Sunday, October 29, 2017

Busy Month of October

Oct. 29, 2017  Here in northwest Oklahoma, the weather is moving toward winter and bypassing the moderate days of autumn.  We went from 90 degrees a couple of weeks ago to overnight temperatures in the 40's and close to freezing point (I don't know exactly what the temp got down to, but it was in the 30's and the windchill factor took it into the 20's.  And we do have strong winds.  I spent one pleasant day this week, when it was 53 degrees, bringing my  house plants inside for the winter.  Drew has lots of succulents and we need to find a place for them indoors.  The century plants from my dad's garden have thrived and gotten larger over the summer, and they will go into the garage.  I'll repot them in the spring. 

We've kept busy with guests at the retreat.  We held a fundraiser for Phoenix Circle Foundation, with an art auction and a house concert, and Andy and some volunteers worked to remove the front of the Arts Building in town and replace it with new frontage.  We wanted that done before the Cheese Festival on Oct. 13. 

 I am continually looking for money for economic development and am currently working on a grant application targeted toward Main St Beautification.   Our GoFundMe campaign is still up and running but I haven't updated it in a while -- hopefully will get to that today.  We appreciate all donations.

We hosted Brian Pounds and Grace Pettis, two fabulous singer/songwriters from Austin, on the night of our Art Auction.  We made a couple hundred dollars and still have art left for sale.  All art pieces were donated by some really good artists.  While driving around the state promoting that event, I made lots of contacts in the arts and music scene.

Gotta run...... will pick up when I get back from running errands.   /Linda 

Friday, October 20, 2017

New member of the family

After 13 years of devoted love and service as the Estate Hound and companion of the Chaparral Retreat, our very special rescue dog, Skeeter, laid down and said his goodbye.  We knew it was inevitable at some point and he lived longer than expected.  About two years ago he had to have two blood transfusions, his bone marrow was not making new red blood cells.  He was put on steroids by the local vet and his lab work sent to the OSU veterinary department for testing.  Nothing came back that would cause his condition of not producing red blood cells, no pathogens or other conditions, so the vet put him on steroids and an anti-inflammatory tabs for two years.  He continued to be active, made his rounds around the property every day, liked to chase the squirrels and the visiting lab puppy from next door.  He ate well, had a set routine of feeding, exercise, and rest.  Slowly over time, his hind legs began to give way - probably arthritis. But he still persevered.  We tried to limit his use of stairs when we noticed his back legs going out from under him.  It wasn't until the very last day that he decided he didn't want to eat, drink, or get up to walk around.  I've been through these signs before with my dad -- his organs were giving out and he was ready to let go.  Both of them, my dad and Skeeter, lived a full and happy life and left this earth on their own terms.  Skeeter will forever be a part of our lives and our property.

We had wrangled with the idea of getting a younger dog for Skeeter to mentor in the last year and weighed the benefits and pluses.  Skeeter was too old to tolerate another dog on the property a we had witnessed from his relationship with a neighbor dog that regularly came over onto our property.  We wanted a two-year old dog, one who would be a good herder for when we get sheep or goats, but we weren't in a hurry to get another pet.  Deep down I wanted a "lap dog" but one that would spend time outside and the evenings inside, small enough to snuggle with. We weren't actively looking, as we were still mourning the loss of Skeeter.  But Skeeter was irreplaceable and we accepted that and were willing to be patient.  

On day on facebook I saw a dog in Watonga available, an Australian mini Shepherd.  I knew the breeder, and arranged to visit the puppy, four months old.  JayC had been bought to learn from the family's existing pet, an elderly Chihuahua mix.  Evidently they didn't get along, the Chihuahua wasn't pleased with having a young pup who wanted to play around.  I visited the puppy twice, then called Andy to come see her.  She was a full-bred Austrailian mini, sweet as could be, though full of energy and a little skittish, but was crate-trained and we were told she was "partially" house trained.  Andy succumbed to my thought that JayC could be a good pet . Between visits to see the dog, we researched the breed -- they are intelligent, very social, likes lots of activity, good with other dogs and cats.  So I asked for her as an early Christmas present.  She was 4 months ago, had all of her shots but had not been neutered.  She rode in the car calmly but was skittish and even submissive, but we knew he was intelligent and we gave her lots of love and spent a lot of time with her both indoors and outdoors.  She runs like a greyhound and jumps like a rabbit.  We are crate training her for overnight and for when we are gone from the house.  We have found her to be a sweet girl, and a smart puppy. We changed her name to Sadie (from the Beatles Sexy Sadie), which has the same sound and syntax as JayC.  I can't help but call her Skeeter and Itzel every once in a while.  During the past three weeks she has been a good companion, does well in the house and likes to explore outside, gets along with the cats if they get along with her. I think Skeeter would approve of Sadie taking his place at the Retreat.