Monday, February 22, 2010

Seven - It Was a Very Good Year!

Somebody is eight tomorrow. I thought it would be fun to look back at Mabel's number seven.

She was a bit grumpy in March... or sleepy.
A bit pensive out for a cup of cream with furiends in April.

May brought her first trip to the ocean. Pure joy!

The beginning of summer brought on lots of "bone parties" with her Rhodesian furiends.

July's Ice Cream O.D.

Learning self-discipline in August.

September brought fun adventures in the little blue shoe car...NOT!

October - GRANNY came for a visit!!! (And lots of snacks!)

More coffee cream with furiends in November's cooler weather.

Hiking with one of our rottie boy twins in December.

Playing lumberjack on New Year's Day.

Checking out the flood damage in February. (Oro Vista Avenue toward Riverwood Ranch.)

Happy Birthday Baby Girl!!! I hope this next year brings as many special times as lucky number seven did!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Headless Dog

If viewing this on facebook, the video never shows up. This post is best viewed at Creekhiker.

Monday, February 15, 2010

One World, One Heart Winner

I've been busy drawing names for winners on my two blogs and the four winners from the Fire Divas blog.

Pea is the winner of this heart:
Pea is a devoted mom and grandma in Canada who blogs about gardening and faeries and life in general. Check out her blog here.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Man on the Moon - Dirty Water

Time for another Man on the Moon....

They can put a man on the moon but they can never explain to me why my dog will stand in front of her bowl of water, thirsty and crying because there is a SPECK of sand in the dish but joyously drinks from our muddy, greasy, burnt smelling creek!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mabel's Excellent Adventure - Part Three

After that romp in the puddle, Max needed a bath so he and his mom headed home but not before telling me that the street that crosses the creek was completely flooded and had created a waterfall. I love waterfalls and knew I wanted to get down there and take some pictures.

I climbed the levee and realized the girl was not with me. Mabel had taken up with the teenagers again. I did what I always do when the girl is distracted and not listening... I left her. Georges was still on top of the levee, so I stopped and chatted a bit more, called to Mabel and headed for the waterfall.

When I was about halfway across the levee, one of the girls escorted Mabel to the top of the levee. She pointed to me and said, "There's your mom...GO!"

She gave Mabel a little shove and Mabel took a few steps toward me until the teenager went back down toward the river. Mabel followed. I turned and kept heading for the waterfall. As I neared the end of the levee, I realized I would have to walk in the street to get a good shot. Even though the road was partially closed from the mudslides, I was afraid Mabel would come running toward me and end up in the street.

As I realized I would have to go get Mabel and return for my photo op... I was mad. I walked back about 20 feet and saw Mabel on top of the levee again. I yelled for her...she ignored me. But suddenly, I heard another pup coming for me. It was one of the rottenweiler twins we hike with, Bart, and his mom. We all exchanged greetings and I squatted to give Bart a good skritch.
And all it took to make Mabel come from a quarter mile away was a fine dose of jealousy! She came blazing over to make sure Bart knew I was hers and to get her fair share of attention and butt scratches from Bart's mom. Brat!

Sweet Bart

Since a hike is always more fun with good friends, I gave up on the photo and we all headed into the creek along the top of the levee. Within a few yards, Mabel had ditched us! I explained about the teenagers and we all got quite a kick watching Miss Mabel interact with the three girls. Even Bart spied on them, wondering where his friend went.
"Hey! Where'd Mabel go?"

"What's Mabel doing down there???"

As we watched them from above, the girls kicked off those flip flops and were trying to cross the upper creek (it was shallow and safe but probably very frigid). Mabel of course followed. Once on the island in the center of the stream, all three girls picked up sticks and held them high in the air, squealing at their accomplishment. Noticing this, Mabel did the most bizarre thing...she picked up a stick and held it high!!!!!
The end of the "stick ceremony." Note the stick still in Mabel's mouth!

Our little hiking party descended the levee and ran into two bikers who happened to love rottweilers. We paused for them to love up Bart. Mabel ran over momentarily but quickly returned to her new best friends. As we started on down the trail, we noticed the girls had wandered downstream and were sitting on some rocks having a powwow... and there was Mabel, curled up, sunbathing and taking in the conversation.

Bart's mom said, "She would obviously rather talk about hair and nails and boys than hike with us!"
"Do you girls have boyfriends? Whadyathink about my boyfriend Max? He's a little young for me..."

And so I left my dog again. I figured that if we made it halfway to the lower waterfalls and the girl wasn't with us, I would turn back.

About 50 yards down the trail, the bikers caught up with us and told me, "I think you should know, those girls are considering taking your dog!"


"They don't understand why you keep leaving her."

"I leave her because that's the best way to get her to come. I leave her because she has her friends and I have mine. Some days, we hike together and some days, we meet at the car. Today is obviously a 'meet at the car' kind of day!"

I marched back toward Mabel who was now at the trail head (hopefully she sensed what was up). I was MAD!


She comes; looks up at me with that goofy grin that makes it impossible to be mad at her. But I tried.

"Mabel, those three girls have seven dogs between them. Do you see one of those dogs here at the creek? You need to decide who you want to be with!"

I turned on my heel, red curls angrily bobbing as I marched away from my pup.

The four of us had a lovely hike to the waterfalls and the teenagers were gone when we passed the levee again.
Bart & Mabel exploring

I had to drive around to get my waterfall photo after that two hour hike. The top of that four foot waterfall is a street.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Mabel's Excellent Adventure Part Two

As soon as we hit the river bottom, within a few feet, it was obvious I had made a very muddy mistake. But an encounter with leash walkers (my favorite curse word) was even lower on my list of things I didn't want to deal with on this gorgeous Sunday, so through the mud we trekked.

Mabel was unfazed and I did O.K. hopping from rock to rock. About 100 feet in, a familiar faces popped over the levee to say hi... Max's mom and Joe's mom were up there. Then Max popped up. As soon as he saw his beloved, he was off and running. I scampered as quick as I could for the end of the levee... Max is a jumper and I knew I would be covered in mud when he got to me.

Luckily, he was so distracted by his girlfriend, I didn't get too much mud on my clothes. But then, I am not the female Max gets all excited over. He and Mabel took off on a good romp.

They ran up the levee.
They ran down the levee.

They picked up a stick...

and teased each other mercilessly with it...

until they both grabbed hold...

and tugged and...


and tugged some more.

At this point, three teen-aged girls arrived. They were all wearing flip flops; this is not the place for flip flops. They were all overly dramatic and Max's mom and I were both dumbfounded with both our dogs simply would not leave these girls alone. The girls sat down on a fallen tree, the dogs sat at their feet. The girls stood up, the dogs stood on their feet! (See? What did I just say about flip flops???)

Hoping to distract the pups from the girls, we tried to get the dogs to hike with us... which lasted exactly 30 seconds until Mabel and Max rounded the levee and, now hot and tired from all that tug-of-war, discovered a giant mud puddle! Mabel had to lay down in it while Max skirted the perimeter (making sure his girl was safe!).

They explored, hung out and sniffed a bit, and then...they found a stick!!!
And much more romping ensued!

Part three: Mabel ditches me for more interesting humans while I encounter an old friend on the trail....

Mabel's Excellent Adventure - Part 1

We had the most amazing hike on Sunday and thank goodness I had my camera because, otherwise you would never believe some of the stuff our heroine pulled! There are so many photos to sort through and so much happened...this will have to be a multi-part post!

Considering the day started off with a fantastic breakfast at Mabel's favorite spot (she had eggs, bacon and biscuits with sausage gravy!), following about 10 1/2 hours of uninterrupted sleep(!!!) and ended with the Saints winning the Superbeauxl, it was a perfect day all around!

We got to the creek around 10:30. It was one of those days where all the mica / fools gold in the rocks just sparkles because of all the rain we've been having. The sun was shining and it wasn't too windy or cold and there were lots of people out.

As we approached "dirty creek," ( Walden Pond to folks around here.) I could tell it was really muddy, so I stayed on a high ridge overlooking the water.
Of course, not everyone is bothered by a lot of mud...
even if she sinks in it up to her haunches!
Yes, the girl is always open to a good frolic or a chase with the ducks or ground squirrels.

I was anxious to get over to see more of the rock slide that had happened sometime Saturday. I was most concerned because it took out the camp of an elderly Armenian man I know named Georges. He lives in a nearby nursing home and hates it so he comes to the creek to "farm!"

This photo shows all the rocks that came out of the canyon.
Here is a different view. The rocks came out of the canyon that is about 1" in from the left on the photo. The brush on the left is what the valley floor had looked like on the right side of the photo just the day before!
Georges had built the most amazing farm just the left of the canyon opening! He had fenced off a small area using scraps of lumber, fallen trees and bamboo. He had a funky gate that you had to climb through to get into the garden. Inside were raised beds of veggies, lilac and lavender. The flowers were there for his bees! He kept hives in there! Georges likes honey in his tea.

He also had built himself a sleeping area. It was elevated and the floor was about butt high so you could just sit down in it. It was a little longer than a sleeping bag and just tall enough to sit up in. Georges would nap there in the day time after chores.

I was so upset to see his garden destroyed and was more than a little worried about Georges. To my surprise, he was on top of the levee Sunday, surveying the damage. He was a afraid that he had somehow caused that landslide by moving rocks to clear the stream bed. I assured him that it was the rain that dumped several inches in an hour!

We had a good visit with Georges before I noticed a some little dogs headed our way and I ducked down into the muddy river bed to let them pass.

Up next: Mabel and her boyfriend Max!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Crying Over Football

I never cared for football...even growing up in an area of the country where football is a religion.

I was never an athletic kid. While I was not overweight, I was one of those rock solid kids who could weigh than 20 pounds more than the next kid my size. Running and jumping were never my forte. Mom never encouraged my joining sports teams, preferring to keep our weekends free to travel.

High school football games were about the band. I belonged to elite band - always going to competitions. The games were always about showing up the band across the field and about a rockin' halftime show. Who cared about the game? It was simply a vehicle to show off the band!

College meant boys and showing off for the boys. Football games were about seeing and being seen. That meant wardrobe. Saturdays were spent at the mall picking out the right outfit. And the game??? The end of it signaled that it was time for the party to start. That's it.

Adulthood brought no reason to ever care about football. I always seemed to like a man a little better if he wasn't all that into sports. I've worked with lots of professional athletes and often had to create "cheat sheets" to even know who they were!

And while I confess to watching the Superbowl, it really was to watch the commercials! I often worked on those little mini art films. I remember one year, I had seven running in the Superbowl and parked myself on a pull out sofa bed to enjoy the commercials and read a book during the game!

But this year... well, I must admit the Saints got even my attention. I did have some mild affection for the team as a child and got such a kick out the Unknown Fan years -when the team was so bad, people were embarrassed to be fans and wore paper bags over their heads. And the years where the team was so awful, folks call them "the 'aints."

When Hurricane Katrina hit and the Superdome was nearly destroyed, there was talk of sending the Saints to San Antonio. I knew that would be a grave blow to the city that was my part time home during childhood.

That New Orleans could not only rise from the swamps in just a few short years but have a winning football team on top of it... that's the kind of stuff that makes me well up with pride. That a football team could bring throngs of tourists back to a city I love makes me so happy.

And while city natives may have been flung far and wide by that Hurricane, their hearts lie deep in the Crescent City. And the hearts of all with ties to the region are full with love and gratitude. Our boys done us proud!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

After the Big Storm

I think our last storm was a bust! The weather reports from early that week (2 1/2 weeks ago) were indicating some 20 inches in five days. Then 15...then 12. We got 4. Yes, weathercasters are idiots!

But they promised us this would be a storm equivalent to 2005 (Jan. 9th). That storm changed the landscape of the creek and made the water flow for a year and a half! It moved boulders the size of Volkswagens! So I was hopeful! Everyday, Mabel and I trudged out there and I dutifully took photos from four vantage points. And yes, four inches did do something...but really, if it doesn't take out a few holes on the golf's not worth talking about!

I am relieved that the mudslides were kept to a minimum. And I am grateful for more water, albeit, BURNT water, in the creek. The smell is so strange. Mabel gets in and rolls around so I bring home the smell of burnt water.

The one neat thing is that we had the most snow in our local foothills that I've seen in 10 years!

That Saturday (1/23) was COLD! I was awake early and snuggled in bed with the girl when all the power went off. No sense in staying in a cold house when you can hike and warm up! So I loaded Mabel in the car and realized... I needed to scrape ice.

It took a while to find the scraper in the car and my hands got so cold, I ran back inside to find my gloves.

After scraping all the windows, I jumped in the car and hit the remote for the gate...NO POWER!!!

And... I couldn't find the manual opener for the gate. I seem to remember having some conversation with Mom when she was here. Her wondering what that tool was lying the driveway and me telling her to leave it there... but it was nowhere to be found.

So we came in the house, built a fire and waited. It was another hour before we had power and finally got to go enjoy the mountains... and buy a new gate opener at the hardware store on the way home!