Harvest May 24, 2017

I’m still mainly doing cleanup from our recent storms, but I got a nice batch of spinach today.

 

Our weather has turned really warm and humid (except for today) and the lettuce is starting to bolt. I’m hoping I can harvest a lot more before the plants are done until I plant more for the fall garden.  This is red leaf lettuce.

 

Romaine lettuce.

My husband wants me to plant iceberg lettuce. We don’t get the plants in this area for some reason. When we get our greenhouse finished, I’ll plan on trying to start some iceberg lettuce seeds for the fall garden.

Meanwhile, we have some delicious, fresh-from-the-garden goodies for a big salad tonight.

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Filed under Arkansas, DIET!, Greenwood, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Oil Paintings I Love – Take 10

Original Abstract Oil Painting – Artist Unknown

 

 

“The Dance Can Wait” – Corinne Hartley

 

 

Zolan – Webneal

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“A Bit of Magic”

J. B. Priestly via The Master Shift via Cathy Ruggiero

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I’m Going to Start “Yog-ing Again”

Ground Zero Web

With the new puppy I’ve been moving a LOT more, lifting, walking, cleaning up after, playing, loving, etc.  However, with all the movement, my back has started to bother me again, so I’m going to start trying to make time for at least one yoga session per day.

Now that my husband is able to take turns on taking care of Amber, I have a bit more time to try to get chores done and I SHOULD be able to get back on the mat.

Today is the first day in ages since I’ve made time for something truly good for me, so I’m excited.

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“Earring Flower”

“Earring Flower” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Amber and the Tug O’ War Game

We’re trying to bring Amber into the house at least a couple of times each day. We have a gate across the doorway to our office to contain her, at least a bit. The first thing she did was find Molly, who was trying to sleep in her bed at my feet at my computer area. Molly wasn’t too pleased, as Amber kept coming back and trying to lick her and get her to play, but she only growled a bit and didn’t freak out.

Amber then found a tug of war toy beside the bed Bambi and Molly shared. She immediately picked it up and allowed my husband to take the other end. A rousing game of tug o’ war ensued, with Amber pulling, whipping her head, getting more and more into it. My husband would let her have it for a bit from time to time, but she would bring it back to him.

 

I think dogs instinctively know to use their weight as leverage. She already pulls hard!

 

 

Here she is, celebrating victory.

We’re definitely making progress on several fronts.

  • She likes her crate. She doesn’t protest when we put her to bed at night, closing and securing the door. She gets into the crate voluntarily when she wants to take a nap during the day.  She doesn’t want to mess up her crate, so she is learning to control things until we take her out in the morning. She hasn’t had an accident on the porch in a couple of days now.
  • She definitely reacts when we say her name. She is starting to “come” a bit. She is still on the leash, of course, but the leash is one that has the really long self-winding strong cord, so she can get about 15 feet away at times.
  • She is biting and nipping less. We’re making a point of going out to simply sit with her and cuddle several times a day, stroking her all over, touching her paws, her ears, under her chin, etc.
  • She is barking less. She has quite a piercing bark, so if she doesn’t stop within a minute, we close the door. We’re able to leave the door open more and more now.
  • She loves to chase a ball and bring it back.
  • She’s learning to ‘sit’ while we put her food bowl down.
  • She’s learning the words “off!” and ‘no!”
  • She knows that when we say “Good Girl!” she usually gets a treat.
  • She’s walking on the leash better now. We’re walking the perimeter of the ‘civilized’ part of our yard several times a day. She is eager to take a walk and takes an interest in lots she sees. She isn’t fighting the leash so much, and is tolerating the harness a bit better, though you would still think she has fleas when she stops to kick at it.

We think this is good progress from the 13th of May, when we adopted her. It’s a good thing she has a pretty good attitude and seems to want to please us, because she is supposed to be 80 lbs or so when fully grown. We want her to have good manners with us and with strangers and other animals long before then. We plan to take her with us places, meet other animals, etc., so we won’t have to worry that she won’t behave when it’s important.

I’m still waiting on the book “everything labrador” or something similar so I can find out what we’re SUPPOSED to be doing!

 

 

 

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Worth Its Weight in Gold

My good friend Cathy wrote, telling me that she was worried about my trying to climb over the gate between the living room and the porch where our new puppy Amber is. She told me about a new style of gate that has a ‘people door!’ I had never heard of that, and after she helped me appreciate what I was seeing, I showed it to my husband, the installer of all things.

He was a bit worried because our door frames are steel, but he said we should go ahead and order it. It arrived today and we installed it within 10 minutes or less. My husband said, “You should tell this company they’re making a well thought out, well designed product.”

The product is from Chewy.com, a wonderful place that ships the product almost immediately. It’s astonishing how quickly things arrive. This is our third order from them, and I couldn’t recommend them more highly.

 

Carlson Pet Products Extra Wide Walk-Thru Gate with Pet Door

Carlson Extra Wide Gate with People Door and Pet Door

We didn’t need to use the two extensions that come with this gate. It installed quickly and easily with no tools required. It’s very sturdy. There is no place for Amber to hook her feet to climb over it. She can’t get under it. If she gets so she can climb over this 30″ tall gate, we can relocate it up a bit higher.

The very best part is the people door. We’ve fixed it so it opens OUT into the porch, so that Amber can’t open it by accident. When we go out there, she has to back up, and she isn’t quick enough to go between us and the door closing again. I’m really delighted. I don’t have to concentrate on standing on one foot, lifting the other foot over the gate (which Amber immediately latches onto), trying not to step on her as I put my foot down, then grabbing the door with one hand and bracing my other hand on the brick to the side of the door as I bring the 2nd leg up and over. It’s REALLY been fun when I had something in my hand…

THANK YOU, Cathy, for

  • worrying about me and figuring out a good solution
  • letting me know about it
  • writing back to point out the people door I didn’t see and appreciate the first time
  • your patience and caring

I can’t tell you how happy we are with you and the new gate. NOW – if we could get Amber to quit barking and whining….

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Bright Ideas, Challenges, Changes, Family

Rushing Around

Cartoon Characters

The forecast is for rain today, so, of course we have a gazillion errands to run, plus an appointment with the eye doc. Not only is rain predicted, but possible flooding.  It’s a very good thing that neither of us is water-soluble, because we may drown.

I hope that you have a good day. We’ll compare notes when we get back. :0)

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Poor Molly

Molly was 12 in February. She was the follower in lots of ways with Bambi, letting him take the lead, backing off when he wanted what was in the bowl, etc. As Bambi got older, though, she took the lead in some things.

We have a policy of letting one dog out at a time. This encourages our dogs to stay close, even though there is no fence and we are out in the sticks. When Molly and Bambi got out together, though, they formed a pack and were gone, sometimes for several hours, before coming back, tired and filthy, requiring baths.

Molly was the instigator in running off the last 6 months of Bambi’s life. I don’t think he would have gone off if she hadn’t enticed him. He would keep up with her, but then require a couple of days of good sleeping on his bed before he wanted to ‘escape’ with her again.

When we put him to sleep, Molly was totally disenfranchised. She wandered all over the house, looking for him, going from dog bed to dog bed, mournfully. She didn’t eat well and didn’t want to go out. It really hurt that we couldn’t explain what had happened to her cohort.

 

Now she is besieged by a HUGE rollicking puffball of energy, teeth, and enthusiasm whose greatest wish is to play with her – right in her face. You can see her say, “Oh, ____!” when we take her on the porch each day to socialize with Amber. She used to get under our chairs, obviously wanting us to protect her. Each day they go through a boisterous several minutes, and then settle down in different parts of the porch. Molly is learning to accept the new regime, grudgingly at best.

I think, once the baby calms down a bit, they might actually enjoy playing with one another. Molly is a happy girl, bringing joy to our family. She brightened up Bambi, who was much too serious about everything, and taught him to enjoy life. I’m hoping that Amber will now do the same for Molly.

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Adding My Husband to “Amber Duty”

Things happened quickly for us lately, with having to put our Sweet Pit Bull, Bambi to sleep, at almost 14 years of age, my husband having cataract surgery, and getting our rambunctious new yellow labrador retriever puppy, Amber. Due to my husband’s surgery, he wasn’t supposed to lift anything over 10 lbs or bend over for several days. Today he started doing light duty on taking care of Amber.

I have to admit I laughed out loud when he tried to feed her this morning. He filled her bowl, then started to put it down on the floor. Amber jumped up, right into his hand and there was an explosion of puppy food all over the porch. He yelled some bad words, and I, still laughing – because it had happened to me a week ago – got him to come in, telling him Amber’s second job was as a vacuum cleaner and she would clean up every bit of it.

 

He just spent quite a bit of time with her on the porch. He put her on the dog run while he put new weed whacker cords on the push whacker for me, then put her on the leash and walked around the house with her. She jumped into the kiddie pool when they went around the back. He came into the office, then suddenly said, “She just got over the gate.” I jumped up and, sure enough, she was in the living room, looking around. I hurried to grab her and put her – still dripping from the pool – back onto the porch and close the door.

Having a new puppy is good for your reflexes. We are all modifying our behavior to accommodate our new lifestyle. We now look at things as BA (before Amber) and AA. (after Amber).

We had gotten quite spoiled, for example, being able to get food for the dogs in the pantry, put their bowls down with both dogs sitting and waiting. At the “OK,” they would start eating. Are THOSE days gone! Molly still waits for an “OK,” but I now am filling Amber’s bowl, putting it on the table within reach, grabbing Amber’s harness and getting her to SIT for a split second while I put the bowl on the floor and quickly say, “OK!”  This has worked reasonably well a couple of times.

I had a really nice time with her this afternoon. I opened the door to check on her and found her asleep in her crate. I started to close the door, but she came out of the crate and wanted to talk. I picked her up and brought her to my chair in the living room. She was still sleepy, so I had a big, sweet, cuddly puppy for awhile. We both really enjoyed it.

I’m not sure how much progress we’re making, but Amber is definitely reacting to her name now. She can go up or down steps now. She walks well on the leash about half of the time. She is sleeping in her crate and not making a mess there. Most of the time she doesn’t make a mess on the porch now.

We’re getting lots of exercise with our walks around the yard. She still hates her harness, and a new baby gate with a people door is on the way…

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Quick Walk Around the Yard

Red impatiens. We also have some really nice fuchsia ones.

 

Cluster of Rio Samba roses.

 

There are two clumps of these yellow lilies, one on either end of the planter with the tulip tree in the center.

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New Green Tomatoes!

QuartoKnows

I’m hoping we’ll be like this cute little boy soon, picking fresh, ripe tomatoes off the vines to slice for a meal!

 

It’s kind of like treasure hunting now. You don’t see the tomatoes until you get up close, and sometimes you have to search a bit.

 

 

 

 

 

I worked out in the square foot garden for about an hour yesterday, trying to undo the neglect due to too much rain, then my husband’s cataract surgeries, and then the new puppy. I’m basically down to tomatoes, onions, two kinds of lettuce, some spinach, some celery, and one spaghetti squash plant I grew from seed in the kitchen. I’ll try to get pics of the garden tomorrow. I’ve been using a push weed-whacker, trying to go around the outside of the garden today. It’s hard work for an old lady. I ran into a tough something-or-other, snapping off the whacking cords. My good husband put some new ones on, so when the sun is a bit lower, I’ll do another hitch out there.

I hope your day is good.

 

 

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Filed under Arkansas, Favorite Things, Gardening, Greenwood, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

People

Life Lessons by AwePost

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“Artifacts from the Old Yard”

“Artifacts from the Old Yard” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Oil Paintings I Love – Take 9

Janefargo

 

 

“Modern Cow” – Janefargo

 

 

“Remember” – Pino Daeni

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Nuts and Bolts Art – Take 6

Radiologist – ShoppingZonePlus

 

 

Baseball – ShoppingZonePlus

 

 

 

 

Welded Nuts and Bolts Dogs Sculptures – Pinterest

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You’re Never Too Old

Growing Bolder via Cathy Ruggiero

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Who’s Teaching Whom?

We’re spending a LOT of time with Amber every day, and we’re working on a lot of things, but I begin to wonder who is teaching whom? We’ve modified our own behavior, trying to give her enough love and attention, training sessions, walks, food, water, and just plain sitting on the floor and hugging her.

 

Amber is complying with a lot of our commands, but I have the hands to show that we’re only successful part of the time so far. She seems happy, but I think we’re learning as much or more than she is. Our lives are revolving on HER schedule.

 

So far today, we’ve had three walks, food, water, play time with the ball, sitting out on the porch, meeting and getting swiped by, Smoke, the cat, and some quiet time (Ahhhhhhh!)  I have a new bruise on TOP of the old one, and have added one more bandaid…

So, is Amber the teacher and we’re learning to meet her needs – albeit slowly – to HER point of view?

 

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Top Notch Care

“Happy Heart” – Pinterest

My husband and I have been super lucky to live in a place and time when we can get such good health care. We live in Greenwood, Arkansas. We are older than dirt and are covered by Humana.

If you’re in the area, an absolutely wonderful family physician is Charles Jackson, M.D. at Bailey Clinic in Greenwood, a member of the Cooper Clinic/Mercy Hospital network.  We don’t like doctors as a rule, but we both feel we won the lottery when we found him. He takes good care of us.

When I developed cataracts in 2009, Dr. Jackson recommended I go to Dr. Christopher Greer, D.O. at the Cooper Center for Better Vision in Fort Smith, AR.  He removed my cataracts and I was very happy. I was pretty shocked when Dr. Greer personally called me the night of my first surgery, asking how I was and telling he would see me the next morning. He did this with the 2nd eye, as well.

My husband needed cataract surgery recently. We of course wanted Dr. Greer. My husband’s 2nd surgery was on the 16th, and he reports his vision is improving daily. Again, Dr. Greer called the night of the surgeries to be sure my husband was doing well. We cannot recommend Dr. Greer, and his partner, Dr. Renner, highly enough.

Our surgeries were performed at the Outpatient Clinic at Mercy Hospital. The whole surgical staff provides an orderly, competent, and compassionate experience. We were amazed to receive a Thank You card from the surgical staff, signed by all the people involved with us! We’re sending one back to THEM tomorrow, saying, “It is WE who should be thanking YOU. Thank you so much for your competent, compassionate care.”

We’re lucky that there has been so much progress in medicine since we were born. The things we have had are now treated routinely with so much less recovery time than ever before.

We are very grateful, indeed.

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Filed under Arkansas, Delightful Surprises, Encouragement, kindness, opportunities, taking care of yourself

Swans

“Hey, Maybe We Should Drink” – Paul Militaru Photography

 

 

“Lady in Night” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Oil Paintings I Love – Take 8

17 Best Ideas about Oil Paintings on Pinterest

 

 

“Afternoon Stroll” – Pino Daeni

 

 

“Bewitched Park” – Leonid Afremov

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Live Your Life

Life Lessons by AwePost

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Vicarious Beach Vacation

“Last Night’s Sky” – Mary Lou Lewis

I think Mary Lou is coming home today, so this is probably the end of our vicarious vacation. What a glorious place to relax and unwind! Wasn’t it NICE of her to share these pictures with us?

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Let Us…

Voltaire – Art by Anita – Zen to Zany via Cathy Ruggiero

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Filed under Attitude, Favorite Quotes, Reading is FUNdamental

Peacocks

“Beautiful Peacock” – Paul Militaru Photography

 

 

 

“White Peacock” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Nuts and Bolts Art – Take 5

Weightlifter – Pinterest

 

 

Yardbirds – Baby Nuts the Dog Sniffing

 

 

Popular Mechanics

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“We are Fam-i-ly”

Abby

I’m feeling rich in animals today. This is Abby, who is still trying to be invisible, or leaves the area whenever Amber is around.

 

Smoke

This is Smoke, our recently adopted cat. She follows Amber and me around the house on our walks, stalking, baiting, then smacking Amber in the mouth if she gets close enough.  She is asleep on my daytimer and dog notes here.

 

Molly is TRYING to accept the new situation. Amber won’t leave her alone, always jumping up, trying to lick her in the face, trying to get her to play. We’re enforcing ‘together time’ on the porch at least once a day, with one of us out there to monitor. We’re making slow progress. We’re giving Molly lots of extra love and attention to help her with the transition. She sits with one of us in the evenings while we’re watching TV, watching a movie, or reading.

 

And this is Amber at 10 weeks. We adopted her last Saturday. She is definitely making progress, having had to leave the only animal and people family she had ever known and come to live with two new people, two hostile cats, and one hostile dog. She is adapting better and better each day. She makes the Energizer Bunny look like an old, feeble senior rabbit.

It was raining hard this morning when I went to get Amber out of her crate and take her for her first morning walk. She is starting to associate “HURRY UP” with taking care of business. Clutching the umbrella and holding it as close to me as possible because of gusty winds, we went to what we HOPE will become ‘her spot,’ and she did all that was required, receiving treats and “Good Girl!”s.

We got back onto the porch, where I dried her off with a towel and fed her, then squeegeed as much water off the floor as possible.

I decided that a laundry basket would be good as a toy box. I ended up putting it on its side, though, as she couldn’t get into it unless she pulled the laundry basket over. We’ll adapt as she grows.

We got a bin with a lid to sit on the table, holding all the ‘stuff’ we need out there, but keeping interesting stuff out of sight. She puts her paws on the table, trying to reach enticing things.  We now have everything in the closed bin on top of the table, accessible to US, but not to Amber.

Our days are long, comprised of long walks with Amber, playing with her, and trying to train her, giving our other animals the love and attention they need, and trying to get the have-to’s done otherwise before falling into bed.

We had our friend, Carla, over yesterday afternoon to meet Amber. She said that labrador retrievers were ‘puppies’ until they are two years old! I may not live long enough to get us through puppyhood if it’s going to be like this for that long. Carla also made a very good suggestion that we use the command, “OFF!” to mean for her to get paws off of us, the table, etc., rather than using “DOWN,” which would mean lying down on the floor. Carla and my brother-in-law, Bill, suggested that we make a point of touching her feet, her mouth, her ears, etc., a lot so that trimming toe nails, putting in ear medicine, and trips to the vet will go much more easily.

I’m hoping that all of our efforts each day will result in our animals at least learning to tolerate each other, if not being actual friends eventually.

Meanwhile, I’m looking for a sugar-free, low carb energy drink…

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Nuts and Bolts Art – Take 4

Metal Garden Art – Pinterest

 

 

Pinterest – Restroom

 

 

Pinterest – Fireman

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Quick Trip Around the Yard

Since we adopted Amber and my husband had his 2nd surgery, I have spent very little time in the flower beds, and no time in our square foot garden. I noticed, though, that we had some pretty things doing well in spite of my neglect and I thought I would share them with you.

We have a trio of 8 foot long brick planters between our driveway and the front yard. I’m trying to get these to the point that most of the things are perennial, and then I can simply add some color with annuals. Here we have iris, petunias, gerbera daisies, and some phlox, plus a shovel bird.

 

In the same trio of planters, we have some lilies, a yellow forsythia plant, the new ‘evergreen’ foliage with small blue flowers that I’m hoping will spread throughout the three planters and a ‘mama snail.’

 

These lilies are in a planter in front of the house. They fill up the bottom of the planter around a tulip tree.

 

This is a planter on one side of our porch. We have some orange impatiens, some fuchsia impatiens, some phlox, iris, and more.

 

And finally, we have some portalaca that really loves the hot weather we have in the summer. This is one of four planters we have on either side of the garage door, by the shop, and on one side of the driveway.

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Amber – Take 7

Amber is 10 weeks old now. Tomorrow it will be one week since she joined our family. And what a week it has been!

I feel like a member of “The Walking Dead,” between the needs of the new puppy and drops 4 times a day for my husband’s eyes, plus all the appointments, chores, errands, etc. This is definitely a character-building exercise!

Sweet Amber wants to be with her people. The attention we give her much of the day, with walks, playing with toys, introducing her to the other members of her animal family, swimming, etc., are never enough. She IS learning a ton, though. She is better in all areas.

We have a long way to go before she has manners and learns to behave, but she is smart and learns pretty fast. We are working with a stubborn streak…

She has been for three walks this morning and a swim so far. We’re about to add Molly to the porch for HER character-building exercise for the day.

I broke out in welts this morning,  and I suspect I’m allergic to something. I just took a dose of Benedryl and we’ll see if that performs miracles. My hand is better, but I’m sporting a really impressive bruise on the back of my hand. I added to the mix this morning, running into a small, sharp puppy tooth while she was giving me back the ball. Now I have a big bandaid on TOP of part of the bruise…

Amber is learning her name now, plus “NO!”, plus “COME” and “SIT!’  I should be teaching her ‘wait’ and ‘down,’ but it seems that “NO!” suffices for right now. I’m trying to get her to sit while I put her food bowl down. Today we had an explosion of food everywhere when I couldn’t hold her down with one hand while I put the bowl down with the other. Happily enough, she acted like a vacuum, getting every bit of food off the porch floor before looking for more. Since the edge was off, she cooperated more with the plan, sitting for at least one second before I let her dive into the bowl. :0)

We ordered a different style of harness, since she is still kicking at the one you see above. It won’t last long at this rate. The one we ordered has a chest piece of sturdy fabric, with adjustment straps at the neck and under the arms. Hopefully, she’ll be less aggravated with the new design.

So – you’ve seen my days now – comprised of rushing around like the proverbial chicken. Things will tame down in the taking-care-of-hubby department by the end of next week. The dog will take a bit longer…

 

 

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Vicarious Beach Vacation – Turtle Rescue

My sister-in-law has been spending the past week at a beach. She’s been kindly sending pics of sunrises and sunsets so I can enjoy her vacation vicariously.

 

This is a side trip to a turtle  preserve run by the work of volunteers!

This guy below is about ready to be reintroduced to nature.

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