Greenleaf Baslow Ranch – A memorial

by brae  

click image to enlarge

Wednesday, June 16, 2010:
After much anticipation on the Greenleaf forum, we got word from Dean at Greenleaf Dollhouses about the contest results.  He said they had chosen the winners, but the announcement would have to wait until Friday or possibly the following week – though the winner would be contacted that day so he or she could choose the new name for the garage kit.  Of course, this note sent us all flying into a frenzy on the forum!  :D

That was around 3PM, and by the time I got home and settled into a chat session with a friend, it was nearly 5:30PM.  I told her I didn't think they had chosen me since it was close to 6:30PM their time and it had been a few hours since the notice.  But, I had fun building the project and there were so many great designs turned in for the contest that I was perfectly fine with not being the winner.  I even had my picks of who I thought would be tops, and I was hopeful that I might have made second or third place.

Just as I signed off the chat session with her, an e-mail notification popped up…a message from Greenleaf Prize Patrol titled: Psst…can you keep a secret? My heart just leapt!  I thought, No way!!!!

But, it was true – my Baslow Ranch had been selected as the 1st place winner.  I was thrilled, elated and just at a loss for words!  Dean told me I had to keep it a secret, though, until the official announcement.  Very hard to keep good news like this to myself…so I called mom to share the news and, of course, swore her to secrecy!  Haha.  :D

Baslow Ranch is my first officially finished build, and I am truly honored to be chosen from amongst the most amazing projects.  Greenleaf has posted a gallery of all the entries.  You must check out the fantastic and creative work people have done.  I've thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie on the forum throughout the entire Spring Fling.

Congratulations to the other winners and all the entrants for creating such marvelous works of art, and of course, a great big THANK YOU to Dean and Company for everything!

I am also elated that the kit will now be called Baslow Ranch on the Greenleaf site.  The name Baslow is a melding of names of beloved departed pets: Basil (pronounced bazzill like an Englishman's name), my beloved cat who passed away in September 2009; Clover, a sleek and beautiful Chinese dwarf hamster; and Willow, a Russian dwarf hamster who went through a lot in his long life and held on tenaciously until the very end.  These three are the pets who have lived with me at my most recent home, though I am dedicating the build to all my animal companions, past and present.  It makes me so happy knowing they will be memorialized in the Greenleaf product line.


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I've had hamsters off and on (usually on) since I was a kid.  Many people think hamsters are all the same, but after you've had a few, you see that they each have their own personality as well as likes and dislikes.  I always use the same brand of food, for instance, but each of my hamsters would leave a different seed or pellet in the bowl that they refused to eat.  Some would run in circles in the cage and never touch the wheel.  Some would chew the wood houses I provided and others never gnawed on anything but metal.

Willow was the one who transitioned with me from my parents' home into a place of our own.  He resided in my room at the new place since he was unusually quiet at night for being a nocturnal soul.  It also kept the peace since Basil came to live with us a few months after we moved in.  Basil quickly learned that Willow was not meant for him, and he eventually ignored Willow altogether.

Willow was fearless and loved to be picked up.  My friend who gave me Basil noted that Willow seemed to recognize my whereabouts since he would follow me as I walked back and forth past his cage.  I don't know if he could, but I liked the idea of it.  :]

Dwarf hamsters live about two years – unfortunately sometimes much less, but Willow lived three.  Early in his last year, he got a terrible case of mites and had to be taken to the vet.  The doctor had to do some math for the medication dosage since the weight chart he had was in ounces and Willow had to be weighed in grams!  :D  He got better quickly, though all the fur he scratched off during the infestation never grew back.  He had fur on the top half of his body and on his feet.  He looked like a little old man wearing only a sweater and fuzzy slippers!  When he passed later that year, he did so with food in his mouth, his paws clutched around the morsel.  What a life!


Clover came to live with me a few months after Willow passed.  I always like having a hamster around, though it took me a bit longer to feel right about bringing another home after Willow.  After an initial curiosity, Basil mostly left Clover alone, too.

She was a different variety than I had ever had – sleek and beautiful instead of short and round.  Very skittish though.  She would shake and freeze if you picked her up, so she ended up being more of the admire-from-a-distance type of gal.  :D  She was an avid wheel-runner – up to speeds I thought should require a helmet – so it was terribly quiet in the house after she passed.


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Basil came to live with me in 2004 after living with a friend and former coworker.  She had three other cats and after a year, Basil decided he had had it with cats!  He was the type to let you rub his stomach with your feet and generally took any attention as worth having, even if you rubbed him the "wrong way."  He'd also greet anyone coming in at the door, so I secretly thought he saw himself as a dog.

He didn't really have a meow, either.  He would just cock his head back, his whole body lifting in the process, and no sound would come out.  It was the cutest damn thing!  :D  Of course, he could make noise – most notably in the middle of the night when the food bowl was empty.

In the above photo, he's made a makeshift kitty bed from my box of fabric.  I was sewing one day, and he would always sit by me at the sewing machine.  When I didn't see him for a bit, I went to look for him and found him "helping" by furrying up the nicely washed fabrics in my storage box.  :D  It was so cute I had to take a picture before shooing him out.

Poor dear had been on a diet the entire time he lived with me.  He had been a competitive eater at my friend's place, so the vet wanted me to slim him down.  This turned him into an insatiable beggar…his favorite being bacon.  He would lose his mind when I made bacon.

In the summer of 2009, he developed an impacted bowel and then deteriorated within months from kidney disease, though he was only about eight and a half years old.  It got bad toward the end, and I had to make the agonizing decision to have him put to sleep.  He had stopped walking and eating…it was time.  But, it was one of the worst things I've ever been through.  I miss him very much.  He was a remarkable little soul who left this world much too young.

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Comment from: casey [Visitor]
I wondered where you got the name for the ranch. It's great that the pets will be remembered. Congrats on the win! You deserve it!
06/25/10 @ 08:41
Comment from: brae [Member]
Thanks, Casey! I miss my little pals...though there are more in my life at present. :D
06/25/10 @ 09:40
Comment from: Cynthia [Visitor]
Congratulations, Brae!! You certainly deserved it after all your hard work. Thanks for the stories about your little friends. I have a similar cat story only Kit E. Kat lived to a ripe old age of 17 before I lost her. Anyway, you should be proud and we'll all think of you when we are gazing at the Greenleaf kits in the catalog! :-) Cynthia
06/25/10 @ 11:28
Comment from: brae [Member]
Thanks, Cynthia! I suppose we all wish our furry pals would live forever.
06/25/10 @ 11:43
Comment from: evelien [Visitor]  
Congratulations! So cool, your animals memory will live in the name. Animals are such lovely companions. groetjes Evelien
06/25/10 @ 11:59
Comment from: brae [Member]
Thank you, Evelien!
06/25/10 @ 12:12
Comment from: Daisy [Visitor]
Hi Brae! A big congratulations on your Greenleaf win!! As soon as I saw your project, I picked you for one of the winners. Really wonderful work that showed off the kit but still showed your own unique style and skill. Really well done! Thank you also for sharing such a personal background on your pet family. I'm glad they'll be memorialized in such a unique way. Daisy
06/25/10 @ 16:42
Comment from: brae [Member]
Thank you, Daisy! That means a lot to me. I loved your project - the colors, the furniture, the aging, the setting...all just perfect! You should be very proud. :D
06/25/10 @ 17:02
Comment from: Cia [Visitor]
Congratulations on your win! Well deserved! Cia
06/28/10 @ 20:54

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