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Today was spent partly in the studio playing with watercolors and partly in the house hanging out with dogs. Late in the afternoon I suddenly remembered I was completely out of cat fud (always spelled that way since once of my favorite Far Side cartoons, where the dog is trying to lure the cat into the dryer with signs pointing to “cat fud”) and so I had to run into town and the pet store. When Hobie was left alone he was free feeding and boy was he free with it. He’s turned into something of a possum cat, complete with waddle, so I knew I needed some “weight control” fud. The kibbles are different but he ate it.  Hopefully it will work.  Every winter his previous vet, who only saw him in winter, would comment about his weight. I explained that he slimmed down in summer, but Dr Harrison was skeptical. One summer I got a picture of Hobie from above, and his outline perfectly matched the outline of a “normal ” cat they had at the vet’s office. Next time I was in, I showed him the picture and he never again bothered me about Hobie’s weight. I’m not so sure he’ll slim down as well here, as he doesn’t spend all day outside. He has adapted well to our house, and tends to spend more time inside. When he does go out, it’s never for more than an hour, then he’s at the front window staring at me.

Picture above is from my drive home. I drove through the deer refuge just at dusk, hoping to see some deer. I only saw the one, but she was close to the road and didn’t care that I stopped and rolled the window down. The hawk and swans I saw didn’t care either, but it certainly alarmed the ducks.

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So in my last post I mentioned that I am home with the dogs and David is not.  A few days into our last run, we ran into our first winter weather, and I have to say it kind of undid me.  I was something of an anxiety-ridden wreck, crabby and tense.  I certainly didn’t want to be driving.  Fortunately, David knows me and he started the conversation that has led to the decision (endorsed by me, by him and most importantly, our company) that I will be taking the winter and spring off, so as not to worry about the snowy conditions.  While home, I will explore some arty options, like an Etsy store, to see if I can make some monies that way.

I did originally feel a little guilty, until David confessed that he would rather run solo.  He doesn’t sleep well when the truck is running team, and it makes him worry about his health.  He doesn’t like the crowded conditions any more than I did, and so it turns out this works well for both of us.  Yes, I am alone again, but it’s different now.  I have a more robust support system here.  I feel at home here as I never quite did in Michigan.  It makes a difference.

So it turns out I am a fair-weather truck driver.  I am okay with that.

Well, it wasn’t as bad as I thought.  I thought I had stopped cold a week earlier than I did.  See, life has gone and changed again, and so I’ve been adjusting to that.  More in the next post.  This one is for some pictures I have taken during that time.

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When last I wrote, I was in the hinterlands of Minnesota, being very cold.  Now we are home (me and the dogs) and just getting rained on regularly.  Rainbows have been sighted.

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I doubt I will ever tire of this view out my back door.  It changes by the hour.  This time I was talking with David on the phone and saw that strange tree shadow on the fog.  “Hold on a sec,” I told him.  “I gotta get a picture of this.”  So happy I did.

Here’s the view with full sun and no special light effects going on.  Still beautiful.

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My friend Kimberly adopted an otter in my name.  I was touched by the thought when I received an email.  I didn’t expect a package with this cutie in it, along with River Otter facts, a fabulous picture and an adoption certificate.  The package made me squee.

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The dogs are happily going to the park regularly.  I feel very blessed that this amazing place is just 1/2 mile away.  Tucker now recognizes my “walk the dogs” bag and starts dancing when he sees it.  I carry the leash, poop bags and my phone in it.  Some driftwood has been collected.  Driftwood in the Pacific Northwest is a bit different than other places.  Exhibit 1:

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This is the high tide/full moon line at the park.  So much wood.  Much of it is trees.  But there is some good small stuff to be found.  The main problem is that if Tucker sees me pick up a stick, he is oh, so positive that it is meant to be thrown for him.  So if I find something I like, I am then required to pick up others to throw.  He doesn’t bring them back anymore.  He just likes to chase them down.  Sometimes he might pick one up, but then he is unhappy about the mouth full of sand he gets. So mostly he chases and then runs back for more.  It’s an easy way to tire him out.

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Happy Tucker.

I’ve been spending my days doing little bits of art, playing with dogs, reading, listening to music.  I like it.  Nah, I LOVE it.  I love this place we have landed.

Oh, I did finish this.  It’s a gift that will be mailed Monday.  I don’t know if Jilly comes here or not, but I don’t mind if she sees it.  The picture is cute, but the real thing is amazingly cute.  I had posted on Facebook about how it was kicking my butt at one point, as I had dropped a yarnover and couldn’t figure out my mistake.  I unknitted that section twice before I finally got it right  Finishing it gave me a great deal of satisfaction.  I wish my skills had been where they are now when other babies were born to other friends.

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Sunrise over Baudette, MN. Where it was -18 F overnight. DNW -18. Poor Tucker is suffering. A vet told me he’d probably be more painful in the cold. They weren’t kidding. He is carrying his bad leg and obviously in pain, so I’m keeping up on his meds.  They help, but not enough. He needs warmer climes and some exercise.  He’ll be getting that soon.

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The big Baudette walleye was too big to fit in the picture. Should’ve been holding my phone the other way.

Kansas was cold at -3 overnight. The hotel’s heat in that wing wasn’t working right, blowing tepid to cool air into a cool room. The cold makes me crabby when I can’t escape it. It’s also doing a number on Tucker’s bad leg. His pain pills are giving moderate relief, as long as he gets them every 8 hours. But he’s still limping and carrying that leg rather than using it.

We left Kansas in the afternoon,  heading north to Baudet, MN. It’s currently -15, after a low of -18. The saving grace was finally getting to see the Northern Lights!  It was a small curtain of dancing green, mostly fugitive, but then suddenly beaming into the sky. I sat watching with a big grin on my face and tears in my eyes. It was beautiful and magical and I was finally seeing it. 

No pictures today. Crabbiness, bad lighting, lack of opportunities.   And it all turned around with one dancing green sky.

We left Michigan yesterday.  On the way out we stopped to visit friends we hadn’t seen in far too long. David’s known Jack and Chris as long as I’ve known Gen and Kimberly, which is practically a lifetime. We shared tales of adventures and travels, then they took us out to dinner. I had my first Creme Brulee  (two thumbs up!). 

They had a suet feeder up outside and while we sat talking, I watched all the birds coming in: chickadees, Chipping Sparrow, Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers, Tufted Titmouse, Juncos, a wren I still need to check my book on, pale winter Goldfinch.

I only took one picture today, this one of the dogs in bed at the hotel.  Tucker moved before I could catch the one I wanted, but this one’s okay, too.  (Once I corrected for the funky yellow lighting)

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After the nice fluffy snow melted in the rain, we got this strange granular snow.  The dogs didn’t care. They just like to roll in snow.

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Tucker seems to like having his sweater.  If he gets too warm (unlikely right now) he knows how to take it off. We’re heading to Kansas next, then to Minnesota. Brr.

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Dogs wrestling in the snow, Hartland, Michigan.  There was an inch or two of fresh snow in the morning.  In the afternoon, the sun came out.

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The nicest part was the temperature going up 17 degrees from the previous day. It meant the dogs and I could spend a little time outside.

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Still in Michigan while the truck gets some repairs. Today it rained, making slush of all the pretty snow from yesterday. Tucker’s been limping all day, though I’m not sure what’s causing it. From personal experience I would guess the barometric changes. Poor pup.  We mostly just hung out as a result.

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This is the only picture I took today.  I was trying to show how ill-fitting Tucker’s sweater is.  This is why I need to make him one. This sweater is made for a dog with a much thicker neck.  The one benefit is that when it slides down, it covers his bad hip well and helps keep it warm. We were on our way, in a rental car, to the hotel in Hartland, MI. We should have two nights there. I plan to do some knitting and some arting, if I get the energy. Sometimes I just sit with my iPad and play my little games and scan Facebook because that’s all my brain can handle.