You might realize that having two puppies keeps one so busy that there is no time to sit down and write a blog?? Or indeed to sit down and do any stupid things like paying bills, updating the books and other stuff that is no fun at any time, but even less so when two whining little voices lure you out to do Doggy Fun Stuff.You will see by the photo that they are growing like weeds – and are now asserting themselves, mainly to each other. So funny to watch – they stalk each other, rip at each others’ ears, use their little needle sharp teeth to tear each others’ fur – and yet, not a drop of blood on them, while I am covered with bite marks, scratches, and most of my clothes have to be washed in cold water to get the blood out! They are proceeding well in their training of me, too. At the beginning I said, “these dogs will never get on the bed, they will sleep in their crates in the bedroom… they will be disciplined, they will be obedient…” And other similarly stupid pronouncements, which wilted and died in the face of the reality of canine maneuvers. They do sleep in their crates in the bedroom – from 7 pm until about 4 am. At 4 am one of them, usually Bella, awakens, and announces the fact with sharp little yips. She doesn’t want water, she doesn’t want to go out, what she wants is entertainment, and human entertainment at that. After some fairly constant yipping I wake up, finally give up, and Bella arrives…..on the bed(!) to engage in a frolicsome game of biting, scratching and chewing. After a few minutes of this Buster wakes up in his bed and demands to join the fun – and my sleep for the night is over.
After I have been thoroughly awakened, chewed on, scratched and bitten, the two of them fall into the deep sleep of the just, while I lie there, nursing my wounds, stanching the bleeding and wondering what the heck happened!
At least, early in the piece, I had the good sense to buy one of those super large, outdoor crates – in fact two of them, joined together – so they have a big run available for them to be locked up in, this contraption situated in my front yard, behind the flower garden. As the back yard is L-shaped, with the other part of the L ending up behind the bedroom doors, I can put them out the door in the morning, and they can do their stuff (which later I have to pick up, of course – amazing how much of it there can be, from two little bodies!!) and then they can get into the front part of the yard and their crate – but they can’t get into my flower garden, thank the Lord. This they can only enter under strict supervision – otherwise you may as well invite the Army demolition squad in there! And they are growing – Bella knows her name now, Buster is still resisting his, although I think it’s less the name and more the desire NOT to come when called that is the motivating factor here – and I am looking forward to the time when they can be turned out on the world, to terrorize the horses instead of me.
My sister, who lives in New York City, and who was an actress in her early years, had her only child, her daughter, at around age 33 or so, and I remember her telling me that she could sure tell the difference when in the park with the baby, comparing her agility with the super liveliness of mothers in their early twenties. I know exactly how she felt, now. So – a piece of advice – have your puppies early in life – human OR canine!!
I am sure most of you remember my dog Tuffy – my companion, my mate and partner, the one who liked to nip at your heels when you weren’t looking?? She is, of course, still with me, and, at the beginning she viewed the whole puppy thing somewhat sourly. I don’t know if she considered them some kind of vermin that had got into the house by mistake, or if she thought of them as competition for my affection, which she rightfully considers is hers only. However, over time she has mellowed, and accepted the puppy invasion as, probably, another stupid foible on the part of her human partner. So now she plays with them – when she is of a mind to, that is – and I am amused at how she is teaching them canine manners and social habits. And the little horrors have a real respect for her, too. I can yell and wave my arms at them, no result – but one little growl from Tuff brings peace and order.
Many of you will remember Sarah, the last Grapevine Barn Boss. She is now working, still with horses, and still as Barn Boss, in a facility for straightening out wayward boys of the super rich. Some time back she decided to join one of these “meet your soul mate” web sites, something like Christian Mingle – it may have been that one, as a matter of fact. In due course she met a nice young man on the site, the friendship progressed, and finally they decided to meet. And what were the chances of this happening – he is from near Willcox, about 40 miles from where she was living at the time! This afternoon I have been invited over to their place for dinner – they just bought a lovely house in Dragoon and I am dying to see it. It’s not only a good looking house, but it is distinguished by the fact that it has two sitting rooms, and five (yes, five) bedrooms! Certainly enough room for libraries, studies, offices ….. and, eventually, I imagine, kids – of the human variety!
I have a friend from the UK staying with me right now, and the other day I thought I would show her the Rattlesnake Crafts Shop in Gleeson. For those of you who have not been there, it’s a most unique establishment – unique in several ways. First of all, it houses not only a shop selling everything you can possibly manufacture out of a rattlesnake – like belts, wallets, earrings, pendants – you name it… but it is surrounded by the most extraordinary collection of “stuff” you can imagine , most of it garnered from around the old, abandoned mining camps scattered throughout this area. There is a collection of everything needed on the frontier, from cooking utensils from over a hundred years ago to old saddles, stoves, household items, typewriters from the 20’s – an unbelievable collection. In the center of the displays is a small, old travel trailer which houses the rattlesnake jewelry and crafts – but the most interesting thing about the whole establishment is a sign by the door that says “take what you want and put the money in the box” … and adds, “please write down what you take”, so he can update his inventory, I guess. And, do you know, it works! This man, a retired advertising executive from some busy city, has been doing this for the last 35 years or so, and apparently makes enough to make a living. When I first came to the valley 41 years ago, he was head-quartered in what you might call downtown Gleeson, which isn’t saying much, seeing as Gleeson is a ghost town, and had, at the time, a population of, perhaps, 5 people. Then it seemed, some years back, it got too busy for him, and he relocated to a ranch property some 6 miles southeast of Gleeson, at the end of a horrible dirt road … And apparently still made it work. A real testament to human entrepreneurship – and honesty! Anyway – the reason for this long story is that when Pat and I got there the other day, I found to my sorrow that he is … retiring! The contents are up for sale and the establishment will be closing in June. Sad to see it go – it has been such a special place! But, as he said when we, by chance, ran into him – 35 years is long enough. I guess it is, at that – after all, that’s how I felt about Grapevine!
And here is another fun, great thing about to happen – I received an e-mail from my realtor, telling me he had received an e-mail from some people in Switzerland who were trying to contact me – they had lost my address. It turns out they are the very first guests of Grapevine, who, as young people in their late teens, came to the ranch while touring the States. Their first visit became unforgettable for more reasons than one – they paid with a credit card, and it was the first time I had to handle one of these transactions. At that time the card was run through a sort of slot which copied the information, I think, as it was many years before the marvels of the Internet and swiping of credit cards. I ran the card, gave it back to them and they left. It was only some time later that I discovered I had done it incorrectly, and did not have either the money nor any information about the credit card. So – I wrote them a letter, to Switzerland. Months passed and I heard nothing – finally I figured I had lost on the transaction and put it down to stupidity on my part, and a “Life Lesson”. Imagine my amazement, about 9 months later, when I received a letter from them explaining that after they left us, they went on an extended tour of the US and did not hear about my mistake until much later. Apparently his mother had opened my letter. “What kind of a trip is it that you kids are on” she thundered across the miles, “visiting wineries…” We had a good laugh over that during their many subsequent visits. They returned many times, over several years, and then we lost touch with them. They had a family – now grown – a successful business, now perhaps handed over to the son – and I guess they plan to tour the States again, down memory lane, and want to visit. I am so looking forward to seeing them – so many years have passed … Gerry would have so enjoyed seeing them – they were, to both of us, special people. And still are….
And now, with all this extra time I have, I am indulging a passion for flowers which was somewhat stifled in the past, and this for two reasons – the first was a lack of time, busy as I was at Grapevine, and the second being Gerry’s unshakable opinion that any flower gardens were a waste of time and of good soil, on which one ought to be raising crops or vegetables. In all the 25 years of our marriage I never heard him refer to flowers other than as “weeds” – and in fact, the enclosed front porch of the house where I put my plants during the winter was always referred to as “the weed room”. So now, as there is nobody to complain about the waste of vegetable space (and not that he ate them either!) or the waste of water, I am enjoying myself.
The front yard consists of two sections – a fenced off and paved patio area, in which I always had flowers, and the space north of it, which was for many years a sad wasteland of straggling grass – when it rained – and weeds. It has now been transformed into a flower garden par excellence!!
As I am not silly enough to imagine that I could plant directly into the soil and not get defeated by the bazillion gophers who share our space, I am gardening, as on the front patio, in pots and containers. As always, I came to the large containers idea in a convoluted way, too. The genesis of it was that it would be nice to get an old water tank, fill it with soil and do the gardening in that, but the problem with this idea was that all our water tanks are in use for lawful purposes, providing water to horses and cows, they are pretty large and ugly, and they are that horrid, useful, grey tin color which announces them to be exactly what they are – water tanks.
I kicked this around in my head for a while, thought about painting them, cutting them down … and then, finally, the penny dropped. (You are probably thinking that, as long as it took, it had a long way to drop, and you would be right.) Suddenly it occurred to me to go to that fountain of all knowledge and commercial enterprise, the Web – and lo and behold! There exist raised-bed containers made for just such a purpose, not tinny, not high, not round, and not ugly, but made of paintable plastic planks, suitable to be of any square or rectangular shape. So – I got two packages and am enjoying them hugely. Danny trundled over a bucketful of soil from under the mesquite trees – as potting soil of that amount would involve a mortgage on the ranch – and I got busy with the flowers. The result is, I think, very pleasing – I spent many an hour sitting there admiring my work, and when the heat and the sun made it impossible during the day, we installed a 12×12 shade cloth, which provides comfort even during the hottest part of the day. I wonder what Gerry would have said to all this – or maybe I don‘t want to know!
And finally, I must tell you about a real work of love a friend of mine has done – she collected all of my blogs over the years, printed them out, and collated them into a book, which she gave me when they arrived for a couple of weeks’ stay recently. What a job – but how lovely of her to do it, to take the time, to spend all that money! And what a way for me to see how I do run off at the mouth – or pen – and just how much “stuff” there was written down!! These blogs are only from 2008 (so, after the fire) to 2012 (the closing) and yet they make a substantial volume. Thank you, Marilyn! That was a most wonderful gift! And, I must say, I had no idea of just how much “stuff” I had written about – a lot of it I remember, but quite a bit of it is about events I had forgotten, and it sure is nice to re-live them again.
So the time passes …… I had no idea I could be so busy doing nothing!