Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Case of the Stolen Guinness…

The other day, my Facebook and Flickr friend Lydia Martin of BlueFox Photography stuck a post on Facebook that made me think of our Greyhound Tigger.
Tigger was our dog when the kids were still pretty young.  He died in 2008.  We adopted him off the track through a wonderful Greyhound rescue organization Greyhound Options.  It didn’t take him very long to realize that he had at long last hit the jackpot and he settled in fairly quickly and easily.  We bought him a big bed and he spent most of his time on it curled up on it in the middle of the living room in front of the fireplace.

I remember one night when I had had a busy day.  The kids were finally in bed and Greg was out of town. I was ready to have a little time to myself and to watch some television.  I just wanted to relax.  I went and looked in the refrigerator and there standing on the shelf was one can of Guinness.  It shone like a beacon to my weary soul.  I took it out, opened it and poured it slowly into a beer mug.  Because I like my dark beers pretty close to room temperature, I took it into the living room and put it on the coffee table to allow it to warm up a little and turned on the TV.
Then the phone rang.
Those were the days before caller ID when I felt that I had to actually answer the phone every time it rang, so up I got and back into the kitchen I went.  I don’t remember who was calling.  I imagine it was Greg telling me he got to his final destination safely, but I wouldn’t swear to it.  The call only took a few minutes.  When I returned to the living room, Tigger was sleeping on his bed, the TV as on, the cats were in their usual places and my mug of Guinness was empty.
Tigger never admitted to drinking my Guinness but I know that cats didn’t do it.  I mean they were cats after all and only 30 year old Scotch whiskey or the best Champagne would do for them, I’m sure, if they bothered to indulge.  It had to be the dog.  He didn’t seem to suffer any ill-effects from his indulgence and I couldn’t stay mad at him for more than a couple of seconds.  I went back to the kitchen with my empty mug and brought back some ice water.  Just watching my relaxed dog helped me relax and we all had a nice evening.

Tigger was a great pet.   We never regretted our decision to make him a part of our family.  I think that some people have misconceptions about what it would be like to live with a Greyhound.  Here are some things that we learned about Greys after our boy came to live with us.
Greyhounds are just big couch potatoes.  Sure they love a good walk, but they don’t need a lot of vigorous exercise.  While there may be exceptions to the rule, a Greyhound is a mellow, gentle dog.
You can have Greyhounds around small pets.  Not all of them are good around small pets though.  After all, they spent their days on the track being taught to chase small animals.  But most of the Greyhound adoption agencies try to figure out if the individual dog is cat and small dog safe.  When Tigger came to live with us, we had two cats.  As it turned out, our cat Asta fell in love at first sight and the two were the best of friends throughout Tigger’s life with us.

A lot of Greyhounds love to sing.  When Tigger came to live with us, we thought it would be fun to teach him how to sing Take Me out to the Ballgame.  He took to it quite enthusiastically.  Then we decided that maybe we didn’t want a singing Greyhound and quit encouraging him.  In reality, Greyhounds are very quiet dogs.  But being hounds, they do howl now and then.  When Tigger was a young dog, every time I would get home from somewhere I could hear him singing in the house before I opened the door.  I don’t think he was singing Take Me out to the Ballgame, I’m pretty sure he was singing, “I love you, Barb, and I’m so glad you’re home.”
If you have room on your floor and room in your heart and are on the look-out for a dog, consider finding a Greyhound adoption agency in your neck of the woods.  Greyhounds make GREYT pets!

P.S.  My daughter Carrie and I are embarking on a road trip next week so I’m not sure when I’ll see you again.  Happy Summer Solstice to You All!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Good Rock Fences…

We have no shortage of rocks here in New England.  Greg and I found that out the hard way when we bought our first house here.  It was new construction and there was no landscaping done so we, in our naiveté, attempted it on our own.  We managed to get grass growing eventually but we never had then, and I don’t have now, any luck with any other kinds of plantings.  I’m sure that much of it can be attributed to lack of patience and perseverance on my part and, yes, maybe a lack of real interest.  But I am going to put a good deal of the blame of my giving up on gardening to trying to dig around rocks and having to get rid of rocks.
Even though I’ve said that, I must admit, that I really like rocks.  In fact, I love rocks.  I have rocks sitting around all over the house for no good reason except that they please me…rocks sitting on their own and rocks sitting together in bowls.  Okay, so maybe I’m a little weird.
Having lived here in Massachusetts for more than thirty years now, I’ve come to think that New Englanders actually had the right idea about rocks.  There are not so many traditional farms around these days, but the remnants of the old farms are everywhere in the form of rock walls weaving their artful way almost everywhere out here in the country.  The farmers dug up the rocks and used them in a practical way.  And in spite of Robert Frost saying that “something there is that doesn’t love a wall,” these walls don’t seem to be going anywhere. And I sometimes wonder how long the walls will continue to stand?  Probably long after I am gone and my personal bowls of rocks have been dumped back into nature by my kids who wonder why their crazy mother was keeping all those rocks around.
So today I decided to post a couple pictures of rock walls that I have come across around here.  I think they are just the most beautiful kind of fence.

I'm linking up with Theresa at The Run*A*Round Ranch Report's Good Fences.  Thanks, Theresa!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Random thoughts…

I’m on a crusade of sorts to help the Monarch butterfly.  I didn’t know this until about a year ago, but Monarchs are dependent on milkweed to live.  So if you see a plant in your yard that looks like this...

...please don’t cut it down.  Leave it and keep your fingers crossed that a Monarch will find it and lay a few eggs.  They need our help and this is an easy way to help.  Other butterflies like it, too, so there is a good chance you’ll see some beauties like these Great Spangled Fritillaries even if the Monarchs don’t find you.

Olive and I are living like bachelorettes this week.  Greg is off on a motorcycle trip and we have enough sense not to have anything to do with that.  We’ve been staying up late watching British mysteries, which Greg will watch, but I think he prefers not to.  So we are doing him a favor…or favour.  Here’s Olive trying to stay awake after our late night as she searches for her spot.  She’s a trooper!

One day a couple weeks ago, I went out to stand under our Crabapple tree.  I like standing there because I don’t think I can be seen when I’m inside and under of the branches.  I’m sure that’s illusory on my part, but I do it anyway.  Don’t ask me why.  I just think it’s cool.  So anyhow, I ventured into the tree one day and a bird flew at me and out of the tree.  It was a robin and there was the nest sitting on a branch just slightly above my head.  I hadn’t seen it in there from the outside.
  I tried to stay away so that the family could have some privacy, but I was curious so I had Greg, who is a bit taller than I am, look to see if there was anything still inside the nest.  He thought he could see two eggs.  Well, we left them on their own for the most part and, sure enough, at least two babies emerged.  Now they have flown the coup and I can look more closely at what I think is the most elegant of bird nests.  I couldn’t get a good photo because of all the leaves and branches in the way, but I love those tendrils.  Isn’t it beautiful?

Here you can see two little ones in the nest.  It’s also a pretty poor photo.  It is in situations like this that I really wish I were taller but nothing can be done about that in this lifetime.  At least I got to see the little buggers.  I hope they live long and prosper.

What is it with Blogger lately?  I keep getting these white lines that I have a heck of a time getting rid of.  Well, there are more pressing things I have to think about what the heck are Olive and I going to watch tonight.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Wormtown fences…

For many years, the city of Worcester, Massachusetts has teeter-tottered with Providence, Rhode Island for the title of the Second Largest city in New England behind Boston, of course.  I’m not sure who holds the title these days, but I can tell you this:  Providence has a much nicer and better serviced airport.  You can actually go to a variety of places from there.  These days, there are only two flights out of Worcester on Jet Blue and they both go directly to Florida.
Yesterday, Greg and I, being retired and having nothing much to do in the afternoon, headed to the Worcester airport anyway.  We didn’t want to go to Florida.  We were hoping to see Air Force One land.  President Obama was coming to town to give the commencement speech at the Worcester Technical High School graduation.
It seems we weren’t alone in our quest.  There were quite a few people hoping to park along Route 56 at the end of the runway.  Of course, they (we) were not allowed to stop…duh!  But we circled around and eventually we saw that the eagle had landed.  I didn’t get a photo of Air Force One even though I did see it.  But I got a few pictures of the fence that surrounds the Worcester Airport.

Across the road from the airport, these girls had the best view of the going-ons, but they didn’t seem to be in the least bit interested.

Watching the news later in the evening, I began thinking about my high school graduation.  Well, I guess I should say that I wracked my brain for a microbe, an iota, a grain of a memory of my graduation.  Sadly, there was zero, zilch, zip, nada, nothing there.  I can’t remember one second of my high school graduation.  If my father hadn’t taken photos of the event, I might not believe today that it even happened.  I do remember this white dress however.  That is definitely nothing I would have ever bought or worn if not forced to.  Not that there is anything wrong with it…it’s just not me.

But the young people from Worcester Technical High School (and the administration of the school) who are very deserving of having the President of the United States as their commencement speaker will not have that problem when they are my age.  Regardless of their political leanings now or in the future, they will most certainly remember their graduation day.  Kudos to them!!
I’m hooking up with Theresa at The Run*A*RoundRanch Report to show off my Good Fences.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Good Iron Fences…

I’m dropping in on Theresa at The Run*A*RoundRanch to add some iron filigreed fences I picked up in the last week or so at a couple of local cemeteries.  I think they are nice.

Have a nice day!  And my all your fences be good!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

My (not so) Wild Life…

The Sturbridge police have issued an official warning on Facebook.  Yes, there is a bear hanging around our neighborhood.  They even posted pictures of this bear breaking into the henhouse of one of our neighbors to prove it.  But I haven’t seen the bear yet.

Last night, or should I say this morning, around 4:30 when it was just beginning to get light out, Olive, the pug, stood on the end of the bed and began chuffing.  The first thing that came to my mind was the bear, of course.  I did something I seldom do at that time of the day.  I put on my glasses and looked out the window.  No bear in sight.  Still, Olive was not to be put off.  She was positive that something was out to get us.  As I lay there trying to get back to sleep, I thought I heard the culprit.  Turkey gobbles.  My guess is that the turkeys that populate these parts have had their young and they are now on the prowl for food.  I haven’t seen them yet.  I’ve seen a few single males but no broods as yet.

My wild life sightings have been few this year if you don’t count the birds, bunnies and squirrels.  I did get up one very early morning about a week ago and looked out the window to see what I thought was a large cat rubbing itself on a tree trunk.  When it turned around, I realized it was a young fox.  But I haven’t seen him again although there is a hole in our yard that makes me think that a fox might just live there as Greg discovered part of a dead mouse next to it a couple days ago.

I’m not discouraged because there are two pieces of wild life that I can depend on seeing every day.  They aren’t going anywhere.  I’m talking about my two favorite trees.  Well, I shouldn’t really play favorites here because I actually have about 15 favorite trees…maybe 20.  But these two are in our yard.

One is a large European Beech tree.  It’s a tree with funny habits, not losing all of its leaves until the spring buds push them off.  Its leaves are a gorgeous color, kind of reddish yellowish on the top and sort of greenish yellowish from below with a trunk that looks like a big elephant leg.

Our lilac with the beech in the background.  Gorgeous spring color!

The other is the Red Maple in our back yard.  I love that the leaves on this tree are never really green.  Although they kind of fade to green in the fall.   I’ve taken about a gazillion and two photos of this tree, especially of it's fabulous leaves in the sun, but I never tire of looking at it.  From our upstairs windows I can watch the birds flying around inside it.  Crows seem to love it and when a cardinal lands on it, it is just a fabulous riot of reds.  It inspires me.

Okay, so I’m a tree-hugger.  What of it?  It beats getting an honest to goodness bear-hug, for goodness sake.  Ask the Sturbridge police.