Monday, September 19, 2016


Kali didn't make it.  She seemed a bit better yesterday morning, but wasn't drinking again by bedtime.  She couldn't even stand this morning, and was jaundiced.

I took her back to the vet this morning, and she offered to admit her, but wasn't holding forth much hope due to her rapid decline.  Instead, we all said our goodbyes to her before heading to school and work, and I brought her home from the vet in a shroud.

Mom and Dad helped me dig a hole under the big oak tree where Zach and Daisy are buried.  When JP and the girls are home this evening, we will put her to rest there.

She is leaving a big hole in our family...bigger than the one under the oak tree.

Sleep sweet, Kali Gal.

Stella is gonna miss her too!

Chasing the ball was her favorite thing - she did it on Thursday.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Time Flies When You're Having...Fun?

When I stop and think about it, the amount of time that I spend on seemingly futile activities every week is somewhat staggering.  For example,  I try to spend some time weekly to keep my moss bed free of weeds.  As you can see, I seem to be fighting a losing battle.

I did spend over an hour on Friday making that delicious Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream that I made before, and then accidentally left out on the counter over night.  This time we were able to enjoy it twice!

On Friday afternoon, I picked L up at school and we drove 40 minutes to watch J's first soccer game (which they won 7-0.)  I wouldn't consider that time wasted, as we had time to chat, and even listen to a story on CD. 

Yesterday morning, I spent an hour and a half at the vet with Kali.  It looked like she was peeing blood on Friday night.  After a bunch of tests, it looks like she was dehydrated, had a UTI, and also has Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (in which her body is attacking her red blood cells.) So this explains the "blood" in her urine, which is probably mostly bilirubin from breaking down those cells, as well as the fact that she has been laying around so much for the past couple of weeks.  In fact, on Thursday afternoon, she was too tired to chase the ball, which is one of her favorite things to do!  She got IV fluids at the vet, as well as injections of antibiotic and steroids, and she came home with antibiotics, steroids and Pepcid to take twice a day for a while.  She returns to the vet tomorrow morning, where I assume they will check her blood again. 

Her urine is lighter in color today, which I am taking as a good sign.  Otherwise, it is basically wait and see...there is a very real possibility that she will not recover from this.  I think that fact hit J hard last night, as she got out of bed after 10 PM, and came upstairs to "say goodnight to Kali."

After we got home from the vet, I spent another hour and a half hauling water for our cistern.  It isn't wasted time, but it is extremely boring:  it takes 30 minutes to drive to the water station, fill the buffalo, drive home, and empty it.  Thank goodness for podcasts to listen to during that task!

Today the whole family drove an hour into the Middle-of-Nowhere, PA for L's first soccer game.  Unfortunately, her team was shut out, 0-9.  Since today is officially "National Cheeseburger Day", we stopped at Five Guys on the way home for some awesome cheeseburgers and fries.

Now here it is:  Sunday evening.  A whole, new week begins in just a few hours.  This week features more soccer games and soccer practice, voice lessons, vet appointments, Dr. appointments, work and school, along with the weekly making and canning of tomato sauce...along with all of the little futile things that eat up the hours.  Enjoy them all!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Poison Ivy

You're gonna need an ocean
Of calamine lotion
You'll be scratching like a hound
The minute you start to mess around
- The Coasters

This summer has been the Poison Ivy Summer.  Personally, I've had one worse Poison Ivy Summer - back in 1997.  JP and I discovered that the "hedge" growing around our yard was actually poison ivy.  After I made the discovery, and avoided it like the plague, I continued to break out with it for more than a month, and puffed up on the steroids so that I didn't fit so well in the bridesmaid's dress for my brother's wedding.  JP eventually suited up in his Haz-Mat suit, cut it all down and stuffed it into garbage bags.  I finally deduced that it was our little dog that kept re-infecting me.  He got more baths that summer than he thought he could survive!

This year, I discovered the poison ivy remnants in the wood chips that I spread all over the garden.  I have since finished that project, and washed anything that I used out there.  My reaction only lasted a couple of weeks.

Poor L woke up with a high fever on Monday morning.  As the day wore on, we also discovered that she broke out with a poison ivy rash on one leg.  She stayed home from school on Tuesday to recover and scratch.  At this point, she has a good sized patch of poison on the first leg, as well as individual bumps for about 6-8 inches above and below the patch.  The other leg has all the bumps...MORE of them even!  Last night, she started breaking out with 2 patches on her face and one behind her ear.  She is MISERABLE!

JP started her on steroids this AM, and I've been treating with topical steroids and Domeboro solution.   I'm pretty sure that she picked this up at the soccer field, as I saw a huge patch of poison ivy down there near where I park the car.   So last night I went out with the Chlorox wipes and wiped down every interior surface of the car that I possibly could, I also washed the covers to the folding chairs (that have been riding around in the back of the car with L's soccer ball for the last couple of weeks.)  I've washed her ball and her cleats twice now.

This morning I went back out and wiped all the door handles, and then came in and wiped the backs and seats of all the chairs.  I hope that I've removed all traces of the remaining oil by now.  I do know that I'm feeling rather itchy...

Leaves of three...leave them be!!

Monday, August 29, 2016


Today was the first day back to school for the girls.  It seems to have been uneventful, except for the fact that J forgot her lunch.  Luckily JP was able to give her lunch money before dropping her off at school, so I didn't actually have to run in to school already this morning.

Both girls are in the highest grade at their respective schools, which means that J will head off to High School next year, and L to Middle School. They won't be in the same school again until J's final year.

It was super quiet around here today.  (Although to be honest, we had a pretty quiet summer, with lots of reading going on.)

I ventured down to the garden, where I've taken a maintenance break for a couple of weeks to finish up my flower beds and around the ornamental trees, as well as to make the most of the girls' final week of summer vacation.  I have continued to pick the tomatoes about every other day, as well as cantaloupes (I've picked 11 so far), but the weed control has not happened, and it's getting pretty scary in there!

I listened to several podcasts, and removed a pile of weeds taller than myself from 2 1/2 beds, and about 1/6 of the lower end of the garden.  I was thoroughly spattered with mud when I came in, including my glasses and my phone, but I cleaned up in time to pick up milk as well as a book for L at the Library before the girls arrived home on the bus.

They have been back to soccer practice for a week, but tomorrow L starts back to music lessons.  She is taking Voice this year, for a number of reasons, and is very excited about it.

It will be busy, busy, busy for the next few weeks, so I'm trying to save up the serene, quiet moments to pull out when the days get tough.

I hope Fall is off to a good start for everyone!

P.S.  This close up of L shows her newly pierced ears.

Monday, August 22, 2016


We had an interesting weekend. 

The garden is especially bountiful right now.  These are the things that I brought in this weekend.

Tomatoes, Peppers, Onions, Carrots, Corn, Cantaloupes & Kohlrabi

We had our first fresh corn on the cob.  I also made and canned pasta sauce using almost every ingredient from the garden, with the exception of celery.  This is the recipe I use:

L's cantaloupes are getting ripe!  We've picked 5 so far, and they are delicious.  We've never had luck with melons in the past.

Speaking of melons, I usually let the ladies clean out the watermelon rinds once I cut out the flesh.

They do a pretty good job.

On Saturday evening, we went out for dinner with the girls and my parents to celebrate our August weddings 3 days apart.  When we returned home, we found my parents house full of our friends - my mother and my friend secretly planned a surprise party to celebrate our 25th anniversary. 

JP was not surprised.  He was suspicious from the moment my mother invited us several weeks ago.  He went so far as to call the restaurant right before we left home to find out if there were reservations for a large party.  Lacking a reservation, he says he figured people would be there when we got back.

I was gullible enough to have no such concerns, and I was duly surprised.  We had a lovely time visiting with our friends and neighbors. 

My mother gave us this tea set that my grandmother gave to my parents for THEIR 25th wedding anniversary.

The last thing that surprised me this weekend, was this little hummingbird that perched on the fence of my flower garden for about 15 minutes on Saturday morning.

Sunday, August 14, 2016


We have a few long range planting projects on going at the moment.  Some are doing much better than others.

The ground cover that I planted behind the pool is finally doing what I'd hoped - keeping the bank from eroding. 

My moss "garden" continues to spread, I even added another stepping stone this year.  It too is working as planned - to add color and interest to the entrance of the house.

We planted clover after moving the chicken run, and it is coming in well.  We will move them back in the spring, and re-plant THAT area in clover too.

I found a volunteer pumpkin plant in the old chicken run.  It has 4 or 5 decent sized pumpkins on it!

We are trying a new method for growing potatoes this year.  I made a bag out of landscape fabric, and planted potatoes.  As they grow, we continue to add soil, so the plants get taller, and supposedly grow more potatoes.  At the end of the season, JP plans to scoop up the entire bag with the tractor, where we can cut the bag and easily harvest taters.  We had to put the fence around it, as the kitties thought it made an awesome litter box too. 

JP wanted to plant a wildflower bed down near the bees.  He researched on line, and bought a mix that was supposed to be indigenous to SW Pennsylvania, and resistant to deer.  There are finally a couple of flowers blooming there, but it appears to have come up mostly grass.  Also, the deer have been eating off some of the flowers.  Grrr.

I finished with the wood chips on the garden path several weeks ago.  It doesn't look much different since the last pictures that I posted, but I did mow the remaining grassy areas last weekend, and it only took 5 minutes (vs. the 40 it has taken in the past.)

We began another project this evening - JP pierced L's ears.  She has been working up the nerve to do it since December.  She won't let me take a picture this evening, so I'll have to post a sparkly picture later.

Thursday, August 11, 2016


Just in time for the Olympics, JP & I have scored a Silver of our own - this week we celebrated our 25th anniversary.  We were able to get away to the city overnight, thanks to my parents who gave us the great gift of taking care of the girls.  We watched a baseball game from our hotel room.

We strolled around town, and walked to a fancy restaurant for dinner, where we dined with a hometown hero.

We even got to watch fireworks from our hotel once it got dark outside!

In the morning, we walked to get coffee and bagels.

That evening, the girls, a friend, and I went to the fair.  J was roaming with her friend, so L & I got to take in things we don't normally see - like the veggies and canned goods.  It was not very crowded, so we took multiple rides in the Ferris wheel.

We watched the truck pull for awhile, we could even see it from the Ferris wheel later on!

We ate fair food, and L fed the baby zebra.

I woke the girls up at 5:30 the following morning to head out on our mini-vacation.  We were on the road by 6 AM!  The girls had been begging to go to the beach, but we didn't have time to drive the 8 hours to the shore, so we went to Presque Isle on Lake Erie.  The weather was hot and humid, but it was lovely.

We visited 2 different light houses.

We saw an IMAX movie about space, looked for beach glass (didn't find any), played in the sand and water, and had a very nice time.

I forgot to mention that last Friday, the girls and I loaded up the bikes and drove up to our favorite park, where we ate a picnic lunch,

...rode our bikes on the bike trail,

...and played in the creek.

It was a lot of fun!

In between all of these activities, I've been doing this:

The peaches are now all canned, but I've been doing tomatoes every other day!

Tonight we are exhausted, and it is overcast outside, but tomorrow night we plan to stay up late to look for meteors as it is time again for the Perseid Meteor Shower, and it is supposed to be exceptionally awesome this year!

I hope that your summers are winding down as nicely as ours!