Friday, July 31, 2009

Fridays are Golden

We recently bought some rocks. Yes, one can purchase rocks or boulders. We love rocks and didn't think we had enough of them. They were delivered and placed this week. Lucy saw the equipment first thing and both dogs stayed glued to the window most of the morning.

When the workers were gone, the Golden Girls investigated the rocks. (Since they are girls they did not feel obliged to christen each one.) Ellie found one to her liking and climbed up on top of it.

This is her "Rin-tin-tin" pose.

Lucy preferred one of the smaller ones. She thought it was a perfect fit.

Just look at that smile!

After checking out all the boulders and sitting on most of them the girls came inside to rest. Ellie did a little bird watching, but Lucy flaked out.

What? That's why she's here, isn't it? To be my soft pillow?

Can you believe it's the end of yet another summer month! (I feel entitled to another month of July but that is not to be.) My "episode" is like a distant memory except for the heart full of joy and appreciation each evening for every wonderful (and not so wonderful) day. We are all well and happy. We had over an inch of much-needed rain this week. And we have two marvelous and healthy dogs to cuddle and love. How much better can life get?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The second brood of baby Barn Swallows has hatched. There appear to be five of them and they are so newly hatched that only two of them are ready to be fed by the parents. The others wag their unstable little heads and pay no real attention to the parents when they bring food.

The baby on the right appears to be the largest of the group. his mouth opens immediately when food arrives.

The parent seems to be checking which babies are ready to be fed.

A second baby on the far left opens his mouth for food.
I could sit for ours watching Barn Swallows. They flit and turn, catching the insects in midair. They fly to the nest at amazing speeds and both parents help with the feeding. Much like bluebirds, the first brood often helps feed the second one.

Monday, July 27, 2009

360 Sunset

It's a scientific fact; the sun sets in the West. But every now and then when conditions are just right the colors of the sunset spread across the entire sky. I caught such an occurrence recently. It was absolutely amazing. All of these photographs are taken from my yard as I walked a circle around the house, photographing the sky from all directions.

The sight was truly gorgeous. I called my neighbor and we stood outside admiring the color. I can't recall if the next day was gorgeous after the wonderous red sky at night.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Fridays are Golden

We had a little bit of rain this week so my husband used that opportunity to clean out the garage. The Golden Girls do not usually get to investigate things in the's simply a passageway for them. There are too many hazards there. Occasionally we allow them to take a look around while the garage is being cleaned.

Lucy digs right in while Ellie looks to my husband for direction. That is typical behavior for both of them. Lucy is always more interested in doing what she wants to do and Ellie is more interested in doing what we want her to do.

What could be the interest in a dustpan and broom?

Ellie checks out one of the boxes while Lucy looks over the shelf.

The large garbage can is taller than Lucy.

Both dogs are quite interested in the colorful plastic funnels.

I suppose they do look a little bit like doggie toys.

The girls go on the driveway for a breather. Neither of them cares much for the shop vac. It makes far more noise than the indoor vacuum cleaners.

I looked around and Lucy had disappeared. A quick call and she came flying back up the steps. She sat by my side as if to say, "Oops, Mom. I got carried away. Sorry."

Today is a red-letter day for me. It's the last of the 14-day multi-drug treatment for H. pylori, a bacteria associated with gastric ulcers. I usually have no problem swallowing pills of any size, but one of the antibiotics is bitter as can be. Knowing that gives me the creeps every time I have to take it. Yuck!
Another weekend is upon us. I do hope it is a good one for you and your loved ones. Celebrate your life this weekend as if it were your birthday. As the old saying goes, "Every day above ground is a good day."
Have a wonderful and fun-filled weekend!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Big Baby Downy

Among our favorite woodpeckers is the Downy. They are low on the pecking order around here and must wait their turn at the suet if the pileated, red-bellied, or hairy woodpeckers are around. We have at least two nesting pairs of Downys that we can identify and we especially love watching the fledglings come to the trees near the feeders.

Woodpeckers seem to feed their babies longer than many other birds. In fact, the Downy in the following photograph (taken last month) is actually larger than the parent. She had been brought to the tree to try to feed herself. Several times she tried to summon the courage to fly to the suet but each time she failed. Finally she started screaming with frustration and the mother obliged once more and gave her some breakfast.

It seems to us that bird parents are rather like human parents. Some of them know exactly when to turn loose but some of them continue to feed the young long after it appears they could manage on their own. We have observed some birds coming to the feeders and eating; then flying to the trees screaming for their parents who will come feed them again.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Not Your Usual Feeder Birds

It's always a bit surprising to see unexpected birds at our feeders. Somehow a Pileated Woodpecker perching precariously on a seed tray seems strange indeed. Typically the unexpected birds are fledglings, but in this case they seem to be adults. Perhaps they simply want to try something different.

We see Downy Woodpeckers daily at our suet and in our trees. It is a bit unusual to see one eating the sunflower hearts but this one seems to be enjoying the treat.

And this Blue Jay seems to enjoy the seeds as well.

One of our favorite birding activities is to watch the various fledglings try the different feeders trying to figure out which one is meant for them. Their antics in trying to get the food is often quite amusing. They look so puzzled as if to ask, "How does this thing work?"

Friday, July 17, 2009

Fridays are Golden

It's been a busy week for the girls. We've had guests and they always love having company, especially if it means extra attention for them. Otherwise the week has been a usual one. The biggest question for them seems to be where they should nap.

Mom, if you're going to make me sit here, I need some sunglasses.

The both love to lie under my husband's desk while he is working.

Lucy often stretches out with a toy in her paw.

She curls up into a little ball, taking less than half of the bed.

Ellie stretches out to fill the bed, her head using the bolster as a pillow.

Lucy stretches out as well with her tennis ball close at hand.

The beds are side by side and the two dogs often look like bookends lying there.

Ellie hangs her head over the bed, flattening it out.

Hard to believe, but it's mid-July already. I am almost back to normal (whatever that is) with more endurance and better labs each week. I have astounded the medical community with my rapid recovery and I awaken every morning with thanksgiving in my heart.
Enjoy this weekend. Spend time with loved ones and do something special for them. Send a card to an old friend. Do something nice for yourself. For this weekend, live and love in the moment. Have a great one.

Monday, July 13, 2009

I've Got Jayne's Goldfinches

Jayne has been lamenting the lack of Goldfinches at her house this summer. Well Jayne, I think they have decided to hang around our house. We have seen many more goldfinches than usual with dozens of fledglings hopping about learning to feed themselves at our feeders.

The goldfinches are hanging around the sunflower hearts with one another.

They are hanging out around the sunflower with the cardinals.

They are hanging out with the chickadees.

They are hanging out in the trees awaiting a turn at the feeders.

Boys as well as girls.

They are hanging out around the birdbath on the deck.

They are hanging out with the towhees.

They are hanging out with the nuthatches.

Isn't it amazing how the birds are so prolific in one area and relatively uncommon in another area nearby? Or very common one year and not the next? None of our neighbors are seeing as many goldfinches as we are. For whatever reason, we are delighted to see these lovely yellow birds.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Fridays are Golden

Our Lucy is four years old, having had a birthday on July 4th. She is our second dog from Dichi Goldens, and true to her birth date, she is a real firecracker. She considers herself a little princess and struts with the "show dog" prance.

Chance, her father, achieved his AKC Championship points by age two. He also has his Canadian championship. Chance is described as fun-loving and happy-go-lucky, always making you smile. Lucy is much the same and is the first dog we have owned with a real sense of humor.

Lucy's mother Annie has her companionship points and is a compassionate Golden attuned to the needs and moods of others. Lucy is indeed compassionate so long as it doesn't interfere with what she wants. After all, she is the princess.

This is little Lucy at three months. What a cutey.

Here she plays with Ellie when she was about 4 months old. They are rarely ever apart from one another.

A sleeping 5-month old Lucy.

She is still the best sleeper I've ever seen.

And here she is doing her favorite thing...running on the trails. She never paces herself and will run until she is exhausted and we make her rest. Full of fun and energy Lucy is the perfect dog for our lifestyle.

Fridays, and all other days have become more golden to me since my medical emergency. We have no idea what awaits us, so we must take advantage of every opportunity to help ourselves and others and enjoy life to the fullest.
Have a wonderful weekend, filled with love and fun. Give your friends and family an extra hug. Do something special for yourself and do something special for someone else. You never know what is in store for you next week.