Monthly Archives: June 2018


Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart. –Unknown

This quote could have been inspired by our Orange Kitty. (I tried to give him a real name but nothing else stuck.)

He is not disturbed in the least by our pack of five barking dogs. In fact they may pause to sniff noses with him. Other people’s visiting dogs do not bother him. Strangers don’t phase him. He does not join in with our other cat when there is a rodent to be hunted. He will chase bugs but I don’t think he ever hurts them.

His is the ultimate peaceable soul. Lessons abound around us if we are wise enough to see them.


Visiting With Friends

Hello friends! I want to share my good time with you. Shelby, Nikki, Baxter, and I had a fun time visiting the nursing home last evening. Or should I say, visiting with friends. You can see Shelby had a good time. She was smiling to show her “toofers” while she got a belly rub. It was one of several belly rubs.

Nikki did her usual sitting on the couch and asking to be petted. It’s not overly exciting for anyone who’s not sitting on the couch but it’s her thing. People going by still comment how cute she is. She knows how to work it.

Baxter wasn’t sure at first but he has developed a real liking for going on these visits. Part of it is because I praise him profusely since he is such a good boy and listens to what I ask of him. And there’s also that car ride which, I’m sure, is a big factor.

Shelby is a pro now and makes the rounds so that everyone gets a turn at petting her. She keeps looking over at me to be sure that she is doing the right thing, especially when approaching a new person. I have trained her to the command “go visit” so I can direct her to approach someone in a space where there is only room for her.

Baxter has only gone a few times but has taken to these visits quite well. He is naturally obedient and wants to please. Some of the men like to see the bigger, less fluffy dogs sometimes so he has been a hit.

Lest you be misled, I need to make the point that these visits could not be pulled off with just any dogs. I only take my obedient and trustworthy dogs. Dogs that I have confidence in. The other dogs stay home. And even so, you must continually read and watch your dog. There may come a visit when one isn’t feeling well or is not up to it for some reason. It is best if you figure this out before the visit. This is not always possible. If a dog acts up, you must be ready to end the visit. Sometimes a break is enough. Other times you may have to give it up and go home. This hasn’t happened to me often but I can recall at least one visit where we went home after 20 minutes.

The lesson is Know Your Dog! After all, you are a team.

What I Chose to Do the Day My Mother Died

A re-share from a few years ago. The lesson, choose happiness. Live!

Sanctuary Acres


My mother died this past Monday. It was a sad event but then again, it wasn’t . She suffered from a lengthy and ongoing illness. She is at peace now and with this comes a sense of relief. It is sad for me because it brings to mind the woman she once was. I miss that woman. I have missed her for a long time now. Her passing makes the memories fresh again.

We knew that her death was imminent but didn’t know exactly when it would happen. So I had plans already scheduled for the day she died. I thought about cancelling them, after all my mother just died. Everyone would certainly understand. But I  decided to honor my obligations. They would mean something to the ones I gave my word to. For you see, I had agreed to provide therapy dog visits at the nursing home.

I’m sure…

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The Face of Innocence

He is innocent. Just ask him. Here is a further tale of living with a smart dog who suffers from separation anxiety. Zekie thinks he should be with us, especially me, at all times. Usually he will stay in the pasture with the other dogs until I come home.

However, today he heard my husband on the patio. Zeke knows that he likes to hang out on the patio.

Here is a picture from the weekend of Zeke having a good time on the patio while I read. So when he heard my husband there he broke out of the pasture and ran to join him. Not wanting to encourage escapist behavior my husband told Zeke “that’s a bad dog, you’re going to have to go in your crate “. As they walked towards the house and the crate, Zeke ran back to the pasture and broke back in, pushing through the gate and putting himself back with the other dogs.

Having a smart dog is not necessarily an easy thing.


These are my Sarah Bernhardt peonies. I’m so glad I planted them. Peonies are my favorite flower and all my other types are fading and nearly spent. But this cultivar is just now peaking. They extend my peony bloom season for nearly two additional weeks.

I researched peonies and while I did not find a repeat bloomer, I did discover that there are peonies that bloom at five different times from spring through early summer. I apparently only have two of the five covered so I will have to see if I can find others to extend the season.

My other peonies are of the type above. I’m not sure what they are. They were here when I bought this house and since it was built in 1830, I have no idea how old they are. They could be very old or a more recent owner could have planted them. I did move them about 10 years ago because a large ash tree was shading them out.

The peonies outlived the tree though. We lost it to the invasive Emerald Ash Borer, as we have lost all our ash trees. This did leave us with plenty of firewood. So plant more peonies!

(I think the lesson is beware of invasive species, but in my opinion you can never have too many peonies!)

Short Garden Tour

First pictorial garden walk about for this year. This year’s addition to the garden is a new flowerbed. The perimeter is planted with pink blooming spirea. Sunflowers are planted along the back fence line for this year. We’ll have to see what plantings are in store for next.

My favorite urn needed about a dozen plants to fill it up. It holds sweet potato vine, coleus, spikes, nicotiana, and assorted petunias.

This much smaller urn contains verbena, dahlia, and petunias.

The rose garden finally seems to be making a comeback. We had so many extra cold winters in a row that I was beginning to wonder if it would survive. The jury is still out on my America climbing rose. It lost a lot of canes.

More garden photos will be forthcoming. I am tired now from helping to cut down a pine tree and haul off the branches. Plus I have to watch the basketball game. Go Cavs!

A Day In My Life With Zekie

I realized that I haven’t given an update on Zekie in a while. I wish that I had more progress to report. Because it would be great if he suddenly became a normal dog. But I know that is not going to happen. I’ve been told, and I quote, “You are not happy unless you have a crazy dog. You should be fulfilled.” There may be some truth to this. Although I don’t go out looking for crazy dogs. They just seem to find me. One with problems comes along and I feel like they need me. And I do like to be needed. And also to solve a good problem.

Zekie is still doing the disgusting drooling thing in his crate when he is left home alone. When he is put in his crate for a time-out while someone is home, he is fine. He lays quietly with no drooling and little noise.

He also does not tolerate being separated from me well. When he is home with my husband, he will stay out in the pasture with the other dogs most of the time. But once I get home, he escapes from the pasture to be near me. He finds a way to squeeze between the gates and run to me. I don’t like to reward him for this so we were putting him in his crate in the house when he does it. He lays there and is good. Especially if I stay in the house. Sometimes I give him a second chance. I tell him, ok, you stay in the pasture or you are going in your CRATE! Sometimes this works. Sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes when I go to put him in the house, he tries to sneak back into the pasture.

He comes running to me with such joy on his face when he makes his great escape that it is hard to be mad at him. I also don’t want to ever yell at a dog that comes to me. This may make him not want to come to me one day when it is necessary. So rather than yell at him, we end up with just calmly putting him in his crate without comment. He shouldn’t be rewarded with freedom for his escape.

I figured out that he is pushing the two gates apart and getting through them. He hurt himself one time doing this so we are trying to come up with a solution. The gate is fastened at the top with a latch. It is the bottom where he makes his escape. So my last attempt involved fastening the two gates at the bottom with a leash. This worked for about 20-30 minutes. I didn’t see Zekie coming after me so I thought, well that’s taken care of. Ummm, no. He figured out that he could chew threw the leash. I thought about using a chain leash to fasten the gate but I’m not sure that is a good idea either given his penchant for breaking teeth off.

Back to the drawing board!