Cowtown

To be called a “cowtown” implies one of two things: either the town is located in a cattle raising area, or the town is small, isolated or unsophisticated. I choose to think that this city is a cowtown because we have the annual strolling of the cows through the downtown area (what could be more sophisticated?).

The event starts with a small herd of longhorn cattle, including the adorable babies.

The TV news babe was there to cover the event (this is the sort of assignment that they delegate to the interns) along with her cameraman. How was she to know that the news part of the story would be at the other end of the stroll?

Police were ready to escort the herd and stop traffic (the sirens were on low to avoid startling the cattle).

And they’re off! Strolling along a busy street (well it’s a busy street a few blocks from here).

At the end of the trail, near the final destination of cattle pens were these ancient activists, with their handmade bedsheet signs (how quaint, this reminds me of the 60’s).

Here the herd is approaching the end and are quite tightly bunched up. Because…

This cow had had enough, so she ran into the crowd (people can move quite quickly when they need to) and then she ran into the open door of a bank, closely pursued by a couple of cowboys on horseback. They got a lasso on her and she was led back to the trailers. Meanwhile, the person who took the video on her cellphone capturing this cow’s adventure made the news, both local and national (too bad for you, TV newsgirl). All in all it was excellent publicity for a amateur rodeo and the cows went home until next year.

Goats

Baby goats are adorable. It’s fun to watch them capering about, and it’s hard not to smile at their antics. And then there is yoga, which is not adorable. I find yoga to be a stern practice, there are a lot of postures to memorize, and an instructor who is there to correct your form. But if one puts these two things together, which are not intuitive things to combine, why you get Goat Yoga. Which is really a thing.

Goats are not much interested in doing exercise just to get in shape, so a little bribery is in order. This handsome young man is placing goat treats on the backs of the ladies in this particular yoga class. And the goats are climbing aboard to sample these delicious nuggets.

So the goats aren’t doing yoga at all, they are just scrounging for treats.

Here is the yoga pose downward dog (a very typical sort of movement) combined with upward goat.

Why was this event going on? Well the name of the local brewpub that sponsored this says it all.

Dog friends

Even before I got my new temporary dog friend Ace, I had lots of other dog friends. And as Ace consumes most all of my spare time now, I’m making just a quick post to celebrate some of my other dog friends.

This soulful face belongs to Pete, a Pyrenees. His hobby is barking at anything that moves.

Rigby is a Lab, crossed with some breed that has very short legs (you never know what your dogs will get up to, when one is not looking.)

He also enjoys keeping his home safe by barking at everyone on his street. (Fortunately he lives on a quiet street).

Tucker, a chow-golden retriever mix was photographed in a pile of destruction that he and his sister caused. He enjoys making boxes and toys into small bits.

Tucker’s sister Peaches, looking innocent of destructive tendencies. She is part chow and part something else, obviously her mother got around.

Jake, a pit bull came to visit with his owner, who is one of my oldest friends. (That means we have known each other for a very long time, not that he is old, although if we have known each other for 50 years that does say something about us.) 😉 Jake’s only hobby is going to doggy daycare to romp about.

This is a particularly goofy shot of Winchester, a Lab mix. (He is much more handsome in real life). No known hobbies.

This is Winchester’s cousin Luna, a sort of Lab mix. She was looking askance at Winchester’s antics and thinking about teaching him a lesson.

Mickey is a poodle-ish dog, rescued from the streets. When he was found his hair had not been cut in a very long time. His fur was overgrown and matted. But he now lives in the lap of luxury with M’s cousin and is treated like a prince. His hobby is turning up his nose at home cooked meals.

This is a not very good photo of my great-nephew, Gary Francis S. He loves to chase tennis balls, and will run his short Corgi legs off to retrieve them, if one will only throw them. His hobby is to enthusiastically greet visitors so that they will never want to leave.

Dog friends are often the best sort of friends to have, they are always glad to see one and are easily amused, which is not usually the case with human friends.

On Tap

I do like to go to a pub occasionally, and I do like to pay attention to the odd bits of life. So here is where these two streams intersect today, in those things that the bartender moves to dispense beer (or cider). Yes I am talking about beer taps. Now when I was just a youngster, these were ordinary, plain sorts of things. Perhaps it might have the name of the sort of beer being served (where I am from this would be Budweiser, Busch, Stag or Falstaff). But times have changed and perhaps the gullible drinking public can be persuaded to try a brew based on the tap handle. At least that is my explanation. 😉

Why not try the beer preferred by elephants?

This is quite a popular local (ish) beer. M always said he knew why the Lab was laughing.

At this fine establishment the choice is between some anonymous taps or the tentacled one. I would always vote for trying the tentacle!

And then there is this choice. It appears to be a wheat beer, and it appears to be the sort of things favored by sombrero wearing zombies or other undead sorts. Perhaps not the best selling point for one’s beer, but, there is obviously a market for this. So goodbye to the old major brands (I do not miss you Budweiser), hello to the interesting taps of the craft crowd.

Out to lunch

One of the good things about having a service dog (even a temporary one like Ace) is that they can go anywhere as long as they are wearing their vest. I had to pop in at the local art museum, and as they have have a rather nice restaurant, it seemed like the perfect place for lunch. And with a service dog I can sit inside, rather than being banished to the outside patio.

This is their take on French onion soup, which is one of my favorites. It was dark and delicious, chock full of caramelized onions.

Because I was sharing I decided to order the burger instead of the salad that I wanted. Again, they serve such lovely food at this place, the burger had pickled onion and peppers on it, and arugula instead of plain lettuce.

You can see how mouth-watering the food was. (Ace could hardly wait to get his portion.)

The most peculiar thing about dining at this establishment is the mural. Who on earth thought it was a good idea to have a man’s butt front and center? Oh those crazy 1930’s bohemians. The amazing bit is that is has featured here in this bastion of conservatism for all these years. I suppose it is ‘artistic’.

Ace took no notice of the surroundings however, so after our repast we went on our merry way.

Clouds

A little gale will soon disperse that cloud.

For every cloud engenders not a storm.

Small showers last long, but sudden storms are short.

Many thanks to our old friend Bill Shakespeare for once again writing a guest column on this blog.

Still more snow

The usual guidelines for setting out plants in this area is anytime after Mother’s Day or May 15th, whichever comes first. It’s usually safe from freezing, but this year has been a little different. When I first heard that it was supposed to snow on Monday, I really wasn’t worried as it had been so warm. And the TV weather persons didn’t think the storm would amount to much (they were uniformly wrong).

It started off with a bit of snowy rain. As Mr. Dog did not like this, we took our walk inside the giant hardware store and then went out to dinner (he is a Labrador, so of course he loves to eat).

But after the sun went down, the snow kept falling.

And it didn’t stop until all the trees were bent over under the weight of snow. It was about eight inches of snow here, a friend measured the snow at her house and it was twelve and a half inches!

Then after a bit one could see a patch of blue sky. And those big clumps of snow on the branches started crashing down as it warmed up.

So as the snow melted away I could see the mess left behind by the storm. I got out my trusty bow saw and quickly cleared up these branches so that I could get my car out of the garage. Unfortunately, the plum tree in front of the house looked to be a total loss, the main trunk had snapped. As I looked closer, I noticed that one branch was spared. I had thought about trimming this off, but had been too lazy to do this. I tied up the branch in the hopes that it would grow straight, and now I just have to wait for Mother Nature to quit playing tricks on me (for a little while at least).

The petunias in the barrel would have been a total loss, except that the deer had already come by and eaten them. 😉

Ace

It started out innocently enough. I ran into my friend J at the grocery store and she had a service dog. I said something to the effect that I didn’t know that she needed a service dog, and she said that she was just training the dog, getting him ready for the task of helping some unknown person.

So then we had lunch about a month ago and she asked if I would consider hosting a service dog for a short period. I have been looking for a new dog and haven’t found one (the dog must be well behaved, not a pit bull and have floppy ears). So I said yes to the foster, and now Ace resides at my house.

He’s a two year old chocolate lab. This is him hard at work at a class we went to (too bad I wasn’t working as hard).

We had been out shopping and he was just sitting in the car while I put everything away. If he is wearing his vest he can legally go anywhere, so we have run a lot of errands together.

He is pretty good looking and everywhere we go people tell him how handsome he is, but he hasn’t let this praise go to his head (so far at least).

He does get plenty of beauty sleep, here he is taking a quick nap, but he is ever ready to spring into action if required.

He is a fully trained service dog, but his first owner didn’t bond with him, so he came back to the trainer. Now he is studying for a new task, and soon he will be on his way to his forever home. But in the meantime, I am enjoying his company while it lasts.

Books

Besides just being a writing conference, surprise, surprise, there were also books for sale. And me being me, I just had to acquire a few new books (also a surprise). So what did I end up with?

Okay, perhaps there might be a few clues to improve my writing in this tome, which was the reason why I was at this event.

This book was also recommended in one of the seminars, but it was the cover that really made me purchase this. 😉

I sat next to this writer at one of the meals, and he gave me this book because we both think that dinosaurs are cool.

At another one of the meals I sat between a writer of “scientific” vampire stories and a writer of vampire erotica. (Scientific means that he created a plausible scenario for vampires to exist, and he deleted all of the Hollywood vampire tropes. Watch for his series V-Wars on Netflix.) For some reason they did not discuss the differences in their vampire stories. 😉

I also bought this book, because he had given me the free one, so I wanted to support him.

Not shown are two “romance” books that I picked up. They seemed involve erotic possibilities rather than love, and I threw them away because they were boring. I much prefer a good murder mystery (preferably set in England, because we know how murderous the English people are). Who knows what this says about me, perhaps I shall write a book about it for the next conference. Or not.

Write On

If you are reading this, then you have perhaps realized that I am not much of a writer. Here’s a small sample:

This picture hangs in a museum. Underneath the portrait someone composed a poem, in latin no less, about what’s going on in the picture. And one is invited to write their interpretation of what’s going on in the scene. And this is what I wrote:

In spite of all this I had decided to go to the local writers conference to see if I might pick up a few tips. The speakers were all quite serious, the agents were all quite serious, the editors were all quite serious, the writers were all quite serious, and then there was me. I like to focus on the peripheral.

One of the coffee urns had this interesting replacement pull (I’m not sure if is a monster, or perhaps some sort of intergalactic mermaid.) No one that I showed this to had even noticed it.

The parking lots at this fancy hotel were all down hill, so I did a bit of hiking through the cars. And you know how much I love window stickers. I’m sure that this car owner was attending conference.

If you’ve ever been to a conference banquet, then you know all about the rubber chicken (I wish to state for the record, that is not my rubber chicken!) (No offense Floyd).

If rubber chickens can come to these things, then surely Pteri would be welcome. (He is my emotional support dinosaur, so I really should get him a tiny vest).

So did I actually learn anything at this event? Yes. That I probably will have to keep limping along in my old style, with an eye for the oddities of life. And that is not all bad, at least from my point of view.