Monday, November 26, 2007

Blessed is the season which engages the
whole world in a conspiracy of love.
~Hamilton Wright Mabie


Poinsettias are now a holiday tradition, but did you
know they are actually native to Mexico and Central
America where they grow in the wooded areas and
hillsides? In the wild they grow much larger, often up
to 16 feet tall. An American diplomat brought the plant
to the US in the 1820's, but it took over 100 years for
it to be developed into a commercial plant.

I lived in Hawaii in 1985-86 and the house I shared with some friends from work had one of these 16' poinsettias growing in the yard. Across the street was a mango tree easily 3 times that. The bougainvilla was what caught my mom's eye when they were there for a visit.

At the bottom of the hillside were sugar cane fields that were burned off after harvest and it made an awful red ash that dusted the air and landed mainly on the louvered windows and screens which stayed open all year round. It turned the wash water a blood RED when they were being cleaned. When I first heard it was due to the cane dust, I thought they meant volcano. Not hurricane dust either (if there could be such a thing). Sugar cane was the culprit that time.

Monday, November 5, 2007

My Poodle Pack

The Mishka, the Mooshka, and the Mouseketeer
(the tri-bred, the purebred, and the in-bred)

The new baby is Sweat Pea, a two year-old toy almost the same color as Boo, just a tad pinker. Not red but still Apricot. Boo's 12 lbs and with his coat on, looks 3xs bigger than this little Orphan I brought home a few weeks ago. But the sweepie one is right between Mishka's orange and Boo's tan color.

Chere's Story:

An older man died in a town near here and there were SEVENTEEN toy poodles found in his trailer. He was breeding them, or allowing them to inbreed--depending on the story you hear. This one was in the want ads for free and I called out of curiosity. Nine times out of ten it's a 'bait and switch' ad, or already taken, but not this time. This time the number was a local one and turned out to be right outside of town, less than a mile from here. When she said 'apricot', I knew I had to at least take a peek and see why someone was giving her away.

Less than ten minutes later I was pulling up with the Mishka and the Booshka and the pet carrier--which just happened to be in the back seat at the time. Boo and Mi stayed in the car as I got out to meet the lady who came out to greet us. She was holding what looked like Boo at about 3-4 mos old. Precious! And teeny (scrawny!), frail, and very very timid.

Rona, I come to find out had taken Sweet Pea from a nearby acquaintance who had somehow acquired her from the people who were getting rid of these poodle pups. They had been keeping her in a box on the porch and really wasn't being handled or socialized well. So she had taken pity and adopted her. Well she really wasn't fitting in so well with the three pugs who ruled the roost at that home, so the ad ended up in the paper. But fitting in with my pack was going to be a whole different story, because she was perfect for them. A tiny dog no bigger than the 9 month Mishka (6 lbs), but looking exactly like Boobear. How could I not have her? Despite being the little mouse, it was love at first sight.

She's a darling, looking like a new born lamb, but my first worry was that being an intact female she could be pregnant or would go into heat. So we got her into the hospital the same week for spaying and vacines. The vet said she's 2 years old, 5.8 lbs, but says she'll start to fill out with some good nutrition.

Whether or not the dogs were malnurished, inbred, or just generally unkempt, someone had taken it upon themselves to clip her down (horribly). She must have been matted pretty badly to get the kind of chop job she came with, but she's had a proper grooming and hopefully with good food and regular meals will grow a nice wooly coat this winter, just like a little lamb.

Centre Country PAWS has the older poodles with adoptions pending. Eva looks like she could be Sweepie's mom.

UPDATE: Sweepie's name has evolved into Fifi, while Mishka (Mooshka, Mouseketeer) has evolved into Mimi Moo, and Boo is still my BooBoo Bear (like Yogi's little friend). My poodle pack.