Tag Archives: dogs

Photo Essay- Our Winter Hike…

Winter hike 10

The beginning…

Winter hike 9

The meadow and the mountain…

Winter hike 8

Crossing the river…

Winter hike 7

My favorite view.

Winter hike 6

Jake and I enter the portal…

Winter hike 5

A bridge to…

Winter hike 4

Snow dog!

Winter hike 3

Another bend in the river.

Winter hike 2

The ears- but it’s so silent!

Winter hike 1

Leaving the enchanted forest…


Dear Tom, I haven’t been around much becuz…

moving to Montana and a baby! Our first granddaughter – Dylan Rose.

Here she is~

Dylan Rose 1

Oscar, Julia and little Dylan Rose.

Dylan Rose 3

A perfect angel, for now…

She came on her due date. Her mommy had the easiest pregnancy in history- and labor. We are so grateful and so very blessed. Dylan Rose A. 7′ 11″. We all forgot to ask how long she is. 🙂

The sale of our home and the move could have gone smoother but one can’t have everything, right? Some things must go wrong. That’s life.

We love our new home in Montana. It’s beautiful. It has amazing views on all sides. The dog loves his full half acre? Three quarters of an acre? Not entire sure. But he stays outside all day long, just enjoying his view through the invisible fence. He can watch sand hill cranes and cows and eagles and deer and super cute bunnies. In Napa Jake rarely wanted to be outside without us and he was territorial about his yard. Here, his yard is just part of the vast open countryside. He seldom barks for any reason. He’s in awe! (As are we!)

Jake montana

A happy doggie!

Jake Montana 1

A smidge of his view!

So friends, it’s been a challenging yet rewarding year thus far. I’ll try to be more available. (Ha!)

XOXO! Julia

P.S. Do we miss California? Nah-uh. Not one bit.


Dear Tom, the misadventures of Jake and his bestie.

I wish I had photos but these days life is too busy for photos.

Jake and I went for a hike along the river. I chose a trail he loves. It’s a grassy trail that meanders through a flood plane. One one side is a slough, on the other side is the river. There are no roads. He can’t get killed chasing cars. There are no bicycles. There are only birds, the occasional fox, coyote, river otter, beaver and mountain lion. All good.

Oh, farther down the river, actually farther north along the river, is a place I’ve cristened Rabbitzville. Cuz there are like a million rabbits. But Jake and I headed south. There are fewer rabbits. Perhaps only a thousand rabbits as opposed to a million rabbits.

Jake and I crossed the slough via a makeshift bridge of boards and driftwood. Jake ran right through the water, while I picked my way across. When we reached the trail I let him off leash. I mean, c’mon, it was just us. There was nobody there but Jake, Julia and ducks.

We had a great time. He romped up and down and around, running in big circles like a puppy. It was a terrific hike. But then Jake scared up a rabbit. He scared up a jack rabbit by stepping right on him. The rabbit flew across the meadow, Jake in pursuit, because if there’s one creature he can’t resist, it’s a rabbit.

He chased that sucker for at least half a mile and then the rabbit dove into the slough, right into a huge patch of xanthium strumarium. Jake froze. When I saw him freeze I knew what had happened.


OMG. Those horrible horrible awful terrible cockleburs. They are the stuff of nightmares if you are a long-haired dog. He made his way back to me, walking like he was in absolute misery. Egg-shaped sharp stickers were matted into his hair, everywhere. His armpits, his belly, his chest, his legs, his tail.

We had a two mile hike back to the car. Once we got home I cut out as many of the stickers as I could. But I couldn’t shave his armpits or his belly. The stickers were matted right up against the skin.

He had to spend the entire day at the vet’s, sedated. They removed the remainder of the stickers, or so we thought. I’ve since found four more, had to cut them off his thighs. Yikes!

The same day his bestie, Hastur, was sprayed by a skunk right outside her front door.

Oh, California. Where the wild things are.

XOXO! Peace out. Julia


Dear Tom, my son promised he wouldn’t weaponize the ghost peppers.

Ghost Peppers or Red Naga: Where the Ghost Pepper is From and Why It’s so Hot.


The (dreaded) Red Naga.

My son made me grow them. He has plans. I did warn him there would be no weaponizing of the Ghost Peppers. Merely harvesting them was scary enough. For the time being they are safely ensconced in my freezer. Along with these chilies- bought the seedlings from a corner vendor:


Chilies Diablo.

All he could say was~ “Chilies Diablo. Muy caliente.” So far I’ve harvested two quart bags and I’ve got at least another couple quarts still ripening on the plants. I too have plans!

Sambal Oelek!

I’ve very excited about this! Chrismukkah presents for all!

I’ve had a little time on my hands and a little produce left over from last year. Finally got around to dealing with it.

I added this year’s quince harvest to last year’s harvest (freezer) and made two pints of quince jam. The stuff is like gold! A gallon of quinces made a measly two pints.


Quince Jam.

I also dried my drunken figs. Yes, drunken. They’ve been soaking in rum for a year, I’ll have you know! I dried them with my new food dehydrator.


Dried Drunken Figs.

These are killer, man. Each one is like a shot of rum.

I thought I’d give a shout out to Jake- He treed a mountain lion last week. Dang! The thing was yowling at him like a kazoo! Jake went insane chasing the lion across the yard. It managed to scramble up into one of our redwoods. Seriously, the yowling sounded like a kazoo. My son said, “Mom, I don’t think there are any wild kazoos marauding around Napa.” Took me a long time to get the dog back in so the lion could be on his/her merry way. Hey, I don’t care about mountain lions. They snag the vicious marauding raccoons, so… (And yeah, it’s always me who has to go out and retrieve the dog. Oscar can sleep through an earthquake.)

Speaking of raccoons– Another shout out to my goldfish. Our little pond is a good example of survival of the fittest. This tough guy is two years old! He’s outlasted twelve other goldfish, all of whom have been eaten by raccoons and egrets. He’s super smart. Has a good hiding place. Only comes out for me even though I’ve never fed him. Occasionally I pull out some of the algae, otherwise the pond is a nice little ecosystem. Provides him with all the food he requires.


The Goldfish.

His name is Fishy-Fishy. If anyone has a better suggestion I’m sure he won’t mind.

Still recovering. More on that at a later time.

That’s about it for now. Peace out.



The Dogs of War.

There is a dog in our neighborhood named Zeus, or something. I’m not sure of his name but my husband calls him Zeus because he is a giant of a dog. And he’s bred for warfare.

From Military History Now:

The first actual written record of war dogs comes to us from the ancient Kingdom of Lydia in modern day Turkey. The small empire’s first ruler, Alyattes, reportedly had his soldiers turn packs of dogs loose on Cimmerian troops in a battle sometime around 600 BCE. The Lydian attack dogs were particularly effective against enemy cavalry, according to one contemporary source. 

Around the same time Magnesian troops from Anatolia used their war dogs not against cavalry, but in conjunction with their mounted warriors. In a war against the Ephesians, Magnesian riders released their hounds on the enemy phalanxes to soften them up before a cavalry charge. 

Centuries later, the Roman army would routinely deploy their own war dogs. The Canis Molossus or Molossian was the legion’s preferred breed of fighting dog. In fact, it was specially bred just for combat.

Dogs of War

Dogs of War

Zeus looks like the above picture only he’s bigger.

I’m not talking about a German Shepherd. German shepherds and Malinois are used in combat and for police work because they are intelligent, easily trained, strong enough to catch bad guys, sensitive enough to sniff out explosives, and they can run a long long ways.

Dogs are no longer sent into battle en masse (as they were in ancient days) because they would be slaughtered by modern weapons. But if I saw a hundred Cane Corsos running towards me, or, uh, even one, I would commend my soul to God for I would surely die. If a German shepherd came after me I’d yell real loud and try to protect my face, but I wouldn’t assume death was immanent.

After I took Jake for a half-hour walk, hubs came home from work, watched a little basketball, and then took Jake for a longer walk, maybe around 8 p.m. Hubs takes a different route than I do. He’s willing to walk past Zeus’s house. I. Am. Not. Why not? Because Zeus is, as my husband describes him, a Mastiff-horse cross or something like that. When we walk by his house, Zeus stands up on his hind legs to bark at us and his entire head, shoulders and arms loom over the six foot fence surrounding his yard. I am terrified the old fence will break. If that were to happen, Jake and I would be dead meat.

Jake fears very few creatures, but he dreads the thought of a Zeus attack. At the very least, if I have to walk past Zeus’s house I walk on the other side of the street. Hubs is willing to make a leap of faith. He has faith in the fence. I have none. These particular fences were built back in 1979 or earlier and they weren’t intended to hold back a 200+ pound 7 1/2 foot tall dog.

But I digress. So hubs and Jake were walking in the dark. They were just a few blocks from home, walking past one of our neighborhood parks. As he headed up the hill past the park, my husband was a little surprised to see Zeus coming towards him, on a leash, of course, but the person walking him was a petite 110 pound woman. Neither of us has ever seen Zeus out of his yard.

Even hubs knew this did not bode well.

I would have crossed the street. In fact, had I seen Zeus coming my way, I would have crossed the street and knocked on the closest door to beg sanctuary for myself and my dog. But you know how men are. My husband figured if he walked up the middle of the street as he passed Zeus over on the sidewalk, that would put enough space between the dogs.

Wishful thinking.

Jake, who is quite fearful of Zeus, gave a couple preemptive stay away from me barks from his heeling position on my husband’s left. Zeus wasn’t having any of it. He attacked in an instant, hauling the poor woman after him. I mean, 200 pounds of pure muscle vs. 110 pounds of petite woman. C’mon. She had no control over him whatsoever and she was screaming in terror. He dragged her like a rag doll across the asphalt.

So my husband tried to stay between Jake and Zeus. He kept Jake behind him and he was brave enough to keep a hand on Zeus’s shoulder (thank God he wasn’t bitten) in an attempt to fend him off. All four of them, humans and dogs, became tangled. The woman was lying in the street and my husband backed over her, tripped, and fell to the pavement. At that point in time Zeus was so surprised he stopped in his tracks just long enough for my husband get to his feet. He and Jake made a beeline for the far corner.

The woman was still down in the middle of the street but hubs couldn’t go back to help because of Zeus. And of course he never brings his cell phone. She did finally stand up and it turns out she was okay. She suffered some road rash, as did hubs. Jake and Zeus were uninjured.

My husband called out- “If you can’t control him you probably shouldn’t be walking him by yourself.”

She agreed. You see, mountain lion aside, ours is a very safe neighborhood and many elderly people, and even families with young children, walk their dogs in the evening. I often walk Jake between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. and we typically encounter the usuals: an elderly man with two golden retrievers, another elderly man with a small terrier, a young-ish woman with a yellow lab, a woman my age walking a black lab, an elderly man with a black labradoodle, a young man running with a Vizlas, and an elderly woman with an English bulldog.

All I can say is, thank God it was my husband. The elderly people would not have stood a chance. Neither would I, for that matter. Could have been a deadly encounter. Even my muscular husband said he fell so hard he was surprised he didn’t break his hip.

Big protective alpha-male dogs require some big protective alpha-male forethought.

I am strict with Jake because if he wants to misbehave he’s strong enough to drag me for blocks. Especially if there’s a squirrel or a rabbit involved. And I know how afraid people are of German shepherds. Even though Jake ignores most people, just the sight of a German shepherd can elicit fear so as I said, I’m strict with him. He heels unless he’s at an off-leash dog park or we’re at the beach. (He’s really a nice friendly funny dog. But I am aware that if someone is overtly afraid of Jake and acts weird around him, believe me, he notices. If someone acts in what Jake considers to be a suspicious manner, he pays close attention. He will protect me. It’s in the DNA.)

Jake didn’t seem traumatized by the events of last night. At least when he and I had gone out earlier he’d met a cute young female Malinois, a dog whose energy matched his own, and the two of them had a great time playing in that same park.

Ah well. I think everyone learned a lesson. I told hubs to knock it off with the leap of faith crap and maybe Zeus’s owner will have her husband walk Zeus next time.