Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Sunday Morning Hike

There's something wonderful about beginning your hike into the wild right outside your front door. 

On Sunday, we first hike up a hill or two, something I can still do but not without some shortness of breath. Then we reach flat land, soft earth of sand and crushed sandstone under our boots and paws. Junipers are the only trees here, most of them fairly healthy looking in spite of the drought; unfortunately, everything else looks dead. 

Cloudy skies and cool temperatures make it a nice day for me. Best of all, hubby hikes with us,  managing really well, enjoying himself, and holding my hand on the steep downhills. 

We used to hike all the time when the weather was cool. Before he got so tired, before he was diagnosed with cancer. We used to go for long hikes past a quarry, past old ruins of stone houses or shacks, and on to an abandoned old beer truck, just sitting there in a field. That was a couple of years ago now. 

Faith is six months old today. So what do you think: Will she stay a fairly small dog, or grow some more? She has grown on the length, but not much taller, or so it seems to me. Her head is small, her eyes are beady, but she keeps an eye on you at all times. 

Taking pictures, I lag behind and as soon as she feels I'm too far behind, there she comes, running at full speed, circling me, sort of herding me forward. Large or small, Faith is a good dog, probably the easiest dog we've ever had. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Random Thoughts From The Garden

The nights are getting cold here in the desert mountains with temperatures around freezing in the early morning hours. The days are still warm with never ending sunshine, or so it seems. 

Spent some time in the garden, which has, for the most part, gone to weed and seed. This is dill gone wild, a favorite herb in Swedish cooking. Put some in your pot when you boil potatoes, it adds a nice flavor.

Bees are everywhere in the garden. The bear got our neighbor's honey last week, the same night it got our trash, yet again. Our neighbor is busy with other things, so he put his bee hives on his roof. I don't know if all these bees are coming over from their penthouse next door. I can only imagine how busy they must be, replacing all that lost honey.


My friend Jane sent an email from Ireland where she's vacationing. She said it rains and rains. I will say back: Enjoy it while you can, back home in Southern California the sun is shining with a vengeance. After reading Middlemarch, I'm using colons now. It was interesting to see how often George Eliot used them in the book. I really liked it.

About books: I'm reading Roland Yeoman's book, Hibbs, The Cub With No Clue, about a sweet little bear cub. Without a clue. I'm reading it slowly on my Kindle and I love it. I am also reading This Side of Paradise which of course takes place in Princeton, where I lived from 1963 to 1972. It's fun to see familiar street names: Prospect, Nassau, and the Lawrenceville Road; the names of the clubs and campus buildings. It brings back memories, good and bad both. 

There are still some hardy plants in our garden. This is the first cabbage that decided to curl over and look like a cabbage, well, more or less like a cabbage anyway. 

I like the colors in the garden right now, like fall and summer both. Next Wednesday we have to get up super-early to be at the UCLA Medical Center at 6:45 a.m. for my husband to have an MRI at 7:00. Then we have to wait until 2:15 p.m. to see the oncologist. I guess we will find out the results of the MRI then, but I'm not sure. It will be a long wait, nerves on edge. My husband is pretty happy now and feeling OK, and I so want it to last. 

I hope you enjoyed this little tour of our garden. It is still producing cabbage, sugar peas (lot's of those, see upper corner), a special kind of lettuce, greens, okra, and broccoli leaves, which we put in our salads. We planted our seeds in early June, and it was way too late for the broccoli to mature. We have little buds that we'll eat soon. Frost is on the way.....

We will still have tomatoes and all kinds of peppers in our little green house with heater and all. And the mint is coming back, I think I can dry some more now. For tea this winter.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Tomo-Kahni ~ A Hidden Gem In Our Canyon

became a State Registered Historical Landmark on August 1, 2014 and a ceremony, revealing the plaque below, was held in the square of our town this past Saturday. 

Tomo-Kahni is an ancient site in our canyon, where members of the Kawaiisu Indian tribe would come together to spend the winter. Several of my friends in the canyon serve as volunteers in support of this historic site. I haven't visited Tomo-Kahni myself. You have to hike in with a group led by trained docents. Maybe some day, if I get in shape. Some cool day......

The Kawaiisu, also called the Nuwa or Nuooah people are believed to have lived in the Tehachapi area for 1500 years. Petroglyphs, probably pre-dating the Kawaiisu, as well as Kawaiisu art, can be found at the Tomo-Kahni site. 

The People, as they called themselves, were hunter/gatherers, using some 250 plants for food, medicine, structures, and so on.  Today, they are celebrated for their beautiful baskets. A woman in my knitting group recently published a book called The Butterfly Basket, a children's book that takes place in our canyon. I understand that it's a book for any age and I plan to read it soon. A stunningly beautiful butterfly basket actually exists and was recently pictured with the author in our local paper.  

I bought a booklet, published by California State Parks, where I learned more about the Kawaiisu. 

They were closely connected to nature with Bear and Rattlesnake protecting their caves. A few of their stories, as I'm now imagining them being told around camp fires, are shared in the booklet:  

Mountain Lion and Coyote were prominent figures in their lives and stories. Unlike other Indian stories of Coyote as the trickster-hero, he is more human in the stories told by the Kawaiisu. Unfortunately, Coyote's ideas are often ineffective, whereas Mountain Lion always gets it right. I'm sure these stories were based on observations in nature, where I imagine Mountain Lion would be the one to get it right.

The booth for our district. 

A close-up of some of the items on display in the booth. The little white knitted or crocheted rabbit was made by a woman in our knitting group and the book: The Butterfly Basket, by C. A. Waldman, is also on display. 

After a nice chat with this young man, I asked if I could take his picture. He said yes and posed for me, but since I didn't tell him I intended to post it on my blog, I'm leaving him small. Too bad, those uniforms are really cool.  Of course, you can always click on him, to see it better.

I left the event as heavenly smells began to rise from the various barbecue pits around the square. I'm sure everyone there enjoyed the food, the day, and took pride in the dedication of Tomo-Kahni as State Registered Historical Landmark, No. 1054. 

On my way back to the Jeep, I passed this mural of a Kawaiisu village. I thought about these people, so different from us who live here now. I thought about their respect for nature, for the wild animals that shared it with them, their knowledge of plants, their beautiful baskets. How they would come back to our, well, their canyon, as winter approached to build their Tomo (winter) Kahni (house). 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Photos of Samson, Fluff Monster ~ Samoyed Dog

I was cleaning up my blogger drafts when I came upon these pictures of Samson from last December. As he may feel a bit left out with all the attention placed on puppy Faith, I'm posting them now. 

So this is for you, Samson, my most adorable fluff monster dog. You are such a very good dog and mommy loves you very much! 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Wish You Were Here

so I could give you all a hug and thank you for stopping by to check on us. Your friendship, your encouraging comments and support light up my days.  

The other day, hubby picked these veggies that may well be the last ones for this year, except for the container plants. I'm still hoping for some broccoli, so slow to produce. Yesterday morning it was 30 F here, just below freezing, I think it's warmer today. The two corn cobs are the first relatively large ones we have ever been able to harvest here. Believe me, they were delicious. 

The bears have been here again. I feel so bad for them. Magnificent animals reduced to foraging in trash bins. I wish it would rain. 

Today, I may go to an event in town. If I go, I'll bring my camera and post a story here later.

Nothing much else is going on. 

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Notes From The Canyon

I love that the very big and tough guys in the National Football League (American football to my European friends) wear pink somewhere on their uniforms during the month of October. This to promote breast cancer awareness. I think that's pretty cool and all I have to add: If you are supposed to have a mammogram, please don't get too busy and forget. Just have it done when it's due. I did and it saved my life ~ 15 years now.

Right now my husband is doing OK and life is much more normal. He drives himself to our town: To Home Depot for something for his garden, or to the grocery store, where he has many friends among the staff. Yesterday I found him outside, pruning his container plants. The little greenhouse he put up (in the back here) has a heater in it and the plants are thriving, even blooming and bearing new fruits.

Faith likes to watch her daddy work. She is growing, but I am not sure she will be a big dog, we'll see. She has a lovely temperament and is a quick learner, at least when she wants to be. It's amazing how deaf she can get when you call her to come to you....

Since my husband's situation is so uncertain and I don't deal well with that, I feel the stress of his illness more now than I did when things were really bad this summer. Then I became strong, now my brain is pretty much fogged in and I have a difficult time with just about everything.

But I'm working on taking care of me: This past week, I have seen both a foot doctor for my diabetic feet and an eye doctor. Both of them in our town. My feet are not as bad as I thought and I learned that Medicare pays for the doctor to cut my toenails every nine weeks. That will be a great help. People with diabetes should neither soak their feet (I do) nor have pedicures (I don't). I also saw the eye doctor and my retinas, where problems can cause blindness, are fine. Comforting to know. 

I still go to the knitting group once a week or every other week, depending on schedules. I am becoming very fond of the women and I enjoy learning to crochet again.  I also went to the movies and saw Gone Girl, about which I felt exactly the same as I felt about that very popular book. A page turner that left me cold. The film was very well made, very well acted, and left me cold. What can I say? I guess psychopaths are not for me. At least I went, and that's a good thing. 

Samson is fine, he's such a very good dog, in need of a lot of brushing. If I do nothing else, that's something I really need to work on in the next few days. Someone said in a comment that it's great for a dog to be raised by another dog, the way Samson is raising Faith. I smiled when I read that since Samson himself was raised by our German shepherd dog, Angel. 

She was old when he arrived, but she took him on and raised him, taught him everything he knows. And did such a wonderful job. ~ Look at his little face, wasn't he adorable? He loved her so and she him. 

When I see a picture like this, I know life is good, I know there are rough spots, I know we grow from them, and I know nothing stays the same forever. Angel is gone now, but Samson is sharing all he learned from her with Faith. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Puppy Faith Growing Up Month to Month ~ August 2014

Get me out of here! August 4, 2014

Evening playtime, August 10, 2014

I sneak up on mommy!

Then Samson gets me!

Ouch! My whole head's in his mouth!

Now he's got me by the scruff of my neck! 

I better take cover and bite him right back!

After playing hard, a puppy needs a break.
On August 25, three days short of four months old, I'm running fast. 

I just love to pick up stuff and run with it in my mouth.

Taking a break.
We end this month's pictures on August 30, 2014, with me giving my bestest big bro a big lickety kiss.

In case you wondered: Yes, I eat white fur, I poop fur, I have white fur hanging out of my mouth, in my ears, over my eyes, everywhere........

Mommy says no comments necessary, unless you want to say all over again how cute I am, heh, heh, heh...... (Samson's getting mad now, cause he's not even in this picture, except for his big paw.)  

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Notes From The Canyon

Canyon mornings are turning cold now with temperatures around 40 F. We bought some heavy duty plastic and hubby made a little green house for the tomato and pepper plants he is growing in containers. Faith had the not so great idea to tear down one side of it and chew on the plastic. After an initial upset and many "BAD DOG" exclamations, hubby fixed it and put a wire all around, so now both puppy and plastic are safe. He hooked up a heater too and the first morning after it was on, most of the plants had new flowers. So far it's working great and we have lots of ripening tomatoes. 

Black bears are on everyone's mind. One wandered into town and was shot and killed by local police after being considered a threat to children in the vicinity. My friend who hosted the knitting group last week, showed us a large gash in her screen door, made by a bear. After two attacks on our trash cans, the bears have left us alone. 

My husband is doing better. He's gained back just the right amount of weight and he now seems to realize that he has to do less and rest more. This helps to maintain his nice old self, without outbursts of anger, which makes everything around here a lot easier. 

We celebrated his 68th birthday last Thursday and he said while in that emergency room last July, he didn't think he was going to live to see it. We did nothing special, just some cake, ice cream, and gratitude. 

Faith went to the vet, where she's very popular, and got her rattlesnake booster vaccine. Why a snake vaccine now, you may wonder. Well, she had her first shot a month ago and it is a good idea since we see most snakes in late spring and early fall, when the days are cooler. They come out at night during the hot summer months. The above picture is from a week or two ago. She is now five months old and weighs 39.2 lbs.

The canyon is covered in the yellow flowers of the rabbit brush bush. Native peoples of the canyon used these bushes for tea and medicinal purposes. Talk about teas, I have dried a lot of mint for tea, and also sweet basil, rosemary, and dill. We plan to pick the rest of the vegetables this week and make a seafood/vegetable soup. Large pots of it. Hubby will cook, I will clean veggies. 

Blackbirds usually stop by here for a night or two while on their way somewhere else. This year, they have been here most of the summer, enjoying the water and bugs in our vegetable garden. They gather their flock together on the wires every morning. It is so interesting to watch and I wonder what goes through their minds or their instincts ~ this need to gather, as if to plan their day. 

Little Faith has been so good for all of us, but most of all for Samson. He is so happy to take care of her, teach her, play with her, and love her. We keep saying that he looks 10 years younger, which is impossible since he's only five. 

I feel terrible for the animals, so hungry and thirsty. Bears, elk, and deer are coming down from the higher altitudes, where they normally live, in search of food and water. One woman in the knitting group and her husband has set up a water station by a creek that is now so dry that no digging will provide any water. It's located in the wilder part of the canyon, with no houses around. These are very kind people, who also rescued a donkey baby in the middle of winter, bottle fed it, and raised it. Now she's like a dog and follows them everywhere. I am so happy that in the midst of all that's going on, I am getting to know some very good people here in the canyon.

I'm finally reading Middlemarch, known as one of the best books in English literature, and a book I have wanted to read for the past 50 years. It is all it is said to be and more. I love this book and will miss it once I finish it. 

I'm sorry I haven't gotten back to read all of your blogs, but I will. I have to go to town tomorrow morning, but then I should be home for a while. Thanks for stopping by ~ I enjoy your visits so very much. 

Samson Says: Good night everyone and thanks for stopping by. Maybe soon, I get to tell you what's going on in my world, hint, hint, like in a blog post, right here, on mommy's and my blog.........

Love you Gracie, my feisty little sweetheart! Sorry I haven't been able to stop by, but mommy, you know.....busy, busy.....love you. XOXOXOXO, your Samson.


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