Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Brush Them Teefs!

If you have your veterinarian clean your dog's teeth, it requires a general anesthetic and about $300 or more.

However, if you buy a smoked ham bone, and let your dog chew it to bits, it cleans the dog's teeth to snowy whiteness for about $4.

Oddly enough, I opt for the $4 teeth cleaning, as the dog enjoys it far more than being dragged to the vet for shots and mauling.

In fact, the dog enjoys it so much he can't believe that he is in reality the recipient of such good fortune. Sebastian plainly felt that there had to be something innately immoral in the free gift of a smoked hambone. It's the legacy of his border collie daddy; a border collie has LAW graven on his heart, and that means juicy bones are probably people food and not to be eaten by dogs.

Sebastian spent the first twenty minutes with his prize asking, "If I touch this, are you going to beat me?" despite the fact that he has never been beaten for anything.

Howie, on the other hand, with not an ounce of border collie in him, made himself comfortable and promptly got his teeth cleaned. He's more of the opportunistic sort, possibly a second cousin several hundred times removed of hyenas.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Rainy January Days

I've lived in this house for almost 11 years now, and have hated this light fixture fervently for all that time ...

Until we were cleaning the house prior to my mother-in-law's Christmas week visit, and Alex, kind soul that she is, offered to do all the light fixture cleaning so that I didn't have to get the quakes from climbing a ladder. As she was teetering trying to get the accumulated dust of 11 years off the damn thing, I mentioned to her how much I hated it.

A bit later in the evening she called me into the front room, and turned the light on. She'd replaced the white fakey candle-shaped lights with two orange and one red Christmas light.

Now I love it and it's on all the time in these dim and rainy days. Casts a warm glow around the room without being obtrusive.

There wasn't much wind today, so I felt comfortable ducking out the back door to catch droplets of water on the papyrus.

There was rain early this afternoon, then a break with sunshine ... but then the rain returned, making the afternoon very dark and chilly.

The last picture in this entry is of our bottlebrush bush. My neighbor's perennial morning glory keeps crawling through and over the fence and trying to strangle everything in my yard; I'd made up my mind to cut the bottlebrush bush down and use Brush Strength Round-Up and kill that damned invasive bastard plant. But then I saw all the sparrows and delightful warblers using the bottlebrush bush for shelter ... how can I destroy that kind of habitat?

I'm just going to have to make it a point to check on the invasive morning glory's encroachment every day. I used to check out my garden every day, I could do it again.

And keep it the hell off my trees.

I hate that plant worse than I ever did that light fixture.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Winter Storm

We had major rain and wind here today.

There was no chance of a photo -- the wind was blowing the rain in all directions and I would not subject my scrumptious new camera to that kind of weather. At one point this afternoon, the wind was gusting right out of the west, and hit our front windows in spite of the porch. I opened the front door to look out, and rain blew into the house! That's never happened before.

We had a river of water flowing off the porch, and the sidewalk was under water. I went out several times (no thunderstorms to worry about) to rake leaves off the storm sewer, getting soaked each time. It was wonderful. The dogs went out with me and "helped" clear the gutter by grabbing sticks and leaves from the water.

The scrub jays who beg for peanuts on a regular basis didn't venture to our back patio today, and we only had three or four sparrows. However, the Hog Finches showed up en masse and gobbled down all four freshly filled sock feeders. They were all drenched, too, looking like they had all come from a bath.

One good thing, for sure: the heavy rain washed most of the birdshit off everything.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Middle Two Gens Hate Photos

Four generations in one picture.

We invited Bernie's 87-year-old mother to visit us for a week at Christmas. She had a miserable travel experience flying from the East Coast to the West Coast (and equally horrid going back, I might add) but she was delighted to see and spend time with her great-grand-daughter.

The oldest generation in the pic is finally starting to slow down a little and show her age. Nevertheless she can still dominate a conversation from the git-go, and has a lot more energy than the next generation.

The next generation cannot believe how fat she's become, or how much of a toll the last year took on her.

The next youngest generation was about half pissed about the photo, as she was interrupted while messily painting a room. She understood the desire for the picture, but ...

The youngest is thrilled to have her great-grandmother's attention, and the camera's attention, and the chance to smile and show that she has lost her first tooth (a bottom one.)

Four generations, two lineages. And there was not one argument the whole visit. We're cool.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

2008 - The Year I Get Whitewashed

Happy New Year! Look at all those hog finches!

I started last Christmas with one sock, wondering if I would be able to attract any goldfinches to my back yard. Hah! When I saw 12 goldfinches hanging from that one sock, I went out and bought another.

This Christmas, in an orgy of finchiness, I bought two more, wondering how many finches would show up. (Only three of the socks are in this picture; the fourth is outside the window above my desk.)

It's amazing how much nyger seed these little piggies eat. I'm now buying it by the 20-lb sack, and the finches easily empty the socks in a day, especially if a storm is on the way. That's okay. I never tire of watching them.

When I was a kid, I used to walk through the shoulder-high grass of a small field across the street, and see flocks of goldfinches fly up and swoop away ahead of me. They were one of my favorite birds back then, and still are.

The only problem I see with my finch addiction is the birdshit that speckles the patio, the lemon tree, the barbecue, the front walk, the window above my desk, the outdoor fireplace, the lawn furniture ...