Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Gift of Memory and Love

Yesterday I got a very special gift in the mail. I had gotten one of those yellow slips in the postbox on Friday that said there was a package waiting to be picked up at the post office. My sister is here visiting for a few days and when we went downtown yesterday we stopped at the post office and I ran in to pick up the package. When I got back in the car with the package I said to her..." You will never guess who this is from." and she said "From Jan?"I was surprised that she knew. She said that she had received one too.When I opened the package I discovered this beautiful collage wall hanging that Jan had made.
Now, I don't usually get special, unexpected gifts in the mail and never have I received anything so meaningful and done with so much love. Jan is our talented and creative friend that writes the ~LITTLE PINK HOUSES~ blog and participates in a once a month vintage store in Walnut Creek, CA. She and I have become friends. We use to live in the same town when we were growing up and she found me when she was reading a post I wrote about Pleasant Hill, Ca. and a housing tract called Gregory Gardens. We started emailing and the rest is history.
When Mom died in July, Jan was so comforting. She offered to help us with anything we needed to do and she sent emails to be sure that Sis and I were OK. It was the kind of support that was needed..., someone letting you know that she was there if needed but not being obtrusive or making things more complicated. She was wonderful and on top of all the care and concern, she has also given us one thing more. A gift of memory. A gift of friendship and a tribute to Mom.This is one of the most beautiful gift I have every received because each part has such meaning for my sister and I.
The sheet music; Songs My Mother Taught Me by Anton Dvorak brings back memories of Mom sitting at the piano playing all the music of our childhood, teaching us to sing with her. The blue fabric (her favorite color) and lace decorations, the jewelry flowers, the birds and buttons all in threes; for Mom, Sis and I..., and under the last small piece of fabric trimmed with lace, on top of a line of music with words "Seldom from her eye..." is a transparent dove like bird, a faint ghost of an image...., Our Mom? I like to think so. Still near us. Keeping an eye on us and telling us that she is in a wonderful place and that she is happy.
She stands, in the photo, on top of the old water tank house over looking the Ranch in the Napa Valley. She is smiling, happy and filled with possibilities. Were we the lucky ones, her daughters, and..., we are the lucky ones to have a friend who would bother to share her talents and make us such a beautiful gift. Thank you Jan. We are so touched. This is a very special gift that you have given us. It means more that we can say.This song was done Andante con moto(andante con moto means moderately slow, walking, with motion.) which is how our mother lived her life; slowly, always walking in a good direction and always moving forward.
Thank you, thank you, thank you Jan. This is more than a gift. It's a treasure that we will cherish forever.
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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What was it?

I received lots of guesses about this furry white critter in the picture above. Most were what I would have guessed if I hadn't seen him for myself..., but one person made the right guess and wins the surprise gift.

This is a Potbelly Pig named, what else, "Piggy". Its a rescue pig that ended up at Jane's farm because of her ~kind heart~ policy and not being able to say "No" to... "You've got room, what's one more?".
He's kind of scary. He's got a face only a mother would love. But Jane says that he/she( I forgot to ask) is very gentle and that baby goats will play with him and he never gets upset. I ,personally, would not want to get too close to those tusks, but I've never been around pigs so I'm really no judge.

So, back to the "What is it" contest. SANDY at SPRING LAKE FARM in Athens, Georgia won the prize. She is the ONLY person who guessed..."It's a pig! A white, furry cuddly pig."
Congratulations Sandy!!
Please send me your address and I will send you something very special.

Look at you, little pig....
My goodness. You could make a Rattler run the other direction, but you came over to greet me with a snort and I think you had a smile on your face. It was nice to meet you. Hope I can visit you again sometime.
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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Happy Birthday Sis

You are my only sister...,
and you mean the world to me.
We will leave last year behind
and start a new one with hope and courage.
We will always have each other to hold on to.
I wish you happiness, joy and all your hearts desires on this special day.

With love, ....., and a dog or two..., or three.
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Monday, January 11, 2010

Down on the Farm With Dick and Jane

Yes, the names of the folks who own the farm that we went to on Saturday for the goat meeting are ..., Dick and Jane. Isn't that wonderful. Wasn't that your first reading book in school if you went to "grammar" school in the 40's or 50's? (and Spot, the dog. Remember?) Well, this farm is owned by Dick and Jane and I think that Jane may just be the little girl that we remember in all those books that we learned to read from. She grew up to be a teacher. Hummm!, and she's the right age...., hummm!
They live on this farm with two dogs (neither one is named Spot however), a horse, some chickens and the most beautiful flock of Alpine goats you ever saw.

Alpines are very friendly, curious goats. They all have amazingly pretty and varied coats. They are French you know.
The black and white one seemed more curious than the others. He followed me along the fence and came up to me at one point to sniff my camera and my hands. He was smaller and probably younger than the rest.
I wasn't sure who the alpha goat was but I think it's the dark one with the pretty front legs. He was always out in front and everyone else walked behind him. He had "the look"..., more reserved, assured. He was speaking in the language of creatures without words and it said "Who are you and what are you doing here." There didn't seem to be any "attitude" like I get at home. He just had a firm look about him.
Brownie could learn a lesson from this nice, friendly herd of goats. Maybe we need a few more of these critters around our farm so that Brownie doesn't think he's so abused.That big boy goat of mine is always out of snuff over something.

When I first walked out to see the goats I saw this furry critter standing with them in the field. I was quite a distance from them to begin with and I couldn't see clearly (old age and in need of new glasses), so before I say anything else, I want you to guess what this white furry thing is in the bottom right corner of the photo. The first person to comment with the right answer will get a surprise gift in the mail. I will have that person email their address and we will have some fun with this. Go ahead..., make a guess. You have until Wed at 12 noon PST to let me know what you think it is.
I'm sorry, but friends and family of Dick and Jane's can not participate in this giveaway. You probably know what this animal is and that would violate the Families with Goats Act of 2010.

( Remember to click on the photos to see them close up.)

Alpine is a breed of domestic goat known for its very good milking ability.

They are multi-colored and have no set markings. They have erect ears, horns, and a dish-face.

The breed originated in the French Alps. Mature does weigh around 57 kg or 125 lbs. Alpine goats can range in color from white or gray to brown and black. Alpine goats are great for milking and their milk can be made into cheese, soap, and ice cream.

(information from.... http://en.wikipedia.org)

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Geocaching Afternoon

These are Geocaches. You use a hand held GPS device to locate these hidden treasure boxes. I thought you should see two that were hidden( top pictures above) and two that we opened. The left top one is the smallest we have found and in a perfect hiding place. We found it right off of a busy street in our town, right next to the CA. Highway Patrol. That's just to let you know that it's an accepted and legal seek and find game that all law agencies approve of. The larger the cache the easier it is to find. We went 4 for 4 today. We signed the record inside the containers and, if there was room, left a trinket. Then we put it back where it was hiding for the next person who comes along.
One of the biggest reasons that I love doing this is because you get to see places like this....
You have to drive down country roads, past old farms and California cows. It's fun, entertaining, and good exercise for two old retired folks that like an adventure that doesn't get too difficult but requires us to get out and walk or hike a bit. Each cache is designated with a degree of difficulty so you can pick the ones you want to try. There are lots of levels..., "easy" or " all uphill" or "better bring some food and water". You get the idea. The level is your choice. We are in the "easy" to "small hike" caches right now but we will try to up our game little by little. How could you not want to drive to beautiful places in Amador County and look for little treasures.
OK! This one was not funny. It was behind our Hospital, outside of town, in the staff parking lot. It was inside the casing of a light standard. I will have to say it was the most creative one that we have found so far but I'm sure glad that the Prospector found it first. I think I would have had a small heart attack or, at the very least, I would have jumped back a few hundred feet. This one took the longest to find. Then the Prospector leaned on the concrete to look down at the ground around the standard and the metal casing moved. When he lifted it up there she was..., the Merry Widow. ( That's what the cache was called. ) The comment told us it was "scary". It was. Inside her was a film container with a sign in paper. The little caches don't have trinkets but I'll bet that someone takes the Merry Widow home with them. It's a "treasure" all by itself. You're not suppose to take these things but we've been to places where we couldn't find the cache and no one had for quite a while. That's when you wonder if someone found it and took it. I hope no one takes this spider because it's kind of cool and a very clever cache.
We probably won't play this game in the summer because I would not want to open up a casing like this and find a Rattler coiled up inside, or under a rock, or waiting inside a tree root. Nope, I'm not that adventurous and about the middle of June those beautiful, hungry snakes come out of their Winter hiding places and start roaming around until late fall. I know this..., I'm on a first name basis with some of them.
Anyway we had a lot of fun this afternoon. Carl, the Pupster, was with us. He mostly stayed in the car because it seems he wants to "herd" everything that walks on all fours and makes a nuisance of himself with every cow, sheep, goat, dog and horse that he sees. He even barked at a Highway Patrolman in his car. Oh Carl, what are we going to do with you. Next time you may have to stay home.

I'm going to save the "What is it?" photo for tomorrow. I need to get permission from the owner, first, to post pictures of her farm . I haven't yet but I will call her tonight.
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