Monthly Archives: July 2020


The key to great things is planning ahead. See that lily pad shaped plant in front of the back stone wall? It is a hollyhock. Hollyhocks are biennials and don’t bloom until their second year.

I grew the one pictured above from seed and it is in its first year. The blooms won’t come until next summer.

Pictured here is the hollyhock I planted last year. It is about six and a half feet tall. I have fertilized it, kept it weeded, treated it for Japanese beetles, and staked it.

A garden can be a metaphor for our lives. If you want good results, you have to put in the work.

Books Read-May & June 2020

I’m publishing my lists of books read for May and June together in this post. Since summer is here and there is lots of gardening to do and keep up with, I don’t have nearly as much time to read, so the lists are shorter.

If you could only read one of these books, I would recommend A Country Year by Sue Hubbell. She was a resourceful woman and a beautiful writer. I put this book back on my shelf, because I will want to read it again one day.

Books Read May 2020

1. Molly-Colin Butcher (Non-fiction)

The pet detective dog who searches for lost cats, and occasionally dogs and other animals.

2. Morning Comes Softly-Debbie Macomber

Southern librarian Mary answers an ad for a Montana rancher seeking a wife to help raise 3 orphaned children in his custody.

3. Table For Five-Susan Wiggs

School teacher Lily ends up helping raise her best friend’s three children after a tragic accident. The children’s uncle has custody and things turn interesting.

4. The Spirit of Covington-Joan Medlicott

Made it too page 79 and stopped. Not my cup of tea.


  1. Country Living- May 2017

Books Read-June 2020

1. Killer Crab Cakes-Livia J. Washburn

Phyllis agrees to look after her cousin’s Texas B & B, and the murders start taking place.

2. Fool For Love-Beth Ciotta

Chloe heads to Vermont after a breakup with her cheating boyfriend. She makes a new life with her new free spirit boss and finds unexpected love.

3. A Country Year-Sue Hubbell (Non-fiction)

The author makes her own life as a beekeeper in the Missouri Ozarks. She lives in a rustic wood heated cabin with her two dogs and enjoys nature and the seasons. Beautiful insights into the natural world.


Country Living-2 isssues


Vegetables in the garden are ripening at an increasing rate.

Each meal now we must make the choice between turnips, beets, Romano beans, Slenderette green beans, sugar snap peas, cucumbers, zucchini, or yellow crook neck squash. Sometimes we have multiple vegetables.

This evening it was green beans pan fried with minced garlic and a dash of sea salt.

And none of our six kinds of tomatoes are even ripe yet. Summer can be glorious.


Cassius lounging

This is what retirement looks like.

Cassius is a retired racing greyhound. He must have been a good racer. He didn’t come off the track until he was four years old. He won 18 racers, and placed and showed in others.

Given his prey drive, I imagine he enjoyed racing. Even so, he is the picture of peace and calmness with our cats and other dogs.

Cassius still enjoys a quick sprint around our fenced pasture and likes to play with his jolly ball. But his favorite thing is sleeping on the couch while maintaining body contact with his mama. That’s me.

We could all take a lesson on how to chill from retired racing greyhounds.

Dogs On the Patio


Dogs enjoy hanging out on the patio at our house too.

Claire napping

Actually, they enjoy hanging out with us.


If Zekie knows I am out here, he will bark every few minutes until I come and get him. As you can see, this makes him very happy.

Claire, Baxter, & Cassius

They especially enjoy laying on the futons.

Shelby & Nikki

Or laying in the shade.


Hanging out with the pups makes me as happy as it makes them.

Attack of the Japanese Beetles

Japanese beetle season has arrived. They are eating my roses, our young trees, and my new blueberry bushes. I have been squishing them but I cannot be everywhere at once, and besides that…eeewww, gross.

So, today I set up two Japanese beetle traps. I looked at the box and wondered, do these things really work? Or is it just something that sells because people want it to work?

I opened the box and assembled the two plastic pieces. Check. Then I attached the collection bag. Check. Next step, remove the backing from the pheromone bait and attach. As I held the bait and figured out how to seat it on the plastic fins, a couple flying things hit me in the head and bounced off. Then another flew at me and got stuck in my hair. Yup, Japanese beetles!

I used the wire provided and finally got two traps installed in the yard. The trap nearest my blueberry bushes had about 100 beetles in it by this evening. So, I can report that the traps do work. Just wear appropriate headwear during assembly!

Ovenless Dessert!

It is so hot!

  • Ninety-five I do not like,
  • I do not like it in the sun,
  • I do not like it for a hike,
    I do not like it anywhere.

So, I found a recipe for a dessert that does not require using the oven. Pictured above is Stuffed Sweet Focaccia Bread.

It is cooked in a pan on the stovetop. Recommended fillings are peanut butter, chocolate, or Nutella. I improvised and used apricot preserves, walnuts, and brown sugar. It came out quite well. I will be making it again.

If you would like to try it as well, I found the recipe on Pinterest at the link below.

Welcome Home!

This is the newest member of our family! Meet Claire. She has been our foster dog for the past 6 months so if you know us, she’s not new around here.

I honestly did make a good effort to adopt her out. Our rescue isn’t doing home checks right now because of the pandemic. Over the past three months I did speak to previous adopters about her but the time and situation wasn’t right for any of them.

Mercifully, after speaking to the last potential adopter last week, they decided the timing was not right. I say mercifully because after I got off the phone with them before they had decided, I fell apart at the thought of Claire leaving us.

I don’t know if I’ve changed? Or I lost my edge after taking a year and a half fostering break after Zekie came to us? Or if it’s due to the fact that I’m home all the time now? Or if it’s just Claire. But the thought of her leaving is unbearable.

This does mean that we are on a moratorium from long term fostering for now. We will still be available for fostering those shelties that only need one or two weeks here.

So Claire is home! As you can see, she is quite happy about this. And so am I.