Friday, March 30, 2012

Old Trees

This is "the witch tree" on Lake Superior - French explorers described it, and its location, more than 300 years ago

A row of old beech trees

A gnarly bole and roots

Wild and Crazy

Wild and crazy, wild and crazy...  that's a great description of me at the moment.  So I'm staying at the Silvermans' with the Irish Setters; I'm feeding and watering and playing with and cleaning the potty boxes for (a) Echo on Tamarack Drive, (b) Rascal on Tamarack Court, (c) Ooch on Topaz, (d) Twister and Tinkerbell and Obsidian (a gerbil) on Topaz; I'm taking care of the hens at Twister's house -feeding watering, gathering eggs, etc; and I'm taking care of Oly, Annie and Bentley on Topaz.  (And Oly has a green cast on her foreleg from her elbow down past her paw.)  Now it seems that I'm also taking care of Boo and Mona, on Topaz.  I returned home this morning and had three messages from my sister, who seemed to be rather confused, as she kept saying that she and Jim would be back on Monday, the 26th; while today is Friday the 30th....    In any event, she and Jim and Mike are going to be away, so I'll have the Snow dogs tonight and tomorrow on top of everyone else.  Ay, yi, yi, yi..... At least I'm still able to spend a few minutes with my kits daily.  I currently have both Lovey and Nedi fur smeared all over my face and glasses - and I love them dearly.
  I thoroughly enjoyed watching Person of Interest last night.  I really like that show.  And I finished reading my history of Russia and am almost half-way through Intruder, the 13th book in the Foreigner series by C. J. Cherryh.  The only thing is, that once I start reading, I don't want to put it down... and I have a lot of obligations for the next several days.  *Sigh*  Oh, well...
  From listening to the 911 calls, I don't think that Trayvon Martin was treated fairly by the Sanford Neighborhood Watch guy.  I think he was shot because Zimmerman  (a) did not follow procedures, (b) freaked himself out, and (c) confronted the young man with a drawn weapon.  That young man did not deserve to die.   And I'm also outraged by the 29-year-old woman who had a sprained ankle and went to the ER, where she was 'sent away' and when she protested, she was arrested.  Blood clots from the ankle sprain killed her while she was in a jail cell....   Both of those unwarranted deaths make me angry with today's culture, rules, and regulations.
  And, finally, Kyle Dyer, the KUSA (NBC) news anchor in Denver will be returning to work on Monday, after time off to recover from the bite of a mastiff (live, on air) that split her nose and upper lip, and removed a section of her lip.  She has had two plastic surgeries to help rebuild her nose and upper lip.  -  Welcome back, Kyle!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Lower North Fork Fire Near Evergreen, Colorado

Smoke from the fire appears ominously to the southwest of Denver

The fire burning amidst the pines last night

The sun is almost obscured by the smoke from the fire near Evergreen

Why Do I Smell Smoke?

Maybe I smell smoke for the same reason there were ashes drifting down out of the sky yesterday afternoon....  The wildfire near Evergreen is still out of control; it's burned over 6,000 acres, destroyed at least 23 homes, an elderly couple have lost their lives, and a woman is missing.  Fire retardant, slurry, and water drops are being made by small planes, helicopters and cargo-type planes.  Normally, Colorado gets almost 12 inches of snow in the month of March; this year, just enough to be measured as "trace," and no rain to speak of.  We are having the driest March ever, since the new citizens of the territory (us white folks) began to keep records, back in the late 1800s.  The current forecast says me might get a few rain showers on April 1 or 2....
   My kits definitely miss me, and I'm running around between houses like a maniac.  I'm trying to keep a close watch on Remy, and then there's Oly, with her cast...  I have to stop agreeing to watch so many houses - even though they are fairly close together (all but one on the same block).  I miss being able to sack out with my kits at any time I feel like doing so.  I've had someone inquiring about me walking a new set of dogs on a daily basis, but I'm going to have to turn them down...  I just don't have the time.
   Thoroughbred trainer Bob Baffert had a heart attack earlier this week, while in Dubai.  He is expected to be released from the hospital there tomorrow, so that he can watch his horses work before the Dubai World Cup races on Saturday.  Good luck to him.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Eastern Old Homes

Millbrook Village, New Jersey

The Bull House in Orange, New York (relatives of my husband)

Old home on the Eastern Shore of Virginia

Fire Tuesday

It was awfully windy yesterday afternoon and evening.  There were multiple wildfires in Boulder County, along with fires in other counties.  The worst is outside of Evergreen, about 25 miles west of Denver (the area that Diana Mott Davidson writes about in her Goldie's catering mysteries) - one person has died in the fire, several homes have been burnt, and the fire is still completely out of control.  All of the fires in Boulder county are at least 60% contained.  We're expected to be hot, dry and windy through Saturday (with an estimated high of 80 on Sat.); but only 62 on Sunday...  In any way, it's fire danger weather.  I can smell smoke right now....
  I've been having a good time with Rosie and Remy; currently my kits are outside playing in the sun.  Rascal and I have been playing chase with each other, and I've given Brandi a lot of attention.  Today I add Oly, Annie and Bentley into the mix.  Oly had a cast put on her foreleg yesterday and is not happy about it - but her nerve sheath is torn, and the leg needs to be immobilized for the sheath to repair itself.  The hens gave me a dozen eggs yesterday - and there were five different colors of eggs.  Tinkerbell was asleep under the covers, as usual, when I visited her, and Twister came out for love and for his meds - he knows he doesn't feel "right" if he misses his "special food" that contains his thyroid medicine.
  VT has been doing such a good job of patrolling the shopping center next to my apartment that the landlords' decided to give him a week's paid vacation, to see what would happen.  Since he isn't in view, there have been 5 times the amount of calls to the local police about panhandlers, drunks, and merchants complaints against shop-lifters.  I guess he's a good "enforcer."  He'll be back at work tomorrow, or Thursday, he told me.  I've reached Stalin's death in my history of Russia, so I have about 60 years to cover before reaching the end of the book.  I have really enjoyed it.  (Especially when I read that, after the Allies had won the war, Stalin was to ride a white stallion in a victory gallop across Red Square. The horse threw him twice the morning of the celebration, and Stalin was quoted as saying,"F*** this!  Zhukov can ride the d*** horse!")  It's little things like this that make history come alive for me.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Zenyatta and Son

Macho Monday

The kits are out on the patio, after each has received an extra-special long love session this morning.  I spent the night with Rosie and Remy, and have since taken care of Brandi, Rascal, Twister, Tinkerbell, Obsidian, and the hens.  I haven't seen VT in a few days, so I'll need to call him and let him know I've reached Stalin's Purges of 1937 and '38 in my history of Russia.  I must say that Sixsmith's history is very interesting, but I occasionally wish he would go into a little more detail.  (I realize that with 600+ pages of history, one has to be careful of not going into too much detail - but it just means I'll be looking up further information to answer questions that some of his statements have raised.)  I had forgotten that Lenin had survived an assassination attempt, and lived the rest of his life with the bullets still inside his body.  And I really enjoy the way the author pulls out interviews with relatives of famous novelists and composers, plus using released "secret" papers from 40+ years ago to show what was really happening.  It's a fascinating read....

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Eastern Shore Critters

Chincoteague ponies greet after they swim the Assateague Channel - 2008

A bald eagle near Cape Charles, Virginia

A great blue heron and reflection at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge

Running Around

It's been warmer than normal here, so I wasn't surprised that the bears are coming out of hibernation early.  The Dept. of Wildlife issued that warning Friday evening.   I spent last night with Brandi, did an early morning call on Rascal, and was at Rosie and Remy's by 7:30, so I could distract the kids while the family took their luggage out.  I was informed that Remy's mind now seems worse, as he forgets that he can actually walk up the stairs to the second floor; I'll probably just sleep downstairs to keep that at bay.  This evening I start in with the chickens, cats and gerbils at another house - one person has cancelled their travels due to illness, so I won't be as rushed as I thought I would.
  There was a mid-air plane crash close to one of the small airports out here around noon on Friday.  As soon as I heard of it, I called brother-in-law Jim to make certain that he was OK and not involved.  He picked up the phone on the first ring, and I was greatly relieved.  Two single engined planes, a Cessna and another, clipped wings. The 72-year-old female pilot of one was able to glide for over 5 miles to do a belly-landing just outside the local airport.  The other plane lost a wind and did a head-first spiral into the ground.  The 31-year-old pilot/instructor and the 64-year-old student were killed.
  Due to the warmth, dryness, and the wind (yes, it's back), we have had several small wildfires in grassy areas near roads; and, in one instance, sparks from train wheels on the train tracks ignited another. ....  This upcoming Saturday will see the running of the Florida Derby, and, for me, that one race signals the beginning of the "Triple Crown Trail."  ....  It has been decided to breed Zenyatta to Tapit this year.  Her Bernardini colt is an extremely handsome young man!  ....  Due to the unusual warmth of this spring, dolphins have already been spotted at the mouth of the Delaware River, where they usually appear in late May. ....  A second foal, a bay, has been born on the Maryland end of Assateague Island - this kid was unexpected, as the mare hadn't conceived in the last ten years.  .... And, finally, sadly, the Gators were beaten by the Louisville Cardinals in the Elite Eight play-offs, and didn't make it to the Final Four.  But, then, like football, it is just a game......

Friday, March 23, 2012

Next Week

Hopefully, I will have time to blog the next 9 days - but I don't know if it will happen...  I've got 4 to 8 houses each day that I'll be visiting one to five times each day for the next 9 days.  I just hope I don't forget anyone!  - I stopped at Karen's today to get an update on the crew at her house, and she finished with - "Well, that's about it, I think..."  I asked her if Twister was still on medication - which made her jump, because he is... and then she handed me his bottle and I handed it back and said, "It's labeled for Tinkerbell, not Twister."  Which caused more confusion...  In any event, I got things straightened out, and reminded her to purchase kitty litter before she leaves....   Another day, another dollar....  And then one person that I rearranged my schedule for, because she "couldn't find any one" to look after her pets, tells me she's got someone - so now I have to mesh with that person's schedule and do whatever he/she doesn't do....   Grrrrrrr.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Shropshire, England

Ruins of Moreton Corbet Castle, Shropshire

The Wrekin in Shropshire (River Severn in foreground)

Church Farm Bed & Breakfast, Leintwardine, Shropshire

Tebow Mania/Madness

OK, it seems to be a done deal this morning - Tim Tebow is a New York Jet.  The local news had a segment on this morning showing the dissension at a local grade school - half of the kids were happy to see Tebow go, saying, "He can't throw"; the other half were extremely upset that Tebow has been traded.  It was amazing to see these 3rd through 5th grade kids state their feelings (or are they mimicking their parents' responses?).
  I like Tim Tebow.  I think he is a very gifted, driven player, who sets a goal for himself and his teammates and works to make that objective viable.  He doesn't smoke, drink to excess, experiment with drugs, or denigrate the female of the species.  He is pretty articulate in front of the video cameras that are always pushed in his face.  He lets people see his emotions, and is not ashamed to cry.  He is a tremendous role model to young kids - and every adult male in the USA.
  Tim might have an unconventional throwing stance and mechanics - but he's a winner, on and off, the  playing field.  He cares about others - he cares about his family, friends, teammates, people who are less fortunate than him, the disabled, ...  the list goes on and on...  he is an all around GOOD GUY. I am sorry that he is leaving Colorado; I envy his new teammates.  In a way, I really wish he could have returned to the Sunshine State due to his leaving the Broncos.  It would have been great to have him be the quarterback for the Jaguars, the Buccaneers, or the Dolphins - just because they are Florida teams, and that's where Tim played high school and college ball.
  But, who knows?  Maybe he will beat Sanchez out for the starting QB position in NY.  Maybe he will be able to consolidate that team and lead them on to multiple Championships and Super Bowl victories...  We don't know the future.
  All I know is that I will miss him, and his always humble presence, in Denver.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bat and Cats

A Grifford's Leaf-Nosed Bat, a new species recently found in Vietnam

Time to stop and sniff the tulips

A Don Sphynx isn't happy with a camera close-up

Night Sightings

I had hoped the past two days of news were just a nightmare - but when I turned on the local news this morning, the first ad I saw was Peyton Manning sitting in front of a split Denver Broncos - KUSA Channel 9 News screen, saying, "Hi, I'm Peyton Manning.  You're watching 9 News, home of the Denver Broncos."  It seems I did not dream the past few days.  It seems pretty much accepted that Tim Tebow will be traded before the end of this week.  May I scream?
  I left Kathy and Jim's house just before 9 p.m. Saturday night, to walk to the bus stop.  I had a small flash light in my hand, but preferred to let my eyes adjust to the darkness (there are no street lights in the neighborhood).  I had just past the east end of their yard when I heard the scrabble of claws on the pavement behind me; I quickly flicked the flash on, and saw a red fox crossing the road behind me.  Turning the light back off, I continued walking in the middle of the residential road toward 26th Street.  Soon I discerned a dark shape coming toward me, almost on a collision course.  It appeared to be someone bent over the handlebars of a bicycle, their head nodding with each leg stroke, as if the person was exhausted.  I said, "Hey.  You really need a light on your bike."  This got no response, so I said, louder, "It's really dangerous to ride..." and then I stopped.  I realized my mistake.  It wasn't a person on a bike, it was a mule deer walking towards me in the dark. - Boy, did I feel stupid! - I made it the rest of the way to the bus stop without incident - except scaring a raccoon, who ran up a cottonwood tree and then hissed at me, when I turned the light on it.  I enjoy walking through the neighborhood, especially in the dark, when most critters don't perceive me as a threat.
  Getting ready to go walk the red kids, and this evening it'll be feeding the Thore girls.  I have to admit I saw the Jamie Lee Curtis interview on Jay Leno Monday night, so I kept myself braced for the NCIS episode last night.  It was nice to get to see Gibbs kiss someone, and it was nice that they didn't immediately crawl into bed.... but I didn't see anything I'd get upset about.  (JLC had said that some women were going to hate her after the episode aired.  Hate? No. Envy? ..Maybe.....)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring Flowers

Crocus are blooming

Daffodils, too...

And ranunculus...

Cool Day in Boulder

It's a glorious day outside - even if it is only 28 degrees out there.  The wind is not blowing and the sun is shining.  I'm content.  Both kits are sunning in the cat tree.  Right now, I have The Horse Soldiers on, and I had to grin at Ken Curtis leading John Wayne's horse - he's kinda cute in a cloth cap and without a scraggly beard.  VT isn't at work today, but he had a head cold yesterday, and had pulled a 12-hour shift on Saturday.  I hope he's at home recuperating.  Not much going on with the critters, or me. 
  Denver is in a tizzy, and every newscast begins with "Peyton's Place" or a "Manning Madness" headline.  Business is business.  Football is football.  Football is also a big business.  I like Peyton Manning - he's an older version of Tim Tebow with his charitable works, and in watching his tongue.  It seems the Broncos' front office has decided that Manning can give them a guaranteed Super Bowl win "before his career ends."  There is no guaranteeing that.  I understand wanting a more experienced QB; I understand wanting to win; I understand that Manning means $ in the Broncos' pockets - but, I still like Tim Tebow more.  How about giving a young man a chance to grow?  -  I have to admit I'm going to watch the live news conference at 1 (MDT) today, that presents Manning as "the Broncos' new quarterback."  But I'm also wondering how Tim Tebow is feeling, and what the Broncos' have in store for him.....  And I keep replaying (in my head) a little snippet from a John Elway interview in January, where he said, "Tim Tebow has earned the right to be starting quarterback in Spring Practice."  Will you follow up on your words, John, or brush them aside, and say, "it was different then"?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Old Barns - Michigan, North Carolina, Virginia

Old barn in northern Michigan

Old barn near Boone, North Carolina

Old barn in Virginia

Busy At Work

What a difference a day makes in Colorado!  For the past week we've been setting records for high temperatures, which have been running well over 20 degrees higher than normal.  Yesterday, we got up into the mid-60s, but the wind came in the afternoon.  This morning, when I got up, it was freezing outside.  We're supposed to reach the upper 40s today and tomorrow.  At least the sun is shining.  I walk the red kids every morning this week, and I feed the Thore girls (3 cats, 1 dog) Tuesday through Sunday night.  On Friday, I visit Karen to get instructions on caring for her crew, and on Saturday, I visit Rascal's family to get reacquainted. Sunday I move into the red kids' house, and will just be home for a couple hours per day through the end of March.  I'd take my kits with me, but Joel is highly allergic to cats, and Rosie and Remy believe that they (the kits) make a good meal.
   The Gators were my only team that made it to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA Tourney.  I had to laugh, because less than 30 minutes after the game was won, I was getting e-mails from the Gator Fanatic website offering Sweet Sixteen T-shirts.
   I mentioned yesterday's wind.  It was whipping along at up to 65 mph, and several grass fires occurred out on the eastern plains.  In Yuma County, a fire burned over 14 square miles, and destroyed at least two houses. Three of the fire fighters at that blaze were hospitalized.  It was dark and hazy here in Boulder and along the front range, but that was due to large amounts of dust and dirt in the wind.  We are short on our snow pack up in the mountains, and without rain, it looks like we'll be on water restrictions this summer and fall....
  I have really enjoyed reading The First Frontier, and have only 30 pages left.  Some of the statistics and documented numbers are breath-taking.  It's definitely a great read!  ...  Lovey is basking in the sun, and Nedi is here demanding love and attention.  Have a good week!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Old Water Wheel Mills in the USA

Old Crystal Mill in Colorado

Cats, Dogs, Knights Templar & March Madness

I don't know why, but I was surprised to see that Jacques de Molay was burned at the stake on today's date in 1314.  Considering that King Philipe of France had him arrested on October 13, 1307 - I guess I was amazed that Philipe took so long to actually execute the leader of the Knights Templar on the Ile de la Citie in Paris.  I suppose that the King and his puppet Pope had, after 6 years and 5 months of imprisonment and torture, wrung every thing that they could out of the Grand Master.  And, of course, once de Molay had admitted anything under torture, as soon as he was able to regain his wits and his strength, he immediately recanted whatever he had admitted.  Philipe the Fair turned out to be a very nasty King; and, of course, his daughter, was known as the She Wolf in England, even though she was portrayed very differently in Mel Gibson's Braveheart.
   I am still stunned by the sudden death of my friend, Kathryn.  I am happy that she did not linger and suffer for a long amount of time, but it still seems as if it's a dream (nightmare, really).  I've told Mary that I will be happy to help and/or assist in any way that I can - but she's in Gainesville and I'm here in Boulder....
   I felt funny Friday, when I saw VT and did not reiterate an invitation for him to bring his dog, Jack, and visit Mona and Boo and I this weekend.  Turns out something was tickling my subconscious; Friday night Mona came into season.  Since Jack is an intact male, I am very happy that we didn't all get together, as I am not ready to be god-mother to a litter of Plott Hound/Pit Bull puppies.  Mona is a rust-color, with dark brown and black brindling; Jack is black, with rust colored brindling.  They'd make beautiful pups, but as I said, I don't need to be looking for a home for un-planned pups.  I think VT is a little too macho to get Jack neutered; nephew Mike just hasn't taken the time to get Mona spayed...
   The kits slept on top of me last night. Then, at four this morning, Nedi decided to have a wild-hair crazy run - he ran around and about, knocking over a pile of books, clattering through glasses in the kitchen sink, and banking off the hallway door and the insides of the bath tub.  I just hope my neighbors were able to sleep through it!  He's currently sacked out in the cat tree, while Lovey is supervising my blog-writing. Since yesterday was St. Paddy's Day, I wore my kelly green T shirt that has Devine written in "The Book of Kells" letters, with a dragon gracing the D.  Since both the Hoyas and the Gators are playing today, I've got on blue shorts (for the Hoyas) and my Gator T.  The poor CU Buffs were eliminated last night.
   I hope your Sunday is wonderful.  - Oh, and brother-in-law Jim finished fourth in his age group in the Moab Marathon yesterday.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


Taken in 1864, unidentified Arapaho "leaders" and a translator

A young boy kisses a goat at the Miracle Rodeo

Friends forever!

The Day of Saint Padraig

Most people will be wearing green today to celebrate the Irish and St. Patrick's Day.  Padraig was a well-born British-bred teenager, who had no interest in religion when he was kidnapped in Wales and sold into slavery.  He was a slave for 7 years in Ireland, learning the Irish Gaelic language, herding sheep, and farming.  He became a convert to the Irish Christian church, and one day, ran away and returned to England.  He studied with priests in England for several years and then returned to Ireland to convert the masses.  At one point in time, trying to explain the idea of the Holy Trinity, he picked a clover leaf, or shamrock, to show that while the leaf had three separate lobes, it was still a single entity.  He was respected in the northern areas of Ireland, and tales of him spread through the southern part.  He died in the late 400s, and was buried in Armagh.  March 17 is the official feast day of St. Patrick, which has become a world-wide celebration of being Irish.
   My kits have been very happy to see me when I've been able to stop by the last two days.  I'm getting used to hearing Mona's tags jingle throughout the night, but will sleep better back here with the kits.  Mike is due home sometime this afternoon or evening, and I can return home.  Kathy and Jim are off in Moab, running in a marathon and half-marathon today.  They'll return tomorrow night.
   Three of my four college basketball teams have advanced in the NCAA March Madness tourney, so I'll be rooting for the Colorado Buffs today and the Florida Gators and Georgetown Hoyas tomorrow. I hope they all get to the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight groups....

Friday, March 16, 2012

Adopt a FREE Cat or Kitten Today

Zoe is an 11-month-old female

 Today all cats and kittens aged 6 months or older are available free from the Boulder Valley Humane Society.  Please take one home for its' lifetime, if you can afford one (or two).  They have all of their shots, are spayed or neutered and are micro-chipped for identification.  Please help yourself to some free love and companionship...
Animal is a 6-month-old male

Chihiro is a girl, and is 5 years 6 months old

Garfield is a 3-year-old male

Junior is 7 years old, and he is afraid of dogs - he needs a kitty-only home

Ziggy is an 8-year-old male

All of the cats shown here, as well as Nacho from Wednesday, are available for adoption from the Boulder Valley Humane Society... Over 70 kitties need a life-time home.  Please assist if you can...

Thursday, March 15, 2012


The new foal on the Maryland end of Assateague Island...

A golden brushtailed possum from Tazmania

Young wild rabbit eating snowdrop flowers

A Complete Pastiche

Where to start?  Monday night we had a series of serious accidents in Boulder - a man with a seizure disorder combined alcohol and percocet and decided to drive his Ford F-150 truck back to Longmont. He was driving about 90 mph in a residential area, clipped one car. hit several more parked vehicles, then rear-ended a line of four vehicles who were stopped at a red light.  The impact pushed the first car out into the intersection, where it was T-boned and two other cars hit the car that did the T-boning.  Ten people were taken to the hospital, including several children.  The driver who caused all the destruction, afterwards said that he doesn't remember anything except a loud noise and his airbags deploying.  He suffered a broken elbow.  The car that was T-boned, however, had a 7-year-old girl in the passenger seat; she had been leaning up against the passenger door.  Just before the impact occurred that pushed them into oncoming traffic, the girl's invisible friend (a werewolf named Charlie), asked her to reach for something in her mother's lap.  The girl leaned away from the door - which was bent in two by the crash.  She did have a very bloody, small cut to her head, from hitting the dash - but investigators say that had she been sitting as she was before her invisible friend's request, she'd have been killed instantly.  Charlie, wherever you are, thank you!
   This past week, a 20-year-old college student was clocked doing 62 mph in a 25 mph zone on Chincoteague Island.  When police got the young man to stop, he reeked of alcohol, and had white powder around his nostrils.  Evidence swabs were taken, even though he freely admitted that since he was on vacation, he figured it wouldn't hurt anyone if he drank and did cocaine while driving....
   The Maryland end of Assateague uses contraceptive darts on the ponies, to prevent over-breeding, and, thus over-grazing.  This past week, a red and white pinto filly arrived as the newest addition to the Maryland bands.
   And a reminder, that if you  live in the Boulder area, there are 77 cats and kittens up for FREE adoption tomorrow at the Boulder Valley Humane Society...   If you can afford to adopt, please do.
   Four of my basketball teams were invited to the March Madness "Dance" - I'll be rooting for the CU Buffaloes, CSU Rams, Georgetown Hoyas, and the Florida Gators.  Here's to good sportmanship!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Nacho is a 10-month-old female available for FREE from the Boulder Valley Humane Society

77 Cats and Kittens Available for FREE Adoption

The Boulder Valley Humane Society has 77 cats and kittens that are 6 months old or older.  All of them are available for free adoptions on Friday, March 16th.  They have all vaccinations, are spayed or neutered, and are micro-chipped.  They all just need a loving forever home.  If you can afford the care, and can open your hearts and homes, please do so.  Felines are great companions.

Kathryn Is With Us No More

Kathryn Starcher, my friend and adopted sister of  37 years, has left us behind.  She passed away 20 minutes ago at North Florida Regional.  May she rest in peace.

Books, Cats, and Dogs

Lovey and Nedi knew I was upset yesterday, and stuck to me like glue.  I've worked through my angst and can now look upon Kathryn's life and current illness without becoming too upset.  -  And today, I'm wearing my red Celtic Warrior shirt for Kathryn....   I talked to my therapist yesterday, and VT stopped by several times to "make sure" I was OK.  Several friends offered to purchase plane tickets for me to go to Florida, but I declined.  I'd love to think that my being there would occasion a miraculous recovery, but I know how imbecilic that notion is.  I'm heading out to walk Remy and Rosie, and then I'll be back home to continue transcribing the Snow family tree.
  At least my History Book Club order arrived, and I now have 6 new books to read.  I have Empire of the Summer Moon, about Quanah Parker; a National Geo book titled The Untold Civil War: Exploring the Human Side of WarThe First Frontier: The Forgotten History of Struggle, Savagery, & Endurance in Early America; The Royal Stuarts; A History of the Family That Shaped Britain; Winter King: Henry VII and the Dawn of Tudor England; and Russia: A 1,000-Year Chronicle of the Wild East.  They should be able to keep me occupied for a while...  I have about 30 pages left of a mystery, and then I'll dive in.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

New Hampshire Storm

The year was 2007, the place, North Hampton, New Hampshire.  It was high tide, and the wind was blowing at about 60 mph...  If you look closely, you can see the roofs of five houses behind the sea spume (a little to the left of center, in the trees).

Somtimes, Life Is Awful

I have long recognized and dealt with the circle of life and death.  But sometimes, it just sucks.  When my father, mother, and husband died, I had the warmth and comfort of wonderful friends - Carolyn, Jack, Chip, Kathryn and Mary.  Kathryn, who lives in Gainesville, will soon leave us.  She promised my Mother, when Mom moved back to Chincoteague, to look after and take care of me.  She's always been there, through good times, and bad.  Now she is in the hospital in Gainesville, incoherent, and in restraints, unable to breathe, unable to communicate, and, I'm sure, unhappy.  Thursday night she had trouble breathing, and Mary, her house-mate, took her to the ER. She was admitted to the "Progressive Care" unit, which is one step below ICU, at North Florida Regional. Saturday, she was given her diagnosis - lung cancer had spread, untreated and unknown, throughout her body - the recommendation was Hospice Care at home.  Saturday night, her condition worsened.  Chest tubes were placed to remove the excess fluid from her lungs - Sunday she became incoherent, speaking in nonsense syllables; possibly from the high doses of morphine, possibly from a stroke.  She doesn't like being in the hospital.  She has tried to remove her IV and chest tubes, and is now in restraints.  She can't communicate to make her wishes known....   I feel so badly for her.  She is actually closer to me than my own sister is; only my friend Carolyn is closer.  I wish I could do something....  anything....  But of course, that's not the way life goes.   Please send kind thoughts and prayers toward my friend Kathryn - all of her friends and family will appreciate it.

Monday, March 12, 2012

My Friend, VT

VT, my new friend from Sochi, Russia is in the left foreground.  He's practicing Muay Thai at his Denver gym.  He occasionally fights professionally.

Silly Stuff

Not much going on today - I'll be walking Rosie and Remy, then Annie, Oly, and Bentley this afternoon.  I do need to go get my hair cut - the last time it was cut was before I went to Florida, and I now have curls all over the back of my neck.  That's not bad - until I sweat a lot.  Both kits are running in and out of the patio door.  I don't know if we have a dog for a neighbor, or if it was just visiting yesterday, but my kits were quite upset that a dog dared to be in the back yard... at least, one that wasn't Riley, their favorite Shar-Pei. 
   I was intrigued when I saw that the state of Chiapas, in southern Mexico, had discovered the remains of 167 people in a cave near the Guatemala border.  The first notice said that the "grave" was over 50 years old, and that it was, possibly, bus-loads of travelers who disappeared between 60 and 70 years ago.  Well, the bones are a lot older - they are now dated at being 1300 years old, and the skulls show signs of having been flattened and elongated with a wooden cradle board - and the native Amerindians of 1300 years ago did just that....
  It's currently cloudy out, but it's above 50 degrees.  We're supposed to be partly cloudy with highs in the low 70s for the rest of the week...  we'll see.  Have a good week!

Sunday, March 11, 2012


The 1966 Johnny Appleseed first class stamp

These apple trees are near Cincinnati, Ohio.  There are over 7,000 types of apple trees, but only the crab apple is native to the US. John Chapman made certain that he planted multiple types of trees when he made his orchards.

A pretty paint

Today Is Johnny Appleseed Day

I remember bits and pieces about Johnny Appleseed from my grade-school days.  My memory says we were taught that his real name was John Chapman, and he wandered about planting apple seeds and seedlings around Pennsylvania and Ohio.  I vaguely remember a drawing of him wearing a pot for a hat, and that he was generally barefoot.  We used to have all sorts of apple creations and food on his national day when I was a kid - but he seems to have been dropped by the wayside.   So I looked him up, and refreshed my memory this morning...  He was born in Leominster, Massachusetts, and his mother died when he was a child; apparently his father pretty much let John raise himself.  He became a follower of Emanuel Swedenborg, who preached pacifism and vegetarianism.  After his 10th birthday, John never ate a scrap of meat.  Born in 1774, he began wandering across the country in his mid-teens - he planted apple seedlings and seeds throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois and Indiana. After his death in 1845 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, he was laid to rest in the pauper's graveyard.  It is estimated that he planted more than 100,000 square miles of apple trees during his life and travels.  When he had a pot, he frequently carried it on his head so he could easily collect fruits, berries, leaves and roots.  He shod himself from other folks' discarded shoes, and his shoes/boots frequently did not match.  He was a friend to every one and every thing he met, tending small creatures that were hurt, injured, or ill, and taking care of human neighbors, too.  While living in Richland County, Ohio, the small community was fearful of an Indian attack.  John Chapman walked for 5 days to get armed help to repel the natives - he was that kind of man.  - All praise to Johnny Appleseed!
   My kits and I enjoyed playing together yesterday.  I went to the grocery store this morning, and was surprised when it was raining(!) when I stepped back outside to return home...  Lovey and Nedi are having a blast running in and out of the light rain, and scattering mud and rain drops all over me, the desk, and the computer.   I received some sad news today: one of my friends at Safeway lost her nephew to suicide yesterday, he was only 26, but he was HIV positive, and he said it just wasn't worth the struggle to stay alive any more.
  In Delaware, a man who cleans out duck nesting boxes has discovered that wood ducks and screech owls are sharing the boxes.  While the ducks are actually nesting, the screech owls take to an alternative sleeping area, but once the wood ducks leave, the screech owls move back in.  When he first noticed this, several years ago, the man began banding the owls; at that time most were grey in color, recently, however, they are predominantly red.  And he knows the owls are returning - he has found the same owl he banded 4 years ago every winter in the same wood duck nesting box, when he's doing his cleaning duties.  Apparently, the nesting box program is working well, not only for the wood ducks, but also for the screech owls.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Queen and Her Son; Working Goats

Zenyatta and her colt (by Bernardini) - besides the star, the colt has ermine around his left fore-foot.

A goat is "on guard" over the rest of its' flock in Brazil...

Goats are frequently used to pull carts and small loads in Europe - it's rare to find trained goats in the US, but several farms are working to change that.