Sunday, August 21, 2016

For my Mom

My Mom passed away on the 1st of August - not entirely surprising due to her poor health, but still not what we expected.  She was recovering in a rehab center in Arizona after open heart surgery, and while her recovery was slow, we were all fully expecting her to be released.  On the night prior, she fell and the fall itself caused complications. 
1975ish - the year I was born.
I think it's been hard for all of us (my three sisters) to adjust to this strange new reality where my Mom just isn't.  I listened to a message she had left me the day before, and while memory issues and general weakness were apparent, her voice sounded strong.  We were making plans for her to come live with us in Washington, as her health issues had gotten to the point she couldn't live alone anymore. 

I can never complain about my childhood.  My Mom was a tough lady - being German, living through World War II, and carrying her heritage proudly wrapped around her.  She became an American citizen in 1967 and loved her new country more than anything.  It was a defining moment for her.
The day Mom became an American.

Mom and Dad loved each other tremendously and stuck it out through many hard times. 

Note from my Dad to my Mom.  He was in the Army for over 26 years.
Even in the lean times, we had a home and love.  ...and in the not so lean times, we had animals.  I think Mom and Dad were miffed about my animal-loving ways, but never said no when I asked.  I even remember my Dad calling me one time and asking if I had had an orange cat yet, and when I said no, he told me to ask my mother if we could have another cat.  We had all kind of animals growing up - birds, chickens, ducks, rabbits, rodents, goats, sheep, dogs (Great Danes and Golden's) and of course all manner of horses.  Mom loved them all. As Mom got a little more frail, her dogs got a little smaller - Rosie was the last pup she had, rescued from the pound. 
One of the toughest things to face for me, and I think I just need to fixate on something, is the loss of Mom's phone number.  My sister is handling Mom's affair, as she is still local, and we've decided to give Mom's number one more month before having it disconnected, just to capture any calls that might need handling.  ....but, this has been the number I've used to call home for over 25 years.  It has been the lifeline for so many things - when I wasn't feeling well in school and needed Mom, when I passed a college final, when the vet called to tell me that our beloved Golden Daisy passed away during surgery, when I needed reassurance during my first job, when my car broke down and I desperately needed my Dad to rescue me, the number Aaron called when we first started dating and I didn't have a cell phone, and the number I called to tell Mom Aaron and I eloped...  Even now, when I wanted to tell her about our new adventures in Washington, it was hidden beneath the familiar name "Mom" on my iPhone, but it was still there.  It was the number  I could reach out to share the highs and low of life and the security of knowing Mom was just a phone call away will be gone.
Mom and Sam.
Thanks to loving neighbors who helped to keep an eye on my Mom, and who were quick to jump the fence or give me a call, Mom was able to stay in the house my Dad bought for her 31 years ago, which was what she wanted more than anything.  After Aaron and I married, instead of finding horse property of our own, we kept my horses on her property and I made daily visits out there to feed and check on her.  Of course, I always brought a pup along, and Mom enjoyed seeing our Golden's as much as having company.
Mom and Harlow
When Daddy passed away 13 years ago, Mom sort of quit living.  She was lost with my Dad, and she was waiting to join him again.  My only hope is that they've found each other and Mom is finally at peace.

I love you, Mom.

Margarete Maria Sturm
June 19, 1942 - August 1, 2016

Monday, July 25, 2016

An old-fashioned barn hunt....

A week or so ago I took Harlow to find out if she'd like to try barn hunting -  a sport where a pup has to find a rat (in a tube) hidden in a maze of hay bales.  Harlow is really focused on catching critters in the yard and we thought this might be a good way to direct her efforts.

Just a quick note on the rats - they are secure and are given treats and attention when they go into the tube.  I was worried that they would be harassed, but it was just the opposite.  The rats actually came up to the Harlow and were super friendly and laid back.  Donna invited me to visit her rats and I found their conditions to be excellent - large clean cages to move around in, company and consideration for age and status of each rat.  She even had a retirement cage for one rat - he was too old to be in with the other rats or be a barn rat, so she provided him a fantastic home with lots of comforts to live out his life.

Now back to Harlow...

When we first got there, our instructor Donna held a rat in front of Harlow.  Harlow, we found, is a very quiet hunter.  I have to watch for her ears to prick to show me she found something interesting.
Hi dere, rat.  I iz da Harlow.  I will be finding you tonight.

Harlow really enjoyed seeing the rat.
Really?  You like cheez?  So does da Harlow!
Once Donna knew that Harlow understood what a rat was, we took a test with three tubes.  One was empty, one had bedding and one had a rat in it.  Harlow had to alert to the rat and she did with flying colors.  Donna then hid the rat in the hay and we worked on Harlow climbing bales and going through the tunnel.  She found her first rat too!
 She also found time to make friends with Donna...
Smooches, teacher!
I iz climbing!
We gave Harlow a break, and then Donna hid the rat for real!  Here is a video of Harlow's first attempt at finding a rat where neither she nor I knew where it was.  I left my questions in just in case someone else would like to try - they may be helpful!  If you can't see it below, click here.
Donna had lots of homework for us!  Overall, we thought it was a huge success.  Harlow finished up her lesson with a special thank you for her new teacher.
Da Harlow luvs you.
 What did Harlow think of it all?
Dis da best, da Momma!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Chewy's review!

It's time for our monthly Chewy's review.  This one is extra special for two reasons:  it's Ramble's first review and Aaron stepped in to act as camera man.

We decided to review Dick Van Patten's Natural Balace Wild Pursuit Lamb Lung Bites.  These are Harlow's favorite treats although we tend to buy from another company.  I wanted to see what she thought about this brand.
My favorite thing about these treats is the only ingredient is lamb lung - no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.  Being dehydrated they are easy to break into smaller pieces.
Hurry, da Momma!
Harlow and Monty are pros when they see the Chewy's box and it took Ramble a minute to realize it was a box for the pups and there were treats inside.  Aaron took the following photos:
What's going on here?
Ramble still hasn't realized there is a goody coming....

Add caption

 It's just dawning on him here.
Wait what?

 Now he's got it...

I'm wondering at this point if I should fear for my life...

 The boys have their sits mastered!

 Harlow is there too.  She knows to patiently wait in the back.  I had to toss Ramble's for him to give Monty a chance to eat his. 

 Seconds?  Of course!
 All right guys!  That was it!
So as you can see, these treats were definitely a hit!  We love Natural Balance products in general, so I can definitely see purchasing this in the future.  If you hurry, they are on sale!

....and the pups gave it 12 paws up!

Thank you, Chewy's!

Disclaimer:  How Sam Sees It has not been compensated for this product review. We received a product to review.  We have no connection with the brand and were not influenced in our opinions. Our opinions are strictly our own.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Furry Friday Mysteries: Part 3 - The crime is discovered, but will Harlow catch her suspect?

If you missed part two, click here.

Harlow knew she was closing in on Slim, but still had found no sign of Monty Moriarty.  As in her Uncle's time, she knew that Moriarty would prove to be a most formidable foe and had escaped several times.  She hoped that by  capturing Slim and uncovering their plot she would her finally put Moriarty behind bars.

"Da Momma," she said,"why do you suppose they are flooding the market with counterfeits bills?"

I had no answer for her and we spent the next several hours throwing around ideas.  The only thing we could think of was that perhaps they wanted to devalue something they were interested in buying.

"...but what?" Harlow asked, gazing blankly out the window.
She showed incredible dedication to solving this mystery.
We sat in silence for a while, and then, her mind working in the same genius way her Uncle's had, Harlow looked at me and smiled.
Her grin was sheepish.

"It's fruit, da Momma.  Washington state is known for fruit.  They must want to flood the market with counterfeit bills to force inflation high and make folks leave, and then they'll buy all the fields and corner the market on blackberries and blueberries!"

I was amazed at her logic.  I queried how she had come up with this thought.

"Uncle Sam left a note regarding a vice Monty Moriarty has, an addiction to fruit that has been the driving force behind his past criminal activity."

It was brilliant.  ...but we still did not know how to catch our suspects.

"I fear we may lose Moriarty again," she said.  "Slim however, has been frequenting a burger joint several times a day."  She handed me a photo.  "This grainy surveillance photo shows him there just this morning."
This was definitely the criminal known as Slim!

Despite the fuzzy appearance of the photo, I could tell it was indeed Slim.   I asked what our next step would be.

"We will wait for him, da Momma," she paused briefly on our way to the car, "and arrest him when he arrives."

In a short time we arrived at the restaurant and it did not take long for Slim to appear.  Harlow sprang from the car and yelled, "Slim, you are under arrest!"

We should have known he would not go quietly.  With amazing speed he jumped at Harlow, and a spectacular battle ensued!
Harlow, watch out!
He was definitely not going down easy!
Had Harlow lost?

I'll admit, I feared for Harlow, but she fought our suspect courageously.   In no time at all she subdued him, and we felt secure in our knowledge that one of our suspects would soon be behind bars.
Shifty eyes....
It was only after that she paused to reflect on the day.  "Da Momma," she said thoughtfully, "I fear Slim will not be long in jail before he finds a method to secure his freedom.  This caper will only be over when Monty Moriarty is in jail."
Her face was very serious.

Only later would I realize just how prophetic her words were.

 Join us next Friday for Part 4 of our mystery series!  ;)

Monday, July 11, 2016

A special package!

Over the weekend we got a special package in the mail - a box of goodies for the pups and the chickens (that's right) from Monty and Ramble's foster Momma, Candy!
Addressed c/o of da Momma - BOL!
It was chock full of surprises for all the pups!
Thank you!
 There was a special gift for Harlow - who couldn't wait to eat, er... play with her new bunny friend!

Look at that focus!

 There were lots of treats for all the pups!
Ramble is working on "sit".

...and look at the camera....
 Don't worry, Monty had treats too!
Anything in dere for Monty?
 See?  :)
Dey are all mine!
 There was another gift for da Harlow, which she was happy to see as Ramble stole her Snowball.
For da Princess.

 ....and the chickens got treats!  Sorry - no photos of them enjoying these.  I cannot get the lid off!  LOL!

 All the pups say thank you, Foster Momma Candy!
Thank you!

Thank you!

Thank you!


The Harlow Approved Pink Bunny Chewing location - this was her second surprise!

 It really was Christmas in July!  Thank you!