Monday, December 26, 2011

Cricket the Shameless

Cricket, shamelessly reminding us that yes, tragedy occurs but yes, life for the living just keeps on keeping on. And, catch a nap whenever or wherever you can; that's what's important, at least to her

Meet The Paws'

Don, his son Darryl and Darryl's daughter Dawn-Marie stopped by late Xmas eve afternoon with Jan to show off her awful cute Mrs. Santa outfit. So uncle Ho got into his traditional Santa Paws outfit, which he'd been wearing quite a bit the past week, and joined her for a quick coupla snaps

Dramatic Dawn

While we were waiting for it to become light enough to continue our search for Gizmo, the dramatic dawn sky on Christmas eve was worth trying to capture.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

In Memorium

Boni Cal's Sunrunner Deluxe CGC


22 May 1997 - 23 December 2011

It was over in seconds. A moment in time, a small white dog in the dark, a silent rush of giant dark wings and then he was gone forever. Our usual routine, the late evening potty break, turned tragic Friday night when a Great Horned owl swept Gizmo away. Not a trace remained. Dale and I searched that freezing night for hours, both on foot and in the car, and then searched again in the morning light but found nothing at all to show that the feisty old Papillon ever was. The pain of losing him in such a way is immeasurable. From normal, mundane routine to horrifying reality in just a few moments is beyond heartbreaking. He had his moments; surviving two vicious dog attacks including one just a few months ago; a horrifying coyote attack in 2002; the rattlesnake bite that nearly killed him in 2004; breaking his back in 2007; and the arrival of Sybil in 2010, the world's most annoying puppy. He simply ran out of lives, like a cat, on Friday night. He was a pain the butt; he was cuddly when HE wanted to be; he hated to be combed with a passion but endured it grumpily; for nearly 15 years we begged him to eat SOMETHING other than people food and treats (he weighed barely 7 pounds); he ruled the dog household with an iron paw in spite of being outweighed about 8 to 1. He was a fave at San Diego's Children's Hospital, where he and Jazzee would make visits weekly. He would stand in front of 2200 pounds of beef and bark his head off until Roar moved away (either because he was annoyed by the barking or because he found something better to do, like eat), then give him a "take THAT!" bark to show that Roar better take note of who the boss was around this ranch. In his later years, his hearing was pretty well gone and lately he was having trouble seeing at night, but he'd still do laps around the house almost daily like he was a 3 year old. He was starting to have a little trouble jumping up on the couch; either because it was 3 times his height or he just started having trouble spotting his landing zone. But he was always there, on his day couch or his bedtime couch, snoozing comfortably until one of the dogs would breathe his oxygen, then he'd get mad and let them know it. His whole life was lived like he was the one in charge and he made darn sure everyone and everything knew it.

It wasn't supposed to be like this. I keep looking out the window or from the deck at the spot where I last saw him, thinking that he'll be there waiting for me to walk over and remind him which way the house was. Late Friday night into Saturday early morning, I kept standing outside, listening with all my might to the roaring silence, hoping to hear even a faint cry, the rustle of leaves, his indignent "you forgot to let me in!" bark. But there were just the cold, cold stars and silence. The couches are empty; no little white bundle snuggled deep into the fleecy covers. I try not to think about what his last moments were like; they are too horrifying to contemplate. I pray God that it was mercifully quick. He didn't deserve this.

Rest easy, little man. Say hi to the whole gang for us. Your stocking is still hanging with everyone else'. Just in case you find your way home. We'll be waiting.

One of my fave pix, 13 years old and full of himself

His fave spot on the bedtime couch. I know it's a summer shot because his fleecy cover isn't on it

I always took his birthday pix in front of my fave rhodie. This is his 12th birthday

Posing with some tulips and Flat Stanley from Idaho last spring

The 2004 snakebite incident. That bruised looking area on his throat and chest and the reddish colour of the whites of his eyes is all pooled blood that was leaking from his veins and arteries. It took 4 units of blood and 2 units of antivenin to save his life

Annoyed at the snow, probably 2010

'Waterskiing' behind Morgan and Jazzee, Encinitas California, 1998. This little dynamo wasn't afraid of ANYTHING

December, 1997, showing Sherman the puppy who the boss was, just because he could and he was 7 months old while Sherman was about 7 weeks old

His first cuddle bed. 5 months old, October 1997, Poway California

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Shasta Hits the Trail

A lovely shot of Ho's daughter, Shasta, at Chamise Trail in northern California. I do believe that is her namesake mountain in the background. Many thanks to owner Diane for this pix!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Jag Remembered

Trish, who lost her beloved Jagster in July, sent along this shot. She had an ornament made by Costco to remember her boy on her first Christmas in 11 years without him. He loved Christmas, Jag did.

Mug Shot

This looked like it would be a good shot - until I downloaded it. The boys, after the morning feed, were sitting against the wall in the dog run enjoying a little sunshine. But what ended up on the camera appeared to be two grumpy old men, complaining about their gout and wondering where the guy with the coffee was. Ho Dog and Hoke, 11.5 and 8.5 years old, on a fine but cold late fall morning.

One Fine Day

Yesterday, magically and without any warning, we awoke after weeks of foggy grey frozen skies to this wonderful sight - blue skies and not a cloud in sight. Still frozen, yes. Packwalk went off at 29 degrees yesterday, 24 degrees today. But we did make it to 40 yesterday, first time into the 40's in weeks. Today, no, not quite, 37 was as far as it made it, but up here, we cherish days like yesterday and today like no one else on earth, due to their rarity this time of year. Yes, we're way behind (for us) on rain, with zero measurable precip in the past 19 days, not quite a record but close. But you won't hear anyone complaining. Not with skies that colour to look at all day long. Nope, no complaints here.

Looking north, towards Bellfountain Park, from the driveway. The trees, green grass and blue skies just stunning

The old red barn postively glows

Seemed like a good shot at the time. One of the ancient oaks by the dog run. It looked really a lot cooler than it turned out

Izzy at 3 Months

Little chunkwagon Izzy pauses a moment to show off her lovely fringe below and her daddy's tiny ears. This is the first Roar X Ruffie baby to have daddy's ears, not momma's big ol' fuzzy ones.

Ducks on Ice

Not the Ducks, as in the UO footballers headed to the Rose Bowl again, but the ducks, as in quacking, feather-covered poop machines. They can't wait for me to break up the ice on their 'pond' in the mornings so they can go have some fun. You gotta figure that's mighty cold; you can see the chunks of ice behind the pool that I've just knocked out of that water. Doesn't seem to bother them at all, does it?

Red Dog, Green Grass

The ol' man, Ho Dog, enjoying a frosty but sunny morning for the first time in weeks. The contrast in colour between him and the grass was quite striking

A Vivid Lesson on Heat Loss

Dale started the final leg of the garage/shop insulation project by getting the first section of the well/Viper/bike side roof done. Very clear in this picture exactly how far he's gotten. Heat loss is very evident by the section of roof nearly clear of frost. That side of the garage/shop actually has a small heater to keep the car, bikes and most importantly the well and water conditioner above freezing. There is a wall and door between that side and the totally unheated side as you can quite clearly see in the picture. Oh, and just ignore the hounds pretending to be frozen there - baby Sybil and momma Cricket were quite warm, having just come out of the house where they'd been lying in front of the pellet stove. It was 21 degrees in this shot.

Thawing Beef Safely

Safest way I know to thaw beef. Temperatures finally nudged above freezing a few days ago for a brief moment, and the cows reacted accordingly, especially Izzy the baby, nuzzled up alongside her best pal and half sister Dawn, flat out and soaking up as much hazy sunlight as she could.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Flocked by Nature

A sultry 29 degrees this morning, but oddly, the only frost was on the trees. None on the roof or the ground at all, altho the deck was a mite slick. The pictures just don't do it justice - it was like a fairyland of icy trees. We did finally get above freezing for the first time in several days - a whopping 38 was the top of the thermometer this afternoon, but it sure felt a lot colder. But, at least no fog this morning - the packwalk was brisk but visible, just the way we like it.

O Christmas Tree

We normally have the tree up and the house decorated the day after Thanksgiving, but this year, between the weather turning on us and the extremely large, obsolete television set that occupied a full 1/3 of the library until we hauled it to the recycler, we didn't finish until this evening. Now to get them boxes back out to the garage, a chore for another, hopefully a bit warmer, day.

What Chicken?

I was playing around with the Nikon point and shoot (the one that takes really bad pictures) in the barn this morning at feeding time, and took a coupla shots of Cricket. She'd found two of her hens, and was determined to find the missing Silver Laced Wyandotte. Anyone out there that could maybe help her out a bit? I know the pix are way out of focus - normal for this camera - but when I put 'em up on the screen, I just had to laugh and post 'em anyway.

Gone to the Dogs

It's a dog sleep on dog world up here. Just ask Gem the BC, with Sybil the pup making herself comfortable on Gem's butt, while the ol' man and Cricket snooze on the other end. Hoke decided there just wasn't enough room for his manly self up there and went and sulked behind Dale's chair.

The Old Ones

The last two HOF Jack X Jazzee kids, Sherman and Catera, got together the other day for a reunion. Shermie's pretty deaf now at 14, but Catera hears just fine, especially when there's a food wrapper involved. Kris (who owns both Catera and Catera's great grandson Henry) said that the two of them were like two cranky 90 year olds looking for the buffet line. I'll bet it was every bit that hysterical.

Laura, owner of Sherman, with Sherman and Catera

Catera leads Sherman on a little tour of the yard

Guy, Kris' hubby, with Sherman and Catera

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

For My SoCal Pals

See what you're missing?

The start of the morning packwalk. A bit brisk

His poor little frozen froggy heart is broken it appears

On Park Road, looking west towards Green Peak (out of sight to the right, behind the big stand of reprod Dougs), with the sun just starting to paint some of the trees

You think this shot is pretty cool, you should have seen it in real life! Looking south, that's Don's property with son Shorty's house there and Don's out-pasture feeding barn back in the pasture a bit

And it just got better and better, with the light streaming thru the trees

One of the calendulas, a tad frost-bitten

Looks more like a cactus here

When we got back from the packwalk, it was really starting to heat up out there

Sybil's inner puppy comes out. Playing with a hunk of ice from the water tank. Always a fun time, chunkin' ice out of 4 stock tanks, the dog tank and the barn critter's tank

The big silver barn with its ghostly entourage of trees

Furry rocks at the pasture gate

And the obligatory spider web shot