Sunday, September 28, 2008

Harleen and Zoey

Our friends Steve and Janet got a new puppy last Wednesday. Abby, their previous yellow lab who was a dear sweet dog, died earlier this summer. They had struggled with when to get a new dog. You never really replace what you have loved. So last Tuesday night they stayed with us and got reacquainted with Harleen. Then on Wednesday they drove to Reno and beyond to pick up Miss Zoey. She's a 12-week-old yellow lab.

In the photos Zoey is the dog on top of Harleen, who is wearing the gentle leader, and she's the dog in the photo below.

So our lives and Steve and Janet's lives are enriched by these wonderful dogs.

BTW, Harleen has not pooped in her crate for the last three nights. I know I didn't ask for anyone to pray for this but just in case you did, we all thank you.

Tomorrow we leave for the Grand Canyon. Harleen is going to stay with puppy raiser Walt. I'm worried about leaving her but yet happy that Kerry and I get to celebrate Mark and Julia's marriage without worrying about Harleen and whether she needs to go out. I'll see you all on Oct. 10th when we return with lots of photos.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Harleen At Costco

She's eleven weeks old today. We took her to Costco because we only needed three things: toilet paper, paper towels and Zantac.

It took us twice as long to get the three things, because every few feet someone wanted to pet her. That's part of her socialization, so she got a bunch today. Right now she's asleep on the floor. Probably won't move for quite a while. Still pooping in her crate at night. Some things don't change.

I'm trying to find another puppy raiser to take her when we go to Mark's wedding. So far I've lined up someone for the first five days. Now I just need to get someone for the last five. The lady for the first five will even take her to puppy kindergarten while we are gone. These are a bunch of really nice folks.
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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Harleen At Petsmart

She didn't really care for any of the Halloween costumes. Mostly she liked looking at all the big dogs and being petted by lots of kids. A good socialization outing for all. Plus I bought her a new squeaky toy
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Friday, September 19, 2008

Chanterelle Dinner Number Four

For three nights we have enjoyed these beautiful earthy delights that look like they are coated with paprika.

First night we had them cooked in butter with salt and pepper. A barbecued steak accompanied them.

Second night I made a risotto with them that included sun dried tomatoes from our neighboring farm.

Third night I made a light wine and garlic sauce with the mushrooms to put over pasta.

Tonight we are having potatoes au gratin with chanterelles. The meat course is your basic hamburger without the bun. I'm tucking pepperocini's inside the burger. There are enough chanterelles left for one more night.

I am so thankful to Farmgirl Fare for the information on where to find the chanterelles. I can hardly wait for morel season.

On to Miss Harleen. She had a play date today with three dogs: a 12-year-old sharpei, a 12-year-old golden retriever and a 2-year old corgi. She loved playing with the corgi and was very good about showing some deference to the older dogs. I think she thought the golden was her mother because she went under her to look for a place to nurse. Jasmine was fixed when she was a youngster so was a bit perplexed by Harleen's search. Since we got home she has been awake only to eat, poop and pee. Right now she's snoring. I think we wore her out.

Tomorrow we are putting on her cape and taking her to Petsmart. She won't walk because she's still too little to be seen by adults, but she will ride in the cart. Speaking of size, she weighed 17.4 pounds at the vet yesterday. When we got her three weeks ago she weight 11.6. She is growing.

Kerry's out riding his tractor. All is right with the world.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Her First Trip

Harleen had a very busy and successful Sunday. First we went to Raley's for a few things. She rode in the cart wearing her gentle leader (the thing over her nose which is used to direct her with the leash; it does not restrict her mouth) and her special Canine Companions for Independence cape. The logo for CCI is right where Kerry's left hand is. She was a star at the grocery store. People have been good about asking if they can pet her; the answer is no. So they admire her from a distance.

Then we went to the Veterans' Hall in Lincoln. Our neighbor's son was getting his Eagle Scout Award. She was impressively well-behaved there too. She laid on the floor on the quilt that is in the picture above, through an hour of speeches and applause. She didn't like the applause so I would pet her each time it happened. Part of our job is to get her used to noises that she will hear as a service dog. Well, applause is taken care of.

I feel like we made it over the first hurdle, and we all passed. Oh, also she pooped while walking. When you are a service dog that's important.
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Another Season Comes Along

A few weeks ago when my brother was visiting us, he asked, "don't you ever get clouds in your sky?" In the summer we don't. It's just one blue sky day after another...boring. That was then, this is now. In the past few days we have been seeing a few clouds and the sunsets are awesome. Summer is almost over; I have to say I am relieved.

The mornings are crisp and the evenings have a bit of a chill. And at 3 p.m. we are not sweltering. I can almost hear my plants saying "aah" because they are tired of scraping by on water and too much sun.

And despite what people say, we in California experience all four seasons. The red maples have started to turn to brilliant reds, orange and yellows and others will follow.

The only thing that hasn't happened yet is the color change in the air. One morning I will wake up and notice that the sunlight is no longer a warm yellow; that's the official notification by mother nature that winter is on its way. Instead it will be a duller yellow.

I've been fertilizing bulbs and other plants to get them ready for winter. I'm trying to convince Kerry to bring back a load of compost when he goes to the dump next time. Fertilizer is good but a big load of compost is even better.

Our upper pond (pictured here before the algae took over), which has been a mass of red algae and parrot feather, seems to be getting better thanks to the fountain we installed to aerate it. We can already see signs of the algae disappearing. The fish probably like it too.

Today Harleen is going to make her public debut. We are taking her to the grocery store where she will ride in the part of the cart for kids (I have a small quilt to cover the cart rails). We don't need much so it won't be a long trip; she will wear her cape. Then we go to an Eagle Scout Court for the young man who lives across the street. Probably won't stay too long because there will be a crowd but still it's a beginning for our little girl.

We think she's having a growth spurt because she eats every bite of all three meals and then gets treats when we train her. Then she sleeps. But...alas, she still poops in her crate every night. We talk to the CCI people again tomorrow for more advice. This is getting old. Hope all of you have a great Sunday and a good week.

Friday, September 12, 2008


There are a lot of blogs that I really like. They seem to fall into categories: sheep, food, people whose lives I just like to read about, cute animals, etc. Well, in the food category I really enjoy Farm Girl Fare. She has some mouthwatering recipes and lots of tips on food.

After reading "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Polland a year ago Kerry and I have really changed our eating habits. We know where our meat comes from (not large feedlots or poultry raisers). Our eggs come from chickens we know who live across the road. Vegetables and fruits come from local farms or the farmer's market. No where in that mix did I mention mushrooms.

I've been trying to figure out how to get seasonal mushrooms without buying them in the grocery store where I don't know their origin or going mushroom hunting. Well Farm Girl Fare solved that mystery. She mentioned a store called Marx Foods where they sell real mushrooms found in the woods. Right now chanterelles are in season. Being a locavore I was concerned that they didn't grow near here. Turns out you can find them in Tilden Park near Berkeley. That's within 100 miles. So I ordered to two pounds that will arrive by FedEx next Tuesday. We are going to be eating a lot of these things next week. I'm also going to use my dehydrator to save some for later.

Mushrooms have been in the back of my mind for a while, but a recent book "Animal, Vegetable Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver sort of got me looking once again for a source. She has a recipe in her book for morel mushrooms and asparagus bread pudding. Asparagus isn't in season right now but I'm sure I can find another vegetable to substitute. It's nice to find that someone has figured out how to enjoy bread pudding without all the sugar.

Oh, and I signed up to be on the Marx mailing list to receive announcements about which mushrooms are popping up in the forest when. I can hardly wait for spring and the morel season.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

You Just Gotta Love A Face Like This

I swear I can see her grow. This photo was taken about 10 days ago. We go to the vet next week for her next shot so we will find out how much weight she has gained. All her extra skin makes her look so sad. Sometimes when she sleeps on her back there is a roll of fur right next to her that is just waiting to accommodate her next growth spurt. I have a roll or two like that; maybe I will grow taller...nah. Wishful thinking.

She's doing better in the crate but still needs a bath each morning to clean up you know what. But we don't hear a peep out of her during the night or when she is crated during the day. Hopefully we will work our way through this.
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A Sad Anniversary

Seven years ago today Kerry and I were in a hotel room in New York City listening to a cacophony of sirens and watching, with horror, the news on TV. Our hotel was 30 short blocks from the World Trade Center. We were supposed to fly home that day. Instead we were stranded in NYC. No trains, buses, taxis, subways or cars were going in or out of the city. Many people simply walked off the island and went home that day.

That night we had dinner at a little Italian place right across from the hotel. It was my cousin and his wife's wedding anniversary. It was so weird; the city was nearly silent and the streets were deserted. Broadway was dark.

We did not walk down to Ground Zero. Looking at the ashes settling everywhere was enough for us. How many people rained down on Manhattan that day we will never know. But white ash covered everything.

The next day train service out of the city was started so we took a train to my brother's condo north of the city. Dennis and Carole took a train to Trenton where they hoped to drive to Philadelphia to catch a flight back to Minneapolis. They ended up driving home too.

Kerry and I rented a car at the Westchester Airport, which was already locked down with guards and cement barriers everywhere. At first the woman at the Hertz counter offered us a Mustang. When we told her we were planning to drive to Oakland, CA she decided a Mercury Grand Marquis (sort of a boat) was a better option. My son called it an "old fart" car.

We bought a U.S. atlas and set out for home. We stopped in Denver to see my son and then after a total of 5 days we were at the Oakland Airport. The Hertz person at the Oakland Airport looked at our New York license plates in wonderment. "Did you just drive from New York? she asked. Yup, we replied. We got to Oakland before any planes had started to land there. We didn't even see planes in the air until our fourth day on the road.

I have never felt so vulnerable and so scared as I did that day. We watched fighter planes patrolling the skies of Manhattan. It to us about five years before we went back to NYC; my nephew's graduation from Columbia University got us there. Didn't go anywhere near Ground Zero.

Looking back at photos of the trip seven years ago, I discovered that I have a photo taken from Ellis Island looking back at Manhattan. The Twin Towers are visible. Who would have thought that in just a few days they would be rubble and thousands would have lost their lives.

Monday, September 08, 2008

The Color Of Harleen

Kerry was the one who figured out tonight that Harleen's tattooed ear is the color of the "Incredible Hulk." Actually more of her is this color thanks to a quick bath this afternoon after she pooped in her cage and then walked in it. I just put her in our very deep tub and turned the water on. All of a sudden her ear was wet and running. I have green hands as I write.

We had a long talk with the puppy manager at CCI today. Right afterward we wadded up a newspaper and took turns hitting each other on the head. Note we did not scold Miss Harleen.

Kerry is a softie so he just didn't want anything bad to happen to our little girl. Well, Lorna said that if we had just waited one more night she would have stopped pooping in her crate. Duh.

So we are back to square one. Her crate is back in the my sewing room which is a long way from our bedroom. She spent an hour in it this afternoon...she pooped. We fed her in there tonight...she didn't eat. As Lorna said, no puppy has ever starved when food is available. My son had a few friends like this who just didn't like most foods. They all grew up to be fine young men.

So this is a new regime. I'm feeling much better about all of this. After all we have to travel to the Grand Canyon in three weeks. Harleen needs to be ready. I did have her in her cape today. So cute. Photos to come.
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Sunday, September 07, 2008

Prehistsoric Pears Or What?

Julia, pictured in the second photo, is on her way back to Albuquerque tonight. I'm sure Mark is so excited and happy that they will be together. During her month in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia she's been sending photos many of us. I really like the pears and her caption "prehistoric pears." That's her sense of humor which I really like. The other photo shows the areas commitment to fruit. I've been to Hawaii lots of times and never seen a pineapple trash can.

It's less than a month until the wedding. We are so excited. And Harleen...well, she has no idea, but she will love the Grand Canyon. It took me 63 years to get there. She will be there when she's about 12 weeks old.

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Saturday, September 06, 2008

No Excitement Here Thank You Very Much

Luckily we have not had much excitement around here since the Labor Day fire. That's just fine with me.

We are consumed with Harleen: feeding, walking, pooping, peeing, taking her for rides, training etc. Supposedly dogs won't go to the bathroom where they sleep, the crate. Well, our little girl hasn't figured that out. Kerry has been on night duty getting up constantly with her but always finding that she had already soiled her crate. I slept in the guest room. It's just like having a baby.

We went to puppy kindergarten on Thursday night and asked the trainer about her crate problem. She came up with a solution that, while not perfect, at least allows me to go back to sleeping with Kerry, and Kerry doesn't have to get up every five minutes.

We bought one of those exercise pens for dogs. The panels link together so you can make it any size you want. Petco and Petsmart sell them. We put that in the garage (my car is now sleeping outside under the carport) and put the crate inside the pen. Last night we put her inside the pen and left the crate door open. Well...she still pooped in the crate but she didn't sleep in it. Tonight we are going to do the same thing except this time we are going to close the crate door so she has to poop on the cement floor. Eventually she will get it, and we will get some much needed sleep.

My wedding outfit is finished; I'm really happy with the way it turned out. It's been well over 100 degrees since I got it so I haven't felt like trying it on at home to get some pictures.

Today I went up the road to our favorite farm and bought four pounds of gorgeous tomatoes so I can make tomato paste and freeze it.

Kerry's platelets are a bit too low (28,000). Ten times that number is normal. Platelets are what make your blood clot. His doctor is going to try a new treatment on him next Tuesday. It's called Winrho. Two days after the treatment he has another blood test to see if the drug boosted his platelets. If it works, it's not something he will take all the time (it's administered via IV). The doctor just wants to know that he has a drug in his arsenal that can help Kerry if he ever is really in bad shape. I sure hope it works. It's very scary to think about this.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

You Just Never Know

You get up in the morning with some sense of the day; then things happen and all of a sudden you are on traveling in a direction you didn't see coming. That describes our day yesterday. I mentioned the fire in an earlier post, but that was long before things got serious.

We could see and smell the smoke (can still smell it today outside and inside the house) from our back window; then the smoke turned ominously black. That was a house burning to the ground. The tankers came in from the air to drop fire retardant. Then the helicopters arrived to get water out of our neighbors pond and drop it on yet another house fire. It was eerie to watch all the burning while the wind whipped around. One minute it was from the east, the next from the northwest.

Our neighbor from across the street Richard arrived to check on us. His son, Buster, was right behind him. Once Richard had ascertained that we were okay he went back to his car and brought in a bottle of wonderful chardonnay. So we proceeded to drink the wine and snack. Buster went back to Richard's house for another bottle...sauvignon blanc this time. Meanwhile Richard was command central for his family who were outside the area and could not get home because the roads were blocked and his friend Bill who was at work at Home Depot but whose house narrowly escaped the fire.

Turtle Doug was arriving from Burning Man but couldn't get through. So we all decided to rendezvous at Richard's friends house in downtown Lincoln. Laurie put on a smashing dinner complete with wonderful appetizers and homemade cookies.

It was Harleen's first party. She did very well. Even met the neighborhood cat; she held her ground against the cat.

Today Turtle Doug, Harleen, Kate and I took a drive to see the devastation. The fire trucks and fire fighters were still very visible as they looked for hot spots. There is a property about a half mile down the road that has always looked pretty disheveled; single wide mobile home, lots of old trucks on the ten acres, etc. Well the mobile home burned to the ground. The bizarre thing is that the owners vegetable garden was not touched by the fire. Another house down the road was colored pink on one side from the fire retardant.

I have to say that we were really lucky. I tried to consider what I would take if we had to leave. After you get all the animals in the car, then what. Well I decided my hard drive, my sewing machine and as many of my quilts as I could carry.

I'm hoping the rest of the week will be very boring...but you never know.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Harleen Is Stress Free

She looked so cute; I just had to take another picture. She has napped a lot today. I was lying on the blue thing which goes under my sleeping bag when we camp. The pillows are mine too. But she decided the whole arrangement looked like a place for a nap.

We had a bit of a fire scare today. There is a fire still burning about a quarter mile north of our house. I think a building must have burned because all of a sudden the smoke went from tan to dark black. Kerry got out our fire fighting equipment, put it next to the lower pond, tested it and found out that it worked. He bought an old fire house and generator to pump water from the pond if the back part of the acreage caught on fire. The fire retardant dumping planes are still flying overhead and the helicopters with water buckets are circling. I thought they might dip into our pond but so far that hasn't happened. Nothing like a little excitement on Labor Day.
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What Season Is It?

It must be hunting season; I woke up to the sound of gunshots this morning. Not in the wild but at our town's shooting range. Yup, we have one. Everyone is gearing up for whatever they are going to kill soon. Animals and birds beware!

If Harleen ever wakes up I am going to take her on an outing. I'm getting a bit stir crazy being in the house so much. The woman in the photo is Neena one of the managers of the puppy program for CCI. This was our first glimpse of Harleen. She had been napping with her brother Heron so was pretty laid back.

I'm feeling a bit rested today. Kerry, bless his heart, has been taking evening duty with her. That means he is up and down with her. Neena said she could go 7 hours in the crate without "soiling." Well, that's a load of crap. She can't go more than a couple of hours right now. We found that out the hard way. Or I should say, Kerry found that out.

Yesterday was sort of a wipe out day for me. I did a platelet and red cell donation in the morning. Normally the platelet donation tires me out for a couple of hours but then I bounce back. But the red cell stuff really wiped me out. It also means I can't give for a month and then only if my hematocrit level is back to 38 or above. Next time will be my 100th pint.

The best news yesterday at Bloodsource came when I found out I couldn't give two pints of platelets because (drum roll) I had lost three pounds since my last visit. Also my platelet count was down, still normal, but down. So taking no chances they only did one platelet.

I haven't had the energy or the time to touch fabric. I'm hoping that will change as the week goes on. Turtle Doug returns today from Burning Man. Miss Kate will be very glad to see him. Harleen pesters the daylights out of her whenever the two are together which isn't much. Poor Kate is so gentle and docile. Any other dog would have given Harleen a good nip by now. Harleen fits right under Kate so gets below her and nips at her belly and bites her legs. Kate just runs away.
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