Tuesday, October 30, 2007

One dog’s life.

800 Miles to Long Beach work in progress.

It’s occurred to me that I’ve never introduced Henry, our Bluetick Coonhound rescue, here in my blog. He’s the newest member of our little menagerie, but as it turns out, he’s probably the eldest.

Last year around Thankgiving, he showed up one Saturday while we were down here working at the house. He was literally nothing but skin and bones, painful to look at; I almost cried when I saw him. He had a wound on his right hindquarter and he stank to high heaven, so we covered the back seat of the car, coaxed him in and took him to our veterinarian to see if he could be saved. It turned out he had heartworms, but other than that nothing wrong with him except starvation ... because Paul and I were still in our apartment at the time, my parents graciously offered to let Henry stay in their back yard temporarily (even though they have three Australian shepherds of their own). It didn’t take him long to work his way up to “inside dog” – my Dad is a soft touch when it comes to canine family members!

The vet guessed Henry is about 10 years old, but he’s very high energy, which I learned is typical of the breed – a bit much for a quiet suburban neighborhood. Henry made a quick recovery and soon was jumping the fence on a regular basis. When we moved out here to the country in July, we brought him with us, and he’s doing great. There’s plenty of room for him to run for miles and miles to wear himself out, and he always returns home after his rounds and hangs out on the back porch most of the time.

Because Blueticks are born hunters, I was a little apprehensive about how he would behave around the cats, but he’s never tried to chase them or eat them. Actually, I think he’s kind of scared of them ... he gives them a wide berth when they’re around and when one of them is standing a little too close to the doorway he’ll wait until they move before he comes in. He steers clear of Dawson, the dachshund next door, too. Pretty funny.

He and Trixie are best buds; they love to play together outside and in the living room. When I take Trixie for our twice daily walk (on a leash, because she absolutely cannot be trusted not to run up to the highway and race with passing cars and trucks, or the train!) Henry trots right along with us, occasionally taking off through the pasture or the woods, baying at the top of his lungs, and usually returning to join us a little way down the road. At night he and Trixie sleep together in the living room, Trixie on her blanket on the sofa and Henry on his blanket on the loveseat.

Not a bad life for an old hound dog!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Road Trip (working title) ... work in progress

Just a quick progress post for my latest painting. This one is nice and big ... 36 x 18. I haven't settled on a title yet; maybe Born to be Wild, or Wrong Turn at Albuquerque. My husband likes this painting a lot, especially the cinematic dimensions.

Hey, I just thought of a great title: 800 miles to Long Beach.

hmmm ...

(pause to take a sip of 6-hour-old coffee while mulling over this latest title choice)

... yep, I like it – I think we have a winner!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Back Home

Psalm 103:1-2 (from The Message)

O my soul, bless God. From head to toe, I'll bless his holy name!
O my soul, bless God, don't forget a single blessing!

Paul and I got back home this week after a great trip to California - north to San Francisco area to visit his parents, and then to southern Cal to visit with my sister and family, and to check in with the corporate office of the company I work for as a graphic artist. It was good to see coworkers again, and meet a new one (hi, Al!) whom I only knew through phone conversations and email, but after a few days in the office I sure was reminded of how spoiled I've gotten not having to commute to work in heavy freeway traffic every day! My usual morning commute is carrying my cup of coffee (with French vanilla creamer) from the kitchen to the computer desk. And believe me, I don’t take that for granted!
It was a wonderful trip, but as usual it’s good to be back home.

(... pause to take a sip of fresh hot coffee - with French vanilla creamer - from my favorite mug ... )

I love this time of year. No matter how busy life gets in the fall, I thank God for a heightened awareness of seasonal blessings ... gifts that appear for a time and then are gone with a promise to reappear at their appointed time.

The spider lilies that have populated the yard since mid-September have come and gone ...

... hay is being stacked and stored for equine and bovine midwinter snacks ...

... it’s harvest time for cotton ...

This was a good year for cotton around here; most was taller than my husband, who’s 6 foot 2. I took these pics a couple of weeks ago.

Now the cotton is being harvested; it stands in huge, heavy bales by the side of the road until it’s hauled off to the gin (to get rid of those pesky seeds), leaving behind remnants on the ground that look kind of like the last patches of dirty snow that linger after the spring thaw in parts north. (snow simile courtesy of my childhood in North Dakota.)

... and a happy surprise that greeted us upon our return home ... the beautiful Confederate Rose hibiscus planted just outside our back door - a housewarming gift from a very dear friend - is in glorious bloom!

I've been seeing monarch butterflies in the yard, passing through on their yearly trek to Mexico. These days I’ve traded in my usual sandals for thick socks and tennies, and I’ve broken out my sweatshirts for the chilly morning hours; I’ve noticed that I’m wearing said sweatshirts later and later into the day. This old house is holding the morning chill long after the day warms up outside. I guess it’s time to move “thinking about getting some heat in here” from the back burner to the front!

And I am getting back into the daily routine ... including new paintings and continuing work on the house ... it’s kind of hard to get back into the swing of things after a long trip, but I’m newly inspired, and I’ll be posting new artwork soon!