Sunday, September 29, 2013


We were hiking.
"Look," said Gregg.
Oh, uh, hey. Nothing to see here,

just move along...
I stopped to look at the whitetail deer about twenty feet off of the path, grazing. I handed Ray's leash to Gregg and took my camera out of my back pocket to get a quick shot. To get the deer's attention, I made a 'tchick' sound.
Ray, who had, as usual, been at the end of his 18' lead, stopped.
I took a few quick shots of the deer then noticed an unfamiliar weight leaning into me. I looked down to find a Redtick Coonhound attached to my leg; Ray was "looking" in the direction of the deer.

"The wind is in the right direction," said Gregg, "He must smell it."

Still attached to my leg, Ray yelled.
What the...?
Startled, the deer flashed white and turned away from us, then when Ray's noise stopped, relaxed the tail and turned back to look at us. On high alert, Ray yelled again. The tail flashed white; the deer headed into the woods.
I'm outta here!
I bent to pat my dog and tell him what I good dog he was.

I felt well protected by the blind hound, (or maybe he was seeking protection by me, I couldn't be sure).

We finished our hike, bundled Ray into the car and headed home. When we got there, we extracted Ray from the backseat and attached him to his frontyard tether. Ray found his sunny spot, rearranged the mulch along the front walkway to make it a bit more comfy, and collapsed, exhausted from his adventure of the day.

What the heck was that thing?

Jeez I'm glad to be home

Friday, September 27, 2013

I know I'll regret this later...

...but I just had to do it.
Lately, I've been spinning again. I doubt if I've done any spinning since this photo was taken, mainly because Ray was just such a yarn hound.
But now he's older and wiser and doesn't really bother my stash of yarn and roving anymore. So, I've been easing back into knitting little things, and then, this week pulled out my wheel to start spinning again.
The first bag of roving I pulled out of my stash turned out to be faulty. I'm not sure where I obtained this bag, but the wool in it was already felted. The process of felting wool welds the fibers together into a mass, and there is really nothing that can be done with a ball of felted wool. I thought briefly of inventing a way to use it, but then I did the only thing that really made sense to me. I tossed it to Ray.

Like I said, I know I'll regret it later, but I just had to do it.

Oh boy, oh boy!

Wow, this stuff is tougher than I remember
Hmmm, smells the same...

Can you get this started for me?

Wait, I think I got it...

Are you SURE this is OK?

Maybe if I have more room


What the heck???
You know what? 

I think I'll just stick with my rawhide

Thursday, September 26, 2013

He Got Mail

Yesterday, Ray got mail. More to the point, Ray got a present from his Aunt Yuko.
Yuko makes all kinds of things out of little bits of fabric and sells them at local craft shows. After they got FlowerPower, Yuko added dog bandanas to her list of things and Ray was lucky enough to get a couple.
Apparently, the bandanas really fired up Ray's imagination. He has been wearing it proudly ever since.
Really? A bandana? I bet I look just like John Wayne
Howdy, pardner.
Do you think I could get a sheriff's badge too?
 Let's chase bandits! 
They went this way!

Four men on horses; two of them spotted, one bay gelding, and the other a roan mare.
I think it's the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Everything's Fine

The problem with having a blog is, when you don't write anything for awhile, people get worried. Family members worry, friends worry, and people we have never met worry. When we started to get emails, comments, and even a phone call from Gregg's sister wondering what was up, I knew I'd better get back to it. It's not like I had a good excuse, or that there was nothing to write about, it's just that, first I was busy, then I didn't feel like it.

So here is a briefing, in my preferred method of communication (a list), on what has been happening.
Are we there yet?
(Ray and Kathy)

 1.  My sister Kathy, Ray, and I went to South Carolina.
Yuko and Kathy (humans), FlowerPower and Ray (dogs)
2.  Hannah got a dog; one that despises Ray.
(Although FlowerPower, a name that she came with and that Hannah decided was perfect for her, is cute and high-energy and the perfect dog for Hannah, FlowerPower cannot be trusted off-leash around Ray. She doesn't like his noise, and apparently, doesn't like him. It was disappointing and, at times, scary.  Although Yuko and I walked the dogs together every morning and FlowerPower was fine, she went into attack mode whenever we were in the yards. Ray does not back down in a fight which is a bit terrifying for the humans when he can't actually see what he is biting at.
Yuko and Jean (humans), FlowerPower and Ray (dogs)
FlowerPower and Ray  

A girl and her FlowerPower
Teasing the dog
 3.  Ray had a good time with Nannie and Grandpa, hanging out waiting for food to drop off the table, and looking for the perfect spot to bury his bone.
Can anyone spare a morsel for the poor, blind dog?
    He walked here.
    He walked there. 
    He went here.
    He went there.

    In the end...
    ...he planted it where his relatives 
    could keep it safe from the FlowerPower

    4. We said goodbye to Nannie and Grandpa and returned to Virginia.
    Bye Nannie!
    Bye Grandpa!
    5. Ray was happy to be home.
    I'm so happy we're back. My new cousin is SO annoying.
    (Unfortunately, Ray's happiness was tempered a bit by the fact that Chester wasn't waiting for him when he got home. Used to be, Ray would immediately run upstairs to tell his cats that he was back from his travels, but with the recent demise of his best buddies, Ray has transferred all of his affection to Chester. After arriving home, Gregg, Kathy, and I sat out on the front porch to chat. Attached to the end of his tether, Ray joined us. We watched as Ray fruitlessly searched the azaleas for his friend and then strained against the wire in the direction of his next-door-neighbor's house. He was disconsolate. Chester did not make an appearance until the next day.)

    6. Ray got a new collar in tasteful fall colors.
    New collar. 

    7. Gregg and I are planning a vacation. To England. To visit Ray's number one fans, Niki and Jez and their menagerie.
     (I'm looking for someone to stay with Ray. If you know of anyone in the greater Washington, DC area, give me a shout-out.)

    What!? You're going where? And you're not taking ME?
    8. When we get back, we are going to get Ray a present. There will probably be a definite uptick in the number of blogs after that.

    Friday, September 6, 2013

    Dog Swim Recap

    My favorite holiday used to be Halloween. Now it is Labor Day. Just because of the doggy swim.
    Having a yell
    Ray realized as soon as we walked up the pool drive that it was dog-swim day and his day to shine. He started yelling the minute we got there and didn't stop until it was all over.

    Although it took a little time for him to make up his mind to get into the pool, Ray went in SEVEN times. Seven times without anyone pushing him, pulling him, or otherwise interfering with him. He had an absolute ball. Renegade that he is, Ray even went in after the whistle had blown and everyone was out of the pool. I had just slipped on my sandals and was toweling off when I accidentally dropped Ray's leash. The next thing I knew, it was dog overboard and Ray was headed to the deep end. I hastily de-shoed, went in after him, and led him back to the side.

    Swimmin' like a fish

    As usual Maddie, our across the street neighbor, was there swimming like a fish. Ray's new next door neighbors Archie and Dory were there too. So were his friends Bert and Ernie.
    Surprisingly, Archie, the bowling-ball shaped Pug, is a better swimmer than his slightly more svelte sister, Dory. Both stuck to the more manageable depths of the baby pool. Ernie came to give Ray a quick kiss before going off to swim. Elder statesman, Bert, showed a bit more restraint, striding around the pool perimeter watching the action like an overzealous lifeguard.
    Having another yell
    Also present with her dog, Piper, was the woman who had jogged by us and yelled out "I love your dog." I still am a bit hazy about how we know her but I'm sure we'll see her around the 'hood again.
    Over the course of the year Gregg has a countdown going on his head. Out of the blue he will say, "Only (so many weeks) until the pool opens." I know that Ray has a similar countdown going on in his head; it started the day the dog swim ended.
    Overheard at the pool (spoken by Chester's human sister): "I have a cat named Chester. Ray lives next door to me."
    Overheard while walking aorund the block: "Look Dad, it's the dog from the pooooool!" (The last word was howled.)

    Maddie and her human, Sandra

    *All photos provided courtesy of Maddie's other human, Dick.

    Sunday, September 1, 2013


    We were walking along the main drag through our neighborhood. Ray stopped for a sniff. We heard the slap slap slap of a runner's feet on the sidewalk opposite. I lifted my head to look at the woman runner who was setting a blistering pace. She was looking in our direction, a huge grin on her face as if she knew us. When she saw me look up, she waved.
    I gave her a weak grin and a wave back then looked quickly away, wracking my brains trying to think if I'd met her before. Ray and I meet a lot of people, it's not unusual for me to not remember one or two (or more).
    When the woman got even with us, I looked at her again. She was still looking at us with the huge grin on her face.
    "Are you going to the dog swim* tomorrow?" she yelled across the street.
    "Absolutely!" I yelled back to her.
    "I'll see you there,"  she called out, "I LOVE your dog."
    I gave her a real grin this time.
    "Thanks!" I called after her as she ran on by.
    I turned around to get my dog moving again. We just happened to be standing in front of the pool entrance. It must have been the association between the two and that's why she recognized us, I thought.
    Or maybe it's because it's hard to miss Ray when he's at the pool. He does tend to be a bit noisy.

    *Just before the neighborhood pool closes for the summer, they open it to patron's dogs for 30 minutes. Ray has been looking forward to this all summer. He pulls me to the pool every time we pass it.