The content of this blog is the author's personal view. I am not a theologian, writer, or photographer. The views in this blog are based on personal experiences and not a judgement of what others are doing.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Song of the Week - Blessings

 I usually have a song of the week.  One that I play over and over again.  One that hits home for that week.  Lately I don't feel like hearing any music.  Maybe because I've lost too much sleep, maybe one hormone forgot to get out of bed.  For the most part though, I camp out on a song or album and play it over and over and over again.  I'm sure I'm not the only one.  Sometimes I think I may be a little autistic but then again maybe it's just the musician in me.  Or maybe musicians are all a little autistic.  What else would make you want to practice the same song over and over and over again?

When I heard the song Blessings by Laura Story a few weeks ago, I stopped dead in my tracks.  I almost started crying.  That's what's cool about music is that it can touch you different than if you just spoke the words.  The part of the chorus that says "what if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're there".  Now that really hits home because I have never slept good and it's gotten worse.  I estimated that my sleepless nights are more like five thousand.  But the little I know about this artist, I guess her husband has brain cancer.  Not quite the same as my tossing and turning and yet none of it matters.  God is always there.  Our circumstances really don't matter.  God is Good.

Blessings by Laura Story link:

Wisdom from the Raspberry Patch

I have been picking raspberries for probably 10 or 15 years.  With the big patches I've had it might have taken me an hour to pick everyday.  No one bothers you in the raspberry patch and you have time to think.  I have had some very profound thoughts while picking raspberries and wish I had written them down as I was going but they didn't have blogs back then and so my thoughts went into thin air.  I have tried to design a system for this, but have failed.  My fear is now that I am starting to write about this I will have nothing to write, but we shall see...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Opie in jail, when he first came to visit - I didn't want a dog fight
Opie is my son's dog.  His name is fitting - he is an Opie dog.  We think he is mixed with Blue Heeler and maybe German Shepherd from his coloring although his size is more the size of a Blue Heeler.  Who knows what else he is.   He doesn't appear to have any personality, to me anyway, but my son will say otherwise.  After you get to know him a little, you can see his personality but it is very different than our dogs.   His facial expression doesn't change too much, so it's hard to read him sometimes. 

All he wants to do is play and sniff and run.  Our dogs like to do those things too, but in the evening they like to be couch potatoes like us.  Opie will whine and whine and whine if no one plays with him.  He also has worked hard to become part of our pack.

When he came for his first visit, we put him behind a baby gate so our dogs would not kill him.  After about a week, my son Kyle (his owner) let them together while I was gone and they have gotten along ever since.  Tazer especially and when Opie left, Tazer walked around the house carrying toys and crying.  Turk is rather annoyed, but now we can trust him a little more and he even joins in the fun once in a while.

Opie is constantly trying to be a 'big dog' and works his way into the pack before they realize what happened.  He watches everything they do and how it's done and then copies from napping to play time to walks and dinner.

Napping for the first time with the big dogs

All the dogs know Tony makes the best suppers
He tried to sleep on our bed one night and our dogs weren't too happy with that.  They aren't allowed to sleep with us, but Turk usually sneaks in during the night.  So the next night, they strategically laid so that Opie was blocked off from the bedroom.  I woke up to hear Grrrr one night.  Opie learned that he was not allowed on our bed at least not at night.  I came out of the shower today to find all three of them on my bed looking very lazy.
This is what I came out to after my shower

Opie in my strawberry patch just playin' with a ball
The dogs are not allowed in my gardens, but Opie doesn't seem to get it.  After I yell at him he just looks at me like 'what's your problem' and eventually gets out just to get me off his back.  He loves our backyard because he is not allowed to run free or he will just run following his nose.  With our yard fenced in, he thinks he is free and never wants to come back in.

Opie loves piano lessons, almost as much as Turk.  At first Turk and Tazer blocked him out of the room as if to defend their turf.  I made them quit being bullies and Opie had to sniff each kid over and then wanted to play ball with each one.  He would try this during their lesson and finally I said 'Opie, go lay down!'.  Well, then Tazer decided she had to enforce what I just said and puts her mouth around his nose.  He learns fast and now knows that they have to lay quietly during the lesson.  My dogs have learned if they don't behave in lessons, they get blocked out.
Walking three dogs is a pain, but they are good

He loves walks, but didn't want to go walking with me anymore after I took them over the bridge in town.  He must have gotten really scared because he threw up on the walk later.  The next day he stopped at the bottom of the bridge and wouldn't go any further.  I don't think dog owners sometimes realize how scary it is for the dogs to have the cars coming at them.  My dogs hate it.  I walk them on the inside so they have a little buffer.  But poor Opie was on the other side right next to trucks coming at him.  Now I try to avoid the bridge when I have that many dogs.

Opie and Kyle - best buds

Our dog Tazer always hides her stuffed animals, especially Winnie the Pooh, out in our yard and when Opie comes he digs them all out. This is what I found this morning:
Tazer probably thinking how much work she has in hiding her babies all over again
Opie looking over his masterpiece
Opie is a dog that is a little annoying, but when you are around him he wiggles into your heart.
Opie sitting by his Gramma

A Picture Perfect Day

A Picture Perfect Day
I love these days.  Summer is finally here and it's the end of June.  I can have coffee and eat breakfast on my deck and watch the birds and wait for the hummingbird to come to the feeder.

My walk wasn't too hot or too cold.  I walk past this barn at least 3 times a week, but I don't ever remember the sky this blue.  Maybe because I slept good last night.  Ha.

Turk knew it was a perfect day to just chill in the water
Turk knew how nice it was on our walk -- it was a perfect day to lay down in the creek.  He just sat there for a while and enjoyed it.

I even like teaching piano on these days because when I do have a break I can just walk outside and enjoy my garden or pull a few weeds or have a snack while enjoying the view.

Opie surveying his play day mess

The dogs like it too from the look of my yard.  It is strewn with stuffed animals that Tazer had hidden all over that Opie who is visiting has pulled out.  Every one of them.

A day that is warm in the sun and cool in the shade.  Those are perfect days to me-- a little bit of everything for our comfort.

I'll have to pull this blog out to look at when it is below zero this winter!

Monday, June 27, 2011

My Peppermint is taking over the world!

Every year it's the same.  I think I will use all the peppermint I have and then it expands.  We have tried to contain it .  When you read that the only way to contain it is to plant it in a container... BELIEVE it!  If you think you can outsmart it YOU CAN'T.  It's runners will travel for miles it seems and then pop up in some weird location.  It's not a pretty plant, but if I did it over again I would have a couple tubs of peppermint on my patio for making tea and maybe an occasional Mohito.

So with that said, I am trying to use what I can so I don't run out of peppermint tea like I did last winter.  The problem is, that I have a cute little area for drying herbs but it's not enough for all the peppermint I need to harvest.  Someone mentioned drying them on hangers - the old fashioned wire ones.  The ones I was going to throw away.  But I still have too much mint, so much that all our walls in the house would be filled.  Maybe.  Then I got the bright idea of hanging the hangers in an unused closet.  Actually it's kind of a craft closet anyway.  This just might work!

Harvested peppermint

 I actually have a small rechargeable hedge trimmer that works great for harvest a 'field' of  peppermint.

I tie them with some string from the hardware store
Old hanger for drying my herbs

I always label my herbs for drying.  You think you will be able to tell what they are, but you can't
My closet of herbs!
 I also bought some new wooden clothespins so I could clip them onto the hangers easy
Tazer stayed busy while I picked herbs. She's hot on a trail of 'something'

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Reason I Garden -- I love to eat!

Best Bruschetta Ever made even better with fresh Basil
I first tried Bruschetta because after reading all the ingredients, realized it couldn't be bad.  Anything with tomato, garlic and basil is always good! 

I am waiting for my tomatoes to even have a blossom on them, so I went and bought some at the store.  But you can't always find a bunch of basil at the store and if you do, you don't want to pay for it.  My basil has grown enough that it is time to start using it.  This isn't my 'pathetic basil' that I planted from seed. 

My 'Pathetic Basil' is actually growing now

My mom picked some up for me because when I am looking for basil plants I can never find them and when I don't need them I see them everywhere.  Thanks Mom!  You can never have enough basil.  The garlic I am using from last years garden.  I have one clove left and planted possibly triple this year (last fall).  The new stuff should be ready in about a month. 

So we make Bruschetta every summer.  You are supposed to let it sit overnight, but we always eat it all up before it's sat long enough.  My recipe is called Best Bruschetta Ever, but I think I have made it even better by using fresh basil.  Although, I have made it with my own dried basil when I don't have fresh, which tastes really close to fresh.  I also usually double or triple this recipe.

Best Bruschetta Ever (made even better with fresh basil)

2 tomatoes, cubed
1 teaspoon dried basil (I use a 'bunch' of fresh basil)
4 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese (I use mozzarella to melt on top and leave out the parmesan)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
seasoning salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste

Mix together.  Cover and chill in the refrigerator 8 hours, or overnight before serving (or just eat right away)

Also, I usually take the bread I'm using and toast it and then spoon some Bruschetta over and throw some mozzarella cheese on and then heat it in the pizza oven or even on the grill.  Yum!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Moment

A Moment
Today is Father's Day.  Everyone is busy and has their own families too.  Two of my kids live far away.  My husband is on night shift.  But for a couple hours this afternoon, my family was together.  A moment.  Time to take a picture and remember this. 

Bud had to join the fun
We had a nice time talking and even Bud, my parent's parrot had to crawl down his cage and walk across the kitchen floor to join the party.

It was a good day. 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Herb Walk

 On Saturday's I walk the Konkapot trail.  I call it the "Water Walk" to the dogs.  I now may have to change it to my "Herb Walk". I am realizing there a all kinds of herbs along the trail.  I started looking and that's when I keep seeing more.  Right now I am collecting Mullein and Horsetail.  My sister blogs about herbs and what to do with them, so I will let you check her blog out:  Homesteading At Redtail Ridge (http://homesteadingatredtailridge.blogspot.com )

Mullein along the trail

A 'mother' mullein
I was looking for deer today since it is June and that is when we see the doe standing around.  I realized after a few years, that it is because she has a fawn hidden near by so she won't run far even if there are two big dogs staring at her.  I've stumbled across hidden fawns a couple times.

Today all I saw was a busy muskrat.  I've seen him before at this tressel.  I have to make sure to let him know we are there so he has time to hide since it is also my dogs swimming hole.
He was going back and forth


and forth

We made it safe to the swimming spot without killing a muskrat.  Turk didn't want to go on this walk today because he knew it was humid.  He actually tried to get me to go on our "Short, Short Walk".  I let them go in two or three times, but it still got hot on the way home.

I ended up with a big bag of mullein and a little horsetail.  They mowed most of the horsetail, but it will grow back.

Summer Time and Daisies

Monday, June 13, 2011

My Life Gone to the Dogs

My life gone to the dogs
This blog is not about dogs - entirely, but in thinking about it I realize that my life is consumed by dogs trailing me, me trailing dogs, me tripping over dogs and dogs laying at my feet.  I try to go on to a different subject and there is a dog staring at me in the face.  It doesn't help that I work at home.

So I think about what my life would be like without dogs in my life.  If I didn't have them watching every move I made in the morning until I finally made the right moves that meant we were going for a walk.  Or coming out of the shower without my fan club waiting on my bed.  Sitting on the porch with a dog either trying to climb up by me on our new swing (Turk gets very motion sick on it) or laying by the fire (I think he thinks we're camping).

Well, I'm pretty sure my life would be very boring to say the least.  I don't do too much, go to bed early and teach piano lessons.  Without the dogs, I probably wouldn't be walking because I know I wouldn't feel like it.  They get me talking to people I would never talk to.  I don't feel like talking to anyone right now and Turk has me talking to the Jehovah's Witness van full of witness(ers), workers at area businesses, street workers, and I'm sure I've talked to a drug dealer or two.  Don't worry mom, when they find out I walk that way regularly and then I tell them my husband is a police officer I think they get scared that my German Shephard is a drug sniffing dog.  I don't see them after that.  We've talked to a nice Mexican guy sitting in the park.  He didn't speak any English, except he kept saying "Cervesa?" and pointing to his brown paper bag.  This was 10 o'clock in the morning.  He was like the Dog Whisperer with the dogs and without any English, had them sitting at attention in front of him.  Turk pretty much makes me talk to everyone on the street, and if we talked to them once then they are on our list of stops.  This includes the young man that works at Pizza Hut and stands outside to have a cigarette before work.

So as much as I don't like to talk about dogs all the time, I guess I don't have a choice because my life has gone to the dogs!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Dog Rules

Sometimes when I hear about disagreements or talk in Bible class about people being disobedient, I always think about my dogs.  I wonder how there can be such an order in the dog world, but us humans don't get it.  All I can think is "My dogs have rules!  Why can't we get along?"  I know it is more complicated than that.  But I think animals can teach us things at times.

Here are some of my dogs rules: 

Turk didn't want to move while I was making the bed

Tazer napping while she waits for me

Sleeping and being on the bed:  No dogs on the bed means... you cannot be on the bed when we go to bed, but if in the middle of the night you can sneak on the bed without waking them, then it's ok.  Or if they do wake up and order you on the floor, if you keep doing it enough you will wear them down finally so that they don't care any more.  Two dogs on the bed is one too many and HOT for everyone involved so the rule is that the oldest dog gets top pick.  During a shower, it is required that you wait for your master on the bed if you are part of the pack.
The mandatory pack shower nap
Playing:  The deck is safe zone and you cannot attack on the deck.  You can start your play on the deck, but heavy duty wrestling is done on the upper yard.  Stay on the garden paths, no cutting through the vegetable garden unless it's winter.  The snow covers all the barrier lines so all those rules are out then.  The perennial garden for some reason is a last resort to cut through if trapped in the upper yard.  Also, if you need a bathroom break while wrestling no one can attack you while you are doing that.
Tazer and Opie in the upper yard

Walking:  Before I walked two dogs, I wondered how I would train them to walk together.  I thought about it for a few months before Tazer was big enough to walk with us.  Once I started walking them both together, I realized that I didn't need to train them, that they figured things out for themselves.  Things like what side to walk on- they both know what side is theirs and they do not switch.  Also, if one wants to sniff something on the opposite side and the other dog doesn't, than they can push them back.  So if Tazer wants to check out where a bunny just was hopping and Turk doesn't want to stop and smell bunnies, he just pushes her back over to her side.  Tazer lets Turk be the head dog, but if she really wants something she will get in his face until he just gives in.  Sounds familiar. 

Bones:  Everyone has their own bone and no other dog can take it as long as you are chewing on it.  It is fair game to take another's bone if they walk away from it.  This includes if Turk barks to pretend someone is coming and Tazer gets up to see who it is.  You can ask the other for their bone, but they don't have to give it to you and you must respect that.  Bones that have been chewed on before are fair game for anyone.

Toys:  Turk knows that Tazer's 'babies' are different than a toy and therefore should not be ripped to shreds.  He respects her babies hidden all over our yard.  But if Opie brings her babies out and she lets them lay, then they become toys and they are free to be wrestled with.  When they receive a toy as a gift, they both know which toy is theirs and only they can decide what will be done with that toy.
Turk and Tazer playing with Turk's bunny
 Furniture:  If you are allowed on a couch, then all furniture must be for the dogs.  We thought about dogs on the couch.  I don't like hair on my couch, but I do like my dogs curled up next to me.  When we got a new couch, I thought about it and decided to get a blanket that matches the couch.  Yeah... so they stay on the blanket pretty good, but for some reason when we are outside on the deck they seem to think those are pretty nice chairs for dogs.  The latest when we just put together our porch like swing.  As soon as we put the cushion on it, the dogs were trying to climb up on it even though it moved. Turk loved our lounge chair and did the same thing.
Turk claiming the lounge chair seconds after putting the cushion on
A new swing for the dogs???

These are some of the obvious rules I notice my dogs have.  I am sure there are other things I haven't even noticed.   If a dog recognizes rules within their domain, shouldn't we be a little smarter?