The Year Of The K

I don’t typically partake in reflection of the past year as the new year approaches but this year has been like no other. It has been the year of the K.

Packing up 34 years of suburbia and moving to a rural area was a truly life changing event for Holly and I. This journey started in September of 2015 when “just for fun” I began looking on the internet at homes for sale in the foothills.  One of the first I saw  was a five acre property in Tuolumne CA.  It seemed to call to me and Holly agreed that it looked wonderful but she was not keen on moving; at least not for several years.

A few weeks later we drove up to see the property “just for fun”.  Over the following weeks and countless discussions about the possibility and rationale for moving  the “just for fun” became serious and we decided to look at more properties.  We saw several that we liked but none met the beauty, charm, and rustic elegance of what was to become The Golden K. We made an offer in November and closed escrow in December, just over a year ago.

Wow! What in September were only musings about one day moving to a simpler life in the mountains became reality just four months later in.  It’s one example of many over the past 34 years of Holly and I aligning on a goal and making it a reality.

The sellers rented back from us through April which gave us time to sell our home in Livermore and for Holly to finish her school year as a teacher.  In early May while still living in Livermore we brought a nine week old Golden Retriever home that we named Kloe, with a K or course like her big step sister Kali with a K.

That was all the inspiration I needed. I then knew we were moving “home” to The Golden K.  We moved in full time over Memorial weekend and we never looked back.

So here we the four of us: a guy and a gal still desperately in love after 34 years of marriage, two beautiful and loving Golden Retrievers, and one shared romantic perspective of life at 3100 feet.

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And to all a good night

We’re back down to from 200 to 120 pounds of dog!

For the past three days we had a Crazy (as in crazy good) Canine Christmas.  Smokey arrived Friday and Sadie and Jaynee arrived Saturday.  Throw Kali and Kloe in the mix and the dogs outnumbered the humans 5 to 3 for this low key Christmas celebration with Holly, my daughter, and myself….. and the five pups.

The youngsters (Kloe and Jaynee) played hard wrestling and chasing much of the weekend.  The old ladies (Kali and Sadie) opted to sleep in the warmth of either the sun or the house. Smokey, being the smallest (yet wisest) of the group tried to stay out of harms way.  Contributing only 11 of the overall total 200 pounds of dog, he held his own but knew when to run for cover to avoid getting smashed.

It was a howl of a Christmas for sure.  All the pups were respectful of the house, the outside areas, and one another.  Barely a growl or snip was noticed as this gang of five co-exsited for three days eating, begging, getting way too many treats, napping in the sun, rolling in the mud, and being dogs together.  Spoiled dogs, but dogs none the less.

Smokey, Sadie, and Jaynee were gone by 2:00 this afternoon.  Since then, and as expected, Kali and Kloe have gone into deep power naps.

And to all a good night!

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200 Pounds Of Dog For Christmas

There will be a large group at The Golden K this Christmas!  The breakdown of attendees goes like this:  three humans, five canines, and one cow.  Well, only part of a cow; a prime rib to be more specific.

Meet the humans:  Michael, Holly, and Jessica (our daughter).

Meet the Canines:  Kali, Kloe, Smokey, Sadie, and Jaynee.  Kali and Kloe you already know and Smokey some of you have “met” in past posts.  Smokey is an eleven pound Morky (Maltese / Yorkshire mix)  of pure cute.  Sadie and Jaynee belong to our friends who live nearby and who will be traveling for a few days.  Sadie and Jayne will be with us for three days over Christmas.  I’m not sure what breeds Sadie is but she is about 45 pounds, 11 years old, fuzzy, and very sweet.  Jayne is an Australian Shepard mix about 35 pounds and lighting fast.  She and Kloe have become good friends over the past several months.  Kloe and Jayne run, chase, and wrestle while Kali and Sadie lay and watch them or sleep in the sun.  It’s a good mix and lots of fun to watch.

Meet the Cow:  just kidding.  I meant eat the cow (sorry PETA advocates but I really love beef…

So this long Christmas weekend will be interesting and fun to say the least.   It could be a howl!  Smokey arrives tomorrow (Friday) with my daughter, Sadie and Jayne arrive Saturday.  They will all leave on Monday.  So we’ll have three days with twenty paws running around the… well, probably running around the house because it’s supposed rain and/or snow most of that time.

I sure hope Santa is quiet coming down our chimney Christmas Eve otherwise he’ll be sharing his milk and cookies with 200 pounds of dog!

With a little Mother Nature luck the nine of us (yes, I’m including the cow) may wake up to this on Christmas morning as we did over Thanksgiving weekend.  Just enough to look pretty but not so much to have to shovel  🙂

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They're Cutting Down Trees

It’s coming on Christmas
They’re cutting down trees
They’re putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
I wish I had a river I could skate away on

 – © 1970; Joni Mitchell

Last weekend Holly and I went to  a local nursery looking for a live Christmas tree.  What was available was scrawny and very expensive.  Then Holly and I came to our senses and remembered that we live on five acres full of trees.  We laughed just a little at ourselves.

By the time we arrived back home at the Golden K it was pouring down rain but we were determined to establish a new tradition of cutting down a Christmas tree from our own property.  So we put on the best rainproof-cutting-down-Chistmas Tree-gear that we had and headed up the hill to the back side of the Golden K.  Back in the days before we went artificial and when we still put up “real”  trees we always had pines.  It wasn’t likely that we would find a pine small enough so we were hunting for a Cedar.

It didn’t take us too long to find a tree that was suitable.  It was a very nicely shaped Cedar about 12 feet high.  We carried it to the shop, cut it down to about seven feet and carried it back to the house.

It felt a little bit like when your kids are little and they cook a meal for themselves.  They eat the meal as if it was the best food they ever tasted because of the gratification of having cooked it themselves.  As we looked at our tree we both felt as though it was the most beautiful tree we have ever had in our 34 years of marriage.  I guess because we “cooked it” ourselves…

So like Joni sang, “they’re cutting down trees” at the Golden K and they are in love and they are grateful.  And if that’s not a romantic perspective of life at 3100 feet I don’t know what is.

First Christmas at the Golden K

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Hunkering Down

With the below freezing temperatures this past week it’s been a good time to hunker down by the fire and get cozy.  This is great for Kali because besides eating hunkering down is pretty much her favorite thing to do so long as it’s at my feet without her sister Kloe chewing on her or sticking a toy in her face trying to initiate a game of tug-o-war.

We’ve had a good drenching of rain the past few days, which of course is very welcome given the drought conditions the past several years.  We’re off to a good year of rainfall so far so keep it coming Mother Nature!

With the cold and wet I’m not outside very much but when I am I look up at the tree tops and they seem very happy, especially the 80 foot pines.  Kloe not so much!   She stares out the window and sees her normal playground of dirt, trees, and sticks turn into an even more fascinating wonderland of puddles and mud which she would love to be rolling and sliding in.  Kloe loves water and mud as much as Kali loves food.  As much as we’d love to let her out, and as hilarious as it would be to see her “Tazzing” * in the mud, she’d end up a 65 pound ball of red mud and it would take an hour get her clean.

*  Tazzing (for the Loony Toons Tasmanian Devil) is what we call it when Kloe does short sprints,  jumps and circles with no specific direction seemingly chasing imaginary squirrels, ghosts, or perhaps running away from these same imaginary playmates.   

Kloe’s playground during the storm

Fortunately we have a gated area underneath the deck that has concrete and rocks and is mostly dry during storms.  Although it’s not big enough for any Tazzing it’s a convenient place to let the girls out to do their business without having them come back wet and muddy.

The rain has stopped today and although the skies will be dry for a couple of days it takes many days for the ground to dry and the wet clay turn back to dirt.  Long walks only do so much to work off Kloe’s endless supply of energy so at some point today or tomorrow we’ll have to let her out to do some Tazzing.  She’d love to have Kloe join the wet and muddy craziness but Kali moves at a different speed than Kloe.  Kali is the rest of the world while Kloe is Neo from The Matrix.

But even Kloe, at the end of the day (literally), can hunker down with the best of us.   These new beds we got the girls and their makeshift camp shirt blankets is a great way to hunker down for a long winters night.