White Dog and I love when we get to actually meet in the fur and become face-to-face friends with members of our blog family. There is a certain specialness in the physicality of hugging those you already know and care about so much. We've had the honor a number of times while traveling or hosting those passing through our corner of the world. Those occasions are glistening gems on the calendar pages. But we are also fortunate to have met blogging family that lives close enough to regularly visit and those connections turn the road into a ribbon of love from our home to theirs.
Friday we traveled to the very private and off-grid home of NancyTurtle, a photographer, adventurer, environmentalist and "mom" to the frisky Zoey and Zena as well as two cats, a flock of chickens and a couple of Big Dogs (horses). They live about an hour away but their hand built home is snuggled deep in the hills and protected by miles of rugged dirt roads; it is about a thousand light years from our house in the University area in the city. Theirs is a breathtaking escape into nature...but there is not a Starbucks in sight.
The White Dog Army while all excited to join the adventure understood that we did not want to overwhelm; nor were we sure how city dog safe the wide open spaces would be for the White Ones. (One the way back to the main road, after visiting, we passed a fat and sassy coyote who stood his ground and stared confidently just a few feet off the dirt track). So Nuka was elected as the initial ambassador.
In her depleted state these days, she seldom is up for adventure. But on this trip up, she could nap on the back seat and rest. She would be nonthreatening to Zoey and Zena (although the chickens made HER a little nervous...as did the migrating tarantula). She would be happy resting in my arms or on the cushion in the car. We bundled her in her favorite pink jacket and spread Quinn's blanket on the seat. "Next time," we promised the rest of the WDA who crowded at the door to send us off.
Beautiful crisp bright blue New Mexico weather added to the joy of open spaces and the fun of off-roading in Pumpkin. The air was pure and clean and more quickly than one might guess, the imprint of civilization was erased.
The house was warm and serene. Nancy had overseen the creation of a space that respected its place in nature without being severe. It was welcoming...and so were her pups. We met Zoey last year when she was a baby and it was obvious from her attention and kisses that she had not forgotten. Zena is new to her family and shyer but with a beautiful fawn color and amazing dark eyes. They both greeted Nuka gently.
An afternoon spent sharing a potluck meal and viewing photos of a recent visit to Southeast Asia was interspersed with stories of our furkids and house building and bits of life. It was relaxing and Nuka slept peacefully in a warm sun puddle.
Too quickly we realized that dinnertime approached and the the WDA was waiting. Back home Nuka was barraged with questions but curled up and deferred questions to Steve. Steve filled in the pack as they supervised his dinner preparations.
"Sounds wonderful," White Dog said trying not to sound jealous. "I would love to have the chance to explore." She was met with four other woofs of agreement. "We probably won't make the trip once the winter sets in," Steve cautioned. "The van would not manage those dirt roads well if they are wet or covered in snow. But we shall see."
While they were talking, I opened the mail, including a box from our OTHER Nancy. "I know it is not as grand as a wilderness adventure but look, Nancy has sent you more Sweet Potato Maple cookies AND some Pumpkin Carob Chip. Any one interested in a post adventure celebration of friendship?"