Monthly Archives: September 2015

Things to Come

House bed

I spent Saturday afternoon clearing out the perennial bed beside the house. It was overgrown with phlox, bee balm, black eyed Susan’s, and other plants that bees and hummingbirds like. The wygelia bushes were barely visible any more. It’s always a challenge for me to keep the foliage in the beds under control. It seems as if I am keeping up with things and the flower beds look good. Then one day I look over and it’s all out of control and overgrown. I don’t know how this happens. I should have taken a before picture so you could see the difference but I found that idea to be too embarrassing.

The impetus for all this clearing and getting the plants under control is that we are going to have a Fall Gathering here for our Sheltie Rescue group. And their dogs are welcome too so I hope to have some wonderful photos of the dogs to share with you in a couple of weeks. Hopefully some of our past foster dogs. We are very excited at the prospect!


I got a surprise last week from one of those plants that came up as a volunteer. The white trumpet shaped flower is a Daturum. We planted those last year and several returned to put on a show for us this year. I knew the plants had come up but I didn’t think they would get big enough to bloom, but they did. It was a most pleasant surprise.


This cleome is also a volunteer. It took hold in between the sandstones. It impresses me with its tenacity.

20150926_111904   Pinks

There are still some beautiful flowers in bloom even though it is late in the year. The mandevilla and pinks continue on.


As does the hydrangea that I purchased three or four years ago at a discount store for $3. It was a single, bare twig. Now it is several bushes. I’d say that was a good investment.


I found this fuzzy caterpillar when I was looking at the flowers. I wonder which type of butterfly it will be next year? He is chewing on the plants, I imagine, getting fuel to try and survive the winter.

Burning Bush

This burning bush is turning red already. The others aren’t, just this one. The others have been planted for a number of years in their current location but this one was just moved last year. That must account for the difference.


The petunias are putting on their last hurrah before frost comes. To be honest, by this time of year I am looking forward to frost. I get tired of working in the gardens and beds but feel too guilty if I stop while plants are still growing. Fall and winter come as a welcome break. Although by the middle of February I am chomping at the bit to get started again. So I will enjoy it while I can.

Life is Good

Late Summer Urn

Things are changing noticeably around our property as fall approaches. In fact tomorrow is the first official day of fall. The plants in my large urn have completely filled in the space. The trailing, pale green vine is that of a sweet potato that now reaches the ground.


The cleomes continue to provide quite a show. I’m very glad to have them in my rose bed because the roses barely bloomed at all this year. I am thinking that it was due to uncooperative weather and they will be back in full force next year.


The cleomes are blooming in the bed back by our garden bench too. It seems that things we did not plant are doing best this year.  That would be the cleomes, snapdragons,  and butterfly bushes. What a gift they have been.

Butterfly bushes

This butterfly bush was so prolific that we can’t use the walkway here. We couldn’t bare to trim it back earlier because we took such joy from the hummingbirds, butterflies, hummingbird moths, and even bees that frequented it. It is later in the year and not many come now so the bush will soon get a haircut. These flying creatures provided some of my favorite entertainment over the summer.

Verbena Hydrangea

The verbena and hydrangea are still putting on quite a show. The hydrangea started from a small root piece that I bought for $3 at a discount store. They have grown into four large bushes that take up half of one our raised garden beds. Plants are amazing.

Harry Lauder Bed

My favorite part of the garden this evening though was seeing this new bed around our Harry Lauder walking stick. That’s the name of the tree. The species was named after a Vaudeville actor who had a curled walking stick, just like the branches on this type of tree. The stone in the back is from a burgundy vein of Pennsylvania blue stone. The new bed is what appears when you have a very impressive husband toiling while you are away. Also amazing.

What conclusion do I come to after my evening walk of seeing so many plants that grow by chance doing well rather than the ones that I planted? And new garden beds that appear as if by magic? Life is good.


The Grief and Growth of Loss


Losing  a pet is nearly  always  a  painful  thing. They  were  a member  of  our  family  who is  no longer  with  us.  This  death of a pet leaves a void, an emptiness  that  will  leave us forever  changed. I’ve  heard  those  who say they  will never  have  another  pet. That it is too  much pain  to go  through  again. Or that  they could  never  replace  their  beloved  with  another. Of course  they  can’t. That’s  not  the  point.

I don’t  understand  these  people. That’s  ok, they probably  don’t  need  for  me  to  understand  them. I  try  to  reframe the  loss of death  in a different  perspective. The  void that death leaves  is a gift  in a way. We were  blessed  to  have  a  presence  in  our  life  that  was so great  and  so valued that  it was capable  of  leaving  such  a   void. Over  time  the pain lessens. It becomes  less sharp and  eventually  becomes  more of an emptiness. But this emptiness  one day  begins to fill with  wonderful  memories. These  memories  will  be with us forever.

I  feel  that  it is  a  tribute  to  our lost one to some day  have  another  pet. Of course  they  do  not  replace  the  one  who  has  gone  before. They are a new being  that offers  their own  gifts. I feel  that  it would  be  selfish  of me to never have  another. Love  should  be  shared  with  the  living  who can  benefit. The love that  I  shared with  previous  pets, like  my beloved  Duncan pictured above, was such a wonderful  thing that  I  want  to  have  something  similar  with  another. Even  when Duncan  was still  alive I called him the greatest  love  of my life. Our bond was so meaningful  and  strong  that  I  recognized  it even  then.

I’ve  heard  people  say “I can’t  get over the loss  of (insert  name).” I’m  not  sure  that  I  want  to  get  over  such  a  loss. Pain does indeed  lessen but pain also  shows the  importance  of  what  was  lost. If I  didn’t  have  a great  love, I wouldn’t  suffer  a great  loss. Needing  to  recover  from this  pain and  fill  a void  makes the  loved one become  a  part of you  forever. And  with  each  memory  that  is melded  into  my heart, it mends. With each addition  my heart  grows. Until  one day I hope  my heart  will  be big enough  to  be filled  with  nothing  but love . This  is  the  legacy  and  tribute  that I want  to  leave  to the  ones  who have  gone  before.

The Mind Is a Scary Place


Time for another look into the inner workings of my mind. Scary thought, isn’t it? The brave among you will keep reading.

I got another lesson in self control over the weekend. Someone called and wanted me to take their parents’ dog into rescue because said parents had their house re-carpeted. My first thought was, you’re kidding, right? Sadly, no. The caller went on to explain that the dog was now living outside in a kennel but it had a dog house. Like the dog house was some great gift that made them caring, compassionate human beings. Never mind that the dog was now probably wondering why he was suddenly relegated to live his life outside, away from his pack. Winter was coming the caller informed me so they wanted to turn the dog into rescue before it got too cold. Did they want a gold star? It seemed so.

I’m proud to say that I did not let any of the comments racing through my mind come out of my mouth. Some of the kinder among them were:  idiot, moron, are you serious? I bit my tongue and kept them to myself. Why? Because I’m a good person? No. Because I knew that if I alienated them, I would not get the dog who would then spend the winter cold and alone. So as is always the case for people who do dog rescue, it’s about the dog, not about me or anyone else. It’s about saving the dog. That’s why I continued to be pleasant and helpful.

Whenever something like this happens that my mind can’t come to peace with, I try to frame it by Gandhi’s Top 10 Fundamentals for Changing the World. If I can’t deal with it, I look to another source. Prayer sometimes helps me but I want to change the world so I put it into this formula.

  1. Change yourself. I’m trying to change myself, that’s why I didn’t blurt out my feelings.
  2. You are in control. I was in control for that moment. Yay, me!
  3. Forgive & let go. Well I don’t hate these people. That’s something.
  4. Without action you aren’t going anywhere. I referred the people on to our rescue intake coordinator to get this dog to us.
  5. Take care of this moment. See #2.
  6. Everyone is human. Maybe when these folks were younger they were better able to deal with having a pet. Maybe they have health problems that make a dog too much for them.
  7. Persist. Well, I will continue to rescue dogs. I don’t know if I really persisted in this instance.
  8. See the good in people and help them. Even though I don’t agree with the decision, I will try to help these people rehome their dog.
  9. Be congruent, be authentic, be your true self. Not sure if I did this by keeping my mouth shut. Helping the dog is what I do and who I am though.
  10. Continue to grow and evolve. I’m working on it.

Somehow I can’t help but feel I fell short with this interaction. I didn’t teach those involved anything. Maybe that is not my purpose. I will have to learn to be content with whatever comes of the situation. I will have to put more effort into learning how honor number 3 on the list. At the very least I got a notable story.

Checking In


I  thought I should check in lest you wonder what’s happened to me. All is well. It’s just too hot for my brain to come up with anything clever. As you can see I’m finding ways to survive. Right now I am floating in my lounge chair with beverage and reading materials.


We were fortunate enough to be able to celebrate Labor Day with family. Baxter, Shelby, Phoebe, and Nikki were happy to be able to join us. There was plenty of frisbeeing so they thought the day was a success.








What the Dog Ate, Part III


 I am intending this to be the last installment of What the Dog Ate, but I know better so I am just calling it Part III. I’m sure that some of my current or future dogs will eat some amazing things as well.

Pictured above is Phoebe. She looks so innocent, doesn’t she? Don’t be fooled. One day, when she had not been with us very long,  we were looking for the cable remote to turn on the tv. We thought we must have really misplaced it because we couldn’t find it anywhere.  Eventually we did find bits of it but couldn’t be sure where the rest of it was. We had seen Phoebe pick it up before so we knew it was her. Some time over the next few days my husband was picking up after the dogs and came across a very incriminating pile. It was covered with numbers and buttons that said things like “menu”. If only we had a digital camera at the time! That would have been a photo for posterity. Or at least a good laugh. Phoebe is older now and doesn’t get into much trouble anymore. The only thing she did recently was take fur bundles from dog brushings out of the trash can and distribute them around the living room for decoration every time we left her in the house. Just bought a trash can with a lid on it.

We also had a strange dog eating conundrum in our rescue a few years ago. We got a call from some adopters who took their recently adopted dog the vet because it was passing a pair of lacey thong panties. The foster home and the adopters vehemently denied owning any such garments at any point in recent memory. We can only assume that the item was ingested at the dog’s original home. All ended well with the exception of one vet bill with a never to be known cause.


Then there was the foster dog above that some of you may remember. This is Miss Sassy Pants. She came home from the vet’s with one of those stretchy, self adhesive bandages on her leg. I put her in her crate for the night, as I have done with many a dog, and in the morning the bandage was gone. I never did find hide nor hair of that bandage so I have to believe that it passed unnoticed and all is well.

Lacey and Sky

Skylar was another foster pup who had a remarkable digestion. This boy loves his toys. Especially those he can chew. I had to take a tied and knotted polar fleece bone from him one day because he was destroying it. Apparently, I was too slow. Skylar liked to go to the mail box with us. One day on the way back to the house he stopped to make a deposit in the drive way. It went on and on. This turned out to be because he was passing a piece of that pink polar fleece bone that was about six inches long. It snowed that same day and many days thereafter. I saw that pink remnant during the spring thaw and got another good chuckle.

I’m sure we’ve had other “passings” over the years but none stick in my memory banks as well as these. I hope cleaning up after your dogs is a mundane and unimpressive task.