Friday, December 31, 2010

It's A Little Cool Outside - 8 Degrees (F)

All the dogs, kits, and chickens I'm caring for are fine. We actually ended up with a grand total of about 6 inches of snow for yesterday and today - a few more flurries might occur, but no measurable accumulation. It was -2 when I arose at 6:30 at the Rs' this morning. Lovey and Nedi are not even asking to go outside today, and I'm not offering. Rosie and Remy decided to "test" me last night and this morning: about every two hours, they alternated in wanting to out. Remy did go out around 2:15, but the other times, they apparently just wanted me to get up in case I might give them a treat (which I did not). The chickens and rooster weren't real happy with the snow - I did clear out about half of their run, and put scratch and feed down for them, as well as a head of lettuce. And I also brought out a full kettle of boiling water to defrost their tin waterer. Lilly was hiding because the cleaning lady was at the house this morning, but both Lyra and Dhisana were happy to be fed and not so happy to be medicated. I loved them and played with them, and then picked up Kathy and took her in to work. I was driving over to feed, love, and play with my kits.
Beulah Park in Ohio is under the threat of quarantine. Several horses shipped from there have checked out positive for the equine herpes virus. EHV-1, which can spread quickly through the air, can cause death in some cases. Its symptoms include fever, nasal discharge, and neurologic impairment Thoroughbreds in training at Beulah frequently ship to Penn National (in PA), Charles Town (in WV), and Turfway Park (in KY). Veterinarians will make their decision by Sunday regarding the possibility of a quarantine.
If you go to a New Year's Eve party tonight, please have a designated driver who will pledge (and follow through) to drink no alcohol. Tonight is a night that is celebrated throughout the world, and mainly with alcohol and good cheer - please don't harm yourselves or others. Please do not drink and drive.
From Cenedi, Leofgifu and me, a wish to you for a Wonderful New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Snow is Falling...

Last night, the weather folks said that the first snow of this storm would reach Boulder around 10 this morning. They were wrong again. I awoke and looked out, but other than the foothills looking somewhat misty, I saw nothing. After feeding myself and the Rs, I went out to grab the papers - that's when I realized that the "mist" was actually a very fine and light snow. After yesterday's sun, the snow was melting as soon as it hit the ground, walkways, and pavement, but it was coming down. We're told to expect up to 10 inches of snow before noon tomorrow. I've fed and watered the chickens, putting their water can inside the coop (with warm water in it this morning), and I've been over and fed, medicated, and loved on Dhisana, Lyra, and tried to comfort Lilly. Lilly does not appreciate the fact that her people brought home two kittens, one of whom now has the run of the house - and then they have all deserted her, leaving just me with four-times a day visits. My kits are running in and out like mad, and are currently ignoring the snow. - And my TV remote has disappeared, meaning I can't change channels or do anything with the volume. I wonder if Nedi has taken it into the bathtub? I'll have to look.
I laughed out loud last night while reading the Winter Weather Warning scroll at the bottom of the news screen - it was listing areas covered by the snow storm warning, and I laughed when I saw the listing of "Clear Creak," and not Clear Creek. - Have you ever wondered how some studies get their funding? Here are ten studies that I say go in the "Duuhhh" file: (1) The use of meth can harm an unborn child, (2) Bullies pick on unpopular children, (3) Smoking large quantities of marijuana is bad for your health, (4) Friendless kids are sadder than those with a lot of friends, (5) Men prefer casual sex to dating, (6) Teens who sit in front of the TV all day are heavier than those who participate in sports, (7) Eating less and exercising more is a good way to lose weight, (8) Caffeine affects childrens' sleep, (9) Children raised by gay couples do not have more problems in school than children with straight parents, and (10) Students who study abroad drink more alcohol than those who attend college in their native country. I still want to know how these people got funding for their ideas! Give me some study funding, and I bet I could knock your socks off with my findings!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Winter IS Coming

OK, I'm off my football kick for the moment - but if the Broncos win again next Sunday, I'll have to do a tiny bit of celebrating.... but not a whole blog, as I did yesterday. House-sitting for folks can be pretty interesting. Lynn, who has Tessa (the gazelle dog), Lilly, Lyra and Dhisana has an interesting family. She called on Christmas day, asking me to spend that night and Sunday night at her house, as Lyra had popped her Elizabethan collar off, eaten her stitches from her spay, plus had diarrhea from drinking water with floral chemicals added to it. I was extremely surprised when I stepped into her house Saturday night, called to the kits "Aunt Betty's here! Are you ready to rumble?", and had Lynn's daughter wander out in a robe wanting to know who I was and why I was in her house. We got things straightened out, and she informed me that her brother Connor would be returning home from a party sometime between midnight and two. Oh, my. Speaking to Lynn later, I found that both kids were supposed to have spent the past several nights with their Father in Denver. I woke up when Connor and Megan arrived home at 1:30, fixed a snack in the kitchen (beside the den, where Lyra and I were) and played Monopoly in the dining room. I fell back asleep before they went to bed, having to be with Sasquatch and Tugger bright and early. I met Connor and Megan that afternoon, when they came home and rang the doorbell because they didn't have a house key. About 2 Monday morning, I was awakened by their return, but I hadn't realized they had brought a very inebriated male friend home until he opened the door into the den and came over to me on the sofa. I can tell you that (a) he was very drunk, (b) he was a Caucasian male with short dark hair on his head, and (c) he had on a very colorful pair of blue, green and white plaid boxers. He also let Lyra out of the den. He came into the den 6 times before Connor got him corralled and into bed. It was a very interesting morning, especially as I needed to be at Rosie and Remy's at 6 a.m., prior to the family's departure to Florida.
Dhisana is still receiving antibiotics for her pneumonia, and now Lyra is receiving Lomotil for her diarrhea. Poor little kits! They have been so ill since they were adopted from Ohio. But at least they have a very loving home and people who care for them. Lilly isn't happy with Dhisana allowed throughout the house; she is staying outside all day to avoid the kitten. Lyra would probably really upset Lilly, but she's still being kept quiet in the den. Rosie and Remy slept with me last night, so I had no need for covers. They seem to be happy that I'm here, taking them out three times a day, playing with them, and giving them lots of treats. Topgallant Charley is still under the impression that I wish to steal or harm his hen harem. He really loves fresh lettuce, but he just doesn't like my jeans' cuffs or my white sneakers. I wonder how long it will take to win him over... Lovey and Nedi demand attention when I get home from everyone else; they want food placed in the bowls, but once it's there, it becomes a competition to see who can get the most loving and petting from me. I do my best to keep things equal between those two.
Winter is upon us. We are expecting a high around 50 tomorrow, but then the big west coast storm will move in. The weather folks are actually forecasting 3 to 7 inches of snow on Thursday, with a high in the low 20s. The high for Friday is said to be 13, and New Years Day high might be 22. Those nights we are expecting to drop below 0. I wish I could be at home with my kits to snuggle and cuddle in the up-coming weather, but I'll be here with the Rs. - Not that they are not good snugglers; it's just that (as usual) I'd like to be home in my own place, my own chair or bed, and with my own kits when we have nasty weather. And all of those days I still need to care for the chickens, plus walk Lucy, and take care of Lynn's kits. *Sigh* It's very wonderful to be so trusted with every one's homes, mail, newspapers, trash, and pets. But sometimes I just want to crawl in a hole and cover myself. I like being helpful. I enjoy being helpful. But I occasionally wish I could just be alone.

Monday, December 27, 2010

If You Do NOT Like Tim Tebow, Don't Read This...

Well, I finally enjoyed an entire day of pro football yesterday. The Redskins, the Colts, and the Broncos won; the Vikings play tomorrow night after the blizzard warnings in Philadelphia. Yesterday, Tim Tebow, the young Gator quarterback with all the records, made some new records at Invesco Field in Denver. It has been awhile since Broncos Country has this much electricity running through it based on the play and potential of one single player. But the power plant fueling Broncos fandom is on overload today due to the play, potential, charisma and electricity of quarterback Tim Tebow.
What I choose to do here is give you a “Dragnet” version (“Just the facts, Ma’am,” as Jack Webb used to say) of his latest start and first at home. Tim Tebow made just the second start of his pro career Sunday, and his first before the excited home denizens of Invesco Field at Mile High. Erich Schubert of the Broncos’ PR department provided the statistical analysis.

  • Tebow completed 16-of-29 passes for 308 yards with one touchdown and one interception, finishing with a passer rating of 89.4, and had 10 carries for 27 yards and one rushing TD, leading the Broncos to a come-from-behind win in his first home start.
    The 17-point halftime deficit ties for the largest in team history in a game the Broncos came back to win. Frank Tripucka is the only other quarterback in franchise history to bring the Broncos back from that large of a halftime deficit (he did it twice — in 1960 and ’62).
  • Tebow’s 308 passing yards tie for the most in a single game this season by an NFL rookie.
  • Tebow’s 308 passing yards rank third in team history in a single game for a rookie QB, and the most since John Elway had 345 vs. Baltimore on December 11, 1983 (ironically, that game was Elway’s first comeback win of his storied career).
  • Tebow’s 308 passing yards are the MOST EVER for ANY Broncos quarterback, rookie or veteran, in 51 years, in his first career home start.
  • Tebow’s 19.3 yards per completion against Houston marked the second highest average among all quarterbacks in the NFL in 2010 and ranks second, all-time, in Broncos history (with a minimum of 16 attempts; Jacky Lee accomplished the feat in 1965, 45 years ago).
  • Tebow Sunday had his third game of the season in which he has had touchdowns both rushing and passing — this despite just two games as a starter. That stat is tied for third among ALL NFL quarterbacks, and Tebow is the only one of the three to have just two starts.
  • Tebow led the Broncos on two 12-play touchdown drives in the fourth quarter against Houston. Prior to Sunday’s game, the Broncos had just one touchdown drive of more than 10 plays all season.
  • Tebow had just one three-and-out series against Houston (Denver had 54 three-and-out series this season entering the game, averaging nearly four per contest).
  • Tebow’s four rushing TDs this season are tied for second among all NFL quarterbacks, leading all rookies.
  • Tebow’s third down passer rating of 139.1 (6-of-9 for 96 yards and one TD, with no interceptions) vs. Houston was the highest third-down passer rating by a rookie quarterback this year in the entire NFL (minimum nine attempts).
  • Tebow Sunday became the first rookie since the NFL merger and one of just three quarterbacks overall to lead a 17-point comeback in his first home start.

Draw your own conclusions.

*** And, for those of you expecting something about critters, I'll make up for today's blog! ***

Sunday, December 26, 2010

'Twas the Day After Christmas...

Yesterday was fun, interesting, wonderful and a tad frustrating. Kathy and Jim had long runs scheduled, so we had decided on a late brunch. I think we sat down around 12:45 for our brunch. Then Kathy and Jim, and Mike, needed to shower - having run and eaten and rested without cleaning up. We started the rib roast in the oven, after Kathy and Jim reappeared. When Mike came back out, we opened stockings and gifts, round one. The roast had to be decanted and the temperature changed, so we took a break in gift actions; at that time, Lynn called me at the Snow residence and told me a tale of woe. I agreed to spend the night with Lyra in the den last night and tonight, as she was spayed Wednesday, and yesterday morning managed to remove all of her outer stitches when Lynn took the Elizabethan collar off for Lyra to eat breakfast. Lyra made a trip to the Emergency Vet Clinic, and got staples instead of stitches. She has also been confined in the den since her operation, and it turns out she's been drinking the flower water that had the florist mixture "Stay Fresh" added to it. That gave her a wonderful case of diarrhea; and since she's wearing an Elizabethan collar, she can't clean up her hind end. I feel sorry for her. While I was speaking with Lynn, the fire and smoke alarm system went off, thanks to the roast. We finally cleared the smoke out, and finished opening presents. We sat down to supper a little after 6, and while we were eating dessert, Lynn called again. After several minutes of instructions, her cell lost signal in the mountains, and I went back to the table. Then I cared for Sasquatch and Tugger, having walked over to the Chandlers' with Mike and Mona to pen up the chickens earlier. Came home, loved and fed my kits, threw my overnight bag together, and went to Lynn's. I was surprised to find her daughter there, even though she was on her way out; and Christa informed me that her brother "should be home" sometime between midnight and two. Oh. I thought it was going to be me and the kits.
Everything else went well, and the entire family made out like bandits in the present department. - I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent with my kits, my family (and Suki, Boo, and Mona), and talking to my cousin Sarah in Wichita. All together, it was a splendid day.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Got Jul!

Merry Christmas! Feliz Navidad! Joyeaux Noel! Got Jul!
I've taken care of three households this morning, and given every critter a special Christmas goodie with their breakfast. On my way out, at 7 a.m., I saw one jogger, one person walking, and six other vehicles. During my return, around 9 a.m., I saw a bicyclist, a walker, and five cars moving. Boulder certainly slows down on Christmas morning!
Nedi is chewing on my right wrist, so I'm typing this left-handed. Lovey is looking at me with an expression that says, "I'm not sure what you're up to." She is curled up on the bed, while Nedi is stretched out on the desk top. They both got new toys and a new batch of catnip, plus chicken breast in broth for their breakfast. They've also had an hour's free time outside.
No matter your beliefs, or mine, I hope that this day and all that follow will give you pleasure, hope, love, and laughter. Have a wonderful time during these holidays!

Thursday, December 23, 2010


I've been running around like a long-tailed cat in a room full of moving rocking chairs! Luckily things calm down after this afternoon, and I'm back to the Chandler chickens, the Clark kits, and the Rs for the rest of today and tomorrow. Christmas night I add the Thore kits; Monday morning I move in with Rosie and Remy; Monday night the Clark kits get their real family back. Yesterday was the ultimate in running around - I had the Rs to walk, the Chandler chickens' two visits, the Clark kits' three visits, time with Brandi (staying at her house), time with Lovey and Nedi, a therapist's appointment at 2 in the afternoon, and 3 visits in the afternoon and evening with Finn and Skippy. Thank goodness I treated myself to the car rental! - Speaking of the car, I signed up (as usual) for a subcompact, which means something like a Chevy Aveo or a Toyota Yaris. The last time (in June) I was given a free upgrade to a Toyota Prius; this time around I have a silver Dodge Charger. Me!! -In a muscle car!! It's a 2010 edition, and already has 17,000+ miles on it - but it's pretty, and it handles extremely well. The only thing I don't like is the brief horn sound when you lock the doors - and I don't like it because I come and go at early and late hours, and I don't like to disturb neighbors. But I can't have everything my way....
I have a few e-mails I need to answer later this afternoon, but other than lazing around with the kits tonight, I don't plan on doing anything but read. Let's see... news wise.... Zenyatta, retired at Lanes' End Farm, finally had a day there with temperatures above freezing, and she was allowed to run free in her new paddock. There were farm personnel posted all around the 3 acre enclosure to ensure that she didn't hurt herself in her first outing. And she apparently had a ball! There is a video posted at The Bloodhorse website, ( if you'd like to see her play for the first time since she was broken to ride. ... The bombs at the embassies in Rome are frightening. Hopefully our postal service is being its usual, vigilant self. ... And how about the weather world-wide? Heathrow is getting back to "normal" after over a week of being closed due to ice, snow, and fog. The mudslides in California make my toes curl. And I'm quite happy for the Western slope to get all of the snowfall that Colorado's accumulating - 84 inches in Gothic, in Gunnison County (in 48 hours). I'm happy with just enough moisture to keep us out of fire danger!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Our Lunar Eclipse

This morning's full lunar eclipse was the first one coinciding with the Winter Solstice since 1638. King Charles I was on the throne of England, and the Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower had had ground under their feet in Massachusetts for 18 years. The next full lunar eclipse on a Winter Solstice will occur in 2091. Somehow, I don't think I'll be around then... The clouds cleared for several hours and the eclipse was beautifully visible through the tree tops (see above photo).

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday Photos

A triple exposure of the full moon eclipse
in Hawaii in 2007

Talk about a cock's comb!

On watch (but not in the crows-nest)

Total Lunar Eclipse Tonight

If you're in an area without clouds, late tonight (in some places early tomorrow morning) a complete eclipse of the moon will occur. You can see it without any aids (unless you wear glasses, like me), but it will also be a super view if you use binoculars (field glasses) or a small telescope. Much more information (and the local times) can be found at:
Having fed and watered the Chandler chickens and rooster this morning, I have named the rooster "Topgallant Charley." Now I need to figure out the hens' names - two white, three black, and three red. Rosie and Remy were very happy to see me this a.m., and we went outside to harness up before leaving. Mona, my nephew's part pit-bull, is staying at the Snow house for a few days. She is not adapting well to having other dogs in the house. She has attacked Boo twice while inside, and now Boo runs when she sees Mona. The red kids met Mona through the fence this morning - Mona being in the west end kennel area, with Suki, Boo, Rosie and Remy in the back yard. Mona's hackles were up from the base of her nose to the tip of her tail. She is not a happy camper, poor thing. She's gorgeous - a rich red chestnut with black brindling all over her body - but she does not play well with other canines.
It's a little after noon, and 54 degrees outside. The kits are running in and out. The weather folks say that the wind will be picking up this afternoon, and that the night will be cloudy with possible snow showers after midnight. As the full lunar eclipse begins at 12:41 a.m. (MST), my chances of seeing the eclipse are very low. I'll be headed back to north Boulder this afternoon to put the chickens back in their coop for the night. Tomorrow afternoon, I pick up my rental car, and I add taking care of the Clark kits tomorrow evening, plus staying with Brandi tomorrow night. I'll be busy during the next week!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

In Colorado - Two Coyotes, Two Wolves

A coyote, west of Boulder, this past summer

A coyote above Nederland, this
past week

A pair of grey wolves, near Rocky Mountain
National Park, last winter

Party and Game

The kits are doing their last roam of the day/evening - it's completely dark outside, except for the moon, and it's 40 degrees outside at the moment (with 48% humidity). The kits and I slept in until 8 this morning - then I went to the grocery store and purchased only the local paper. I read the paper and played with the kits, after passing on a warning to the Githens Acres neighbors from Alexy. She had woken up, bathed, and let the cats out. She went out the front door and retrieved her newspaper, and when she returned to the kitchen, it was to see Cloudy scamper up the cottonwood immediately behind the kitchen door. What really surprised her, though, was the coyote that was hot on Cloudy's tail - and which followed her up into the tree to the first crotch, about four feet above the ground. The coyote could not climb higher, and once Alexy recovered herself, she grabbed two metal pots and banged them together. That caused the coyote to look at her and then leave. Cloudy came down about 15 minutes later, completely untouched. It seems that Kathy and Jim have seen a pair of coyotes in the neighborhood for the last week, but didn't think about giving folks a warning.
I attended Mimi's Winter Solstice party for a little over an hour - met some more dog owners and saw some old friends. I talked with two other women who had lived in Gainesville, and we had a blast discussing one ladies' trip to a wolf compound with her teen-age daughter. They stayed in a teepee, the temperature was below 10 degrees, and she (the mother) hadn't realized that wolves are nocturnal. She declared that she really deserved the Mother of the Year award for that Science Project trip!
And Tim Tebow was the starting quarterback for the Broncos today. The team lost, but they gave their hearts to the game. Tebow ran 40 yards for a touchdown, then threw a spectacular pass to Brandon Lloyd. Well, the pass itself wasn't spectacular, but Lloyd's catch was! The next score for the Broncos was a field goal - and the game was tied at 17 at halftime. That was when I had to leave for the party. I did not see the rest of the game - they lost, scoring only two more field goals, but no touchdowns. The final score was 39 to 23. As I did not see the second half, I don't really know what happened - but the guys played their hearts out in the first half. Go Broncos!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

'Tis the Season...

Kathy and Jim have an old-fashioned Christmas
tree with candles that we light
(it also has electric lights)
Some youngster is going to get coal in their stocking!
It's not nice to shoot the Jul Bok guarding the
gifts with a Nerf dart!
And we can't forget the gingerbread house,

Lovey's Mail

Lovey, my cat, often gets mail. My telephone listing is in her name - her true name, Leofgifu - and I can tell who the phone company sells their client list to by seeing Lovey's mail. She frequently gets invitations to start a new checking or savings account from banks. Last summer, she received a partially completed form for her to attend college. (I must say that I was impressed to see that the college had researched her name, and that the piece was sent to "Ms. Leofgifu G. Devine.") Yesterday, Lovey received a Blue Sky Card from American Express. I just had to laugh out loud.... I can picture us going out to eat, and having the cat give the waiter an AmEx card for payment. - I guess I have a really warped sense of humor..... And, of course, I can always screen my calls, because if someone calls and asks for "Leo," I know that they have no idea who they're speaking to or asking for.
It's 21 degrees outside, and the kits are sitting in the sun on the patio. The sun is shining brightly on the remains of yesterday's inch-and-a-half of snow, and it is quickly melting. I just had my hair cut, and during my shower this morning I found that my abscess has returned. (What a wonderful Christmas present!! - Not!!) I have decided to treat myself - with the load of houses and pets that I've committed to care for during the next week, I've rented a car for a week. That way, I'll be able to zoom around to some of my out-of-the-clients without it taking up hours of time on the bus and walking. I have the money needed, and I feel that I am worth it since it's cold and windy - and because my butt hurts!

Friday, December 17, 2010

17 December 2010

Nedi licking his nose - his first
snow experience

My front door

Lovey looking at Nedi
in the snow

It's Snowing?!?

Our local intrepid weatherman assured us last night on the late news that Boulder and Denver might get a few snow flurries this morning, but there would be no accumulation. I had a restless night, but didn't see any precipitation - until I got up this morning. There is snow on the patio, snow on the ground, and the snow is still drifting gently down from the heavens. The only other day we had snow accumulation, both kits refused to go outside. Today, Nedi had his first snow experience. (I'll post the photo later today.) He stepped out into the snow on the edge of the patio and sniffed it. He shuffled his feet a little bit. Then he leaped out into the yard, which has about a half-inch of the white stuff, and just stood there, jerking his tail around, while the snow fell on him and he absorbed the experience. Then he started to chase the larger flakes. Of course, they melted in his paws, which seemed to perplex him - but he continued trying to catch the flakes for about 5 minutes. Lovey ran out, stepped into the snow on the patio, and then high-tailed it, running as fast as she could up the patios to the north, and then back again. She convinced Nedi to play chase heading south, and they hit a drift of leaves and snow and both disappeared. Then Lovey came running back, yelling "Momma! Momma!" as she does when she believes she has discovered something new. Nedi, in the meantime, jumped out of the leaf and snow pile, shook himself off (like a dog), and went tearing up one of the aspens. I let them play outside for 20 minutes and then called them in - for a little bit of warm milk. They both seemed to appreciate it. - I'll be heading out in a bit to walk Rosie and Remy; it's 22 outside, and the snow is still falling!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Definitely No Snow

Absolutely no snow, and it had made it back up to 36 degrees today. Rosie and Remy visited the groomers, so I walked Lucy at noon, purchased one last Christmas present, picked up an Express Mail box, and stopped at the public library for ten new books to read. Hopefully, that will take care of the need to read habit for the next 2 weeks.... Saturday, Kathy and Jim are taking Grandma Anne and me to the Christmas Revels and then out to dinner. On Sunday, Kathy and Jim will take me over to a Winter Solstice and birthday party, and when they leave, they'll drop me off at the Irish Setters' so I can spend the evening reading to and playing with them. Monday, 20 December is my last "easy" day, as I take care of the Chandler chickens, and walk Rosie and Remy. On the 21st, I add the two Clark cats and Brandi; and on the 22nd I add Finn and Skippy to the mix for 26 hours. I stop caring for Brandi on the 23rd, as well as Finn and Skippy. After 3 p.m. on Christmas Day, I add Lynn's 3 kitties to the crowd (She's taking Tessa with her). On the 27th, I begin staying with Rosie and Remy, but the Clarks return. On the 28th I'll be settling down with the Rs, and stopping by for the Chandler chix and Lynn's kitties. The Chandlers and Lynn will return on the 2nd, and the Rs' folks will return on the 4th. - Oh, and I can't forget Miss Lucy! I walk her on the 30th,31st, 1st and 2nd; and then start back up with Tuesday through Thursday walks with her on the 4th. - I'll be extremely happy to sleep in my own bed with Lovey and Nedi on the 4th of January!
And I just found out that I was wrong about Michael Vick. He can legally become a pet owner once he ends his probation in 2012. Jelisca Castrodale, an NBC sports writer, feels that Vick should get the chance and prove to the world that he is truly rehabilitated. My comment is, "Can we make sure that she dies and is reincarnated as Vick's first dog after probation?" - I know. That is mean and reprehensible. But that is my opinion and how I feel about the situation.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Snow - but not in Boulder

Ballooning near Fraser, CO

Where did the grass go?

A backcountry cabin

We Got Wet...

The jet stream moved, so the skies were clear this morning, cloudy around 10, clear at noon, and very dark and cloudy at 3 this afternoon. We got just enough drizzle to dampen the patio, cover Nedi with water diamonds, and dampen the leaves that are laying in the back yard. The only thing that has really changed is the temperature. The low early this morning was 36, the high 52 (just after noon); then the cold front minus the snow started moving through. At 10:10 tonight, we're at 30 degrees, and the high for tomorrow is expected to be 29. If the wind is blowing, it will be a little too cold for me to walk the doggies. - It is snowing to the south of Boulder and Denver, as well as on the west side of the divide. And the weather guys are calling for another west-slope/mountain snow storm beginning Saturday and lasting through next Wednesday.
Rosie, Remy and Lucy were their usual wonderful selves this morning. And I stopped in to see Lizzie, but she was apparently sleeping with one of the boys, and ignored my call (as long as she's getting better, I don't care!). Lovey and Nedi have had two play periods outside, and Nedi really wants to go back out, but I don't want to have to chase them down in my nightgown.
Let's see... I visited Finn and Skippy today, got their new food and feeding schedules, and the house key for next week's 26-hours of care period. I need to find out how much feed to give to Chandler chickens while I'm caring for them.
I just read about a "puppy mill" in Oberlin, Kansas being closed down due to an outbreak of distemper. Twenty-four pups sold through pet stores by this breeder in October and November all had distemper. The breeder was closed down and over 1,200 dogs were put down by intravenous injection. This is just so sad, and another reason why people shouldn't buy a "pedigreed puppy" from a pet store. Please adopt through rescue agencies, through humane societies, and through pet stores affiliated with humane societies. If you simply must have a papered, pedigreed dog, please purchase your dog through a registered breeder - where you can meet the sire and dam, and see how the pup is being trained and socialized. (And I was just horrified to hear that Michael Vick, the current Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, made the statement that he would love to own another dog. My God, the man just got out of prison for breeding, training, betting on and fighting dogs! Thank goodness he is not allowed, as a part of his sentencing, to own another dog during his lifetime!)
And locals were excited today when Tim Tebow took most of the snaps with the first string during the Broncos practice. Kyle Orton is nursing bruised ribs, but is expected to start in Sunday's game. The local news station took a poll, and two-thirds of the respondents want the interim head coach to start Tim Tebow at least once before the season ends. (With the Broncos in the basement - again.)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Be careful what you wish for... Today we had a high temperature of 70 degrees; the estimate for tomorrow is 51 around noon, followed by clouds, a rain and snow mix in the evening, and then three to six inches of snow overnight and into the morning Thursday. Then we'll have highs in the 40s for the weekend... We need the moisture!! I will not complain!
I walked the red kids again today, but Rosie was a perfect little lady throughout our 95 minute stroll. Remy had a few barking issues, in which he just wanted me to pet him, but he should know by now that barking is not the way to get love. (He was abused as a puppy; beaten for barking in the basement where he was kept. I just tell him, "No bark" and ignore him.) Lucy was her normal, loving self and was happy for her lunch-time walk. One of the neighbors offered me some of her home-laid eggs, but I forgot to stop by her house on the way home to pick them up. - I received a very welcome bit of news from Lizzie's owner: the steroids seem to be working and Lizzie is once again ambulatory and eating and drinking again. (Hip-hip-hooray!) - The kits are running in and out, enjoying the nice warm weather while we still have it. Nedi has discovered the bag of duck and sweet potato treats for dogs - and he stole it, took it into the bathtub and gnawed the bottom out of the bag. As far as I could tell, he didn't actually eat any of the treats, but he had them scattered in the tub. - And I'll be taking care of good old Ooch this January; Connie is going to Mexico and I told her I'd be happy to care for the old man (he's 20) while she is gone. Have a good week!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Three Grandkids...

Isiah & Addison

Mom Etoye with Kennedy


Silver Sander and his distinctive ear

Kenya (black) and Meeka (golden) -
the neighbor's Labs

Tessa Thore, the gazelle dog, looking
at Lyra in the den


Weather records have been kept in this area for only the past 125 years - therefore, we have a shorter history to look to for averages, than, say, Boston.... Usually, by this date, the Boulder and Denver area has had 20 inches of snow fall; this year, the total is 1.25 inches. Our normal average for a high temperature is 43 degrees; for the past week, we've been either in the upper 50s or lower 60s, with 61 expected today, and 63 expected tomorrow. Is this really the month of December? Is Christmas really only 12 days away? I feel as if I'm back living in Florida! On the other side of the continental divide, of course, it's another story... Most of the north and central ski areas have between 41 and 18 inches of new snow.
I walked the red kids this morning, and Rosie led me on a merry chase when I turned her loose for a romp at the Snow house. As soon as I unhooked her lead, she bolted across the yard diagonally, sailed over the fence and disappeared. I saw her in Connie's yard, and called her. Rosie headed in the opposite direction. I ended up down in the dry creek bed, trying to get Rosie to rejoin me, and when she did appear, she was back inside the Snow back yard. She was covered with leaves and twigs were woven throughout her longer fur. She was a mess, but she was whole and happy. She certainly had me running around this morning! - With the weather as warm as it is, I've had the kits out and playing for the last hour. Lovey just came running in and she is completely covered with loose sand - I'll have to brush her before she gets on the bed. Nedi is chasing leaves that the breeze is blowing, as well as trying to sneak up on and attack Lovey. He doesn't seem to realize that he's no longer a little handful of kitten, and that a leaf does not hide a 6-pound body covered with long hair that blows and waves in the wind....

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Thore Kitties

Lilly, the queen
(hiding her very white socks)...

Dhisana, the very expensive kitten...

And Lyra, the 8-month-old...
(The three above photos were taken my me,
11 December 2010)


I'm home, I'm gonna crash. The kits are little snuggle bugs. I sure do love them.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Florida Critters

Bison on Paynes Prairie
A manatee and her calf in Crystal River

A Florida panther and her cub in the Everglades

Cats and Dogs

Home again, for a couple of hours. The kits are loving the cool air (it's 30 degrees outside, with a wind chill of 23),but the sun is shining and it's beautiful. Both kits gave me what-for when I arrived home this morning, but then they both perched on top of me and gave me a lot of love. I'm happy I'll be able to sleep at home with them tomorrow night. Silver has been a gentleman, as he always is. Sierra, the Husky, attacked Kenya, the black Lab, last night. In breaking up the "fight" - Kenya was just trying to get away, and never opened her mouth - Sierra put a pretty good puncture in my left shin. It's a little sore this morning, but I washed it out well, then poured hydrogen peroxide over it, then put Neosporin ointment on it, plus a bandaid. I checked over Kenya again this morning, but found no damage to her, thank goodness! Then I walked all 5 dogs, fed them, and returned home to the kits. I'll need to stop by Lynn's on the way back to walk Tessa, medicate Dhisana, and love every body (all 4).
I received some bad news this morning from Lizzie's Mom. The Anatolian Shepherd was perfectly fine last week, but this week it seems her auto-immune system has gone haywire. Her face and legs and feet are covered with raw, open, weeping sores, and she can hardly walk. She was given a pain-killer, which they now have to wait to get out of her system, before starting her on steroids, in hopes that she will respond. It's terrible! Lizzie is a sweet dog and more than willing to do whatever you ant her to do - and she's a super lover, and likes to give you big licks on the arms, hands, and face. I hope she responds well and quickly to her new meds!
And I just received an e-mail from a lady stating that she had heard of me through a friend; and that she wants me to start taking care of the new puppy (possibly two) that she'll be getting for Christmas. I wrote back to her that I was extremely flattered to be offered the job just by word of mouth, but that I'm completely booked through September of 2011, plus for the Christmas Holidays through 2014. I really cannot, with a good conscious, accept any more clients and/or bookings. - And I never, in my wildest dreams, thought I'd be such a wanted person! It seems very, very strange to me.

Friday, December 10, 2010

My Babies

Nedi at 8 months - busy scratching his back
Lovey is not happy with high winds

Remy is getting very grey...

Busy, Busy

Since the critters in my care come first, I've been remiss in my blogging. I have to admit I was bamboozled, schmoozed, and tricked into doing something that I did not want to do. I am caring for Silver, the Weimareiner, as I have done for the past 4 years. Silver is sweet and is not a problem to take care of. Then Silver's owner asked if I could possibly also take care of the two Labs next door, Kenya and Meeka. Since they are elderly and don't require a big run every day, and as Meeka is on meds twice a day, I agreed to to do that, and I had Mimi pass my acceptance on to her neighbor, Jeff. The day before Jeff left, he informed me that he would have 2 more dogs at his place - his girlfriend's. I told him that I wasn't comfortable caring for 4 dogs that I hadn't met that were left in one house. He asked me to meet the dogs, and that if I didn't want to take care of all 4, he'd leave the girl's dogs at a boarding kennel. He referred to the other two dogs as "Huskies," "Sled Dogs," and "Malamutes." So I didn't know what I would meet. Sierra and Neika are Huskies. After I met the crew, Jeff informed me that neither he nor his lady-friend could afford to pay for the boarding kennel (but he could somehow pay both me and a dog-walker to care for both sets of dogs - hmmmm), and that he had a dog-walker friend of his who would come to walk the Huskies each day. (Which he also gave 4 different times for - noon, 12:30, 1 and 2 p.m.) The dog walker has yet to show, but he has telephoned; informing me that the owner had not set up a definite time for the dogs to be walked, and that he has never met the dogs, and expects me to introduce him to them! The owner has paid me, in full, for the care of the dogs, and he will get what he paid for. But I will never work for him again, no matter what. He told me he wouldn't leave all 4 dogs with me, and then informed me me he was going to. That is a bold-faced lie in my book, and he will never be able to hire me again. Period.
Besides taking care of these five dogs, I've also been walking Rosie and Remy, walking Lucy for her mid-week days, walking Tessa and medicating and playing with the 3 cats at Lynn's. Not to mention spending time with my own kits. I can't wait 'til Sunday afternoon, when I can come home, watch football with Nedi and Lovey, and completely relax!
And I also opened two of my Christmas gifts from Florida this week - Kathryn knitted me a very bright snow cap, with a long tail and a snowy bobble on the end (which has received many compliments and questions of "where can I get one?"), and I opened Mary's gift which is a wonderful book about location shooting of old Western movies and TV shows, plus two DVDs shot on various locations. They are fantastic! Now I can look at a lot of the old films and shows, and figure out where they were filmed! Many, many thanks to my friends in Gainesville!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Critters I Love

Woodsley has a large lead on Remy and Boo...

Woodsley at rest...

Maggie May, a client

Lizzie, an Anatolian Shepherd client

Dogs and Cats

Today has been relatively quiet in Boulder. I took Rosie and Remy out for their walk; Remy has starting showing a weakness in his right hind leg, and since he was favoring it when we started, I cut our walk short and decided to play grab the bone with Rosie. When we arrived at the Snow yard, Suki and Boo greeted us; Woodsley was kept inside until Jim could come out to personally supervise him. Rosie and I had a great time with her bone, and I threw Boo's plastic ball for her. Then Jim and Woodsley came out. Remy, who had been gimpy, spent 25 minutes running at top speed , chasing Woodsley. He seemed none the worse for it, so maybe it was good that he was able to stretch out and limber up. I just don't know. Nancy and Joel delivered my beautiful evergreen wreath with pine cones and a red ribbon this afternoon. It's hanging up on the door, and I've already received three compliments on it.
News-wise: The local court disapproved ex-Professor Ward Churchill's bid to be re-instated at CU. He has vowed to take it to the State Supreme Court. ... After firing Coach Dan Hawkins, CU has now hired Jon Embree, a former Buff. ... The Denver Broncos just fired Head Coach Josh McDaniels - with no word on either an interim, or full-time, replacement. ... A local politician wants to set limits for driving under the influence of marijuana, much as the blood level alcohol numbers have been established. ... And Zenyatta said farewell to her legion of fans at Hollywood Park yesterday, and at Keeneland this evening. She arrived tonight at Lanes End Farm to begin her new life as a broodmare. ...
Lovey and Nedi have been able to go out and play three different times today. I'm beginning to think that the dog is only next door during the weekend, when the guy's lady friend is visiting... All I know is that my kits were extremely happy to be out and about this morning, afternoon, and evening without a large dog chasing them. (I go see the general surgeon tomorrow afternoon to see what he thinks about my recurrent abscess - it's still draining. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing, 13 days since the last incision....)


A squirrel and a crow attracted to the same seed pile.

Troy Polamalu - a Maori Steeler
(and my eye candy)

A local Boulder prairie dog. This is not the one that
Woodsley (Sarah's dog) caught by the scruff of the
neck, shook, and released, while walking on
the leash with Jim yesterday.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Squirrels and Crows

It's almost midnight and I can't get to sleep. Oh, well. Lovey is curled up at the foot of my bed, while Nedi is almost up against the pillow. Lovey is sleeping; Nedi is bathing. I walked Tessa again today, and also gave Dhisana her medications. (The reason I didn't see Dhisana yesterday was because she was once again at the vet's, having a checkup and chest X-rays.) Lynn left a note saying that Tessa had up-chucked and not touched her breakfast, so I offered her her meal both before and after we walked, but she did not want anything to do with it. Then I loved on Lilly and made much of her, since she is now the eldest cat in residence. Then I went in and loved and played with Lyra; and, finally, I loved, played with, and medicated little Dhisana. She looks and acts much better, but she still sneezes and has a little bit of a runny nose. Thank goodness Lynn took her to the vet's three weeks ago - otherwise, she wouldn't be with us.
So, the BCS championship game will pit Auburn against the Oregon Ducks. I think I'll be rooting for the Ducks. My Broncos and Redskins lost, Favre got hurt and removed from the game on the third play today, - but Troy Polamalu saved the day. I cheer for number 43 on the Steelers team, as well as for Maurkice Pouncey (a Gator last year). I also cheered this evening when Big Ben got a bloody nose from Ngata. So I was cheering for the Ravens, and for the Steelers' center and safety. It was weird. And since Troy made the big play that allowed the Steelers to win, I guess the final score was OK with me. But I was extremely delighted to see Philip Rivers and his Charger buddies lose to the Oakland Raiders! Yahoo!!
The other afternoon, I was standing and chatting with Bernie, a neighbor in Githens Acres, when she called my attention to a crow following a squirrel. It seems she's had a family of three crows visit her backyard every afternoon since August. She also has a large squirrel population, as well as other birds, as she has several bird feeders and one peanut feeder especially for the squirrels.
The squirrels will sit at the feeder and eat their fill, then they will grab a nut and go bury it for later eating - you know, the thing that squirrels have done for time out of mind. Anyway, this crow family each picks one squirrel each day and follows it on the ground at a range of three inches to two feet behind. Once the squirrel finds the right spot, digs the hole, places the peanut inside, and then covers it up, the crow walks over and eats the nut. We watched a crow follow a squirrel for 10 minutes on Friday afternoon - the squirrel wove it's way in and out of the chain link fence, down a side of the yard, and then crossed the road to plant the nut beside the Silver Lake Irrigation ditch. Of course, the crow was following right on this squirrels' tail - literally - and it very happily ate the nut. Since Bernie provides nuts for the squirrels year-round, at least these guys won't miss what the crows are feasting on once the weather gets worse!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Fuddy-Duddy?

Today, a youngster in a department store told me that I was "a fuddy-duddy" because I didn't recognize the name of a singer. I just looked "fuddy-duddy" up, and its definition is: an old-fashioned, unimaginative, conservative, fussy person. Now, I might be awfully old-fashioned in some of my views, but I am a very liberal person, and there's no way I can be described as unimaginative. I admit that in some ways, I'm fussy; I like to make sure of any documentation regarding family trees and/or historical research. But, old-fashioned, just because I don't know the names of the latest teeny-bop and reality TV show "stars?" Give me a break! I readily admit that the shows I watch on TV are (1) the local news for the weather forecast, (2) Jeopardy!, (3) the last half of Countdown with Keith Olbermann, and (4) NCIS. So that's 30 minutes of NBC, 30 minutes of ABC, 30 minutes of MSNBC, and 60 minutes of CBS. - Maybe I am a fuddy-duddy, because that accusation has gotten under my skin a bit. In any event, I like not having to know what who said to who when, etc all the time. I couldn't care less. That's why I don't have a cell phone, iPod, Blackberry, iPad, etc. I do not want to be connected to today's frenetic world.
I have already walked Tessa, played with Lilly and Lyra, and I searched for Dhisana, but never saw her. When I let my kits out this morning, I was surprised to have them run back inside, followed by a large dog muzzle that, luckily, the door didn't open to. It seems my neighbor has adopted a large dog, and ties it on a very long rope on his patio or to the aspen trees by the back fence. I now have to check and see if it's clear to turn my kits out. - But maybe Lovey will learn that it is not nice to be on the end of bullying....

Friday, December 3, 2010

Interesting Photos

Olive Ridley sea turtles arrive to spawn on the Pacific
coastal beach of Ostional National Wildlife Refuge in
Costa Rica. Caretakers are hoping for 800,000
females to lay their eggs here.
A time-lapse photo shows the interior of the
Salisbury Cathedral illuminated by trails of light
from candles carried by choristers during the annual
"Darkness to Light" Advent procession.
Near Banos in Ecuador, the volcano Tungurahua spews
molten rocks and large clouds of gas and ash.
Tungurahua means "Throat of Fire" in the local Quechua
language, and is one of eight active volcanoes in Ecuador.

Winds, Bookings, and Vote

The local Chinook winds began about 3 this morning, and are still blowing. They average about 35 miles per hour at all times, and have gusts up to 89 mph. I was out in that with the dogs for two and a half hours this morning - and you can be assured that I was wearing an ear scarf. My niece Sarah has a new dog, whose name is Woodsley. He looks as if he's part blue heeler - a very compact and energetic young man. I'd guess he's between one and two years old; and he's a "bolter." If he sees an open gate, an open door, or a hole in the fence, then he is flat-out gone. Jim and I spent quite a bit of time chasing him around the neighborhood this morning, and fixing holes in the fence that the Samoyeds and Irish Setters can't get through. The Sammies and the reds just sat back and watched as Jim and I ran all over looking for Woodsley, only to find, that each and every time, he had returned to the yard on his own. At least he knows where his temporary home is! - Sarah and Mike are away on an all-expenses-paid trip via his work place, and will pick Woodsley up on Monday evening.
Tomorrow and Sunday I'll be walking Tessa and playing with the three kitties that are her housemates (Lilly, Lyra, and Dhisana), and tomorrow afternoon I'll probably end up with Rosie and Remy. The Rs' parents are hoping to get away for the day.... I just took bookings for a client for one week each month through May, and another client has asked if I'd house sit for 6 to 8 weeks in June and July. Then there's the Rs' family summer vacation, too. I'm almost fully booked through next Christmas. And, of course, I am booked for Christmas and New Years' through January 5, 2014. I guess I'm doing something right. I need to take photos of all my clients for Christmas, and it was Nedi's 8th-month birthday on Wednesday. I need to get photos of him and Lovey wearing their collars and tags. - Have a great weekend!
Oh! And my granddaughter, Kennedy Grace Devine, is in the running to be a Gerber's baby. If you can find the time, please vote for this little cutie on the Gerber website, found at: There are literally thousands of entries, but you can narrow things down by entering the name Kennedy and the city of Brandywine - that'll get you to the photo and page to vote for my littlest grandchild! - Many, many thanks !!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Copley's Portrait of Paul Revere

Toys For Tots & "The Fort"

Lovey is walking all over the keyboard, but I hope to rectify any misspellings before I get this up and published... It was 55 here this afternoon - and I have to admit I fell asleep in the Snow back yard for a short time, with the sun shining down upon me, the breeze a bare murmur, and the four dogs sacked out in various postures of repose. Nedi and Lovey are having a ball running in and out - but I'm having to keep an eye on Lovey, as she has developed a liking for threatening an indoor cat in the next building. I keep telling her she needs to be nice. I got together my stuff to give to Toys for Tots today - I'll hand the big bag over to Larry, one of my usual bus drivers, so it can go in via the American Legion post. I donated a regulation-size Youth basketball (with a pump), a stuffed zebra that's about 30 inches long, a Bratz doll, and a talking construction truck. I hope that those items will make a few kids happy.
Today would have been Ray Walston's birthday. I loved him when I was a child in My Favorite Martian, and in later life as Judge Bone on Picket Fences. But I will always remember him best as Luther Billis from South Pacific. As a Navy brat, he became my favorite Sea Bee.
I just finished reading Bernard Cornwell's The Fort, which totally captivated me. I had, of course, known of Paul Revere from school and history. In doing some of my historical background research for my family tree, I had read of Revere's being court-martialed for cowardice in what was referred to as "the Penobscot Bay fiasco." Wow! This novel is fantastic! It explains why there was such a fiasco, and gives a very clear view of all of the characters' personalities. I have always enjoyed Mr. Cornwell's books, and once again, I doff my hat to him for writing such a cohesive tale. He did change a few things, and he admits that in the historical note at the end of the book, but it takes nothing away from the story. One of the main characters in the book is Brigadier-General Peleg Wadsworth, who likes and supports Colonel Revere in the beginning of the book, but whom Revere directly disobeys in the final chapter. Peleg Wadsworth was not impressed with Colonel Revere as a soldier or an artillery commander. Both were family men, and Peleg's daughter Zilpha was the mother of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who wrote the poem making Paul Revere such a well-known patriot. ... It deserves a pondering.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


A magpie on the wing...

And an older bird, who's finishing moulting...


I grew up pretty much on the east coast of the United States, and the only things I knew about magpies were that they were birds and they liked to collect shiny things. I grew up with Heckle and Jeckle, the magpies in Paul Terry's cartoons, but I knew they were cartoons and never expected to see a bird smoking a cigar; but I did think that magpies were black with yellow bills. When I first visited my sister in Boulder in the early 1970s, I was amazed to find that magpies were multi-colored and had wonderfully long tails. It was astonishing. Today, after walking Rosie and Remy, we settled into the Snow back yard, as usual. (The Rs' house remodeling is almost finished!) I sat down with my book in the sunshine, having thrown Rosie's bone and Boo's ball. There was no wind, it was still outside; I could hear chickadees and nuthatches "talking" in the trees. Then I heard a branch creak. I was so startled by the creaking branch, with absolutely no wind to move the boughs, that I tilted my head back to look up into the cottonwood tree overhead. There sat a magpie; and as I watched it, it again produced the sound of branches rubbing against each other. I had to laugh. Earlier in the week, I had thought I heard a woodpecker or flicker drumming a tree branch for its' food - but it was a magpie reproducing the drumming sound while sitting in a rose bush. They can create quite a wide variety of sounds, being a member of the corvid (crow and raven) family. We humans have a larynx at the top of our trachea as our "voice box." The vocal organ of birds, in contrast, is a unique bony structure called a syrinx, which lies at the lower end of the trachea, is surrounded by an air sac, and may be deep in the breast cavity. It is two separate structures, which is how birds can create such disparate tunes and/or noises at one time. The magpie chooses it's mate for life, and will generally return to the same nesting site each year. The female lays 4 to 7 eggs each year, of which only 3 or 4 hatch and live to adulthood. The magpie lives an average of 4 to 6 years in the wild.