Saturday, May 2, 2009

Wildflowers of the Day

Many folks have wondered about these tall purple flowers that grow on the east side of the path that runs along the creek. According to Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide, they are Mealy Sage, and the plants belong to the mint family. The scientific name is Salvia farinacea.

Everybody knows these—the rain lilies (Cooperia pendunculata). Thanks to the unexpected and very welcome rainfalls we've had lately, we've seen these quite often. They smell so sweet and turn purple before they fade. I've tried with no luck to grow them in my yard. I collected seeds one year, but they never took. They're called wildflowers for a reason, I 'spect.


Friday, May 1, 2009

Most Influential Dog in the World

Have you folks seen this? It's a portrait of the new First Dog (FDOTUS?)--Bo Obama. The artist is Rachael Rossman. Of course, I found it and a link to the artist's work at Dog Art Today ( Enjoy. --z

Thursday, April 30, 2009

While We Are Out

Hi, all. By the time you read this, I'll be on my way to see my mother in Gettysburg, PA. I've tried to plan ahead to have posts for you during the week I'm away. 

This image made me smile. 

Not only is it colorful and playful, but it reminds me of a story about my Roma. When I got her from the Austin Humane Society (best birthday present ever), her name was Chardonnay. Seriously. Chardonnay was one tough customer and a runner (in fact, a roamer). Any time she got out of the house, a ramshackle thing one block from I-35 to the east and Airport Blvd. to the west, she'd be out of sight before I could yell the whole name—"CHAR-DON-NAY!!!!!"—not that she listened anyway.

So her name had to be changed. My boyfriend and I had recently visited Rome, and we remembered seeing the statue of the Capitoline wolf, the she-wolf who suckled the twin babies, Romulus and Remus, the mythical founders of the Eternal City. Chardonnay, who had recently weaned puppies herself and was much slimmer and shaggier than her current hoary old self, looked remarkably like the wolf. See for yourself:

And thus, Chardonnay became Roma. And they lived happily ever after. The end.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Two More Voices

"Good stick.
Got a good stick.
A real
Getting all the good
Out of this good
That's in
--Joey, cropped a little too close

"The move came at a bad time for me. 
The squirrel that I buried in the leafwallow . . .
And now I'll never see
What was hiding in the loghollow.

They can't have known.
Here, there's just a small lawn."
--Bandit, so soulful

Poems by Roy Blount, Jr., inspired by photographs by Valerie Shaff (not shown here, obviously), from If only you knew how much I smell you: True portraits of dogs (undated, A Bullfinch Press Book)

Dear readers who think that I'm playing favorites on this blog should send in photos of their own dogs. You send 'em; I'll post 'em. --z 

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Muzzy's Riposte

"Giving you such a look?
What are you, an open book?"

"Can't you see what I'm trying to tell you? 
If only you knew how much I smell you." 

The poems by Roy Blount, Jr. were inspired by the lovely photographs by Valerie Shaff, which appear in If only you knew how much I smell you: True portraits of dogs  (A Bullfinch Press Book). 

In case you haven't noticed, I have been experiencing technical difficulties with my blog template. My apologies for fonts of different sizes, awkwardly placed photos, and text caroming around the textbox. I'm hoping a new "stretch" template will improve matters. Thanks for your patience!  --z

Monday, April 27, 2009

Health Alert

In addition to all the news about swine flu, it seems we have our own small outbreak of a doggie illness. I've heard several stories about dogs not feeling well. Muzzy was one of them. It seems to be a stomach bug and it lasts about 48 hours. Here are the symptoms:

  • loss of appetite
  • drinking lots of water
  • eating grass or hackberry leaves
  • dry heaves or limited vomiting
  • little to no diarrhea
  • warm nose and lack of usual zing
Wilson and Muzzy had almost identical symptoms. Muzzy did not eat for a day and a half. Sugar also did not eat for a couple of days last week, but she had noisy stomach growling. Joey, too, was lacking his usual appetite.

The good news is that the illness passes quickly and does not require any vet care. If only we could get the dogs to wash their paws and faces! 

Roma's Poetic Side

"I have seen a great deal of the world.
People are pretty much the same."

"Good dog?"
Oh, thanks so much,
Ms. Good Person."

The poems by Roy Blount, Jr. were inspired by the lovely photographs by Valerie Shaff in If only you knew how much I smell you: True portraits of dogs  (A Bullfinch Press Book). Thanks to Erica for loaning the book. --z

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Clean Up on Aisle 3

Here's the lowdown on the poop pick-up "party" that took place yesterday at Dog Park--at least while I was there. I spent two hours meandering  the Park, scanning the ground for poop. It was a surprisingly meditative activity. I hummed little songs to myself as I wended my way, trying to keep my plastic garbage bags from blowing away and my baseball cap from blowing off. (Erica, left, had more luck with her hat than I did.) People who were smart brought buckets instead of bags. I thought I was pretty clever by putting a piece of broken iron pipe in my bag to hold it down. Instead the pipe kept ponking me in the leg. Very annoying. 

Also present (between 10 and noon): Dario (Ellie), Erica (Joey and Coco), Kathy (Willie), Bill (Lulu),  Margo (Sidney and Jack), and a couple of other people whose names I don't know. (Sorry!)  Almost everyone I met commented on how they were amazed at the little zing of joy they felt every time they found a crusty old load of crap to put in their bags. (Though Dario's first find was a fresh donation from Ellie herself.) The morning's work was like a perverse Easter egg hunt. (Though Erica and I did find an actual egg—the empty shell anyway. So delicate and pretty. See?) 

Folks also said that they were surprised that there was not more poop to pick up. Unless someone preempted us and did a major sweep before we got there, it's probably safe to conclude that people generally are doing a much more consistent and thorough pick-up on a daily basis. 

I will say, however, that even after several sweeps of the area next to the south parking lot, as I walked toward the dumpster to throw away my last bag, I nearly stepped in a fresh pile of poop! Gee, thanks! 

Here's some photographic evidence of a good morning's work: 

In addition to poop, I also found and threw away these objects: 
  • a shattered Shiner Bock bottle
  • several sliced soda and beer cans
  • one perfectly denuded tennis ball
  • plastic tubing
  • candy wrappers
  • rusty wire screen
  • a piece of iron pipe
  • a rusted pulley wheel
  • broken bits of rubber and plastic
I have participated in clean-ups in other parks and in other cities. The fact that I did not find a used condom among the trash is a testament to our clean living at Dog Park. Thanks for keeping things clean on more than one level, folks! --z