Here’s a terrific image of Louie. He’s caught while urging me to throw his ball. Every bit of his face is in action. His beautiful marble eyes are alert, his mouth opening for action, and his body is about to take off. Louie loves anticipating and chasing balls more than anything else on Earth (except for his food bowl).
Louie is thirteen years old. For nearly all those years, he ran with my horses on trails and now has arthritis as an aftereffect. He understands that trails have become too much. When he’s with the horses and me at a trailhead, he chooses not to follow but to await our return. He hangs out in the shade under my trailer.
At first, leaving him at the TH while I rode was worrisome. Louie is a beautiful merle, and he’s cute. People often reach out to him. But he doesn’t cotton to strangers. Louie has an effective stink eye that can frighten away most would-be petters. I find him fresh and happy whenever my traveling group returns.
Despite his arthritis, I wouldn’t change a moment of our time together on the trails. I’ll bet that Louie, too, wouldn’t alter a moment or reduce our miles. He was an excellent trail buddy, strong, loyal, and always nearby.
Dear Friends: After an early life as a little couch potato, he proved brave and able. Diana
Managers at the supermarket where I work asked if I’d work late the last couple of nights. The store lacked a cashier to cover a shift ending at eleven p.m. I agreed, anticipating the late evenings to be dull dead zones, and I was wrong.
I live in a small city that overflows at the height of every summer season with visitors and tourists. At nighttime, the streets usually are quiet with very little traffic. This whole area seems to have shut down, and inhabitants are asleep.
I discovered neither quiet nor lack of action in the supermarket. Both nights throughout my shift, the place was alive. My register was busy with people lined up to buy milk, bread, booze, and candy. Some were after only a few items, others stocking up on enough food and supplies for weeks.
I have wondered why folks shop late at night for candy and sodas. That seemed silly, a waste of time. However, now I understand more and realize that some people do a little shopping after working late. I’m newly aware of sleepless and restless people seeking an energy outlet in a safe destination.
Dear Friends: An early bird discovers late nights with personality, unique and fun. Diana
Yesterday morning, my Lil’ Blue received a pen buddy after I happened to capture “White Cloud,” a young and gentle Delaware hen. Cloud and Blue previously were together in a transition pen. White Cloud is accustomed to Lil’ Blue’s strangely-tilted head, and their reunion was uneventful.
Lil’ Blue has one eye. She’s separated from the flock for safety. On her own, she behaves nervously and is thrilled to gain a pen mate. Immediately, she stayed beside Cloud, following Cloud’s lead, drinking well, and vigorously seeking scattered grains and veggies.
Blue’s working eye is on the right side of her head. When all alone, she tilts her head sideways for maximum vision. Alongside Cloud, her face stayed balanced and forward. That seeing buddy eases Blue’s struggle. She’s a happy bird.
Delaware is a docile breed easy to get along with. I was drawn to its beauty and sweetness. Cloud has the fluffiest and softest imaginable white feathers, trimmed with black. Her teaming with Lil’ Blue is a happy event.
Dear Friends: I didn’t plan to write today about Blue, but I share her excitement for the matchup. Diana
My “Lil’ Blue,” a one-eyed hen, is five months old. She has begun laying eggs, tiny and blue and cute as herself.
I’ve watched her closely for if she’d be safe while freely among the community. She was housed in an introductory pen for some weeks, among but safely separated from the main flock. She can fly amazingly well and several times has escaped the holding pen. That’s provided opportunities to observe her while out and about.
She holds her head differently from the other hens, tilting it to the left to allow her right eye optimal vision. While in every way functional for roaming freely among the flock, her unusual head gains attention. Chickens dislike anything looking unusual and try to attack her. Although she’s quick to escape, Lil’ Blue is vulnerable and could be blindsided and injured.
Every chicken needs a flock. Shortly ago, I transferred Lil’ Blue to a standalone kennel beside the flock pen. She sees her buddies, watches them constantly, and yearns to be among them. I hope this single will adjust satisfactorily. To that end, I spend time inside her kennel, holding her, stroking her, and talking.
I’ll move Lil” Blue to the garage when the weather turns cold. She’ll be a special pet, like my “Old Wellsummer,” a very old hen safely and comfortably living in my garage. She and Wellsummer, as neighbors, will be the company to each other.
Dear Friends: I anticipate learning a bunch from this special needs hen. Diana
Entering the last month of summer during an incredibly miserable heat wave. The heat makes me thread through my summers living in Central Oregon. Until recently, summers were mostly reasonably cool, aside from a mid-August hot week or two.
Perhaps such thinking guided me to think more deeply about Central Oregon’s past. This amazing and unique part of Oregon has a complex history. Its long-time citizens still hold old-country western views that collide with its newer and growing population’s tendency toward socialism.
(Excuse me now for dashing out to toss morning hay to my horses. I’ll re-explore these ideas upon returning to finish blogging.)
I’m back, fortunately, without losing track of my thoughts.
I’ve begun to re-read the memoir, FRONTIER DOCTOR, by Urling C. Coe, written in 1939. Coe arrived in Central Oregon as a 23-year-old newly graduated physician in 1904. He became Bend’s first doctor and eventually also the City Mayor.
Reading his memoir is an au natural view of the wild little town of Bend and its rugged population of settlers in the early years before the railroad’s arrival. That anticipated railroad changed everything. Rail commerce enabled profiteering from plundering Bend’s massive surrounding forest. Industrial logging in Central Oregon became a field of riches.
There are some great stories. One is building that railroad, which was a competitive effort between two massive carriers and often involved gunfighting. The other is how Bend changed, grew, and made many investors wealthy.
Another story is how that early beginning continues to influence the modern Bend. Although population growth is changing the area’s politics and preferences, there remains an “Old West” consciousness. Experience and learning from the area’s early settlement and industrial days continue to battle new ideas.
Dear Friends: History is a fascinating study of old vs. new; ahead is more. Diana
The header image is of the infant Robin I rescued and fledged last summer. This popped up in a “memory set” from Google. It’s a powerful memory because of the effort needed to raise that baby, especially so during the worst time of the pandemic. It had fallen from the nest, was helpless, and I happened to be on the spot.
Robins are non-seed-eaters and require live food. I knew that but barely understood what else was needed to fledge the bird. Worse, the pandemic had put many live bait producers out of business. I sought advice and learned that feeding nightcrawlers would work. After finding a source, I figured out how to administer pieces into a huge wide-open beak. Step by step, I succeeded and watched the baby become more robust and braver.
I became very attached to my little charge during weeks of care. One day when called, it didn’t appear. In moments I grasped that it had flown away; I had recognized the bird was ready. A personal victory was seeing “my bird” staying healthy, growing, and learning to fly high and low and from tree to tree.
As far as I know, Robin never has returned. I still often wonder about its welfare. Where did the fledged juvenile fly off to? Is it still healthy? Has it found a mate, become a parent?
Success with that Robin helps to offset my failures with other bird types. This summer, I lost three baby ducks. My inexperience and lack of knowledge made them too vulnerable. Their loss felt like a tragedy. I became highly self-critical for being too ignorant and careless, despite caring deeply about their welfare.
That little Robin is a reminder of the great good that can come from trying and learning.
Dear Friends: Someone has won the billion-dollar Lottery. Dreaming was fun. Diana
I took a “Postman’s Holiday” and visited a local “healthy foods” grocery store. Guess what, it carries many identical products to those in the low-price supermarket where I work part-time. Guess what else, the healthy food store’s prices are mostly double over the same products in my workplace. Just sayin’.
During the first several weeks in my current workplace, as a checker-out of groceries, I saw the advantage of self-transforming and becoming one of the store’s regular shoppers. I began walking the aisles to learn about products, hoping to wean myself from stores where I usually shopped.
I always have been aware of paying high prices. What drew me were stores located nearby. In my outings, time often is short. Convenience has been king.
Changing my typical food shopping habits is a matter that’s growing. It’s beyond simple curiosity or wanting to support a workplace. I’m feeling driven to watch pennies more because of our current economy’s ever-rising prices and frequent product shortages.
My sense is that we needn’t continue waiting for a new normal economy. It has arrived, is what we see.
Dear Friends: I’ve not checked Lottery’s current draw, still love to dream of winning. Diana
This morning is about beating the heat. Since early, my twelve-year-old hen, Wellsummer, has been outside enjoying the pre-sun breezes. My garden site for wildflowers is being watered. I’m hanging out on a deck drinking coffee and considering how best to distribute my energy today. This will be another very high-temperature day.
Today, there will be a drawing for the billion-dollar lottery jackpot. If I happen to win a portion, all bets would be off. I have decided on my vital goals. They are paying off my property, completing the house and barn repairs, and searching for a new car. I’d fulfill my dream of purchasing an expensive camera and super lens. I would hope for winnings enough to bulk up my emergency stash. With a portion large enough, I would distribute cash.
People with average lives could do well if surprised by receiving one or several hundred thousand dollars. A more considerable windfall could mess up those not already prepared through knowledge and experience to receive and manage lots of cash. This category includes a very average me.
Sun’s coming up, heating the deck, and my coffee cup is empty. Ms. Wellsummer is panting lightly and needs more shelter. I need to get moving.
Dear Friends: Dreams about being a lottery winner will inspire me all day. Diana
My barn is full of hay! My horses and goats have adequate nutrition for a year ahead. There’s even a little overflow in a separate storage area. Oh, happy days.
Now, to turn from the sublime to the ridiculous. Today I’ll purchase a lottery ticket. For insurance, I’ll add a kicker for additional cash. Even with a winning ticket, it’s good to arrange for a safety net of backup cash. Winning a billion might go less far than one hopes in light of inflation and broken supply chains.
We are ordinary people guided from childhood to set our sights on what’s reasonably attainable. Have you ever tried imagining what you’d do with a billion dollars in cash? Aside from paying off your home, buying a new car, and supporting your kid(s) through school?
Dear Friends: I’m happy just having enough hay for my animals. Diana
I’m raking the ground and planning to grow plants. Outside planting opportunities became real only weeks ago after an extended winter in our local growing season. I’m no serious or talented gardener, but wishing to spread wildflower seeds. I have a package of new seeds that should germinate quickly and attract insects that pollinate.
I want to help the magnificent Monarch Butterflies, which have landed on the endangered species list. The Butterflies’ natural habitats and food sources are severely reduced by an increasing human population and associated property developments that eliminate their critical survival elements.
The plight of those beautiful insects has me recalling many times that I’ve quietly and patiently watched them fluttering, landing, and taking off. Besides their beauty, the butterflies are admirable little beings, tough enough to migrate on the wing over thousands of miles annually.
My wildflowers will come up a little later than I would have hoped, but until yesterday’s news about the Monarchs, I wasn’t thinking much about them, bees, or other insects critical to the natural environment. Today, I’ve tried unsuccessfully to imagine living in a world unable to host the pollinating insects that have forever been part of our lives.
There are many species. Saving them all seems essential in the present and for the future.
Dear Friends: I’ll create a photo journey of progress in this endeavor. Diana