Sunday, November 23, 2014

Canine Cuisine, the Fine Art Thereof

The Good Dog Duke, almost 16 years old, is on the downhill slope of his years. The protector and guardian of Spiritcreek is in his dotage. He can see but not very well. He does not have cataracts but there is a strange blue cast in his eyes. He is effectively deaf. He has lost a significant amount of weight. Afraid to hear what Dr. J might tell me, I waited too long to take Duke in for a check up. Finally, I gathered the courage I needed on behalf of the good old dog, and we went to see Dr. J this week.

The good news is that, based on a routine check up, there is nothing sinister - at least nothing obvious. I have to give Duke a Prilosec for stomach acid 15 minutes before his first meal, and then I serve the good old dog home-cooked human food: hamburger and rice mixed with eggs and cottage cheese, with yogurt and pumpkin thrown in, too. It smells delicious! So far, Duke has been able to keep all of his food down and seems to have already picked up a couple of pounds on this diet.

I keep Duke and Jake separated for most of the day. Jake is a bad, bad dog. He is absolutely willing to fight poor old Duke away from his own bowl! He really whipped old Duke's butt the other day before I could get to them to put a stop to it. Jake has no idea how close he is to being shipped out for good. He is worthless! He hides under the porch whenever anyone comes on the property. The old braveheart still puts himself between the "threat" and me. Duke cannot even flop over in the tallgrass for a delicious, if far less vigorous than former days, backscratching session without Jake bullying him and bulldozing him.

I do not know how much longer the old Duke has. I can hardly bear to think how it will be here without Duke. I will not be nearly as brave going out at night without his constant companionship and his keen senses that have always kept me from being surprised by anything unpleasant (except snakes and spiders). I have already learned to keep a better look out for myself because Duke no longer hears the crunch of gravel at the top of the driveway. Jake hears but he has no interest in barking to let me know we are being invaded.

Dr. J spent a long time discussing the foreseeable future regarding the inevitable. Bottom line, I see that Duke is still enjoying life even though he is losing strength in his hind quarters and he cannot see or hear. He still goes to the barn with me and enjoys running downhill when we come back. He still enjoys a backscratch in the tall grass. He can still get up and down the steps. He does not appear to be in acute pain. Now that he can eat and hold down his food, maybe there are several more years left, even if I have to cook a big pot of food for him every week.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Winter Across the Counties

Bulletproof by necessity, though no guns allowed.
A sycamore, the tallest tree species in Kansas.
Downstream.
The old bridge preserved beside the new bridge.
Back toward the bluff.
It rattled as I walked - scary!
Good for another 100 hundred years!
A tiny bit of color caught my eye in the winter landscape.
The most color I found all day.
I thought they were turkeys, but they are buzzards recycling some unfortunate creature. 

I spent the afternoon driving through Wabaunsee, Lyon and Morris counties. I took my camera in case I happened upon something amazing. I started at Echo Cliff. It is a small park beside the Mission Creek, where a sizable bluff makes a picturesque and unusual setting. Unfortunately, all facilities placed in the park are routinely destroyed by teenagers. The current park installments are made of incredibly heavy welded metal. It will surely slow the vandals down, but it will not stop them.

Follow this link for more information about Echo Park - and better photos!
Kansas Sampler.org

I found an intriguing road somewhere south of Echo Cliff and thought I would explore it for new landscapes. A small hand-lettered sign warned there were surveillance cameras in the area. I prefer to not get shot by a militant landowner, though as far as I could tell it was a public road. I backed all the way out to the township road, where I noticed old clothing lying along both sides of the road - no visible blood stains. I came across the vultures soon after. I tried to prevent my imagination from jumping to conclusions...

Saturday, November 8, 2014

A Beautiful Moonrise

I did not see that fence in the lens!  Far too Dark!

At least the light is correct, but there is that rail again! 

Okay.  Forget it!

This one is nice - if the earth had three moons.

Well, who the hell knows.

Just put the camera away and go home...

Saturday, October 25, 2014

You Ain't From Around These Parts

This morning the visibility to the barn was quite poor.  An autumn fog had settled over everything.

Perhaps you can appreciate the size of this horse from this photo.  He makes Wally look like a pony!

I may have to move away if the population explosion in Jaketown continues unabated!

Rush hour on Jaketown Road.

The view from Jaketown toward my house.  (I live east of the end of the road.)

Nothing is as beautiful as the yellow cottonwoods against the autumn sky.

Crimson Maple leaves are another seasonal delight.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

A Mighty Kansas Man... Dedicated to CyberKit

Johnny Kaw - Stalwart and Kansas Proud in the Manhattan City Park

He is a manly man  - with his mighty... ummmmm... scythe?

And why we always call him Johnny Kawk

My daughter, Masters Degree and all, on the pole....
Oh, Kit, I miss you mightily!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Why I Do Not Visit the Barn After Dark in the Summer

Why, Jackie?  Why not visit the barn at night in warm weather?

I might cross paths with one of these fellows...

Good thing Kit is already gone, because this photo would kill him!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

I Grudgingly Admit a City Can Be Beautiful

Tulsa Skyline

Just After Sunset

If I were a better photographer, you would be admiring the beautiful super moon rising amid the buildings of downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma right now. The placement of the moon was unfortunate because no matter what I did, I also photographed the flash - or my own reflection - in the hotel window. At the time the review of the photographs could only be done from the 2" screen on the back of the camera, I did not realize that the television behind me was also reflecting in the photos. I have 24 photographs of a beautifully lit downtown cityscape with a glowing television screen strategically placed in the intersection of streets. It looks like a hologram magically hanging in midair for the good citizens and visitors of Tulsa. (Good thing my paycheck isn't dependent on my photography skills.)

Downtown Tulsa sits next to the Arkansas River, and the view from the downtown buildings toward the river is beautiful. The only trouble is the enormous refinery that sits on the opposite bank. In its own way, that is beautiful, too, with it's strange industrial geometries.

The mystery of our human evolution amazes me. A mere 200,000 years ago, the blink of an eye in the 4.5 billion years of the earth's existence, we were huddled by the fire, hoping to avoid being eaten by a cave bear. We were wearing skins and stone tools were our highest technology. Now we build big clean cities, awash in light and noise and energy 24 hours a day. Anyone can fly through the air if they have the price of the ticket. There are so many of us that few humans have to worry they will be eaten by a bear. In fact, there is a higher probability of being eaten by a psycho human cannibal than by a bear. Our human consciousness expresses itself so differently than the nature consciousness that ruled the planet for all those long epochs of time before the noise of man was ever heard.

Maybe there are too many of us on the planet now. Or, maybe this is our destiny - to reach a point of saturation so our collective consciousness will ignite. Perhaps together we will make the jump to light, becoming wise in the flash of blinding moment. And maybe we will then be at least smart enough not to destroy the Monarch butterfly, or poison the oceans, or slaughter the great sentient beings living there. If we are not smart enough, perhaps the bears will win the long evolutionary battle after all.