No, They Are Not Just Dogs!

Kate

Eros

My dogs are family and treated like family. Yeah, I’m one of those!! If they don’t like you I probably won’t either. If you visit my house I guarantee when you leave you will have dog hair hitching a ride. I can’t imagine what life would be like without them. Kate is a 2011 model and Eros a 2012. Kate had a few problems when she was a pup. She had crystals in her urine and had hip surgery at a year old.

She slept on the couch and I slept on the floor beside her. When she was healed up she became my ride dog.

I am a retired farrier and she loved going to the barns with me. She took her riding shotgun seriously.

Then there is Eros. He was so little when he was a pup. He now ways 124 pounds.

He can be pretty intimidating. He is a big teddy bear. He is definitely a “protector”.

“A dog is the only thing on Earth that loves you more than you loves yourself.” – Josh Billings

They both have their own personalities. They are good listeners, loyal, and give unconditional love. They are always glad to see you and add joy to your life.

Now don’t get me wrong. They can get sick and leave a big mess to clean up and they can just simply be a pain in the butt. They are a huge responsibility. All in all I still say they are worth it.

Nope they aren’t just dogs. They’re family.

Slow down and …………………..

Life is made up of special moments which make it worth living.

There are many cherished moments that are missed due to the stress and fast pace of daily living.

We must slow down and remember how precious it is to be alive and to love.    Lessons Learned in Life

True Friendship; a Gift

There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.”

Thomas Aquinas

There are those friends who only are around when things are good. I refer to them as fair weather friends. Then there are those who are there to share in our windfalls and when that is gone so are they.

Then there are those that are there during the rough times to help you through. I refer to them as the roughneck friends.

A true friend is one that accepts you for who you are even if you have a difference of opinions on some things. It’s hard to find two people who agree with each other 100% of the time. That shouldn’t have an affect on a friendship. True friends inspire one another. They help you find the light at the end of the tunnel when you thought all was lost. They are the ones on the other end of the phone at 3 a.m. who you called just because you needed to talk to someone. They instill confidence within us. They are good listeners and they are there to support us. They overlook our failures and share in our successes. They rekindle our inner spirit. True friendship is the greatest gift of life.

Photography; an Art

St Francis River near Fredericktown, MO

“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever…It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.”

Aaron Siskind

I remember the first time I saw Ansel Adams work. I was mesmerized by it. I couldn’t get it out of my mind. How could black and white pictures look so amazing? That’s when the photography bug bit me.

In today’s high-tech world, anyone can point and shoot. Novices use photography to record memories. Photography is an art from and a form of nonverbal communication. Good photographers are artists who tell a story through their photographs.

Historical St Joe Mine in Park Hills, MO.

Photography is more complex than just point and shoot. A good photographer is creative and understands composition and its elements. They are 1) light 2) color 3) contrast and tone, 4) line 5) form 6) pattern 7) balance 8) movement 9) positive and negative space 10) texture 11) camera position 12) focal length 13) shutter speed.

A good photographer has to be able to do more than point and shoot. For instance, lighting and color can completely change the mood of a photograph. Many photos are printed dark and brooding in an effort to impart dramatic or mysterious effects when it is better to match the tonalities and contrast level to match the desired mood rather than to a standard formula.

Historic St Joe Mine in Park Hills, MO.

For those photographers who want to improve their photography skills I highly recommend reading, “The Art of Photography” (A Personal Approach to Artistic Expression) written by Bruce Branbaum. He is an internationally recognized fine art photographer. His photographs are held in public and private collections worldwide and represented by photography galleries in the USA and Europe. He is an ardent environmentalist and in 1974 was awarded the Sierra Club’s Ansel Adams award for photography.

“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.”

Ansel Adams

Let the Healing Begin

St. Francis River near Frederiktown River

“My scars remind me that I did indeed survive my deepest wounds. That in itself is an accomplishment. And they bring to mind something else, too. They remind me that the damage life has inflicted on me has, in many places, left me stronger and more resilient. What hurt me in the past has actually made me better equipped to face the present.”

Steve Goodier

At the moment, the world is in great need of lots of love and healing. Presently there is so much hate and discontent and it looks as if it is going to get worse before it gets better. Turmoil and confusion are the new norm. People are being controlled through fear, intimidation and misinformation. It has come to the point that one doesn’t know what to believe.

St. Francis River near Fredericktown, MO.

Pray, pray and pray some more. We are told that, “the truth shall set you free!” What is the truth? The whole truth and nothing but the truth. That’s a $64 question.

I don’t know what is in our future. We can’t give up or lose sight of what we believe in or our dreams. We have to be kind to each other even if we disagree with each other. Healing won’t start until we learn to love one another. I pray that we learn from all of this so that we will be stronger in the future.

St. Francis River near Fredericktown, MO

I chose the pictures I used because of the peace and solace it gives me. It is my safe place and my place for healing. The rocks represent me, and the river is life. Every day the rocks (me) get pounded by the river (life) and the rocks persevere. The river just takes the rough edges off the rocks.

The Dark Side of Christmas

My Precious Kate

I love the Christmas Holidays but unfortunately there is a dark side to Christmas.

Soon the shelters and rescues will begin filling up with older dogs that were surrendered by heartless owners. The only thing they are guilty of is growing old.

Dogs that have been with the same family for 10 to 15 years find themselves in a strange place surrounded by strangers. They are scared and soon become depressed. Yes, dogs can suffer from depression. They have feelings too. When are they coming back to get me? What did I do to deserve this?

I just can’t understand how people can be so heartless and cold to an animal that gave them nothing but unconditional love.

Kate as a puppy.

Then a month or two after Christmas the shelters and rescues begin filling up with Christmas puppies. Owners who didn’t really research puppy ownership have decided it is too much work.

I beg of you, if you are thinking about getting someone a puppy for Christmas, stop and think. First are you going to consider this new puppy part of the family? Second can you make the commitment to give this new pup a forever home? If the answer is not sure or no then walk away from it. They deserve a forever home.

My Eros as a pup.
My Eros all grown up.

I unfortunately lost them 28 days apart to cancer.

As Christmas approaches I beg of you to not be heartless and surrender your old dog to a shelter or rescue. If you are thinking of buying one for a present STOP and ask yourself if you can be fully committed to accepting the pup as a family member and giving it the forever home it deserves. If you have any doubt at all then PLEASE walk away.

Remi
Remi

There is an interesting story about Remi. I bought a house and the people who owned the house left Remi and a neighbor took the job of caring for her.

On the day I closed on the property I went to the house and was greeted by Remi. Teeth bared she wasn’t going to let me in the house. At one point she had me by the pants leg. I managed to make it back to the truck without getting bit. She was just protecting her house from a stranger. No one told her it wasn’t her house anymore.

The next day I came back and the neighbor met me and properly introduced Remi and I. Now we are the best of friends and she lives between both houses. She really has the best of both worlds.

A Tribute to Meddlin’ Kate

“Animals have come to mean so much in our lives. We live in a fragmented and disconnected culture. Politics are ugly, religion is struggling, technology is stressful, and the economy is unfortunate. What’s one thing in our lives that we can depend on? A dog or a cat loving us unconditionally, every day, very faithfully.” – Jon Katz

Animals have a way of knowing when things aren’t right in our world and they will do their best to bring a little sunshine into the moment. They love us faithfully and ask for nothing in return. The above picture is my Kate. I was a farrier and she was my ride dog. She took her job of riding shotgun very seriously. She was always there to brighten up my day when I needed. When I needed to vent she was always there to listen. I was devastated when I lost her to cancer. We were together 24/7 and when she crossed the bridge I lost a huge part of my life. Now I hold on to the memories we made together. RIP my Meddlin’ Kate.

Ask Me

Some time when the river is ice ask me mistakes I have made. Ask me whether what I have done is my life. Others have come in their slow way into my thought, and some have tried to help or to hurt: ask me what difference their strongest love or hate has made.

I will listen to what you say. You and I can turn and look at the silent river and wait. We know the current is there, hidden; and there are comings and goings from miles away that hold the stillness exactly before us. What the river says, that is what I say.

Written by William Stafford An American Poet and pacifist.

Missouri Mines State Historic Site

Missouri Mines State Historic Site, Park Hills, MO.

The mining industry in the Southeast Missouri Lead District has been a big part of Missouri’s economy for more than 280 years.

The St Joseph Lead Company was founded on March 25, 1864. The Company bought the Bonne Terre lead mine and 950 acres in Bonne Terre, MO, in1864. By 1923 the company had 250 miles of underground railroad running under Flat River, Leadwood, Desloge, Rivermines, and Elvins, cities in Missouri.

Then in 1923, the Federal Mill No. 3 became the property of the St. Joe Lead Company and with improvements they made it into the largest mill in the world. St, Joe kept it operational until 1972. In 1975 the company donated the complex and surrounding property to the state of Missouri. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources took possession in 1976 and named it St. Joe State Park and in 1980 it was designated as Missouri Mines State Historic Site.

Inside the mines old powerhouse is a museum and you can see the Midwest’s finest mineral collections. There is information about the history of the area’s lead mining and actual machinery that was used in the mine is on display.

There is off road vehicle trails in the park and features four lakes, two swimming beaches, equestrian trails, hiking and bicycling trails, water trail and picnic sites. There are also two campgrounds capable of accommodating campers with ORV or horse trailers.

Words Beneath the Rocks

” Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.” – Norman Maclean, “A River Runs Through It And Other Stories”

Maybe what attracts me to the river is the mystery of where it started nd what it has seen on its way to where it is at the very moment it flows by me. There are times I wish it could talk to me about its journey and what it has seen. Now I sound like a silly old man but I think it does the spirit good to be silly once in awhile.