Monthly Archives: September 2020

Phoebe and the Remote Control

Phoebe and the Remote

This is another sketch I did a number of years ago. Shortly after Phoebe ate a television remote control. You can read about that here.

Phoebe was our third greyhound. She is the only female greyhound we have had. She was very girly and liked to wear clothes, fancy collars, and jewelry. She wore a string of pearls or shiny beads at all times in her mature years. If you took them off of her, she was not happy. She stared at you until you put them back on her. The girl liked her bling.

She had tons of personality. From what I have experienced with the greyhounds we have had, each one is unique and different. But we have loved them all.

White Cake

Egg Whites

Yesterday was my first attempt at making a white cake from scratch. That’s what my husband requested for his birthday this year. This picture shows the six egg whites beaten until stiff and ready to fold into the rest of the batter.

White Cake From Scratch

I iced it with the requested buttercream frosting. It turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself. It involved 3/4 of a pound of butter. No wonder it was tasty.

When I bake cakes, I generally use a box mix as the base and make flavor additions and adjustments. I will be trying other cakes from scratch in the future.

Now to find something to do with those six egg yolks!

A Memory Captured

Super Weasel

This is a sketch I drew of one of our foster dogs a number of years ago. I know it’s no great piece of art, but it captured a memory.

This was a foster dog that came to us with the name of Lawrence. Our neighbor Larry had recently passed away and I felt odd standing in our yard repeatedly saying “Lawrence, do you have to pee?” Not to mention, it was a formal name for a one year old sheltie. He had a vey slender build and was always jumping up into the air. He especially liked to jump up and hit me in the butt with both his front feet when I would turn around to walk away. I often turned and said “You little weasel.” This eventually led to me affectionately calling him by the moniker Weasel.

Hence, this sketch with “W” on his front that I call Super Weasel.

He was a wonderful little dog that I loved dearly. I still remember tearing up when we left him at his new home. He went to a great family that also loved him dearly. He was renamed Scotty and became best friend and companion to a young girl. He became a 4-H dog and went on to run lots of agility. I couldn’t have asked for a better home for him.

Scotty left us to go to the Rainbow Bridge much too soon. I am still happily acquainted with his family, and that young girl is now an adult who has since adopted another sheltie from our Rescue.

Improvement Is Relative

Meme from Never A Ruff Day

I posted this meme on Facebook earlier and it got me thinking. You know what’s coming. I was thinking about Zekie and our struggles. I have had pretty good results with modifying behaviors in other dogs, both our own and foster dogs. Not so with Zekie.

He’s been with us almost three years. As my husband said, “Of course you kept Zekie because he’s crazy and you must have a crazy dog at all times.” I can’t say that’s not an accurate statement. I love a dog that worships and needs me.

That being said, Zekie has shown improvement over the past three years. But he is still so far from being a normal or average dog that I have given up hope that he ever will be. I have not, however, given up hope that his behavior will continue to improve.

Zekie has many trying behaviors that are similar to that of my heart dog Duncan. Duncan did not become a dog that I could rely on and trust his behavior until he was about 7 or 8 years old. Zekie is now 7. Here are a few behaviors that both dogs exhibited at some time:

  • Waiting at the door or window for me to return, whether I have gone outside to the mailbox, or to the grocery store. Time is irrelevant.
  • Following me from room to room. To be fair, many of our dogs do this. I have not gone to the bathroom alone in over 35 years. Lol…
  • Taking and eating or chewing things from the kitchen counter. i.e. wooden spoons, plastic containers, mugs, and also actual food. This is why we have swinging doors on our kitchen that can be bungeed shut.
  • Opening the doors under the kitchen sink to get into the garbage can. This results in a wooden spoon between the cabinet door handles so they are barricaded.
  • Leash reactivity-Lunging and barking at passersby on walks. With Duncan, the problem was just bicycles and we overcame this. With Zekie, it is bicyclists, joggers, and especially other dogs. After 3 years of training he has learned to be ok with human walkers most of the time, especially if they are friendly and greet us. The Covid masks have set this back a little.
  • Opening the dog food can which contains a 40 lb. bag of food and eating said contents. This resulted in us keeping a bungee cord across the top of the can.
  • Stealing trash out of all cans. This results in the cans in every room of our home having lids. Duncan learned to operate the ones with levers or pedals in short order. We had to keep them up high. Grandma would put hers on top of the refrigerator when we visited. This not only applies to cans with food, but all trash cans. Kleenex, food wrappers, and other items seem to have equal appeal.
  • Barking at cars that drive by, especially when out in the fenced pasture. They always go away so it works, right?
  • Trying to chew or claw through doors and walls to get to where I am.
  • Excessive barking at unwarranted sounds. I suppose what is an acceptable sound is in the eye of the beholder.
  • The need to sleep in a crate in our bedroom so as not to bark endlessly because I am too far away. The crate is needed to keep them out of trouble during the night.

I’m sure there are many other similarities. Duncan was easier to deal with because he could be crated so that I could have a time out or go away. He did well in a crate and was content to chew a bone or nap.

Zekie does not do well in a crate. He chews out of wire crates and Vari-Kennels in short order. He drools so much that his body is drenched in saliva and it pools in the bottom of the crate. This causes him to drink for minutes when he is released resulting in his frantic need to go out and pee a little while later. We tried prescription drugs, homeopathic medicines and herbs, and behavioral modification. None helped. Some made it worse. He has broken off all four canine teeth and some molars in his attempts to get out of the crates.

Now Zekie has a crate made of aircraft quality steel and marine grade butterfly latches. He must be crated when we go away for his own safety and the safety of our house. It is entirely possibly that he would go throw a window, or worse, to look for us. We try not to go away often if Zekie can’t stay with us or one of us can’t stay at home.

Still Zekie has shown improvement in the years he has been here. This is the boy I love.

Zekie, the boy I love.

The Fall Garden

Datura and Mandevilla

These cooler temperatures are a gift. Most of the flowers are still in bloom. And I can sit outside to enjoy them anytime. It is not so hot that I have to carefully plan time to be out in the cool of the morning or wait for evening’s shade.

Climbing Rose

I passed time this afternoon by reading a book and hanging out with dogs on the patio.


I did take time for watering, but even that doesn’t have to be done as often now. Fall has become my favorite time of year.

Sedum with a burgundy dahlia

Five Books-August 2020

Claire asks “Why read when you can pet me?”

Books Read-August 2020

  1. Mrs. Whaley and Her Charleston Garden-Emily Whaley (Non-fiction)
    This book is about more than gardening. It is a memoir of southern living. At first it put me off with some of its outdated views. It made up for it with charming insights into certain facets of life.
  2. The Ark’s Anniversary-Gerald Durrell (Non-fiction)
    Gerry tells humorous tales about some of the zoos animals as well their captive breeding efforts and releases. A funny read. The author is the youngest child from the television series “The Durrell’s of Corfu”.
  3. Dear John-Nicholas Sparks
    John and Savannah have a true love. Sometimes, you never expect what true love is. Sparks is always a good read.
  4. Death by Chocolate Frosted Donut-Sarah Graves
    Paints a nice picture of northern coastal Maine along with an explosive murder mystery. Enjoyable.
  5. My Italian Bulldozer-Alexander McCall Smith
    Although I was not a fan of the author’s No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books, I do enjoy the Paul Stuart novels, of which this is one. They are a nice taste of the Italian village and provide food for thought on daily life.

I don’t have a number one pick from this month’s books because they are all so different. It just depends what you are in the mood for. I find that as the weather cools and my gardening chores taper off, I am reading more. I am already on my fifth book for September with nearly two weeks to go!


  1. Yankee Magazine

A Proud Moment

The three boys-Zekie, Baxter, Cassius

This morning I took Zekie, Baxter, and Cassius for a walk. It was just me and the three boys. I didn’t take any other dogs because Zekie is often leash reactive and I knew this was the amount of dogs I could handle if that happened.

There wasn’t too much traffic today. Two cars passed us. And there was a large paving truck and a pickup truck at the intersection where we turn to walk to the park. Zekie did not bark or lunge at any of them! He also did not bark at the two workmen on the corner or the men working on the entry to the township hall. We walked right on by! I was so proud. Just me out here walking my well behaved dogs.

I wish I knew why Zekie was good today. Dealing with reactive dogs is challenging. But I’m so pleased he was good. It can be done!

Zekie having a proud moment

Top 7 Things to Have Before You Bring Your New Dog Home

You made the decision to get a new dog. What should you do to make the introduction and transition to his or her new home go as seamlessly as possible? You don’t want to have to take your new friend into the pet store on your way home and have his first outing when the two of you haven’t had a chance to bond. This could be scary for the dog, going to a strange place with a person he just met. Things will go more smoothly if you have some supplies at home waiting and at the ready. I recommend the following.


#1. A bag of the food your dog will eat.

You don’t want your first day with your new dog to involve dragging him to the pet store, so that you can read 20 plus bags of dog food and decide which is the most suitable. Or even worse, feeding him people food until you can get to the store for the appropriate food. And no, people food is not the appropriate food.

#2. A collar with identification tags.

You will need a way to control and identify your new family member. Ask the person you are getting your dog from, what size is correct. Many snap-in collars are adjustable to cover several sizes. The adjustable size is especially good for puppies. It will limit the number of collars you need to buy as puppy grows. An ID tag is essential. Your new dog is most likely to get lost in the first few days, before he knows you and his new home.

#3. A leash.

The leash is used to control your dog and keep him safe. It is a lifeline between him and you, and can be used to communicate what you want as well. It can even be used inside the house to keep the dog where you can watch him.

#4. Food and water bowls.

Your new friend will need something to eat from. Metal is sturdy and long-lasting. Water should be available to the dog at all times. If your dog or puppy is prone to spilling, he does not need water when in his crate, but should be given access to water frequently.

5. Crate

This is very important for a new dog. It confines the dog when you cannot watch him. It is a good place for him to sleep. Not only does it keep him from damaging your home, it keeps him safe from things like electrical cords that he could chew. Most dogs feel safe in their crates. It is a good place for them to eat as well as sleep. He may not need the crate forever, but it can save a lot of grief as you transition to your new life together.

#6 Treats!

These can be used to bribe your dog to go into his crate, to distract him while you take away something he shouldn’t have, and to reward him for following commands. My dogs will fly into their crates to get a mere crumb from a treat!

#7. Paper Towels

These will be for cleaning up any potty accidents that occur. Most dogs will have at least a few accidents until they learn where you want them to do their business. If you are bringing home a puppy, get lots of paper towels! House training a puppy does not happy overnight.

With careful planning, introducing the dog into his new home will go more smoothly. You can keep a cool head if you have what you need at hand. Good luck, your new best friend will change your life!

Sometimes You Get It Right

Do you ever feel like fate has a hand in your life and when you follow your gut instinct, sometimes you get it right?

I recently did away with our landline and switched that number over to my cell phone. The old cell number is now defunct. I felt that it was important to maintain the old landline number because it has been used for our dog rescue business and is printed in numerous places so that people can reach us when they need help. I could have replaced it with another number, but it didn’t seem like the right thing to do. It would have been a fair amount of work and just didn’t seem right.

Well, I got a call today from someone in our Rescue family. They fostered and adopted a dog from us recently and this was not their first dog from us either. Rescue members become a real community and like family. I would not have received the call if I had not kept that phone number. The changes would not have been updated to our documents yet.

Our Rescue friend’s wife had passed away unexpectedly two days ago. We talked for a bit and I was able to offer condolences and some kind words. I was blessed to hear how the dog he has from our Rescue group comforted him. He thought we should know what happened and I am touched that he shared this with us. I hope I was able to bring him a small bit of comfort in this difficult time.

I have long said that rescuing dogs, is helping people too. I am blessed to do both.

Beauty Born

When your gardening goes awry and there is an accident, you make flower arrangements.

I was tying up gladioli blooms and inadvertently snapped one off. It immediately when in my rose gold vase from the Stan Hywet gift shop. I love this vase, everything looks good in it. And it’s my little bit of the glamorous life, after all it was purchased at a mansion’s gift shop.

The hydrangea blooms had to be trimmed off after heavy rains caused them to hang to the ground. And the orange trumpet vine cutting was sacrificed so the electronic eye on our outdoor light would function. They are displayed in a milk glass vase which suits them well.

Out of garden detritus, beauty is born.