Lazy. Hot. Slow. Summer’s Dance.
All in a day…
A motley duo transformed and made as beautiful on the outside as they are within.
A one year old boy is surrendered, and then reclaimed because his people could not be without him with the understanding that a dog is a member or the family and a promise is a promise. Kids (human or canine) take time to grow up. Patience, perseverance and consistency are the keys. You get out what you put in.
Three Golden girls were spared a life of puppy-making and will, instead, enjoy a life of love and play.
A good Samaritan went out of his way (and wallet) to convince a neglectful and abusive owners to sell him the dog they left chained in the yard.
Before bringing him to us, he took the unbelievably trusting and forgiving Labby boy to the river and showed him that good people do care.
Three grateful Goldens saved from the streets (or worse) traveled more than 6,000 miles to begin a new life.
Three masquerading teeny tiny tots made their way to our Golden Retriever rescue (and my foster home)
because our favorite breed is rescued.
And one hundred and twenty roses were pruned and prepped for a new season thanks to the best-ever gardening crew (only a few are captured here).
Countless little miracles – all in a day.
Find your passion and jump in. Even the muddy water is fine.
Some curses are blessings in disguise. Last fall, I inherited responsibility for taking the dog’s photos for their website profiles. A lot more work, but simple enough? Not so!
For every shot that makes it –
there are dozens more that go into the recycle bin.
I try to get the dogs shortly after they arrive so we can share them as quickly as possible with the team and expedite their going homes. Those first couple of days can be an adjustment for the dogs resulting in sad faces. Some of those looks tug so hard at the heart that they help them get home immediately…like Talulah.
But what I really hope to capture is the dog’s true personality, be it playful, rowdy, sweet, or silly which often means revisiting them over the course of a week or so.
Adorableness is easy-just stick a puppy in front of the lens.
But in sussing out their true selves, I get some of the strangest, goofiest, and loudest looks!
A good assistant is highly recommended. Squeak-makers, tennis balls, and treats are required. Getting at dog eye level means mud and wet are part of the deal. And you had better learn quickly just when to step out of the way lest you get run over.
They can be devilishly frustrating.
I can’t tell you how many times tongues have been stuck out at me.
It is impossible not to smile back at a face like this.
It is time-consuming work, but incredibly rewarding. I get to be one of the first people they meet and watch their personalities transform.
And as their frequent “going home” photographer, I get to bookend their time with us.
A blessing indeed.
Nothing says summer like the color yellow. The spring garden is full of pink, lilac, blue and white. In the autumn, I want depth: oranges, reds, deep purples, golds. But yellow is for summer.
This shaggy rudbeckia grandiflora thrives and returns each year where others fail. It is beautiful in a chaotic, messy way – as if it couldn’t be bothered to fully dress itself or comb its hair in the morning.
“Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.” ~ Sam Keen
I gave up on the drama of planting huge sunflowers. The jack in the beanstalk varieties required constant watering and staking for big floppy heads that wilted and dried almost as soon as they bloomed. So much work – and they seemed out of place.
The Helianthus annuus – or Delta Sunflower – is so carefree that you will find it growing along the freeways in our region. It loves heat, makes do with little water, is not fussy about soil, and it is poetic in its profusion of dancing stems.
It feels right at home in our garden. I’m sure the birds miss the giant seeds – but they have devastated the grapes again – so they can make do!
Helenium looks like little Mexican sombreros to me.
So happy and sunny – it should be a painting!
The daylilies spread their short-lived happiness – from sunrise to sundown.
Gaillardia blankets the garden from June until September,
while beautiful bulbine puts in repeat performances in spring and late summer.
Yellow flies and flutters through the garden. On dragonflies –
even this yellow bird has taken up residence in the garden.
I have not seen it before…a Western Kingbird, I believe.
“How wonderful yellow is. It stands for the sun.” ~ Vincent Van Gogh.
And Yellow Labs, too. 🙂 Meet Carter. He’s looking for home.
I have “met” many interesting people through this blog. Animal lovers. Gardeners. Photographers. Writers. People close to home and people from the four corners of the earth. But never the author of a quote I have shared. Until now.
Recently, a request came to the rescue from the author of the poem “Winter is an Etching.” It was quoted here. Sometimes, a quote inspires a photo; more often, I go searching for a quote to match an image. In this case, I was already familiar with the poem. Its 18 words perfectly capture the seasons that a gardener knows so well:
“Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.” ~ Stanley Horowitz
As soon as I captured the image, I knew that Stanley’s words “winter is an etching” should accompany the photo of the mockingbird taken on a grey, foggy morning in the Memorial Garden.
Stanley wanted to know where, when and how the photo was taken. I was happy to share the details. Through our conversation, I learned that Stanley’s poem was published in the November 1983 issue of Reader’s Digest and that he is working on a new book of poems to be completed this spring. I was curious to read his other writings, so he hunted down a copy of a book he published in 1974 entitled “Behind the Glass.” It is a collection of aphorisms – 400 of Stanley’s observations on everything from nature to human nature.
From an article found online, I learned that Stanley was looking at paintings to inspire his new book of poems about the seasons. How ironic given that Stanley’s words not only inspired my photography but my gardening which – when done well – is painting with nature.
Stanley is a private man, but he allowed me to share our meeting here. And he has allowed me to share his writings from “Behind the Glass” – words I will treasure along with my new friend. Here is the first of many more to come:
“Spring is a picture postcard from heaven.” ~ Stanley Horowitz
“I’m not ready for winter” is the refrain I hear as the fog sets in and the volunteers don their winter wools. But I am. Or nearly so.
The garden is putting on its final show – a glorious crown to a long, hot summer.
As if it saved up all its energy for a final encore, displaying its growing maturity in tall drifts of purple, orange, pink and gold.
By the end of the month, the raising of the beds will be complete,
the dahlias lifted, the bulbs installed for spring, and the remaining leaves turned to mulch. Then, the garden and I will both be ready for a long rest.
“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” ~John Steinbeck
Reading about wildflower seeds, I tried an experiment and set some packets of wild Columbine, heirloom Poppy, and butterfly mixes in the soil and simply stomped them into the ground. If nature can self-sow, why not help her along?
“Over everything connected with autumn there lingers some golden spell—some unseen influence that penetrates the soul with its mysterious power.” ~Northern Advocate
With so many “going-homes,” even the kennel is quieter with room in the inn. It goes in waves this way. Enjoy it while you can; linger longer with each pup until the next transport arrives. You will hear no complaints from them.
“No spring nor summer’s beauty hath such grace
As I have seen in one Autumnal face.” ~ John Donne, “Elegy IX: The Autumnal”
If the tempo of summer is allegro – fall, despite all of its chores, is adagio. A slower pace. A gradual letting go. A last romp in grassy fields and golden sun before the rains and mud.
“Autumn is the hush before winter.” ~ French Proverb