Monthly Archives: May 2020

Can You Tell Which Dog Is Reactive?

Shelby, upper left; Zekie, upper right; Baxter, lower left; Cassius, lower right.

Can you tell which of the four dogs above is leash reactive?

Leash reactivity, at least in the case of my dog, causes him to lunge, growl, and bark excessively at other dogs, people, or fast moving objects like cars, bicycles, or motorcycles. He is fine walking with any of our dogs. He is fine if people or dogs come in our house or gated dog yard to visit, be they known or unknown to us.

And this prompts my apology to the person we encountered at the intersection up the hill near the fire station of our township. I was walking four of our dogs this morning and a car approached the intersection where I was getting ready to cross the street. I waved the car on. The driver of the car waved me on, and kept waving, insistent that I should go ahead. This left me with no choice but to proceed. Very thoughtful, right? Indeed it was. The only problem was, this left me trying to walk with two calm dogs, one dog that was barking, lunging, and jumping at the car in an attempt to reach it and no doubt scratch it’s paint job, plus one dog who was barking because the reactive dog was going into freak out mode. So, I apologize to the kind driver, if the expression on my face was not warm and appreciative. I had my hands full and was doing my best. Oh, I was also carrying two bags of poop on my way to the nearby dumpster at the time.

The reactive dog has shown improvement. It is just slow and ongoing. I have learned that if I go into the grass about four feet off the road, cars can pass without incident. Usually. This sometimes puts me in people’s front yards. I hope they don’t mind. It requires keeping a vigilant eye out for approaching vehicles in front of and behind us. I need to have ample time to get the required distance off the road, and must remain calm while doing so as not to insight a reaction

This is the kind of dog that is not for the first time dog owner, the physically weak, or the faint of heart. This is a labor of love. Ironically, if I kept the dog at home all the time, he would be friendly 100% of the time. Even with visitors. But, I want more for him, so we walk and try different training techniques. A work in progress.

By the way, the leash reactive dog is Zekie in the upper right hand corner.

Gardening and Pie

This is the time of year for all things garden related.

Yesterday, I de-thistled our asparagus bed. Once the spears are up, you can’t rototill the bed. And it was full of thistles. So, I dug them up with my hand trowel so they won’t go to seed and infest the rest of the garden. They aren’t very difficult as weeding goes, but there were a lot of them. Resulting in a blister on my palm, even whilst wearing gardening gloves. Oh well. I harvested a batch of asparagus this afternoon that we ate with dinner.

Today hubby ran the rototiller in the rest of the vegetable garden in preparation for spring planting. Our seeds finally arrived in the mail today! There was a backlog at all the seed suppliers. Everyone is wanting to plant a garden while they are home avoiding the coronavirus. We put in our first row for the year, containing turnips, icicle radishes, and a variety mix of beets. We will plant more vegetables over the next few days.

I also harvested some of our rhubarb today. It wasn’t enough for a pie, so I added some blueberries from the freezer and made a blueberry-rhubarb custard pie. I always use a butter pie crust. No Crisco for this girl. Blueberries were what I had available so I altered a recipe I found for rhubarb custard pie. It turned out just fine. In fact, it as downright tasty. I look at baking as an art form, so I always feel free to make whatever adjustments suit my fancy.

A Plethora of Birds

We have seen a plethora of birds around our house lately. Varied species.

We have a little family in this birdhouse in our red maple. The birdhouse was built by my husband and has seen one or two broods of young fledged every year. Usually it is sparrows. This year I think it is house finches.

We ran out of seed for our bird feeder two or three weeks ago. I usually stop feeding in the spring. I figure the birds can easily find their own food by then. This year I was going to continue feeding since we are staying at home isolating, and enjoy watching the birds. But my mail order sources have been out of seed. Everyone else must be thinking the same.

Even so, we are graced with many beautiful birds. The woodpeckers of course. I feel like they are special friends since they are here with us year round.

And we have been seeing the eastern bluebirds many times each day. We see them all over our property. We’re not sure if we have several pairs of bluebirds or one pair that is very active.

There are numerous goldfinches. They often flit by as I look out the kitchen window. I have seen them sitting on the lawn munching on dandelion blooms.

We have a pair of rose breasted grosbeaks that we see once or twice each day. This is the first year I have ever noticed them here.

And today, for the first time, we saw an oriole. I have seen pictures, but they do not do the bird justice. The orange is so brilliant that it is striking.

We see these birds in various areas of our yard, but they especially like to sit on our power line and jump from branch to branch in our trumpet vine. We hear the sounds of chainsaws, and trees being felled in the small valley down the hill from us, and hope that we are not seeing this increase in birds because they are being displaced.

We hope the birds are increasing in number and that the trend will continue. They are jewels of nature and we take joy in their presence.

Woods Walk

A couple days ago, before the May 9 snow, we went for a walk through our woods. I love this old tree stump with roots that marks the entrance to our campfire pit in the woods.

The woods are full of jack-in-the-pulpit right now. I look forward to finding them again later when the seed pods are ready to pop. The way they slowly open when you squeeze them is always fun.

We have woodland violets in white, purple, and a combination like these.

Euonymus on fence post by our shop.

Heading back inside after our walk. Shelby and Zekie came along.

Shelby needed the exercise. She doesn’t want to go outside much anymore unless we are going for a car ride or a walk. She says just dogs hang out in the pasture!

And Zekie must be involved in everything that his people do. Right down to following me to the wood crib to bring in a load of wood for the wood burner. It makes him happy to have a job

Baking & Cooking

I have been doing lots of baking and cooking recently. That seems to be the new trend since people are home so much of the time. I enjoy it. Baking is a fine art.

This morning I baked orange chocolate chip scones and orange blueberry scones. Fresh scones are so tender that they melt in your mouth. Mmmmm!

I baked bread yesterday since we were completely out. This batch is with half whole wheat and half white flour.

For supper I used the fresh bread for fried egg and cheese sandwiches along with polenta topped with sautéed spinach and garlic. This was accomplished by asparagus directly from the garden. It made a fine repast.

Property Walk


I did a walk around our flowerbeds this afternoon to see what was in bloom. The viburnum beside the house is still in full bloom. The flowers are holding on a long time this year because of the unseasonably cool weather. The drift of scent every time we go near it is delightful.

Bleeding heart (Dicentra)

The bleeding hearts are just starting to bloom. Soon there will be a huge mound of them flowering. Their ferny foliage is an added bonus.

Dogwood bloom

The dogwood in front of our house is nearing the end of its flowering phase for this year although it is still beautiful.

The trillium is at its peak right now. I would love to split it and have more, but they are so particular that I don’t dare.

We have a few of these bushes. I believe they are wild honeysuckle, but I’m not sure.

Myrtle bed
Dogwood in full bloom
Corner of yard

The above three areas are from the yard in front of our house.

Side yard

This side of the yard has plum bushes, river birches, and a redbud tree. The green bushes in the background are royal lilacs that will bloom in a few weeks.


The narcissus are still in fully bloom. They are staying around a long time because of the cool temperatures.

Flowering almost tree
Flowering almond

And last, but not least of our flowering plants is this flowering almond tree. It is tiny, but oh so beautiful!

Coping Mechanisms

How do you deal with the Stay At Home Order issued because of the coronavirus?

I am handling it pretty well. It was less of a change for me than some people. I am fortunate that I retired at the end of last year and can stay home. I have not been inside any store or public place since the first week of March. We get groceries by curbside pickup. Most other things are delivered by Amazon or Chewy. I am ok with this.

There are things that I miss that are just out of the question for the time being. So I decided that I would keep a notebook of these things. Every time I want to do something and realize that I can’t, I jot it down on a page of my little pocket size notebook. Someday, when restrictions have eased and it is safe to socialize again and/or go out, I will do the items that I jotted down.

Most of the entries involve other people. Here are a few:

  • Spend time with my nieces. Repeat again and again.
  • Have brunch on the patio with family.
  • Enjoy a mommy-daughter day and hang out at the bookstore.
  • Go to the library!

By keeping the notebook it reinforces in my mind that this time will come to an end and activities will resume at some point. It gives me a list of things to look forward to. And by having them in writing, I am guaranteed not to forget anything.

I hope you have all found your own coping mechanisms. Peace, my friends.

Steel Cut Oats

This morning I made a nutritious breakfast that I really enjoyed. Quick cooking steel cut oats with raisins, chocolate chips, and pumpkin seeds. I put some unsweetened vanilla almond milk on top. Very tasty.

This is substantial enough to keep my blood sugar from crashing before lunch and it gives me energy to get some work done in the morning. If only the oats came with a side of motivation, I would be all set.

A Day in My Life

Today was one of those days where I got a lot of necessary things done. Those things that you don’t like to do, but it feels good to have them done.

Our township provides a dumpster that is at the township garage for one weekend each year for spring cleanup. Anyone in the township can use it to dispose of large items, until it is full. And you need to get there quick, before it gets full. Today was the start of that weekend. I hauled two loads up to the dumpster for disposal, consisting of an old, musty Christmas tree, a couple pieces of decomposing wicker furniture, and various odds and ends.

This afternoon, I spent a few hours doing various forms of paperwork for our dog rescue group. I worked on some financial paperwork, some filing, and some educational material. Not fun, but things that are necessary.

And since I was on a roll doing dog stuff, I decided to give three of our dogs their annual DHLPPP-type shots that were in the refrigerator. Followed by cleaning litter boxes and picking up poop outside. I clean up our dog yard every time the dogs go outside now, because we have two who apparently consider themselves to be connoisseurs of poop. Even so, I sometimes run around with the scoop yelling “drop it” while chasing the offender. It’s a fine line between following the defecating dog around closely enough to get there before one of the other dogs grabs the result, but not so closely as to interrupt the dog doing his business. Such is my life.

As a reward for a productive day, I made Indonesian stir fried noodles for supper. Noodles, vegetables, and fish. Yum!

Just a day in my life.