Sunday, March 12, 2017

On dogs, and grieving

A blogger friend of mine recently posted that her 4-legged soul mate had to be put down this week.  She didn't elaborate the why behind such a painful decision, but those of us who love our dogs (or cats, etc) have had to face this reality before, or we will one day, probably sooner than we would like.

She lamented that of all the wonderful things she had learned from her dog, she had never learned to say Goodbye.  And that struck me.  It brought back sad memories of my last day with Charlie, and those damned onion-cutting ninjas struck, and it got mighty dusty in here.

It was then that I realized dogs can't tell you Goodbye, until their final moments.  It is their nature that way.  It is their final gift to us.  That's how it is, with dogs.  Each one must teach you their own Goodbye, for no two are alike.

But it may not be their most important gift.

From the dogs in my life who have crossed the Bridge, I learned important things. 

From Napoleon, my childhood dachshund I learned to care for and to love dogs.
Charlie, my first Ridgeback, taught me to let go.
Cody taught me dignity in suffering and in death.
Ranger taught me to live every day to the full, for we never know when Goodbye comes. For sometimes it comes far too soon.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017


Catch-22, it's not just a book and a movie, it's trying to get a state issued ID for my oldest-but-still-a-minor daughter.  Talk about frustration!  You basically have to provide so many documents just to get the document you need, that it is impossible to do. The primary docs they want you to provide, are the docs you are trying to get for the first time.

So to get a TX state ID, you have to already have a TX state ID that has expired.  Or a passport, or immigrant visa, or a host of other things that a young teen doesn't have yet.

I swear, it's enough to give me grey hairs!

So lacking the state issued ID, or Drivers License (yeah, y'all want my 15yr old to start driving yet??? I think NOT!) we have to resort to the secondary and tertiary documents.  You'd think an original birth certificate and SSN card would suffice, right?  Nope.  They still want another doc from tertiary list.  So, off to try to get vaccination records from their former pediatrician's office...because that's the only document we can actually have a chance to obtain.

Thankfully, the former ped's office was happy to oblige with official shot records on short notice.  And after DH digging through boxes of docs last night after work, he found SSN cards on everybody.  So, it was off to the bank this morning for me, in order to see if we put the birth certs in the safety deposit box.

I thought the bank opened at 8:00, and so arrived at 8:27am, only to find out they opened at 9:00am.  Argh!  Off to the coffee shop across the street, for a second cuppa this morning, and a chance to surf the news article on the Wikileaks CIA dump.  Fascinating stuff there!  I strongly urge y'all to read the news summary ( I found mine via DrudgeReport).  The implications are staggering.

And at last, some good news for me!  The box yielded all three Monkey birth certs, so everyone is going to get their state issued ID cards today!  Then I can lock them up securely, until needed!  At this age, they're more likely to lose them than need them.  But when they do need them, now I will have them!

** Update:  Well, seems the website has incomplete information.  Go figure.  After arriving with all 3 Monkeys, all their docs and money, I find out that I need to prove MY residency as I am vouching for theirs.  Only, my DL is not an acceptable document, though my other state permit IS,  This is ridiculous, as I had to prove residency to get my TXDL in the first place!  They said the water bill would after driving to the Water dept, I find out it will not work, as the water bill is in DH's name, not mine.  And the new truck insurance card hasn't arrived, and for some reason I was unable to attach the pdf of the card to an email to DPS.  So then I had to drive all the way back home, print out hard copies of the current truck insurance which has my name and address on it, then drive back to DPS, and try again...sheesh!  By the time  DH gets home from work, I might be 3 fingers deep into the good bourbon, and sitting in the hot spa!  It's just been that kind of day.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Breaking things

Why is it, a year into this place, that stuff is now breaking?  And why all at once?  So far this month it has been the ice maker (2x as the first replacement unit was defective), the pool rover (those things are NOT cheap!), and now one of the water heaters is not heating properly.  Oh, and the propane tank needs topped up.

I know, a bunch of First World problems.  I should shut up and be happy...or not.
At least I remembered we got a home warranty when we bought this place, and water heaters are covered.  AND, it expires tomorrow, so my service call today is covered!

One pup is going in to the vet next week for a dental cleaning and papilloma removal, and another pup has a belly rash.  I am hoping the antibiotic spray I have already on hand, will clear the rash up.  It seemed to respond in January to some triple antibiotic ointment I applied to it.  He just hates the spray and flees the area in terror, poor guy!

At least the garden bales are starting to heat up (a good thing), and should be ready to plant in about a week.  I just need to get some bone meal, wood ash, and a bag of potting soil to get the plants started in the bales.

I think I am going to do several lettuce varieties, a couple tomatoes, green peppers, 1-2 hot peppers, some green beans and snap peas.  Mt. Weather, out back of the shop, will get some watermelon and pumpkin plants, if the kids are interested in growing those.  It ought to be an eventful spring....I'm just hoping the garden is a success.
A random pretty flower picture our oldest Monkey took.  May it brighten your day.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Gardening 2017

 Over the winter, we have been clearing out the back treeline on the property.  It was badly overgrown with scrub trees, and a lot of dead wood.

We now have a pretty good area under the big trees cleared out.  If the poison ivy can be killed off on the creek bank, we will plant vinca minor there, and under the trees,  a mix of monkeygrass, moss and hosta, as there is minimal sunlight under the remaining trees.  We are planning on putting a bench out under the trees, for a nice cooler shady spot on hot summer days.

Next has been our garden project.  The permanent plantings have been selected, purchased, and planted now.  We have 2 peach trees, two Santa Rosa plums, and two apricot trees all planted in the sunny but well watered (thank you aerobic septic!) back half of our acre.

 Don't cringe at the thought of using the spray water.  I look at as being frugal.  Especially as it saves on my water bill.

Also in the area of the tree plantings, we are going to put in a straw bale garden.  We already have a half dozen bales nearly ready to plant on, that were used to shelter the bottom of the chicken run from wind this winter.  Straw bale gardening looks simple, and doesn't involve me having 6+ yds of  "topsoil" in to build raised beds.  If you saw the sorry excuse for topsoil around here, you'd understand why the word is in quote marks!
We have also planted a row of 6 southern blueberry bushes.  These are more of a challenge to grow, due to their need for an acidic soil.  I amended the soil with 4cu.ft. of peat moss, compost and added granular sulphur to it.  Then I mulched around each plant with natural cypress mulch.

According to the plant information, these two varieties (Austin and Climax) should grow 6-8' wide and 8-10' tall.  This will make a nice screen on the west side of the pool deck eventually.  They've been in the ground about two weeks now,and they are already starting to bloom.  We might get some blueberries this year, but I am hoping for a good crop next year.    As for the fruit trees, I don't expect any real crops until 2-3 years down the road, or more.  Despite this, one peach tree is blooming like mad this week!  I suppose that means I need to go out and pluck the blooms off if any manage to get pollinated.  I don't need it wasting energy trying to set fruit.  I need it to grow a good root system this year!

I'll do another garden update after we get the straw bale garden up and growing.  Happy planting, my friends!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Life must be hard!

Life must be hard here at the casa...  

First, here's Bullet, apparently in doggy jail...
Actually he is just watching me through the pool deck fence.  It's hard work, being on Overwatch, protecting Mom and Dad while they plant fruit trees.  You never know when those evil cats might come around and attack them!

And here is Indy, tired out from a hard day guarding the prime couch space by the fireplace.

I guess life is hard, if you're one of our Ridgebacks!