Monthly Archives: August 2015

An Afternoon Stroll


I took a little walk around the property over the weekend. Started out by walking the trail in the woods so that I could get a picture of some flowers I knew were in bloom there. I’m not sure what they are. I did not plant them. Someone who lived here before me did. I  find it unusual that these are blooming in the shade of the woods and others of the same kind are blooming in a flowerbed in full  sun. Apparently they’re not too particular. How fortunate for me. I am also fortunate that those who lived here before me cared about plants and wildlife. It is apparent from the many plantings that grow here. It is obvious that many of them were planted to attract the birds, bees, and other animals.


We maintain a small trail so that we can walk here and get a small tractor out to a fire pit and camp site that we made. Truth be told though, we have most bonfires in the dog pasture so that the dogs can all be with us. Every day is National Dog Day at our house! In fact I think it’s safe to say that that mine could be called National Dog Life. This has been my choice and I must say, I am very happy with it.

Shelby, Phoebe, and Baxter

Wood crib  Morty and Ollie

On my way back to the rest of the property, I pass the wood crib and am thankful that we already have a  good portion of the winter’s wood drying. So are the animals. They love nothing better in the winter time than to curl up in front of the wood burner and soak up as much heat as they can.  When it is time to add more wood, we must forcibly move them so we can open the door to throw on another log or two.



Back to our walk. I enjoy the colors of many different plants, from the coleus, that has beautious color in its leaves, to the hydrangea with its large leaves that are stunning on their own merits and have wonderful blooms as well.

Purple verbena     Peach verbena

And I am getting so much joy from the verbena growing in the wall planters this year. They are a sweeping sea of blossoms with some stalks growing upright and others hanging down. When I see them all growing together, for some reason, they remind me of coral under the water in the ocean and this makes me feel that they are magical.

And so ends a brief foray into my home and mind. Both are busy places.

Maizie Remembered


Maizie was one of our forever foster dogs for Northeast Ohio Shetland Sheepdog Rescue. She passed away last year but I thought this tribute to her was worth running again. The thought of her smile still brings me joy.

Dear Person Who Abandoned this Senior Dog,

Maizie was found by the pound and when they sent you a letter to come and get her, you did not come. She spent 30 days in the pound kennel waiting for you before the efforts of two rescue groups brought her to our house as a foster dog. Today we discovered that she has kidney failure and will live out the rest of her life with us however long that may be. What lesson am I supposed to learn from this? Perhaps to have compassion for you and not be judgemental? I will work on that.

I know that I have been blessed to know this dog who is sweet, loving, and grateful for every bit of attention. She smiles at us constantly and is one of the happiest dogs I have seen. Occassionally she will try to play and has a small, joyful hop to her step. Our lives have been enriched by knowing this kind dog.

My dreams will be sweeter knowing that I have helped and loved this girl. May you be able to sleep at all.

Maizie sleeping with our cat Lacey
Maizie sleeping with our cat Lacey


A Day at the Beach

Lake Erie

I love a day at the beach! We went at the end of July and enjoyed it so much that we went back again two weeks later. We are fortunate indeed to live so close to Lake Erie. We can be there in about an hour. And my daughter drives in her little, red Prius so it doesn’t take a lot of gas to get there.

Relaxing Relaxing

It is such a relaxing day. We take a cooler with drinks and a picnic lunch so that we don’t have to leave the beach all day. And of course we all take books! The day is not complete unless I can read while listening to the waves and feeling the breeze.


There is always time for a little beach art too. The first picture I like to call Little Stonehenge. It was already in place when we got to the beach. Some unknown builder erected it and left, rather like the original Stonehenge. The second shot shows a little Zen patio that I made. It was quite rewarding work.

Maddie and Tyler

On our first trip to the beach we took my grandkids. They love it there too as you can see. We take them every summer and they always look forward to it.


The second time we went, just last week, was adult day. No kids. We lounged around and enjoyed the day at a  slower pace. And of course on the way home we stopped at the little stand that makes their own soft serve ice cream and got the flavor of the week. Last week it was peanut butter. Delicious!

I find these days to be quite rejuvenating. A little sun and sand can perform miracles and restore the soul.

Dog # 356


Time for a new foster dog at our house! This is one of the longest stretches that we have gone without one. It had been around three months since, Blitz, our last one, got adopted. This is Sweetie. She is a  35 lb sheltie that the vet said is no more than three years old. She has been at our house for a week and a half now and she is very sweet, if a bit needy.

Sweetie came from a local dog pound and was adopted directly by one of our previous adopters . She got spayed, brought up to date on her shots, and was treated for an ear infection. She had a couch to sit on, humans to pet her and walk her. She was living the good life. Unfortunately she had one trait that was not very  sweet. She liked to threaten the other resident dog in the home and attack him when he came too close to “her” human on the couch. To their credit the family gave it a go and consulted two private trainers and also asked our rescue for advice which they tried. It was a Herculean effort. But things didn’t improve very much and in the end they feared harm would come to the other dog they had for several years before Sweetie came on the scene.  So Sweetie came into our rescue and the family will wait for a more mellow dog to come through our rescue. This is the way it goes. Not every dog can fit with every family.

And since our house seems to specialize in challenging, dominant dogs, she came here. I have come to realize that not only do my husband and I have experience with rehabilitating problem dogs, but our own dogs have experience too and are a part of the process. The pack we currently have is very well adjusted and help to show new dogs the ropes and what is to be expected.

Baxter Shelby

Baxter and Shelby in particular are very good at acclimating the new dogs. So I  knew if Sweetie got threatening beside me on the couch, I would just remove her to the floor. Sitting with us on the furniture is a privilege and if you don’t behave, you don’t get the privilege. And if she threatened our dogs at other times I knew they would handle it. Baxter especially is very benevolent. He never starts anything but if other dogs threaten him in his home, first he will hold his ground, then if the other dog keeps at he doesn’t use his mouth but pins the other dog to the ground with his legs. It is actually impressive to see. Shelby won’t take any guff either. First she curls her lip at the instigator to warn him off. If this is not effective she will usually do it a second time as if to say “didn’t you hear me”? After that she will rush the offending dog possibly nipping them or running them over. Neither Baxter nor Shelby will do this without cause. They usually look to see if I am accepting of their behavior as well.

They have had to do this with Sweetie a couple times so far. She seems to avoid them now although earlier this evening I saw her try to play with Shelby. The two look very similar. It is hard to tell them apart from certain angles.

As I have gotten to know Sweetie I have discovered that she really isn’t an aggressive dog.  She is insecure and needy. She is looking to see where she fits in and wondering what she can get away with. I have noticed that she frantically seeks petting. I just ignore her until she lays down so she learns to calm herself. As she finds  her way, some of these behaviors will fade and she will become better adjusted.

Sweetie’s name does fit her. She is sweet and affectionate and cuddly. Though I  think the best bet for her would be to be an only dog or to go to a very experienced multi-dog home.


Northeast Ohio Shetland Sheepdog Rescue dog number  356.

Unplanned Joy


Life sometimes blesses me in ways that I’m not expecting. For instance plants around here reseed themselves and grow in places that they shouldn’t. I intend to weed them out but often times I don’t get around to it. This is the case with a butterfly bush that took root and is growing out from between two sandstones in one of the garden beds. It is about seven  feet tall now and oh how fortunate that I never pulled it out. It is bringing me much joy.

Butterfly Butterfly

It comes by its name honestly. It definitely does draw in the butterflies. There are often several on it at once and a few different  kinds too. I can go out any time during the day and see butterflies on it. What a beautiful site.

Hummingbird Moth Hummingbird Moth

Butterflies are not the only thing this bush attracts though. It also draws in what is called a hummingbird moth. I only discovered these in recent years. At first glance it looks like a hummingbird. It is about half the size of a  hummer but similar in shape and the wings move in the same manner as the bird. It also has similar brilliant colors. But this creature is a moth. Much as I like the hummingbirds, I think that I like the hummingbird moth even better. It is not as common and it is more unusual looking so it fascinates me. I will have to learn more about them because at this point all I know is that they are a cool looking moth and like the butterfly bush.

All this pleasure I get from something that was an accidental plant. Maybe it wasn’t accidental at all. One morning last weekend after standing and watching all the activity at this bush, I told my husband, “it’s a glorious morning, we must always have a butterfly bush in the walled garden”. I have learned a lesson from this. Take beauty and joy where you find them. You may happen upon them in unexpected places.

Miracles of Friendship

Livvi and Me                       Livvi

Before the days I knew you,

you were a best friend in the making.

And then you came into my life,

and that destiny came true.

Sharing our ears and hearts is a gift without measure,

For the best friend that’s a daughter,

Is this world’s dearest treasure.


Above is a picture of my daughter and me taken recently at her apartment. On the right is a picture of my best friend. You may notice that these photos are of the same person. That’s because I am one of the luckiest people in the world! My daughter is my best friend.

We enjoy many of the same things. One of our perfect hang out activities is going to the library and then getting ice cream. Or going to the book store and drinking coffee while perusing the books. Of course these activities are preceded and followed up with petting cats and dogs. A favorite special activity is the trip we take to the beach at Geneva State Park on Lake Erie every summer. This year we are doing it twice! Happy days! This day of swimming, lounging and picnicking always concludes with a trip the ice cream stand that has a specially made soft serve flavor of the week. Hmmm…do you see a trend here? We do like our ice cream. But it is the experiences we have together that are the most important part.

Actually, my daughter and I don’t even need an event or activity to spend time together and enjoy it. The time spent together is joy enough. Sitting on the porch, or couch, and talking away are times I wouldn’t want to live without. Of course we do this while petting dogs and cats. It’s part of who we are. We talk about things from nail polish to solving an assortment of the worlds problems. This girl will ask me for advice and carefully listen to what I have to say, then think through the best course of action. Or inaction if it’s appropriate. And sometimes I will ask her opinion on my issues too. She has good perspective and input that I sometimes don’t think of.

We make an excellent and formidable team. My wish for you, is that you may have such a stellar best friend. And if you are fortunate, she may also be your daughter.