Mama Always Said

Mama always said you cannot pair orange and pink. She was wrong.

The apricot and pink tulips in the Memorial Garden are a stunning combination.

The birds know…

spring has arrived. Our rose arbor is beautifully rebuilt, and the fruit trees are beginning to blossom.

What I wish Mama had told me was that the alpacas and goats – sent to new homes this winter after Jody’s passing – were the safety plan for the hibernating tortoises.

These beautiful, fifty-year-old creatures had been in Jody’s care for the past several years. When she could not care for them last summer, I looked after them with near daily runs of fresh fruit, greens, corn, and dunks in their pond.

One of their favorites: rose petals. There were four bushes in their enclosure – one for each tortoise. And I made sure that the petals were on weekend breakfast meals.

When they came to wake the tortoises and move them to a new home, they found them dead. I won’t go into it; the tale is too sad. Suffice to say that the hooves of the alpacas and goats protected against marauders. It was a heartbreaking discovery.

This weekend, I moved their roses to the Memorial Garden. I brought with them the four pieces of tortoise art including one heavy stone statue that had long ago lost its head. It was presumed lost but when I picked up the tortoise planter I found it had been stuffed deep inside there long ago. A little gorilla glue should take care of that. If only there were a fix for the dearly departed.

They will be remembered here.

On a happier note: an update on Jody’s garden. A team did come together and in two weeks, amazing progress has been made. The weeds have been beaten back, the raised beds cleared, and the orchard restored. With the jungle cleared, I was able to trace the irrigation system and reset the timers. There is more to do, but we are on the way.

It will be up to the team to determine what to plant: a vegetable gardener – I am not. We will look to donate the surplus to a local food pantry. A small offering of goodwill to the community that has been so supportive of us.

We’ll need that continued support as we are presently swimming in dogs! The expected impact from the pandemic has arrived and their faces are not just Golden, but red, white, brown, black and spotted. Hopefully, we will not see a return to the last recession years when we were taking in 800 dogs a year. But our welcome mat is out and we have LOTS of waiting families.

14 comments

  1. Mary Tonningsen

    It w as a pleasure (except for the sad parts) to read that! It also took me back to 2nd grade (1959?) for a moment, then quickly on to the 1970s. In 2nd grade, we were making placemats on looms that one of the dads made for everyone. I chose yarn that was purple and orange, which I loved together. The teacher would not let me do it, telling me that those colors did not go together! I was furious, but not as rebellious then as I was in the 3rd grade (and for the rest of my life!). I don’t remember what colors I settled on, probably because I hated it, but the teacher was happy. Next thing I know, it’s the ’70s and orange and purple were a common combo of colors! I was in my 20s by then and doing pretty much whatever I wanted. All of my bedroom furniture was painted in high-gloss orange, curtains and bedspread were cool purples, magenta. and orange bedspreads imported from India available at ‘Cost Plus’ (now World Market, I think). I was in heaven!! LOL! I had that furniture for years, and now that I think of it, a couple of pieces (nightstand and mirror) are still tucked away in the garage. I may have to clean out the garage…. soon! Thanks for the great story of the garden and the brain-jogging!

  2. derrycats

    That is so sad about the tortoises…I’m so sorry. And are you saying that people are starting to return dogs now? That’s something that has been feared by all rescues when so many adoptions went out last year with people home all day.

    • Our adopters are not returning dogs. What we are seeing are surrenders for economic hardship and losing homes; abandoned and stray; and all those pandemic puppies now turned into wild one year olds.

  3. Array

    Oh so sad about the tortoises 😦 Beautiful pictures of the garden and the sweet souls that are looking for loving families. How is Skye doing? HBGRR is always in our thoughts. Golden hugs from Poe and family.

    • Skye is making great progress! Staples out…cone off (mostly!) and he is gaining strength every day. We do it all again in six weeks. 😦 But he will be better-than-new when we are done.

  4. I love the photos of the tortoise smorgasbord of fruit and veg. I’m so terribly sorry to hear of their demise. That must have been such a sad discovery for all of you. I’m happy to hear the garden is coming together and that another season is upon us. I had no idea you had 800 dogs in a year at one time. That is sobering. One of the unhoused women I serve told us she was letting her dog have a litter of puppies before she was spayed. I suggested it would be better for the dogs health if she had her spayed now but she was undeterred. She can’t care for herself, let alone a dog, let alone a dog about to go into heat. It happens everywhere. Best of luck for the days ahead. Thank you for sharing your beautiful words and photos, and most of all, for your endless love and dedication for all living things.

  5. Kim

    I’m so sorry to hear about the tortoises. Thank you for caring for them at the ranch.
    Beautiful photos of the gardens!

  6. I’m so sorry about the tortoises! That’s so sad. Thank goodness you have some good news, too, though. The gardens are looking beautiful already. Thank you for being there for the dogs who need you!

  7. Life and death, good news and bad news. This has certainly been a year to test all of our metal. I am so sorry for your loss. I must admit your glue and move made me smile because they may be gone but definitely not forgotten. The vegetable beds look restored and ready to go. I am sure volunteers will be rewarded with satisfaction for their donations to the community. You folks do amazing work.

  8. Jana Hook

    Oh no. So sad about the tortoises. I am glad you are honoring them in the Memorial Garden. It was a beautiful picture of the four tortoises’ having a smorgasbord of fruits, veggies and rose pedals. The garden looks beautiful as always!

  9. I’m just so sorry to hear about the tortoises! I have a 13-year old Sulcata and a 25 year-old box tortoise, and even though we are pretty protected in our residential neighborhood, I am always relieved when they emerge from their hibernation. I worry some. Your garden is, as always, beautiful. I really admire the work you do with these wonderful dogs!

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