder Canyon Drive was closed due to the fire. So she had to turn around and drive back by the fire itself to get to the Peak to Peak Highway, and decided to stop in at the Nederland Community Center before heading north to Lyons to make a huge 25 mile loop to get back to Boulder. When she arrived at the NCC, she was told that the evacuation order had been lifted and she could go back home. At that time, they already had the fire 60% contained, and had plenty of man-power and equipment on hand. The fire started on a power pole - the power had been off due to the FourMile Canyon fire, and when the power was turned back on, something shorted, and the fire began. So the Peewink fire is now totally contained, as are the Reservoir Road fire, and the FourMile Canyon fire. Some folks are just being allowed to go up and visit their homes today... and we have another wildfire, but this one is on the western slope of the Rocky Mountain National Park, so this community doesn't have to sweat it.
This morning, when I got up to run around to all my houses, the atmosphere of the entire town smelled like sour smoke, as if one had just dumped a bucket of water on a campfire. Yuck. The weather folks said it would be cool with a possible drizzle this morning, warming up to 83 with sunny skies. It was overcast, cool, grey, and misty until 2 p.m.; and our high was 67. It was a nice treat - but folks were incredibly bundled up for this first taste of fall. I was running around in a T-shirt and shorts, as usual; and garnered my usual share of double-takes. All the kits and all the dogs are fine and dandy. But I'm a bit tired. About to fix my supper and then read myself to sleep....

Friday, September 17, 2010

Here We Go Again...

As I was walking from Kathy and Jim's to Alexy's, a few minutes ago, a neighbor's son (who has been fighting the FourMile Canyon fire since it began) was hugging his Mom in the driveway and saying that they finally had it put out. We all hugged and danced a jig. When I arrived at Alexy's I rounded up the kits, fed them, and turned on the local news. The first thing on was an announcement that a new fire has started at Peewink Mountain, just south of FourMile Canyon, and that air and ground assistance was being called in. **Sigh**
I let Neddy and Lovey go out and play in the back yard at the Snow house this afternoon. The last two times we visited, both Neddy and Lovey stayed very close to the patio, so I called their names and led them on a sight-seeing tour of the area (they followed like dogs - but being off leash, could scatter off in another direction or just stop and take in the sights). We walked past the vegetable garden, and the kits had a marvelous time inspecting all the squash, eggplant, lettuce, potatoes, pumpkins, and tomato plants - not to mention the garlic and the rhubarb. Then they explored under the glider plane trailer, and under the 1934 Chevy chassis, and under Kathy's playhouse. Next, I introduced them to the irrigation ditch - in some places it is only 4 inches wide, but deep, and in others, it's 18 inches wide and very shallow. Luckily, the place Neddy fell in was shallow - but then he became greatly excited by the idea of running water, and he spent the next 30 minutes dashing up and down beside the ditch, leaping from side to side. I finally caught him and brought him inside because he was gasping for breath - and of course he wriggled and fought to get out of my clutches and get back to the water. Lovey, on the other hand, found herself a comfortable perch on the blasted willow tree, and sat up there and surveyed everything around and about her. She wasn't happy about coming inside, either. I think I'll have a problem getting them back inside tomorrow....

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Running my buns off...

I'm currently using the PC at Kathy and Jim's, while Lovey sits on the mouse pad and Neddy is lying on the back of the desk chair. Sorry for not posting, but it's been wild - construction is extremely noisy at the Rs, so I have them with me from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. on weekdays. I'm also taking care of Tugger and Sasquatch, and Cloudy and Shady. Connie returned home, so I'm no longer caring for Ooch; Alexy returns the 19th, and the Clarks return the 20th. On the 21st, I'll head over to Skippy's and get all the info on taking care of Finn, as I have them in my care the 23rd through the 26th. Kathy and Jim are due home the 25th or 26th.
The FourMile Canyon fire is completely contained - and the officials are now saying that it was started by a 71-year-old volunteer fireman, who thought he had completely doused a fire in a fire pit two days before the wildfire began. The Reservoir Road fire is 50% contained. It was started by a home-owner burning brush and grass in his yard. His house was not burned - his neighbors' were. We still have a lot of smoke in the air.
Lovey and Neddy are having a blast running up and down the stairs here - I'll start letting them visit the back yard tomorrow. Suki and Boo are still investigating Neddy, and now, instead of running, he stands, arches his back and hisses. He's growing up. The Rs are always happy to leave their house with me in the morning, but are also very glad to return home in the afternoons. Cloudy and Shady have been playing hooky while their Mom is away - they've started spending a lot of time across the street, and not next door. Sasquatch and Tugger miss their folks; they enjoy my company and being read to, and fed, but I'm just not their people. In any event, they eat well, play well, let me groom them, and cuddle when I read. All is well with my charges....

Monday, September 13, 2010

$4.2 Million Yearling

An un-named colt by A. P. Indy, out of Balance,
sold yesterday for $4.2 million

Besilu Farm

Besilu Farm is located near Orange Lake, Florida. It is about 600 acres in size and is owned by Benjamin Leon. While the recession is hurting us normal folks, Mr. Leon has added two young colts to his barn at jaw-dropping prices, considering our economy. I realize that the US economy needs folks to spend money to help the economy - and the thoroughbred industry really needs some new enthusiasts who have money to spend. On 3 August at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sale, Mr. Leon bought a bay colt by A.P. Indy, out of US Sprinting Champion Maryfield, for $1.2 million. This is Maryfield's first foal. Yesterday Mr. Leon sent another infusion into the racing industry by purchasing a bay colt by A.P. Indy, out of the Grade 1 winner Balance, for $4.2 million. This is also the first foal out of Balance, and the colt was sold at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale. Thanks for spending some good money for some great looking horse flesh, Mr. Leon!
All kits and dogs are well. I've got to get myself in gear and pack for the overnight stays and get Jimmy's birthday stuff together, too. Take care!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Reservoir Road Fire Photos

Fire and smoke on the far side of Carter Lake

The fire near Reservoir Road

Smoke from Reservoir Road fire

Smoke to the northwest of Carter Lake

Second Thoughts?

I've always dreamed of having a big ranch out in the middle of nowhere, or having several acres in a canyon with a cabin just big enough for me and the kits. Logically, I have always recognized the possibility of wildfires out here in the west. Now that I have experienced a wildfire that is rather close to my concrete home on a creek (and pretty much surrounded by fire hydrants) in town, I am not so readily inclined to move out into the wilds. ... The Four Mile Canyon fire is now 83% contained; firefighters are still on the site 24 hours a day, and they still hope to have the fire totally contained by tomorrow afternoon. The new fire has been designated the Reservoir Road fire (having started in the 600 block on that road); it is completely uncontained, and has already destroyed several homes. More mandatory evacuations have been declared, with people heading into Loveland itself. The Longmont Humane Society is taking in evacuated pets, and the Boulder County Fairgrounds is taking in more evacuated livestock. The Reservoir Road fire immediately came under the control/direction of the federal agencies who are working the Boulder fire. I guess some of the fire fighters who thought they might be able to return home tomorrow will be staying longer.

My kits, Ooch, and Sasquatch and Tugger are all doing well. Me? I'm still tired, and will be until at least the 27th when I can sleep at home again. I start staying at Alexy's tomorrow, and Kathy and Jim are heading for Bryce and the Grand Canyons on Wednesday. All of us are getting together for an early birthday supper for Jim tomorrow at Salt, as it's the only evening that all the kids can also attend. So I've got to find the rest of his birthday present, and address his card, and take it with me when I head out tomorrow... Tomorrow's schedule: Feed Ooch, feed and medicate Sasquatch and Tugger, walk the Rs, check on Cloudy and Shady; come home, love my kits and gather my stuff. Head back to Cloudy and Shady's house, get them inside and give them dinner; visit Sasquatch and Tugger, feed and medicate them at 5:30, feed Ooch, then appear at Jim's house to travel with him to pick up Kathy and go to Salt. Check on Ooch after supper, and return to Shady and Cloudy. ... Don't know if I'll have time to blog tomorrow or not.... Have a good week! - PS: At least the Redskins won out of my four favorite pro teams!

New Wildfire!

We have a new wildfire that has erupted about 22 miles north of the Four Mile Canyon wildfire. The new one is in Larimer County, and apparently is located between Pinewood Lake, Flatirons Reservoir and Carter Lake Reservoir. There is a mandatory evacuation underway for the area in a four mile radius (how ironically appropriate!) around Carter Lake. One of the slurry air tankers has been diverted from the Four Mile fire up to this new fire. It is burning south of highway 34 and west of Loveland. Evacuees are being told to go to Loveland..... Here we go again. I feel so sorry for all of these people!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Boulder Thank You

73% Containment

Yahoo!! The Four Mile Canyon wildfire is 73% contained, and fire management hopes that they can say it is 100% contained by Monday. While on my way to take care of Sasquatch and Tugger this morning, I ran into three fire crews and their trucks replacing needed items at McGuckins Hardware. I went up to them and thanked each of them individually - 3 men (and their truck) were from Pueblo, Co.; 6 men were from Cheyenne, Wy.; and another 6 were from Ogallala, Nebraska. They looked worn out, but were very positive. They seemed surprised when I thanked them.
Lovey has been a huge cuddle-bug the past few days - I wonder if somehow the tense conditions due to the fire has brought back her early Katrina trauma? Neddy has started collecting grasshoppers. I caught 10 and turned them loose outside during halftime today; and I've already counted another 8 inside. It only bothers me when I'm asleep and one jumps on my face or neck....
A short synopsis of my football teams: West Virginia won; Florida won; South Carolina won; Virginia Tech lost, and the Colorado Buffaloes got blown away. The Vikings lost Thursday night, and tomorrow I'm looking forward to seeing the Broncos at Jacksonville. Go, Broncos! (And ... Go, Redskins!)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Four Mile Canyon Fire Photos

These are photos taken of the Four Mile Canyon Wildfire on the first day...
I wrote on Monday that ash was raining down; it was on, the whole, rather small - from the size of snippets of thread, to the size of a thumb nail, but, as you can see in one photo, some of the ash was rather large in size, even though it crumbled at the touch of your hand...

45% Containment + A Comment

OK - This morning, there was 45% containment of the Four Mile Canyon wildfire. The fire did not spread yesterday; but we do have high and swirling winds today. Some areas that were evacuated on Monday, including Grandma Anne's house, were opened for residents to return after 9 a.m. this morning - but with the knowledge that they might have to evacuate again with little to no warning. (Grandma Anne was going to head back up to Sugarloaf at noon today.) And the warning for possible evacuation is still on for western Boulder, from Broadway to the west and from Spruce Avenue north. Sammie and Tuppurr's Dad has decided not to go on his trip, so I will get to sleep at home at night until Monday.
Neddy is chasing a grasshopper that has gone under the love seat, so he is performing all sorts of acrobatic stretches trying to reach his prey. Lovey keeps coming to tell me how much she loves me, and that she wants me to ignore the keyboard and focus on her. The Rs were good this morning, and had an excellent time chasing a couple of squirrels. Suki and Boo were their usual selves. Sasquatch and Tugger are taking advantage of their parents' absence - when I arrived yesterday evening, I found they had somehow gotten the screw cap off their glass jar of organic catnip, knocked the jar onto the floor, and had the entire kitchen floor covered with catnip. They were both high as kites. I swept up all the herb, and returned it to it's jar, then placed the jar inside a cabinet door I know they can't open. This morning, they had shredded a roll of toilet paper in the main bathroom, so it looked like there'd been a snow storm in there. They are typical boys!

Tomorrow is 11 September, and it will be the 9th anniversary of the attacks on the Pentagon and the Twin Towers. I send out my thoughts, compassion, prayers, and love to everyone who lost someone due to this awful event. It was a terrible act of unnecessary destruction by religious terrorists. I do believe it was aimed at the United States, but several other countries also had deaths incurred by this horror. ... I believe that the United States were formed by people who wanted their own religious freedom. As a whole, the United States has embraced immigrants who have professed every religion found on this planet. The Pilgrims arrived in search of religious freedom, the Quakers and the Mormons were persecuted for their religious beliefs here in the United States; but they persevered and their descendants thrive today throughout this country. People who follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, the One God (who shall remain nameless), Buddha, Krishna, Allah, - even the old gods - are not evil in and of themselves. The crazed followers of any religion, who interpret the teachings of their God as a being who preaches death and destruction, are lost. They are the people who cause unrest and incite (and excite) hatred in others. Pastor Terry Jones, who wants to burn copies of the Islamic holy book, would have fits if someone were to burn his Bible. He and the members of Al Qaida are cut from the same cloth. Hatred is their creed, attention is their goal. All should be denied, disdained, and ignored.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

New Warnings About Wildfire Evacuations

Thank goodness I live on Folsom, which is also 26th Street - Broadway, mentioned in the bulletin below, is actually 12th Street. That means that 3 houses (and the pets) that I take care of are in the new possible fire area. And, thank goodness, that at the moment, all the owners are at home... But the home I move into tomorrow is one on the west side of Broadway.... Here is the latest information regarding the fire, besides the fact that it is still only 30% contained:
"City officials are urging residents who live west of Broadway in Boulder to prepare in the event high winds forecast for this evening carry embers from the Fourmile Canyon fire into city limits.
Winds may reach 50 mph out of the southwest, which caused city officials to warn residents living roughly from Spruce Avenue north to Dakota Ridge to be vigilant.
"There are concerns about the fire's path becoming less predictable and the possibility of spot fires from embers," City Manager Jane S. Brautigam said in a news release. "We are certainly hoping for the best, but as a city, we are doing the very things we would urge residents to do — staying vigilant and planning for the worst."
Public works officials are mowing grass in open space along Boulder's western edge to reduce potential fuel for the fire while city officials plan in the event of the need for evacuations inside the city limits."
Here we go again!

Recent Images

One of many apple trees at Skippy's

Skippy's house, seen from the koi pond

Some of the koi at Skippy's

Neddy on his 5th month birthday

30% Containment, But ....

Hooray! Currently the wildfire at Four Mile Canyon is 30% contained, thanks to calm winds and a light rain last night. The only problem is that we have a Red Flag warning in effect from 3 this afternoon until 6 p.m. Saturday; a Red Flag means that the humidity is very low and the winds will be very high - usually 25 to 35 mph, and they have forecasted gusts up to 65 mph through Saturday. And, of course, the Red Flag Warning sits exactly over the Four Mile Canyon wildfire. Good News: Grandma Anne returned to Kathy and Jim's last night. Jim tried to drive to her house yesterday evening, having spent most of the day picking and packing huckleberries and blueberries along the Fourth of July Trail; he was stopped by Sheriff's office personnel. When they found out that Anne was back in residence, they escorted her out of her home (along with Tabitha) and back to Jim's truck, so he could follow her back to his house. - And all people reported missing have been found and accounted for. Bad News: With less than half of the affected area viewed, there have been 172 homes destroyed and 25 damaged.

I awoke this morning with a sore throat, a dry cough, and my shingles have reappeared. I know that shingles are not supposed to recur; however, mine do. And my infectious disease doctor is so thrilled to have an unusual case that he can document and write up (the tenth documented case in the world, according to him). - Me? I'm just ticked because it hurts so much.
The kits are having a ball, sleeping draped all over me at night, and Neddy keeps wanting to try a bite of everything I eat. He had some more strawberry Jello last night, while Lovey had a small bit of ice cream. Rosie and Remy were super this morning; but Rosie's bone went missing last week, so I had to get her a new one. The shop was out of red bones, so I ended up with this horrid neon lemon-lime color - but it made Rosie happy. Suki and Boo were their usual selves - Suki sat down with a front paw on my toes to insure that she got pats, hugs, and treats. I start taking care of Sasquatch and Tugger this afternoon, and will be visiting them twice a day through the 20th; tomorrow I begin staying with Sammie and Tuppurr; and Saturday I begin taking care of Ooch twice a day; Monday I move from Sammie and Tuppurr's house to Cloudy and Shady's. After tonight, I don't spend the night in my bed with my kits until the night of the 20th. It's nice being wanted, and being busy - but I'm sure looking forward to my down time in October!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Miscellaneous Photos

You never know what you'll see wandering through Boulder...
an elephant on Wonderland Hill

Beautiful flowers along the sidewalk, Wonderland Hill

The "Mushroom House" on Wonderland Hill

Skippy, the Maine Coon cat

Crazy Days

Forty-four years ago tonight, I sat down in front of our black and white TV, and was transported for the first time to "Space, the final frontier..." The first episode of Star Trek to be shown was "The Man Trap", unfortunately - but it introduced me to a new world, and I fell in love, at age 10, with then Lt.-Cmdr. Spock. I'm still in love with Spock.
The kits are fine today; I'm tired. Remy, Rosie, Suki and Boo are all fine. I'm worried about Grandma Anne and Tabitha, as they went back up to the house on Sugarloaf this morning - even though it's still very much within the evacuation area. The fire? It's still 0% contained - four people are missing - over 140 structures have been documented as completely destroyed, even though less than half of the area has been checked. Supposedly, only those people who are qualified fire fighters are allowed within the evacuation area - Grandma Anne took a few back roads and ran into no traffic cones or personnel to turn her back. So she is happily back home, the fire still burns, and the family worries. If you want to look at a map of the area, you can see the evacuation area, the fire area of 11 square miles, and (on the east side of the map) the city of Boulder, including the two sites I was house-sitting on Monday and Tuesday:

I wrote a much longer, and (I thought) nicer posting earlier, but Lovey sat down on the keyboard and erased the whole lot just as I was about to click the Publish Post button.... oh, well

If you want to visit a few fun web sites, I recommend:

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

MY Fire Photos...

Open Space and blue sky to the west of Boulder
at 9 a.m. Labor Day 2010
Smoke plume from fire as seen in downtown
Boulder at 11 a.m. Labor Day 2010
Same sky view as first photo, taken at 2 p.m.
in western Boulder on Labor Day 2010

Looking west toward Four Mile Canyon at 10 a.m. on
Tuesday, 7 Sept. - grey smoke line above foothills
caused by an inversion.
Inversion lifted at noon - fire then doubled in size today.

Four Mile Canyon Fire

Oh, my. The fire has now engulfed 7,120 acres and uncounted homes (at least 43 at this time are known to be lost). At the moment, there are still no known human casualties - either home owners, or fire fighters. Boulder County and the state of Colorado have depleted all of our local resources. The Governor has just announced that all evacuees should expect to be away for at least 3 more nights, and that more evacuations are expected. The Federal government will be in charge of fighting the fire, recovery, and all other things associated with this fire as of 6 p.m. (MDT) this evening. There was an inversion over the area, and the slurry planes couldn't get off the ground to combat the fire until noon today. I was amazed to see two helicopters filling water buckets from Wonderland Lake starting at 11 this morning... I was visiting Sammie and Tuppurr at their home, which backs onto Wonderland this morning, as I'll be house-sitting them this weekend. Mimi should be landing at DIA in a few minutes, and I know that Silver, her Weimareiner, will be ecstatic to see her.
I've just returned home after a 25 minute visit yesterday morning (before seeing the news about the fire), and after a flying 3 minute visit last night to grab the extra litter, litter box and scooper for Tabitha's use. I have three nights at home before setting off on my continued adventures again. I did not walk the Irish kids this morning, as their folks cancelled their walk due to such unhealthy air conditions. I apologize for continuing to write so much about the fire, but it is difficult to ignore, as our entire environment is affected by this event. The fire is continuing to spread, mostly on the northern, northwest, and northeast perimeters - but the guys say this is still an extremely volatile fire, and is actually still spreading in all directions.

Monday, September 6, 2010


Grandma Anne and Tabitha have been safely evacuated from Sugarloaf Mountain, and are staying with Kathy and Jim. In the excitement, Anne forgot Tabitha's litter box, litter, and scoop, so I gladly donated extras from my kits. - The fire is now at 3500 acres and still uncontrolled. A large area of Boulder county, starting with the western city limits of Boulder, is now fully evacuated. Multiple homes have been lost, including six belonging to fire fighters fighting this blaze. One Boulder County Emergency Fire Rescue vehicle has been crisped. So far, no loss of human life has been reported. I hope that number stays at zero, and that we don't have to add any pets or wildlife to those lists, either.

For Current Wildfire Photos....

If you'd like to see some of the photos taken of the wildfire in Four Mile Canyon, please visit:

The Best Laid Plans...

I was planning on down-loading some new photos from my camera today and sharing them here on the blog... I never got around to it. I slept in (7:00) since it's a holiday, fixed my breakfast and walked Silver. At 8:55, I started over to Skippy's, pausing and taking scenic photos along the way. After arriving, I fed and groomed him, played with him, and wrote up my report. Feeling lazy, I called the cab company, which informed me there was a 60 to 90 minute wait for pick-up, so I took the bus, knowing I'd get home in 75 minutes. I walked east on Kalmia, then south on 19th, and stepped aboard the Skip bus. When we arrived at Boulder Station, I knew I had a 25 minute wait because it was a holiday, so I sat down and read the free college paper. When I finished that, I stood, stretched, and looked around me. The sky all morning had been completely cloudless, so I was surprised to see a huge white cloud behind and above the Guaranty Bank building on the corner - and then, as I watched, the cloud became a dirty grey, and then brown. I knew I was seeing smoke from a huge fire... I went on home, fed and loved the kits, read my e-mail, and turned on the noon news. I immediately called the kits back in, and made my way back to Skippy's house.
The fire started when a man accidentally backed into a propane tank on Four Mile Canyon Road; it currently covers an estimated 3,000 acres, and is completely out of control. We've had wind gusts up to 65 mph this afternoon; ash is falling from the sky like a soft rain; I've had to use my albuterol inhaler for my asthma twice after going back to Skippy's. The wind was blowing toward his house, so I went back and got out all the garden hoses, and wet down the Open Space grasses for 5 feet on the other side of the back fence; as well as wetting down everything within 10 feet inside the yard by the back fence. I had just finished doing this when the owners returned, so I was paid and given a ride back to Silver's, along with getting much praise and many thanks heaped upon my head.
Four Mile Canyon, Sunshine Canyon and Gold Hill have been evacuated; all roads going in the direction of the fire are closed; there are three evacuation centers for people, both Longmont and Boulder Valley Humane Societies have opened their doors for evacuated small pets, and the Boulder County Fairgrounds have been opened for evacuated livestock. Grandma Anne is up on Sugarloaf, and has her vehicle already packed in case she gets the call to evacuate - all she has to do is grab Tabitha, her cat, and start up the car. Kathy and Jim, both of their kids, and I have told her she's welcome to stay with us, rather than in a shelter.
The task force for this fire just said that it could burn for several days.... Oh, no!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

#1 - Janoris Jenkins

Janoris Jenkins, a Pahokee native

Windy, Windy

It's a good thing no football, baseball or golf games are scheduled here in Boulder today. We have a constant 25 to 35 mph wind from the west (with a forcast of gusts up to 50), and it would really mess up the various games. I've walked Silver, and paid my morning visit to Skippy. I'm currently at home with the kits, and have my sneaker blocking the screen door to the patio open, as the wind keeps closing it. Neddy and Lovey are running in and out, and enjoying the weather (it's 91, but the humidity is is 8%). Tonight we're supposed to drop into the low 50s and have a high of, maybe, 71 for Labor Day. It will be a nice change. I need to visit the library again - I'm out of books to read. Local author Margaret Coel has another new book that just came out - if you're interested, see:
A big "Hello!" to Darren L. Hutchinson, a fellow Eastsider! Mr. Parker's band leadership was absolutely the best in the state, and it really helped weld our school into a single community - since he was there for us at the very beginning (like me) when the school was first established in January 1970. The Marching Ram Band was something every student could be proud of! - And, yes, I might have been hard on my comments about the Gators' first game yesterday. It was Brantley's first game as the starting QB; Brantley and Mike Pouncey, the center, just couldn't get on the same wave-length; and it was only the first game of the season. Of course, I'm partial to the defense - and, for the third year, I fell in love with Janoris Jenkins' plays. That young man is going to be another star!
In thoroughbred racing, Kent Desormeaux has to sit out riding until at least Sept 25, as he has re-broken C-7 in his neck. He went down when his horse collapsed under him on 2 Sept at Saratoga. His mount died while running - a probable heart attack. ... Here Comes Ben was an upset winner in the Forego Stakes yesterday at Saratoga, while Cape Blanco was the surprise winner of the Irish Championship Stakes at Leopardstown. Quality Road won the Woodward Stakes impressively by over 5 lengths under a hand ride, also at Saratoga.
In Boulder County, we have lots of wildlife - black bears, fox, coyotes, mountain lions, bobcats, elk, mule deer, etc. We can now say we have a moose population as well. Wildlife has been in the news recently, as a mother bear was killed by the Department of Wildlife after she and her cub parked themselves in a neighborhood tree. The mother bear was killed because the homeowner reported there was "something terribly wrong with her mouth." DoW people came, took a look, and verified that the mother bear was missing her entire lower jaw and most of her tongue. The open wound was heavily infected. The bear was shot, but the cub, who was still nursing escaped the DoW personnel. The search is still on for the cub. ... And in Grand County, across the Divide, a young pair of brothers, aged 2 and 6, were playing alongside a lake that sits beside thick woods. Without any warning, two adult moose ran out of the woods, and one of them ran over the two-year-old. The child spent a day in the hospital being tested and treated for bruises and a few abrasions, and then was sent home. - Again, a good reason to always be aware when you're outside in Colorado!

Saturday, September 4, 2010


I intently watched two football games this morning and afternoon... the Gators won, but - ouch! - what a terrible game! Only 28 yards of offense in the first three quarters?!? Oh, my! And, while I know that Tim Tebow was the big star for the Gators the past four years, I believe I heard the ESPN announcers say his name more than either head coach for Miami, Ohio or the Gators. C'mon, guys! It is and was Gator football, not Tebow football! - The other game I watched was the Rocky Mountain SHowdown, the Colorado Buffaloes against the Colorado State Rams, played in Denver at Invesco Field. The big news leading up to the game was that Rams fans had paid for a plane to fly over the game site flying a "CU Sucks!" sign. It worked like a charm - CU won 24 to 3.

Friday, September 3, 2010

World Equestrian Games

Alicen Davita vaulting on Lorino II

Mike Flarida sliding to a stop in reining

Pierre St. Jacques on Lucky Tiger in dressage

Thought Remnants

OK.... Other than a scabby knee, and some soreness, yesterday's surprise trip, fall and roll is in the books. My right arm and shoulder, which also made a considerable impact with the ground is sore, but fine; the shin swelling is less than a quarter-inch in depth. (Frozen peas in a tea towel do wonders!) I have recovered Neddy's track ball toy from under the middle of my bed, and he is very happily rattling the balls around in their spaces. Lovey is sunning on the patio. It got down to 39 degrees last night - I wore a sweater on my walk from Silver's to Skippy's house this morning - but we're supposed to reach 80 this afternoon, then back in the 90s for the weekend. Rosie and Remy were very good for their walk today - we saw 7 other dogs out walking, as well as a 6-point buck in velvet, and neither reacted with excitement or lurching forward. It was nice after yesterday's experience. I skipped back and forth for a short while between the two football games last night, but when it became apparent that Southern Miss was being run over by Steve Spurrier's Gamecocks, I stayed with the Vikings-Broncos game. I was disappointed that Brett Favre didn't take a single snap, but I had a good time watching the Broncos, even though they lost. There were quite a few standouts in the seond, third, and fourth strings who were trying to stay on the roster. It was a good, interesting game.
Zenyatta had a very sharp workout this morning. She is being pointed at the October 2nd Ladys Secret Stakes as a warm-up for her Breeders Cup race in November. ... And the World Equestrian Games begin Saturday, 25 September, at the Kentucky Horse Park. The Games will run through 10 October, and have a mind-boggling assortment of vendors at the associated trade show, as well as the games themselves. The Games will feature vaulting, dressage, reining, endurance riding, jumping, carriage driving, and para-dressage (for riders with physical disabilities), to name a few. I certainly wish I could be there!

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Cloudy on her kitty tree inside

Caught By Surprise

I try to keep my eyes in constant motion when I'm walking dogs - I try to see if I can see any possible dangers, objects of interest, or problems in the distance and to either side of the path (or street) I'm walking. Today, while out with the Rs, I saw Cloudy (Alexy's little 6 pound tuxedo cat) across the street from her home, and I realized that she was getting ready to cross the street in front of us. Since the Rs believe that cats are just squirrels without fluffy tails (and they will kill squirrels without compunction), I had them sit and pay attention to me. Cloudy paused about 8 feet away, and I said her name, and told her to go home. The dogs had seen Cloudy before they sat, and were switching their attention between her and me. I don't know if it was because I said her name and she recognized my voice, or if sheer devilment made her do it, but she leaped at the dogs, fluffed her fur, arched her back, and spat like an electrical wire gone wild. She got within 18 inches of the Setters' noses. I was yelling at the dogs, and the dogs were doing their best to attack the cat; somehow I did not get my feet planted well enough on the asphalt of the road, and the dogs started to make headway towards Cloudy. She ran for her house, but kept stopping and presenting her "I'm not afraid of you!" posture to the dogs, who continued to jerk and pull me forward. At the corner of her house, I tripped over a large rock and fell, and somehow lost hold of Remy's leash. He took off after Cloudy, who, thankfully, climbed the big cottonwood. Rosie was dancing all over me, as if I was a part of the ground. All in all, everything ended well. Alexy came out to check on the fuss; Remy came back to me, and I grabbed his leash; and I managed to get back onto my feet. I have a case of road rash - all the skin on my right knee is gone, and I have a lump the size of a grapefruit on my right shin, just below the knee. Cloudy is perfectly fine, and came down out of the tree for a couple of kitty treats. The dogs calmed down and I took them home. When I arrived home, after walking Lucy, I washed off my knee and cleaned it with hydrogen peroxide, then I put an antibiotic cream on it. The lump currently has a package of frozen peas sitting on it. - I was completely caught by surprise, because I had no idea that Cloudy would act as if she were attacking the dogs. Oh, well... live and learn!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Bits and Pieces


CSS Shenandoah

Chumbe Island Coral Park

Can anyone tell that I'm reading Clive Cussler's new book
Lost Empire ?

Getting Skippy High

I found out this morning that Skippy has the genes to respond to catnip, so we spent 30 minutes playing with a catnip stuffed mouse this morning. - This was after his breakfast and grooming session. We repeated the play this afternoon after I had fed the koi and before he got supper. The Rs were in rare form this morning - I guess due to sensory overload from the construction crew. At least they were calmer when I left them after their walk. My kits slept with me, one on each side last night, and then they snuggled for a 45 minute nap this afternoon. Tomorrow will be another full long day, as I move into Silver's house in the afternoon. In the morning, I'll be visiting Skippy, walking the Rs, and spending an extra hour with them, then walking Lucy, the Portuguese Water Spaniel. Then I'll get to run home and love my kits, take a quick rest, and then head back to Skippy and then over to Silver. I'll be sleeping at Silver's until Tuesday evening, plus taking care of Skippy twice a day through Monday, and the Rs usual walks. It's fun to be busy, but sometimes I do over-schedule myself... not that I'm unable to do all the running about, it's just that I'm so exhausted after a few days of it that all I want to do is sleep for 36 hours (with only my kitties causing interruptions).... Thank goodness it's hump day!
Tomorrow afternoon and evening, I'll also be switching the TV stations back and forth between the South Carolina Gamecocks game on ESPN, and the Broncos-Vikings game on CBS. After the excitement of the games, I should sleep soundly!