A Time to Love

After leaving the Badlands, Dan and I (along with Tindra) spent the next few days in and around Custer, SD.  This was Tindra’s last trip with us and we were so grateful that we had this time with her. The magical views of the Black Hills National Forest never do get old.  The Black Hills get their name from the Lakota Sioux, “Paha Sapa”, meaning the hills are black. From a distance, the hills of this area do appear black due to the towering Ponderosa Pine forest; however, up close, these forests are teeming with color.

Needles Highway is another favorite of mine. Completed in 1922, the highway is named after the needle-like granite rock formations that were carved over many years by erosion.  Such beauty is found in this area and surprises are noticed around every turn.

We camped out for the week, but decided to move into a log cabin when a snow storm hit the area leaving 3-4” of the fluffy white stuff.  The snow blanketed the Pines in the Black Hills creating a peacefulness that I will never forget…  A Time to Love.

Advertisements

Farewell Spoonful of Stars

Last week, Dan and I had to say goodbye to one amazing little girl that gave us so much unconditional love throughout her time here on earth.  Spoonful of Stars, “Tindra”, was part of our family for close to 16 years- Yes, we were lucky.

I had a special bond with her since I had bottle fed her from day one. You see, Tindra came into this world via C-Section; her mother, Kayla, stopped producing milk shortly after giving birth.  The munchkin was bottle fed every 2 hours in the first couple weeks of her life.  I would like to thank “Auntie Krissy” who helped bottle feed her when I was unable to be with her for a couple days.  Kris was actually with her when she first opened her eyes!  Auntie Kris was always available to watch this little one when we needed a puppy sitter.  Thank you so much Kris for your help during her life- you were always there when we needed you.

IMG_0056The strong bond shared between Tindra and I grew over the years; she carried me through some sad times and walked beside me in the good. She knew when I was sad and would lick my face until I started laughing, then would cuddle right up to me to make sure I was ok.  Even on her last day, she mustered up the strength to lift her head to softly lick my face when I was crying.

Throughout her life, she went everywhere with our family and was socialized well by meeting numerous people and other animals.  She had a very kind soul that loved everyone.  Being a Dachshund, the trait of courageousness and loyalty was at the forefront of her personality.  This little one has never shown one bit of aggressiveness towards any human, however, rabbits or rodents were not included on her be nice list.  Tindra’s mother, Kayla, was a field champion and was an extremely good scent tracker.  She inherited that trait from her mother and was always on the scent trail of some varmint, although sometimes that got her in trouble when her nose would take her places she was not supposed to go.

856117_10200322955590113_1752906418_o

Her name meant “To Twinkle”, and that she did.  She was my shining light at the end of a hard day; always happy to see a member of our family with her bucking bronco dance.  I can never repay what she gave to me and the decision to help her along to the other side was one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make.  As a previous Veterinary Technician, I have helped many families through this type of loss, and the family’s pain touched me every time.   When the decision is yours to make, boy, it can be an emotional nightmare.  I truly believe that this is the ultimate loving gift that we can give our pets in times of suffering or severe illness.  For more information on pet loss, please visit the following site: The Association of Pet Loss and Bereavement.

Thank you, Tindra, for the compassion, the laughter, the unconditional love, and even for the times you were an opportunist and got into some kind of trouble (which normally involved food or Kleenex). From the early morning stretches that accompanied a wonderful array of vocals, the crazy Happy Dachshund Dance, the excitement of seeing a bunny, the way you loved your family; these memories will never drift too far from our mind.  You have taught me patience and watching you explore the world reminded me that there is always something new to experience in daily life.  No words will never be able to express the deepness my gratitude but I know; my little co-pilot in life will forever be by my side.

Our new one, Clover, has been with us now for 2 months today.  Clover is a 6 year old Dachshund that was rescued, along with 40 other Dachshunds, from a hoarding situation in the New England area by Furever Dachshund Rescue.  Clover relied upon Tindra to show her the ropes, and to teach her the courage needed to be curious and how to enjoy her surroundings.  They became cuddle buddies within a day of meeting each other.  Clover is heaven sent and has stepped up to fill a hole produced by losing both Tindra and Audrey.

untitled-0977-

I believe we meet up with our lost loved ones someday, in the meantime, we will miss her greatly.

 

Farewell My Fair Lady

A tribute to a faithful little girl; you will be missed greatly.

5311

Dan and I do not have children or at least the 2-legged kind. Our children are furry, have 4 legs, and may bark on occasion; their names are Tindra and Audrey. The two are inseparable, like peas in a pod. Many times they help each other get into things they should not get into; co-conspirators they are, but mostly you can find them laying together in a yin and yang position.

We lost Audrey unexpectedly this weekend. What a terrible loss and sad time for all that knew this little girl. I would like to give tribute to “My Fair Lady” (Audrey), but first I would like to tell her story.

The story of Audrey-

Audrey came into the clinic that I used to work for at a time when my family needed her most, fate definitely played a part in this chance meeting. It was a time when Tindra had recently lost her mom and dad, she had become depressed and needed something to fill that void. Audrey was the key to mending Tindra’s broken heart.

Audrey was taken away from the family that had her since she was a puppy due to neglect. I remember walking into the exam room where representatives from the local Human Society and the city police had brought her for her initial exam; seeing this emaciated gentle soul for the first time broke my heart. Audrey stayed with the clinic for a short period of time so that we may start giving her nutrients to increase her weight. The first time I looked into her eyes I knew she would become part of my family. After a few months of fostering, I was able to adopt her through the Humane Society and legally welcome her into our home. Tindra and Audrey became inseparable shortly after meeting each other and Audrey was welcomed with open arms into our family.

A cuddly and happy little munchkin, “Have blanket, will come” was her motto. Like a typical Dachshund, they are stubborn and extreme opportunists but they are also full of life and love. This breed certainly does keep you on your toes! Her little quirks will be missed by all.  Her famous head-butt, her insatiable need for a belly rubs, her need to protect the yard from varmints (namely her archenemy “Chippy”), her need to follow her human mommy, the way she was able to get to food that was out of her reach, all those kayak rides (which she absolutely loved) and the way she lead and took care of Tindra. With Tindra starting to suffer from seizures recently, Audrey has become increasingly important to Tindra’s daily life.

Thank you Audrey, for you have added much to our lives. You have filled everyday with laughter, happiness, and unconditional love.   We were truly blessed to have you come into our lives as you have taught us much. This gentle soul is gone from this earth but not from our hearts. I know we will see her again one day. Until then, we will miss the pitter patter of your little feet and those sweet golden brown eyes.  Farewell little girl.

 

A Family Affair

This particular day, we were itching to get out of the house and so were the girls. We forget sometimes that the furry little ones go stir crazy in the winter as well when they can’t go outside to chase “Chippy” or “Bun-Bun”. They will often sit on the bed and look out the window searching the woods for four-legged vermin.   As we were packing the car with the camera gear, the girls were bouncing off the walls. Take me, Take me, TAKE ME!

With their cute little faces, they win every time. We decided to travel around close to home and drove into the Hay Creek area; a small town just south of Red Wing on Hwy 58.   A campground, an old western saloon, the Goodhue Pioneer State Trail, Hay Creek Stables, 15 miles of equestrian trails, and a blue ribbon trout stream. The beautiful valley’s that make up the Hay Creek day-use area is beautiful in every season.

After photographing some enthralling horses in the Hay Creek area, we then moved on to Bay City Wisconsin; a small town east of Red Wing on the shores of Lake Pepin. If ever in the area, I highly recommend stopping in for a bite to eat at “The Chef Shack” a delightful restaurant with the best service ever and mouth-watering food! We decided to drive out onto Lake Pepin (that felt weird) to gain a different perspective of the landscape. Maneuvering around the ice heaves and listening to the ice crack was unnerving and we didn’t travel too far onto the frozen lake… Call me chicken 🙂

All in all, the Traun Family enjoyed our time together.  Please enjoy the images from this little, close-to-home adventure.

 

A Grandmother and the Peacock.

This post is dedicated to my grandmother who left this world back in 2013, her smile and knowledge is missed to this day.

I have always admired my grandmother who raised 3 children on her own after losing her husband back in 1963.  A strong, intelligent woman who pushed through thick and thin with her head held high.

I remember the “candy drawer” and the excitement of pulling the drawer open the moment we would arrive at Grandmother’s house.   I remember the games played, the stories told, her quilting, and the smile she had on her face whenever family was around.  I do wish that I had learned the art of hand sewn quilting from the master 🙂

Her knowledge and support throughout my childhood will remain part of me until the end of time.

It was a beautiful winter day, cold, but not too cold, and the sun was shining bright causing a vivid blue sky.  Dan was by my side as we made our way down to Lamberton, in the southwestern portion of Minnesota.  A drive that I had not made since my grandmother moved closer to my mother in early 2003.

We stopped in New Ulm, and toured the August Schell Brewing Company, a place full of history and beautiful old buildings; I would imagine that we will head back that way in the near future. We were surprised to see peacocks roaming the grounds and managed to photograph them.  I have always been drawn to the jewel toned colors that these amazing birds display.

Only after working through this album, and researching this magnificent bird, did I learn of the symbolism it represents.  I was shocked to find that in many cultures, this bird has played a significant role. I found this symbolism fitting not only for the situation, but also as a reminder of who my grandmother was.

  • In Christianity, the peacock represents resurrection, renewal, and immortality within its teachings.
  • In Buddhism they symbolize wisdom.
  • In Hinduism, the peacock is associated with Lakshmi who represents patience, kindness, and luck.

The following legend struck a cord was one of my favorites:
The peacock has been linked to Kuan Yin and it is this deity that is supposedly the creator of the beautiful colors of the peacock’s signature tail feathers.  The myth tells us Kuan Yin could have been immortal but stayed because she wished to aid humanity in their spiritual evolution.  Kuan Yin taught people, through her own compassionate spirit, to lie together as friends.  When she decided to go to the heavens, she appointed a guardian to keep the earth peaceful.  She called a bird, with dull brown feathers to her.  She rubbed her face and brushed her hands down the length of its feathers, which created a kaleidoscope of colors and beautiful eyes on the end of each long feather.  Therefore, the Peacock’s feathers remind us that Kuan Yin is compassionately watching over us.

I would like to thank my husband, Dan, for standing by my side. For the support (and the Kleenex) you gave me each time I needed it…  I love you dearly.


 In Memory of

Esther M Redman
Redman


Esther Marie (Lee) Redman was born on August 15, 1917 in Emmet County, Iowa. She was the daughter of George and Dena Lee. She graduated from Sanborn High School in 1937. She was united in marriage to Willis G. Redman on July 25, 1942 in Sanborn, MN. Esther attended and graduated from Mankato State University with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Elementary Education. She taught in one room country schools until 1960 when she began teaching in Lamberton and was employed there until her retirement in 1980. She was a member of the United Methodist Church in Lamberton, MN.

Esther died on Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at Farmstead (Presbyterian Homes) in Andover, MN at the age of 95 years.
We miss you and know you are there still watching over us.

Please enjoy the images from that trip.