backyard visitors, birds, dogs, finding my way, Florida wildlife, home, memories, nature, photography

Missing the boat…

I may have missed the boat as far as seeing the crane family heading off the lake goes, for the sake of catching them close-up (with the big lens) I mean, but later that morning there were some birds out back who needed their photos taken.4-19reflect4-20Greatwhiteegret4-20ibis4-20littleblue

Then I headed to church at 4 PM and thought I could catch the cranes on their return, but they were already on the lake when I went in to pick up the camera.  Again, pretty far away from my vantage point, even with the zoom lens.  Which is probably why I got distracted by the dogs, who were the only other creatures out there at the time.  They went down to the lake to drink, Zoe walking in chest deep, and Ozzie lifting his head with lots of drool dripping down.  And there was a nice breeze, whipping said drool all around.  It was pretty much the most interesting thing going on out there…4-21zoe4-21drool14-21drool2Zoe will be 13 on May 1st and, sadly, her age is starting to show.  I’ve had to haul her to her feet several times recently.  Or maybe I didn’t have to, maybe I just hated seeing her struggling and was afraid she would hurt herself.  She is older than I am now, in dog years of course.  Though I’ve traveled back to my pre-teen years mentally and I’m enjoying it there so much that I’m thinking of staying…

dogs, home, photography, unintended consequences

It was that kind of day…

I know the sunrise happened because it got lighter out, but it never got prettier.  And when I got home it was no better.3-18sunrise2So I decided to make some oatmeal.  I had added a chopped up apple to my steel cut oats one day, and that was good, but the next day I added a ‘halo’ and milk and that was even better.  Orange creamsicle oatmeal!  That’s what I thought I’d do again when I discovered the milk had expired, but in the true waste-not want-not New England tradition I didn’t let that stop me.3-18orangecreamsicleEven the dogs seemed to just go into low gear, not pestering me to go out multiple times all day.  3-18sleepyBut even lazing around for an entire day can get boring, so by the late afternoon the sun was out, and it seemed like we should be outside also.3-18shadowsWalk the dogs and go out for the sunset I told myself.  Maybe even stop at Chili’s and sit at the bar and have some Southwestern Egg Rolls.  We were almost home, just up around the bend when it all went sideways.  I heard a screen door bang, and first one, then a second pit bull charged out of a house and were bearing down on us, sounding like they meant business.  So what did I do?  I dropped Zoe’s leash on purpose, and I now feel guilty about that, like I was offering her up as a sacrifice.  But in reality I knew she wouldn’t escalate the situation.  It was Ozzie’s reaction that I feared was going to make things infinitely worse, so I hung onto him with both hands.  The first dog had gotten to Zoe when the owners were on the scene, screaming at the dogs and adding to the chaos, but the dogs appeared to be listening to them.  I have no idea what Ozzie and Zoe did in response because I couldn’t take my eyes off of those two dogs.  Low to the ground and very muscular, I just knew how strong they looked.  As the owners herded the dogs back home, apologizing all the while, I realized that we three had not moved one muscle during all of this. Even Ozzie.  We had stood there in silence, like statues, the whole while.  Then they both looked at me and what popped into my head was the old Lone Ranger shows where the townsfolk would look at each other and ask, ‘”Who was that masked man?”  We went home and put on pajamas, well, I did, and cracked open a beer, me again, and that was it for us.  It was that kind of day.

coping, death, dogs, life goes on, loneliness, on closer examination, photography

Spinning my wheels…

For a very long time after Charley died I didn’t walk the dogs at all.  I was fearful that I wouldn’t be able to control them if they got upset over anything, and I thought that the net result would be that I would wind up getting hurt.  Neither dog is aggressive so I didn’t fear for anyone else, I just wondered what I’d do if I fell and broke my arm.  But as time has gone on I don’t think as much in terms of the alone-ness, I suppose it’s not the novelty it once was.  So I walk them now, once or twice a day, and I take for granted that they will behave.  We pass this yard on our route every day, and even after I posted a picture of the azaleas I have continued to take pictures because it amazes me every time I pass by.  This one (above) was taken last Friday and I think they were just about at their peak.  Now I see patches of only green where once the light pink flowers were.  I hate to see them go for another year, a reminder of time passing.

3-8whatsthat

Zoe tried to bring this home with her on our walk this morning…

3-8Ozzie

Taking off the closet doors so Ozzie could get under the desk more easily hasn’t done a thing for my leg room…

3-8bayport3-8libraryWhen I’m out with the camera I usually take a few shots with my iPhone also, but I don’t always remember to look at them.  Sometimes they are the best shots of all.

3-8salt

I was completely out of salt the other day, and it hit me that buying salt is one of those milestones that you could measure time by.  How many boxes of salt does a person buy in a lifetime?  I can’t remember the last time I bought some, I’m pretty sure I moved the same box of salt with me a few times.  Thinking about that brought to mind something a friend once told Charley.   He said, “Someday you’ll have a dog that outlives you.”  That thought stopped me in my tracks, even though I didn’t think for a minute that Zoe would be that dog.  For that reason I know that these are my last two dogs, and I’m assuming that I will outlive them.  But is this my last box of salt?

 

 

dogs, home, life goes on, loneliness, photography, silliness

Night life…

On the way out for the sunrise the other day I found myself singing along with the radio, “I love the night life, I love to boogie”, and I cracked myself up. That would be true, I do love the night life, as long as it starts at 4 AM. And that’s if I’m lucky. Sometimes it starts at 3 AM, and this morning it started a little after 2 AM. That’s when I realized that the sound I was hearing wasn’t motorcycles, it was a helicopter. From the sound of it they were right overhead and circling. It seemed like they were concentrating on my house and my yard, even though I knew that that wasn’t likely. I also knew that the dogs would be awake soon, they seem to know when I’m awake and that will get them up and wanting to go out. But what was going on out there? I put all the outside lights on and let Ozzie out, but he didn’t seem worried about anything. I was glad Zoe didn’t want to go out because she wanders more and I really didn’t want to be outside in my pajamas with the helicopter overhead and a potential ax murderer out there. With my imagination in high gear it wasn’t likely that I was going back to sleep so I made coffee.

I must say that when I walked out of the bedroom I was greeted by the most wonderful smell. Clean, deodorized, no re-oderized, dogs! Ozzie got a bath, and Zoe got a bath, haircut, pedicure, and her ears done yesterday. I took a before picture of her, she was in full woolly mammoth mode and quite overdue for a trip to the beauty shop. I intended to take an after photo also, and I thought I might make the comment that if I thought that spending $100 on a haircut for myself would make as much of a difference in how I look as it does for Zoe then it would be worth the money. But when I picked them up Zoe was all dolled up with little pink bows in her ears and a coordinated scarf around her neck. She was too excited to stay still for much of a picture, and, quite frankly, I was embarrassed for her. She is the least girly girl ever, kind of like me, and she looked ridiculous. I left them on her however, because I had to head out last night and I hoped to get a better picture this morning. But those things are coming off before I take them for a walk this morning. A girl has her pride after all.

If there was an escaped convict on the loose out there this morning I wonder what he would have thought if he heard a savagely barking dog taking a bead on him, and when she came out of the darkness she was wearing tiny pink bows in her ears?2-24Zoeafter22-24Zoeafter

Bayport, dogs, finding my way, growing old, life goes on, loneliness, moments, photography, sunrise

A new day…

Out on the lanai at 4 AM, enjoying the dark and quiet. Well, not so quiet. The pond creatures were chirping away, punctuated by the low, throaty strums of the bullfrogs. The coffee was ready, set to automatically go off at 3:45 AM even on a day off, because even if she hadn’t set the alarm her four-footed roomies would make sure that she was up in time to get to work. But it was not a work day, and the coffee was good, and hot. To be enjoyed the coffee must be scalding hot. The pond serenade was in full swing, sometimes increasing or decreasing in volume as if a hand was on a knob out there turning it up and down. How they all decide to step it up or down in unison remained a mystery to her, but she enjoyed the mental image of the hand and the knob. The star she thought she saw twinkling out there turned out to be the lights of a far off airplane, but then she saw that there were stars shining dimly, and she knew that she would head out for the sunrise. But that was still several hours away. One of her dogs had been out already, sniffing the air and finding all to be well. They had been enjoying the serenade together, but then the second dog wanted to go out, and immediately headed around front, requiring her to follow, in her pajamas, coffee in hand. There were new neighbors across the street and she wondered what they would think if they were up and saw the old lady across the street out wandering in her pajamas in the wee small hours of the morning. That maybe she was losing it? Was she losing it? She didn’t think so, but how would you know really? And then the wandering dog returned, and the coffee had cooled, it was time to start the day…2-232-23sunrise12-23sunrise22-23sunrise3

backyard visitors, dogs, fences, friends, home, home improvements, live and learn, neighbors, on closer examination, photography, squirrels, unintended consequences

Good fences…

If good fences make good neighbors then how is it that I just love my neighbors on both sides, one on the side without a fence, and the other with whom I shared a length of fence that my uncle remarked was more holes than fence?  He was right, it was pretty hole-y.  But my neighbor’s entire yard was surrounded by fence that was long past it’s prime, and so when some used fencing came her way she started patching the worst areas.  Which gave me an idea, a true light bulb moment.  Since they were putting up fencing anyhow, how about I buy new fencing for the section that we share, and they put it up.  I really am a genius sometimes, ask Ozzie if you don’t believe me.

I wish I had thought to take a picture when it was nice and clean.  Already it has acquired a coating of sand where the grass hasn’t filled in.  Or the chickens flung sand at it, they’ve been visiting lately.  I certainly admired it… at first.  But I’m over the novelty of it and now it just looks… boring.  There used to be more to look at.2-10fencetextureI went looking through my photos to see if the fence showed up in any of them.  I took this picture because I was trying to take photos of the wood texture.  You see it was a bit see-through.  Zoe liked that aspect of it because she could keep an eye on what was going on over there in case she was missing something.2-10fencesquirrelThe squirrels took to the top of the fence whenever Zoe came zooming out the back door.  Chasing them is her favorite thing to do.  Ozzie, not so much.2-10fencesquirrel2I was able to capture this image because that squirrel likes having his picture taken.  I’d see birds sitting there also, but they weren’t as cooperative so I don’t have a photo of them.  Not that I didn’t try.2-10fencedieselThen there is Diesel.  He has a girlfriend a few blocks away, and he discovered that those boards didn’t really offer much resistance, so every so often he’d make a break for it and they’d have to hunt him down.  Now they know where to look for him however.

So, a new fence.  A home improvement.  Charley was a coin collector, old, rare coins, and patients would bring their old coins in for him to see in hopes they would have a rare one worth lots of money.  He’d tell them whatever they did, don’t clean them.  The color that develops on the old coins is called toning, and the coins are more valuable if the toning isn’t disturbed.  It didn’t matter, they always cleaned the coins.  One did it with a pencil eraser.  Maybe he thought Charley wouldn’t notice.  I never understood the value of the toning, I just took Charley’s word for it.  But it has occurred to me that that’s what is missing from the new fence.  Toning!  A little something extra to look at…