January 31, 2008

Yikes! I've Been Hit By The "Me Me Me" Tag!

It seems that while I’ve been reading all the interesting “Me-Me Tag” lists which other people have written ... I’ve been tagged 4 times, humm ... or was it 5?

Here’s the deal. If you are tagged, you are to write 7 unknown details about yourself.

The rules of the game are this:
Once you are tagged, link back to the person who tagged you. Then tag 7 people and link to them. Comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged.

Now, I would like to express my profound appreciation to my "very dear friends" who tagged me. Ummm ... thanks. Be sure to check them out (and keep an eye on them.) They are: Scary's West, Teachings of the Horse, Regarding Horses, and Mud Ranch. (sorry if I missed anyone).
Two tags were to Simply Marvelous, but were sent over here since she doesn’t talk much.
I’m not sure I can come up with 7 things ...four times. However, I am sure no one wants to read 28 things about yours truly. But ... here goes:

List of 7 things for:
Scary's West
1. Ok, I’ll just jump right in and get it over with: I wore hot pants, knee boots and long hair to my waist during my senile years. (Oh, stop laughing, it was”groovy”, then.)
2. I’d rather clean the barn than the house. Any cobwebs scattered around the house are from Halloween. They might be there next year, as well.
3. I worked at Paramount Studios, took my sister to lunch at the commissary. She swears Tom Hanks was making eyes at her.
4. I have sweaters from my high school days and still wear them.
5. I hurried off to a big horse show once, wandered into the wrong building, there was a horse sale going on, bought a horse, never got to the horse show.

6. I have English hunt prints on the walls of the barn stalls. We have no cribbers. Looks mighty spiffy.

7. I love convertibles, but never put the top down.


List of 7 things for: Teachings of the Horse

1. I live in Southern California, but would rather live in New England or Virginia or wherever I can have a big farm with lots of trees and green and can collect horses.

2. I’m still upset “Babe” didn’t win the Oscar.

3. I came home on the final voyage of the Queen Mary sailing from France. I was a young music student in Paris. No, I am not ancient.

4. Refrigerators are not my friend. I’d rather do windows.

5. I’m a professional musician, started piano at age 3, gave first recital at age 6, performed in Europe, made recordings and (tah-dah) got paid doing this.

6. I gave my kids the “Jungle Book” video/DVD for Christmas this year. They are adults, but it was a “mom” thing.

7. I collect cook books, old and new, but don’t like to cook. Love reading cooking blogs. Have thrown dinner parties. So far, people have survived, everyone except me.


List of 7 things for: Regarding Horses

1. I get restless when not remodeling or at least tearing something up or down, whatever the case may be.

2. I still can’t part with my very high heels.

3. While in Spain, I accidentally wandered into a silent monastery, was amazed how friendly they were as they wildly waved their arms at me. I was quickly shown the gate.

4. I'm somewhat of a fashion setter. I select outfits that go with my paddock boots.

5. I went skiing in Colorado, but had more fun hanging out by the fireplace.

6. I make lists for everything and then spend time looking for them.

7. I married the greatest guy in the world. I immediately hung a “taken” sign around his neck. It’s still there. He's a keeper.


List of 7 things for: Mud Ranch
1. I raced catamarans. I was the one hiking out over the Pacific Ocean in a trapeze. Oh, yah, I got dumped plenty of times.
2. If there are Fritos in the house, I’ll find them. I do not share.
3. I love my spinning wheel, very relaxing working with wool from our alpacas and then making afghans and other comfy things.
4. My name is on the wall at the LA Music Center (no, it’s not graffiti). It is near that of Bob Hope and just under Peggy Lee. Check it out, really, no kidding.
5. I love to throw parties, but would rather be alone.
6. I spend time making blog tag lists about myself, instead of cleaning my house, or painting the walls I haven’t finished. Thanks, you spared me.
7. I’m an animal collector, have a real soft spot for anything that needs to be fed, petted, groomed, looked after and loved.

Yehhhh... that's 28 things!

If any of you are still around,
you deserve some kind of badge of courage.

Now ... it’s my turn to do the tagging.
I’ll be back.

It could be ... you!

January 29, 2008

A Day With The Camera ~ Dana Point

The rain has stopped ...

the sun shows promise

... off to the seashore

and Dana Point Marina.

Sunshine !

The Mast Jungle

Feeding Time


California Brown Pelican

Out To Sea

January 21, 2008

Love ... Named Kayla

We were reminded again last week
about the tough part of loving our animals.

It was only a short time ago that we noticed
things were not right with Kayla.
From the water intake and sleeping
I thought she might have diabetes.
However, the news from the vet was
that she had a
tumor on the spleen
and had days to live.
Unbelievable to us!
The exact diagnosis was Hemangiosarcoma.
Surgery was not an option.
We were sent home to enjoy her final days
until she slept away from us.


Only a week ago we were in bliss
thinking all our animals were in such good health.

Kayla died about 1:15 last Saturday afternoon.
She had a wonderful morning that day
making her rounds checking on all the animals.
She was her usual happy self following us around
with her beautiful smile and her tail wagging.
We truly believed there must have been a mistake.
This girl was going to make it.
But it was not to be.
Kayla came in the house, collapsed on her favorite rug
in front of the fireplace ... and went to sleep.
We were with her.

If it is possible to think there is a perfect ending,
I suppose this would be it.


Now, we are left with tears and heavy hearts.
The price we pay to love them.

I'd like to share a little of our life with Kayla.
She loved the Animal Channel, even the scary stuff.

She loved music, especially the songs her dad sang to her,
like "Girl of My Dreams" or "Daddy's Little Girl".

She loved everyone ~ animals and people, alike.
She was always a hit at Home Depot where everyone
spoke to her by name and greeted her with pats.
She was Miss Popularity at the Equestrian Center
where she patiently waited under the
"No Dogs Allowed" sign.

She was a California beach girl
and had many miles on her odometer.
Wherever dad went ... Kayla was right there.
She was a daddy's girl.

Kayla was a gift.
This is the last photo taken of Kayla.
It is a treasure, as was she.

She was the sweetest dog in the world.
A beautiful golden retriever with soulful eyes,
a gentle spirit and the gift of love.

I would like to share with you
a few moments with Kayla.

Please click here.

January 17, 2008

My Dinner Is Ready !

Click photo to enlarge.

We don't need kitchen timers with MouseTrap around.
Did I mention ... no cats are allowed on the counters.

January 16, 2008

Simply Irrestible

She arrived in the world like all the other alpacas on our farm
... sweet, gentle and adorable.
In our farm brochure it said:
Peace and quiet and the beauty of nature
are more than a luxury,
our alpacas have made it a way of life.

January 13, 2008

But Do They Get Along?

Royal in Alpaca Pen
Many times I have been asked how our horses get along with the alpacas. I suppose this comes from the unlikely combination, as well as the fact that it seems horses are afraid of llamas.

Llamas, of course, are much larger, somewhat more imposing and apparently too strange for horses to consider casually. Whereas, the alpacas are about the size of a large sheepdog.

On the day of this photo, Royal made the choice. He could have stayed in his own quarters and not pushed the gate open and joined the alpacas, but on up the hill he went. This boy has a mind of his own and loves being with them.

At night he could stay in his stall, but much prefers to stand outside the alpaca pen with his head over their gate. I think it has something to do with their peacefulness.

The alpacas have a wonderful philosophy of life ... it is all about being calm. It is really rather nice to sit on the bench and try to absorb their tranquility.

January 12, 2008

Have I Mentioned The Alpacas?

Click photo to enlarge
Hobi Bear, Rembrandt and Napoleon
Probably the most enjoyable, peaceful creatures on this earth!
Life is simple with them. They are quiet, gentle and easy care,
great for the environment and my roses simply love them.
We have raised alpacas since 1989
and were one of the first farms in the U.S.
to know the pleasure of their company.
I really must take out their photo album and tell you all about them.
Each one was special and always adorable.
Here are just two of our babies.

Alexandra ~ sweet beyond sweet.

Juliette ~ An armful of love

January 11, 2008

Oh yaaahh ... this is more like it!

MouseTrap gathering those rays ...

January 8, 2008

Royal's Day In The Sun

After all the rains and being stuck in his stall,

Royal finally got out for a royal romp in the arena, today.

January 7, 2008

Rain In Sunny California ?

Ok, we can't have sunshine all the time.

I know all of you living in Oregon and Washington
are thinking I'm a ... whiner right now.
Really, I'm not.

Well, maybe a little bit, but there is good reason.

You see ... we live at the bottom of a steep hill and all the water heads directly to the bottom ... right to our back door.

We've put in all kinds of drains to direct the torrents of water away from the house and barn, but so far we're still wading.

Poor Royal needs fins and a snorkel mask,
because it is a swimming pool around the barn.

It's really just a royal mess!

Also, I want to be sure you know ...
I am not sitting by the fireside eating chocolates
and watching soaps.

Nope, I'm out there clearing drains, digging new trenches
and scooping the water out of the barn
and getting soaked to the skin and my hair is a mess
and I'm getting cold and the shovel is really heavy
and I'm not liking this.

But as I said ... I'm not a whiner.

I'd show you more photos, but it is just too awful!

But Alberta is having a grand time.
She has tried out every water hole ... hasn't missed a one.

We did escape for awhile to the park nearby.
Really very pretty over there.

But now ... back to the farm.
Any mud & rain experts out there?
Sure would like suggestions.

January 6, 2008

Cats Hired For Patrol By Los Angeles Police

Usually I read about all the problems with feral cats and what to do about them. Some suggestions are enough to make me build a soap box.
For time eternal, we've heard that we have too many cats. The truth is ... we do. However, spaying/neutering cures that. But in the meantime we also have too many rats.
Well, hallelujah, somebody in Los Angeles finally figured out that cats are useful in our world ... that they have a purpose.
Enter ... The Los Angeles Police Department:
They have recently "hired"
feral cats to control the rats in the department. (I mean as in ... rodents.) It is called the "Working Program".
To be honest, they didn't need to have so many City Council meetings to come to the conclusion that cats make history ... of rats.
I have "Mouse-Trap" in my own barn that could have proven that without tax payer money.

Well, on with the story ... as it appeared in the Los Angeles Times.


LAPD Enlists Feral Cats For Rat Patrol
By Carla Hall,
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
December 29, 2007

They are the homeless of the domestic animal world -- colonies of feral cats that roam residential neighborhoods and lurk around office buildings and commercial garages, scavenging for food.

Unlike other strays that might rub up against a leg hoping for a crumb or a head rub, these felines are so unaccustomed to human contact that they dart away when people approach. Feral cats cannot be turned into house pets. When they end up in municipal shelters, they have little hope of coming out alive.

But one animal welfare group has figured out a way to save their lives and put them to work in Los Angeles. The Working Cats program of Voice for the Animals, a Los Angeles-based animal advocacy and rescue group, has placed feral cats in a handful of police stations with rodent problems, just as the group placed cats in the rat-plagued downtown flower district several years ago -- to great effect.

Six feral cats were recently installed as ratters in the parking lot of the Los Angeles Police Department's Southeast Division, and another group will be housed at the Central Division early in the new year.

Rats had been burrowing into the equipment bags that bicycle officers stored in outside cages; inside the facility, mice were sometimes scurrying across people's desks."

Once we got the cats, problem solved," said Cmdr. Kirk Albanese, a captain at the Wilshire station at the time. "I was almost an immediate believer."

The cats don't generally solve the rodent problem by killing rats and mice -- although the cats are game for doing so if they catch them. Rather, the cats simply leave their scent.

Once rodents get a whiff of feline presence, like gangsters under a gang injunction, they move on."It's the smell of the cat and the cat urine," said animal rescuer Jane Garrison, a member of Voice for the Animals' board, who selected the half dozen feral cats for the Southeast station.

Sandra Magdaleno feeds and cares for the
Southeast station patrol cats in Los Angeles

According to Garrison, it takes about 30 days for a feral cat to be comfortable enough to consider a new location home turf. Garrison said the Working Cats program can be used anywhere.

"We are willing to put cats in any safe area -- businesses, hotels, industrial parks, even residences -- and we will do that for free."

Soon the ferals may get a chance to work their magic on the legions of rats that make their home behind Parker Center, the Central LA Police Department.

"They're coming out of everywhere," said Officer April Harding, who works in media relations. "One time I stood in the parking lot and just watched in horror, like it was a movie."

Thom Brennan, commanding officer of facilities management for the LAPD, said, "Nobody was more skeptical about it than I was. It sounds like too easy a fix. But everywhere it's been done, it's worked. . . . I think I'm convinced it's a viable program that will help us."

There has never been a shortage of people willing to care for the cats at any station.

"If I were a wild cat, that would be a great job," he said. "Your meals are there, your housing is there, you're at a police station so you're safe."