Wind chill this morning 4. Winds gusting 30 to 50 mph.

That is all....

A cow just blew by my front window - and a baby pygmy goat. Stay tuned, must chase that goat - know just the rescue home for it...
Is good for the gander. Unless of course the gander is the Democrat Party. They get to be hypocrites all day long - and don't dare call them on it.

Biden ~ "I pray God when the Democrats take back control we don't make the kind of naked power grab you are doing."
Does it get any richer than that?

Tyranny of the majority? Yes indeed, that is what we have - majority in DC that is. Majority of Americans by far do not want to take your medicine. How much clearer must we make it?

“Some animals are more equal than others.” ~ George Orwell's pig
Gus and Fiona love to chew empty toilet paper and paper towel rolls. We call it puppy gum because they tear them into small bits then chew and chew on the bits. Cheap puppy treats/toys.

Funny thing though is Fiona's method for stealing from Gus. She does this pretty much any time he has something she wants, which is pretty much any time he has anything - anything he has, she needs.

Captured the process this past weekend - so here you go step by step.

Here Gus has a new tube, Fiona has a small piece from the last tube...

As Gus is clutching his prize, you can see that Fiona has stood up - she finished chewing her bit so now she must get into position for the heist.

Gus happily gnaws his prize, but if you embiggen the photo you will see that Fiona is now on his other side...

Here she has slowly rolled until she literally has her feet under his face - all nonchalant and innocent...

Checking for proper position - see Gus cut his eyes at her? He knows what she is up to...

And after completing her roll, she comes up with another piece of tube. Successful pilfering once again...
great - just great
Happiness is doing algebra in your jammies with a dog snuggled on the chair next with you.

It is 57 degrees! Dancing the dance of joy - oh yes. They are predicting snow day after tomorrow...

The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. ~ Anne Frank
Glenn's speach at CPAC - it takes a while, but if you are interested here you go. The wonderful thing about what Glenn is doing these days is that he is teaching history. Backs it up with facts too. Americans need to hear this history because it has not been taught for a long long time, and those who were alive during some of these times seem to have forgotten.

So here you go, I'll probably listen several more times myself.

This is a Rosalie update - so if you are not into long horsey stories don't read any further.

First let's recap -
July 2008 Rosalie comes up a little lame - she had been working pretty hard all summer, had done a show a couple weeks before. We figured a few days off, couple days in stall, then slowly work back up. After several days she was fine - we all left town. While we were all away she came up very lame. Instead of keeping her in at that point, the girl who keeps her for us continued turning her out. By the time we got back she was very lame indeed - she could barely walk. We started over with several days in, a couple weeks limited area turn out - then slowly back to work. She did ok for a few weeks, then was lame again. Start over, a couple weeks after that a nasty abscess opened in the heel of her left hind - we figured OK this is what it has been - we treated it and waited (heel abscesses are nasty and take a long time to heal) we gave her a few months and she seemed fine for a bit - then she was off again.

By this time it was early Jan '09. We finally gave up and took her down to the specialization vet (45 min down the mountain from here). At first they thought soft tissue (which is what we had been thinking though there was never any swelling or heat anywhere in her legs or hooves) - but x-rays showed a cyst in the navicular bone of her left front foot. As I have said before - this is a degenerative disease - we tried the first line treatment of shoeing changes and bute (horse aspirin) for pain and applied to the FDA for permission to import a drug from France that has shown promise in arresting and reversing the disease.

March 12, 2009 the drug is finally here and we administer it - it is an IV drip. Good lord you would not believe how expensive this drug is. A couple weeks later we begin daily 30 min walk rides to help build strength and to help with bone regeneration. She is sound for the most part. This continues for a couple months, sometimes she is sound, sometimes she is not. We begin a little trot. She develops a nasty abscess in her right foot in this period and a series of bruises in her hoof as well - most of her off days in this time are due to the right front problems rather than the left.

4 months later we take new x-rays. X-rays show the cyst has shrunk about 15% and some increased density as well as good bone growth around the margins of the cyst (the margins of the cyst were frighteningly close to the outer wall of the bone - bone shatters - life over so shrinkage and extra hard bone around edges very very good). But she continues to be off every now and then.

3 months later we go back again. She had been doing much better in this 3 month period (far fewer off days) but on the day we went to the vet she was the most in pain she had been in a while, and the most pain the vets had seen since we began the process and now understand what I had been telling them on the phone off and on about it being more pain than I would like.

We decide to take the next step, which is to remove the nerve in the back of her lower leg, just above her hoof, that feeds the pain signal to her brain - drastic, but effective for pain. We planned to do the surgery in January so that it would be during the time that the pasture is mostly dead anyway, but when we returned from Thailand in late Nov she was off and I just couldn't take her being in pain any more so we did the surgery in early Dec.

Surgical follow up was changing bandages every 2 days for 30 days, stall rest only, no walking, equine senior horse feed- mixed with hot water, and expensive - hard to find around here alfalfa hay - stitches out after 2 weeks (but weather kept us from being able to have the stitches removed until about 3 1/2 weeks post surgery) this is late Dec. She develops a pressure sore on her right front "ankle" (fetlock) because of the way she has chosen to lie down in her stall and after about a week it becomes infected. So now she needs an antibiotic and I have to go out every night to wrap both her front legs, then go out every morning to remove the wraps in order to protect the area, something I will have to continue doing as long as she is still in her stall in order to avoid recurrence of the pressure sore, which just now is finally completely healed up. We needed to take her back down the mountain after 30 days for a post surgery check up but weather again kept us from being able to do that until about 6 weeks post surgery. At this point her left foot was totally fine. No problem. But she was off on her right - sigh, drop head.

Vet says continue keeping her in, start 30 min hand walking every day. Only a few days later she is sound. In fact, as I said at the time, stupidly sound. She went absolutely nuts after having been cooped up for so long and tore around bucking, kicking, running as hard as she could - every time I took her out - for five days, but each of those days she was sound. I gave her a couple days rest. Next time I took her out to walk she was off again - on the right again. This is about four weeks ago now and the vet wants to see her so we set an appointment - and it snows - so we reschedule and it snows again and again for four weeks. While waiting to be able to get down the mountain we let her rest again for a week then started back to walking, but I simply did not let her have her head to pitch a fit. We all believe in her excitement to finally be moving again she injured herself on the right. The last two weeks I have walked her religiously and only allowed her 8-10 steps of trot at any time and for these two weeks she has been sound.

Finally, today, we made it back to the vet. She is sound. I thought the vets were going to pop the corks on champaign. They were so happy. She has two vets down there, the surgeon,Dr Hay - seriously- and Dr Basket the vet who has been following her through the whole process. The poor surgeon, who was almost as disappointed as me when she was off last time I took her down, after he saw one sound pass at the trot wanted us to just stop right then, for fear she would start limping again. But she didn't and she is sound. Now to keep her that way. We have had so many times over the last year and a half when she was sound for a short time, then off again. I am afraid every time I ask her to trot.

So the plan now is that she continues to live full time in her stall (where she has been since Dec 2) for at least 6 more weeks. For the next 4 weeks I must ride her 30-45 min a day (not just hand walk) walk only - then for one week we do three - two min trot sets. Then for one week three - three min trot sets. Then we go back and they evaluate before we up her work load and make a plan to gradually start turning her out again. This is a far more complicated matter than you might think - when we turn her out she is going to run and run and run and buck and kick and make moves that would make a Lipizzaner jealous. Plus the grass will be coming in and a horse can kill itself eating too much grass too quickly when they have not had it for a while.

She is sound now! The trick will be keeping it.

the little bit more:
I forgot to say I rode her this afternoon, but because she feels so good and is so excited to be getting out and being ridden (she actually LOVES to go) I have to give her horsey valium to keep her from going nuts. I don't bounce so good anymore. Count me in as the newest member of the ACE (said valium) fan club! I bet I'm the only person any of you know who carries horse sedative in her purse...
She is 30 something - I've been a mom forever!

In the Irish music community this vid is seen as proof that rap has its roots in Irish music (giggle)
Keep in mind these books are suggestions for gifts, I'm not saying you should all rush out and add these to your own libraries. I know how hard it can be to come up with a good baby/child gift every now and then - and having been a mother longer than there has been dirt, I am very familiar with a whole host of kids books. Kids books are published at an unbelievable rate, but they are not all treasures.

Fritz and the Beautiful Horses (you knew there had to be a pony book in there somewhere, right?), written and illustrated by Jan Brett - is a special one to us, you'll see why in a bit. If you are not familiar with Jan Brett's work, she has written a bunch of good ones and frankly any would make a great gift (On Noah's Ark, The Mitten, Annie and the Wild Animals, Trouble with Trolls, The Wild Christmas Reindeer and bunches more). Her art has a Nordic flare (remember I love folk art so books illustrated in a folk art style tend to catch my eye), is done in bright water colors. As required by almost any children's book I would recommend, the illustrations are simply gorgeous - they make you want to either fall in or pick up some colored pencils and give it a try yourself.

Fritz is the story of a pudgy little pony (not unlike my own) who lives in a town where there are many beautiful, high spirited and silly horses who are pampered and decorated to the extreme. He wants to be just like the big beautiful horses but of course we are what we are and he is a rolly polly pony. His sure footed bravery saves the day by rescuing the town's errant children one by one when the horses all refuse the steep climb and rushing water between the children and their parents. Then, of course, Fritz the hero is beloved by all and pampered himself.

It is a sweet, beautiful children's book - but mostly I like it because Fritz reminds me more than a little of my own Rolo. Though I am particularly fond of this one, any of Brett's books would be worth the price of purchase, and I own several - yup me, they are my books not the kids books. But I do share, sometimes.


The second book I recommend is Mama, Do You Love Me? By Barbara M. Joosse, again deliciously illustrated by Barbara Lavallee, published by Chronicle Books and, gratefully, not out of print.

This book is a precious string of questions by a young Inuit child to her mother

What if I threw water at our lamp?
Then, Dear One, I would be very angry. But still, I would love you.

What if I put a salmon in your parka, ermine in your mittens, and lemmings in your mukluks?...

What if I ran away?
Then I would be worried.
What if I stayed away and sang with the wolves and slept in a cave?
Then, Dear One, I would be very sad. But still I would love you.

What if I turned into a musk-ox?
Then I would be very surprised.
What if I turned into a walrus?
Then I would be surprised and a little scared.
....I will love you, forever and for always, because you are my Dear One.

The story is sweet, honest, and loving. The illustrations stunning - colorful - and suggestive of native Alaskan art done in watercolor. I discovered this one on our first ever cruise up the inside passage to/in Alaska. Avoid the board book - not long lasting enough.

I said back before Christmas that I might share some of my favorite children's book with you. No, this is not a Mommy blogger type post. This is a Most people have to buy a baby gift every now and then kind of post. I hate to buy baby clothes for people - babies grow so fast you'd be lucky if the kid wore it once or twice before it was too small and became the beginning of years of collected clutter. Diapers and wipes are good, in that every kid needs them - they are used up then out of the way - no clutter ya know kind of way. But my favorite young child or baby gift is a book - or two, good books are treasures that can be kept forever and all that sort of sappy stuff. So here, after 32 years of parenting (my daughter's 32nd birthday is three days away now), are some of my very favorite books as gifts - to be described one or two at a time. I tend toward books with beautiful illustrations - most of these sit on the shelf just above my head right here at my computer desk, even though the kids are all technically well beyond the age associated with these books the art contained is everlasting and speaks to me. I even get requests every now and then from one of the girls that I order a copy of one or another of the books I will be sharing, so that they too can share some of these treasures.

Book the first - my very most favorite (and unfortunately out of print for years so to give this one requires hunting and ordering 2nd hand - it is well worth it both for the art and the verse) The Scroobious Pip by Edward Lear illustrated most beautifully and fancifully by Nancy Ekholm Burket. Both the paperback (which is what I have) and the hard bound are out there - the paper bound has a more colorful cover. The book was published by Harper&Row.

Each of my children can quote from this book...

The Scroobious Pip went out one day
When the grass was green and the sky was gray.
Then all the beasts in the world came round
When the Scroobious Pip sat down on the ground.
The cat and the dog and the kangaroo,
The sheep and the cow and the guinea pig too,
The wolf he howled, and the donkey brayed,
And when the lion began to roar
There never was heard such a noise before.
And every beast he stood on the tip
Of his toes to look at the Scroobious Pip.
At Last they said to the fox, "Byfar
You're the wisest beast. You know you are!
Go close to the Scroobious Pip and say,
Tell us all about yourself we pray---
For as yet we can't make out in the least
If you're fish or insect, or bird or beast."
The Scroobious Pip looked vaguely round
And sang these words with a rumbling sound,
"Chippetty flip! Flippetty chip!
My only name is the Scroobious Pip!"

The creature who is the Scroobious Pip has the face of a snowy owl with large furry ears, goat horns, and an insect's antennae.
He has the hind legs of a kangaroo but with hooves, a long silver fish tail and long transparent insect wings. He wears spectacles, a red vest and lavender jacket over his generous belly and holds a walking stick in his furry front hands - his expression is both studious and kind. The mammal verse illustration has lovely colored pencil type depictions of dozens of animals from camel and polar bear to woolly mammoth, monkeys, a wart hog and children. There is even a dinosaur tucked in there for some reason.

The book goes on have the Scroobious pip addressed by insects, birds, and fish.

This is not a particularly wonderful picture of the cover, it is a scanned copy of my own well loved edition.

I was introduced to The Scroobious Pip as a treasured baby gift given me low these many moons ago by a beloved friend - thank you Sory. I most recently ordered a copy only a couple weeks ago.
Yeah, pretty much. Especially the stubborn part - and not just as a kid.

Got this from Pam, who got it from Joanie, who got it from Leslie.

I am a 6 - the Questioner

Supposedly I chose CY - and my Enneagram type is SIX (aka "The Loyalist").

"I am affectionate and skeptical"

Those like me are responsible, trustworthy, and value loyalty to family, friends, groups, and causes. Their personalities range broadly from reserved and timid to outspoken and confrontative - (is this a word? - maybe confrontational?)

How to Get Along with Me

Be direct and clear!!!!!!!!!

Listen to me carefully!!!!!!!!!

Don't judge me for my anxiety. (my kids are constantly suggesting I seek help)

• Work things through with me.

• Reassure me that everything is OK between us. (just be pleasant and reasonably dependable please - I'm not that worried as to if things are "OK")

Laugh and make jokes with me. (don't be so uptight that you can't see when I'm teasing or joking, please)

Gently push me toward new experiences. (I hate heights - just sayin)

Try not to overreact to my overreacting.
(I'm probably just trying to blow steam so I don't actually explode)

What I Like About Being a SIX

• being committed and faithful to family and friends (even if they don't notice or care...)

• being responsible and hardworking

• being compassionate toward others

• having intellect and wit (I'm just so damned smart...)

• being a nonconformist (where do I begin?)

• confronting danger bravely (unless it involves heights)

• being direct and assertive (some would argue too assertive)

What's Hard About Being a SIX

• the constant push and pull involved in trying to make up my mind (Just this morning I went back and forth about whether or not to risk the weather and go to the barn to work, called the girl at the barn to tell her I was not coming...then went - calling her when I was half way there to tell her I was on my way...)

• procrastinating because of fear of failure; having little confidence in myself (I don't tend to procrastinate - procrastination drives me nuts)

• fearing being abandoned or taken advantage of (I don't think I worry about being abandoned - I can take care of myself thank you very much - taken advantage of? Don't spend time worrying about that, though it does sometimes happen I realize it does happen only if I allow it to)

• exhausting myself by worrying and scanning for danger (Me? Scared? Paranoid? Over wrought? Anxious? What you talkin 'bout Willis?)

• wishing I had a rule book at work so I could do everything right (YES)

• being too critical of myself when I haven't lived up to my expectations (I've expected a lot from myself my whole life)

SIXes as Children Often

• are friendly, likable, and dependable, and/or sarcastic, bossy, and stubborn

• are anxious and hypervigilant; anticipate danger

• form a team of "us against them" with a best friend or parent (Not that I can remember)

• look to groups or authorities to protect them and/or question authority and rebel (Maybe that was because of my father's over heated temper and my mother's manipulative use of my father's temper? Maybe?)

• are neglected or abused, come from unpredictable or alcoholic families, and/or take on the fearfulness of an overly anxious parent (no one was an alcoholic - a little abusive maybe, but not alcoholic - not over anxious. Controlling and manipulative - yes - neglectful? could be...)

SIXes as Parents

• are often loving, nurturing, and have a strong sense of duty

• are sometimes reluctant to give their children independence (I actually do pretty well with this one - I just do it in increments)

• worry more than most that their children will get hurt (or just worry about my kids in general)

• sometimes have trouble saying no and setting boundaries (maybe I have trouble saying no - but I have no trouble at all setting boundaries and sticking to them. I'm a hard ass that way)

Wiki says :
Characteristic role: The Loyalist[12] (closer than a questioner I think)
Ego fixation: Cowardice[13] (don't understand this, maybe I'm not so smart after all)
Holy idea: Faith[14]
Basic Fear: To be without a support system in an unforgiving world[23] (ummm, I don't think so - I can do Ok by myself, trial by fire and all that)
Basic Desire: To feel safe[23] (maybe - to feel secure would be closer, and to know my kids are secure and safe as well)
Temptation: To question the intentions of everyone around them (NO?)
Vice/Passion: Fear[17] (no - vice - love of Diet Dr Pepper and carbs; stubbornness, temper. Passion - I'm too tired for passions )
Virtue: Courage[18]( there are those - in my family - who would question this)
Stress/Disintegration point: Three. Paranoid and anxious Sixes may try to win over others, like unhealthy Threes, to cover up their anxiety (I don't think I waste time trying to win over others, trial by fire and such)
Security/Integration point: Nine. Positive Sixes may become more peaceful, open and receptive like healthy Nines (open to what? Depends, but maybe I'm not so positive.)
I love to walk as snow falls at night - love the way it never really gets dark, the way the snow looks like it has been sprinkled with glitter. Love the soft sound the snow makes as it falls in the almost total silence.

The boy, the corgis and I have just returned from an hour's trek through the snow. It is beautiful - but the wind is fierce and there were times when we could barely see for the snow stinging our faces. The Mama wiped out once. Good thing I've been exercising a lot lately, being in reasonably good shape I didn't hurt myself. Two months ago I probably wouldn't be able to walk tomorrow after my graceful tumble - also glad it was dark and we were on a deserted dirt (ice and snow covered) road so no one saw me fall on my well padded ass - no sharing the humiliation.

Gus & Fiona with snowy faces, clumps of ice in their whiskers. They loved the hike...

Same bush I photographed earlier today, this time in the dark

Same sedum with crowns of snow. Looking more like hydrangea now.

One of my hollies...

same azalea

Our ginkgo tree

This is my favorite picture of the night - My little red dogwood. It is covered in buds so come spring I'll show you a picture all covered in blooms.

Now I shall retire to the side of the fire, a hot cup a joe, and the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics - I feel all wintery now.
It's snowing. Again. Enough already?! This will certainly have been the year that was. I hope there will at least be fewer bugs this summer as a reward for living through this strangeness. The mountains here have had snow on them non stop since mid December - I've lived here since I was six (about 111 years) and I do not remember a single winter where the snow stayed on the ground as long as this has.

More obligatory snow pictures - this time as things are just getting started.
Snow on Cedars...

Snow on sedum... (I should have cut this back months ago - what can I say, I'm lazy)

Snow on Azalea...

Snow on something else...

Snow on my home...

Fiona through the looking glass "What'cha doin' Mom?"

Batman can't get home this evening. He waited about an hour too long to start home and cars are now all over the place. Sleeping in the office for him tonight - I think we'll need to pack him a survival bag for the future. Live and learn...
Coming up with no real enthusiasm for new blog posts these days. When all else fails, dog pictures rule.

Gus LOVES to play tug.

He loves it so much that he will hold onto the tug while spinning. Can you tell he is air born here? Alligator teeth!

This is Gus's "demon face". It's all a game, but if you didn't know better you'd think he was quite the vicious dog, wouldn't you?

Two seconds later he is all "What?"

It's cold and windy (50 mph gusts today, blizzard warning - though it isn't going to snow at all, dummies), we find our entertainment where we can...
Last several posts were laden with snow pictures that end up looking all black and white. Today we are encased with ice (snow still on the ground from last Friday's snow too) so I'm feeling a bit gloomy. Leads me to start looking about for some color.

Well, you know that kid of mine who makes lovely Irish music on more instruments than you can shake a stick at? Well, she is pretty darn good with a paint brush too.

Here is an example of what she can do with a banjo case:

Cool right? She has done similar work on a guitar case and a couple concertina cases.
The bars of my prison.

Snow began Friday mid afternoon. Here it is Tues mid afternoon and the mile long road between me and the closest "primary" road is still covered in three inches of packed ice. No idea why DOT can't get the ice off, but they have been by multiple times to no effect. Stuck in the house with a rear wheel drive squirrel - hub took the 4 wheel drive Jeep and left town. I. am. slowly. going. crazy. -

The bars are forked. Is there a metaphor here? Have the gates of hell frozen over?