I live in the country and spend much of the year enjoying our gardens and outdoor activities. Also, I have been involved in dog rescue for over 15 years. I have been a volunteer for numerous rescue organizations, do therapy dog work, and pretty much all things "dog".
View all posts by cindyhazelett →
I had high hopes for being able to teach Zekie to sleep on the floor. In the evenings, he usually prefers to nap on the floor at my feet rather than on the couch beside me. We don’t want him to sleep on our bed because he sometimes shows a sense of entitlement that results in trouble. I hoped it would be the same when it came to sleeping on the bed.
A few nights ago I decided to try him sleeping out of the crate. I folded up a thick fleece blanket that has my scent on it and put it on the floor next to the bed where I sleep. When it was time for bed, I tapped the blanket and said “lay down and stay there.” I then turned off the light. I didn’t hear a peep out of Zekie.
I got up to use the bathroom once during the night. When I returned, Zekie had moved to lay on the floor near the head of the bed, so he could see the bedroom door to know when I returned. He stayed there when I got back in bed and remained there the rest of the night.
He has done well each night so far. Only moving if there is a reason. Sometimes he finds the blanket to be too hot and moves onto the wood floor. He goes right back to sleep.
With any luck this will be our new normal. Life with Zekie is always a challenge and I don’t expect this to change, but here’s hoping our nighttime struggles at least, have come to an end.
I enjoyed every single one of these books! You can’t go wrong with any of them. Most are by authors that I read on a regular basis. Happy reading!
1. The Return-Nicholas Sparks
Trevor Benson is a surgeon recovering from permanent injuries that he sustained while serving in Afghanistan. He inherited his recently deceased grandfather’s home in North Carolina. While Trevor is there, he tends the bees and makes new relationships. One romantic and the other with a troubled young girl. While he is helping everyone else, he is also finding his own new path through life.
2. Love for Beginners-Jill Shalvis
Another wonderful story from Jill Shalvis. Her books are romances, but I love the relationships between all the characters in her books. Emma is recovering well from a near fatal accident. She and her physical therapist, Simon, work together regularly and develop a special relationship. The connections between Emma and her mortal frenemy, Simon’s dad, and others are all strong bonds.
3. Birds of a Feather-Jacqueline Winspear
This is the second book in the Maisie Dobbs series. This book once again points out tragedies that occurred during World War I, along with a mystery. A grocery store owner’s daughter goes missing and Maisie must find her. Of course, the case is not as straight forward as it first seemed. I like these books because they make me think, not only about the cases, but about society. They make the time during and after WWI come to life.
4. The Bone Code-Kathy Reichs
This is a book starring Temperance Brennan, a forensic anthropologist. Tempe is working on a case to identify two cases of similar crimes, as well as a historical mystery. Its fast-paced excitement keeps you on your toes. I’m also curious to see where Tempe’s life and career will end her next. I’m never disappointed.
5. Life’s too Short-Abby Jimenez
Vlogger Vanessa Price is trying to get her life together while dealing with a life wrought with family tragedies. Her next-door neighbor becomes a big part of this by helping her care for her sister’s infant daughter and her life in general. This is a book full of relationships of all types. I loved it!
Zekie had an appointment at the vet’s this morning for a rabies booster shot. It was just routine. Our veterinarian, a wonderful lady, came outside to talk to me before they brought Zekie back out to the car. (They are continuing with the curbside service, that started due to Covid, because they are undergoing an interior remodel of the clinic.)
We talked about Zekie’s anxiety. His behavior had stayed pretty constant since I retired, but lately it seems to be getting worse. He continues to have crate anxiety at night in addition to his other anxiety issues. Zekie-2, Mommy-2; or Exuberant Love. This night time anxiety only started about a week or two ago. Before that he was fine, since his upstairs crate is only three feet from where I sleep. See the above link.
And today’s trip to the vet was a new experience too. Normally, he goes with the vet assistant for his appointment and is well behaved. This morning, he wouldn’t go. He planted himself on the asphalt of the parking lot and refused to move. I had to walk with them to the clinic door. As he and the tech entered the clinic and the door closed, I could see him through the glass. He was looking back at me with a look of sheer, glassy-eyed terror. I imagine he was remembering when this same thing happened to him nearly five years ago at the county dog shelter where he was left. I can’t really know. I can’t think of anything else that would account for that much fear.
When the vet tech eventually returned him to the car, she said he had been very afraid. She said she had stepped out of the room for a minute and when she returned, Zekie was sitting in the exact place she had left him. He hadn’t moved at all, and was sitting ramrod stiff and staring straight ahead.
My talk with the veterinarian was mostly about the saliva staining on Zekie’s paws, front legs, and belly. She wondered if he had allergies. I told her, no, it is from stress and him drooling massive puddles of saliva anytime we go away from home and he must be in his crate. This even happens during just a quick trip to the grocery store. We decided to try Zekie on Prozac again. I did try this once before under the care of another vet, with no luck. This time his dosage is doubled and we will be sure to try it for the full eight weeks that it may take to kick in.
I truly hope the meds help him this time. It must be terrible to be so upset that you pant and drool puddles and do yourself bodily harm. It can’t be any fun being the dog in the crate next to him either.
If we are able to help Zekie overcome his anxiety, I have hopes that this will improve his leash reactivity as well. So, keep your fingers crossed and pray for Zekie. I so hope this little boy can have a more normal life and enjoy the peace that should go with being a dog in a loving home.
This is how I beat the heat after working outside.
In the morning I worked in the vegetable garden, removed Japanese beetles from my roses and fruit trees, watered hanging baskets, and hauled one of the dog crate pans outside to clean it with the hose.
After lunch, I pruned the bad grapes from our vines and went on my second round of Japanese beetle patrol of the day.
Then I decided it was too hot for any more foolishness of this nature. Ie.: Working. So I went for a dip in the pool where the water was a pleasant 79 degrees. Refreshing!
Then I spent the rest of the afternoon on a lounge chair in the shade and read while enjoying the company of some of our dogs.
Zekie is my constant companion. He is rarely more than a few feet away from me. This is just as well. Otherwise I have to keep looking for him to see what trouble he is getting into.
Claire likes to be outside. She has made it her job to keep track of all squirrels, chipmunks, and birds. She also barks at loud motorcycles and cars that she deems to be going too fast. Her true bliss seems to be keeping an eye on rodents residing in the rock pile.
Cassius likes to hang out near to wherever I happen to be. He was supposed to be my husband’s dog, but it turns out he is a momma’s boy. Wherever I go, there he is. He especially likes to lay in the middle of the kitchen floor as I attempt to work around him while preparing meals.
This is a typical summer day here at Sanctuary Acres. And once again, life is good!
When you have a dog who is a problem child, there is always a new adventure. Check out some of Zekie’s antics at this link. Zekie the Wonder Dog Life is never dull with Zekie around. He keeps me on my toes. He is a no mistake dog. If you forget to put something out of his reach or give in to his demands once, he will make you pay.
His newest quirk involves his quest to be able to sleep on our bed. We don’t want him to sleep on the bed because if he thinks he is moving up in the pecking order to become higher in the pack ranking, trouble is sure to follow. Zekie sleeps in a crate beside our bed. He used to sleep in his downstairs crate for the night. He was fine doing that for a while, then one day he decided it was time to move upstairs. I did promote him to sleeping upstairs with us humans, because after a few days of dealing with his barking, we just wanted a good night’s sleep. Zekie has been sleeping in a crate near our bed for a couple years now. He has been quiet and content for the most part. Until recently.
It started with Zekie trying to avoid going in his crate when I took him upstairs at bedtime. He no longer went directly in his crate. He was circling around the bed, trying to avoid my attempts to catch him for incarceration. Over the past week, things have gotten worse. Now Zekie wakes me up about 1:00 am with whining and huffing. The first night, I got up to put him outside, thinking he needed to go to the bathroom. He did.
The next night he began the whining and huffing and making noise in his crate at the usual 1:00 am. Then again at 3:00 am and at 4:30 am. I put him outside thinking maybe he wasn’t feeling well. The second and third time he just stood there looking at me as if to say “what are we doing out here?” This has gone on for five nights. On the second night, I broke down and let him sleep on a blanket on the floor at the foot of the bed. He was content and slept there for the rest of the night without making a peep. By the third night, after my husband pointed out that Zekie was playing me, I realized that I could not let him win this quest to sleep outside the crate at his demand. I had been thinking before of letting Zekie sleep loose in the bedroom with a designated bed for him, not on our bed. And I may still do that at some point, but not now. Zekie has a sense of entitlement and giving in to him creates more behavioral problems in the long run. So, he may make it out of the crate at bedtime one day, but today is not that day. It must be when I decide, not him.
On the third night I knew we couldn’t let him out. We needed to break this cycle. So, we suffered through with his whining, yipping, etc., ignoring him, but getting little sleep.
How did I solve this dilemma? With my trusty spray bottle. So far, so good. I have noticed that Zekie does respond well to the use of a squirt bottle as a deterrent. It stops him, and a number of our other dogs, from barking. It even stops him from jumping on me. Zekie is the only dog I have ever had that I have not been able to break from jumping up. And he jumps hard. He often flings himself at full speed into my legs, sometimes hard enough to bruise. He does everything in a big way and he is so excited to see me when we have been separated that in his exuberance, he becomes a missile. Incidentally, being separated can be me returning from the mailbox, which takes about one minute. Or me going to the garden to pick a vegetable for dinner. Even going to the basement to move the laundry from the washer to the dryer counts as a separation to him. (Going to the bathroom does not count as a separation because he goes with me. Every. Single. Time.) But I discovered if I squirt him as he is jumping up, he will either turn around or veer off to the side, missing me. I am even starting to be able to just point the bottle at him down to keep him down.
I found this one tool that has given me good results with controlling Zekie, so I decided to try it to keep him quiet at night too. And it worked! Zekie started his shenanigans in the middle of the night. I gave him one “Be quiet” command. On his next whine and woof, I picked the spray bottle up and squirted him once. Silence ensued. He does start up again multiple times throughout the night, but I give him a squirt and he settles down. This has worked for the past two nights. So for now, on sleeping or not sleeping through the night, the score is: Zekie-2, mommy-2. I fully expect my wins to increase now that I have discovered the water bottle technique for this use.
At some point, when I decide the time is right, I will give Zekie his shot at becoming a dog who doesn’t sleep in a crate at night. Having the humans keep control is a constant challenge around here. So far, although we have gone to the dogs, we have prevailed.
You have to love a dog with so much love that it can’t be contained. Yes, Zekie is a problem child. He is also a constant companion, and a source of undying love. I love him back.
You may remember that during the heart of the pandemic, I started keeping a little notebook that I titled Things to Do Post Quarantine. Every time I had an idea of something I wanted to do but couldn’t, I recorded it in the notebook. This way I wouldn’t be missing out, just postponing the experiences. The idea being that once Covid was under control, it would be safe to go out into the world and do them. The link from that post follows. Ways To Deal With a Pandemic
The Covid pandemic is not over, and things are not back to normal. However, we have learned ways to deal with going out in public and have adapted ways to make things safer. I don’t yet go about my business like normal. What is normal anyway? I do go to places that I avoided during the worst of the pandemic and before vaccines were available. I do have a bit of a life again.
This made me wonder. How am I doing at enjoying the activities that I recorded in that little notebook? Am I doing some of the things and catching up with what I put off for another day? I got the notebook out and here is what I found.
I have done some of the things but not others yet. One of the most important to me was to be able to spend time with my nieces again. I have done this. In fact, the very first thing my husband and I did after getting our vaccines was to attend my youngest niece’s fourth birthday party along with her grandparents. We were all vaccinated, but had been under pandemic lockdown for so long that it took a little while for us to remove our masks. The masks disappeared when the food came out and did not go back on that afternoon. When it was time for us to go home, we all hugged each other. All six adults and two children. It was the first time in over a year. It was such a big deal that we were all taking about it. How we had avoided this and it was the first hugs for all of us outside our immediate household in so long. We were all in shock that we had been so brave to hug each other. I wasn’t concerned about getting sick because we all had our shots, but I had trained myself for so long to avoid physical contact that it was a big deal. But it was glorious! That day was the turning point for me in feeling like a normal human being again.
I have been able to see my nieces several times a month since then. I have done babysitting, gone on walks and to playgrounds with them, and spent a couple holidays together. It never gets old. I think I will have great appreciation of spending time with them until the day I die. We did come out the other side of the pandemic, but it has changed me forever.
Another item that I have done from the notebook, is invited a friend over for lunch on the patio. Granted, I have not done enough of this. This is due to the weather rather than any fear of being around people. It has been so rainy the past few weeks that fungus has become a real problem for our plants. This also makes it hard to plan more than a day ahead of time as far as inviting anyone over to hang out on the patio goes. Even the day my friend came over, we had to dry off the patio furniture. But still, the visit was an enjoyable time. To share the company of someone outside the family by choice is now a rare and wonderful thing.
An other item that I checked off my list is spending time at the library! This is something I am back to doing regularly, but that first time after being away for so long was food for the soul. To peruse the books, touch them, read the summaries inside the front flap, choose the ones I want and put them into my bag, was close to a religious experience! The library holds a special place in my heart. It is a place of knowledge, sometimes magic and adventure. It can take you to new lands as well as improve you and the place where you are. My daughter and I share a love of the library. One of our favorite activities has always been a long trip to the library, followed by a stop for ice cream at Katie’s Korner.
The last item in my notebook that I have completed so far is to hug the neighbor kids! We have two really great neighbor kids that live across the street. (Their parents are pretty great too!) We kept our distance as best we could during the pandemic. We met in yards and talked from a distance just to keep in touch, figuratively speaking. Of course, it wasn’t the same. And all the while I was thinking about when it would be safe to hug them again. They are really good huggers! Well, it was finally safe. They probably didn’t think I was ever going to let them go. We even had an opportunity to go watch the oldest play in her softball tournament recently and to have them come over and swim.
There are quite a few things in my notebook still to be done. The important thing is that I have begun. The Covid pandemic was and is a terrible thing. But as with many bad things in life, some good did come out of it for me. I no longer take so many things for granted. I realize that time spent with family and friends is a precious gift. To be fair, it always was. I appreciate it so much more now. I must take steps not to become complacent and return to my old ways. I need to enjoy each encounter for the treasure that it is.
Remember to enjoy the sparkle in your life and appreciate it!
We haven’t been walking much lately because, well, there’s just so much to do around here in the summer time. After weeding, planting, deadheading plants, fertilizing, going on bug patrol (hello Japanese beetles), transplanting, trimming bushes and trees, not to mention mowing, there are not a lot of hours left in the day.
However this afternoon, the dogs were so insistent and hopeful, that we couldn’t bear to refuse them a walk. And they really needed the exercise after being cooped up from yesterday’s rains.
So, we loaded the dogs up in the car and went to one of our regular trails at West Branch State Park. It is interesting to see how the plants along the trail side change with the seasons. I took pictures of a few of the wildflowers that we saw today as walked.
It was a cool day, so the flies weren’t even too bad. It was nice to enjoy an outing with the pups.
Being a weekday afternoon, we had the trail to ourselves which made for a relaxing time.
There were many more types of wildflowers in bloom than what I am sharing here. This means we also saw lots of bees, and my favorite, a hummingbird moth!
Here is a selfie of Claire and me on the ride back home. She always sits on my lap in the car. It is the only way I know of to keep her from getting carsick!
I’m afraid I didn’t do a very good job of keeping up with my reading for the month of June. Must be all that gardening and taking care of the dogs! It’s been a long time since I’ve read only four books in a month. I did better than that while I was still working. I did read a number of magazines though. Everything from Writer, 2 issues of Writer’s Digest, Dogster, Mary Jane’s Farm, Traditional Home Garden, Coastal Living, Smithsonian, and Yankee, to Country Living. Below is the summary of the books that I did read.
Voracious-Cara Nicoletti (Non-fiction)
The author is a voracious reader as well as a voracious cook. She is a butcher, cook, and pastry chef in New York City. She discusses her favorite literature from various times throughout her life and cooks a food that related to her during the story. She shares the recipes. I found it to be an enjoyable book to read, but I will never make any of the recipes because they all require an ingredient or tool that I would need to go out and buy. I cook and bake quite a bit, so I do not see the average person pulling off these recipes. It was fun to read none the less.
2. Miss Benson’s Beetle-Rachel Joyce
Margery Benson is a rule abiding teacher living an unremarkable life. One day, things change, and she advertises for an assistant to go with her on a quest to look for the golden beetle of New Caledonia on the other side of the world. Her life becomes a series of life changing adventures. This starts out seeming like a simple straightforward book. The more I read, the more it made me think. I think this is really about friendship and life choices, and isn’t the goal of good books to make us think? It certainly did.
3. On a Coastal Breeze-Suzanne Woods Fisher
This is the second book in a series of the “Three Sisters Island” series. It takes place on an island near Mount Desert Island and Bar Harbor, Maine, so I’m all in on this series! Each book focuses on one sister but includes views from all the family members and sisters. In this one, Madison Grayson is a newly licensed family therapist hanging out her shingle in a basement office and the church has the offices above. Her childhood nemesis shows up as the new pastor and she has to decide what the dynamics of her relationship with him are now. I have enjoyed both books I have read in this series. I will certainly read the next one. This is an inspirational series and mentions God throughout. It does not detract from the story though if that’s not your thing.
4. In a Book Club Far Away-Tif Marcelo
Three military wives become best friends and family. They are there for each other in every way until a betrayal alters their lives. Ten years later, a medical emergency brings the three together again. And they are there for their friend. Can they overcome the past and continue on with their long ago started book club and the rest of their lives, together? A good book about relationships of all types. I enjoyed the book.
Of these four books, if you want to read a book that sucks you in and keeps calling you back, read On a Coastal Breeze. If you want to read a book that makes you think, long after you have finished it, then read Miss Benson’s Beetle. I enjoyed both, but they are different kinds of books. I enjoyed all four of these books. It just depends what you are in the mood for.
We are trying to grow a yew hedge at the entrance to our walled garden. Every time the dogs run past on their way into or out of the house, the boys (3 of them) stop to pee on the yews. And one of the girls runs right over the shrubs, too caught up in the joy of life to notice.
The yews had a branch knocked off and were getting brown tips from all the abuse they were suffering. So, we installed a temporary fence around them. Until the dogs are retrained, or the yews grow bigger, whichever comes first! I also tied a few strips of bright cloth to the fence, anticipating that some of the dogs won’t notice it at first.
And just for good measure, I will share with you pictures of a few of my favorite plants in the garden this evening.
I came up with this recipe a few years ago when we were inundated with turnips from the garden. There must have been 50 turnips, all ready for harvest at the same time. I learned my lesson. Now, I plant a short row of turnips and replant as I use them, so we have only a few turnips needing to be used at any one time.
Sautéed Turnip with Greens
1/2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 medium turnip with greens,
Cut the end and top from the turnip. Discard end and set the greens aside. Peel the turnip and cut into slivers, or do a fine dice. Cut the greens from the turnip top and discard the top. Strip the tender greens from the tough part of the stems. You can just pull and strip them off with your hand in one fluid motion. Discard the stems. Hold the greens in a bunch on the cutting board and cut into long strips.
In a medium size skillet, heat the oil on medium heat until it swirls freely in the pan.* Add the garlic and cook until golden brown and crispy. Add the white part of the turnip and cook until tender and edges are browned. This only takes a few minutes. Add the greens to the pan and cook until partially wilted. Add more oil if needed. Be sure to flip the greens and stir in the garlic and turnip so they don’t burn on the bottom of the pan.
Add the salt and pepper. Continue cooking until the greens are fully wilted. They are especially tasty if you let the greens brown slightly. At this point, the dish is ready to serve. It holds well if you need to prepare other courses. Just turn the burner off and cover the pan. Let it sit on the burner to stay warm.
Serves 2-3 people.
*You may have noticed that I always mention heating the oil in the pan before adding the ingredients. This is an important step. Foods cook differently if they heat up along with the oil and it will change how the dish turns out. Also, some foods make stick to the bottom of the pan if they heat up along with the oil. You must, however, not let the oil get so hot that it smokes or it will burn your ingredients. Oil at the preferred temperature has a nice glossy flowing look to it as it swirls around the pan. It will also easily move around the pan and cover the entire bottom with ease.