Sunday, February 12, 2012

It's Been a While...My Blog Revisited

Here I am, well over two years since my last blog post, wanting to have another go at it.  I totally enjoyed my brief stint at blogging, but just stopped cold after my dog Dallas died (see the previous post).  While mourning his loss, I just didn't feel inclined to put my attentions toward fall plantings, hence there were no further blog posts.  Quite honestly, the next spring, my garden consisted of just the basics and the year after that (last summer), I really just tended my herb garden. 

This past December, I moved from my little island where I lived for almost seven years to a little town on Maryland's Eastern Shore.  Where I once lived with the Atlantic Ocean at my backdoor, it's now the mighty Chesapeake!  While I no longer live on an island, I still quite literally have water all around me!  The issue of no longer living on an island is a bit at odds with my blog title...I might change it at some point, but for now, I will leave it be.

If you have read my blog before and find it again, I still have my collie, Riley.  My cat Rosey, one of the four kittens, has made the move with me, too.  Sydney and Phoenix, the geese, are alive and well and are still on Chincoteague Island for now, and perhaps for always.  They are very happy there!  Oh, and there are actually three geese!  I added a third, named Brie (she's a French Toulouse) right around my last post.  She absolutely ADORES Phoenix, following her like a shadow, but she and Syd have a love-hate thing going on. 

My current home is on 9 acres of land which used to be a farm at one point.  The previous owners had a greenhouse business (greenhouses still there, in various stages of disrepair) and also built skate and snowboards in a workshop.  The property is currently owned by a local waterman and his wife, who caretakes a farm down the road where they also currently live.  She actually sells her produce and eggs at the local farmers market in season.  Eventually, they will move here, but for now, it is my little corner of the world!

Sooo, I have some definite ideas of what I want to do garden-wise, because I definitely have the "bug" again!  But, that's another post...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Loving and Losing Dallas...

Today is my first day without my sweet dog Dallas. He hasn't always been in my life, of course, but since I adopted him over twelve years ago, he's been a constant and reliable presence. I've had good moments and bad in the last twenty four hours. Moments where I am weeping for what I have lost, but also smiling and laughing when I think of those times I never want to forget.

I have had several dogs, all precious to me, but Dal is one of two that stand out as truly great, great dogs that I have been lucky enough to call my own. But today, this post is all about him... and me, and how blessed I have been to have known and loved him...

For the past few months, his mobility has declined. Nonetheless, he graciously allowed me to help him move about -- something the independent and healthy Dallas would have struggled with. We all have life's lessons to learn and I know that this was his. His lesson is also mine, for as much as I am always there for others as a shoulder to lean on, I am this strong, stalwart rock of a person who struggles with allowing others help when I truly need them the most.

Anyhow, over the past few months, medication has helped Dallas to a degree, but it became apparent this week that he no longer could get up on his own. A decision had to be made...not easy, as anyone who has been there knows.

A phone call was made last Monday, but the appointment was set for today, actually. I needed time to work through it, and I also sensed that perhaps he would try to pass on his own. He did try...a few times, I thought he was at that point. He just couldn't quite seem to get there, and he was struggling with pain. So, on Wednesday, I called the vet's office and moved the date to Friday.

Then, not wanting Dallas to see me cry, I went outside and saw Dave (who is doing some work on my house at the moment) and told him the news. Although I haven't known him too long, he has watched my morning routine with Dallas as he has arrived for work over the past month: I would slide Dallas outside on his dog bed, help him up to relieve himself, then gently help him back down to the bed. Then, (since he could no longer enjoy a walk) he would have fun watching the kittens as I sipped my morning coffee.

Dave said, in such a kind way, that Dallas had been hanging on for me. Until then, I wasn't quite ready to let him go. Once I made the decision, it was as if he knew, and he began to go downhill. I knew in my heart of hearts that Dave was right.

To tell the rest of this story, I need to digress a bit and recount when Dallas first came to live with me. My yellow lab, Muldoone (the other dog I mentioned earlier), had died a few months before. Eventually, I found Dallas and was certain he was going to be my next dog. However, once Dal arrived, the wound from losing Muldoone opened up again, tears flowed, and I wasn't sure I made a good choice. I actually contemplated returning Dallas.

As I laid on my couch, sobbing, Dallas gently crept up next to me and licked my tears away! I knew right then that he was a "keeper".

Yesterday, in the wee hours of Friday morning, I woke up because I heard Dallas wimpering for me. I had been sleeping on the floor next to him all night, so I gathered him in my arms (he's not a small dog) and kissed and cuddled him, as he seemed to want me to do. I looked deeply into his eyes and knew he couldn't fight any more, or continue to hang on for me. I told him it was OK to go...

Then, those tears that I had been fiercely keeping in all week and didn't want him (or anyone else) to see, opened like floodgates, and I just sobbed, and sobbed, and sobbed. Once again, even though this time, he was in his last hours of life and his last hours with me, he licked away my tears -- and, I let him...

Monday, July 6, 2009

Monday Mews

Posted by PicasaOn certain Mondays, I have featured a post called Monday Muse. It's obvious that today's title is a play on words, once you see this very cute photo!

My cat, Lola, had kittens on May 12th. I knew she had at least three, but she promptly removed them from the birthing chamber (aka "cat house") to a safer spot, as cats are known to do. I left for vacation two days later, and when I came home, the kittens were still nowhere to be found. It seemed as though she was regularly producing milk and that something was nursing. However, try as I might to find the kittens, I couldn't seem to locate them...

Just as I had given up hope and thought the kittens were probably dead, Lola emerged with her brood. That was three weeks ago, and the kittens are just beautiful, friendly little bundles of fur!

Since Monday Muse always has a poem accompanying it, here is my little verse I sang to the kittens:

"Pretty little kittens, playing with each other...Which is a sister and which is a brother?"

From the top of the picture, counter-clockwise, we have Silver, Micah, Willow, and Rosie.

Silver is the boy and the others are girls.

I thought I had homes for two today (Silver and Micah), but they backed out at the last minute. They are missing out on two very sweet kitties. I will keep trying, although I am keeping Willow. She is too special to part with!

And, Lola will be spayed shortly (in case you were wondering)...

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

June Recap

June can be such a swing month here in coastal Virginia! Although I have only lived here for five Junes now, prior to that, I have vacationed here on Chincoteague Island since 1992. My favorite month to travel here was, guess -- June!

I refer to June as a swing month because one can never tell what the weather will be. Mostly, it's just a gorgeous, gorgeous month to be here. It's warm, but not too warm. The humidity is generally lower than July or August. The breezes off the water make for delightful living.

June seemed have mixed reviews, weather-wise, according to many of my fellow bloggers on the Blotanical site to which I belong. But, I am not complaining...

Actually, let me back up a bit. May was atypical -- very cold and rainy. It was NOT conducive to gardening for the most part. When I WAS out there, I was overly focused on my tomatoes (as anyone who reads my blog knows!), to the detriment of other crops. For instance, while my lettuces were coming along nicely, I wasn't succession sowing more seeds. Then, there was a wonderful vacation to Cape Cod that took me away from the garden. Before I knew it, June had arrived.

June on my little island was the perfect combination of sun and rain that has made my garden thrive. While we've had some torrential storms mid-month that resulted in the demise of my lima bean crop -- save for one lonely seedling -- it mostly rained at night. How cooperative is that? The daytime temperatures ranged from the 70s to the low 80s, with a few hotter days thrown in here and there. Low humidity, ocean breezes...bliss! Nothing like the blistering heatwave of 95+ degree weather that kicked off June, 2008!

So, as such, I was able to finally get more lettuce seeds sown, including a packet of mizuna, which is my favorite salad green. It's all looking good, as are the dandelion greens -- goose food, but I actually like them, too.

As we turn a new calendar page today, my hat's off to a beautiful month of June, now past. Here's to July -- may you be as glorious!

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Anticipation...It's Making Me Wait!

It's keeping me the Carly Simon song goes! So far, I have picked five ripe tomatoes, with lots of greenies on the vine.

We have Brandywine....
(top photo)

Black Krim....
(second photo)

Japanese Black Trifele...

And last, but not least, Patio...

One in a series of postings about my greenies! Still working on my skills in posting photos...and getting text to match up!

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Goose Games -- Revisited!

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If you didn't read yesterday's post, Silly Goose Games, read it first! Then, read this...

Here's a better view of the nests, minus the geese. Phoenix's perfect nest is on the right, and Sydney's heap is to the left. Yesterday, it's as if Phoe knew she was the topic of my posting. She fashioned her nest as huge as she could get it and was stealing the straw from around Sydney as Syd sat there, dumbfounded. I ran to get the camera to capture the shot, only to have the "change batteries" light come on...

This shot was taken this morning!

I've decided that I need to take the eggs today. The weather has turned and it's just too hot to leave them in there much longer. The girls will not be happy, as they have stopped laying until the winter...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Silly Goose Games...

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Who hasn't played the childhood party game, Musical Chairs? You know, the game where there is always one less chair than child. When the music stops, you scramble for a seat, or else you are out of the game. We've all been in the situation where we were vying for the last chair with another child and we would BOTH try to squeeze our butts on and squeeze the other butt off.

Well, it appears the girls are playing their own version of this game!

The goose coop pretty much had one nest because the girls had their egg laying so well coordinated that they laid on different days. For the record, geese lay every other day, so it worked out brilliantly. That is, until they both decided they wanted to sit on a nest - sadly, on eggs that will never hatch because there is no male. One nest, two get the picture.

Solution: Add more straw. They made another nest, and all seemed fine. NOT!

Phoenix, the perfect goose, made the perfect nest. She would greedily reach over and steal straw from Sydney's nest to make hers bigger and better. Poor Syd was left to nest on a pile of straw, but that didn't stop her.

New Problem: When Phoenix gets off the nest, Syd (who apparently covets the perfect nest, too) will get off her meager digs in favor of the other one. Lots of squawking ensues...but they seem to work it out somehow. They either both crowd onto one nest, or Phoenix knocks Syd off her nest -- or, she gives up, lets Syd stay in that spot, but proceeds to steal the straw from the formerly perfect nest and fashions a new perfect one from Syd's straw heap. Back and forth, back and forth...

Other Problem: Not only are they playing musical nests, they are now playing musical eggs, too!

I let them each have an egg, thinking they would share. NOT!

They each would prefer to have both eggs! When I get them off the nests to exercise and eat (if not, they will go lame from sitting too long), whomever goes back to the nest first claims the best nest and will roll the other egg over and sit on both. More squawking ensues when the other goose returns and finds they no longer have an egg.

Solution: Ever the peacemaker between these birds, I must reach under, steal an egg from one girl and give it to the other.

Now, each has their own egg, their own nest...happy geese!

Until tomorrow.