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Missing my old dog

Those were the days my friend
We thought they’d never end
We’d sing and dance forever and a day
We’d live the life we choose
We’d fight and never lose
For we were young and sure to have our way.
La la la la…
Those were the days, oh yes those were the days

Those were good days.

More lyrics: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/m/mary_hopkin/#share

Category: Boomer Musings, Pets, Photography  Comments off

Rambling River

It was just under fifty degrees, overcast and the possibility of rain. I wanted to go for a walk but it is tax time and I wanted to get the papers prepared so I could take them to the CPA. The idea of needing to discipline myself led me to being antsy. My little dog picked right up on my mood. She watched for cues. Cues that she could read so she would know “we are ready to go!”. But I never gave her those cues because I wanted to take care of business first.

Finally. I had all my ducks in a row. The business was in order and I was ready to head out to the tax lady then, off for a walk. I was edgy, I wanted my walk, but the threat of rain was causing me to get tense. Then I thought, “oh hell, a little rain never hurt us before. I will just wear rain boots and a slicker”. So off I we went but, first turn in my taxes. I drove up to the tax lady. Dang! She wasn’t open yet so I decided to just go for the walk and rethink my priorities for this day.

My little dog wanted her walk too, she couldn’t sit still in the car. Finally we got to the forest, in sync we jumped out of the car and started out on the wooded path. This is the best part of our walk. The sudden burst of excitement to sights, smells and sounds. It was still overcast but already shaping up to be one of my better walks. We came out into the meadow, rounded the path and weaved back into a second meadow then down the trail to the peninsula. Finally all the knots were worked out my back and I was feeling pretty good. We came to the river rambling by quiet and gentle. Just then the clouds broke and a memory flooded over me.

Back in the 1960s as a pre-teen. I was antsy just like today. Couldn’t have been more that ten years old. I wandered out the back door rounded the block and started walking. I have always loved walking and I knew exactly where I would head. Back behind the Boise Cascade Lumber Mill. I skirted around the huge piles of logs as I saw the Yakima River come into sight. Ah, now this is what I needed. A walk by the river. I loved to do that then and I love to walk the Coosa River now. And for those of you who wonder yes, I did get in trouble with my mom for disappearing by myself.

Solitude has always been something I have enjoyed. Not curled up with a book or checking into a motel for quiet time but the kind of solitude that comes from a brisk walk in the woods as the oxygen courses through my bloodstream, clearing my head, and relaxing my muscles. Oh sure, there is the occasional walker I pass. We nod, pass a few pleasantries then, I move on. Mostly it is the birdsong or a croaking frog I commune with. If I stop moving long enough it gets quiet enough to hear a deer moving in the brush. Of course once I move or my dog goes on alert the deer does what it does best. Choses flight over fight as it prances lightly away.

I don’t know why I have always loved these walks. It really doesn’t matter. I have always found a place like this to walk, by myself, in no need of conversation. Except the conversation of the wind, the smell of the air and companionship of a dog. The solitude from humans is not really solitude like most people think about it. I am not lonely or scared. I don’t need to escape to regroup from life nor am I thinking deep thoughts or trying to discover purpose in the universe. I just want to be out there. Out there in the open, having my quiet time.

I have been this way since I was a child. I don’t “need” someone to go with me, I just want to ramble. Rambling on doesn’t have the same security it did back in the 1960s. Times of changed, I have grown older and aging has set in. I can’t afford to get hurt or lost now. Now I am product of the times, I carry a Smartphone with a App that lets my husband know where I am just in case he needs to find me. Most of the time he is secure in the fact he knows where I am at and when I will return. All he has to do is check his “Find Friends” App and he can track my movement. It adds a certain amount of security nowadays so I can forget about external things and just listen to the river as it slowly rolls along, gently slapping the bank. Ah, I do the river.

 

The river flows quiet and swift

It twists and turns as the waters drift

It branches and breaks__

its fingers entwine

(From the The River Flows by Kailey Jennings )

 

Joie de Vivre. Ah, the life of a Springer

I love dogs. More importantly I am “breed” specific in that, I love English Springer Spaniels. Their temperament and personality fit my personality along with their traits and behaviors. Why?

One reason is they are fun, eager to please, obedient and affectionate. They love their families and with that comes loyalty and companionship. Because of their energy they are good with children, but I have a lot of energy so they are the perfect breed for me because they are ready to go on a moment’s notice.

I think the only down side to a springer is the shedding and grooming. I have had two bench bred and one show bred. The difference is obvious. My bench bred dogs were shorter coated and only required a good brush out weekly to the undercoat in control. But my little show bred has the longest coat ever! It grows fast and thick causing my house to be easily be overtaken with fur everywhere. She can be very pretty when her fur is cut in a show cut. I love the look but she is a “tomboy”, she needs be outside to dig a hole, chase a squirrel or corner a lizard. None of these traits are dainty so I basically keep her cut shorter. It is not the greatest look but it is functional. When I want to show her off I take her in to the groomers to get the show cut. My groomer is very good and I get back a springer “diva” at the end of the day.

I have had two liver and white springers. I think these are the most common color seen for a pet. And I have had one black and white springer. Lately I have seen some pretty tri-color springers and thought about what they would be like to share my home with. All my springers have had their tail docked. If I had my druthers I would have never docked their tails, it has a pretty flag look to it like Golden Retrievers. I love the look of a long tailed springer.

One of my favorite things about springers is they sing. They are happy and have a joie de vivre. It would take a lot to find a springer who suffered from depression because they are so happy, they love you and they love life.

If you live with a dog you already know they have a distinct personality depending on their breed. I tend to stay away from any dog that is too much smarter than me, like Border Collies. They are the kings of smartness in the canine world. They need to be with someone who can work them and help them reach their full potential.

If you have a dog you love please feel free to share your story with me.

 

How does one get off the couch?

This series of pictures were taken over a few minutes. As if my Ollie dog was making a decision to stay on the couch or get off. This was a ritual repeated many times but finally we caught it on film. Enjoy!

Been a snoozing away for a while and now time to move.....

The floor looks like a great place to be but so much effort to get there.....

Here I go I can do it!!!

Whoa dudes that was a major effort....

As I suspected the floor is way comfortable.

Category: Pets, Photography  2 Comments

Horton Hears a Hoo! Hoo!

Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.  ~ Rachel Carson

Just about a decade ago my husband and I moved into the house we are living in. It is the first time since we have been children that we decidedly returned to a rural community. New sounds and sights that we had not seen in the large cities were now all around us. Horton was the first significant visitor to our home.

Horton is an owl. He comes regularly to visit with his mate. The first time I ran into this great bird was one evening I was out in the back yard. It was dark. I noticed that I had left the door open to the garden shed so I went out to close it. There on the corner of our shop sat a Barn Owl who promptly let a deep strong hoo, hoo to alert to me of his presence. I was both surprised and impressed.

Barn Owl

I didn’t think much of Horton after that but soon I realized he and his mate were residents in our small rural neighborhood. I usually hear them in the predawn morning. As I did this morning. Just as it was barely light I let the dogs out and decided to step out to enjoy the sunrise. There in my pine tree was Horton! A nice loud hoo, hoo from Horton and within seconds a answering call came two houses down from Horton’s mate! As I walked around listening I was led by a firefly, another wonder of a southern rural community. What a surprise! And what a pleasant experience.

For years Mr. and Mrs Horton have come back. I pondered how

long Barn Owls live. While owls are generally nocturnal the early morning hours or early evening I have seen Horton. I think these two owls have settled in to this area because there is plenty of food and protection. I know Barn Owls are rather short-lived so I wonder if what I am hearing are offspring. But I don’t care because The Hortons are legendary now.I guess I should not be too surprise that I have the pleasure of their visits as they are one of the most wide spread land birds worldwide.

It always makes my day to have a visit from the Hortons. Every day I go out into nature. I really need it, no exaggeration.  I love these birds. They are not like the other species that I hear flocking into my trees every evening. My dogs take it as a natural occurrence to hear the owls calling back and forth. This time of year they are more concerned with the rabbits trying to breach their guard to the vegetable garden. It is a serious job and they take it seriously.

So for now I am the one that enjoys the Hortons.

 

 

Lizzie the Lizard Hunter….

Or more directly Lizzie, my English Springer Spaniel, is obsessed with capturing every anole she can find in our yard.

This time of year the anole lizard is plentiful in the southern United States. And they are very territorial which runs smack into Lizzie’s territory. And so the season begins with the anoles trying to stake out their territory in our yard and Lizzie trying to control the takeover. But alas, the anoles are fighters and very aware. Bold to a fault coming closer, ever so closer to the huge brown and white furry specie trying to dominant the territory. And since the breeding season for these little critters is in the spring they can be seen in a mating dance. Oh, and if they are not careful the predator will win the day.

Lizzie wears herself out watching every flower, bush or tree. She can pace for hours up and down from the rain barrel along the gutter line looking up persistently in hopes to win the day. Only to come in for the evening exhausted from a day’s hunt.

I use to think that a Springer was a hunting dog. I mean a dog who hunted with their hunter for like say, ducks or pheasants. But in the absence of this they will use that hard wired drive to hunt something else. This time of year it is the anole; in the fall it is the squirrels jumping from tree to tree trying to wrestle a few pecans away for winter storage. This is when I hear her barking from tree to tree following them across the yard.

But she never barks at anoles. I think it is because they are quick and they change colors sometimes. They can go from a bright green to a dark brown coloration because their pigment cells or chromatophores are responsible. If they want to be turn yellow then xanthophores are responsible, or blue (my favorite) call on the cyanphores pigmentation, all the colors are pretty. I have never seen an anole turn black (melanophores also responsible for brown) but then I have not seen them cold or distressed. Mostly I just see them in their bright green presentation.

But Lizzie sees every one in our yard no matter what color they are. I know that mating season will be over when Lizzie isn’t spending every waking moment outside hunting anoles and trying to regain her territory. But for now she is like a small child who gets exhausted from too much play that needs to be told to come in to relax.

I would have asked Lizzie to explain this herself but she fell asleep and left it to me to share with you! She is too tired to even dream of her prey. It probably is for the best that I explain her hunt becuase her eyes would just glaze over in fixation mode to be on point!

This is how I see anoles most of the time but they have be very active for me to see them. Lizzie has a keen eye and see anoles even when they blend into the environment.