Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I'm Speechless ... Snow

We all woke up to a light snowfall this morning...
I'm definitely NOT ready!

October 23, 2009

October 28, 2009 

Silly mule has heated water in her stall....
but she likes ice cubes!

And then there's Maggie ...
our Snow Puppy!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More Shelter Faces.....

Those of you who have followed my blog know that I used to be a volunteer for ONE of MANY small town animal shelters. That was over three years ago.  My husband and I would go to the shelter every week and photograph all the new, adoptable dogs ,and then post them on the website hoping to get maybe just one of them adopted.  

We have since moved to a new home, in a new town, in a new state, but I have not been able to rid my mind of all the very loving, very needy, very adoptable dogs that we met,  if ever so briefly.  I do not know exactly how many of these less-than-fortunate pups found homes.  I know that the adoption rate in that community was not very good.  But to make a long story as short as possible, I still have not been able to delete their very hopeful faces from my computer files.  I have thousands of photos and thousands of faces...all with that "please take me home" look.  This may be the least I can do in their memory.... to post their pleas.

Too many good dogs... 
not enough good people! 

Please spay or neuter your pets!  

Please adopt, don't shop! 

Saturday, October 24, 2009


AWARD?   Oh Darn....

Thank you so much hillybillyfarmgirl (my friend MICHI) for passing this award on to me! ♥....I guess?

Accepting this award comes with the following challenge.
The challenge is to answer the below questions using one word only.

Here are the questions, and here are my answers.....

1. Where is your cell phone?  Boxed
2. Your hair?  Messy
3. Your mother?  Tough
4. Your father?  Friend
5. Your favorite food?  Pasta
6. Your dream last night?  None
7. Your favorite drink?  Cabernet 
8. Your dream/goal?  Travel
9. What room are you in?  Office
10. Your hobby?  Remodeling
11. Your fear?  Turmoil
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years?  Retired
13. Where were you last night?  Home 
14. Something that you aren't?  Aggressive
15. Muffins?  Poppyseed
16. Wish list item?  Kitchen 
17. Where did you grow up?  Rural
18. Last thing you did?  Walk
19. What are you wearing?  Jeans
20. Your TV?  Sony
21. Your pets?  Family
22. Friends?  Distance
23. Your life?  Routinized
24. Your mood?   Contented 
25. Missing someone?   Always 
26. Vehicle?  Super-Nellie
27. Something you're not wearing?  Cap
28. Your favorite store?  Home-Improvement
29. Your favorite color?  Greens
30. When was the last time you laughed?  Yesterday
31. Last time you cried?  Bereavement  
32. Your best friend?  Toma 
33. One place that I go to over and over?  Barn
34. One person who emails me regularly?  Sister
35. Favorite place to eat?   Table

Also, I'm to pass this award/challenge along to six others...
Please take the award and the challenge...and I hope that this is not a burden, but a sign of my appreciation for your blog and the topics that you choose to write about and share!

Val ..... mules, horses, dogs, work and play, and wow does she express herself well!
Jill's life
Jill ..... giant pumpkins, dogs, mini-critters with long ears, garden sculptures, and so very interesting and fun to follow.
Laura ..... I have only followed Laura's blog for a very short time now, but could immediately recognize her knowledge and love for her horses and (one) mule?  She has a wonderful gift for telling a simple tale ... very readable and easy to follow.
Nature Nutz
Lisa .... her love of nature, all aspects of gardening, and  fondness for her own as well as shelter animals makes her blog not only a learning experience but fun to follow as well.
Baba Yaga's Mirror ..... educator (now back at work for the school year) and animal lover .... this site is packed with information.   Thanks for all your genuine love and care.
Pick a Peck of Pixels
Abe .... a photographer extraordinaire with a great sense of humor and gift for putting words on paper!

Never having accepted any award before, I am not totally sure how this works or if the way I did it will work.  Ah well, like I said I'm passing it on (I think I'm passing it on)  to those of you whose posts that I continue to enjoy each time I log onto your blogs!

Hope you are all having a very nice weekend....

P.S.    Now I have done my part, but I have no idea what to do next except push PUBLISH POST  

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sailing the Blue Pacific (part two)

An old Island truck....having seen better days

In this post I was going to try to explain  how Captain Toma managed to sail a crippled sailboat from the equator on to Hilo, Hawaii.  However, after reading through our ship's log I ran across several passages that may help to also give you a better sense of my state of mind, and of the overwhelming feeling of loneliness that began to seep into my sense of self-preservation.

Let me remind you of our seagoing motto...."What is difficult on land is damn near impossible on a moving boat ... And boats should always be moving!"

 Except for maybe reading a good book

April 2, 1983, Day #10, LOG READS 1843, 0300 hours
.....our 3rd bird has landed on board tonight!   It is supposedly a bad omen for seafarers to have a bird land on their boat.  It represents distress.  Incredibly so, our first bird, an old scraggly albatross,  tried to land on Toma's head the night we lost our rudder.  We were both laughing and crying about that one.  I remember thinking at the time..."Boy, did you pick the wrong boat!  We're all going down with the ship!

April 3, 1983, Day # 11, LOG READS 1934 miles, Easter Sunday, 0145 
My watch with an almost cloudless sky, half moon, and NO WIND. We are only doing about 2-3 knots.  I hope that we don't get becalmed. Toma is beginning to work on a steering paddle.  He thinks that it might help to turn the boat if and when we should need to use the motor.

 April 4, 1983, Day # 12, LOG READS 1995 miles
It's 0300, my second watch tonight. We are still trying to make our way north and are just barely doing so....yesterday was our slowest day yet. It is terrible to sit here and listen to the sail flop.  There is hardly any wind, and this boat doesn't sail without it. 
Yesterday  I boiled a couple eggs and we colored them.  It was a very quiet, peaceful Easter Sunday. Sunshine and a very smooth ocean allowed us to open up the hatches and let the cabin air out.  Saw a school of dolphin. Looking forward to a little more north today. Toma still claims that we are not in the doldrums...I hope that he's right.  He usually is.

Clue # 1  
This photo shows Homer's stern with our self-steering-vane (we called her BIG MAMA), and the life preserver with our EPERB devise attached.  This small wind-activated paddle,  the very small paddle that is attached to it and resting in the water had a great deal to do with our eventual success of reaching Hawaii safely! 

Clue #2

We hauled the good ship Homer out in Papeete for hopefully a smooth sail home.  We scrubbed her bottom, and she had a shiny, freshly painted hull, and a clean keel and rudder.

April 6, 1983,  Day # 15,  LOG READS 2106 miles, 0800 hours
Last night was a pounder.  We picked up a good NE wind, but the seas were so rough that it made the motion of boat very violent.  At 0300 we hove-to to stabalize the motion. We are both very tired.  We are now getting ready to unleash the head sail and try to do a little day sailing...still going north!!!  We have wind and heavy seas, but so far no rain.

 April 7, 1983, Day # 16, LOG READS 2242 miles, 0100 hours
I'm on my second night watch. It's tough fighting sleep, and I'm starting to think that I need to write some thoughts down....
As I watched the moon rise tonight my mind started turning over the events of the past couple of weeks.  We are so vulnerable to life and death on this ocean, this planet.  We've had a crash course this week in how quickly life can end and how little control you can choose to have, or not have, in regard to your own life pattern.
Our minds and our wills have gone full-circle. We went from total discouragement and almost ready to give up, to the ... Yes, I really do care.  So, get out of my way, here I come, and please let me try harder ... attitude.  It is really something to look back on.  I hope that we never forget how important it is to keep our lives in perspective.
To continue to remember what is important and separate that from all those little everyday attitude challenges.  I want to continue to remember as I did when it seemed that we were going to lose everything.  At that moment in time my mind flashed on home, close friends,  mom, and my dog.  How terrible it felt to be losing Toma, thinking that we were not going to get to grow old and crotchety together. 
I'd like to be able to remember these things when I become tired and irritated.  Like today when we were not moving, except continuously up and down, and I became grumpy and impatient.  I forgot for the moment that I was so very lucky to be alive!  Now, I only can hope that our determination and our will to survive can get us through the rest of this journey.  I hope that I can look back on this some day and still be able to appreciate what was not taken from me.  These things that we continue to work and fight for because they are important!  Life; not death.  Home; not just a place to live.  Friends; to see their faces and hear their laughter.  To see my little black dog wag her white-tipped little tail.  To hug my mother and listen to her non-stop talking ....  And Toma at 85 ...cringe!

Ok, that's it for today.  I have a little more to tell, but I've put you through enough for one post.  Hang in there.  I'll finish next time...I promise!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

French Polynesia 1983

During our year aboard the good ship Homer we logged over 9800 miles in Pacific waters, had no electricity, no satellite navigation, no computers, no digital cameras, but we did have scenery.   
Call this my Skywatch Friday (revisited).  This is for all of you cold bloggers who seem to be dreading the fast approaching winter season.   French Polynesia in 1983

Tuomotos with Homer in the background





 Bora Bora

These are just a few of the slides that were taken with an old Pentax then later processed into photos and finally pardon the quality...but you get the idea!  If life on board a sailboat interests you please check out my previous blog... Have a nice weekend!

For more Skywatch Friday photos click here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sailing the Blue Pacific

French Polynesia

Columbus Day made me think of my own experience with the deep blue sea (be it a bigger and different ocean than the one Christopher crossed in 1492).  Can you remember the time  before personal computers, email, or satellite navigation became common forms of communication and safety for seafarers?   The setting of our adventure was French Polynesia and parts of the Pacific Ocean, aboard a 40 foot older wooden sloop named Homer.  The year was 1983, not 1492.  Homer was crewed by a motley, but very capable "Captain Toma", and an even motlier, hard working, First Mate, MJ.  The good ship Homer hailed from Long Beach, California. She was on the South Pacific "milk run" as it is called by all the "yachties"  that cruised this sea route each sailing season.

"Captain" Toma and MJ "the crew"

Here are a few more photos (pre-digital camera, scanned from old photos that were extracted from old pardon the quality), and a couple entries taken from our ships log as we sailed between the islands of Nuka Hiva, Marquesas and Hilo, Hawaii on our return trip home. 

The Good Ship, Homer (1961 40' Kettenburg)


March 23, 1983  Day #1, TRIP LOG Reads 1315 miles.  Changed time to Hawaii time, and we're heading home.  We can no longer see the the south side of Nuka Hiva.  We are heading about 35 degrees northeast, and trying to get far enough off the island to pick up more wind.  Hawaii here we come!

March 28, 1983, Day #6,  TRIP LOG reads 1447 miles.  Got hit by a big squall and it's been raining ever since.  At 0200  I had to wake Toma to help me.  We took down the head sail and eased the main.  The squall lasted for about an hour and a half.  It was a miserable, wet night.  It's so strange, that out here in the middle of nowhere, the skies can be reasonably clear and starry, and a few hours later you can hardly see the bow of the boat.  I hope the day gets better.  Four and a half hours of rainy night watch is a bit wearing!  Right now we are trying to get caught up on some much needed rest.

March 30, 1983, Day # 8, TRIP LOG reads 1588 miles.  It's 0655.  We had our first BIG, and I hope worst, mishap of the crossing.  We have LOST OUR RUDDER! During Toma's watch, at approximately 0030, we lost steering.   We hit a Pilot Whale yesterday.  It must have weakened the rudder post.  Considering the rough seas that we've encountered these past couple of days, we think that the rudder simply dropped to the bottom of the ocean. Anyway, the rudder is GONE!  We have no real steering!

It's surprising that, how in the face of extreme danger, and an almost unheard of predicament, we are still reasonably calm.  Toma has been trying to figure a way to build and rig a temporary rudder so that we can control our direction.  Luckily the wind has been northwesterly and steady.  We're hove-to, sailing at around 2-3 knots.  Hopefully the seas will stay calm so that Toma can try to build Homer a new rudder?

Homer at anchor, Nika Hiva

Heading to sea

Moon rise over Nuka Hiva

Sunset at sea

 Squall coming

Under Sail with no steering?

So you see, life on the BIG Blue Seas isn't always as easy or as romantic as some people think.  Toma and I had two main phrases that we learned to live by.  The first was:  "Cruise and learn"!  The other was:  "What seems difficult on land is damn near impossible on a moving boat"!  And a boat should always be moving.

Part two, Hawaii or bust! .... to be continued

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Mule in the Aspens

My, what a pretty face you have Polly!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Mellow Monday

Here's to a bright and mellow Monday.....

It's  gray and stormy out this morning. It's  really hard to believe that I shot this back lit photo just one week ago.  I'm posting it as an example of how quickly nature can change things.  Don't get me wrong...I love our storms as they roll in off the mountains into our valley.