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Sunday, December 26, 2010

RIP Belle Cloutier


                                 Belle Cloutier

     We have lost Belle.  As I type this, Baxter has his head in my lap.  He'll never be the lovable gentle soul that Belle was, but he tries.  What follows is the email I sent to the Yankee Golden Retriever Rescue League yesterday.

     "Well, once again we have spoiled the holiday season by losing another lovable golden. It was New Year's Day of 2004 that we put down Riley (YGRR #2424) after determining that a brain tumor was causing his seizures. We got Belle (3852) from you five months later. She was euthanized this morning, Christmas day, just three weeks short of her fifteenth birthday. Actually we had taken her to the vet a week ago anticipating putting her down then, but she got a second wind. X-rays and blood tests couldn't find any organ problems or cancer, so we got some pain meds and canned food and took her home. She had been exhibiting severe lethargy, a loss of six pounds in four weeks, lack of mobility and a fist sized (but unattached) growth on her right shoulder that had been there for six months. For a few days she seemed comfortable and would go out in the back yard as needed. She NEVER had an accident inside. We got up Christmas morning to find that the growth had burst and was bleeding. She couldn't eat or get up. I guess all that sleigh chasing last night was just too much. Fortunately, the Charleston area is blessed with a very professional, 24/7 emergency vet service. It was they who had taken care of Riley for us six years ago. So Belle made her last trip in our Jeep. She actually managed to get to her feet with assistance and walked to the car which always excited her.
     Belle was a special lady. She was turned in to YGRR at 108 pounds and with heart worms. Through your excellent care, we inherited a healthy, gentle senior. She was an enthusiastic puppy for all but the last few months of her life. This spring, before we left on one of our five month long motor home trips, she went to the vet for a check-up. Dr. Lerma pronounced her "the healthiest 14 year old golden I've ever seen!" She had a great life highlighted by appearing on page 2 of your 2011 calendar. 
     We thank you again for all you do. We still have Baxter (4552) and can't imagine not having a golden."

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The night before the night before Christmas

     Christmas approachesIt is cold by SC standards.  Nonetheless, Durelle and Cindy played golf yesterday in the seventies...the temperature, not the score.  A low key Christmas is planned.  We will do a prime rib and some traditional fixins, but nothing major and only minimal gifts.  The decorations are up (again minimal), the tree is decorated and the few presents are wrapped.  We are enjoying the season and our good fortune; little else is required.  The bus is at the shop, plugged in and furnace set at 55 degrees.  I didn't trust my "blow out the lines" winterizing when it came to the washer/dryer, dishwasher and ice maker.  The weekend overnight lows are predicted to be in the low 20's.  The two pictures show Belle in front of the fireplace and our Bradford Pear in the back yard.  Belle is on her last legs.  I don't expect she will see her 15th birthday on 18 Jan.  The personality has never changed, but she has trouble moving around.  There have been several vet trips, and we are now dispensing pain meds.
     The back yard picture shows the Bradford pear.  It looks nice in the morning light, and it has many white blossoms in the spring.  This is the time of year when all of us should pause and be grateful for all we have been given.  We wish you all the best possible Christmas.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ice On The Pond

     This morning the retention pond was frozen over.  I guess if you weren't told, you would assume that this was the normal look of the water surface.  Trust me, it's frozen.  The pond is not small.  I would estimate that it is 200 yards by 75 yards and is deep enough to support enough fish for the neighborhood kids to go after.  It would have been nice to see an ibis or other water fowl standing on the ice, but none would accommodate me, so I guess you'll just have to trust me when I say,"That's ice." 
     Snow is particularly rare here, although we did have a Valentine's Day storm this year (see Cindy's Christmas card).  Normally when the weather gets cold enough to snow here, it is because we are under the influence of an arctic high pressure.  Those conditions are accompanied by clear skies, nighttime radiational cooling and very low, lip-cracking humidity and therefore no snow.
     This is supposed to be the end of the cold spell, but winter hasn't even started yet so we'll see frost again, but probably not in the teens like the past two nights.  We kept water trickling to preclude frozen pipes.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Update...Nuthin' special

     We are back at "home" in Hanahan,SC...have been for a couple of months.  We are getting ready for Christmas as you all are.  So, there are no great stories or great pictures.  The weather has been cool for SC.  We had one night when the pipes froze...not enough to break, but enough that not all the faucets worked when we first got up.  I have been going over to the RV storage area on base on a daily basis to make sure the batteries stay charged and the furnace is working.  Yesterday I was unable to start the generator so tomorrow morning I'll be driving the bus to my local service guy to get things squared away.  Tuesday morning is projected to be 18 degrees.  That's no record for us, but it may be for SC.  Tonight we almost finished off the turkey soup that remained from out fried turkey in Huntington Beach State Park.