Friday, May 27, 2011

In The Garden

A beautful pot, which you can't see for all the plants!
There was a small swimming pool in the back yard when C and MA bought the house.  The promptly removed it.  Their daughter, who is a landscape architect, designed and built this garden for them.  What a wonderful gift!
The Fountain.  Toby likes to drink from the basin.

Raised beds for vegetables.

Yummy artichoke.  We had it for lunch.

Blooms everywhere.

Closeup of the fountain.
The garden is a beautiful place, surrounded by high walls.  There is a huge Catalpa tree which is covered in white blooms, except for the ones constantly dropping in the garden.  I sweep them up every day, but it still looks like snow on the ground the next morning.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Toby the Springer Spaniel

Toby the Springer Spaniel
One of the most enjoyable things about house sitting are the animals.  Some are pets, some are farm, all are fun.  Ok, maybe scraping the chicken poop off the roosts is not fun, but the chickens surely are!  Here in Sacramento, we are enjoying the company of Toby, a two year old Springer Spaniel.  I think the name comes from the dogs ability to spring straight up from a sitting position to even with ones nose.  Toby is the perfect example.
Sleeping in a sunny spot in the garden.

When home owners leave, pets are usually upset with the change.  Sometimes a little treat with their food makes all the difference.  So it is with Toby.  He has gotten used to us being here. He eats his food with no problem, comes when called, and has decided our bed is not the place he will get to sleep.  When we go for his daily walk, he is very good, until he spies a squirrel, a cat, a dog, or a leaf drops on him.  Then he literally, springs into action.  I think my right arm is now two inches longer than the left!  When this happens, a firm "No" followed by the "Sit" command soon has him calmed down, for the most part.
Watching for squirrels!

One of Toby's favorite pastimes is keeping the squirrels out of the backyard, as well as off the highline wires that run across it.  I've seen him sneak out until he is under the highline wire with the squirrel on it, jump and bark really loudly, eliciting a startle response in the squirrel, to the point the poor thing nearly looses it's balance!  I'm not sure Toby would know what to do with a squirrel if it fell into the yard.

Today he goes to Doggy Daycare, where he will spend the day playing with other dogs.  He has a regular two day a week schedule.  We continue it for him, since our main job is normality for him.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Not Just A House, A Home.

Toby in his living room.
We arrived safely in Sacramento after a 13 hour drive from Tucson.  Mary Anne and Charles had dinner ready for us; an eggplant dish that was delicious.  Toby the Spaniel was very glad to see us.  He slept by my chair during dinner.  We talked until way past our bedtimes.

The next two days were spent getting aquainted with the runnings of the house and garden.  Both are very beautiful, but extremely comfortable.  One evening, there was a dinner party with several family members for us to meet.  In an odd twist, Bill and Charles are related.  Bill's great Grandfather is Charles great great Grandfather.  We met on Facebook, when Bill and Mary Anne had a mutual friend, and Mary Anne commented that her husband's grandmother was a Willmon.  And the rest, as they say, is history. 

They are now in the air, on their way to Athens, via Dallas and Madrid.  A long trip, but full of adventure and new places.  Dr Suess was right!  Oh the places you will go!  But only if you allow yourself.
Mary Anne and Charles at the airport ready to fly away. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

California Here We Come

Time to put the finishing touches on our projects; followed by cleaning, laundry and packing.  It's off to California on Wednesday until the end of June.   We have a house sit in Sacramento for distant relatives we met through Facebook!  They are going to Greece while we take care of their Springer Spaniel, Toby.  I'm sure a good time will be had by all, just in different ways.

This should be a fun house sit, as we used to live in Sacramento many years ago.  Our daughter was born there, but we left before she turned two.  A lot has changed in the intervening years.  There's a renovated Crocker Art Gallery to visit.  The foothills to the west of town now have wineries.  And I'm sure the traffic has not improved a bit!

Packing will not be the same as for our overseas trips. We are driving our car, which means I can take extra shoes for gardening, heels for going out to dinner, an extra pair of sandals.  When we fly, we only take one carry on size suitcase each, a bookbag backpack for meds and electronics and I carry the laptop case. No extra room for spare shoes!

Monday, May 09, 2011

Found Another House Sit!

We have found another house sit that fits inbetween the one in France and the one in Shropshire.  It's in the Cotswolds of England.  The house is called Little Pickwick.  A house with a name, now how cool is that?  We will be taking care of a border collie, who looks alot like Mollie in Cornwall.  Plus, two cats and their garden.  The pictures look wonderful. 

Another first; we will be flying into Luton, England on EasyJet, a cheap airline, that actually advertises themselves that way.  Even with paying for our two suitcases, and the addition for paying by credit card, and paying in pounds sterling, it came to $211 for both of us.  Much cheaper, and faster, than the train to the ferry and the ferry to England.

I still need to book a rental car for our time in England, as neither homeowner has a spare for us to use, but will wait and do that closer to the time.  We are looking another house sit for September and October.  We would like to be farther south, back on the Continent, say, south of France, Spain, or Italy.  Some place where fall will be a little longer in coming, since there is not much room for cold weather clothing in our carryon size suitcases.  

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Where does the Time go?

We realized yesterday that we will be home only 3+ weeks between now and mid-October.  13 days until we leave for our California house sit and then 10 days when we return in June until we leave for France.  There is a long list of things to be finished.  Painting the last of the beams outside of Amy and Dan's bathroom patio will finally end the outside painting for a few years.  Then there is the touch up painting in the Arizona room from installing tile on the window sills.  Closets to be organized.  Clothes to be gone thru and donated/thrown away.  And, what may prove to be the most difficult, our pickup sold before we have to register again.  Bill has his own list of things to accomplish; I'll stay out of that!

Now to get off the computer and get to work!  Maybe I'll have another cup of coffee, it's still early! 

Doune Castle

Doune Castle was rebuilt by Robert Stewart, the Duke of Albany, a man who was the power behind the throne as Regent for James I of Scotland,...