Monday, April 30, 2012

Modem Problems

Yesterday, the modem for my desktop died - the green power light is on, but nothing else; although, occasionally, the the Ethernet light also turns green.  Everything else is black.   So I'm writing from Alexy's, where I spent a delightful night curled up with Shady.  Shady's only complaint was that I didn't get up early enough for his taste this morning.   I'll go home this afternoon, and will get to sleep with my kits tonight.    In the meantime, I'll go walk Rosie and Remy, then Boo and Kathy, and perform whatever chores Kathy needs doing this morning.  She was scheduled for an X-ray and possible casting tomorrow morning, but I know the appointment has been changed - but I don't know if it's Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon, now.
    I can't name any of the players the Broncos' drafted this past week; but Todd Helton, who normally doesn't play on Sunday's, was called in to bat for the Rockies when they were down 4 - zip yesterday, and he hit a grand slam home run, which tied the game - it went into extra innings, and the Rockies eventually lost - but Todd's buddy Peyton Manning was there, and got a thrill when Helton homered.  ...  I still haven't chosen my favorite for the Kentucky Derby - I think that will have to wait until after the post positions are drawn, and I can actually see who is running this year.
    I don't know if I'll be able to blog the next couple of days - Century Link wants to come to the apartment and look at my cables, and I just want a replacement modem....  I'm running around so much that I don't have time for a 4-hour window of possible service; and I really just don't want to allow someone I don't know inside.  I'm going to plead with them to just allow me to trade modems at their office here in Boulder.  (I spent an hour on the phone with a tech yesterday morning, and he kept saying that "unless the modem itself is broken, I can't understand why you're having this problem..."  Well, duh.  Maybe the modem is broken or burnt out - it's only been in constant use for 5+ years....   Enough of my grousing.  Other than the modem, everything is great.
   I hope you have a super week!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Old Photos of Cowboys

A group of drovers, in their best clothes, before leaving on a cattle drive (mid-1860s)

"Don't try to understand 'em, just rope, throw, and brand 'em...."
Texas hill country, 1873

Oklahoma cowboy, circa 1889

Sunny, Cool, & Windy

As always here in Colorado, what a difference a day makes!  It was warm, but windy yesterday, and you could see the clouds roiling in the sky.  This morning, I was happy to have had two large dogs sleeping with me during the night - it was 38 degrees when I arose.  The breeze/wind is still blowing, so it feels like 29 degrees outside - BBBrrrrrrrrrrr!  If you are sitting in the sun behind glass, you're nice and toasty - otherwise, you're shivering.  My kits are sitting on the patio in the sunlight, soaking up that vitamin A and D, and getting toasted.
   The red kids were great yesterday, and Kathy and Boo and I had a good walk. (Kathy saw three new places to harvest oyster mushrooms on the walk, and, so, was grateful for my taking her out of her usual pattern...)  Shady greeted me at the door at Alexy's yesterday afternoon, and I found Cloudy in the bedroom.  I was amazed that she jumped down from her house and came over to me to rub against my legs.  Normally, Cloudy doesn't want to have anything to do with anyone, except Alexy.  Finn and Skippy had a blast when I visited them last night and this morning.  Besides my own kits, I've taken care of, and walked, three other households so far.  The newspaper had not yet been delivered to Alexy's home, but I was able to collect all the others.
  The 200-pound black bear that was tranquilized and removed from the CU campus on Thursday, was apparently a little upset to realize he was among humans.  The first person to report the bear was a CU co-ed, who was walking on the sidewalk, and had what she thought was a big Saint Bernard  dog run into the back of her right leg, at knee level.  After regaining her balance, she took a closer look at the critter, as it had kept on running - and then realized it was a bear, and not a dog, that had run into her.
   The business that Mike, my nephew, works for is hosting several wild and crazy competitions at Oskar Blues in Longmont today.  He should be on his way to start the set-up now.  I'll drive Kathy over and drop her off around noon, and Mike will bring her home.  I'll be shooting back and forth between the other three houses until eleven tonight....  Wheee!!  A busy Saturday!  
   And best of luck to my cousin Sarah, and her husband, Jeremy, in their shooting matches in Tulsa today.   Do the family proud, kids!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Boulder, Colorado Views

A view of (mainly) University of Colorado buildings in the Boulder valley

View of the Boulder Flatirons from the south-southeast

View of Cathedral Park, just ouside of Boulder

A Mish-Mash

Eight days before the Kentucky Derby, and I can only name two or three colts that are running...  that is far from usual for me.  But there has been no big stand out star - either last year, as two-year-olds, or this year as threes.  I like a lot of the trainers and jockeys - but I haven't really formed any opinions of the colts themselves.  I guess that I'll have to wait until the post draw on Wednesday, then look at the kids' pedigrees, connections, and any film I can find on-line.  Of course, my opinion might change on Derby Day itself - depending on the track condition and the way the colts carry themselves.
  The Department of Wildlife got to visit CU campus here yesterday - there was a 200-pound black bear on campus, that ran into a female student, and then went and "hid" in a tree.  The bear was tranquilized, tagged, and moved back into the mountains.  ....  I spent yesterday (a) with a headache that wouldn't end, (b) taking Kathy around to various needed appointments, (c) taking care of Sadie and Lucy, and, finally, (d) wandering over to the Snitman's to borrow their XR7 for the weekend.  When I walked to the Snitman house last night, the wind was whipping down the foothills from the west, layers upon layers of dark clouds were scurrying across the sky, distant lightning could be seen to the east, and I walked through a few light showers.  I had left the Stone house and was wandering through an open area I didn't know - I just kept taking the branch of the trail that I thought would take me in the correct direction.  I, luckily, made the right choices and cut about a half-mile off my walk.  That made me feel good about my decision making.
  I left my kits yesterday morning, and then re-visited them in the afternoon.  This morning, it's grey and cooler out (we did have a nice rain late last night), and a dog just barked outside the patio, here at home, causing both Nedi and Lovey to flee inside.  It appears one of the neighbors had his lady friend and her dog over for the night...  My kits are fine.  They are a little disgusted, however, that I closed the patio door (since I didn't know if the dog would trespass or not).  So I'll be caring for Sadie and Lucy today, and I add Alexy's kits at 10 this morning.  Poor Cloudy; she has been at the Vet ER twice in the last 5 weeks, as a new neighboring tabby has been attacking her and has done quite a bit of muscle damage to her thigh.
   I have to admit to stopping by McDonald's this morning, and grabbing a sausage and egg muffin and a mango-pineapple smoothie.  I let Nedi have some of the smoothie, but I drank most of it.  And I really enjoyed Person of Interest last night...  The show proved that Reese had not killed his last CIA partner, even though he had orders to, from Agent Snow.  His partner, it turns out, had the same orders, from the same person.  Somehow, both of them made it out of China alive - and now she is back, confronting Agent Snow in NYC. -  Cool!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Black Fox

The "black" fox can range in color from the silver-grey on this vixen's face and hind-quarters...

to an almost total dark black; like this girl with a white feather stuck to her lips...

Black foxes do not breed true - they are black due to an anomaly in their gene pool.  Most "black" vixens will have red kits.

Hot Day & New Splint

We broke  a high temperature record yesterday that had stood for over 60 years, and it looks like we might do the same again today.  I made the kits wear their collars and tags yesterday - Lovey didn't mind a bit, but Nedi was certain the heart-shaped tag was trying to eat him alive.  I was happy to take Kathy to her orthopedic's office yesterday - I was very concerned Monday when I saw the edges of her splint outlined with new bruises.  Laura, the PA at Dr. Koch's office, was horrified at the twisted splint the Urgent Care Center had left her with - and it was also too short on both ends, and was too tight for her arm.  When she came out with her new splint yesterday, she was giddy with relief because it was pain free.  I told her that her splint should always be painless - the bone itself would hurt where the break is, but the splint shouldn't be the cause of more pain....
   I was awakened at 4 this morning, as Lovey had a wild hair and was bouncing off the walls and using me as a springboard.  After about 30 minutes, Nedi was caught up in the madness, too, and both kits were bouncing off the walls, over furniture, and generally having a blast wreaking havoc.  I finally got up and let them get rid of their excess energy outside in the back yard.  I walked Remy and Rosie this morning, then let them play with Boo and Mona in Kathy's back yard.  Kathy and I got a kick out of watching Mona target Rosie's blue squeak bone and try to steal it - it took her 45 minutes, but Rosie finally let her guard down, and Mona was off with the bone.  (Then I had 10 minutes of retrieval duty from Mona.)  Then Kathy and I walked Boo - and I walked Kathy past some of the houses where I pet-sit, and talked to her about the individual critters and their habits.
   Tonight Kathy, Bernie, Connie and I will meet at Murphy's Pub to celebrate Connie's birthday of last month (she was away), and my friend Carolyn's birthday in Florida.  I've promised Carolyn a toast tonight during our supper. -  Tomorrow I start caring for Sadie and Lucy; and I'll be taking Kathy to her work place to get her medical leave papers filled out, and then in the afternoon to the salon to get her hair washed, trimmed and braided....   'Twill be interesting.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

US Harbors

Two Harbors, Santa Catalina Island, California

Split Rock Lighthouse at Two Harbors, Minnesota

Sunset at Thompson Creek, Stevensville, Maryland

Nearing the End of April

Only seven days left in April - and we've already had several days with the high temperatures in the 80s.  I knew that Spring had actually sprung yesterday, when I realized that there were white gobs of cottonwood seeds floating in the air, on the breeze.  (Cottonwoods usually produce their seeds in June.)  One of Kathy's neighbors' driveways, which has dark gravel on it, was almost completely covered by a layer of what looks like partially untwisted cotton-balls.  It's currently in the low 60s, and my kits have been prowling in and out the patio door since 6 a.m. - Lovey decided it was time for us to get out of bed at 5 this morning.  We've all had breakfast, and I've looked at the 6 newspapers I check (on-line) every morning, and I've read my 9 favorite comic strips.
   At Kathy's yesterday, I unwrapped her arm from her ace bandage and splint, and was horrified to see that she has new bruises on her arm, that follow the lines of her splint.  She already has a 3-inch-wide "bracelet" bruise around her upper arm, where the bone is broken.  These were parallel vertical and horizontal lines from her armpit past her elbow and down to her wrist.  I had her call her MD, and I'll drive her in to be seen this afternoon - that splint should not be causing more tissue damage!
    Brandi, my blind and deaf charge, who lives across the street from Kathy, is starting to visibly fail, according to her family.  I've spent 30 to 60 minutes with her the past several days, and, she seems not to have any pain, but she's just slowing down.  I also spoke with Lynn about her kitty boxes not being kept clean, by the house keeper (who is paid to do it) - the house keeper complained the kits had pooped on the rug, next to the litter boxes - and they had - but that was because the boxes were totally filled with clumped litter and more poop.  Rosie and Remy were great yesterday, but Remy's hind legs collapsed totally while he was exploring a flower bed at his house.  I acted like I hadn't noticed, and he got his legs back under himself.  And Kathy and I walked Boo around the neighborhood - Boo had gotten hot before the end of the walk, and I kept trying to encourage her to walk on the grass verge, but she wanted to trot down the middle of the asphalt road...  That seemed weird.

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Quiet Day

Yesterday was beautiful, and it looks as if today will be the same.  Last night I kept the window wide open, sleeping under a sheet, but I had to pull the quilt up about 3 this morning...  And that was with Lovey sleeping on my feet and Nedi curled up by my ribs.  Saturday, I cooked the tarte tatin for Kathy, and it certainly smelled heavenly.  I was too full of the salad, garlic bread and spaghetti and meat sauce to partake of that strawberry and apricot concoction, but I'll bring some home today.
   Today should be pretty quiet - walk Rosie and Remy, walk Boo with Kathy, and then do a few things at Kathy's that she can't do with only one hand.  Then I'll return home and spend time with my kits.  They got a little upset last night, when a couple of the neighbors started playing with a frisbee in the back yard - the guys had consumed some alcohol, and were feeling no pain, and the frisbee frequently crashed into my patio walls.  After Nedi crawled under the bed, and Lovey ran for the bathroom, I shut the patio door, so they wouldn't be bothered.
  Have a good week!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Beautiful Earth

This is Fishers Spring Run in the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area in West Virginia

Happy Earth Day!

In 1969, as a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson came up with one of the most powerful ideas of his time: Earth Day.  Inspired by the teach-ins formed to protest the Vietnam War, Earth Day was an instant success, drawing 20 million participants the first year (1970).   American Heritage Magazine called the first Earth Day "one of the most remarkable happenings in the history of democracy."
   Both of my parents were smokers; it was fashionable when they were young; currently known facts regarding smoking and cancer weren't known at that time; and doctors even recommended that people smoke to help keep their weight down.  Both Mom and Dad smoked filtered cigarettes, and while working at the EPA research library in the late 1990s and the turn of the millennium, I found out the time it takes  for a single filter from a single cigarette to break down, or decompose.  If a cigarette butt, with an attached filter is just thrown outside to disintegrate, it takes 3 months to 10 years for the paper and tobacco to turn into dust and become non harmful.  It takes 10 to 50 years for the filter itself to break down, being made of wood pulp products - and the core of the filter is made of acetone, which will never decompose, or break down.
   Following are some frequently quoted tables regarding trash, and how long it takes to "break down" , or decompose, into it's original components.  Please note that the first two lists regard trash, or items, in landfills, or dumps; the third is in regard to items thrown into the ocean....    Sources for rates of decomposition of litter (trash) on the web give you different rates. Once you’ve done quite a few of these searches, you realise that it boils down to about three different lists, all repeatedly quoted (but not always mentioned as the source):
1. The New York Times (Nemve E. Metropolitan Diary, October 1, 2001):
Paper- 2.5 months; Orange Peel- 6 months; Milk Carton- 5 years; Cigarette Butt- 10-12 years; Plastic bag- 10-20 years; Disposable diaper- 75 years; Tin can- 100 years; Beer can- 200-500 years; Styrofoam- never (immortal)
2. Penn State University*: Paper-2-4 Weeks; Leaves-1-3 Months; Orange Peel- 6 Months; Milk Carton- 5 years; Plastic Bag- 10-20 Years; Plastic Container- 50-80 Years; Aluminium Can- 80 Years; Tin Can- 100 Years; Plastic Soda Bottle- 450 Years; Glass Bottle-500 Years; Styrofoam-Never.
*This list is widely quoted, but I could never actually find the original source.
3. “Pocket Guide to Marine Debris,” The Ocean Conservancy, 2004*
Paper towel – 2-4 weeks; Orange or banana peel- 2-5 weeks; Newspaper- 6 weeks; Apple core- 2 months ; Waxed milk carton- 3 months; Plywood- 1-3 years; Wool sock- 1-5 years; Cigarette filter- 1-50 years; Plastic Bag- 10-20 years; Plastic film canister- 20-30 years ; Nylon Fabric- 30-40 years; Leather- 50 years; Tin can- 50 years; Foamed plastic cup- 50 years; Rubber boat sole- 50-80 years; Foamed plastic buoy- 80 years; Aluminium can- 80-200 year ; Disposable diapers- 450 years; Plastic beverage bottles- 450 year; Plastic beverage bottles- 450 year; Monofilament fishing line- 600 years; Glass Bottle- 1,000,000 years.
* Quoted in U.S National Park Service; Mote Marine Lab, FL and “Garbage In, Garbage Out,” Audobon Magazine, Spt/Oct 1998.
     Please respect or Mother Earth, and plant something living and green today.  I've already planted catnip around my back yard and in two pots.
     Have a super day!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Spring Photos

Spring scene in Kansas

Spring in the Rockies

Spring at a Tudor cottage in England

Smokeout a Bust; Names

It is a gorgeous day outside - bright blue skies, a few high clouds, temperature is 63 right now.  I've been to the store and grabbed what I need to make the upside-down cake; I'll head over to Kathy's later this morning.  My kits are going in and out the patio door, and all has been quiet, until I typed that sentence.  There is a family of 7 ravens that are scolding Nedi and Lovey in the back yard right now, so it definitely isn't quiet.  Nedi has turned into a very lackadaisical squirrel hunter - I think he just enjoys watching them, and seeing if he can make them run away from him.
   The 4/20 Smokeout event turned into a big nothing in Boulder.  Last year, there were over 10,000 participants, and it cost the University $55,000 to handle it.  This year, they spent almost three times that amount - instead of a huge crowd, between 300 and 700 students (and others) gathered in Central Park, next to the Public Library, and then marched south on Broadway to the CU campus.  Norlin Quad was surrounded by "Do Not Cross This Line" tape, so the crowd went on to the Physics Quad, (with police watching), and lit up at 4:20.  Three people were arrested for trespassing (they crossed the yellow police tape lines); 11 were ticketed for trespassing; and one lone person was ticketed for possession of marijuana.   -  In Denver, several thousand people congregated, and lit up at 4:20 in one of their public parks.
   I had to laugh yesterday: there was a write-up about names that used to be used frequently, and are not used often now.  Among the boys' names were Donald, Richard, and Ronald.  The girls' names included Betty (my name), Linda and Mary.  Having been researching my brother-in-law's family, I'd like to add the following names to the list:  Boys - Achiacus, Amslic, Arieh, Eliphalet, Epaphras, Erastus, Jabez, Melancton, Mephibosheth, and Tyxhal; Girls - Abiatha, Hepzibah, Mahala, Mehitabel, Oddie, Philura, Theodate, Zenobia, and Zeruiah.  (And Spell-Check highlighted every name, except Jabez and Mahala.)
   Tomorrow is Earth Day!  Celebrate our past, and our future...  plant a growing green thing - a tree, a bush, herbs, or a flowering plant.  (I'm planting catnip!)  Without Earth, we wouldn't be around........

Friday, April 20, 2012


Beachy Head Lighthouse, near Dover, Sussex, England

A shoebill

Second-class passengers boarding the Titanic, Southampton, England, April 1912

Waiting To See What Happens

I am not waiting with bated breath, but I am waiting to see what happens on campus today...  Yesterday, the ACLU had a hearing in front of a state judge, trying to keep the CU Boulder campus open to the public today.  The judge ruled that the CU Admin had the right to close campus, as the 4/20 Smokeout is considered a disturbance to educational events.  A liquified fish-based fertilizer has been applied to Norlin quad, with quite a noisome stench.  Police are at every college entrance, checking student and employee IDs, and checking to see if the people trying to get onto campus have registered as a visitor with business.  I have yet to see any evidence of a police presence, nor have I seen any increased activity in our parking lot.  - But there were a lot more folks in line at Starbucks inside the grocery store this morning than usual.
  I spent last night with Finn and Skippy.  My kits are running in and out; and won't be happy when I leave to walk Rosie and Remy, and then go back to the big house.  But I'll be back home before midnight - and then I will be able to sleep with my kits again.  ... I spent yesterday morning taking Kathy about, running her errands, and shopping.  It's going to be hectic until Mike gets back on Monday, and I can relax.  But I plan to spend the morning with Lovey and Nedi, then head over to Kathy's to cook a strawberry-apricot upside-down cake, and to make meat sauce and cook spaghetti for supper.  If the cake turns out well, I need to take a slice to Geary, as I've talked to him about the recipe.
  I'll write about what happens today - if anything - tomorrow.
  Have a great day!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Short Blog

I'll be spending the morning driving Kathy around and helping her get errands done.  I'll walk the red kids this afternoon, as well as Boo and Mona.  Before going to Kathy's I'll head over to Finn and Skippy's and check in with them; Finn will be happy when I tell him we'll be sleeping together tonight - he loves snuggling.  Don't have much time, so this will be an extremely short blog.  Lovey and Nedi are outside at the moment, and won't be happy when I leave with my overnight gear.  But, I'll be back late tomorrow night to sleep with them again, and I'll come home and visit them twice.
   And today marks the anniversary of the Battle of Concord and Lexington  - the first skirmish in what would become known as the Revolutionary War.  Go, Minutemen!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Amur leopards

It's time to make way for (mallard) ducklings

Trina, a 3-year-old Finnsheep, had 7 lambs earlier this month

On the Eighteenth of April in Seventy-five...

Two hundred and thirty seven years ago, tonight, Paul Revere began his ride to warn members of the Provincial Congress, in Concord, that the British Army was advancing to try to arrest the leaders - Samuel Adams and John Hancock.  Revere set off on one route, while William Dawes was sent by Dr. Warren via a different way.  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote the poem about the "Midnight Ride" in 1860, and it was widely praised when it was published. It was published first in January 1861, and Longfellow wanted the poem to engender feelings of nationality, and to put focus on a national hero, in hopes of helping to deflect the civil war to come.  Longfellow ignored some facts and misrepresented others, but the result is a rich and rousing story.  So, hop on your horses, Paul and Billy - tell the folks that "the Redcoats are coming!"
   Yesterday morning, while walking to the bus stop, I glanced to the west and was surprised (why, I'm not sure...) to see the Indian Peaks and Mount Audubon gleaming under a bright snow cap.  This morning, I looked and was disappointed to see the usual browns and greens over more than half of those same peaks - that's how fast the snow melted yesterday.  It seems surreal.  ....  Sister Kathy's orthopedic MD has told her she can't return to work for 4 weeks, and she is unhappy about it.
   Someday I will remember how quickly my kits can get into trouble.  I walked over to the grocery this morning, and, since it was quiet out, I left the patio door open about 6 inches, and left the kits wandering in and out.  Upon my return, both cats were jumping around in the bathroom; as I walked by I glanced over my shoulder and thought it was odd that my brain registered Nedi perched on top of the bathroom door.  Then the word "perched" hit me....  I don't know if the kits caught the young starling and brought it inside, or if it somehow flew (or was chased) through the curtain and into the apartment.  I got both kits out of the bathroom and closed the door. Then it took me three minutes to gently capture the creature - it wasn't bleeding anywhere, and no wings were broken, and it had all of its feathers - so I carried it out and turned it loose in the backyard.  The kits are still searching the apartment in hopes of finding it.
    Today I'm heading over to walk Rosie and Remy, then Boo and Mona.  I also need to see if Kathy wants or needs anything, especially to see if she needs me to drive her into Sunflower  and present her letter from her MD regarding her necessary time off...   It'll be an interesting day!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Dynamite Dead Cows?

I just had to laugh when I read about this - over in Aspen, a couple of snow-shoers visited one of the over-night alpine camping cabins.  They found they couldn't get in.  The US Forestry service says it "believes" that last fall, or in early winter, a group of cows went into the cabin to avoid the snow and cold.  They froze to death inside. (Now, believe me, I don't think that freezing to death is funny - no matter who or what you are.) The trouble is that the cows are frozen in one huge lump - altogether.  The US Forestry Service says they might have to resort to explosives to blow the dead cows apart, so they can be removed from the cabin....   Where else could this happen, except Colorado?

Mountain Views

Popocatepetl, an active volcano near Mexico City

View of (and from) Rattlesnake Gulch Trail in Eldorado Canyon

A golden eagle here in the Rockies

This 'n' That

Today will be an "all over the page" and a "hunh?" day for me... I'm going to write wherever my mind wanders....   Today, in Middle Earth Bilbo Baggins had an unexpected party, when 13 dwarves showed up on his doorstep for tea; Gandalf the wizard had invited them, but Bilbo didn't have any knowledge of it - or that it would lead him to find the Ring. ....  There was a 6.7 earthquake in Chile just before midnight Monday night/Tuesday morning - and earlier today, Popocatepetl, an active volcano near Mexico City, was sending out a lot of seismic grumbling.  Villages near the foot of Popo have been evacuated in case of an eruption, after a 40 minute long tremor.  ....  We have plenty of bald eagles around Boulder, but Saturday afternoon, the nest of a golden eagle was found near the southern tip of the Rattlesnake Gulch trail in Eldorado Canyon.  That end of the trail has now been closed to the public until July, when the expected chicks should fledge.  ....  Lovey stuck to me like glue last night, and so did Nedi.  But I can't figure out why I woke with a sore left knee today. I know the kits didn't do anything to it in bed last night!  ....  Turns out I'll be caring for Finn and Skippy at "the big house" Thursday and Friday this week.  And I had a wonderful, unrushed visit with Sasquatch and Tugger this morning.  ....   The ACLU says that closing the CU campus on 4/20 is a violation of "the students' right to dissent." I'm waiting to see what happens.  ....  The "report card" for the upper Cheaspeake Bay (in Maryland) has been released - if the Bay was well, healthy, and uncontaminated, she would get a score of 100; her score today is 42, down from 46 last year.  She is full of dead spots, contaminated spots, filled with trash and debris from last years' flooding, and, of course, the ever-spreading menace of fertilizer poisoning (nitrogen and phosphates) from lawns, farms, and golf courses.  ....  And I am totally outraged by the GSA's Las Vegas convention last year, that had a price tag of over $832,000  - that's how much I would make in 62.348 years with my pension!  When I worked for the EPA, under President Clinton, I routinely sent reports of misspending, graft, and bribery to the GSA - and, I believe, at that time, those things were acted upon.   But spending such an inordinate amount on a single convention, with private parties being held in the attendees' suites is just disgusting.  It's like the Secret Service  guys at the Hotel Caribe having prostitutes in their rooms, and bragging about Presidential details, while schedules of President Obama's movements were laying out in plain sight.   Those two things make me want to scream!!!  What is happening with our government?  Maybe we need to just make a clean sweep - and elect all new politicians - ones that have never served in the US Congress or US Senate before!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Local Birds

The western meadowlark is back in the foothills

The female western blue grouse near a juniper and pine area

A male western blue grouse in full mating display

Running Around

OK, so Kathy's left humerus is broken just below the shoulder; and the head of the humerus, where it sits in a socket  of the scapula, "doesn't look quite right" on the X-ray.  She sees her orthopedic doctor tomorrow morning to see what he has to say.  Currently she's in a soft cast and has her arm strapped to her body.  She seemed to be doing pretty well this morning - I stopped by and cut some coupons for her and opened some mail and packages.  That was after caring for the Thore crowd, and feeding, medicating and loving Sasquatch and Tugger, then walking the Irish Setters.  Lovey is sitting between the keyboard and me - she has been talking up a storm since I came home.  Nedi keeps running in and out, as neighbors turn their "music" volume up and down - when it's quiet out, he's out; when I can't hear my TV, he's under the bed.
    I'm hoping to sleep in my own bed for the next 10 nights, but if Kathy needs me at her house, I'll be there.  Jim is leaving for Bhutan Wednesday, and Mike is going to Texas to visit his fiancee on Thursday and will return Sunday night.  I have Sasquatch and Tugger through tomorrow night, and then dog-walking only until Thursday, April 26.  On that day I start caring for 2 yellow Labs, and the next day I add Cloudy and Shady.  The Labs care ends the 29th, and Shady and Cloudy on the 30th.  On May 3rd, I start doing a once-a-day for Peach, an elderly Lab, so she can have a potty break and her lunch while her owners are away; she's taken care of morning, evening, and night.
    I am pooped - starting with my "bad day" last week, and with Pam's illness and Kathy's accident, I feel like a limp, wet dish cloth (not to mention a week plus without hot water, and being unable to just let the dog out into the back yard because the fence was down).  I can't wait to go through the routine with Sasquatch and Tugger, and then come home to lay down with my kits in my own bed.  It'll be heaven.
    ** And I was very happy to see a pair of Rocky Mountain blue grouse the other day, while I was out walking - the male was in full mating display. They were gorgeous! **

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Family News and Racing

I arose today and had heat in the house where I'm house-sitting.  It was a Greg-send, as he appeared about 4:30 yesterday afternoon and worked at restoring heat until 9 last night.  There is still no hot water to wash with, or do the dishes with, but the house has heat.  I looked to the west, as I was preparing the critters' food, and saw that there was snow on the tops of the nearest foothills - they are at about 6,000 feet.  The weather folks had said it would snow above 10,000 - and they also forecast 3.5 inches of snow for Boulder (and 5 to 10 inches in the foothills) tonight.   We'll see....
   There was some tornadic activity in Wichita, near my cousin Sarah's home; but luckily, they haven't had any damage themselves.  Pam, Sarah's sister, had a heart attack earlier this week, and two stents were placed when it was discovered that one of the arteries was 90% occluded.  The next day she began slurring her speech, and an MRI was done - it shows she has an aneurysm in one of the veins in her brain.  - And she was sent home from the hospital...   She sees her cardiologist tomorrow, and her neuro doc on Tuesday.
    To top that off, my sister Kathy took a fall while walking the dogs yesterday, with her husband.  She broke her left shoulder, and has to have a consultation with her orthopedic doctor before she can return to work.  The folks at the Urgent Care Center said the MD might want to put a pin in to stabilize  the break.   Brother-in-law Jim leaves for Bhutan on Wednesday morning, so I will be adding walking Boo and Mona to my other scheduled duties, at least until Jim returns ( I think that's 4 or 6 weeks away)....  Nephew Mike will be gone next weekend, so I'll definitely be walking the girls on the 21st and 22nd.  - At least Kathy is right-handed, so she's not totally incapacitated.
     The Grand National Steeplechase at Aintree was run yesterday, and a grey long-shot won the race; Neptune Collonges (at 33 to 1) won by a nose over Sunnyhillboy in a photo-finish.  This year's course was changed after the death of two horses during the race last year; this race also produced two deaths: the pre-race betting favorite, Synchronised, and According to Pete.  Both horses fell at Becher's Brook, the most notorious jump on the 4.5 miles course over 30 obstacles.    All fences at Aintree are jumped twice during the race; Synchronised fell with a shattered leg the first time around, and According to Pete went down on the second pass, suffering multiple fractures.  Both horses were put down on the course.   .....  And my favorite mare now racing, Daisy Devine, led all the way to the finish line in yesterday's Grade 1 Jenny Wiley Stakes at Keeneland.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

British Spring

Heather in Yorkshire

Near Shapwick in Dorset

The coast near Penzance, Cornwall

More About April 20

The University of Colorado, Boulder campus, will be closed to the public next Friday to, hopefully, stop the great Smokeout.  Besides closing the campus to public parking, and having security all around, they have announced that folks without clearance will be ticketed for Trespassing - which carries a fine of $750 and a 60 to 120 day jail sentence.  It sounds as though CU means business this year. 
   As I wrote last night, I am for legalizing marijuana. It is pervasive throughout society, and throughout all 50 states, and all of the territories we protect.  Why not make it legal and tax it the way the government taxes cigarettes and cigars?  The government would then be in charge of agricultural directives for the correct manner in which to grow the crop, and for the harvesting, curing, cleaning, and making of the smokes.  -  One of the things I find interesting about humans in general, is that they find something they think is "good" and then they go overboard with it.  The tobacco the Native Americans smoked, mixed with kinnikinnick, is not the tobacco that people around the world smoke today.  Today's tobacco plants originated in South America, and are (or were) 200 times more potent than what was being smoked by the natives of North America.  It was soon found that you got a higher nicotine rush from the South American tobacco, and people in Europe wanted that type, not the mild North American kind.  So South American tobacco is now pervasive throughout the world - and is the type now grown in the United States. -  This is probably what would happen with the legalization of marijuana, I think.
   It's mid-April now; and the Kentucky Derby is three weeks away, on May 5.  Today there are three Kentucky Derby prep races being run - the Calder Derby, the Arkansas Derby, and the Blue Grass Stakes.   So far, there has been no clear front-running winner to be declared the favorite for the Derby, but the betting public is still supporting Union Rags.  I'll make my picks after today's races.  There are also two graded steeplechase races being run in the US toady - the Georgia Cup Hurdle, run at 2 miles, and the My Lady's Manor Timber Stakes, run at 4 miles.  I wish I could see both of the 'chaser races!
   My kits were excited to see me this morning, as usual.  It is currently bright and sunny out, and the kits and I are enjoying the sun's warmth. I spent the night with the Thore tribe - Dhisana slept on  my legs and feet all night, while Tessa slept next to the bed.  Lyra spent a good part of the night trying to open the closet doors, and finally gave up.  I take care of Ooch today - his owner will return around 9 tonight; and I start taking care of the Clark kits, Sasquatch and Tugger, tonight.  The Thore house still has no hot water, and, as a result, no heat.  The pump in the fish pond is not working correctly.  I informed the owner of this by e-mail and voice mail yesterday, but haven't heard anything back.  At least the back fence is almost complete...
   The reason I mention the heat is because we were at 34 degrees this morning - and we have a storm coming in tonight.  We're expecting rain, sleet, and snow this evening and tomorrow morning.  The owner is due home on Monday, when the high is forecast at 44...  It will be interesting to hear what she says.

Friday, April 13, 2012

CU Boulder Closing Campus To Public Next Friday

For almost 50 years, the students of the University of Colorado at Boulder have held "the Great Smokeout" on April 20.  Not cigarettes and/or cigars.  It is a celebration and gathering of like-minded thinkers to literally blow smoke into the faces of police offices and college officials.  Weed. Grass. Mary Jane. Wild wood flower. Loco-weed. Marry-ju-wanna. Marijuana.  I grew up with Gainesville Green, Micanopy Madness, August Alachua, Windsor Wild weed, and Waldo Whack.  After all, I was a teen in Gainesville, home of the Gators - a college town.  In any event - and not to start any controversy - I, personally, believe that marijuana use should be legalized.  Folks here in Boulder have been thumbing their noses at authority for quite some time on April 20 - and without a huge police crackdown.   Last year more than 10,000 people showed up at the Norlin Quad for the smokeout - and more than half of the people there were not CU students.  Norlin Quad itself has three functioning teaching halls and one of the best libraries on campus; with more than 10,000 people packed into the Quad, it is very difficult to move from class to class, or to visit the library.
   But CU is going to close the campus to outsiders next Friday, and only those people who have pre-registered to be on campus will be allowed past security.  CU spokesman Bronson Hilliard cited a Boulder campus rule  - "Campus Use of Facilities" - that allows the chancellor to restrict access because of weather, safety concerns or "disruption."  He said that the April 20 closure falls into the latter category.  "This is definitely a measure that is unique, " Hilliard said.  "That should be a signal to people that we are very serious about ending this event on our campus."  The closure has ignited concerns from the Boulder County chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which has asked its lawyers to look into the legality of closing a public college campus. Several weeks ago, the campus had already notified the public that no parking would be available on campus the day of April 20.
    Because of the shut down of the campus, one of the Student groups has arranged for a free concert (for students only) at the Coors Pepsi Center with singer Wyclef Jean, scheduled to start at 1 in the afternoon.  This is intended to keep the students out of trouble.  However, several grad students have opined that with Norlin Quad a "no-go" and the campus closed to visitors, that the Smokeout will spread throughout downtown Boulder and that there will be several riots.  VT had asked me a couple of weeks ago if he, as Security, should be worried about next Friday - I told him, "Of course not!"  Now, I'm not so sure....   

Thinking of Home

Chincoteague Channel at sunset

Cattle egrets in breeding plumage on Assateague

Young stallion on the beach

Thursday, April 12, 2012

It Is Springtime

A Much Different Day

I am out of my funk!  So no more kvetching on the blog (this week).  Elliot, the college-age young man who lives next door, did much to restore my good humor, and then I received an e-mail from my cousin Sarah, which made me laugh out loud.  My brother-in-law showed up at 7:25 last night and jumped the van, so I once again have transport.  All is well with my world - my kits have been loving and snuggling with me, I've cared for Ooch, and I fed the kits and Tessa (and walked  her) and have been home for a while.  VT showed up while I was in Safeway, and escorted me home - such a sweetie....   Dee, a friend who used to live in Githens Acres, told me last week that she and her hubby wanted a puppy.  Tuesday morning there was a report on the news regarding 86 puppies that our Humane Society had taken  from an over-crowded Tulsa rescue agency.  They range in age from 8  to 16 weeks, and cover all types of breeds and mutts.  I called Dee and told her about it.  This morning, she showed me a photo of her new girl, a yellow Lab - golden Retriever mix.
   I thought we were having a nasty time with wildfires here in Colorado.  There are 5 major fires burning in Virginia, that have destroyed over 14,000 acres, plus numerous small fires.  The largest fires are in Alleghany County (near the home I shared with Jeff), and in Craig, Page, and Shenandoah Counties as well.  Farmers have already declared a drought on the Eastern Shore.  Come on, Mother Nature!  We need rain all across the country (and a little more than the brief wetting we got in Boulder last night, please)!  I think I always say this around this time of year, but having done my family tree, and finding that my ancestors were farmers for the past 600 years (and fishermen in Sweden and on Chincoteague), I worry about the state of precipitation around the world....
    I hope everyone has a great day!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Way I Feel Now...

I feel like the female in the photo...

I feel like this totalled car...

I feel like Wile E. Coyote here.....

A Real Twister of 24 Hours

I am in a bad mood as I write this - more frustrated than anything, but I wish I had something I could punch without hurting myself!  The water tank/heater replacement man showed up at 11:30 yesterday morning - he stayed, working until almost 8 p.m.  I had been zealously guarding the doors, as the crew had all the main doors in and out of the house wide open, and I had three indoor-only cats and a dog inside.  The back yard fence is being replaced, so I couldn't put everyone out back and sit and watch them.  I penned them all inside the den for awhile, but they weren't happy.  While they were in the den, I went out to water the peas in the garden - they are planted under a trellis just in front of the four bee hives.  A guard bee took exception to my presence, and stung the underside of my left wrist, right between two major veins.  In less than 15 minutes, my forearm looked like Popeye's after he's eaten spinach.  I took loads of Benadryl, and iced the entire forearm; today, I still have a swollen plaque, 4 by 1 1/2 inches on the underside of my wrist.  It hurts to use my fingers, flex my wrist, or apply any weight or power to it.  That's bummer #1.  While I was icing my arm, the owner of the dogs with whom I had the misunderstanding regarding care dates, showed up.  We sat in the shade on the deck, she admired the water feature, and then left me with a $50 bill - because she doesn't want to lose my services.  (The charge for what I did came to $120 - so she won that situation.)  That was my second bummer.  Then, as the water tank guy left last night, he (a) left the front door open, and all the cats escaped, so I was hunting them down in the dark, without a moon for 4 hours - until midnight ; then (b) he informed me that while the water tanks are in place, he hasn't yet turned on the heating elements, so (1) no hot water and (2) no heat if it gets cool.  That was bummer 3 and 4.  I went over to take care of Ooch, who was long overdue for his dinner, and the closing of the house curtains....  Someone, not me, my sister, or the owner's daughter, had gone in and fed Ooch something that he couldn't stomach, and I had six spots the size of dinner plates covered with vomit on the rug that I had to clean up.  Bummer #5.  When I got up this morning, after caring for Ooch, I was going to run home and take care of the kits, then go back and walk the Rs.  The underwire in my bra broke yesterday (bummer #6), and after I walked the red kids, I was going to drive over to WalMart to purchase new bras and some canned stuff I can't purchase anywhere else (certain favorite brands that local stores don't carry).  I grabbed the keys, went to the van, and found the battery was completely dead.  (Bummer #7)  Then I wrote a note to my sister, brother-in-law, and nephew and placed it on their front door, saying the battery was dead, and I asked if someone would be willing to take the 5 minutes needed to come over and jump-start the van.  (I figured, three people, one car and one truck - it's 7 a.m. and I knew they had a 9 a.m. meeting with a lawyer - but 5 minutes? Tops?)  My sister called me at 8, and said they'd gotten the note; they were running late as always, but as soon as they returned from the lawyer's office, one of them would call and come over to jump the van.  Sister was due at work at 1:30, so it would definitely happen before then.  At 2:30 this afternoon, I called her house, let the phone ring 15 times, and left a voice mail, saying I hoped that someone might be able to jump the van this evening, as I was going home by bus to care for my kits.  That was Bummer #8....
    Apparently I am so insignificant, that my request was forgotten, ignored, or brushed aside for "later"...  It takes about 8 minutes to drive from where I was to my apartment; on the bus, with good connections, it takes 60 minutes, one way.  I just want to HOWL!!!!!
   Thanks for letting me vent, if you read all the way through this...
I hope you have a wonderful day tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


The Montgomery Canal in Shropshire, England

This is the John Gold Sanborn cottage, in Knoxville, Illinois  .  It was orginally built in  1832   from butternut logs, and served as both general store and home to the family.

The back yard of a current home in Oak Hall, Virginia.  My 13th-great grandfather moved to this area in 1648, he started out with 5 acres of land, and owned more than 700 acres when he died.  He originally came to the colonies as a bond servant, and worked on a tobacco plantation outside of St. Mary's City, Maryland for 6 years to procure his freedom.

Justice And Other Things

The two high-school students charged with felony animal cruelty charges in Longmont (for herding wild Canada geese into the street and then running them down in an SUV) both got plea deals - community service and a suspended sentence.  Does this really teach teenage boys not to destroy wildlife just for their own satisfaction?
  Two of the three college boys charged with felony animal cruelty charges here in Boulder, have also made plea deals.  The third claims he is "not guilty."  The three young men (19 to 21 years old) beat a raccoon to death with a baseball bat, a hockey stick, and an extremely dull machete.  Witnesses say the young men were "very excited" and jumping and dancing around, yelling, "Get him! Get Him!"  I admit that having a raccoon raid your trash can is not good - but the raccoon didn't need to be beaten to death for over 15 minutes by 3 people who each outweighed it by 10 times it's own weight.  The two who have plead guilty have the same community service and suspended sentences as the younger boys who ran over geese for the fun of it.  Since the third young man has plead "not guilty," he will go to trial.  Maybe he will learn some manners in jail.
   I can see, in the country, far from a veterinarian, having to kill an animal that is horribly injured - I do condone mercy killing in that instance. A baby rabbit, skinned alive by a lawn mower and with a broken back, that is squealing continuously, needs to be allowed to die quickly.  But young men today seem to be a lot more blood-thirsty than they were when I was growing up.  I mean, you went out hunting during hunting season - hopefully, you made a good shot, with either your rifle or bow, brought your game down cleanly, and had something to put in the freezer.  You didn't go out just to kill something.  I really do think that the proliferation of violent games that one can play on a computer, or Game Boy station, or whatever, have made today's youth extremely calloused to death in the real world.
....  On another note, the US Army Corps of Engineers, has come up with a plan to restore old, traditional oyster beds in the Chesapeake Bay.  The corps, which holds the first meeting tonight in Annapolis, says the plan is the first comprehensive bay-wide strategy for large-scale oyster restoration.  Nineteen areas, 11 in Maryland and eight in Virginia, have been selected for restoration. Those waterways include the Eastern Bay, Tangier Sound and the Nanticoke, Choptank and Chester rivers in Maryland. The Pocomoke, Rappahannock and James rivers are among the areas in Virginia.  The plan also calls for sanctuaries where harvesting won't be allowed covering 20 percent to 40 percent of historic habitat.
    I've been in contact with a woman who is writing a book about the genetic make-up of the "wild" ponies that live on the islands off the east coast.  I gave her all the information I had on the Virginia side of the Chincoteague ponies - including Mom's memories of the size and coat colors of the ponies when she was a girl.  She's been checking my info and is surprised at how accurate my memory is...
   My kits are having a blast this morning - I took care of the Thore household early this morning, then spent time with Ooch.  Then I came home to Lovey and Nedi - I gave them a special breakfast, and have been loving them to pieces.  Lovey is sitting on the corner of my desk, and Nedi is sitting in the open patio door, soaking up the sunshine.  The weather folks say we'll have a mix of snow and rain Saturday night, so I hope the kids enjoy the weather while they can.

Monday, April 9, 2012

A Long Monday

Today has been very entertaining - I got up early and grabbed breakfast, took care of Ooch, and then waited for the water heater folks.  The manager, Greg, told me last night that he had to wait on the home-owner to make a decision between three kinds of tanks, he said he'd call her this morning for the decision.  I made the comment that she was in San Francisco, and he said,  "Yeah?",  and I said that she wasn't an early riser, to which he made no comment.  He called me at 10 this morning, stating he had called the owner more than an hour earlier, and that she had said she'd call back in 3 minutes; he hadn't yet heard from her.  I just went ahead at 10:30 and collected the red kids for their walk, leaving a note for Greg on the door, but not really worrying about it.  When I returned, I took the note down, had lunch, and played with the kits and dog; then I fed the koi, and watered the garden.  Greg called again at 1:30, and told me it probably would be late tomorrow morning before he arrived.
  So I've gone to the bank, had an ice cream cone, and am finally at home with my kits.  I'll need to stop at the store on the way back to the house, but right now, I'm enjoying a break, and have Rawhide on tap - it's "The Incident of the Dogfaces" and was written by Gene L. Coon, and is guest starring James Whitmore.    I'll go over and put Ooch to bed around 8 p.m.; and then start reading a new book.   - Mmmm, mmmmm....  I do like the sound of Eric Fleming's voice....

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Photos

Ashley and Kristie prepare to dye their eggs

Kristie looks over the dye jobs
The family's bunny cake

And Easter has always meant baby critters to me...