The Natural World around me!

I have gone on a couple of photoshoots since the reopening from quarantine. Each was outside and I mostly stayed to myself. Usually, after an outing, my CTD group likes to grab a bite to eat. I’m not there yet and pass on the friendly banter with my fellow photogs.

Old Fair Oaks Village provided the backdrop of my first time out with my friends. Easy for me since it is about 5 minutes away.

Why did the chicken cross the road?

WPA Rock Garden and Land Park Pond provided a nice opportunity to get out and use my Fujifilm 80mm 2.8 macro lens with my Fuji xt2.

I captured the magenta and green combination in the morning light.

Walking around William Land Regional Park I find all kinds of wildlife enjoying the pond. Dragonflies, ducks, and turtles all using the pond in peace.

Since none of the Lotus flowers were in bloom I headed over to Vedanta Society of Sacramento.

Now this is how to keep social distance when meeting friends.

The Sacramento Zoo has now reopened. As a zoo member, I was invited to preview the new format as it reopens. Only members were allowed during the first two days with a set appointment time. CoVid 19 guidelines are stated online. As I entered the zoo I was reminded to stay with my flock, wear a mask, and stay 6 feet away from others. I had a 1pm appointment time. Not my usual zoo time since I like to visit first thing in the morning. I was lucky, and the weather was very mild. Perfect.

The zoo has been closed for 3 months, but the facility has been making some changes to accommodate new zoo occupants. Flamingos welcome the visitors.

I’m practicing social distancing!

And these flamingos have gotten all sorts of mixed signals. It’s confusing! And possibly not in the best interest of the flock, or in the case of flamingos a flamboyance.

Black Crowned Cranes are dealing with issues.
Ok. All is good with Black Crowned Cranes.
Got an itch.

An ostrich, a duck, an emu, and a Himalayan Monal all walk into a …….

Don’t bother me, I’m napping.

Usually, when I arrive at the zoo in the morning the Red Panda is sleeping. Found this one ready to pose for a close-up.

I wonder what the front of this animal looks like?
Here is an Okapi. One of two that reside at the zoo.
Just hangin’ out. Glad to see visitors.

New residents here at the zoo.

A new giraffe joins the tower.
American Alligator takes his place at the Sacramento Zoo.

As a nod to Tom Paxton and the cd Goin’to the Zoo I’ll call this “Allen gator. A little alligator with a great big bite, he was Allen gator he wanted to do what’s right!”

And I hope that everyone does what’s right!!!

Charlie meets the world!

As a new puppy owner, I know that all puppies need to be protected from Parvo/Distemper, so being quarantined at home did not concern me. Sunset VCA takes precautions to keep everyone safe because of CoVid 19. We park in a numbered space and call. My vet sends out a technician to carry Charlie into the building. I am surprised that he goes along with this. I have not actually met Dr. Wallace, but my friend recommends all the vets here. At 16 weeks he has all his puppy shots, and Charlie can take walks in our neighborhood.

Master of the backyard!

In the past few days, he met some of my neighbors in a more personal way. My leash is 6 feet long, and he shows interest in the people he encounters. I know that his socialization has been slowed by this pandemic, but I think he is making up for lost time. His tail is wagging, and Charlie takes two steps forward, and three backward. Playing this little game. After 5 minutes he is ready to give some puppy love. That means puppy kisses on the toes.

With Libby, I enrolled her in Puppy Kindergarten at 10 weeks. This time around I relied on some books, and BAXTER & Bella Online Training. I heard of this program from my breeder Jo at Serenity Springs Labradoodles. I tuned into lesson 4 – Puppy Games, and we played some games. The focus of these games were commands for “Leave It”, “Find It”, “Come”, and “Watch me”. I learned a new way to reinforce these learned commands. I just started a 6-week course of Puppy Class with Charlie.

Something spooked Charlie during our first walk around the block. I think it was a truck driving past us.

This truck looks so large next to a puppy.

So now we are taking it slow and practicing loose leash walking to our mailbox. When he is outside, treats have less of an effect. He doesn’t want to lose sight of his house. I usually take one step and stop until Charlie realizes that if he wants to continue to move he needs to watch me. I also change direction on Charlie and we make our way back home in a zig-zag way.

From the end of the road the house looks so very far away from a puppy perspective.

My neighbor has two Golden Retrievers, and the other day Bailey came over for a playdate. It went well. Bailey has a 1-year-old Golden named Phoebe who usually gets her way, so he is used to puppy energy. He chased Charlie and Charlie got nice and tired out.

A couple of times a day we practice various commands. Baxter & Bella describes 4 puppy zones: Calm, Playful, Energized, and Over Threshold. Before Charlie gets wild, I start a training session. Puppy push-ups (sit, down, sit). Touch, Settle, Watch Me. Come. Stay. Quiet (Shhh).

Now when Charlie goes for his car ride he sits safely in the back seat. I have a seat cover that connects with the front seat to create a hammock effect. His harness is buckled into the existing seat belt.

Charlie’s new harness. Looking Good!

A couple of barks, and then quiet. But those sharp little barks are startling to a driver. It takes time to prepare for our time in town. Treats, check. Water, check. Water dish, check but forgot to take it out of the car. Poop bags, check. Not sure if Charlie will need this since he just went.

So the plan was to meet my daughter, and 4 grandsons in downtown Fair Oaks (about 5 minutes from my house) around 10 a.m. In Fair Oaks, I need to take notice of the weather. Too hot, and little paws may burn. Didn’t expect the sensory overload upon arriving on Main Street. Fair Oaks is known for its wild chickens and roosters wandering all over town.

Rooster crowing at the break of dawn, and any other time!

My dog Libby immediately was amused and wanted to make friends by chasing chickens. Charlie heard the rooster’s crowing and then pretty much ignored them.

Cars and trucks passing on the road was another thing. Recognize any of these models?

This car is not going anywhere! LOL

We passed a quiet guitar player sitting on a bench until a pickup truck pulled in with his stereo blasting. The driver left the music on and told the guitar player that he should be playing along with the stereo.

Stopped in its place. Flat tire isn’t the only problem.
This truck does not have loud speakers so it was put out to pasture!
Making a very CLEAR statement!

Problematic was the 3 loud motorcycles roaring down the street, causing Charlie’s tail to end up between his legs.

We kept walking, and with my grandson’s arrival, Charlie felt good enough to raise his tail up. Eli really has a way with him. Charlie walked nicely next to the stroller. He met a couple of calm dogs and enjoyed water from a cup. We stopped at O Café and took our pastries to-go. I noticed some social distancing, and some face masks in town. Not everyone is observing this practice though.

Fire Engines roared through town, but this sound didn’t disturb Charlie. Well, only one of these actually drove down Main Street. Can you guess which one?

After this adventure, Charlie went home, had some lunch, and fell asleep in his crate. This was a first. A nap during the day in his crate! Yay!!

No photos were captured today, but all were captured by me at another time or place. Luckily I have my catalog organized in Lightroom Classic. This time I was too involved in the whole adventure. Next time I’ll remember to at least pull out my iPhone.

So as they say, “… I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

Here’s to many more adventures, near and far.

What is the new normal?

Calm. What is it? Pushing and pulling is what I am feeling. Time to think, but my mind seems to wander. So much to comprehend. So much to try to explain to friends.

Issues arise when there is no one at the top delivering reliable information. Truth, whose truth, what numbers do I believe? I understand this is a “novel” virus. Much is being learned as CoVid 19 affects the population. I am listening to the CDC advice (Stay home, Stay masked, Stay 6 feet apart!). I am a face toucher so the mask/bandana reminds me to be careful about what I touch. I am not comfortable around people, and have pretty much stayed in lockdown mode. If I must go out, it is for a short time.

Sacramento/Fair Oaks is currently at Stage 2 reopening rules. Stores have opened up for business as usual. I have been in two stores, but I still feel uncomfortable shopping, and will probably continue to rely on my computer for most orders. Besides, I really don’t miss shopping malls. I have pandemic proof hair and I am not hiding my silver curls. I’m letting my hair grow, for now. One day I will be ready to go to Total Beauty Experience and see Yvonne. Until then, I wait.

Me and my Charlie. Loose curls on both of us. (Photo by my friend)

Since things are relaxing here in California I feel more defensive about my position to remain at home. Or stay masked. Or stay 6 feet from people. The longer this goes on the less sure I am about what is best. Sometimes I feel a bit of pressure to get out, but then I gravitate to stay home, and feel safer. My grandchildren live 5 minutes away. They have, for the most part, been staying away from crowds. Last week we had our first heat wave (100+ degrees) and I visited my grandchildren while they played in their pool. I thought I would give my daughter a break. Being home with 4 kiddos eight and under is not an easy task. At the same time, keeping 6 feet apart, and masked is not really possible either.

Even camera distance apart is hard with a two year old

On my birthday, David, Charlie, and I went over for some delicious birthday cake from Pastry Heaven.

Wouldn’t you like to have a taste of this?

This also was Charlie’s first outing. Not too excited to see Max, my daughter’s older Pomeranian. The two dogs probably will not end up being best buddies. There is a big age difference, and they pretty much ended up ignoring each other. Charlie was delighted to play with the boys and socialization is moving ahead.

CoVid has not been handled efficiently. All the blustery talk did nothing to prevent this country from ranking number 1 in deaths. The pandemic has called into question unfair practices that have existed forever. Health care is not equal, and with growing unemployment, many are losing their health benefits. Poor people with no savings, homelessness, price gouging, everyone staying inside, and loss of family support led to major frustrations. Especially affected were those in nursing homes, veteran homes, and prisons. I can’t tell you how many of the Holocaust survivors have died from CoVid in such a short amount of time. People who didn’t feel the impact of family deaths have begun to protest and push back on the restrictions to their “freedoms”. Being a child of two Holocaust survivors, I can’t help thinking about their lives under the Nazis, and how long they did without. Protesting, disregarding CDC advice, and celebrating Memorial Day with extensive partying, turned this pandemic into a political event. I understand that for some it is important to get back to work, but many people are just over living responsibly. To mask, or not to mask. Rights and freedom to live. This is after all an election year. November 3rd can’t come fast enough.

As I write this entry, my country is protesting the death of George Floyd. A black man who was murdered in daylight, on camera, by 4 police officers. First the pandemic, and now the mistreatment of our black men and women, has finally pushed people to stand up to this and request justice. This country has now seen over 2 weeks of protests. On the positive side, I see a variety of people – black, white, old, and young committed to making a change. So along with the protest, the hard work begins. Many are hopeful that this may be a turning point in race relations. I can only hope. All I can say is be sure to VOTE in November!!!

Charlie: Toy Destroyer!

Photograph of my Charlie and me taken by my BFF Anne! Thanks!

Sometime between week 5 and week 7 Charlie’s little shark teeth became remarkably determines to chew, chew, chew. One by one his toys became the victim. And one by one I had to remove them from his repertoire to playthings. At first I could amputate the destroyed parts. Then the patient reached the point of no coming back from the destruction. The toy now became dangerous.

First off was ” Kong Elephant”. Unlike his alligator friend, Elephant was called ultra. So the tusks were gone in a couple of minutes. Next, the ears were targeted, and eventually removed.

Now the seams are targeted for elimination. So sorry “ultra” elephant.

Wubba Puppy suffered a tear around the head, and Wubba Bear Friend lost a tentacle. There still was some life left in each toy, but I kept a careful watch for distress.

Well loved in its own way.

Goat lost various parts, but still is holding on. Squeaky Duck lost some stuffing, but still can be used to retrieve. A stuffed unicorn rope thing was thoroughly loved, and marked the end to stuffed toys.

Charlie’s persistent chewing on Unicorn and Bear Wubba cause their demise

So on to tougher toys. Charlie still enjoys small classic red Kong stuffed with kibble and peanut butter. Recently I purchased a Kong puppy tire made of rubber. This one is stuffable as well. Charlie likes chewing on it.

For my first Mother’s Day, Charlie got me this tee shirt. Well, he is a little young to use a credit card so he told me this is the one to get.

Charlie is quite the “Foodie”. Makes it easier to train. Charlie says, “Will do anything for food, just as long as you make it clear what I need to do!”

I guess that is always the case. It is best to be able to communicate what it is you need honestly and clearly.

Take care. Stay Safe. And wear a MASK!