My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Friday, August 15, 2014

SkyWatch Friday: Ringside at Sunrise (+ bonus goodies)

As if the splendid "Super Moon" rising in the evening skies wasn't enough to take our breath away this week, our morning skies on Wednesday and Thursday seemed to be putting all they had into a Sunrise heavyweight title match to which we had ringside seats! Choose the winner (if you can!)

Ladies aaaaannnnd Gentlemen! In the east corner, in the orange, gold, pink, and purple trunks, Wednesday's "Tornado Cloud" sunrise...

And also in the east corner (awkward!), wearing… well, pretty much the same colored trunks but with more fluffy bits, Thursday's "Golden Glow" sunrise

Let's get ready to ruuuuuuuuummmmmble!!!

And now for anyone who's interested, here are some bonus, non-sky pics. I have not forgotten my promise to share photos from Sheridan's (relatively) recent annual Garden Tour, but since it's looking like a multi-post dealio, I wanted to first clear out some of these poor little stragglers that I never seem to get around to posting!

During our hot summer weather, our front porch is the place to be in the early mornings and evenings. When we were clearing out and organizing our garage recently (to make more room, for reasons that will become apparent at the end of this post), we found our pretty iridescent glass-winged dragonfly candle holder - a gift several years ago from my friend Jo. In the melee of moving 3x in a year, it had wound up stashed away rather than hung up and enjoyed! So we immediately remedied that - finding the perfect spot for it was easy!

Yup, easy as 1-2-3! :-)

Now his little doorbell brother has someone to talk to! :-)

Speaking of insects, here's a threefer, though it's a sad ending for two of them. Sitting on our back patio (the place to be in the hot afternoons), we watched this robin chase several grasshoppers along our back fence. We didn't think she'd manage to catch one, but she did! She then - with her mouth full, the feathered glutton - continued to chase the surviving grasshoppers around. This time we knew she'd never be able to catch a second one, not with her mouth still full of her first hapless victim - but again, she did! Beats us how, despite watching it happen. Aware she had an audience, she perched on our fence, turning her head to the left, the right, and straight at us repeatedly so we'd have ample opportunity to admire her grasshopper-catching skills. She did this for so long that I eventually fetched my camera, attached the telephoto lens, and took several photos of her before she flew off to those trees in the background - where she no doubt has a nest full of late-summer babies to admire her grasshopper-catching skills far more than we, her vegan audience, ever could. :-) 

Only when I downloaded this photo did I see that I'd inadvertently also captured a winged critter in flight…

And while we're on the subject of critters, here's a recent photo of a content and contemplative Tessa, watching the passers by from the shade of the front porch...

And now to our final critter, BW - who retired two weeks ago today and has finally learned to love it (haha!), posing beside our new T@B teardrop trailer!

It's a 2014 S floorplan w/wet bath "M@xx" model. Despite being teeny-tiny (it'll fit in our garage, yay) and so lightweight you can tow it with some cars (like the Subaru Outback) and even maneuver it around by those two handles you see, it manages to squeeze in a U-shaped sofa/dinette which converts to a queen bed, a wee kitchen (2-burner stove, bitsy sink, little fridge), a "wet bath" shower with commode and hamster-sized sink, a furnace, air conditioner, stereo system, and television with DVD player! All the comforts of home. Well, not really, but it's not really camping if you haul all the comforts of home with you! 

We got the T@B - which, in a nod to my Tuscan heritage as well as its cheery trim color we have named "Girasole," Italian for sunflower (gira sole meaning "turns to the sun") - so we can take our dogs with us when we go places. They are all canine senior citizens now, but still love going on adventures! 

Though we signed the purchase agreement on Girasole a couple weeks ago, we won't be picking it up at the Montana dealership till Monday because we took our 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee ("Otis") in for repairs and upgrades. He's got over 206K miles on him, bless his little 8-cylinder heart, and we needed him to be as safe and dependable a tow vehicle as possible before asking this additional duty of him. We spent the time he was in the shop, well, shopping! Getting such a late start on camping season does have one advantage - we're getting a lot of stuff on sale (including the T@B itself!), which is especially helpful since we have almost no camping gear (sleeping bags and a camp stove are about it), and have never had a travel trailer/RV of any type before. So we needed accessories - boring stuff like hoses and tire chocks, and fun stuff like a (backordered till October, sadly) matching yellow & grey T@B tent that attaches to the trailer's side (where the dogs will sleep and where we can stash some gear), some portable dog fencing, fun party lights (a necessity, you ask me!), and a pair of these reclining camping chairs. Which I blinged up for this photo with the sunflower from the bouquet from BW's retirement breakfast, plopped ever so appropriately in an empty Girasole wine bottle! :-)


  1. Lovely garden tour and such glorious shots of the sky!

  2. Wow those ARE some magnificent sunrise images.

    1. Thanks, they were amazing and absolutely worth getting up at the crack of dawn for!

  3. An action packed post. Glorious skies, and I suspect the extra insect you captured was beating a hasty retreat from the marauding Robin.
    Love that dragon fly candle holder too.

    1. I think you're right about that flying insect! "I'm gettin' the hell outta here!"

  4. Your sunrise shots are awesome... I love the cute trailer, now you will be taking all inds of great road trips.. Love the cute puppy dog..Have a happy weekend!

    1. Thanks! We'll keep it fairly local this year (MT, CO, SD), but are hoping to venture further afield next year! Fingers crossed our old girls stay healthy and fit enough to go and to enjoy it. I think they'll have a blast! Yes, Tessa is a sweetie and a cutie too. :-)

  5. So much great stuff going on in this post! First of all, those sunrises are spectacular (I laughed at the "awkward" comment- ha!). They almost don't look real.

    You mean to tell me that your doorbell is a dragonfly?! I LOVE that! It's even better with the adorable candle holder by it. I really like the cattails you have in the pot, too. Are they lit up or just that brightly colored?

    It sounds like that robin was very proud of herself, staying there and posing for you for so long. Such confidence, agility, and attitude in a small package! lol

    I'm really excited for you that you & BW will be picking up Girasole soon. T@Bs are so cute. I always love seeing them in the campgrounds & I think you'll really like the tent attachment. Almost every one we've seen has a tent on it and it really adds a ton of room. It's awesome that you can fit it in the garage, too. I would have loved to do that with the Airstream, especially in the winter.

    I hope you're having a wonderful week!

    1. Oh yes, you know how these "hodge podge" posts usually go - they wander all over the place! :-)

      Yup, our doorbell is a dragonfly and you've seen it before, you just don't remember because it's been nearly two years to the day (can you believe it?) since it appeared on this post (in closeup). Ordered it from Home Depot. Got the cattail lights there too, a couple of years ago (and they still sell them! Gitcha some!) - they are solar LED lights and are illuminated. They're very pretty when not lit, too!

      That robin was really showing off! I think she expected me to go hang a gold medal around her neck or something, the way she was acting! LOL

      There aren't many trailers that can fit in a garage, that's for sure! At least not in the dinky sized garages they build on most homes now. That was a pre-requisite for us - we didn't want to have to pay to have it stored outside, especially in winter and in hailstorms! So we were glad to learn that the T@B is one that would fit.

      I am hoping to send you an email this weekend, need to bring you up to date on a few things, but have lacked time and then energy. I'm just no good past 11 am, and that's when everything seems to be going on! :-)

      Have a great weekend, Molly! (When do you guys leave on your trip back east?)

    2. I thought I must have seen the dragonfly doorbell at some point. It's so cool! I immediately went to the link for the cattail lights, but they seem to be sold out. :(

      No worries about the email. We have a busy weekend and like you, I'm lacking energy today.

      We leave on September 20, so a little over a month!

  6. This sunrise is amazing! Such a beautiful sky!
    And the bird you captured ... gorgeous! And your trailer is absolutely great!

    1. Thanks, Mary! The robins here are funny, they have lots of personality (we had a fat baby one hanging around this spring who would come see us when we were sitting on the front porch and just chatter up a storm!) I'm glad you like our new travel trailer! :-)

  7. Both sunrises are beautiful, but I think I'll vote for Thursday. I'm glad you get up at the crack of dawn to take pictures, I sure don't. But then I can always look at yours.

    Can't wait to see the trailer in person.

    And as usual your other pictures are great. I especially like the sweet doggie one.

    1. Thanks for your vote! I was wondering when someone was going to "weigh in." ;-) Glad I can supply you with the sunrises you miss - in exchange for the kale I couldn't sneak past the hipster bugs in our wee garden! :-) (Btw, the zucchini is mostly gone (sautéed and served with a pasta dish) and that big batch o'kale you gave us is all gone. Two big bunches were steamed and 'et with dinners, the rest went into two batches of kale chips, which barely lasted a day around here! Thank you again for sharing!)

      I can't wait to see the trailer in person either, sitting in our driveway and garage! We still need to order a few things, but need it here to take actual measurements first. And we're eager to spend a night in it and see what it's like! If you guys are in the 'hood on Tuesday, it should be sitting there, swing on in and we'll give you the big tour. LOL

      Tessa is very photogenic. Namely because she's the one dog who doesn't insist on coming over and sticking her schnozzle on the lens as soon as the camera is pointed at her (Willow) or getting up and fleeing into the garage (Josie). She haughtily ignores it - like a boss diva. :-)

  8. Wow, love that little trailer. Very cool!! Oh, and really great sky shots!

    1. Thanks! We think it's a pretty cool little cutie too! :-) We've never seen any T@Bs around here - first ones we ever saw were at the dealership in Billings. We think it'll be fun! And I'm glad you enjoyed my sky photos! :-)

  9. I vote for the second one...beautiful! Love the dragonfly and the close-up of Tess. Finally, your new camper is too cool! I think you've made a great decision....compact, easy to tow, yet very versatile and loaded with amenities! So, where's the first trip happening? ;-)

    1. Looks like Thursday's Golden Glow may win this one by a TKO! (I am actually so NOT a boxing fan. I had to watch a YouTube video of a Mike Tyson heavyweight title match to see how they introduce the fighters! I had only a vague idea of it, but that's what a stickler for details I can be with my blog! LOL)

      I'm glad you think our decision was a good one, because it sure wasn't an easy one. I was nervous about making a purchase like that, given how short our camping seasons are and having never done the camper/trailer thing before. But we really wanted to be able to make some trips and given their age and their medicinal and food regimen these days, we need to be able to bring them with. This was the only way we could think to do that. I think they'll love it, since our outings will include many of their favorite activities - rides in the Jeep, walks in new places, and just lazily hanging out with Mom and Dad available to rub their bellies. :-)

      Our first night in the camper will be spent in our driveway, just to check out how well the a/c (or furnace! The nights are nippy now!) work, what we reckon we'll need (or not) to take with us, just how uncomfortable that bed really is, etc. Second trip will probably be either to a Sheridan campground, or maybe we'll go a tad further afield to Buffalo. We've talked about asking Perk if we can camp on their ranch (where Mocha is boarded), but we'd have to take the camper over quite a bit of unpaved road and aren't too eager to do that. Our first "BIG" trip will be up to Havre to see Mom, and we plan to spend a night halfway, probably in Roundup. We've got a sweet little campground in town, convenient to Mom's, picked out to spend a few nights, and also plan to camp a night or two at Beaver Creek Park, which is what we are really looking forward to! Then we may come home a different route. It all depends on when we can make the trip and what the weather is like.

  10. Replies
    1. Thanks, looks like Thursday may win by unanimous decision! (Though I have to admit, I favor Wednesday's!) :-)

  11. I'm envious! I love to travel and your tear drop would just fit nicely on my back end. I already have a hitch for it in place. All I would need is a dog like Tessa and I would be ready to hit the road. -- barbara

    1. Well there you go, then! Here's your local Little Guys (makers of T@B and even smaller trailers) dealership. And though Tessa is, of course, one-of-a-kind, here's a list of the 74 medium-sized, young and adult housebroken female dogs currently up for adoption via Petfinder (how we found Tessa) in the Vancouver area. Got ya covered! You're welcome. :-)


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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