Friday, October 29, 2010

Greyhounds Do Indeed ROCK!!

Greyhounds Rock, our greyhound fundraiser gathering, starts this evening, and I still have a ton of things to accomplish.  All of our work, and stress, and preparation has these goals ... to raise money to help fund canine cancer research, spread the word about the most successful treatment options, and to support dog owners who have been affected by this horrible disease.

This is my Emma. She will be 14 years old in January. Her health is good, if you don't count mild laryngeal paralysis and two calcified disks in her back. Her mother, Jessie, died of Osteosarcoma at age 13.

My dear Daniel, the GQ dog sweater model, is 9 1/2. 

TJ is my friend Kim's dog. He was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in July, at the tender age of 8. He has recovered beautifully from amputation surgery, has received 4 of a scheduled 6 chemotherapy treatments, and had a clear chest x-ray two weeks ago. As of now, TJ is a happy, healthy boy. 

We have a page on our Greyhounds Rock web site dedicated to the faces of dogs who have been lost to cancer.  These dear dogs, with their sweet faces, help keep us going when the fatigue and stress of the last few weeks of final preparations began to build.  CLICK HERE to go to the Memorial Page.  If you would like to submit a photo, contact us at

I will be signing off now until early next week.  If you are coming to our gathering, please hunt me down and say Hello.  If you are not coming, and would still like to support the cause, donations are gratefully accepted ... we have PayPal, to make it quick and easy.

Here is a little taste of Halloween.

I'll be back next week.  Thanks for all of your support, Everyone. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Crocheted Dog Sweater for the Greyhounds Rock Silent Auction

I have been crocheting my fingers to the bone for the past few weeks, finishing the dog sweater that I'm donating to the Silent Auction for our Greyhounds Rock fundraiser this weekend.  The sweater itself has been finished for a while, all I had left to do were the last little finishing touches (like snaps).

I marched Daniel outside a little while ago to take this picture ... he is always really good at posing.  All I have to do is tell him "Wait", and he'll stand in that spot for days.

The pattern for this sweater is available from Aerie Designs.  I modified it a little bit from the original directions, and I added the turtleneck to my version ... instead of crocheting a separate snood.

I had a bunch of yarn left over when the sweater was finished.  After fiddling with it for a while, I designed a matching hat ... so dog and owner can go strolling in style.

I learned to crochet when I was 10 years old ... which was a L.O.N.G time ago.  The bobbles and cables and ribbing are a little bit challenging ... but if you just follow the instructions word-for-word, the pattern will soon become apparent, and it will all make sense.

I thought you'd like to see this, before I package it up and put it with the rest of the items that have been donated to our auction.  Perhaps I'll tell you about some more of our donations tomorrow.  We have a lot of really cool stuff!

Greyhounds Rock is a 501(c)(3) charity.  All donations are tax deductible.  Visit our web site for more information. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Autumn Colors

This time of year is almost perfect.  There's a refreshing chill in the air in the morning that almost makes up for all of the 90+ degree days we endured this summer.  The sun rises and lights up the autumn colors in the trees ... and I marvel at the views from my deck.

You can see that the pecan tree is getting a bit threadbare, as it drops its leaves in preparation for winter.  This opens up views toward the rear of the property that we cannot see in spring and summer while the tree has all its leaves.

Looking a little closer, I can catch a glimpse of the Rose Field beyond the fence and before the barn.  In season, I can't see this area at all from the house.  Once all the leaves are gone, I will have a clear view of the barn all winter.

The trees across the field, looking north toward the Winery, are beautiful.

This is the view toward the front of the property, with our across-the-street neighbor's house and beautiful red crape myrtles in the background.  The rose beds in the foreground hold much of my collection of antique Hybrid Tea roses.

We finished the day with colors of a beautiful autumn sunset.

(no PhotoShop actions were necessary here.  This was Mother Nature's creation ... I just snapped the picture.)

(written by Hartwood Roses.  Hartwood Roses blog.)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

My Trip to the Rose Society Meeting

Today was the monthly meeting of the Richmond Rose Society.  The weather was perfect, and I decided it would be a great day to take the Mustang.  (Richmond is about an hour from here.)  I haven't driven it in a few weeks, so I asked the Husband to check it over for me.  Everything looked good ... and the Husband even decided to come with me.  Today was going to be a good day.

As we were zipping down the Interstate, the temperature on the gauge kept climbing higher and higher.  By the time we were about 20 miles from home, the gauge was pegged at H, and the car was making a weird noise.  We got off at the next exit, and pulled into the first gas station with steam pouring from under the hood.  There would be no Rose Society meeting today for us.

We called our daughter, who works at an auto repair shop, and she sent a tow truck.  Though we may have been able to limp the car home after refilling the radiator, I didn't want to take a chance of overheating again and possibly doing some real damage to the engine.

I got a bit of a sick feeling as the car was loaded onto the roll-back.

That stream you see behind the driver is what spewed from the overflow of my radiator.  Many of the folks at the gas station came up to us to say how sorry they were that our car broke down

We rode in the tow truck, and the driver brought all of us home.  I can't adequately express how it feels to see my prized Mustang through the rear window of a tow truck.

The good news is that it's probably a bad thermostat that caused the car to overheat ... which is a fairly simple repair.  The bad news is that I missed the Rose Society meeting.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Flowers on Friday ... Orchids, This Time

Thank you, all of you, for the kind words and support you have shown for me as we prepare to put on our greyhound fundraiser event next weekend.  With one week to go, and a couple of hitches still to work out, I may not be here much for the next week.  I especially want to thank those of you who have sent donations ... every little bit makes a difference.  I am humbled.

Yesterday afternoon, in the midst of all of our planning, I took the afternoon off to go on the fall field trip with the Culpeper Garden Club.  We went to visit a fellow member at her home, and we toured her greenhouse behind the house ... I was not prepared for what I saw as I entered the greenhouse.

It took me a minute to catch my breath and get my bearings.  I have visited a LOT of greenhouses, and I have met many, many gardeners who have extensive collections, but I have NEVER seen anything like this.  There were wonderful things to see everywhere I looked. 

Some were lined up on the greenhouse benches.

Some of the orchids were mounted on bark, and were hanging on lengths of closet shelving (hung vertically) mounted at the ends of the benches ... what a brilliant idea!

Many others were in pots hanging from the roof rafters.

Most of the plants in the greenhouse were orchids, but there other wonderful collections to see.  I was especially fascinated by the variety of specimens in the cactus collection.

In this photo, I see Clivia, Tilandsia, and some other things whose names I have already forgotten.

The homeowner told us that she has been growing, showing, and breeding orchids for 50 years!  She and her husband are immensely knowledgeable, and are generous with this knowledge, giving thorough answers to all of the questions we asked during our visit. 

After our greyhound gathering next weekend, I will call to arrange a return visit.  My friend Robert, who also has an extensive collection of orchids, will be in heaven in this place and I can't wait to introduce him!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What Happens at a Greyhounds Rock Planning Meeting.

Our Greyhounds Rock greyhound gathering is less than two weeks away.  (All of the work involved with this is the main reason why I'm not posting here quite as often as usual lately.)  We held our final planning meeting with all of the committee members on Sunday.  I thought you would like to see a bit of what one of our meetings looks like.

TJ, listening intently to the discussion.

Many of the committee members bring their dogs along to the meeting.  We sat in Gale's family room, making notes and checking off our lists, while the dogs lounged on dog beds ...

Evey (brindle), Denny (black), and 13-year-old Dory.

... or played with toys.

Action shot of TJ killing a stuffed gorilla toy.

Scrunchie looked like she had something to add to the discussion.

Then she and Denny settled down to patiently wait till we finished.

After we finalized the schedule and all of the volunteer assignments, it was time to go into the living room and stuff the goodie bags.

Scrunchie, TJ, and Evey want us to think that they're waiting to help ... but we know that they're scheming a way to get the cookies that we put into each bag.

It was a long day for both dogs and their humans.  We ate ourselves silly (all Greyhounds Rock meetings are also pot-luck feasts), and we enjoyed the time we spent working out the final details of our event. 

Scrunchie couldn't keep her eyes open any longer.

On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, October 29, 30, and 31, at least 100 people and their dogs will gather to hear educational speakers, shop vendors with dog-related merchandise, and party to celebrate their dogs and to raise money for a good cause ... research to hopefully one day find an effective treatment for canine cancer.  There's still time to register and attend.  If you cannot travel to Fredericksburg for the event, donations are gratefully accepted.

Visit the Greyhounds Rock web site for complete information and the schedule of events.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Come With Me on a Drive Through the Mountains

I spent most of Thursday driving to and from a funeral in the beautiful mountains of western Virginia.  When I left the house that morning, the weather was grey and rainy.

I took the Interstate, because the weather made for less than ideal driving conditions on the country roads that I prefer.  The farther I drove, the better the weather got ... until the rain stopped, and the sun emerged, and we had a beautiful day!

The funeral was for the father of one of my dear rose friends.  His family has been in the Shenandoah Valley since the mid-18th Century.  His father was being laid to rest in a family cemetery, beside his father.  The drive to the cemetery wound us past some beautiful countryside.

As we reached the top of the hill, and I parked my car, this is the view I saw.

I cannot imagine that it is possible to spend eternity in a more beautiful place.  (Regular readers here already know how much I love cemeteries.)

The service was incredibly uplifting.  We were reminded that my friend's father has gone to live with the Lord, and there he will wait until it is time for the rest of his family to join him. 

As I left the cemetery, with a two-plus hour drive ahead of me to get home, I was marveling at the beauty in the countryside along the road.  The scenery was framed by the spectacular vistas created by the mountains with the leaves on the trees just beginning to don their autumn colors.

The drive along the narrow country road that led to and from the cemetery provided some beautiful country vignettes.  I would have loved to stop and get a better look

The row of weathered mailboxes to the right of this grey barn would have been a wonderful subject for a photo shoot.  The light was perfect, and they had such character.

(In case you're wondering, the photos in this post were taken with my point-and-shoot camera, most of them from my car while I was driving.  I had to crop them to fix the composition to make them look right, because I was shooting blind ... keeping my eyes on the road, you understand.)

This huge formation on the side of the mountain is called Chimney Rock, according to a sign.

With the clear weather, blue sky, and lovely scenery, I headed back home through the Shenandoah National Forest, up and over the mountain, instead of taking the Interstate like I did earlier in the day.  The views along the way were just as uplifting as the minister's message at the funeral.

The mountains in the distance had me humming "America The Beautiful".  I can see where the words "purple mountain's magesty" came from.

It's awfully hard to photograph the lovely farms and towns I passed while zipping by at 55 mph.

Here's the Shenandoah River ... sort of.

The bright sun and crisp sky made for a beautiful drive, as the road wound up and down the mountain itself.

There were peeks of a lovely valley view off to my right ... most of them along deadly curves in the road, where photography is definitely an ill-advised distraction.

The drive home, alone in my car, with the beautiful scenery outside, provided a perfect sense of peace.  It was exactly what I needed.

(written by Hartwood Roses.  Hartwood Roses blog.)
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