I disappeared again. Not that you would necessarily notice, but I am house sitting for three weeks and it has turned out to be more time and energy consuming than I expected.
I thought I’d be writing beautiful posts and taking amazing photos to share, but I am exhausted!
It’s a lovely home in a beautiful (and surprising) setting…a bit of country right here in the city!
My primary charges, two wonderful dogs, are a huge handful of sweet, with more energy than hummingbirds!
Even though this property is unusually big for the area where we live, besides playing in the yard, the dogs require a lot of additional walking every day, especially the small Setter. Even though he only has three legs (a recent change for him), he could run for hours, like a full size Irish Setter!
I discovered on my first day here, because of my ailing hip, I have a hard time even making it up the hill (driveway) from the house to the road, so have had to take the dogs in the car to find some flat land to exercise on.
Then there are the fish…I have no idea how many there are but their huge tank needs cleaning…badly. The schedule says not until Wednesday, but I’m going to have to break down and do it today…which requires remembering all the faucets and hose nozzles and twists of valves and different positions and, and. and…
Day one vs Day six
Even as my temporary employers were demonstrating the process before they left, the tank overflowed all over the floor. (Hmm, I wonder where they put that huge, clever twist-able mop…you know, just in case…) And the big tube they used to suck the water out, they almost lost a tiny fish up that tube, right in front of me!
Maybe I’ll just fill the bathtub and let the fish have a leisurely soak while I’m cleaning their home.
Lastly, but actually first each day, are the 7 chickens and 3 ducks! I panicked the first day as I could have sworn they told me there were 13 chickens. I knew they had had a recent Great Horned Owl incident and were down one duck so that first day when I only counted 7 chickens, I lost it! My people were still en-route to their destination so I could not confirm poultry numbers for 36 hours!! Stressful to say the least.
Then, on my second day, I had to quickly learn the difference between a chicken that is almost dead, (unmovable, head lolling to one side, stuck inside the laying house) and what’s called “broody”.
I finally found this article which helped immensely with my panic and guilt! Interesting read, whether or not you ever care for chickens. I moved her yesterday so we’ll see if she stayed moved this morning. (Nope, she was back!)
The whole thing was strangely poignant, until I remembered all those years in my late thirties and early forties when I would have done obscene things to be able to have another child!! And, I have “adopted” countless adult children over the years.
I understand “broody”.
The next issue with these chickens is a plethora of eggs! I’ve carried 2 and 1/2 dozen eggs over to my nearby home to share with my neighbors.
All in all, this has been a wonderful, enlightening experience.
Ola, the Wonder Dog, left us this week. She hadn’t been herself , activity-wise for a while, but her essence never changed.
“Ola” (the African definition, not “hello” in Spanish), was rescued as a precious puppy, by my sister and her husband more than 10 years ago. Soon after they brought her home, they left on an amazing trip abroad for several weeks. So James and I got to be Ola’s Foster Parents while they were gone.
We seriously bonded with her during that time. I mean, look at this face! Who wouldn’t??
John and Lenore had wanted a young dog while their elderly one, Lily, the Three Legged Miracle, was still able to teach a new dog the lay of the land.
This family lives on a glorious piece of land on San Juan Island. The property includes lots of acreage, a large pond with a variety of water fowl, a Bamboo Farm, and arguably some of the most beautiful and prolific vegetable and flower gardens in the Northwest.
And they live in what James and I lovingly call the Hobbit House. Built by John, using lots of found and custom designed materials, it is so fairy tale-like, you are transported to another world.
I write about this place, our second home, often. Here’s one example:
When they chose Ola as a puppy, they wanted another smallish dog that would not overwhelm Lily, and they predicted Ola was another small, lab mix’ just like Lily.
Being very familiar with Rottweilers and Pit bulls, I took one look at Ola’s sweet face, and said “Uh oh.”
Not many months later, Ola had grown into a HUGE, beautiful, regal dog, over 100 pounds. But she still seemed guided by that angel on her chest.
Lily immediate adopted young Ola, and trained her to be a “stick right close to your Humans” dog.
No fences in the Hippie Valley part of San Juan Island. Dogs (and deer) are free to roam and except for the occasional “play date” with a neighbor Dog, both Lily and Ola were right there, watching over the homestead, 24/7.
Lily left us not long after Ola joined the family but the two of them had some really good times together before she died. She taught Ola how to play Tug O War with ropes and sticks when Ola was still very young.
And she trained Ola to leave the cats alone (probably for her own safety!)
Ola became such a big part of our house-sitting experience all these years. For several weeks at a time, she became “our” dog again. No matter how much time passed between our babysitting jobs, she would greet us with 100 pounds of enthusiasm!
She hung out with us where ever we went,
and stayed close to us at home.
Yep, she was our dog…..But only until her real parents came home!
Ola was always within feet (or calling distance) of John and Lenore during their daily routines.
Ola was one of the sweetest, most gentle dogs I’ve ever met. I will miss her so much. I can only imagine how long it will take her family to get used to the huge empty space she leaves behind.
If you happen to like cats, this is an epic* story about my Heart-Cat, Zorro. I have blogged about him before but this is the long version, in two parts, about his life. The first part this week and the rest on February 10th. (They even included a connection to the other story I wrote for them about Lucy, our Woodpile Kitten.)
I do hope you will visit their site. They have wonderful cat-related articles, stories, poems, art work, and even product reviews.
My Zorro has been gone since September but I still see him around every corner.
I can’t imagine I will ever not miss him.
*Epic, according to Bing means:
a long poem, typically one derived from ancient oral tradition, narrating the deeds and adventures of heroic or legendary figures
Ooh, ohh, I just found another photo challenge although I am having a hard time keeping all these new challenges straight.
Here are the topics I missed so far:
Start with O
Inspired by poem
Wonder how many of these I can catch up on…hmmm.
1.) Welcome October
I both love and feel sad when I see the last few apples for the year. This season, from our Apple Cider pressing parties, we had about 50 gallons!
One winter we took my grandsons down to Hood Canal during the Holidays. It was well below freezing but there was no snow. There was a house decorated with layers and layers of water sprayed on the trees which then froze.
3.) Start with O.
What can I say. I always start with “OH!” when the Blue Angels fly over my house!
You’d think I would be slowed in my Cobalt Collecting obsession by the numbers of pieces I have….but NO!
My favorite thing to photograph…well, one of my favorites.
6.) Inspired by poem
(complete blank here…)
Our friend Marc’s sweet Akita, Razor, and our dog “nephew” (my sister’s dog) Ola, who is even sweeter!
Well, that wore me out but now I am caught up…except for that poetry thingy.