Snow Bunnies

The “girls” got their first taste of snow on Sunday.

I actually had a preview at about 3:30 am when I got up for a drink of water and looked out the window to see snow flurries floating down.  There is a small irony in the fact that something freezing can warm your heart…  I went back to bed anticipating an early morning blanket of ice and snow on the ground.When I got up with the girls about 6:30 I wasn’t disappointed.

The sun was rising and our five acres of heaven never looked more beautiful.  The patchwork of snow on the ground was only slightly over shadowed in beauty by the pine and cedar branches delicately balancing glistening snow and ice in the morning sun.

Holly and I sat and drank coffee looking out the windows at the christening of snow on our new treasure we call the Golden K.  For most of the morning Kali and Kloe – mostly Kloe – were restless and wondered why we didn’t let them outside to explore the “Winter-land”.  So at noon we went for a walk around our neighborhood to give the girls a little exercise and to savor this dusting of snow before it all melted.  It was great fun to watch the girls as they experienced snow for the first time. The personalities of Kali and Kloe were in full display as we walked along the snow spotted roads near the Golden K.

Kali who prances under normal circumstances seemed even more animated as she navigated the slippery ground and got used to ice under her feet.  She methodically followed her nose along the snow and ice on the roadside probably wondering why the normal smells were not as vibrant being covered by a layer of snow.  Kloe tugged a little more than usual and was very excited to finally be outside.  She stopped every few feet to gobble down a bite of snow.

We walked, talked, and and gave thanks as we took in the beautiful sights of snow covered pastures, creeks running crisply with the melted snow, but mostly watching Kloe as she realized she could use her body as a snowboard.  She would  throw her body down on the ground and slide for as long as the leash would allow her and then get up with wild eyes and do it again.  Holly and I were in hysterics and I think even Kali got a laugh or two out of her sisters antics.

It was a great day and a wonderful way to wrap our holiday weekend walking with our two “snow bunnies” who we are so thankful for.

Never too cold for a little training and TREATS!


Trying to look stoic after a belly flop and slide


Just a dusting

Over the years we’ve vacationed in the snow many times.  I have fond memories of spending long winter weekends in Lake Tahoe with friends who had small children like our’s were at the time.  Three families comprised of six adults and nine children.  The first year of what became an annual event for ten years the youngest child  was an infant and the oldest, one of my sons, was nine.  No snow parks needed for this band of suburban families. There was a fantastic area right outside the house to build our sled run.  There was always plenty of snow and fun to go around.

There were plenty of other times and events in the snow.  One scary and memorable event was a drive to Lake Tahoe with our daughter in what turned out to be a white out.  On top of almost zero visibility from the snow storm and darkness of night our car’s windsheild wipers were badly worn which negated any help from the defroster.  I couldn’t see any road; only white. Thankfully we didn’t fall off the edge of a cliff and we made it over the pass and into the Lake Tahoe Basin area safely and had a wonderful time snowmobiling and sight seeing.

At 3,100 feet elevation The Golden K is just the lower edge of the snow line for normal years in the Sierras.  But with the drought and evolving climate change who knows what normal is anymore. Still, we hoped we would get some dustings from time to time and yesterday was one of those times.  I had driven down to the Bay Area in the morning and was heading back home around 3:00 pm when Holly text me to say it was snowing.  As I got up the hill closer to the GK the rain turned to flurries and I felt my lips spontaneously turn to a smile.  For a moment I felt like a little kid experiencing something special for the first time. Maybe like my daughter felt when she fist saw snow during that first annual trip with our friends.  But I’ve been in the snow plenty of times.  Heck I drove through that white out with nothing but snow all around us. So why do a few snow flurries make me feel happy?   But then at that moment I realized that experiencing something familiar can still feel new when the context changes.

This new context is the Golden K.

By the time I arrived home the flurries had turned to rain and there wasn’t much evidence of snow on the ground or trees because it melted as soon as it landed.  So much to my delight when I woke up this morning to see new evidence of a light snowfall from over night.  I felt my lips smile again as I looked through the windows to see patches of snow on the ground and traces of snow on tree branches.   I quickly fed the dogs and took a brief walk around the house’s immediate surroundings to enjoy the sights.


I realize that it’s easy for me to selfishly want it to snow for the pure beauty and experience of it in this new context.  And I realize that at the end of the storm (s0 to speak) I don’t have to deal with it.  I’m sure anyone reading this who lives or has lived where real snowfall is a real part of life throughout the winter and has to shovel it, drive in it, work in it, and clean up after it will chuckle and say, “Be careful what you wish for Mike – a winter living in the snow is not all sled runs and hot cocoa Hot Totties by the fire”.

It was only a dusting and that’s fine.  Because when your lips spontaneously turn up into a smile, you feel like a three year old seeing something for the first time, and you are for that moment in time at total peace, you just might be at The Golden K experiencing a romantic perspective of life at 3100 feet.


Happy Thanksgiving

Kali is thankful for all of her followers and wishes all you a safe and happy Thanksgiving weekend.  Here are a couple of holiday tips from Kali and Kloe:

If you’re traveling buckle up and be safe!

And whatever your plans are try not to over eat or you’ll end in a food coma like us.



When you’re two dogs living in the same house there are a lot of things you have to share.  You have to share mom and dad, treats, toys, and sometimes the same bed.  I’ve always been very proud of Kali, and especially of Kloe who is still a puppy, for doing very well with sharing without fighting; well sometimes tug of war but mostly with toys are rarely with mom and dad.

One of the things I respect is when our pups have a meal or a special treat like a bully stick.  I don’t take it for granted that they will share it or that I can simply walk over and take it away.  I can take it away and I make a point, again especially with Kloe,  to occasionally pick up her bowl in the middle of a meal and then immediately give it back.  Kloe trusts me and I can’t imagine she would ever become aggressive with me when taking away her bowl or a toy.   But that doesn’t mean I don’t respect that she is an animal with instincts.  Oh yeah and large sharp teeth.

I don’t give the pups bully sticks very often.  Those are usually reserved for special occasions or what I call Rainy Day Recess.  Calling this Rainy Day Recess is an artifact of Holly having taught pre-school for over 20 years.  It’s those days when the dogs can’t outside because it’s raining and they’ve got a lot of energy to burn of with little room to do it in – kind of like pre-schoolers on a rainy day…

So earlier this week when we had some rain I declared Rainy Day Recess and pulled out a couple of bully sticks.  The girls really love this treat and if they had more cognitive thinking skills they would probably wish every day was raining.  I handed them the sticks and Kali and Kloe went to their respective corners of the living room and began chewing.  They looked a lot like I do with a real big piece of beef jerky trying to soften it up and get it into my body as fast as possible.  Because, well because I love beef jerky.

I made a point – a couple of times – to go to each one of them individually and ask them to “leave it” and let me take the bully stick.  They are clearly more reluctant to give up the bully stick than a bowl of regular meal food but they do.  I give it right back to them all the while praising them for “leaving it”.  With a pat and sometimes a kiss on top of their heads I let them know that I approve of them giving up this treasured treat but that I will give it back.  It’s a good relationship, as most good relationships are, built on trust.

So I’m accustomed to the pups not having any food aggression of any sort.  But when it comes to meal time, although they eat next to one another with bowls only inches away, it would only be expected that one or them to get a little testy if the other placed their mouth near her bowl.  Kali and Kloe eat meals at the same time right next to each other.  Although they get different size portions (Kloe gets more because she is still growing) they usually finish up about the same time.  You’d think that Kloe would take longer because she get’s more food but sometimes she finishes fist.  I noticed this the other night and I was a little surprised when I saw Kloe move over to Kali’s bowl while Kali was still eating.  There had been one incident when Kloe was only nine weeks old and tried to take some food out of Kali’s dish while Kali was eating.  With a low growl and quick nip to Kloe’s ear Kali delivered a message and lesson to Kloe that I thought would last a lifetime.

So on this night when Kloe put her snout into Kali’s dish I thought, “uh-oh” Kali’s not going to like this.  I was waiting for Kali to take an aggressive move and put Kloe in her place.  But no.  Instead she kept eating and allowed Kloe to help finish off the few morsels that remained in her bowl.

Wow!  My Golden Kali set such a great example that transcends pets.  If only we as people could exhibit as much tolerance and sharing as she has this world would have to be a better place.  Right?

So thank you my Golden Kali for teaching me yet another lesson in a series of so many since you rescued me.

This is how they usually start out – side by side.


But to finish like this was rather remarkable!


Winter Freeze

We finally got our first real cold day at The Golden K.  When we woke up yesterday morning it was in the low thirties.   I know for many of you that’s not cold but for us suburban transplants it is.  Mostly because it never really warmed up.

Kali and I went out for our morning walk after me bundling up with about three layers and a scarf – which I never wear.  Kali, being a Golden Retriever, has built in double coats so she was fine.  The crisp air felt great as we walked along our normal route going down to the main road, picking up our newspaper, and then heading up our property the long way around and finally back home.

I’ve been looking forward to winter up here on the hill where it will be cold with an occasional dusting of snow.  Not enough to have to shovel but enough to just hunker down and enjoy the season with a good wood fire, some smooth brandy, and a football game or two on Sundays.  But in reality I’m sure there will be some things that grow old quickly like a chapped face from that early morning walk, broken water pipes, and dealing with a puppy who just wants to be outside no matter what the temperature or precipitation.

But it’s all good when you have a romantic perspective at 3100 feet.  For that we are blessed.

The girls did their best to keep warm (like it was hard to do with a wood fire, a propane stove, and each other to stay warm!).


The freezing temps are good because it kills bark beetles; freezes those little bastards balls off  🙂 but what we need is more of this.

Here’s to a wet, wet winter!  Pray for rain.

Kloe and her red ball

Kloe loves to be outside and loves her red ball.  Although we’ve had a little rain until today the weather has been very mild for Fall with temps in the mid-seventies. Kloe’s taken advantage of this and spends a good part of her day outside although I don’t think the cold or rain would slow her down much.

She’s very attached to this red ball and carries it with her most of the day.  Inside the house as we are going about our business she’ll drop it at our feet and look up at us and with her eyes as if to say, “you know what to do – throw it”.

Although Kloe loves to chase and catch the ball when we’re outside she hasn’t yet got the full hang of dropping it on demand, instead playing coy and bringing it to us and then turning her head coyly away as if to say, “try to get it”.  She eventually drops or we take it, we throw it, and she is off to the races.  Our other pups, including Kali, have had little to no interest in chasing a ball so this is not only a lot of fun for Kloe for a lot of fun for us!

Kloe’s also learned that if she is on an incline she can drop the ball and it rolls away and then she chases after it.  So she plays fetch by herself which is pretty cool.

But mostly Kloe loves to hang outside and wait for us to come out and throw the ball.  It takes her a little while to poop out but eventually she does.


Thought bubble:  “I love to chase this red ball but I also like to play keep away in between throws”.



Thought bubble:  “OK, I’m a little tuckered out, maybe I’ll just rest here in the shade for a bit.


“I guess I was more tired than I thought.  I’ll just lay here and drink my water”

You might wonder what Kali is up to during all this ball throwing, fetching play time, and unconventional water drinking.  Well, mostly a lot of this.


Kali’s thought bubble:  “Zzzzzz”

Golden Blessings

The Golden K has been truly golden this past week.  The change in seasons is increasingly evident in the cool mornings and evenings, the early setting sun, and strikingly in the color of the leaves.  Especially those leaves from the Black Oaks that periodically rain yellow and orange leaves from the sky and onto, well, onto everything.

Each season this first year at the GK is new for us.  Summer was wonderful, and now Autumn is simply beautiful.  The warm temps in the mid seventies this past week is to some degree guilt free since we’ve had a considerable amount of rain – much higher than normal – at this point in the season.  We continue to pray for a very wet winter but meanwhile are truly loving the goldeness of the Golden K.

During an early afternoon walk around the property I was taken back by the beauty of this day and season and stopped to take a few photos while feeling truly grateful for the golden blessings we have up here on the hill.