Monday, January 31, 2011

A Mish-Mash

Boulderite Michael Sandler likes to run barefoot in the snow...

View near Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Trainer Nick Zito loves his horses!


The forecasters got it pretty much right today - the temperature has dropped 5 degrees since I got up this morning; and it's snowing lightly. It was 19 degrees out when I crawled out of bed, and it's now 13. Lovey is sitting in the middle of my desk, watching this text appear on monitor, and trying to catch each new letter. Nedi had a blast trying to catch snow flakes earlier, but, of course, as soon as I got my camera out, he stopped. Right now, he's curled up on top of the cat tree, watching the snow softly drift down, and then blow up against the sliding glass door. Lovey is now in my lap, purring. When I first awoke, at 6, I glanced out the window, and while I couldn't see snow falling (I didn't have my glasses on), I could see that the edge of the patio was wet, so I assumed the precipitation had begun. Today's local newspaper says that freezing drizzle was the original fall, that then turned into snow. I don't know.
The Holy Bull Stakes race was run yesterday in Florida; it is usually considered the beginning of the races leading up to the Kentucky Derby and the Triple Crown. Nick Zito decided to run a three-year-old colt named Dialed In, who had only raced once before, but had won. The son of Mineshaft won impressively in his second start, defeating several colts with much more racing experience. It looks like Nick has a barn to keep an eye on this spring....

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Longs Peak, Colorado

Sgurr Choinnich Mor, Scotland

Ben Nevis, Scotland

Bits and Pieces

This morning's forecast calls for a high of, possibly, 0 degrees on Tuesday... it was 68 just a couple of days ago! Anyway, I have no reason to complain. I have already informed Lucy's and the Rs' owners that if the temperature remains below 25 degrees, as is forecasted for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I shall be staying at home and will not be out and about walking doggies in below freezing weather. I guess that makes me a wuss. Of course, the dogs shouldn't be subjected to long periods outside when it's that cold, either. Between the 2 to 5 inches of snow we expect, plus the cold, the dogs can't keep their noses, ears, eyes, tails, and paws in good condition. Thank goodness the majority of my clients have doggie doors available, so the guys can run out and use the bathroom and then get right back inside!
Let's see... I guess I'll comment on odds and ends today - I have enjoyed reading "The Onion" since I first discovered it in Washington, while working for the EPA. I thoroughly enjoyed the AP report that our Vice President, Joe Biden, also gets a kick out of his coverage in "The Onion" - especially the cartoon of him without a shirt, showing a body covered with tatoos, while washing a Trans Am. His comment was that he has a 1967 Corvette, and not a Trans Am, and he finds "The Onion" hilarious. .... In Puddletown Forest, in Dorset, England, a length of the Old Roman Road has been uncovered, and is in very good condition. It will soon be open to the public. ... A woman fell about 100 feet down an icy chasm on Longs Peak here yesterday. She and a group were putting on their crampons when she slid down between Chasm Lake and Peacock Pool on the east side of the peak. Rescuers say she was conscious and talking and had serious, but not life-threatening injuries. ... Across the pond, a man fell over 1,000 feet down the east side of Sgurr Choinnich Mor near Ben Nevis in Scotland. He and some friends had climbed to the summit, where he lost his balance. When the rescue helicopter arrived, they found him standing and reading his map. According to rescuers, he had lightly glanced against three outcrops on the way down, and other than bruises and scrapes, was fine. ... And, here in Colorado, a local news agency reported that: "A small glider crashed north of Fort Collins just after three Saturday afternoon near Wellington. Sheriff Deputies say the glider, carrying two people, crashed just before it landed. Both people were not hurt. The glider had minor damage." This report has caused of flurry of comment - what did it crash into before the glider landed? Or did it crash, and then somehow bobble it's way back to a landing spot? If it crashed, isn't that a done deal - how could it fly on to land?.... Enough nonsense. Have a nice Sunday.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ooch, Mona, Nedi

Ooch, aged 21

Mona raiding the toy burl

Nedi at night - on top of the bookshelf

Nedi and the Broom

Hip, hip, hooray! I fixed my computer all by myself! I down-loaded a malware virus that infected all my .exe files back in December - and it only took me 3 hours to get rid of it and get all the rest of my stuff back to normal. If I could pat myself on the back, I would.
There was a huge pile of leaves that has been blown up onto the patio during the past month, so I just finished sweeping the patio and scaring the jeepers out of Nedi. Nedi thinks that the broom is going to eat him up and never let him go again - so whenever I get it out, he gets as far away from me as he can. Today he was crouched against the privacy fence that separates the apartments from the Harvest House Hotel. Currently I have the old movie El Dorado on, and am enjoying my favorite scenes of John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, and James Caan. Today's high is in the mid-50s and tomorrow is supposed to be cloudy, then we get a high in the mid-20s on Monday, maybe 5 on Tuesday, and maybe 10 on Wednesday. If it's that cold Tuesday and Wednesday, I won't be out walking dogs - I'll be home reading a good book and snuggling with my kits. I went to the library this morning and picked up 13 new books to read - that should hold me for a week or so. And I'm currently re-reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - the last time I read them was in 1968 or '69. I certainly have a different perspective of them now! - Have a super weekend!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Run, Rest, Do It Again!

68 Degrees in January!

Today's high temperature was 68 degrees F in Boulder. Is this really the end of January? I haven't seen any piles of snow left in parking lots the last few days, and there is minimal packed snow and ice on the neighborhood roads.... but I happen to know that the scene is going to change. - After all, it is Colorado! Come Monday, we're expecting snow and highs in the 20s and teens for the next 3 days, so I have enjoyed today's warmth to the utmost. I let the kits out to play before I walked the Irish kids, and we all moved out onto the patio for most of the afternoon. Right now, Nedi is sitting on the edge of the patio, while Lovey is snacking on some Party Mix at the base of the cat tree. I didn't feel like cooking much of a dinner, so I just had scrambled eggs, hash brown potatoes and sausage - an evening breakfast.
The Chandlers, who have Topgallant Charlie (the rooster) and 8 hens, have just acquired two puppies. Their dog, Hila, passed away from bone cancer while they were living in South Africa. The boys have never been without a dog - and they went to the Humane Society Wednesday evening to see what dogs were available. They hoped to adopt an older dog, one that they wouldn't have to train, or re-train. Ty, the youngest son, immediately fell in love with a female puppy; a Boxer mix. On Thursday, the family decided to get the puppy, plus an older dog. Xena, the puppy, didn't seem to get along very well with any of the adult dogs that the Chandler parents chose; so they adopted a second puppy, Victor, a Lab - Australian cattle dog mix. I'm looking forward to watching these two pups grow and mature!
Rosie and Remy were their usual good-to-goofy selves today. They sat and watched an off-leash dog walk by their house without any sound or movement, but when we passed a bulldog going in the opposite direction (on leash) Rosie just had to bark. Yesterday, I became worried about Danny, the miniature longhaired Dachshund, that lives on Topaz. The family has yet to fence in their yard, and Danny and Shama (the English Springer Spaniel) are allowed to roam free. Danny has started to chase bicycles - and yesterday, he decided to chase one that, besides a rider, had a large dog on a leash running with it. I fully realize that Danny should not have chased the bike - he should have been behind a fence, or inside. But, he started chasing the bike and barking, and the dog with the bike (who was pulling the bike along, as much as the rider was pedaling) stopped short, turned and snapped back. Danny was nowhere near, of course, but the bike crashed and the person riding the bike became very nasty-mouthed. My entire view-point is that (a) Danny should not have been loose, but (b) the bike rider should not have been riding with only one hand on the handlebars, while the other held a 6-foot leash with a running dog attached. The running dog weighed approximately 60 pounds - if it had been startled or "attacked" by anything else, and it had stopped, the result would have been the same. The bike and rider would have crashed. My final words - if you can't run with your dog, do not bike with it. Hire someone who runs and likes dogs to exercise your pet. Riding a bike on the road system, with one hand controlling the bike, and the other hand controlling a running dog is like driving your car at 80 mph while texting on your smart phone!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Kitten, Man, Stallion

Nedi, at 9 months, in the back yard

Sam Elliot

Bernardini, standing at Darley Stud in Kentucky

Zenyatta and Bernardini

It's a beautiful sunny morning, and the kits are running in and out of the house. Lovey just came in and knocked everything off the desk, and finally got what she wanted - about 10 pieces of mixed grill Party Mix kitty treats. Nedi is just having a great time stretching his legs. - Gosh, I love to listen to the rumble of Sam Elliot's voice.... the TV just ran a Dodge Ram ad, and I had to stop typing, just so I could listen to Sam's voice. He's fantastic.
Zenyatta, the 2010 Horse of the Year in North America, will be bred to Bernardini, a son of A.P. Indy. Bernardini did not race as a two-year-old, but was a grade 1 race winner at 3. His first crop of foals just turned 4, and he has several group and grade 1 winners in his get list. He has sired the US winners A Z Warrior, To Honor and Serve, Theyskens' Theory, Stay Thirsty and Sir Lancelot. His son Biondetti has won a group 1 race in Italy. Bernardini, in his own racing career, won the Preakness Stakes, the Travers Stakes, and the Jockey Club Gold Cup; he placed second in the 2006 Breeders' Cup Classic. As with all things thoroughbred in Kentucky, all one can do is "Breed the best to the best and hope for the best." Here's hoping that Zenyatta's first foal is a healthy one!
I am giggling to myself over all the woes, worries, and griping coming from New England and the mid-Atlantic states regarding all the snow they are receiving. Having lived in coastal Virginia and near D.C., I do understand that residents there are not used to being inundated by wave after wave of snow. It's a way of life out here in the west and mid-west. It's no big deal. Steamboat Springs has had over 260 inches of snow so far this season - it's a record, but it's nothing to get upset about. We do not control the weather - it's a part of "Mother Nature" - and I (usually) enjoy her whims.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


A mule deer buck in Yellowstone National Park

Cougar/mountain lion tracks in snow

Remains of a yearling, 2 days after a cougar kill

"Wildlife Warning"

It feels very strange to me that I am the notifier for what is now being called the Githens Acres Wildlife Watch. I definitely love the Githens Acres neighborhood, and that is where a majority of my house- and pet-sitting responsibilities are. But I live 3 miles to the south, and I'm not always in the neighborhood - apparently that doesn't matter to my friends and clients living in GA. People who live there call and/or e-mail me with information regarding the fox, coyotes, and deer in the neighborhood; and the occasional spotting of a mountain lion, bears, and other unusual wildlife. I send an e-mail out to all of my friends and clients in and around Githens Acres as soon as possible, so that they can keep a loving and caring eye on their cats, dogs and chickens. With the death of the 16-point buck, I found myself as the representative for the neighborhood with the Colorado Department of Wildlife's Officer Kristin Cannon, who was very interested in the amount of deer remains we find throughout the year in the neighborhood. - She hadn't realized how wild and natural that area is. - I now have a list of 20 families that I contact with a "Wildlife Warning" notice.
The forecasters have been wrong recently - they have predicted snow three times, and we haven't received a flake. They currently say that we'll be in the low 50s for highs through Saturday, and to expect snow (again) on Monday. We'll see. I thought that Kathy and Jim had gone to Phoenix to run in the PF Chang Marathon there - I was totally wrong. They went to San Diego (and ran in a Marathon along the beach), and enjoyed weather in the 80s, and a day of whale watching out in the Bay. I picked them up from DIA yesterday afternoon, came home and collapsed with the kits. We still have snow on the ground, in the shade, and packed on shady roads, from this past Wednesday's afternoon storm. Lovey, Nedi, Rosie, Remy, Suki, Boo, Mona, and Lucy are all fine and dandy. Other than dog-walking, I'm not scheduled for anything until 5 February (a week at the Thore house with Tessa, Lilly, Lyra, and Dhisana), and then at the end of the month, I'll be with Finn and Skipper for 10 days. I also have to call Dr. Pohlman and set up another surgical session (oh, joy!) for me.... I hope the rest of your week is marvelous!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Cougars and Coyote

A little too close for comfort...

Still too close for my comfort...

Coyote by Wonderland Lake

Death of a 16-point Buck

Wow. Apparently, on either Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, while I was taking care of Ooch, a 16-point buck met his death via a mountain lion in Ooch's back yard. Connie and I both saw the tracks of a big cat back in the still snowy area behind her Ponderosa pines, where the carcase is still in situ. Deer fur is scattered everywhere beneath the trees and along the Silver Lake Irrigation ditch. Her attention was caught by a coyote in her back yard yesterday afternoon, after her return from Mexio. She went out to see why the coyote was there, and found the buck's remains. She was pretty sure she saw puma prints in yesterday's shadows; I took photos of them today. The buck's head and antlers are still attached to the spine, as are the still- red ribs and cartilage. The hind legs have been pulled free of the spine, while both shoulder blades and fore legs are a good 5 feet from the rest of the body. There might be a few mouthfuls of flesh left on the lower legs, above the hooves, but that's kind of doubtful. The eyes are gone, as is the tongue. I almost felt as if I were desecrating the grave of a Native American, and not that of an animal. It was not Tripod, our neighborhood buck, who has a useless hind leg; this buck looked to be in good health, with good bones and joints in all his legs. It is a puzzle...
Lovey and Nedi have had an hour outside this morning, before I headed over to Connie's to look at the buck and taking care of Tessa and the Thore kits. We're expecting more snow tonight, tomorrow morning, and Tuesday afternoon. I'm letting the kits run as much as possible before they are cooped up again.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Miesque, Flatirons, KO

Miesque before a race in France

The Flatirons on a misty, snowy morning

Keith Olbermaqnn

Sun, Snow, Miesque, Keith O.

It's a little after noon in Boulder - when I left the apartment this morning, the sun was shining in the east, mist was clinging to the Flatirons, and a cold wind was blowing light snow from the west. When I returned home, the sun was shining, but the clouds were building up behind Flagstaff Mountain, the Flatirons, and the Continental Divide. I've had the patio door open so Lovey and Nedi can run out and play a bit before we get the accumulating snow we're expecting this afternoon. I took care of Ooch this morning, then walked Tessa and played with Lilly, Lyra and Dhisana. As I was heading home, Darcie caught me and gave me the remainders of Lizzie's treats, so that I can share them with the other dogs I still care for. - Miesque, the first two-time winner of a Breeders’ Cup race and the dam of top sire Kingmambo, was euthanized Jan. 20 at the Oak Tree Division of Lane’s End Farm in Central Kentucky due to the infirmities of age. The daughter of Nureyev, out of Pasadoble by Prove Out, was 27. She was buried in the Lane’s End/Oak Tree Division cemetery. Bred and raced by the Niarchos family's Flaxman Holdings and trained by Francois Boutin, Miesque won nine championships in three countries during her career. The mare won 12 of her 16 career starts, including 10 group/grade I stakes, and earned $2,070,163. Her victory in the 1988 Breeders’ Cup Mile made her the first horse to win consecutive runnings of a Breeders’ Cup World Championship race.
And I still feel like a fish out of water from Keith Olbermann's announcement that last night was the last episode of Countdown to be aired. According to a writer, NBC and Comcast both felt that Keith would be "a loose cannon" on the air and finalized an agreement with Keith's agent just before Countdown aired last night. says that Keith has agreed not to appear on broadcast TV for a specific time period, but that he will soon appear "on the internet." All I know is that I will miss Mr. Olbermann's insightful comments, his wonderfully astute, acute and acerbic Special Comments, and his "Worst Person in the World" segments. I feel as if I have lost a good friend in an auto accident... this has knocked the stuffing out of me.

Friday, January 21, 2011

2011 National Western Stock Show

This is 10-year-old Joslyn, who has a rare type of kidney cancer. She is sitting on Troy, one of the Express Clydesdales, thanks to the Make A Wish Foundation and a local law office. Joslyn's dream is to ride a horse along a beach in Hawaii.
TAC Kirker Bo, a miniature hereford, from JT Farms

An unidentified Appaloosa/Quarter Horse awaits his turn in the ring

A Very Fun Day

I played hookey from my work yesterday - I was at the National Western Stock Show early in the morning, and I stayed through mid-evening. I had a ball! I saw about 50% of all there was to see - some of the Draft Horse Show classes, several weight divisions of the the steer judging, went through the kids' petting zoo, looked at all kinds of livestock, saw several "how to" demonstrations, got to try my hand at blacksmithing, enjoyed watching children and older folks wander through the concourse, and, last, but not least, I picked up a few books. I had a wonderful day!
We had 4 inches of snow fall in three hours Wednesday afternoon; traffic was grid-locked in Boulder for over 4 hours. Locals are getting upset with the roads and streets crews - this was a predicted snow fall, but it took one lady 3 hours to drive her usual 13-minute commute that afternoon. - It was also sister Kathy's birthday, and the family went out for dinner at Murphy's Pub. She and Jim flew to Phoenix yesterday for their annual participation in P F Chang's Rock and Roll Marathon. I'm supposed to pick them up from DIA on Tuesday, but I have yet to find out when they are due back. I guess nephew Mike will let me know. Kevin, my son, turned 30 yesterday. Time flies; it seems only yesterday that we were watching him play football in high school.
I've already taken care of my kits, plus walked the Shih Tzus, and cared for Ooch. As soon as I finish this, I'll head out to gather up Rosie and Remy; then it will be Tessa's turn for a walk, and then back to Aiko and Yoshi (the little guys). I'll stay with Aiko and Yoshi until 4, when the owners' son is due back home; then I'll do Ooch's night routine, and finally go home to Lovey and Nedi. Tomorrow I just have Ooch and Tessa in the morning, and then I'm finished until Monday. Which should work out nicely, as we are expecting another shot of snow Saturday afternoon/evening, like we received on Wednesday. On Sunday, it'll just be me, the kits, the Sunday paper, NFL football, and my books. What a nice thing to look forward to!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Dressage Movements and a Trick

A piaffe, performed by Friesian stallion Tjerk

A croupade, performed by a Lippizaner stallion

Bowing, a trick, performed by Lusitano stallion Mercurio

Art vs. Tricks

It's a silly thing to get peeved about.... The TV news announcer had no knowledge of horses, or about the training of horses. She was interviewing a man whose Friesian horse performs dressage and tricks while in driving reins. Tonight and tomorrow night at the National Western Stock Show, An Evening of Dancing Horses will be presented; a show "packed full of formal dressage, freestyle reining, drill elements and plenty more equestrian disciplines. Plus, it's all choreographed to the music of the Denver Brass." The trainer told the interviewer that his horse would do the piaffe, a dressage movement, and would also rear on command, a trick. The Friesian, Saber, reared on command, and then was asked to piaffe; he did both and the interviewer, as well as the folks back at the station, enthused over how easily a horse performs "tricks." - That is what set me off. -
You can teach most creatures to do a trick. Make sure the critter understands what you're asking it to do, teach a command word or movement, practice, practice, practice, and give treats and praise for correct responses. That works well for a rear from a horse, a bow (taking a knee), or teaching a horse to nod or shake it's head.
Dressage, on the other hand, is an art form. It actually came about from the act of war, in which horses had to be extremely responsive to their riders to save their riders and themselves. Most high school dressage, or haute ecole, was taken directly from war training for the old-type destreriers, the horses that were trained for battle and to act as a battle weapon themselves. A top-level dressage horse has, literally, spent thousands of hours training to learn the precise movements that are required for his/her role. The rider has spent the same amount of time, or more, working with other horses, viewing film, reviewing their own work, etc. Dressage riding and training are not for the usual weekend cowboys who want to just saddle up and get away from it all on horseback. - And every horse that is well-trained has a large amount of dressage in it's learning background. - Any good horse will round it's neck and back for a trained rider. A well-trained and sound horse will move sinuously between the rider's hands and legs, looking as if the pair of them are a single entity. Watching the Lippizaners at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna is the ultimate in high school dressage. The horses parade, dance, and perform their "Airs Above the Ground" - the classic war movements. It is breath taking. And, having spent 20+ years riding dressage, practicing and working hard to perfect things that are imperceptible to the untrained eye, I guess that hearing an unknowing announcer call a dressage movement a "trick" just hit me the wrong way this morning. It's silly, I know. But there is a difference!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Thoroughbreds - Eclipse Award Winners

Zenyatta, the 6-year-old (now 7) mare, was finally awarded Horse of the Year honors, as well as being voted the winner of the Eclipse Award in the Older Mare division.
Blame, the 4-(now 5)-year-old son of Arch out of the Seeking the Gold mare, Liable, was voted the Eclipse Award for Older Male. He was very close behind Zenyatta in the Horse of the Year voting.

Slip Away ran away with this year’s 41st running of the $100,000 Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup on November 13, covering the 2-3/4 mile course over 17 obstacles in a time of 5:14.80 minutes. The seven-year-old gray gelding, a son of Skip Away and ridden by Paddy Young, galloped to a 25 and 3/4 length win in the field of nine.

The Eclipse Awards for 2010

The Eclipse Awards are voted on and presented by the NTRA National Thoroughbred Racing Association), Daily Racing Form (DRF) and National Turf Writers And Broadcasters (NTWAB). Winners in all categories (horse ages in parenthesis where applicable) were announced at the 40th annual Eclipse Awards ceremony at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach in Miami Beach, Fla. The winners, in each category, were:
— 2-Year-Old Male: Uncle Mo
— 2-Year-Old Filly: Awesome Feather
— 3-Year-Old Male: Lookin At Lucky
— 3-Year-Old Filly: Blind Luck
— Older Male: Blame (4)
— Older Female: Zenyatta (6)
— Female Sprinter: Dubai Majesty (5)
— Male Sprinter: Big Drama (4)
— Male Turf Horse: Gio Ponti (5)
— Female Turf Horse: Goldikova (5)
— Steeplechase Horse: Slip Away (7)
— Owner: WinStar Farm
— Breeder: Adena Springs
— Jockey: Ramon Dominguez
— Apprenctice jockey: Omar Moreno
—Trainer: Todd Pletcher

In voting that concluded Jan. 4, 2011, Eclipse Awards voters cast their ballots to rank the top three horses and individuals in each championship division on a 10-5-1 point system basis. This voting established the top three finalists in each division, the names of which were released on Jan. 6, 2011. Eclipse Award winners; however, were determined by first-place votes only.
The Horse of the Year Award was given to Zenyatta, with 128 first place votes. Blame received 102 first place votes, while Goldikova received 5. Zenyatta finished her racing career in the 2010 Breeder's Cup Classic, placing second to Blame by a nose. That race was her only loss in 10 career starts; she won the 2009 Breeder's Cup Classic, defeating the boys.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Meet Max, Who Needs a New Home

The number one priority is to get Max a good home. His family has to move to a new home in a new state, and pets over 35 pounds are not allowed. Max weighs 80 pounds and is full grown. This is the information his owner sent out: "He needs people interaction, exercise and affection so I am looking for a good match for him. Max will turn 4 in February and is a healthy perfectly proportioned 80 lbs with pearly white teeth. He has all his shots, has been nuetered, chipped and I have papers on his lineage. Max loves people, he has never bitten anyone or gotten into any fights ....he truly is a "lover" and wiggles his entire body with excitement when he greets you. Smiles! He loves his walks and exercise but also has a mellow side and is content being in the same space with you. He adapts well to new environments, is social with other dogs and would make a great addition to any family. He is house broken and has free roam of the house and uses his doggie door. He is very trainable and responds well to "sit" and "down". If you know anyone, who would enjoy a friendly, energetic, handsome black lab please have them get in touch with me. 303-469-7159 or 720-936-2824. Joline B. in Colorado"

Books and Presription Medicines

Besides taking care of Ooch, my kits, and myself, I've spent a lot of time reading this past week; 10 books in the last 7 days. I read Nevada Barr's Burn, three "Tarot Cards mysteries" by David Skibbins, Alafair Burke's first three novels, The Templar by P.C. Doherty, a book of short stories involving pets edited by Midnight Louie, and the second of the Tay-Bodal mysteries by Mardi Oakley Medawar. I still have six books in my pile to read... After caring for Ooch yesterday morning, I took Rosie and Remy out for an hour's stroll, and then I read to them for an hour; then I went home and let my kits go out and play in the back yard. Nedi and Lovey had a ball, and I was particularly happy when I saw a squirrel hanging on the screen of the patio door, looking in through the opening. I took some nuts out and put them in the wicker chair for it. I'm going to have to check the show schedule for the National Western Stock Show one more time and make a decision about attending. - There's just so much to choose from!
** If you have medication for your pets, please be certain to keep it in an area separate from your own human-type medicines. A friend of mine had an accident at home, went to the Emergency Room, and after waiting for hours, was sent back home with multiple stitches. When my friend arrived home, he realized that he hadn't taken his regular medications. So he took them. Within 30 minutes, he was completely unresponsive to any stimuli. An ambulance took him back to the Emergency Room, still totally insensible. X-rays, CT scans, EEGs and EKGs were not any help. Luckily, my friend suddenly regained consciousness, and was able to tell the MD he had taken his meds. His meds were sitting beside anti-anxiety meds for the dog. He had taken the dog's meds, and not his own. Again, luckily, there were no serious consequences or side-effects for my friend - other than what I'm sure will be huge bills from the hospital - So, please, be a safety conscious consumer - read your pill bottles as you open them, and be certain that you, your child, and your pet are taking the right medicine for what ails you! **

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Kits & Squirrels & ...?

Banichi always wanted to catch the squirrels...

Some kits are always on the hunt...

Can you say "PhotoShop" squircat?

Nedi and the Squirrel

It's nearly 11 a.m., it's 40 degrees outside, I'm inside and wearing a hat - and I'm chilly! - Even with an Ooch in my lap! We (the Front Range and eastern plains of Colorado) are expected to be dry and breezy for the majority of the up-coming week, while the ski resorts of the north-central mountains (Vail, Aspen, Steamboat, Breckinridge) are expected to get another 12 to 36 inches of snow. That's fine with me - but I'd prefer to have sunshine, and not just a grey overcast sky - it makes me feel colder. I still have no idea of when I'll go to the Stock Show... but the last day is the 23rd, so I'd better get my ducks in a row!
I know one should never laugh at one's pets - it gives them a complex. But I did laugh out loud at Nedi this morning: I was ready to leave for Ooch's visit, Lovey had just come inside, but Nedi had vanished, so I stepped out on the patio to look for him. At the south end of the yard, two squirrels were chasing one another in a tree, while a third was industriously seeking previously hidden snacks - nuts, what-have-you. Nedi decided to chase the squirrel on the ground. The squirrel ran rather lazily in several circles, banking off the chain-link fence and the brick building at times, with Nedi in hot pursuit. Then the squirrel just stopped, sat down, and proceeded to groom it's tail. Nedi "snuck" closer to the squirrel - as if a 6-pound long-haired black kitten can hide in green grass, and a couple patches of white snow. Nedi stopped about 5 feet away from the squirrel. The squirrel finished its ablutions. Nedi and the squirrel looked at one another, face to face. Then the squirrel leaped straight up, and while coming down, reached out with a forepaw to swipe at Nedi. I laughed. Nedi ran immediately to me. - Even if old Gimpy, the squirrel, isn't around, some of the younger ones who learned from him are still about. The move I saw the squirrel make this morning was exactly the same one Gimpy taught his sons and daughters to use on Banichi a few years ago. So now a new generation of squirrels is using the same tactic on a new generation of my kits. Somehow, it seems fitting. ...
If you're in Florida, the Ocala Mixed Winter Sale of thoroughbreds begins on Tuesday, the 18th. And, down under, in Australia, they are having their Mega Millions Thoroughbred Sale; a yearling grandson of Sunday Silence is, so far, the only horse to sell for over $1 million (Australian).

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Little Different...

This is Eclypse; she lives in Germany. Her daddy
is a zebra and her mommy is a horse.
One of these raccoons is not like the others...

Alice, the cat, is very interested in Faramir and
the happenings in Minas Tirith.

The Mentally Ill (and a Migraine)

I had a terrible migraine yesterday - it started Thursday evening, with a feeling that the back of my skull was being crushed into tiny fragments; then the pain moved to my left eye and sat down to do it's evil job. I had to cancel walking the dogs yesterday, and I had to get Kathy and Jim to take care of Ooch for me. Other than going to the bathroom, I spent 36 hours in bed, either asleep or wishing the pain would abate. Luckily, Lovey and Nedi were quiet and behaved well most of the time, and just snuggled lovingly. - By Thursday evening, thanks to the Chinook, more than half of our snow was gone. This morning, other than areas of deep shade and shelter, and where the plows piled the snow more than 3 feet deep, most areas are clear of snow and ice. I can see grass and leaves in the back yard, and both Lovey and Nedi are leaving muddy tracks all over the place. It was in the lower 50s yesterday afternoon, and a lot of locals were on the Pearl Street Mall in shirt-sleeves. Ahhhh, Colorado weather! While I am told that the sun shone all day yesterday, it's grey and overcast today, and at 10:40 it's 40 degrees outside.
I haven't written anything about the shooting tragedy in Tucson, Arizona on last Saturday for several reasons. My Senators and Representatives also schedule meetings at supermarkets and grocery stores to meet with their constituents, as did Rep. Giffords. I am speechless and appalled by the attack upon a member of Congress, her escort, and her constituents. I, myself, am living with mental illness - but I know right from wrong, and would never think to attack another human being. I am ashamed and upset that that the man accused of making this heinous attack is being labeled "mentally ill." I realize that there are many different types of mental illness, (luckily with medication, therapy, and a great reduction of stress, I can have a useful life, caring for other people's animals) but I have the feeling that this young man should be classified as "insane" and not just plunked in a "mentally ill" category. - Ooopppsss.... I just read in an encyclopedia that being "mentally ill" is the same as being "insane." Oh, well.... The general public have been found to hold a strong stereotype of dangerousness and desire for social distance from individuals described as mentally ill. A US national survey found that a higher percentage of people rate individuals described as displaying the characteristics of a mental disorder as "likely to do something violent to others", compared to the percentage of people who are rating individuals described as being "troubled." - Maybe I should make a T-shirt for myself that says, "Eye, 2, am mentally ill!"

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Favorite Places

On Peewink Mountain, looking toward the Continental Divide (CO)

Marsh grass, snow, and a frozen Chincoteague Bay (VA)

Silver Lake, where our Silver Lake Irrigation Ditch
originates (CO)

A Chinook That Makes Me Happy - But Spreads a Fire

What a difference a day makes! Last night, the temperatures continued to rise; it's now 46 degrees outside and we have a 20-mph Chinook wind blowing from the west. If this continues for the next few days, I just might be able to see some grass in my back yard! Chinook is claimed by popular mythology to mean "eater" or "snow eater" but it is really the name of the people in the region where the usage was first derived. The reference to a wind or weather system, simply "a Chinook", originally meaning a warming wind from the ocean into the interior regions of the Pacific Northwest. A strong Chinook can make snow one foot deep almost vanish in one day. The snow partly melts and partly evaporates in the dry wind. The Chinook are a Native American tribe, who originally lived along the banks of the Columbia River near the coast of Oregon. - And we had three fire departments respond to a wildfire this morning. Thanks to the Chinook, the fire spread from treetop to treetop, and covered about an acre, before the Nederland, Sugarloaf, and FourMile Canyon firefighters got it under control. It started in a pile of slash and brush at the edge of the Peewink Mountain fire, close to the edge of the FourMile Canyon fire. Luckily, no homes were nearby, and no evacuations occurred.
Rosie, Remy and I had a super walk yesterday, and had a good time playing with Suki and Boo. Mona stayed in the house and barked at us. I also walked Lucy and Tessa, and spent several hours with Ooch. He sat on my tummy with his front legs reaching toward my face; occasionally he would gently pat my cheek with his paw, and I, in turn, would scratch his chin and jaw line. We had a very nice quiet time. My kits ran in and out yesterday evening. They wanted to be outside, but with the snow still so deep, they also wanted to be inside where it was warmer. Warmer finally won out.
Mr. Livingston, a very nice stallion, who had been standing stud at Bridlewood Farm, was recently moved to a farm in Louisiana. On January 9, he died in a paddock accident. ... Awesome Feather, last year's winner of the Breeder's Cup 2-year-old Fillies race (and winner of all 6 of her races), was sold in November to Frank Stronach's racing stable for $2.3 million. She has now developed "a tendon issue" and it is not known when she will resume training. ... TVG network will cover the January 17 Eclipse Awards dinner and presentation from Miami, Florida.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Past Photos of the National Western Stock Show

An equestrian drill team

Judging Angus yearlings

Headin' and heelin' makes fast action

Dressing and NWSS

It's 1 in the afternoon, it's 25 degrees outside, and I've just finished walking Tessa, Lucy, and Rosie and Remy. Ooch is sitting in my lap in the sunshine pouring in through the office window. We're quite cozy at the moment. Supposedly, the temperature is to reach above freezing today... I don't know if it actually will or not. These last three days I've worn regular underwear, long underwear, and a pair of heavy-weight denim jeans that have two layers of flannel sewn inside them; two pairs of woolen socks and my snow boots with Yak Trax on them; a cotton T-shirt covered by a polar fleece turtleneck; my down coat with thinsulate lining, gloves, a hat, and a scarf to cover my chin, nose and mouth. And I thought I had the "layered look" down pat when I lived in Florida and then Virginia!
I'm having a hard time deciding which day I want to go to the National Western Stock Show - if I could, I'd actually go every day. Do I want to see the Rodeo? Do I want to see working ranch horses show off their skills? What about hunter and jumpers? And what about the gentle giants - the draft horses and mules? Goats? Llamas? Chickens? Pigs? Any and all types of cattle? Working dogs? Grand Prix Jumping? - There is just so much to choose from and so little time to enjoy all of it! And, of course, I'm not even mentioning the merchandise booths or the informational booths. (May I quietly scream in frustration?)
Lovey and Nedi both raced outside this morning, then just as hurriedly raced back inside. It was 4 degrees out there, and the snow hasn't even begun to melt in yards. Most major roads are clear, between applications of sand and magnesium chloride and the snow plows. Sidewalks get shoveled every morning, but the snow melts and freezes around the edges of the sidewalk and roads, causing hazardous footing. Most of the roads where I walk the dogs are just plain ice-packed - there is snow crushed down to ice by the vehicles traveling through, and sometimes it's like walking through, or on top of, snow; at other times, you're suddenly in an ice rink. It certainly makes life interesting!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow and Critters

We had a snow fall of 10.5 inches, and it's 6 degrees outside. The sun is shining, the sky is a light blue, and I'm wearing flannel pajamas while my bare feet are on top of the radiator, picking up some warmth. We might reach a high today of 13 - so I will be walking Rosie, Remy, Lucy, and Tessa this afternoon and not this morning. Nedi has just sprawled across the desk top (I have the keyboard in my lap) and Lovey is soaking up the sun and warmth in the top of the cat tree. Kathy and Jim are taking are of Ooch this morning, while I'll care for him this evening. I'm due to start taking care of Tessa, Lilly, Lyra, and Dhisana this afternoon, also. The only hitch in that is that Lynn's daughter is still at home - and she might, or might not, spend the night at the house. So it looks like I'll be traveling back and forth between Lynn's and Ooch's, depending on what night it is and where Christine decides to sleep. (This is not my normal procedure.)
I was walking back to the bus stop yesterday to come home yesterday, when I heard a very familiar bark behind me. I stopped and greeted Joel, who had Rosie and Remy out for a stroll before the snow got much worse than it was. It was Rosie's bark that stopped me in my tracks. Both of the Rs seemed very excited and pleased to see me - I patted heads and backs, played with ears, and then admonished them to be good for Joel before I headed back for the bus. (Nedi and Lovey have now exchanged places.) I will see if the kits want to go out later this morning - I don't know how Nedi will react to snow piled up over his head; Lovey will probably decide to go tunneling, so I'd better get towels out, just in case. I might try to go to the National Western Stock Show on Friday - I'll have to see what else is going on.
Only one of the teams I was cheering for won in the NFL Wildcard games - and that was the Baltimore Ravens. Tonight the Auburn Tigers will face the Oregon Ducks in the final college football game of the season. My heart tells me to root for Auburn and the SEC, but I also know several students attending Oregon.... I'm just hoping for a good, clean football game.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Kits in Snow

These photos look like Lovey (top)
and Banichi (bottom),
but they are look-a-likes.

Ooch and Snow

I peeked out my curtains when I got up this morning, and said to myself, "Ah. No snow... It's just misty out." Then I looked at the edge of the patio, saw it was wet, and realized that the "mist" was very fine snow flakes falling. By the time I had fed the kits, cleaned up and dressed, you could see actual snow flakes coming down. So I put on several layers, took my Yak Trax and a shopping bag, and went first to the grocery store (for a Sunday paper, kitty treats, and canned and dry cat food) and then I hopped the bus and came to see Ooch. He is such a sweet old man! He is waiting for me every morning on the cedar chest beside the front door; if it's sunny, he's in a nice warm spot. He talks to me while I remove my gloves, boots, coat and hat; then he escorts me to his food bowl and on into the kitchen to supervise the preparation of his breakfast. While he is in the first throes of eating, I clean his litter box, and toss the bag into the trash in the garage. I usually stay with him for a couple of hours each morning, giving him several small meals and brushing him, and just allowing him to sit in my lap, or lay across my chest. He'll be 21 years old later this month; he's rather thin, and he has ceased to be interested in grooming himself (and he really doesn't like to be brushed, either), so he's got large knots in his long fur on his belly and sides and hind legs. But he loves to snuggle, and he is just an old love bug.
From there being no visible snow on the ground when I arose at 6:30 this morning, there is an accumulation of a good 1.5 inches on the grass, roads, and tree branches at the moment. While I was waiting for the bus (10 minutes) three people walked by me, and when the bus arrived, I could see only the vague outlines of one pair of shoes crossing my path. Here in North Boulder, where folks have large yards, the silence from the snow fall is impressive. I live on a well-traveled road, and I constantly hear the sound of tires ssshhhh-ing through the snow, and the occasional sounds of a snow plow passing by. I opened the back door early the morning - Nedi ran out, into the snow and onto the grass, and came right back in, complaining all the way on his return. Lovey looked out the door, sniffed the air, and jumped back in bed. So much for snow adventures early in the morning!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Denver's National Western Stock Show Parade

Exhibitors ride down 17th Street on Friday.

Can you imagine the dust that would be raised by this
herd of longhorn steers on a dirt road?

One of the many equestrian drill teams that
will participate in the NWSS this year.