Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Party is Over

The Party is finally over and done with.... Having been on my feet for 16 hours, and having taken my walk prior to the party work, I did not take my usual walk this morning. I stayed in bed and cuddled with Lovey and Banichi. The party was fun... I know the neighborhood kids enjoyed it thoroughly and were constantly playing with Sarah, her boyfriend Mike, her brother Mike, and cousin Adam. Adam's sister, Olivia, and I spent a great deal of time in the kitchen. At one point there were five of us in the tiny kitchen, two making tea sandwiches, one making and cooking the sausage rolls, I was making and baking crumpets, and one was loading up the tiered server with tea biscuits... pure chaos.

Five adults looked at my genealogy/history research display. Only one of them read any of the names and accomplishments; everyone else told me up front that they just wanted to look at the photos I had included - none of the photos were people - they were landscapes from England and the US. The parade lasted 30 minutes, and I had to turn back one car and one truck, wearing my jaunty day-glo orange and neon yellow striped road vest. And I had to laugh - no one I invited attended.

I put out two full feeders of "No Waste" bird seed and a bunch of raw, shelled almonds for the outside critters this morning. The neighbor who complains was not at home, so I guess I'll hear from her either this afternoon or evening. I did feel badly for Jim yesterday, because after he had cleaned all the doggy-doo out of the yard, several people brought their dogs (on a lead) and let them "go" without picking up afterwards. One of the neighborhood boys , running barefoot, encountered a rather large deposit and was not very happy about it.

Today, I am going to vegetate and do absolutely nothing. Tomorrow I'll start back up and get into the genealogy research mode and then on the 5th, I start pet-sitting again... Life goes on...

Friday, August 29, 2008

Little things

Last night was cool and brezy both in Denver and Boulder. The DNC came to a rousing close, and I could hear cheers from the Millenium Harvest House Hotel and various apartments located nearby. And now McCain has named Gov. Sarah Palin, of Alaska, as his running mate. This will be an interesting national election....

I had some really odd dreams last night - I took Lovey as a date to a restaurant and scandalized the group of people I had gone out with; I was in a cable car and didn't have a ticket and held up the whole line of cars because I couldn't find it; Jeffrey and I were invited to meet the Queen of England because of our blood-ties to the family and Jeff stood up on a chair in the Royal Dining Hall to propose a toast and spilled wine all over the tablecloth; I was trying to protect my children from a local battle in green fields and was upset because the kids kept going off to explore the nearby countryside, while I was trying to keep them under cover and run for our lives... I guess my subconcious is trying to tell me something.....

Today my walk was cool and nice, with plenty of birdsong - my walk along the Creek was brisk and invigorating, and I also walked through part of the Historic section of town; there were lots of crows and ravens speaking to me from the trees, and I spoke back. (I'm sure anyone seeing me talking to the corvids was convinced that I really am nuts.) Tomorrow is the big party at my sister's house... I hope all goes well; other than when I'm blocking traffic for the parade, I plan to sit in a quiet, shady area and observe.... Here's to the Githen's Acres block party!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Cussing Chickadee

I was drafted into my sister's party plans again yesterday, thus no blog. Since I spent most of the time either on-line or in my chair, working on fliers, the kits were in heaven - they could get attention and love in the doses that they wanted. Since I have yet to refill the birdfeeders, their raucous song is missing - except early this moring, when a very put-out chickadee cussed me out for having an empty feeder...

Early morning walks have been glorious - the snowfall up in the mountains was a wet one, and most of the snow has once again melted from view, except for small crevices where the sun doesn't have much power. My "local" bakery at Safeway is having trouble with employees, and I haven't been able to get a fresh bagel or pastry for the past three mornings (whine, whine). One of the men in the produce department gave me a freshly washed, sliced, and de-stoned local Colorado peach this morning - he and I usually trade quips in the morning - so I had a very satisfying (and free) breakfast.

Several pet-sitting clients are going to bring their pets for a "quick visit" at the party, and will then take the dogs home and return without their four-legged family members. I have more than enough clients to keep me busy in pet-sitting, so at the party, I'll talk about my other passions, genealogy and history, and how they interweave. One of the things I love in genealogy is to find odd, unsusal names - or melodious ones. I loved it when Joe Biden introduced his mother at the DNC last night - Kathryn Eupemia Finnegan Biden. What a truly melodious Irish name - until the Biden. She made me think of my Mom.... (not that Mom was Irish - she was Swedish, Danish, and English - but just from her looks, and her saying, "That's right..." and nodding, when he son told a story about her....) And when I say odd and unusual names, I discovered a cousin of mine whose Christian names were: Eight One.... I am not joking.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Loving cats...

Well, the heat is back and I've had to turn on the fan again. At least we're only expecting the low 90s and nothing much higher... The birds have been enjoying the last of my regular blended seed - and I'll soon head over to the Wild Bird Center to get hull-less sunflower seeds and "waste-less" mixed seed. I'll also check into the cost of unshelled roasted saltless peanuts at the farmer's market, so I can continue to feed my critters without all the waste my neighbor complains of.

The kits were very cuddly all night long; Banichi brought me his shoelace, freshly dipped in water, three times last night/this morning in bed and Lovey wanted to sleep inside my nightgown for several hours. Kathy highjacked me for several hours yesterday afternoon and evening - working on the party invitation... She was suffering terribly from a nasty head cold and, I think, went a little overboard in her highlighting on the invite....

I got a new vacuum cleaner yesterday afternoon, and while the kits were outside this morning, I vacuumed the apartment - they were quite startled by the noise, as I've just swept and mopped before now. I managed to see Teddy Kennedy's speech at the DNC yesterday evening - he made me cry....

Monday, August 25, 2008

Three Twisters in Thirty Minutes!

Yesterday was quiet - bright and sunny in the morning, cloudy and cool in the afternoon, with thunder rumbles and light rain in the evening. I would have liked to have seen the Olympics closing ceremony, but Hila's house has no TV and no radio, so I read, as usual. When I returned to my apartment this morning, I found that there had been 3 tornadoes within 30 minutes near Denver - luckily, none caused damage. And when I looked out on my patio this morning, I had to laugh - my neighbor had lined up a dead mouse and a rather tattered dead sparrow on the outer edge of the patio. Her note the other day blamed me for the deaths of any and all critters near my apartment - because I feed the critters.

The hens have laid 4 or 5 eggs for me each day, and I harvested in the gardens yesterday afternoon - tomatoes, cucumbers, 5 kinds of squash, Swiss chard, and, being allergic to them, I did NOT touch the huge red onions that look ripe for pulling. The canatloupe need about 2 more weeks on the vine, but the squash plants are blooming again, and we should get a double harvest of them. The cherry and Roma tomatoes are over-producing themselves - and one can gather almost a quart a day from them.

The Democratic National Convention begins today in Denver. When it was first announced that local people could get a ticket to see Obama's acceptance speech, I toyed with the idea - but my dislike of crowds convinced me not to go - along with the fact that when I went to sign up for the ticket, 5 hours after it was announced, all 50,000 had already gone and I was the 28,657th on the waiting list for cancellations. In a way, I really want to be there for the history, and at the same time, I know I'll get a better view, hear the speeches much more clearly, and be more at ease if I watch from home. And - it's pretty well accepted that if you're below the 5,000 number on the waiting list, that you might as well go whistle in the wind.

I'll be home after tonight for about a week - I can sleep in my bed and schmooze with the kits... then I'll be off with Spike for awhile in Niwot. I will correct the Nocks family tree on-line this week and start putting up the Devine-Boyer and the Lancaster family trees; as well as mailing out (finally!) the Martin and O'Neil family trees to Idaho.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

High Tea at the Brown Palace - The CritterSitter, sister Kathy, Anne, & Jim Snow (l - r)

My Husband, Jeffrey, & his two youngest - Kevin & Krissy

My Kits - Leofgifu & Banichi

Hila Defends; Stop Feeding Birds?

It was a lively night at Hila's.  I don't know what creature caused her to go ballistic at 1 am this morning, but she had been sleeping by my bed and suddenly started to bark and growl. Then she ran out into the living room and directed her ire toward one of the windows. Since it was a nice night, I had the windows wide open - I was completely amazed when Hila launched herself through the screen and outside.  She was extremely upset, and it took me 30 minutes to get her back inside and to quiet down.  I've never seen her react this way to any animal - so, did we have a possible burglar?  I have no idea.....

My neighbor who has been sweeping my patio left a note on my door yesterday - she wants me to stop feeding the birds and the squirrels because "they are vermin and are drawing other vermin." When I first visited Harvest Manor, I asked three questions before even discussing rent, terms of lease, etc. My questions were:  (1) May I have a cat as a pet here?  (2) May I hang bird feeders on my patio and/or in nearby trees?  (3) Will it be permitted for the cat/cats to play outside, not on a leash, but under my eyes/supervision?  - Since the answer to all three questions was "Yes", I then asked the usual renter's questions.... and ended up moving into my apartment in April 2006.  I spent parts of several days there before I actually moved my belongings and Lovey into the place.  I observed birds in the trees, field mice/voles in the grass, red and grey squirrels, chipmunks, ground squirrels, and the scat of rabbits, raccoons, fox, and deer in the backyard area adjacent to my patio. Since the apartments are located beside the Boulder Creek Path, I was not surprised - and was quite happy to see that a variety of wildlife visited the area.
Apparently my neighbor is not one of my kind of people - with a live and let live view and understanding of the life cycles of wildlife. At the end of her note she asks that I particularly stop feeding the squirrels peanuts and also stop feeding the birds sunflower seeds (which the squirrels also eat). She does not ask that I stop feeding the birds a blend of seeds - does she just have something against the peanut and sunflower shells?  When she first moved into her apartment, I offered to sweep her patio when I swept mine, because the wind does occasionally take a few empty hulls around the brick wall separating our patios - but she declined.  The sunflower seeds do take root, if not eaten, and she made a very nice garden this summer from the sunflower sprouts; the peanuts are roasted (unsalted) and cannot produce peanut bushes...
I think that, to placate my neighbor, I'll stop feeding the outside critters until the first snow; or, if we have a series of hard freezes before snowfall, I'll start feeding again then. I will not give up feeding the birds and wildlife entirely, as they help me enjoy life. I love to hear the birds chirping right outside my window during the day - whether I'm waking up, falling asleep, working on the computer, reading, or just sitting and thinking.  One needs birdsong in one's life!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Pets and Party Plans

Yesterday was hot. Got up to 94 with 12% humidity - but at least we're not flooding from Tropical Storm Fay, like a good part of Florida. But since we got about 3 inches of rain this past weekend, the grass and gardens are not yet suffering. We're expecting another cold front through this afternoon, with highs today and tomorrow in the low 80s.

Banichi is currently in my lap, kneading my leg and giving little love bites to my arm. Lovey is curled up under my chair and keeps burbling at me. Hila and I had a quiet night - except around midnight, when the skunk visited the patio and looked into the bedroom's French doors (then Hila had to growl and bark to protect me and the premises). A couple of the chickens are beginning to moult and look rather bedraggled. I was amazed this morning to see how they had eaten a small hole into the apple skin and the eaten the entire interior, while leaving 95% of the skin intact.

Plans are growing apace for the Githen's Acres block-party, where my sister lives. I was put in charge of researching permits, etc. - and I really had to laugh; Kathy asked me to do this on the night of Friday, August 15th. The date of the party is to be Saturday, August 30th. She wanted a road closure permit, a parade permit, a band permit, and an open fire permit - and the first thing I saw on the county's website was that these had to be applied for 60 days prior to the event, that each permit application would cost $50, and that county insurance coverage to the tune of $500 was also needed. I read everything and printed it all out, and then I called the county office to ask my questions. I was put into contact with a lady who handles block parties, and was told that none of the permits nor the insurance applied to what will happen August 30th. That made me very happy.
The party is scheduled from noon until midnight; the official reason is the permanent barricade at Garnet & Riverside, to keep 700+ cars per day from driving the the neighborhood as a shortcut to 3 local schools. Since the temporary barricade went up, traffic is down to less than 70 vehicles per day, which is what the residents want. The Fire Marshal and County Commissioners will be there to celebrate with a ribbon cutting ceremony. A fire truck will be parked in Kathy & Jim's yard, for children to climb on and explore. The parade will include the fire truck, the BHS Marching Band, the BHS Jazz Band, clowns and local residents on decorated bikes and riding mowers, as well as several dance troupes.
Who's invited? Everybody. Everyone who lives within a two block radius of Githen's Acres, Ball Aerospace employees, Sunflower Farmer's Market employees, Credit Union friends and contacts, Silver Lake Irrigation Ditch families, my pet-sitting clients, and various and sundry friends, including the work crew who is building the permanent traffic barrier and the construction crew on a local "monster" house. (The construction crew has been there for months - and they are not responsible for the poor taste of the owner.)
Other than the dedication ceremony and the parade around the neighborhood loop (during which I get to block one of the roads and give information), the rest of the event will take place at Kathy and Jim's house. From noon until 4 pm, it's the Great American Barbeque & Backyard Picnic (with appropriate games and music); from 4 to 6 pm, it's an English Tea Party (with croquet, badminton, and music); from 6 until 10pm, it's Classic rock, jazz, and an open mike; and from 10 pm until midnight, it's acoustic guitar and singing around the campfire (firepit) while toasting marshmallows. The Fire Department will ceremoniously douse the fire at midnight and ask folks to return to their homes, or open their sleeping bags and spend the night. - Oh, My God! - (I plan on being home well before then!)

I understand that some of you are unable to view the photos from Webshots that I've put up on the blog the last few days. I will contact Webshots again and see what we can do about it. Thanks for being patient with me while I learn how to do all these new things...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Olympic Finals - Equestrian

50 horses and their riders competed in the first round of Individual Show Jumping; 21 made it to the second round; 3 made it to the jump-off finals. The top six finishers were:
1st place: Eric Lamaze, Canada, on Hickstead
2nd place: Rolf-Goran Bengtsson, Sweden, on Ninja
3rd place: Beezie Madden, USA, on Authentic
In fourth place was Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, Germany, on Shutterfly; fifth was Rodrigo Pessoa, Brazil, on Rufus; and sixth was Mclain Ward, USA, on Sapphire.

Cut lines; weather; horse doping

The weather has been ideal this week - highs in the upper 70s and low 80s, lows in the lower to mid-50s, with late afternoon cloud cover and a few sprinkles. It was glorious walking weather this morning, and Hila and I hiked over to Wonderland Lake and then around it and back to her house. Eliphalet Pease, the rooster, started crowing at 5:30 this morning - and I gathered 8 fresh eggs from the henhouse after feeding the flock - besides their usual scratch and corn, they got pears and an apple this morning. No sign of the skunk so far - and I'm keeping an eye out for it.

A contractor cut the telephone and internet lines in North Boulder yesterday afternoon, and so no one in the neighborhood where I'm staying has either service available. My sister thought that her old telephone had finally died, and I was the one to inform her and Jim of the cut lines.

Four horses at the Olympics have tested positive for a forbidden substance - including a horse on Norway's Bronze-medal winning show jumping team (their medal might be stripped). The drug? Capsaicin - a component of chili peppers, and usually applied topically for pain relief. The horses who tested positive were: Camiro of Norway, Lantinus of Ireland, Chupa Chup of Brazil, and Coster of Germany.
The Individual Show Jumping competition is currently taking place, with highlights to be shown on NBC stations between 1o am and 1 pm today - including the awarding of the medals, which will end the equestrian compettitions of the 2008 Games. Best wishes to all!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Open Chickencoop; Olympics

I was scared spitless when I arrived at Hila's home yesterday afternoon and found the chickencoop door wide open and no fowl visible. I had a handful of green grapes and cherries for myself, but found I was calling ,"Here, chick, chick, chick!", so I tossed them on the ground in the pen. Lo and behold, everyone came out of the henhouse and started to eat. I felt so relieved that I didn't know what to do - I went inside the coop and made sure there were no fox or skunks hidden, and went back out, closing the door securely behind me. I've seen the foxes and the skunk in the area, and have so far been lucky with the skunk - Hila's owner was not so lucky and got sprayed last week.

I finally got some of my photos on a CD, and hope to start sharing them - I have downloaded them onto my computer, so hopefully I'll be able to figure out how to post them to this blog soon.
I came back to my apartment via bus this morning - caught the 6:52 - and was surprised (but I shouldn't have been) that, other than the driver, I was the only person on board (SRO) who was not a middle- or high school student. Not only have public school classes begun, but the freshmen are invading for the fall term at CU, so the town is very lively again.

The only part of the equestrian Olympics that are still being contested is for the Individual Show Jumping medals. I've checked the TV listings, and it looks like the jumping finals will be aired on regular NBC stations between 10 am and 1 pm on Thursday (tomorrow). Mclain Ward of the USA (riding Sapphire) is one of the favorites for a medal.
I was lucky enough to see the Oxygen Channel's coverage of the Grand Prix Freestyle Musical yesterday. The channel showed bits and pieces of Steffen Peters' ride, and a little of Heike Kemmer; they showed the entire rides of Isabell Werth and Anky vanGrunsven - and they were breath-takingly beautiful. Stachmo, Werth's horse, refused to piaffe and pirouette, and when she dug her spurs into him, he gave a buck. Anky had begun to grin with more than 40 seconds left in her presentation - Salinero had worked beautifully and willingly. Her gold was a cinch!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Musical Freestyle Finals - Dressage

The Individual Dressage Finals in Grand Prix Freestyle Musical did not produce any surprises in the medalists:
1st place: Anky VanGrunsven, Netherlands, on Salinero (for 3rd time)
2nd place: Isabell Werth, Germany, on Satchmo
3rd place: Heike Kemmer, Germany, on Bonaparte

The Surprise: 4th place: Steffan Peters, USA, on Ravel

Neatnik Neighbor; Olympics

I'm off to Hila's house this afternoon - I'll be gathering fresh eggs in the morning, and choosing fresh veggies from the gardens for meals. It was 50 degrees this morning, and the walking was refreshing - snow is easily seen on the mountaintops and shoulders of the Front Range.

I've had to laugh - my neighbor sweeps her patio 3 times a day; I sweep mine every evening, about 6:30. Apparently, I don't sweep my patio early enough for my neighbor, as she now sweeps my patio between 3:30 and 4:30 each afternoon - I guess she's such a neatnik that having peanut hulls and birdseed hulls on the patio until the evening makes her need to clean it. This fall, once it stops being so hot in the mornings, I'll start sweeping it in the mornings again. But, for the moment, she's saving me sweat and effort, and I will let her....

The kits have been behaving and have been playing up a storm. I'm almost finished with the data in-put for the family tree report I need to send out - so it should go in the mail tomorrow. Yeah!!!! - I've also been spending some time in the atevi universe each day, and find I'm refreshed when I close the book(s).

There was a jump-off in the Team Show Jumping Finals yesterday between the USA and Canada. The United States finished in 1st place; Candada in 2nd; and Norway got 3rd.
The Free Style Dressage to Music is being ridden as I write this... I should be able to post the official finish later today. (The US has 77 medals over all right now.)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Hygiene, CO

It could only happen somewhere in or near Boulder... in the nice little community of Hygiene, CO, to the north-northeast of Boulder, a cow... oh, heck, just look a the story and photos at:

Kits; photos; Olympics

Going to be working hard on getting a late genealogy report sent out, hopefully within the next three days. Beautiful morning - cool, almost chilly with 80% humidity; sun; lots of birds and wildlife out and about. The kits are thrilled to be out and about in the grass and trees this morning, and I'm thrilled I'm not dealing with doggy diarhhea again. Still can't get photos to post from Webshots - oh, well, I'll have some of my photos to share soon. I'll start pet-sitting again for a week beginning tomorrow, so I'll be home during the day and away nights.

In the Olympics Team Show Jumping, the results of Round 2 are:
1st place: USA
2nd place: Canada (Go, Ian! - I hadn't realized that Ian Millar is 61 this year)
3rd place: Norway
4th place: Switzerland

Today was also the 3rd Qualifying Round for Individual Show Jumping; the top 50 will proceed in the competition. In first place is: Tony Andre Hansen, of Norway, riding Camiro; there are 4 tied for 2nd place, including Mclain Ward (on Sapphire) of the USET. All USET riders qualified for the finals, as did the Canadian riders.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Lack of Photos

My apologies for not posting any photos recently - I enjoy sharing the photos that I find interesting. My photo postings have failed since Thursday, 14 August; I am in consultation with the webshots people to find out why... I've seen several new photos I'd like to share with you.

Home; Olympics

The sun is actually shining and it's 64 degrees outside. The kits are running crazy all over the backyard and back into the apartment, celebrating the cool weather and lack of rain. Gimpy the squirrel was waiting for me to put out peanuts when I arrived home this afternoon, and the birds are quite happy that I just re-filled their feeders as well. Suki and Boo are awaiting the return of their people; their house is clean, as are the dogs (what a difference a day makes!).

In Team Show Jumping, the USA and Switzerland are currently tied for first place; Sweden is in third; and Canada and Germany are tied for fourth place. There are two more days of jumping for the Teams. Seventy-one horses and riders qualified for the Individual Show Jumping competition.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Rain, Snow; Poopy Dogs; Olympics

Trail Ridge Road is still closed due to snow and temperatures in the 30s. Loveland Pass at US 6 is closed due to snow. Boulder, Denver and Fort Collins are under a Flash Flood Warning through noon tomorrow. Oh, the joys of much needed rain in an arid climate after a longish period of drought.... Boulder has received 1.7 inches of rain in the last 24 hours - and it is very much welcomed by me.

Before getting over to Suki and Boo's last night, Jim informed me that both of the girls had gotten into a tub of salt, and had ingested a good deal of it. Kathy and I put down extra old blankets and towels over the rugs in the dogs' room before they left. This morning, as I approached the door, I was greeted by the odor I expected... but really didn't want. Both girls had drunk lots of water during and after their salt escapade - and diarrhea was the result. Boo is now a brown Samoyed with a white face; while Suki is white with brown spots. I have shaken and scraped the blankets and towels and put them in the washing machine; I have hosed out Boo's crate; I will mop the floors and hallways a little later this afternoon; then I get to bathe both dogs. Luckily, Boo is "blowing her coat" - that is, shedding her undercoat, so she won't be that difficult to get clean. Suki, on the other hand, while not as dirty, has that full double coat to wash, groom and dry.... I know that I'll sleep like a log after cleaning up the room, the crate, and the dogs!!

Official of the Individual Dressage Grand Prix Special are:
1st place: Isabell Werth, Germany, on Satchmo
2nd place: Anky VanGrunsven, Netherlands, on Salinero
3rd place: Heike Kemmer, Germany, on Bonaparte
4th place: Steffen Peters, USA, on Ravel

And please root for "Mini" Finney, from Boulder, in the bicycling roadrace at the velodrome!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Trail Ridge Road Closed

Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park is closed due to snow. Chain laws are in effect for several of the continental divide passes. I-70 has just re-opened after a nasty accident caused by folks driving too fast in the snow. The high temperature for today was at 12:01 am - at 60 degrees. Is it August?

Cooool Day; Olympics

The change in weather is certainly evident! It began to lightly rain at 6 pm yesterday evening; and I changed from a short-sleeved blouse to a long-sleeved one prior to dinner at Chautauqua. Today, at 1 pm, the temperature is 53 degrees and it's still lightly raining. I am not complaining about either fact; the change in temps feels wonderful, and we desperately need the rain. With the weather as it is, we have a huge flock of sparrows feeding on the patio (covered by the deck above) and sometimes the pigeons and flickers and crows join them. Lovey and Banichi are completely in hunter mode at the window and patio door, but I'm not letting them out.

Suki and Boo were wonderful last night, but I missed the kits sleeping with me. I came home this morning and took a nap with them, even though I slept well last night. Lovey is currently curled up in my lap, while Banichi is watching the patio from the "guard chair." I'll be heading back over to Suki and Boo's in a couple of hours, and will visit home tomorrow, before spending Saturday night at their house again. Then I'll have two nights at home before heading out to pet-sit again.

In Olympic results: for Team Grand Prix Dressage, the rankings were:
1st place: Germany
2nd place: The Netherlands
3rd place: Denmark
4th place: USA

In Individual Dressage, the standings are:
1st place: Isabell Werth, of Germany, on Satchmo
2nd place: Anky VanGrunsven, the Netherlands, on Salinero
3rd place: Heike Kemmer, of Germany, on Bonaparte
For the USET: Courtney King on Mythilus in 7th; Steffan Peters on Ravel in 10th; and Debbie McDonald on Bretina, in 34th place.

In the Individual Show Jumping preliminary round:
USET's McClain Ward, Beezie Madden and Will Simpson all rode clean rounds; Laura Kraut of the USET had 4 jumping faults and 1 time fault.
The Team Show Jumping preliminaries are still unofficial.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sunset in Yorkshire: looking toward Little Weighton

Sunset over the Yorkshire Wolds

The Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Train

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

Seagull in Denver, CO - Cherry Creek State Park

Cherry Creek State Park, Denver, Colorado

Odds and Ends

Well, apparently I wasn't paying much attention to the "fall weather" report I wrote about yesterday.... It's about a cold front coming in tonight, and our high temperatures will be in the low to mid-60s Friday and Saturday; and snow is predicted above 10,000 feet - so the mountaintops and their shoulders will receive a new white mantle.

Walking the Boulder Creek Path this morning was the usual treat - seeing wild critters and listening to the birds, squirrels, and the creek itself. My kits have been behaving themselves - no live prey recently, other than a few insects. A new squirrel has arrived; it has a very long, thin red tail that almost looks like a feather boa, and he's very leery of the kits. I've been helping my next-door neighbor learn American English; his name is Massoud, he's from Libya, and he's very eager to learn the vagaries of the English language.

Tonight we celebrate my sister's wedding anniversary at the Chautaqua Dining Hall; she and Jim will wear the clothes they wore at their wedding in 1981. In the last 3 days I've received 18 requests from possible distant relations about our family tree and how they might tie into it - most of the folks are from the northeastern US - and I'm trying to answer all of them. I am also preparing to put my husband's family tree on-line, as well as the Lancaster family that my paternal grandmother belonged to. Will begin a 3 night pet-sitting job tonight - but Suki and Boo are never a problem.

The Individual and Team Grand Prix Dressage competitions are still underway in Hong Kong - will post the results when they are available. Enjoy your upcoming weekend!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008



St. Bees Head (with lighthouse in center, at distance)

St Bees Head and lighthouse (center)

Fish Creek Falls, near Steamboat Springs, CO

Fish Creek Falls, Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Olympic Results; Lovey

A cloudless, Colorado blue sky greeted me this morning, as well as a wonderful westerly breeze. We are experiencing "fall like" weather, according to the meterologists - highs in the mid- to low-80s, lows in the upper 50s, and thunderstorms every afternoon/evening. It was a delihgtful walk this morning!

Just before leaving to talk with my therapist yesterday, I heard a "thump" against the sunflower feeder (it's a wooden house), and was dismayed to see Lovey bring in a English sparrow. It was very much alive, and as she set it at my feet, I said, "Lovey! What a wonderful huntress you are! But, let's let the poor thing go, OK?" In an unusual response from her, she crunched down and instantly killed the little bird.

Official Individual results for Olympic 3-Day Eventing :
1st place: Hinrich Romeike, of Germany, on Marius
2nd place: Gina Miles, USA, on McKinlaigh
3rd place: Kristina Cook, of Great Britain, on Miners Frolic
4th place: Megan Jones, of Australia, on Irish Jester

Qualifying rounds for Individual Grand Prix Dressage are currently under way in Hong Kong.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Otter in Cheshire

Otter trying to decide about going in for a DIP

Reflections in Maroon Lake, CO

Reflections in Maroon Lake, Colorado

Nice Morning; Olympic Eventing Results

Last night and this morning, Lovey slept on my legs, while Banichi slept on top of my head. We made a love sandwich that was quite warm - I had the fan on all night due to the kits' sleeping decisions. It was beautiful again this morning! Cool temperatures, low humidity; birds flying and singing, squirrels chattering, a fawn 'mewling' to its momma; a good morning for a nice long walk.

I was on stand-by yesterday to act as a guide and take an Italian couple out touring in and around Boulder; thankfully, they were too pooped to want to do that. I'm finishing up (printing out) a family tree for a couple of distant cousins in Idaho; and I have to finish putting Kathy's chaplet together for her and Jim's anniversary on Thursday. (This time it will be silk flowers, so they can be re-used.) And I'll be taking care of Suki and Boo from Thursday night through Sunday afternoon, as Jim is running in two races at Pike's Peak this weekend...

The results are final and official for the Team competition of the 3-Day Event in the Olympics:
1st place: Germany
2nd place: Australia
3rd place: Great Britain
4th: Sweden; 5th: New Zealand; 6th: Italy; 7th: United States; 8th:Ireland; 9th:Canada: 10th: Brazil; 11th: France.

There is still another Individual stadium jumping round to go; currently, the top 4 contenders:
1st: Hinrich Romeike, of Germany, on Marius
2nd: Ingrid Klimke, of Germany, on Abraxxas
3rd: Megan Jones, of Australia, on Irish Jester
4th: Gina Miles, USA, on McKinlaigh
American Phillip Dutton on Connaught is in 16th place; Mark Todd of New Zealand on Gandalf is in 22nd place; Rebecca Holder, USA, on Courageous Comet is in 43rd place; and Karen O'Connor with Mandiba is in 45th place.

Of all the horses competing in Eventing, one was withdrawn prior to the Dressage Test; 1 was withdrawn before the Cross-Country; 8 were eliminated by falls (of either horse or rider) on the Cross Country course; 3 horses were withdrawn before the Stadium Jumping phase, and 1 was eliminated during Stadium Jumping.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Devil's Pulpit view of Tintern Abbey

Tintern Abbey, a one hour detour

Keith, guide at Bristol Castle


Horse and Rider Must Concentrate on the jumps on the course - no matter how distracting the background may be

Rolex KY  3 Day event

David O'Connor on Tigger Too at Rolex 3-Day Event

david o connor             tigger too at Rolex KY  3 Day event

Sleepy Sunday; Olympic Cross Country Results

I did laundry and dishes yesterday, as well as scrubbing the kitty litter boxes, and I watched a bit of the Olympics coverage. But I was a sloth most of the time and slept a great deal. We had a good rain last night, with plenty of lightning and thunder - and for my walk this morning, the air felt positively cool. I hadn't realized it until this morning, but the kits have been collecting grasshoppers and turning them loose indoors. I sat down to a bowl of fruit this morning after my walk, and found myself contemplating a large tan and black grasshoppper on the rim of my bowl. I've caught and released 22 grasshoppers so far today.

Official individual results for the Olympic Cross Country are in:
1st place: Hinrich Romeike, of Germany, on Marius
2nd place: Ingrid Klimke, of Germany, on Abraxxas
3rd place: Megan Jones, of Australia, on Irish Jester
4th place: Clayton Fredericks, of Russia, on Ben Along Time
5th place (tie): Gina Miles, USA, on McKinlaigh
5th place (tie): Mary King, of Great Britain, on Call Again Cavalier
Mark Todd on Gandalf, from New Zealand, finished 29th; Karen O'Connor on Mandiba (USA) finished 54th. Amy Tryon and her horse, Poggio II, (USA) fell and were eliminated.

Unofficial (right now) Team results for the Cross Country are:
1st place: Germany
2nd place: Russia
3rd place: Great Britain
The US Equestrian Team is in 7th place as a Team.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

an extended trot in Dressage

Friesian Dressage

Olympic Standings - Individual Eventing

The official results for both individual and team Eventing dressage rides have been posted. As my earlier post reported, the team standings are: 1st place - Australia; 2nd Place - Germany; 3rd Place - United States.

For individuals:
1st place - Lucinda Fredericks, of Russia, on Headley Brittania
2nd place - Karin Donckers, of Belarus, on Gazelle de la Brasserie
3rd place - Ingrid Klimke, of Germany, on Abraxxas
4th place - Megan Jones, of Australia, on Irish Jester
5th place - Rebecca Holder, USA, on Courageous Comet

Karen O'Connor, whom Jeff and I met at Events in Virginia, is currently in 16th place on Mandiba; and former champion Mark Todd of New Zealand is in 30th place with Gandalf.

Knox Farm State Park, East Aurora, NY

Knox Farm State Park - East Aurora, NY

Squirrel jumps on top of Banichi

Today is grey and muggy again - but at least the temperature is not in the 100s! We're expected to see a high of 80 dergees, which is unusual in Boulder in August; but we are definitely humid. The kits are running in and out of the back/patio door and I have the curtains and window wide open so I can see the bird feeders and the squirrel chair. Yesterday evening, Ricky-roo leapt over Lovey to get into the chair and landed on top of Banichi, who was in the chair, guarding the peanuts. No blood was shed, but Banichi was jumpy for the rest of the night and kept his tail bushed for a couple of hours after his abrupt awakening. I was sitting in my reading chair, about 4 feet away from them, and laughed out loud when it happened.

The baby shower was lots of fun yesterday - and the ladies had put up several clotheslines across the picture window in the dining room, upon which they hung all the outfits that Jessie received for the baby. The parents agreed before-hand that they didn't want to know the sex of the newborn before its arrival, and so there were lots of yellow and green and lavender outfits. And, in the middle of the shower, a mother mule deer and her fawn wandered through the backyard, which made everyone dive for their cameras. - I was amazed and embarassed because Jessie gave me a gift for taking care of DeJa, and it made me cry.

In team competition at the Olympics in 3-Day Eventing, the Australians are currently in first place, the Germans are in second, and the USET is in third (this is with the dressage test completed). For folks not following the equestrian part of the Olympics, it is not being held in Beijing, but is underway at a (temporarily) converted country club in Hong Kong.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Samson the Dachshund

Samson the Dachshund

Offa's Dyke, south of Knighton, 2005

Superb view of Dyke south of Knighton

Black bear cub in South Dakota

black bear cub

Olympics, Baby Shower, Pet Loss

It's a warm day, and somewhat muggy. Parts of Denver received over 3 inches of rain in 2 hours last night, and it flooded the Interstate, which had to be closed. Did it rain here? No. But due to the rain in Denver, half of the Olympic Opening Ceremonies were shown without sound - of course, to make it up, NBC re-played the Opening Ceremonies - but that started at 1:40 am. I slept like a rock after seeing the lighting of the torch in the stadium at 11:30 our time.

I walked early this morning - enjoyed the mist shifting among the tree branches and along the creek banks. Today I'm attending a baby shower for DeJa's Mom - she had been hoping he'd live until the baby was born, but it just wasn't meant to be.

For those of us who truly love our pets and make them a family member, it's very difficult to lose that pet. WhoDat lived with me for 21 years, Booger for 18 years, Houston lived with my husband for 15 years - and DeJa was with his family for 18 years, too. My dear cousin Sarah, who lives in Missouri, sent me the "Rainbow Bridge" poem to share with DeJa's family. One can look it up on the internet by just searching for "Rainbow Bridge" - and it is attached to a wonderful website that helps owners/guardians/families deal with the loss of a beloved pet. I highly recommend this website if you lose a pet, or are dealing with an elderly pet. It does help.

Friday, August 8, 2008

In Memory of DeJa Redak Zettlemoyer

cocker spaniel

Sad News: DeJa is no longer with us

I just received a telephone call from DeJa's "grandmother" - his owner's Mom - to let me know that DeJa has entered the canine heavenly fields. It was quick and painless. He could no longer stand by himself, or get up to releive himself, so his owners took him to the Vet's office and made much of him before saying "Goodbye."

As a young dog, he was hyperactive, almost untrainable; and could and would jump obstacles standing at 5 feet 6 inches - which is pretty impressive for a Cocker Spaniel. He was greatly loved by his family; and he will definitely be missed by all who knew him during his 18 years among us.

Shrewsbury Castle, 2006; built on order of Robert de Montgomery (an ancestor) beginning in 1074

UK - Shrewsbury - The Castle - 03 apr 2006

Cool Grey Morning

We had several rain showers yesterday afternoon and evening; this morning we are cool, grey, and somewhat muggy. The Flatirons are covered by fog and the tops of the mountains and hills are covered by clouds. It was great to go out walking in the coolness this morning - but I ended up dripping wet due to the humidity. And last night was the first time in 6 weeks that I didn't have to run the fan all night - marvelous!

After my rant yesterday regarding human and wildlife and DoW interaction, I had to laugh when the first Letter to the Editor in today's local paper was about DoW and bears. The person who wrote it is a "bear watcher" for the city/county and DoW - and claims the death of bears locally is caused only by citizens feeding the bears. She ends her letter with the statement: "Remember, a fed bear is a dead bear." She says that people in and around Boulder who feed birds, compost, and leave their trash out are asking the DoW to kill bears. I could not agree less.

I'm getting ready to make a quick trip to Hila's house to check on her, the chicken, the bees, and the birds. Hila's master looks after her, the gardens, and the kids well enough, but his wife wants me to check on the other entities while she is gone. The bees definitely need water, and her husband frequently forgets them. Tomorrow is the Zbaby Baby Shower, and I need to wrap the gift I have, or I'll completely forget about it. And it turns out that Cousin Pete and his family from Indiana will be visiting at either the end of August or the beginning of September. And I'm going to help my sister with party preparations for her big bash on August 30th.... I'm tired just thinking about it - I don't know if I'll be able to handle 12+hours of partying!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Thirsty Mountain Lion

this mountain lion was thirsty

Kilvert's, a pub in Hay-on-Wye

KILVERTS - Hay-on-Wye/Powys

Wildlife vs. Citizens & Wild Weather

Wildlife in and around Boulder are having problems. People move to Boulder and the nearby Rocky Mountain areas for the beauty of nature and the wildlife. Then they do something stupid and blame everything on the wildlife, which is so beautiful from a distance and which is very frightening and disturbing up close. - In case you can't tell yet where this is leading, I'm very much in favor of letting wildlife be wildlife - and not killing it because it is wild. Due to the drought in this area, making the usual berry patches and foraging unvailable to bears and deer, they are both invading local neighborhoods for sustenance. And, of course, where the deer go, our mountain lions follow. There have been two killings of wildlife by the Department of Wildlife (DoW) in the past week in and around Boulder.

The first was the killing of a young black bear - she was less than two years old, and was sighted twice in the same neighborhood, raiding trash. The people who live in the area are supposed to have bear-proof garbage containers, but do not. The first time, she was tranquilized, tagged and moved back into the mountains. The second time, she was shot dead. Yes, she could have become a "nuisance bear" - one that is not afraid of humans and might end up harming someone because they were stupid enough to challenge her space. In this time of drought and loss of feeding habitat, I think the people should have just ignored her as much as possible and made sure their children and pets were secure. And they should have purchased the bear-proof trash containers they were required by law to have done - were they cited for that lack? No. And the bear lost it's life.

The second incident was due to a couple who moved to the mountains to enjoy the beauty and wildlife. These people regularly sleep with their patio and French doors open at night - no screen doors, no barriers whatsoever to keep wildlife out of their home. Now, I admit this was bold (but the house was wide open): a mountain lion entered their bedroom and unfortunately killed their Golden Lab, who was sleeping on the floor near the bed. Had it been my dog, I would have been terribly heart-broken and upset, and I do feel for these folks in their loss - but this was their own fault because they left the doors to their house open in a wildlife area. This mountain lion, who was an opportunistic feeder (and what cat isn't?), was shot dead by the DoW. Had these people closed their doors when they went to bed, the cat would not have had easy access to their home and their dog. They were stupid.

Yesterday, a couple in North Boulder heard a terrible crying coming from the bushes in their yard. They investigated and found a mountain lion in the process of killing a fawn. They immediately backed off, yelling, and went inside their house. Yesterday evening, they decided to look closely at the kill, and suddenly found themselves within 2 feet of the mountain lion, who was sleeping under the bush next to his meal. They again quickly retreated and called DoW. This time the story has a happier ending: the young male cat was wearing a tracking collar and was identified as one of five young males being tracked in a government-funded study - so he was tranquilized and turned loose up in the mountains.

As humans crowd into the habitat of wildlife, some pressures will be felt, and some leeway must be accorded on both sides. Humans have the choice in the matter. I feel that if you move into an area "for the wildlife," then you should take all precautions recommended by experts on wildlife. Respect the animals' space, respect it's need to forage for food and drink, keep things that are important to you safe from the animal (i.e.: keep cats and dogs indoors, or in completely fenced runs), do NOT leave your doors open to your home, inviting wildlife inside. Well... I guess I've blown off enough steam for this morning....

Last night we had wild weather: a Flash Flood Warning, a Tornado Warning, and a Severe Thunderstorm Warning. We didn't flood; a tornado did touch down, but it was quite a distance from here; and we got 7/10ths of an inch of rain in an hour. We've had sprinkles and light rain all morning. Our low this morning was 57; dependent upon cloud-cover, our high might be 78 today. Yeah! We deserve a break in this dry, hot weather - and so does the wildlife!!

Hadrian's Wall