The Return of the Ninja Gardeners

A few brave roses somehow survived frost, hail, and cold and were still attempting to put on a show on a foggy Friday. Such is gardening in Northern California.

But the arrival of crocuses and narcissus signal – it’s time for the roses to go.

Our gardeners are like ninjas; rarely seen – but they leave a trail of weeded and dead-headed beds behind as evidence of their stealth powers. Once a year, I am able to wrangle them together for our annual rose pruning day.

Ina and Dee cheated and snuck in a little early – graciously lightening our load a bit.

I think Ina was afraid that if she did not tackle the iceberg roses personally, we would see a repeat of this summer photo.

Still, with nearly 100 roses, the advance team was appreciated. There was plenty left to tackle. Arriving early on Saturday, we managed to complete all by mid afternoon, despite the impossible distraction of puppies in the yard next door!

And thanks to our ninja hauler – not a trace of clippings was left behind.

Wrangling the group for a photo is a whole different challenge. I have yet to capture the illusive Dee on camera, but the rest of them did not escape my lens – and that includes Nala, our gardening companion for the day.

Thank you gracious gardeners, for another successful prune day. Spring cannot be far away!

Chocolate (Puppy) Love

When a new group of puppies arrived in December, I was the last to know. Seems I have been hogging the puppies of late. Can you blame me? This group has had the good fortune of having Puppy Mama Judy looking after them – and while they are not quite ready to go home, they are all spoken for. Thus, I am allowed to break “puppy silence.”

Mama dog, Lady Godiva, is a beautiful – and young – chocolate Lab.

A few days after giving birth, she was hit by a car. Don’t ask me why a new mama dog was allowed out in traffic; it is beyond me. She needed surgery to save her leg but her people said ‘no, let her go.’ That, of course, would mean the loss of the puppies, as well. They agreed to surrender her and them. A kind vet saved her leg and life – and with it, six more.

She asked for our help and we were delighted to be there.

Mama healed beautifully. Throughout, she nursed and cared for her young charges like a natural with plenty of assistance from Judy and her helpers. I’m not sure if it’s because they had the gift of so much extra time with their true mama, or because they were in the care of such an experienced Puppy Mama, but they are an especially sweet litter of puppies.

They are also big, fat, healthy adorable bundles of chocolate-themed love.

I was finally invited to take photos…as if that would be enough! We needed a full photo and video shoot for the luscious litter and their gorgeous mama, Lady Godiva. She has found her forever home; theirs will follow in a few more weeks. Viewer caution…adorableness ahead! (Note: if you receive this by email and are viewing on a phone, click on the post to view the video…technology!).

Fragility and Resilience

“Life is fragile, like the dew hanging delicately on the grass, crystal drops that will be carried away on the first morning breeze.” ~  Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Sometimes, the most fragile-looking things have the greatest resilience.

A spider’s intricate web is designed to hold its maker, its prey, and a chandelier of droplets ten times its weight.

This tiny frog is everywhere in the garden in the middle of winter, finding shelter and warmth under leave piles and overturned pots.

I wish the same resilience for Taylor – a new arrival.

He looks like a very young dog, but is actually a three-year-old, emaciated boy. His story is not yet written.

We’ll need to determine if there is an unmet physical or emotional need – or if his well-meaning people were just unsure how to help him. Thankfully, they turned to us.

It’s clear that Taylor has put his trust in us, as well.

The garden is quiet and still – in anticipation of more rain and cutting back later in the month.

But the inn is filling up fast; the annual post-holiday flood of dogs. So “going homes” are in order to clear some space. Congratulations to Riggs, Charlie, and Rudy.

Happy lives, all!

Winter Comes

Winter comes. It arrives in its own time – sometimes early; sometimes late.
Winter has finally arrived in the Memorial Garden,

first, with the return of cold and wind…

and then,

much-needed rain. Nothing like the winter that family and friends are experiencing east of us (brrrr). Still, it leaves more time for dogs – and one of my favorite “jobs” at Homeward Bound: going home photos.

Saturday, it was Rover’s day…

and Bandit’s, too.

And then, there was a different photo request: for Cody.

Cody is in hospice care. He has cancer though out his body. His people took him home to spoil and love. Now, he is three weeks past his expected winter – and still enjoying life, admittedly at a little slower pace.

It was my honor to fulfill his people’s wish for photos. And to watch him rest in the garden as he watched the world go by.

“Across the purple sky, all the birds are leaving
But how can they know it’s time for them to go?” ~ Sandy Denny

Winter comes – for all of us.

In its own time.

But not today.