Dog Shaped Love

Since our second vet visit Blue Sky’s paws have healed nicely, I’m happy to say.

I had to wait in the car due to the Covid routine, but the vet called me after she finished with Blue to let me know what was what, and long story short she drained and cleaned the area that must have been infected. I continued with foot soaks for a few more days and no walks for a short while. Now he is back to his normal routine with his normal sparkle.

Westwings Crazy Blue Sky, CGC

The CGC stands for Canine Good Citizen, and the initials can officially be part of their title now.

Vet bills ran almost $600. Could have been way worse. When I was a kid my parents wouldn’t have paid $50 to a vet. It’s a different world now. When you get a dog or cat or rabbit, horse, etc, be prepared to accept the bills that come with your new friend. Food, supplies, grooming, licenses, registrations, classes, insurance if you choose that, and vet bills…it’s a major consideration. Once you have them and you love them with all your heart you will want to give them the best care that you possibly can. They are worth every penny.

Dog-shaped love.

Foxtails

This is the thing I didn’t tell you about when I posted about the camping trip.

Foxtails, and I don’t mean the fluffy appendages that’s hang from the end of foxes.

Here, I picked a bouquet of them for you.

These are wild grasses that grow in abundance in these parts. (I don’t remember foxtails from the first half of my life, in Michigan).

When they are green they are fairly innocent, but when they turn golden and the nasty little arrow shaped seeds come loose, they become monsters. The nasty little arrows have tiny barbs on them… you can’t see them but you can feel them… that cause them to penetrate in the direction of the tip of the arrow. So if the seed gets caught between your dogs toes, or he sniffs one near his nose, or one finds its way into his ear… well, you can guess what happens next.

So of course knowing this, you check frequently, right? I know that Blues feet are foxtail magnets, so I check all the time, between each toe and pad. I removed plenty of them over those 3 days we camped, but they were everywhere. Millions of them.

Millions of foxtails

I was being obsessive about it, like a crazy old woman, picking them off the mat, off the ground in our camp, sweeping the earth, literally with a broom, over and over.

Still, when we got home, after a day or so I could see Blue Sky was having problems. What happens is, that you may be able to pull most of the foxtail out of the poor little ( big) paw, but sometimes just a sliver of it remains stuck inside.

We end up at the vet within a few days and she is able to remove many of the tiny pieces.

Some of the foxtail pieces are taped to this 3×5 card.

She felt there were more still there in his feet that she couldn’t get to yet, so I was to give him pain/anti inflammatory med and soak his feet in epsom salt twice a day.

After about 10 days of this procedure one large lump began to form between his toes. He has another appointment with the vet in a few days. He’s not limping and really not paying too much attention to that paw so I’m thinking he’s not in pain. I’ve added antibiotics to his care, and more frequent soakings of that particular paw.

“Watch this space” (as Rachel Maddow would say), for further updates. And please be aware of foxtails with your pets. If you live in foxtail country check them over after they come anywhere near an area where foxtails might be.

Ugh

Plans Have Changed

In this strange new world we live in, life is different.

Different

As it turns out I won’t be making the trip to Oregon, at least not right now.

Over a month ago when I was planning and making reservations it seemed like Covid was going to level out… flatten the curve, as they say. That didn’t happen. Even before I made plans I wondered if traveling was the right thing to do. I tried to ignore the wondering. There was always this little voice , politely saying ‘do you think you should do this?’

Time passed and the voice got louder.

Now I’ve had a lot of extra anxiety related to the way life is these days and I tried to tell myself that’s what the voice was about and I went on planning.

Gosh, I just finished a 3 month Zoom class that tried to teach me about my intuition, and how to recognize it, trust it, use it.

DUH!

The voice inside became irritating. It was giving me no peace. I was pacing my house, feeling uneasy about this trip, but it took 3 friends in one day pointing out to me what was happening before I would listen to my higher self, my intuition, telling me ‘traveling just for the heck of it right now is not in anyone’s best interest!’

I was a perfect example of how to ignore, not trust, and not use, my intuition! It was a good lesson.

I finally listened and accepted the wisdom I didn’t want to hear. As Covid rages through California right now, it would be irresponsible of me to travel cross country just because I feel like it. We are in this fix because this disease wasn’t taken seriously. It’s going to get worse before it gets better and people are going to keep dying unnecessarily and I can at least do my part and stay home for awhile longer. Life IS different now.

I’m not judging, ok? We will all do what we need to do. And we all have that intuitive voice and can practice paying attention to it in our daily life.

After I made the decision to stay home, I have to say that little voice that was no longer being polite but doing the equivalent of singing ‘99 Bottles Of Beer On The Wall’ loudly and non stop, finally shut up and I have relative peace.

At the same time I feel sadness about not going to see my friend. I REALLY wanted to visit with her and we wanted our dogs to meet.

Later. I hope.

Joy, Mirabel, Kate, me. I finally told you their real names.

The last time we were together. Joy was still with me. Blue Sky wasn’t born yet.

Miss you Kate and Mirabel.

Pros and Cons of Tenting

Lots of them!

Our campsite

Blue Sky and I left home July 2, planning to return on the 6th or 7th. Instead, we returned on the 5th.

Another view

First let me focus on the positive. 1. Being in nature. There were birds and deer to talk to. Oh, and wild pigs. More about the piggies later.

Mama and 2 fawns
Magpie?

And no mosquitoes to speak of. Yay!

2. I didn’t have to back a travel trailer into a campsite. Four years of attempting that with my Casita, and my gpa remained between a D and an F.

However I AM capable of backing up my little Subaru Crosstrek, slowly, with minimal stress.

3. No fireworks! Not a one, to frighten Blue on his first camping trip. As dry as it is, a person would have to be out of their mind to set one off there,but …that’s not a rare condition…

4. The tent section of the campground was sparsely populated over the holiday weekend. You could hear a pin drop. The area where most of the RV’s were was crazy busy, with lots of people wandering around, and loud music. much harder to social distance there.

5. Nights were cool and comfortable

Below are the problems we encountered. Some of these were kinks that need to be worked out. Some were unavoidable and related to location and/or pandemic.

1. Too damn hot! For years I traipsed around the country avoiding heat. I did a pretty good job of it too. (‘Heat’ means 80+ to me). this time I drove right into 90+ degrees, when it was a breezy coastal 65 degrees at home. I don’t do well in heat, and neither does any dog I’ve known.

Hot Blue
Mary’s little rescue dog, Sugar

2. The store at the campground was closed due to the pandemic so I couldn’t buy ice for my cooler. After the first day my food got warmer and warmer.

3. The campgrounds free internet only works at the lodge. The lodge was closed, again due to the pandemic. I finally figured out how to purchase internet, 4 days for $10, and that didn’t work anywhere near my campsite either. In fact, it also only seemed to work near the lodge.

5. Pigs. Yes, wild pigs.

The 3 ‘little’ pigs

There was a HUGE mama, and 3 youngsters, larger than Blue that wandered the campground, including peoples campsites, mostly from dawn to dusk, but even during the day.

One of the youngsters

Mary sleeps in her car, but puts up a small tent where she keeps her stuff, including food. The pigs made repeated visits to our campsite and raided her tent, made a good sized hole in it and stole food. She had to throw the tent away. I constantly worried about Blue confronting them during the daylight hours.

NOT ok

6. I managed to take 2 hefty falls while setting up my tent, due to being anxious and careless. Dumb mistakes. I didn’t get hurt, but I could have.

7. In my tent car setup, the car tailgate remains open, and the tent attaches over it. In an attempt to make all the car lights go off so I wouldn’t drain the battery, I messed with the tailgate latch. When I was getting ready to leave I discovered the latch no longer was working. I went into a small panic. Mary to the rescue! Her phone worked due to having Verizon rather than AT&T, and she found You Tube videos that helped her figure out how to fix it. Yay Mary! Thank you! I’m still not sure why it started working again, I just know I dare not fiddle with the tailgate latch!

Another positive… full moon from my tent door.

7. My sleep area in the back of my car was NOT even a little bit comfortable. I guess I forgot I’m not 20 anymore… or 30 or 40, etc. I need soft, soft, soft, and many pillows. Arriving from Amazon today will be a 3 inch memory foam mattress topper. I should be able to form it to fit the whole back area of my car when the back seat is flat.

That has GOT to help, right??

And a doe with triplets!

Shake Down

I’ve been concerned about taking a distant trip tent/car camping, having so little and long ago experience, sooooo….

Before we go to Oregon we will be accompanying Mary on a shorter trip nearby.

My friend Mary is a pro at car/tent camping and is a long time Thousand Trails member. There happens to be a TT campground about 50 miles away, so we are planning to spend a few nights there, coming up soon.

This was another 4th of July with Mary at TT.

Thank you to those who posted here about what to pack. (Carol, darn if that potty isn’t available anywhere right now! I like it! 😁). There were many helpful ideas and reminders.

My thoughts right now?

1. Remember for me it’s all about the dog. Blue isn’t THAT crazy about getting into or traveling in the car. This is a huge concern for me. I want him to be a happy camper. If Blue Sky is happy, mommy is happy.

2. Wow this is a lot of work! A big plus for full timing in a trailer, I didn’t have to pack or unpack. Right now I have a growing pile of ‘stuff’ in my living space. I’m trying to organize it.

This doesn’t include dog supplies, cloths, personal items, food, chair, sleeping bag or cooler, to name a few.

3. Last but not least, Covid 19. I’m going to be taking great precautions to be safe. I’ll be wearing a mask, using wipes, gloves, and hand sanitizer, and will be mainly outside. Mary and I will have our own vehicles and tents and I have no desire to get within 6 feet of any unknown person. But it makes me anxious. Hey I’m old. That gives me a higher risk. In my other life ( before retirement) I was an RN, so I really do get being safe. I was circulating or scrub nurse in many surgeries and I know how easily contamination and transmission happens. I will be careful. But I’m very concerned.

The world is different now. In SO many ways.

BLUE SKY

Camping, A Whole New Ballgame

I sure was spoiled, “camping” in my Casita. Except, see, I didn’t consider it camping.

For me, it was just living my life with Joy and Shiloh while satisfying my Wandering Spirit. I wasn’t on vacation. It wasn’t important to burn marshmallows over a campfire every evening. A fire every once in awhile was nice though.

Now as I get ready for this first adventure to Oregon, it’s a whole new ballgame. This, for the most part, is a camping trip. (Although motels will he involved).

I ordered 2 tents through Amazon. I wanted to go to REI and see tents and talk to someone who knows about tents, but REI by me is only doing drive by pick ups so I tried to figure it out by reading.

Oh I have the damn Clam. Most people like these things. It’s sort of a sun/bug shelter screen room that is supposed to set up in 45 seconds but takes me an hour, and provides loads of entertainment to Blue Sky. Shiloh used to get quite a kick out of watching the show too.

Here is the Clam. Looks easy enough, doesn’t it? HA!

The first tent I ordered is a 3 person Coleman Sun Dome. The thought behind this one was, sleep in the back of the car, and put stuff in the tent.

Blue eating dinner in the Coleman Sun Dome

It turned out to be easy to set up, and nice and basic. I can’t stand up straight in it, but it’s big enough for Blue and I to be comfortable inside.

But then, I also got this one.

The car would attach to it on the left.

This is a Rightline Gear SUV tent. It attaches to the open back of the Crosstrek. It’s larger, at 8×8, and someone way taller than I am can stand up in it. I set it up on a breezy day and sometimes it wanted to be a kite, but I managed. It was a little harder to set up than the Coleman, but nothing compared to the &$@?! Clam. I haven’t hooked it up to the car though. I don’t have a good place to try that. Also, when camping you can detach it from the car and it stands alone, as you see it in the picture.

This is all great as long as the aches and pains are held at bay. I’ve had some experience truck camping but very little experience tent camping.

Who starts tent camping at age 71, ANYWAY???😂 (not quite yet, but I will be by the time we leave).

I also acquired a Thule Sidekick cargo carrier.

Thule Sidekick

It’s smaller than many that you see but Crosstrek is a small SUV and I don’t want anything hanging out over the front.

I put it together myself but my much taller friend Mike put it on top of the car. I can get things in and out of it by opening the car door and standing on the side. I will also pack a folding step, which will help and always comes in handy when you are 5-2.

I have 2 different weight sleeping bags and my old patio mat. I’ve ordered a one burner Coleman stove. Not the one that sits atop the propane bottle, as I’m sure I’d knock that over. I’ve ordered a tarp to set a tent on and a mat for inside the tent to help protect the floor from dog nails. I ordered 2 small but powerful lanterns. I have a sm/med sized cooler… not the fancy kind…that will fit on the floor of the back seat.

I have basic tools and first aid supplies. Anyone have suggestions for what else is needed?

Like I said… a whole new ballgame! 🏕

So This Is What Happened…

 

My friend Ruth, from Caballo Loco Ranch, called a month or so ago.

Ruth with her horses up on the mountain at CLR.

We have keep in touch, and she is back home in Wisconsin for the summer. She told me that my much beloved site on the mountain at CLR is available.

Sunset view from ‘my’ mountain.

Pat, who learned about CLR from reading this blog, had been staying up there, but has recently moved to a different site, leaving my old site empty. There are actually 2 sites up on that mountain. No one else was staying up there when I was there, but someone is in the other site now. That makes things quite different. In fact the whole ranch is quite different than it was when I left. For the first time in many years, the place is relatively full. Well, it will be in the winter. More about that another time.

Another much appreciated sunset.

Back to the story. I miss the ranch. I have some beautiful memories of the place and the people. The memories all revolve around Joy and Shiloh though.

❤️

But now I have Blue Sky, and he needs the CLR experience.

Blue at the beach

I need to go back. for both of us. My heart said ‘go’ right away.

My friend Mary, who was only there for a few days, also loved the place, and has talked about going back, ever since. I asked her if she wanted to go in with me on the lease price. ‘Yes!!’ She didn’t hesitate. So I contacted Jim Steinman, the ranch owner, and inquired about the site  

The place has become popular, but due to the fact that I was a well behaved past resident 😁, I got my spot back! Yippee!

Well I have one minor problem. Neither Mary nor I have an RV to live in up there now. It’s not the kind of place you want to pitch a tent because the wind will blow you away. (There is a yurt on the ranch now but it’s in a more protected place, not on top of a mountain.)

I felt like something would work out.

It did. 😀

Remember this? It’s the road leading to the ranch. Had a lot of traffic that day. :-))

If you remember our CLR days, you probably remember our ranch friends Fred and Colleen from North Dakota. They helped me so much when I was there before… well that hasn’t changed. They have a beautiful RV planted out there at the ranch, hooked up to lots of solar power, in a lovely spot. They also have another lovely RV that they travel in between home and ranch. Last year they rented another site for it to sit on for the winter. As it turns out, this winter they will be putting it on the site on the mountain, and Mary and I can use it to live in! They won’t need to rent a second site, and I’ll have a place to stay. Works out for everybody! Yippee again!!

You can probably guess that I am pretty darn excited about this!

Colleen and Fred at Fred’s surprise birthday
party at the ranch clubhouse a few years back.

So lots of planning to do, starting with the trip to Oregon in July. I’ll be sharing the planning with you as time goes by. Maybe you will have suggestions…

Meanwhile, yesterday we had a doggie birthday party, since Blue and his sister Katie turned 2. They have dog friends from classes we have been attending, and they all get along great!

Waiting for birthday cake. From left, Riley, Blue, JoeE, Katie back there, Army, and Jack. Swimming pool was set up there behind them.
The cake went so fast that we didn’t get a picture of it! 😂

Fun times! Take care. Be back soon…❤️

Hi, Is Anybody There?

I left off writing here on December 12, 2019, with “Ode To Joy”. I didn’t intend to do that. It just happened. I’m sure you thought I fell off the face of the earth, but nope. I’m back.

So is Blue Sky!

You also may have thought I was finished with wandering. I certainly thought so. But nope to that too, as it turns out.

Once a Wandering Spirit, always a Wandering Spirit, it seems.

But there is no more Casita, and there is no more F-150, aka Joy Ride. There is just Blues Starz, my little Subaru Crosstrek. And there will be a tent, but I haven’t chosen it yet.

The first trip being planned with this setup, will be to Oregon to visit “Kerry” and her dog “Annabel” ( not their real names). These were friends we made (Joy, Shiloh and I) early in our previous travel adventures, when this blog was called One Wandering Spirit. ( misnamed, should have been Three Wandering Spirits). Kerry is now camp hosting at a National Forest near Sisters, Oregon, and she invited Blue Sky and I for a visit. Joy and Shiloh will be there too…in Spirit. They are always with us, I’ve discovered.

2020 has been an eye-opener of a year, hasn’t it? I hope anyone who might be reading this is healthy, and has made their way intact through sheltering at home, where ever home may be. If you are protesting, please be safe.

I’ve spent a lot of time making masks to give away…over 200 of them now.

Masks like this.

I’ve been enjoying that, as its kind of a ‘pay it forward’ thing for me, for some of the kindnesses that have come my way in life. I’ve also started taking some on line/Zoom classes about developing intuition and animal communication, and it’s…well…pretty mind blowing, to tell you the truth. More about that another time. My teacher is Dr Cara Gubbins, and you can find her easily on You Tube if you are curious.

From my garden!

Oregon isn’t the only trip I’m planning though. I’m going to be spending some time at CLR, that’s Caballo Loco Ranch in Arizona this winter. That’s the place I spent a lot of time at in the past, and loved so much. That’s a great big story and I want to tell you all about it another time soon!

I NEED to write! I LIKE to write! I’ll be back here. I hope you will be too. Our planet, our world, the US, ALL of us together….are in a tough place right now. But there is still so much to be grateful for, and on many levels, life is still good.

You might be like me, and there is no other human to hug right now, but I can still hug my Blue Sky (what would I do without him??), hey and I can hug myself, and I send virtual hugs to you all. Take care. I’ll be back soon.

Ode To Joy

,,Yes I know that has already been written. By Beethoven, no less. But he didn’t know the Joy I’m referring too. After Shiloh went to the Rainbow Bridge, I wrote Ode To Shiloh, which turned out to be a really nice poem. The verses came to me like gifts, for days. Nothing like that happened after Joy departed, but then, they were so different…

This is the season when we hear the word ‘joy’ so often. i collected things that said ‘Joy’ during her life.

.

Here are a few.

For me, it will never be just a word again. From 2003 she was my furry companion, child, and teacher. I tried to be her teacher but that didn’t work so well. The trainer I took her to didn’t help much. She told me ‘ I worry about dogs like this, because these are the kind of dogs that end up in the pound’. I told her she could stop worrying about that for this dog. She didn’t have a clue.

Joy truly and perfectly embodied the word ‘JOY’.

I was so privileged to be her mom and share her life! I couldn’t be around her and be sad for long. My friends Laura and Joel nicknamed her ‘ Joy-Buzzer’ and it fit.

She was SO smart, and that personality wasn’t always easy…as some may remember ;-). But no matter how much trouble she caused, she ALWAYS made me smile, and laugh….at myself…at her, and at life in general.

If I was sad, or she found me crying, what I got from her was, “Mom! You are sad? Don’t be sad! Life is GOOD! No, no! Life is FANTASTIC! Life is fun-fun-fun! Let’s play! Where’s the ball? Let’s do zoomies! I love you, so be happy!”

(Shiloh was the comforter…the one who put his head in my lap and let me hug him, and the one who would help me up when I fell down, literally. )

And I was so blessed because that girl loved ME! That spectacular, intelligent, Beautiful, and overwhelmingly happy and loving Spirit of Lady Joy Belle Bojangles ( oh so appropriately named by yours truly) loved me. And she still does, from somewhere out there. And as long as there is me, I’ll be loving her.

After Shiloh left us, things were different. She wasn’t well, though she did ‘put on’ Joy as she felt it was necessary, but she (along with me) missed him so much.

Constant companions.

So she did the joyous thing…the right thing…she joined him 2 months and 5 days later.

She covered all her bases as usual though…she made sure I had a puppy….she even picked him out and named him herself from the Rainbow Bridge, as the true pack leader she was.

Blue Sky arrived from Phoenix, Arizona 12 days after Joy left…I had a little time to….adjust….I guess you’d say.

And then this little guy took all my time and attention. I’ll always mourn Joy and Shiloh…not a day goes by that my heart doesn’t break for their loss…but I have my Blue Sky, and always having a Blue Sky is sort of like always having Joy. His personality has become a kind of delicious combo of Joy and Shiloh, which I never would have thought possible, but here he is.

So my extraordinary, sweet Joy Belle didn’t leave me alone. She stayed when the younger Shiloh had to go, and she picked my next perfect companion.

JOY, still in my heart…yet so terribly missed. Today. Always. I love you so much.

It’s Been Forever….I’ve had all these thoughts about things I want to share with you….and then I don’t.

Then there becomes so many, and I don’t know where to start.

At 16 months, Blue Sky is all grown up. This is his new bed.

Here he is with has sister, Katie. He’s on the right.

My knee is back to ‘normal’, which isn’t great but it’s better than broken! At first our walks were very short, then they got a bit loner, but only on paved areas. Now I’m walking on trails, but we’ve only been back to the beach once so far, and that was with Blues dog class. Blue and I haven’t been back to ‘our’ beach yet, but it will happen.

We miss it.

October is beautiful here. It’s more or less our summer, with temps around 70 and not much fog.

We do have some color change.

But not like this.

That’s Shiloh in the drivers seat, Joy is in the back…waiting for her Joy Ride.

There pictures are in California however, over by Mt Whitney, from when we took a ride down Hwy 395. I’d be lying if I said these memories don’t pull at my heart strings, big time.

There’s so much beauty to see out there! SO MUCH. The earth, in its natural condition, is…rapturous. Many of the things and places I’ve seen are far beyond what words can express.

I have no regrets about my four years of travel. I thought it would be longer, but four years is how it worked out, and how it was meant to be.

I hear from Bob and Deb occasionally…the people who made Wandering Spirit part of their family. ( That was my Casita travel trailer). Wandering Spirit, as WS Pearl, continues to explore the beauty with her people…and dog people too.

They spent some times hiking by the Tetons recently.

And sent me some pictures. Wow.

And then this happened, somewhere under the rainbow.

They told me a story that touched my heart. While camping near the Tetons, they saw another Casita camped there, and went to investigate, which often happens with Casita folks. It turned out to be a solo female full timer, who was just starting her journey, and they began talking. Bob and Deb told her they bought their Casita from a solo female full timer. She asked them ‘was her name Micky?’

As it turned out she’s read my blog for years and was inspired to go on the road because of it. She never left a comment or anything, just read, and studied, and prepared, and did it!

So hello Glenda, if you are still reading! That makes me so happy! If I helped just one person realize it is possible, and realize their dream, I’m thrilled! Maybe there are others. I hope so!

If you are reading this now and are not sure what this is all about, check out my first blog, http://www.onewanderingspirit.wordpress.com for hundreds of posts about adventures with my two sweet traveling companions, Joy and Shiloh. So no, I wasn’t really solo, I had my two buddies who shared that Wandering Spirit with me.

Camped at The Grand Canyon, loving every second. Top picture, Joy left, Shiloh right. Second picture just the opposite.

These are the sweet spirits that are still with Blue and I…and always will be. Missing them is part of me, but I’m healing. I’m beginning to feel more like …I don’t know…like me. It’s taken a long time but I’m starting to feel like it’s ok to be here without their physical selves…for awhile. (They went to the Rainbow Bridge in May and July of 2018).Their spirits are always close and I’m sure Blue Sky knows them well by now.

I don’t know what I would have done without Blue, and the life path he is leading me on. Dogs are just the most amazing beings! I stand by the belief that they are wise in their own ways, that are sometimes far beyond ours. Many times actually. And we are with our particular dog/dogs for a reason. They have much to teach us, if we pay attention.

So life is a lot of things, but one of those things is, good. Life is good. You might be on the road, awed by the spectacular, or you might be in your own back yard listening to birds sing. Where ever you are, seek out the beauty of nature as much as possible. If you have eyes, see it. If you have ears, listen to it…but always feel it, in your soul.