Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Life getting back to normal after Hurricane Irene....

Thankfully, Irene was not too annoying in our area although we did lose power about 24 hours.  Sadly, it was much worse for many other areas of New England with Vermont being the worst because of flooding.  The rivers and streams filled up quickly, washed out roads and several bridges, including some beautiful old covered bridges.  In Maine, there are still folks without power.  Hoping things get back to normal soon.  Along the Atlantic coast, from North Carolina to Maine, Irene was not kind.  New Jersey is a mess along the boardwalk.  Much rebuilding will be needed.

Lucy after a good run!
Both of our homes, our present one and the one we are trying to sell, came through the storm just fine except for the power losses.  Now life is getting back to normal for us and we have had three days of just beautiful weather with bright sunshine and cool temperatures.  The dogs have been full of energy because of the cooler conditions.  They all have happy feet!  We have put away the two crates, are giving the two new ones a little more freedom, and beginning to mesh our little dog family together.  Feeding still takes a bit of creativity but we have had no skirmishes over food which is a very good sign.  Training, including agility, has begun, and our newbies are getting off to a good start.  Sadie has recovered from her spaying and showing a lot of spunk.  Lucy is a super fast girl, and once we get her focus established, she is going to be an agility star.  She's a clever, loving little dog.

Sadie posing for the camera.
It is good to have life settling down again, the property cleaned up after the storm, and thankfully my anxiety has lessened somewhat.  May we continue to have a bit more "quiet" until the next challenges come our way.

Take care,


Saturday, August 27, 2011

...of how close we are to everything now!

Old photo of the offending car...

Having a little bad luck today.  My husband's really old car decided NOT to start after it was gassed up at the station down the road.  So Ralph calls me to share this news and says he will walk home with lunch.  Yes, he is only a half mile or so away.  Instead, I took my van and got him so our food would still be warm. 

Playing frisbee amidst our bad

What is so funny about this (at least to us) is after years of living way out in the woods, miles and  miles from everything, it is ridiculous how close everything is to us now in our new home.  We ate lunch, Ralph played some frisbee with the dogs, then set off in my van to drive the whole half mile to try to start the car once again.  No go.  He is now having the car the road from us to our mechanic.  If any other money is needed, our bank is across the road, too.  Presently, there is a brand new McDonalds being guessed it...just down the road from us, well within walking distance.  Dunkin' Donuts is next door, and beyond that a Thai restaurant, and an ice cream parlor.  We are still getting used to having everything so available to access.  It makes frustrating events like a non-starting car much easier to deal with.  Life is good...and much easier.

Take care.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Clean floors boost my spirits....

All the floors are washed and shiny.  With seven dogs, that task happens much too often but is well worth the effort.  Many people ask "How can you keep your house clean with so many long haired drooling dogs with muddy paws?"  It is fairly easy with the right tools, meaning a heavy duty shop vac and a Hoover Floormate filled with Pledge Wood Floor cleaner.  Works like a charm!  What is even better is when Ralph vacuums and I wash.  We can do the whole house in about 45 minutes and the house feels like velvet under our bare feet.  Now if I could find someone who liked to do windows and wash off nose

 All the dogs have finished their agility lessons, their beds are all washed and clean, and now they will settle down for the night.

And did I mention my floors are clean???

Take care,

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Waiting for hurricane Irene....

Although we have some serious thundershowers coming through LONG before Hurricane Irene is a threat to this area, people are now gearing up to prepare for Sunday when the storm is predicted to visit.  If I watch the weather channel for too long, I get uneasy.  Much better to do the things needed, then engage in activities that have nothing to do with storm updates.  Too much information over and over feels almost cult-like in presentation.  So we will check our properties, batten down the light loose things, make sure we have plenty of water, bread, and easy to fix foods for us and the dogs, then gear our minds to other interests.  Today is only Thursday so it is a little early to don a long yellow raincoat and run around in circles crying "There's a hurricane a'commin'".  Laundry is clean, house is picked up, dogs are exercised, and life goes on.  When Irene finally shows herself on Sunday, we will snuggle in (just like we do for our nor'easters), have the generator gassed and set to use if needed, and just use the storm time to be close as a family, dogs, parakeets and people together.  We cannot control Mother Nature but we can control how we react to her. Being wise and prepared is much healthier than being ill-prepared and frantic.  May you all stay safe wherever you are.  If asked to evacuate, do it.  No materialistic item is worth a life being lost.  Take your pets, too.  Be safe!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Getting older....

Zac taking a midday nap.
Now that Ralph and I are in our sixties, we notice we have to plan out our adventures at a different pace leaving more time in between for our bodies to catch up once again.  Gone are the days where we can just go-go-go at a steady pace all day long.  This is not a negative turn of events, just something we have noticed that has slowly crept into our behavior patterns.  I never used to get drowsy in the daytime, and taking a nap was totally out of the question.  Now it is very doable.  Really quiet times used to be boring.  Now they are a refreshing break in the action.  Yes, we still run around the yard throwing frisbees for the dogs, clean our home vigorously, and do plenty of active things, but it wouldn't be surprising to find us sitting quietly and a little zoned out either.  I can remember looking at older people and wondering how they could just sit and seem lost somewhere in their thoughts even though a lot of action was going on around them?  Now I finally "get it".

Kati settling down to sleep for a bit.

We are having another wonderful day in Maine, with sunshine, and temps in the seventies.  We have played frisbee, done some house work, had a blood test at the doctors, walked, prepared healthy meals, but we have also rested more than once, relaxed, and given our bodies some time to recoup for the next demand.  The dogs are used to our up and down times and rest when we rest, and work when we work.  It all works somehow.
Take care, Liz.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Summer in Maine....

Our huge park like lawn.
The play of shadow and light.
What a beautiful day in the seventies today with all the trees full and green.  There is a delightful cool breeze, the sun is bright, and the shadows several degrees cooler than the sunny areas.  A perfect summer New England day.  We picked this property when we moved from the woods because it was a small house that looks like it is set in a huge park.  Of course, that means we have at least an acre of lawn to mow that circles the house, but the grounds are dotted with huge mature trees that play with the sun, creating all sorts of neat shadows.  We are far enough outside of town to be out of the hubbub, have no close neighbors on
Still have blueberries to pick!
 either side, are next door to a Dunkin' Donuts    across the street from our bank and the mechanic who fixes our cars, a few doors down from Shain's (the best ice cream made in Maine)    and just a five minute drive from just about any purchase you can imagine, including Marden's.  There is even a bus service to all major shopping and all the way to the coast if we ever needed it.  Our dogs have a gigantic fenced in area to play, then another large area to do agility, and there is still tons of lawn left for humans who want to be out without dogs under their feet.  New England is area full of cherished trees and we like it that way.  Fall is on the way, but for today, it is a wonderful summer day with no sweating, air conditioning, or damp air involved.  There is nowhere that I would rather be today.  The breezes keep the bugs away, the clear air feels invigorating, and the lush countryside inviting to explore.  Soon we will begin seeing splashes of bright strong colors as fall slowly moves in.  The beauty of fall in New England puts even the best artists to shame.  Mother Nature is the best painter of all!

Take care,
The dogs' play area including giant shade trees.

Monday, August 22, 2011

What do simple folks like us do on our anniversary???

We look in the tractor supply store, of  Well, that is not ALL we did, but needed to find some good clippers for our dogs' paws...all 28 of them.  Our old clippers have bit the dust so we splurged on a new pair.  We also did a little grocery shopping, had delicious homemade BLTs made from our own tomatoes, got a long call from our son who presently lives in Malaysia, have some minute steaks planned for supper, and just chilled and enjoyed our dogs.  No fancy clothes, no going out to dinner, no big celebrations, no huge materialistic gifts.  We just thankfully appreciated what we presently have.  Our life together might seem very boring to most people, but it works for us.  Thanks for all the congratulations and well wishes!  We appreciate every kind thought.

Take Care,
Liz (and Ralph)
And seven dogs
And 8 parakeets!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Our two new dogs are both afraid of thunder......

l-r: Sadie the "panter" and Lucy the "tunnel maker".
Had a loud thundershower late this afternoon and our two new dogs are afraid of the loud thunder.  Lucy immediately climbed up on our bed and hid behind the many stacked pillows at the head, as if making a little "thunder safe den".  Sadie was more stressed out, panting and unable to settle down without being cuddled and petted and cuddled and petted.  So I asked a fellow dog lover (Bea) who told me about Ttouch.  At this point I know no more about it than you, the reader (or maybe you know much more than me), ..... but hope to study up on it and see if we can calm down these two newbies.  Who knows, maybe we can find a workable solution?  Will keep you posted if we try it out and it works.

Spent a busy two hours preening our dogs.....

Lexi, who will be 13 in October.
It was time to brush all the dogs, cut nails, cut fur from between toes, check ears, remove any mats, check teeth, and do all the other tasks it takes to keep seven dogs clean, brushed, and healthy.  I was adding it up: four paws times seven dogs is 28 paws to tend.  Each paw has a minimum of 4 nails only if the dew claws are removed, so that is 112 nails, plus the assorted dew claws we cut this morning.  Sam still has an abscess that has to be drained, so that is another thing to address.  No one is taking any meds at present, but every one has to have their glucosamine every day for good joint health.  In their kibble, we always add a little fresh boiled chicken breast and broth so that has to be purchased and cooked every three days.  Ralph takes them on two walks a day, between us they have two to three frisbee playing sessions a day, plus every dog does some sort of agility even if it is very minimal for the very old dogs.  What does all this caring do for them?  It keeps them feeling loved, adored, and important.  What does all this caring do for us?  It keeps us busy, occupied doing something positive, and in much healthier shape than some people we see in their 60's.  My grandfather always told me that if you care for something or someone besides yourself, you are much healthier for it.  How right he was (and is!).  Thank you, Gramps, and thank you Sam, Sadie, Lucy, Jazz, Lexi, Zac, and Kati.

Take care,

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Television memory lane....

Every now and then Ralph and I will watch the whole series of an old show.  A while ago it was "All Creatures Great and Small", including the two movies made and the change from Carol Drinkwater to Lynda Bellingham playing the role of Helen Herriot.  The best seasons were the first three and the last season because those seasons dealt much more with veterinary issues and much less with soap opera stuff.  Ralph and I immensely enjoyed watching a few episodes each evening or weekend afternoons instead of the usual reruns or sensational stuff which seems to be the trend today.  There is something soothing about watching nature as it truly is.  It is the circle of life.

Lately we have been begun the quest of watching every episode of Northern Exposure.  What a trip down memory lane breathing in all the different characters, all who melded together so well, even Joel Fleischman who fought his indentured medical obligations  at every turn.  The writing for this show is incredible with all the characters having their good points and their bad points.  No exciting shoot outs, no stomach turning car chases, no blood and gore, no shock and awe.....just everyday people living their lives in their own eclectic beautiful ways.  I feel very fortunate to be married to someone who likes these  quiet, introspective shows, too.  My anxiety is still not under control, but these peaceful moments spent together in such a special way truly do help calm my soul.

Take care,

Friday, August 19, 2011

Still healing.....

Still not feeling 100% well yet, but heading in that direction.  Just got back home and taking some time to just rest.  Gave all the dogs a biscuit or half a biscuit according to their weight, refreshed all the dog water bowls, and now am pampering myself.  Ralph is still at the chiropractor getting "adjusted".

Our little house is starting to quiet down to normalcy once again.  Any dog who wasn't "fixed" is now "fixed".  All seven dogs are clean, bathed, healing, rested, exercised, loved, and adored.  Our next trick will be seeing if we can get a picture of all seven sitting together.  Our normal five are "old hats" at posing for our cameras but the new two will take some training.  It ought to be an interesting session getting them all to sit in one general area of the house and smile at the
Back l-r, Sam, Jazz, Lexi
Front l-r, Kati, Zac, Sadie, Lucy

Hopefully Ralph will pick me up a smoothie on his way home and I can pretend I am on a tropical beach somewhere just enjoying the sound of the waves caressing the sand.  Odd thing is, if I cannot see our dogs as part of that vision, then I would rather be right here.  Guess I am truly a dog person!

Take care,

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Update...Sadie is home and resting

Sadie the sheltie and Lucy the BC
Sadie is back home and resting in her crate.  Her incision is very small so should heal quickly.  She snuggled with me for several minutes then began to get a little drowsy because of the medication.  Ralph gently put her in her crate.

It feels wonderful to have our two new dogs moving forward in joining our family.  It gives us all something to look forward to.  And to top it off, Zena is also rescued and beginning life in her new foster home.  In few weeks, the lives of 3 dogs have changed.  It is so uplifting to know how easy it is to make a difference in your own little corner of the world.

I thought of Warren Buffett's statement today about how that the wealthy have to step up to the plate and pay their fair share.  I think of all the greedy folks who value their worth by how much money they can hoard and keep from having to share it with the folks they consider beneath them.  I am so thankful I was brought up by my grandfather to see the folly in that approach to life.  Bless his heart for teaching me that helping others (including animals) is so much more important than grasping materialistic "things" and sitting on piles of money when those around you are in need.  Bless all the "everyday people" who know the difference and volunteer their time and meager funds to make their communities better.   Just sayin'.

Take care,

Getting over the hump.....

Still feeling under the weather.  Don't know if it is an illness or my anxiety pulling a fast on on me, but just taking things as they come.  Have heard from the vet that Sadie made it through her spaying just fine and Ralph will be able to pick her up this afternoon.  That's a thumbs up for our little girl.  Even if my own health does not improve this afternoon, I can still snuggle with Sadie when she needs it and let her know she will heal quickly.  How special is that!  All her blood work came back positive, so she is in good shape.  Now she just has to heal from her surgery, fatten up a bit, gain some agility muscle, and she will fit into our dog family beautifully.  Expecting lots of endearing moments with this little lady!

Have also heard from Gina, the foster mom of Zena.  Can you tell we all care about our dogs dearly?!


"Doing well, other dogs are fine with her. Jonesy a little pinched lipped but didn't say anything. Howled last night as I left her in a crate in the dog room. So I put Emma in there with her as she kept answering her and I didn't hear anything until 3:30 when Emma decided she needed to be with us again. I let Emma in and Zena was fine. Can't blame her for being upset though. Zena has met everyone this morning except Duff. I haven't had a lot of interaction between them incase something should go wrong as Zena has just had surgery, err on the safe side.

Has she ever met cats - hasn't taken any notice of mine and we have one not any bigger than her duck toy. Zena is a very nice dog.
I'll try and keep Zena quiet for a week, which won't be easy then she is going to need to play with the others. I let her into the small dog run without a leash to trot about.  Emma's the most excited about her - more the merry Emma's thinks."



By the way, Emma was one of our earlier NEBCR fosters that Gina adopted and is doing wonderfully on Gina's farm.  Ralph and I are very excited that Zena is also getting an opportunity to see if she can settle into this rural setting.  Keeping all fingers and toes crossed!  

Take care,

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Zena is off to her new foster home....

Our latest foster Zena was spayed yesterday and today is off to her new foster home.  Since Zena has been trained on sheep herding and we do not have any sheep, Gina offered to foster her.  Gina has a huge farm with a bunch of sheep and a nice sized pond to jump into all day long.  Hopefully Zena will adapt to her new foster home quickly and who knows, maybe adopted permanently there.  How exciting would that be!  This is a delightful middle aged dog who likes to work and play hard.  Keeping all my fingers and toes crossed that things work out well for her at Gina's wonderful place.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Meant to be....

Sometimes, the powers that be send us very clear messages if we are quiet enough to hear them. Our last two dogs that passed away, one of old age, the other of pancreatic cancer, were Lucy and Sadie. The two new dogs that have just come into our lives are....drum roll inserted here....Lucy and Sadie. Lucy came to us on the 100th birthday of Lucile Ball and Sadie came to us on my grandfather's birthday. My grandfather brought me up. He was my mother, my father, and my grandfather all rolled into one. Yes, these are just coincidences....but are they also signs that life truly is a circle in many ways if we take the time to notice.

I am having another trying day anxiety wise but holding our dogs, tending to their different needs, and taking the time to honor what's good in my life can sometimes make a huge difference. Yes, I have an upset stomach, the trembles, feel out of sorts, and overwhelmed, but I am also experiencing moments of tenderness, laughter, and a bit of hope. My 11 year old little guy Sheltie Sam has an abscess in his cheek. He has had two surgeries to no avail. Whatever foreign body is in there has yet to work its way out. Yet, with natural remedies, he is full of life, beebopping around with joy in his heart. He rolls right over onto his back, lets me tend to his wound and keep it drained for him. No yelps. No complaints. What the animal doctors have charged us thousands of dollars in surgeries and could not correct, we are now handling in a natural way. Sometimes natural is the best approach for an 11 year old little guy who has been traumatized enough. Here's hoping the tincture will finally accomplish what all the surgeries could not. Keeping the faith!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Life is all about change, isn't it?

I chuckle because I keep having to change my password to get into my own blog since I keep forgetting it. Must be a sign of old age or something, but thankfully, I still manage to muck my way through all the demands needed to blog once again.

After deciding we would just let our dog family dwindle, and just foster once in a while, we jumped in head first and are in the process of adopting two new dogs. This will bring our pack back up to seven, one more than we were planning. Still, it all seems to work somehow and the dogs bring us great joy, love, and compassion. The more the merrier. So a giant welcome to Lucy the Border Collie and Sadie the Sheltie. May you bring us laughter and lots of doggy kisses for years to come!
So we have two new sweet dogs to hold and care for!
Sadie is a lovely little princess who actually prances when she runs. She is almost seven years old. Lucy is a tiny BC, one of the smallest I have ever seen but estimated to be between 2-4 years old. She is a pistol, just full of energy. With our other 5 "regulars", they ought to keep us hopping.

As I have mentioned a few times before, I have an anxiety disorder that rears its ugly head every now and then when I least expect it. Right now I am once again having a pretty tough time of it. Unpredictable panic attacks are no picnic but living panic free just doesn't seem to be in my immediate future. What IS in my future is being able to divert my own thoughts to positive ones by adopting, caring for, and loving these precious animals. No, my panic does not disappear with this approach but it does get me thinking about someone besides myself when the going is tough. I highly recommend that anyone with an anxiety disorder look for ways to help others during some of your most trying times. It makes a difference to who you are helping and helps you to feel better about yourself!