Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ghosts and goblins and...goats?

What else? Trick-or-treating Pigmy goats on the streets of Bellingham at Halloween, drawing hardly a second glance, except from Casey.

Canine, bovine, ovine...
he wasn't quite sure.

Happy Halloween!*

*unless you're praying for rain like
the rest of us.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pushing the envelope on relaxed

Stella might be an insecure little headcase at times, but she's our little headcase.

And when the fireplace furnace comes on, Stella's a picture of contentment and relaxation. In fact she's in her element.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Afternoon reverie

Daydreaming or musing, who knows?  Sometimes our guy just seems to get wrapped up in his solitude.  Can't help but wonder what's on his mind.    

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sweetgum conflagration

It's taken almost five years now but our backyard sweet gum is finally sporting a healthy crop of fruit, nicknamed "conkleberries", "space bugs", "bir balls" and so on. Each fruit is covered with over a hundred spikes and contains the same amount of seeds or more, which in turn are eaten by squirrels and birds.

Sweetgum (Styraciflua)

What's more, its conflagration of reds and yellows, browns and purples, easily rival the autumn foliage of its autumn blaze maple companion on the other side of the yard. And that youngster isn't doing so bad itself.

We'll be less impressed when we break out the rakes for the first time. 


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Another walk through healing ground

Today, and for the last couple of years, Bellingham’s Bayview Cemetery has been more than a resting place for the deceased; or as the Oxford English Dictionary states “a large public park or ground laid out expressly for the interment of the dead.”

To Casey it’s always been much more than that, it’s been peace of mind. This 50-acre tract designed not only for our community’s dearly departed, has served as a place that Case could expect to rehab in tranquil seclusion, secure that an intimidating confrontation by other canines would be unlikely.

As anyone can see, it's worked wonders on our guy’s psyche. Today, with late afternoon sunshine casting an autumn intensity on deciduous survivors – sheddings of red and common oaks, Bigleaf and Japanese maples, spruce and so many more – a respectful excursion through these healing grounds is always rejuvenating, for both of us.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Keeping a low profile

Casey, our pannus patient, knows how to keep a very low profile when it's time for his eye drops, and it takes some coaxing to get our guy within reach for Victoria to work her magic with the dropper bottle.

Update: Casey's eyes seem to have improved dramatically - it's amazing. Just three more months of this twice a day therapy - drops and ointment - to go. Hang in there kid. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Moans of delight

Has this guy got it made or what?

And check out the vocalizing. Casey always manages to pull off some sort of articulation, whether he's greeting you at the door, waking up in the morning, or just getting a rubdown. We think he'd be talking if he could only master consonants. Of course these just are good old moans of delight, regardless of the mammal.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Precommuter color distraction

Late afternoon on Lakeway Drive just a half hour from peak traffic - well, peak traffic for Bellingham - and the sidewalks were alive with blocks of autumn color today. 

One good evening storm and photo ops like these are history. Just wish we could have done justice to this borderline cacophony of gradations.  

So long, Indian Summer

With at least 10 days ahead of forecasted temperatures in the low to mid fifties and likely showers, our Bellingham Indian Summer, at least our first of the year, is so over.

It's still debatable when and even if this weather phenomenom occurs around here, but our last warm spell is history. Frisbee tosses in the rain, with front door towel wipe downs, will become a daily necessary evil - at least as far as Casey is concerned. 

According to weather historian Bill Deedler, there are several theories or possibilities of the explanation and origin of the term "Indian Summer", yet no one theory has actually been proven.

All in all, even with the variety of opinions on this weather (or seasonal) phenomenon, "the most popular belief of Indian Summer is as follows: It is an abnormally warm and dry weather period, varying in length, that comes in the autumn time of the year, usually in October or November, and only after the first killing frost or freeze. There may be several occurrences of Indian Summer in a fall season or none at all." Whatever...we'll be hoping for a thaw in November, and in the meantime, photos like these might slow down the out-of-state migration.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Quantum Leap with a Low G

Vic and I were awash in sentimentality today, resulting from a visit to a local guitar and ukulele musician’s home. The sole purpose our of stopping by to see guitarist Tom Hodge was to show him a couple of ukuleles that had been gathering dust and in real need of refurbishing, now that Victoria was expanding her musical horizons with uke lessons.

Tom took one look at the weathered baritone that we had asked him to make "strum-worthy", and what followed was an appraisal that took us all the way back to the Happy Days era and beyond.

Not only that, the old timer we thought was going to be a real project - a spruce "beater" that would never attain anything better than back-up status - in the hands of an accomplished musician like Tom Hodge, Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's "Over the Rainbow" never sounded sweeter. Something we never expected from what had been up to this point a retired family heirloom.

Grandson Joey with Len (Buddy)
As he strummed, Tom said that vintage “barrys” like ours, the largest of all ukuleles and also known as mini-guitars, were first crafted in 1948 and made famous by radio and TV host Arthur Godfrey in the 1950s. And with a newly strung "Low G", our long-time shelf dweller's tonal properties would be as true as they were almost four decades ago when Vic’s father, Len Wulff, provided a handful of enrapt grandkids musical accompaniment on any stringed instrument he thought he could play, leaving them hanging on every chord and every questionable improvised verse. To them he was Buddy, and they loved the sofa concerts as much as he loved showing off.

But beyond the history, beyond the nostalgia, what we later realized after Tom replaced the G string was that the remaining three had been strung by Len, my kids' grandfather, my best friend, before he died in 1982 - and no one had played the uke since.

Did we experience a little quantum mechanics today in that cluttered basement music room? Or just vibes fed by pure serendipity? Who knows, but one thing for sure, emanating now from this new touchstone, this old baritone, is a true sense of connection to family and happier times with each new chord.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pausing at Paws Awhile

An almost mandatory stop for us each weekend, at least as far as Casey's concerned, is a consignment shop in Fairhaven called Paws Awhile.

This Whatcom County Humane Society gift store inventory has a little something for just about everybody - local artwork, garden items, speciality pet supplies, greeting cards, jewelry, antiques, used books, you name it. And all of the proceeds benefit abandoned, injured, abused or neglected animals at WCHS. So naturally, we're regulars.

One of his favorite haunts, Casey could find Paws Awhile from almost anywhere. Not only do the store volunteers fawn all over him, but he knows if he's good he gets to sample the treat bowl.

So it's always a win-win - compassionate support for other "rejects" like Stella and our guy, and a liberal treat sampling policy at the door for tag-a-longs.

Wow, Case. Pulling out all the stops...shaking hands for a treat.  

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Lagoon tranquility

Three hours from low tide, Padden Creek Lagoon was a tranquil feed fest and cradled respite for the regulars.

Usually the perfect meeting place for a variety of waterfowl, where saltwater meets fresh, today's confab of seagulls, Mallards, Western Canada Geese, and even pigeons had no problem getting along – or at least they’ve learned how to put on a good show for the gawkers.

Casey’s shoreline sorties didn’t seem to cause any stir at all in the heart of the Padden Creek watershed, just a short stroll from the Cruise Terminal and Bellingham Bay.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Stella's unabashed basking

With the overnight lows dipping into the mid-thirties for the first time in a long time, Stella is in her element. Anytime the natural gas fireplace clicks on and starts consuming BTUs, you can count on this kitty to be basking in close proximity, leaving the rest of us wondering if we should move her before she ignites.

                                                      So far, so good.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Beating the storm that never came

It just looked like there was no time to spare when we headed on out for a walk to the "green-belt" - OK, not so much a green-belt as a vacant overgrown lot.

And in spite of getting a jump on the weather, we're still waiting on the rain. No complaints here though.

The high point of the outing for Casey was running into his favorite girl, Brandy. He always seems to spot her a block away.

This 3-year-old rough collie is the only dog that our guy has gravitated to from day one, obviously no threat. And we think she's just as smitten with Casey.

Good girl