Saturday, June 30, 2012


And one tired girl.
And one boo-boo. I discovered two small scratches on Tall Boy 5 days later, so he didn't escape the Rottweiler attack unscathed. Neither dog is traumatized and both are healing nicely. Thank goodness.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Hot Springs

We have a local hot spring that was formerly a cattle ranch and resort, and is now a city park. Mr. Big was last there 6 years ago; DoodleBug had never been. I went Friday without the boys to get in some playing-hooky-funtime, but went back again today with the dog pack. Come walk with us.

See the heron?

abert's towhee

"If you're happy and you know it, wag your tail!"

"Umm, it's getting hot; can we go now?"

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Continuing Adventures of the World's Worst Birder

The constellation I feared would never happen, happened. I remembered my binoculars and my camera when the dogs when I went to the park this morning. There was some unexpected rain yesterday, and I'm not sure if that was responsible for the higher pond level, or if some water was released into the pond by Parks and Rec, but the center rocks were completely submerged. A duck mama and the cormorants were squabbling over these rocks the other night, so maybe this was Mother Nature's way of having the last word. There were only a few ducks and three geese up and about. We sat and watched anyway. Mr. Big had a great time barking at all of them. The cormorants were nowhere to be seen. Finally, my stomach growling loud enough to scare the birds indicated that it was time to go.

At that moment, two of the cormorants glided in and started swimming and diving. I did manage to snatch some snaps, and even though they are not good, I offer them here anyway. The black-crowned night herons are comfortable enough around the strange primates and canines they live amongst to let us get within 4 feet without flying away. The ducks were still sleeping, although there were a few searching for breakfast. The geese were curled up atop each other, snoring away, until Mr. Big woke them up (you can see the grumpy expression on the goose's face below). There are two mama ducks with babies, but only one family was afloat today. And then there was this strange flock of duck-like birds I'd never seen before. They were clustered at one end of the pond. As you can see, the other ducks were not perturbed by them. Can anyone identify them? Maybe they're Asian strays?

Bird Butts of North America, Plate 2: Black-crowned Night Heron

"Stop following me!"
Immature black-crowned night heron, sizing us up.

"Hey, turn that barking alarm clock off!"

Mama and babies looking for breakfast.

The cormorant eyeballs the barking dog and the "Sssshhh'ing!" human.
"Good morning, sunshine!"

The resident ducks pay no attention to the hungover party ducks who crashed their pond.

Strange breeding plumage? Asian strays?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

My Elise

I needed some instant crochet gratification after the months spent with Critron, so I made an Elise shawl. Super fast pattern--it only took three nights. This isn't necessarily the best yarn for this project, but it's very soft and squishy, and the colors are beautiful (so pretty I didn't mind the splittiness of it). It's a bit on the small side, just 41 inches by 21 inches, and I could block it slightly bigger and to open the picots, but I'm lazy. Behold, m'Elise.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

My Maddening Critron

I am finally done with my Critron, a crocheted version of the Citron shawlette pattern. I am so happy with it! It's made from Malabrigo Lace yarn in Oceanos, a gorgeous blue ombre, that I was given by my friend AuntBubbels (thank you!). Mr. Big kindly modeled, but would like me to tell you that this was pup abuse--he says it's way too hot to be wearing a babushka.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Mossy Jumble

I took the boys to the park to walk around the large urban pond, one of our favorite walks. It's next to the rose garden where I took all these fabulous photos last year, which in turn is next to a dog park. This walk has something for all of us. Tall Boy gets to run like a maniac, playing with other dogs, then I get to stop and smell the roses, and then, while I look at the water birds (how weird to say those words in the middle of a drought-ridden desert), Mr. Big fondly remembers his dive into said urban pond after a duck many years ago, and Tall Boy gets to ponder whether he has any retrieving and hunting genes in him at all in the face of all those ducks and geese.

This morning, out early (it was 107 degrees/41degrees the other day--we are on our summer schedule now), we saw male and female lesser scaups (love the blue bill), more coots, and the mysterious olivaceous cormorant that's been hanging around all year. He's mysterious because he appears to be alone (I've only seen the one) and shouldn't be here this time of year. In fact, he really shouldn't be this far inland in the middle of a desert at all. But I watched him diving and eating this morning, and had a fantastic view of him coming up with a little fish in his bill, so clearly there's enough for him to eat. The lone black-crowned night heron I saw there two or three years ago has become a small breeding colony, and now there are at least 8 to 12 visible at any one time. Maybe a lady cormorant will join him this winter.

I'm in the market for new binoculars, so if any of you have any recommendations, please leave a comment. The local wild bird store only stocks Vortex, and while they are awesome compared to what I'm using, and while I really want to purchase locally, I also want to comparison shop.

I haven't done a restaurant review in a while, and I've been wanting to tell you about the delicious eggplant slices that I had a few months ago. They were sauteed with cucumber sauce and served with pita, and are an appetizer at the Shish Kebab House. This eggplant was so creamy and so delicious it was unbelievable! Although the kousa belanban (squash baked with yogurt, garlic, olive oil and herbs) was very good, I've been dreaming about those eggplant slices ever since. And while I like eggplant, it's not my favorite veg. Served this way, it could be, though.

Friday, June 1, 2012

I Didn't Forget

Tall Boy celebrated his first homecoming anniversary over the past weekend. We celebrated. He and Mr. Big got poached eggs in their breakfasts, a walk at a different park (in search of the elusive wood duck), and then Tall Boy and I went to the hospital where he was fawned upon and congratulated by about 50 people. It was a good day for him. There's nothing he loves more than spreading the DuddleLove.

A few weeks ago, I saw the instructor from his first obedience class. She shows and breeds goldens, and she ran her hands all over him and was checking him out. She told me that he feels so much better and is in such better condition than he was in his first class (which we started a week after he arrived). I was very pleased. He's never going to be one of those goldens with the big heavy coat; it's not in his genes (which is good, since that's not what they're supposed to look like). But his coat is sleek, his nails have improved, and he's got great muscle tone. He looks like a hunting dog that could spend 8 or 10 hours out in the field. And best of all, he's completely happy being second-in-command to Mr. Big, who now allows him, as First Lieutenant, to investigate all strange noises and unfamiliar passersby. He let Mr. Big steal his toy the other day. They were sleeping belly to belly the other day, their front feet touching. I am so lucky to have found a second dog that Biggie gets along with so well. And who even StripeyCat likes to kiss and rub up against (and he takes it like a gentledog).  A peaceable animal kingdom.