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Archive for April, 2013

My heart found its home long ago in the beauty, mystery, order and disorder of the flowering earth.
–Lady Bird Johnson

If you grew up in Texas, at some point you probably found yourself being photographed while sitting or lying in a patch of bluebonnets.  It is a rite of passage for most children growing up in this state.  Every spring, once the bright blue spires dot the roadsides, parents load up their children (and possibly the family dog) and go in search for the perfect spot.  It is not unusual for that perfect spot to literally be on the side of a busy highway.  For those of you who didn’t grow up here but have witnessed this roadside pilgrimage and wondered just what the heck was going on,  I’ll let you in on a great Texas secret:  we’re plumb crazy about our wildflowers, but especially the bluebonnets.

Grimm shows off his Texas sized tongue while lounging in the bluebonnets.

Grimm shows off his Texas sized tongue while lounging in the bluebonnets.

When I was a kid, every spring the family would load up in the minivan and drive west towards the Hill Country–prime bluebonnet territory.  My folks could disguise the trip as a mini vacation and, by my parents reckoning, my siblings and I could frolic through the fields on some back country road without as much worry about us becoming human roadkill.  Plus, in the hill country, there was always the possibility of getting longhorn cattle in the background of the photograph.  True, there might have been a greater probability of having one of us kids being bitten by a rattlesnake, but there were four of us and I’m pretty sure my parents thought the risk of losing a child perfectly acceptable in return for the perfect picture.  Seriously.  That’s how hard-core Texans are about their bluebonnet photo-ops.  You may get bitten by ants, stung by bees, bitten by a snake or gored by a longhorn, but by-golly your parents captured the glory of spring and the essence of youth by pairing you with those blue flowers.  I won’t mention the rashes incurred, though, from commando crawling through the flowers so that mom and dad could get that perfect “flower + face” close up.  No sirree.  Some things are too horrible to relive.

Charley smiles pretty and puts up with my photographing nonsense.

Charley smiles pretty and puts up with my photographing nonsense.

Since I have no children, my dogs now get to suffer as I did as a child.  They now get to endure the biting insects and deal with the sun being in their eyes.  Cruelly, they also have to pose with any number of my flowering plants to commemorate the event.  Like the bluebonnets, some of these plants only flower once a year and photographing the flower in question lets me enjoy it’s beauty year-round.  On the plus side, I usually don’t make them stand next to the giant prickly pear cactus when it is in bloom but that is only because I am not terribly fond of plucking cacti needles out of doggy legs.

Rufus acts serious when posing in front of the lavender plant.

Rufus acts serious when posing in front of the lavender plant.

Zella humors me and stays in place for her photograph with the oleander bush.  She is really just dying to go chase more bunnies.

Zella humors me and stays in place for her photograph with the oleander bush. She is really just dying to go chase more bunnies.

I thought this snail was really cute but none of the dogs would pose with him.  Oh, well.

I thought this snail was really cute but none of the dogs would pose with him. Oh, well.

All of the new growth, the bloom of the flowers and the emergence of tiny crawly things reminds us of the miracle of our earth.  Everything has it’s own niche and balances perfectly in sync with everything else.  We humans sometimes forget how delicate nature can be and days like today, Earth Day, remind us of the importance of doing our part to keep Mother Earth healthy and hale.  Sustainable living through reducing, recycling and reusing has become an everyday mantra.  Urban farming and composting have become commonplace which, in my view, helps us to get back to the literal roots of it all–the interconnection of nature and the natural world.  To enjoy it, we must protect it and each do our own small part to make the world a greener and healthy place.  After all, future generations of Texas kids need to be able to live through their own great bluebonnet photo trek and without bluebonnets, they will never be able to appreciate the soothing relief provided by Calamine lotion.  See?  Circle of life.

Grimm has decided he has had enough posing with the posies and races towards me through the young sunflowers.

Grimm has decided he has had enough posing with the posies and races towards me through the young sunflowers.

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Over the past few months, my fellow bloggers have been kind enough to bestow several awards to me and my wily canines.  I appreciate the time and thought they put into nominating my little blog and wanted to say, “Thank you.”  So, while Grimm prattles on in the background saying, “You like me!  You really like me!”, I’ll tell you a little bit about those gracious writers and offer my nominations in turn.

Whew!  All these award speeches have worn me out!  Gotta rest for the after party!

Whew! All these award speeches have worn me out! Gotta rest for the after party!

In January, Kirby’s Dawg Blog presented me with the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.  Thank you, Leah and Kirby, and please accept my apology for waiting so long to accept it.  Kirby is just about the cutest little munchkin you can find and  his “dawg blog” has everything from information on the ancient beginnings of our modern dog breeds to cuteness overload and more.

February brought another Very Inspiring Blogger award, this time presented by Double Moon Pie.  This blog, like mine, also gets it’s name from an inspiring animal–in this case, a horse named Double Moon Pie, or Pie for short.  Marie Anne, the author of this blog, comes from a very animal-friendly family and her love of horses (and dogs) comes across beautifully in her posts.  Thank you, Marie Anne, for the kind nomination and again, please accept my apology for the delay in acceptance.

Very Inspiring Blog Award

Finally, earlier this month, Human Rescues Dog, an informative, witty, introspective blog mostly about my favorite subject (dogs), presented me with The Versatile Blogger Award.  Thank you for this honor.  All of the above mentioned blogs contribute their own individuality to our blogosphere and are each inspiring and versatile in their own ways.

versatileblogger111

With these awards come a few rules:  thank and link back to the nominating blogs, display the awards on your page, list seven facts about yourself that may not previously have been known, and pass the awards along to other bloggers who deserve the nomination.  Since I wouldn’t have a blog without the antics of my canine pack, I will include some facts about them, too, because, after all, it’s only fair to know some of their dark secrets.

  1. My current guilty pleasure involves watching multiple episodes of Downton Abbey for hours on end when it is raining outside.  I think, however, that I have been watching it too much lately as my dogs are starting to bark with British accents…except Rufus.  He picked up the Irish accent instead.
  2. When I was younger, I once got lost hiking in the Colorado wilds.  When Charley was younger, he once got lost when he wandered to the house next door.  When I went to collect him, he looked at me suspiciously, like he had no idea who I was.  It was only when we were back in my driveway that he expressed his gratitude to me for rescuing him.
  3. I enjoy going on road trips with no exact destination in mind but instead, stopping at interesting locations along the way.  Zella also loves zooming around in the car and, if I don’t keep the window controls locked, she will roll the windows down herself.  Many a time I’ve been driving along when all of a sudden the noise of an open window drowns out the radio.  Looking into my side mirror, all I see are Zella’s tan ears and pink tongue flapping in the wind.
  4. I’ve always had an issue about swimming in natural bodies of water.  Something about the slimy rocks, the nibble of a fish and the flapping of aquatic plants against my legs sorta freaks me out.  Grimm, on the other hand, loves to swim and the murkier the water, the better.  I can’t count the times I’ve had to wash pond scum off his face after a dunk in the local lakes and creeks.  I swear he pretends to be a baleen whale, skimming the plankton with his teeth as he submerges his head underwater.  I think one time he even tried to sing like a humpback whale, but of course he forgot to breathe out, not in, when he was underwater and came up sputtering.
  5.  One of my favorite desserts is tiramisu.  Rufus’ favorite after dinner treat is one of my socks.  He doesn’t just munch on them, but swallows them whole.  He tried to hide his obsession for socks from me, but I found out about it after he vomited up two of them in the last week.
  6. Whenever I eat a meal, I find that I save my favorite morsel for last.  My dogs, however, all eat their favorite part of their meal first and save the most boring parts for last.
  7. Call me old-fashioned, but I still like to read an actual newspaper and not read the news off of the internet.  Grimm also prefers an actual newspaper because he can still eat that…a computer, not so much (but he has tried).
Rufus was floored to learn he and the other pooches had won awards.  Charley, on the other hand, smiled happily.

Rufus was floored to learn he and the other pooches had won awards. Charley, on the other hand, chuckled at his response.

As for my nominations, I have decided to pick three terrific recipients and give them both awards.  Although the actual rules call for fifteen, I feel quality over quantity serves as a valid excuse for my short list.  All of my nominated blogs offer enough substance and style to more than make up for my brevity.

So, in no particular order, my nominees for the Very Inspiring Blog and The Versatile Blogger Awards are:

  • mauriceabarry.wordpress.com–This blog inspires me to think and he can be both funny, wise and poignant all in one post–truly versatile!  If all you read is his about page, you will be hooked.
  • ourlovingpack.com–With each photograph posted, a mini-story unfolds.  Her children and pooches show how innocence makes for a splendid friendship.  Be sure to read the story of Chance–it is truly a remarkable one.
  • jbranchohio.wordpress.com–This is a newer blog but timeless in it’s humor and message.  Plus, Brittany and her husband make all organic pet products, too!

I hope you enjoy exploring these blogs as much as I have.  One of the joys I find in blogging is how we all serve to inspire each other because of our versatility.  From all of us at Grimm’s Furry Tail, thank you!

Awww, shucks!  Thanks for the awards!

Awww, shucks!  Are those awards for little old me?

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What is it about sunshine that makes us feel so vibrant…so renewed?  Sure, it helps that sunshine can stimulate the production of serotonin (the “feel good” hormone) and help regulate our pineal gland, which produces melatonin (the “body clock” hormone).  Of course, it allows us to make Vitamin D and the UV radiation in sunlight causes an increase in endorphins (the “natural opiate”).  If you are like me, though, the warmth of sunshine on your face triggers memories of youth, of being carefree and relaxed, of getting to be almost one with nature.

 

Grimm basks in the spring sunshine.

Grimm basks in the spring sunshine.

 

The dogs love the spring sunshine just as much, or maybe more, than I do. Some of the above biochemical processes may occur in them, too, but with their fur coat, the benefits have to be less.  So why do they love the sunshine as much as me?  Well, for one, it means they get to run around outside and chase the spring bunnies, munch on fresh spring grass and wallow in the mud and wildflowers.  The increase in sunlight causes things that were once dormant to awake and drives the rhythms of life around us.  The canines are mesmerized by the songs and mating antics of the birds and, at times, dive-bombed by the mockingbirds when they get too close to their nests.  The best for them, though, is the proliferation of smells that have invaded their world.

 

 

Zella sits in the wildflowers as she rests in her pursuit of bunnies.

Zella sits in the wildflowers as she rests in her pursuit of bunnies.

 

Spring rains seem to wash the winter drudgery away while the sunshine dries the landscape to perfection.  Textures change daily as growth happens literally overnight.  The buzzing of the bees, the trills of the birds, and the whispering of the wind act in harmony to create a perfect symphony.

 

Charley watches the other dogs as he prepares to saunter into the greenery.

Charley watches the other dogs as he prepares to saunter into the greenery.

 

 

Watching the dogs romp and play in the new spring landscape delights me.  They are as curious about the outside world as we are.  Grimm chases butterflies, Zella rousts rabbits and Charley finds the most delectable blades of grass to nibble on.  Rufus acts like a kid who has entered a magical world–for him, this is his first spring ever.  He had never smelled wildflowers, never tasted the earthiness in a sprig of grass, never before been entranced by a buzzing bee before now.  He has learned the joys of spring and sunshine and mimics his older housemates.

 

 

Rufus and Grimm frolic through the grass, kicking up their heels in almost perfect synchronicity.

Rufus and Grimm frolic through the grass, kicking up their heels in almost perfect synchronicity.

 

The sunshine and beauty of spring has brought a renewal of spirit to all of us at my house, human and canine alike.  The power of the sun has enlivened our world and called forth life.  Now is the time to get out and live it.  Time to act like a kid again and race with the dogs through the wildflowers.  All of you should do the same.  Go outside, enjoy the sun and frolic with your beasts!

 

Grimm leads Rufus in finding more spring-time adventures.

Grimm leads Rufus in finding more spring-time adventures.

 

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This morning, around 7:32 am central standard time, I awoke to find a gruesome spectacle:  dismembered bodies on my couch.  A double-homicide happened overnight in my house and I never even heard a thing.  What you are about to see is not pretty and is for mature audiences only.

This is all that remains of the victims of a double homicide.  The whereabouts of their missing parts are unknown at this time.

This is all that remains of the victims of a double homicide. The whereabouts of their missing parts are unknown at this time.

My screams of horror awoke the pooches in the house.  What sort of monster could have perpetrated such an act?  How could anyone murder two little, helpless white bears in such a violent way?  And where, pray tell, were their missing parts?  All these questions and more circled in my head.  I needed to investigate.

The first victim was dismembered and two of the limbs were missing.  Where were they?

The first victim was dismembered and two of the limbs were missing.  Why did the killer leave one leg attached?  Why did the killer leave a severed arm next to the body?  These were the questions that begged an answer.

As I peered closer at the crime scene, I noticed there seemed to be an abundance of black hairs around the victims.  Were these left by the killer on accident or were they left to throw me off the trail of the true killer by framing another?  It was time to interrogate the suspects.

Rufus seemed perplexed by the whole ordeal

Rufus seemed perplexed by the whole ordeal.

Rufus seemed a little confused on what was actually happening.  He couldn’t believe there could be a murderer in our midst.  I didn’t think this simpleton could have actually performed this horrendous act by himself, but I had to ask the questions to be sure.

Me:  Rufus, where were you between the hours of midnight and 7:30 this morning?

Rufus:  In my kennel.

Me:  Are you sure?  No one let you out and you didn’t escape?

Rufus:  Nope.  You let me out this morning.  If someone had let me out earlier, I probably would have peed on the floor.  Did you see any urine?

Me:  Well, no.  Good point.  Okay, I have to ask:  Did you murder and dismember the two white bears on the couch or do you have any idea of who might have?

Rufus:  No, I didn’t.  I don’t want to be a snitch, but in the past Grimm has been sort of rough when he plays with those bears.  Please, though, don’t tell him I said anything!

Zella was in a state of shock over the loss of two of her stuffed babies.

Zella was in a state of shock over the loss of two of her stuffed babies.

Rufus’ alibi seemed airtight, so I questioned Zella next.  She adores all her babies and seemed to be in a state of shock over losing her two white bears in such a violent fashion.  The fact that one was missing it’s head really seemed to disturb her.

Me:  Zella, where were you between midnight and 7:30 this morning?

Zella:  Oh, gosh, I’m just so distraught right now!  I was sleeping next to you, remember?  You really don’t think I had anything to do with this, do you?  You know how much I love my babies.  They are my life!  Who could do such a thing?  Why are you wasting time talking to me when you could be out finding the true monster who did this?!?

Me:  Now, calm down.  This is all routine.  Plus, you have a history–remember the time you ate the face off your stuffed dog toy?  The similarities are there, even if you don’t want to admit it.

Zella:  That was a one-time thing and I was under the influence.  Take my blood–I’m clean!  I didn’t do this!  If you won’t find this murderer, I will!

I left Zella to calm down while I went to find my last suspect.  He was found contaminating the scene of the crime and my suspicions were up.

Grimm told me he was just helping to investigate.  Was he..or was he covering up evidence against him?

Grimm told me he was just helping to investigate. Was he..or was he covering up evidence against himself?

Me:  Grimm, where were you between the hours of midnight and 7:30 this morning?

Grimm:  Why, sleeping next to you and Zella.  Don’t you remember me snoring?

Me:  No, not really, but I do remember you jumping off the bed at some point during the night.

Grimm:  I went to get a drink of water.  Am I a suspect in this crime?

Me:  Right now, you are a canine of interest.  I am still gathering evidence and statements.  I must say, though, it is a little bit suspicious that I found you tampering with the crime scene.  Hiding something, hmm?

Grimm:  No, I just was helping you investigate.  Where do you think the missing parts are?  Why aren’t you interviewing Charley?  I smell a conspiracy and I think someone’s trying to frame me.

Me:  I doubt that.  Frankly, I think the missing parts are in your belly, but I can’t prove that until you either vomit them up or poop them out.  Secondly, Charley would never do anything like this.  He sleeps like the dead and doesn’t move from his bed.  I have found some black hairs around the corpses, but I can’t prove anything…yet.  Open up.  Let me see your teeth.  Any fiberfill stuck in there?

Grimm:  I think I need a lawyer.

Grimm acts innocent, but is he really a serial stuffed animal killer?  Only time will tell.

Grimm acts innocent, but is he really a serial stuffed animal killer? Only time will tell.

Proving that Grimm perpetrated this crime is proving to be a fool’s errand.  He’s a slick one, for sure.  All my evidence is circumstantial, so no real charges will stick.  For now, he acts as sad and distraught over the loss of the stuffed bears as the others.  Crocodile tears, I’m sure of it.  Anyway, if you have any tips, please let me know.  I would like to bring this murderer to justice.

The two stuffed bears are survived by the pink stuffed bunny, the faceless baby dog and the fluffy blue weenie dog toy.  A memorial will be held next week.  In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Save-A-Stuffy, an organization dedicated to refilling and restitching stuffed toys in need.

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