Dogs barking…

The cutest couple ever…

This is the last full day of our weekend, a Sunday being spent in Galena in western Illinois. It has been quite the enjoyable time as we got away and four of the family’s seven dogs are together and out of town. As it happens, Stewart has never traveled with us and we even had to practice getting into the car as Stewart seems to, despite being a talented jumper of a Border collie, be hampered visually when it comes to getting in the Outback. He has less of an issue in the Impreza WRX but for reasons of packing logistics, the Outback was our car of choice.

We just spent the last couple of hours having lunch and then taking a walk in the hills of western Illinois with goats, yes, goats (https://www.hoofit-galena.com)! It was a fun time taking a mile walk in September and enjoying the good weather and the herd. We were told to keep walking as the goats would go along with us. While doing so, I learned that just eating grass is not the best for them as the ground harbors germs and bacteria not found on the thorny bushes and plants that goats normally love to munch on. It was funny walking with them and being nudged aside and watching them head butt each other every once in a while.

On Saturday, we had a major hike in the Apple River Canyon State park which happens to be a few miles from the house we rented for the weekend. It was wonderful and surprisingly colder than I would have expected, having just been preceded by much hot and warm weather. Today, the sun came completely out just after noon and it is delightful. Tomorrow, Monday, we shall head home.

My most memorable moment of the weekend was when attending a Festival at a local winery. It was out of doors and featured wine tasting and live music. As we perused the several booths featuring local jewelry, photos, and objects for sale, we sauntered over with our glasses of wine and sat down in front of the live band. A couple, not so much older than I am were alone on the grass, dancing in front of the band. They reminded me that every moment is special and one in which we all need to seek out some joy and fun. It made my day and weekend.

This is the last full day of our weekend, a Sunday being spent in Galena in western Illinois. It has been quite the enjoyable time as we got away and four of the family’s seven dogs are together and out of town. As it happens, Stewart has never traveled with us and we even had to practice getting into the car as Stewart seems to, despite being a talented jumper of a Border collie, be hampered visually when it comes to getting in the Outback. He has less of an issue in the Impreza WRX but for reasons of packing logistics, the Outback was our car of choice.

We just spent the last couple of hours having lunch and then taking a walk in the hills of western Illinois with goats, yes, goats (https://www.hoofit-galena.com)! It was a fun time taking a mile walk in September and enjoying the good weather and the herd. We were told to keep walking as the goats would go along with us. While doing so, I learned that just eating grass is not the best for them as the ground harbors germs and bacteria not found on the thorny bushes and plants that goats normally love to munch on. It was funny walking with them and being nudged aside and watching them head butt each other every once in a while.

On Saturday, we had a major hike in the Apple River Canyon State park which happens to be a few miles from the house we rented for the weekend. It was wonderful and surprisingly colder than I would have expected, having just been preceded by much hot and warm weather. Today, the sun came completely out just after noon and it is delightful. Tomorrow, Monday, we shall head home.

My most memorable moment of the weekend was when attending a Festival at a local winery. It was out of doors and featured wine tasting and live music. As we perused the several booths featuring local jewelry, photos, and objects for sale, we sauntered over with our glasses of wine and sat down in front of the live band. A couple, not so much older than I am were alone on the grass, dancing in front of the band. They reminded me that every moment is special and one in which we all need to seek out some joy and fun. It made my day and weekend.

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How will we be remembered?

 

The other day I heard that Pete Burnside, a cherished former teaching colleague, whose other claim to fame was that he had been a major league baseball player, passed away. I am at a time in my life where I am not super old, but not young either. People I knew seem to be dropping like flies. It all makes one wonder, how will we be remembered?

It makes me also think of the some twelve hundred negatives that I have poured over in the last several months and digitized, bringing my father alive once again, after having actually passed away in 1959, which seems to be eons ago. I have always made it a point to mention those who are gone, because I want the current generations to have some memory of the people who preceded us here. We have only been on these shores since the early 1900s, a very short time. I am barely able to genealogically speaking, get beyond my great grandparents names. I don’t even have their dates of birth or death. It makes me sad that I paid so little attention to my elders and didn’t get that info.

When that box of negatives appeared in my hands as I was death cleaning the crawlspace, I saw my father appear in my very eyes. I took a backlight, placed the negatives on it, tried to use the app to digitize them, sometimes fighting the curl of age on the film, and produce what my own father had seen visually through a camera. It was a new vision of understanding of my dad. 

Many of the people are unknown to me and quite a few actually are. All of my aunts and uncles, most of my cousins, and a few family friends here and there like Ilonka Néni and Gus (Helen and Gus Wills), whose faces became real to me once again.

I contacted cousins and friends and shared my google photos folder with them. This started all sorts of conversations and brought memories to life as that small, just larger than a shoebox sized box, unleashed its contents in a digital form that we can all appreciate. Before, we could just glance at the negative and try and figure out what it was depicting. Now, Technology made it easy to see what had been hiding in that box.

It all makes you wonder how we shall be remembered. In recent years, we have lost family members and I find it fascinating as to which memories cling to them in their passing. Are they good ones? Ones that they would be happy that we remembered? Or are they simply small negative experiences that we would have rather forgotten.

Time will tell and answer our question of legacy. Let’s make it a good one.

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This has been a week!

Some weeks are special, out of the ordinary, and maybe even a bit shocking.

This week had several surprises, none of which was pleasant: finding out that the pond devices were still running and that the twenty-five goldfish were in about six inches of water was one. The second one was having a dog-sitting day and evening begin with a skunk spraying. Neither event was planned nor wanted, yet, that is life, take it or leave it and well, I am taking it.

I will say that I was not prepared to take events like these well; my preparation was that if something bad is going to happen, it will happen to me. I have had the luxury of my hard work paying off and being well set enough that I can deal with these events and move on, something for whch my parents’ generation did not have the luxury.

I am sitting on the patio right now and the smell of skunk is wafting by every so often. The interior of the house has our little German incense purveyors doing their job. This morning, when Mr. Wiener came into the bathroom with me, the first thing I noted was the wafting of the skunk odor emanating from his frightening face spray encounter with the black and white animal. Then, to my surprise, or maybe I should temper that since I expected it, he lifted his leg and peed on the shower curtain despite being diapered, as he has to be in our house, liking, as he does, to mark his territory. Yes, somehow, he managed to do that while wearing a diaper. Despite it all, this almost makes me laugh. Is there something wrong with me? Many people would say a resounding, « YES! »

I am sitting on the patio, having read the New York Times Sunday edition, listening to the air conditioning purr and wondering if the weather will allow us to see Sting at Ravinia tonight, and laughing to myself about the weekend thus far. The pond survived the early in the week emptying and the chlorinated water I put back in after solving the problem of the filter leak (the clamp was somehow opened by, I think, an animal running by) and thus the water pumped in made a quick exit), did not harm the goldfish. The skunking of the two dogs was a blip on the screen and I am so glad that Lauren of Pet Supplies Plus was able to take them in and give them a nice dog wash and perfuming. Okay, so it did cost $100, but it was worth it.

Life is good.

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Skunked…this time not Stewart!

 

The days often start out in such a way that you have no idea where it is going. The simple, quiet day that you might have longed for might just not be in the cards.

Such was our Saturday. I arrived home after my walk with Stewart to find that our son, who was going to two weddings today with his wife, had already dropped off the dogs. It was going to be a long day and we assured him that maybe he ought to think about letting them sleep over.

I went in the backyard and wondered where they were. They were at the woodpile, something that signaled to me that perhaps there was something up. There was. They were searching like crazy and trying to get at the back of the rack, the area between the rack and the fence.

I hoped that what I thought I was witnessing was not to be. I was disappointed. We tried to get the dogs to let up. Stewart was not having any of it. Whether that be from his history with skunks or not, we shall never know. We finally saw the two dogs relent, and out walked a nasty, white and black animal. He sauntered between the bushes and the fence and walked the perimeter of the yard, tail held up high. I got the hose, asked Mary Kay to turn it on, and I blasted the beast and he high tailed it (pun intended), out of the yard.

Damage control set in. The neighbor came over, the one to the north, since she has dogs and knew what was happening from our conversation. She had the latest anti-skunk shampoo in hand. She helped us give the dogs a cursory bath. Each dog had a foaming mouth and threw up, making us think that they had a direct face spray. They rolled in the grass and rubbed their eyes as well. We gingerly washed them, especially their faces, as carefully as possible. I then contacted our dog groomer and we set up a time in the afternoon for a professional cleaning.

It is approaching 6 o’clock and the dogs are exhausted, having endured a skunk attack and a crazy day that included grooming. The beagle mix, Lucky, and the long haired dachshund, Mr. Wiener, are  now exhausted by the day. There is a lingering odor of sulphur, but thankfully, not on Stewart. His fur takes such odor in and will not let go.

Just another day in the neighborhood that did not exactly go as expected.

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The Pond has no water in it!

Note the lack of water!

 

I had not slept all that well the night before, but managed to do my exercise routine and walk the dog. 

I went back to feed the goldfish and lo and behold, no water. Well, maybe just a little water, just enough for about a 6 inch depth and the twenty something goldfish that look more like koi (except they have no whiskers).

I didn’t think too much and ran to connect the hoses so I could refill the pond. While doing so, I pondered what might have happened. It was all so confusing. The pump was running but without water and the waterfall was obviously out of commission. I saw a large rock that had somehow fallen into the almost dry pond. I yanked it out and waited for the water level to rise. I was not happy that I was putting chlorinated water in, but better chlorinated than no water at all. My three rain barrels have been decimated by the excessively dry weather we have experienced recently.

Soon, the water levels were better and then I saw that the waterfall had commenced. A loud noise from the pump got my attention as the water submerged it and I chanced to go behind the pond, where the main filter is in the ground. Seeing that, I noticed that the clamp holding the top of the filter in place was open. Clearly, some animal walked by and opened the clamp. Water was pouring out of the filter right in front of my eyes.

I went to work, reclamped it shut and made sure that opening it by accident would be less of an issue as I turned the clamp to be in a spot not accessible to the dogs.

Mission accomplished. The clarity is not as good as it was, but it is on the road. At least I don’t have a leak in the liner. Hopefully, my charges will be okay with a bit of chlorine to spice up their lives.

Posted in Life in general, Pond and koi, ponds, Thoughts and philosophy | Leave a comment