Wednesday, November 9, 2011

In Memory of Baby

Recently, a community outreach (spay and neuter education) position at a local animal shelter in the city opened up, and I decided to apply. This gave me the opportunity to sit down and write a cover letter that explains how my passion for animals began. I've decided to share this story with you, because I believe that it is a story worth telling. The events written below are a true tale of my life.

I grew up on a small farm in rural Texas, and I can’t remember a time in my life when we didn’t have dogs. They were my constant companions and best friends. But I also grew up in a lower-income family that didn’t believe in spaying and neutered. I’ve seen a lot of birth for someone my age…but also a lot of death.

One traumatic experience in particular became the eye-opening moment when I dedicated myself to animal rescue. As a young teenager, I had a terrier mix named Baby. Baby was gentle and affectionate, playful and loyal. Baby had several large and successful litters (most of which were eventually carted to the pound against my wishes). During Baby’s third litter, though, a puppy got stuck in the birth canal. As she struggled in the front yard, obviously in pain, I pleaded with my father to take her to the vet, but money was tight; we couldn’t afford it. I wasn’t even allowed to hold her while she suffered and died that day, but was instead sent off to school in tears. Baby was only two years old.

Not long after that, I got my first job, discovered the wonderful, local, low-cost vet clinic, and used my own money to spay and neuter most of our remaining dogs. My life changed with Baby, and the lives of every dog I have cared for since were changed by her, although they may not know it. I educated myself, and then my family. I helped my sister get her Australian Shepherd spayed. During college, I went on to volunteer at the local humane society, and after my move to Oklahoma, I have continued to encourage and educate others on making the right decisions for their pets, and help them find ways to do so in our struggling economy. My love of animals was learned early, but my passion for saving them was born through experience. It is an experience that drives me, and which I feel is worth sharing with others. I know for a fact that I will spend the rest of my life working with animal rescue in some capacity. It won’t always be easy, but every effort is worth it, because every animal is worth it.

This is a situation that I am certain happens over and over in low-income communities. I don't blame my parents for Baby's death (this was shortly after my parents' divorce, as I was living with my retired father who supported us on just his pensions and benefits, and the situation was pretty effed up) - I blame the lack of education. Would things have played out differently had my family understood that there were low-cost options? Maybe. We'll never know. What I do know is that Baby's death affected me deeply, and fanned the flame that had already been building in me for pet rescue. And even though she is gone now and may not know it, her death has helped me advocate and save many pets' lives. This is something I know in my heart I will continue to do, whether I can do it through the backing of a successful humane society, or whether I must plunge steadily ahead, making a path on my own.

If you live in the Oklahoma City area and need assistance spaying and neutering your pets, I encourage you to contact the below organizations before it is too late. They can help your pet live a longer, happier life with you - and that's what we hope for, for every pet.

Update 2011-Nov-15: I received a message from the Humane Society regarding my application, but she is currently out of town the beginning of this week, so we haven't been able to schedule an interview. Fingers crossed, though!

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Lazy Girl's Guide to Baking - Pumpkin Pie #1

In case anyone was living under a rock lately, Halloween was a week ago. I don't do much to celebrate Halloween anymore, other than hunting around the beginning of November for clearanced holiday candy (my cravings for M&Ms lately have rivaled those of a pregnant woman's). I LOVE making elaborate costumes, but they're often so time-intensive that I only do it if I have somewhere really awesome to show them off. This year was a bit dull, but I had Jason buy me a few pumpkins to carve, since it's been a few years since I indulged in that particular pleasure, and he totally didn't take me to pick apples like I've bugged him every autumn since I moved up here, so he owed me one. Here are the results of a Saturday afternoon:

This is Reginald. His mouth was a total pain. I just couldn't figure out exactly how to get it right and went through several different attempts which culminated into this. I'm super pleased with how he turned out. Definitely one of my finer jack-o-lanterns.

This is the colonel. He is less exciting than Reginald, in part because I was getting freaking tired at this point. In retrospect, I should have just shaved the rind for his beard and made his mouth the cut-out, and he lasted all of a day before he was collapsing in on himself. Oh well, now I know.

As enticement for Jason to let me have this bit of fun when I already have a to-do list a mile long, I told him I would save the "guts" and make some tasty pumpkin treats for him. Jason can't say no to tasty pumpkin treats.

With the help from a blog post by a friend of mine (check it out here), I learned how to get the most from my pumpkin and puree the meat for later baking. And let me tell is a FREAKING PAIN. But I feel my efforts were worth it. So much so that when we saw pumpkins on sale at Walmart on Halloween evening, we bought four more. Go ahead and shake your head at me. I'm still not completely finished pureeing it all, but I suspect by the end of it, we'll have at least three or four GALLONS of pumpkin puree. We've already started passing it along to family members.

I know, I know. I call this the Lazy Girl's Guide to Baking, and there's nothing lazy about making your own pumpkin puree when you can just go to the supermarket and buy a can. But let me tell you, fresh pumpkin tastes SO MUCH BETTER than the canned stuff. Even lazy girls have to admit that some things are just worth the effort.

Now that I have enough pumpkin to last me at least until next Halloween, I'm ready to go on a baking spree, and I decided to start with a classic: pumpkin pie. I don't have any particular recipe for pumpkin pie that I feel especially passionate about, so I've decided to have a bit of fun with this: I'm going to use a different recipe for each pie I make, and see where it gets me. It should be a fun little challenge to play with, and should keep me interested enough that I won't get bored making the same pie over and over and over.

I made the first pie on Saturday, and instead of turning to the interwebs to kick things off, I dug out an old recipe book that my dad gave me before he died, when he was to the point that he could no longer eat solids and had no need for cookbooks. This particular book has no cover, so I'm not exactly sure where it came from, but I'm fairly positive it is a church cookbook. It originated in Longview, TX, my hometown, which makes it a special cookbook for me.

Here is a picture of the recipe itself:

And here is what it looks like after I modified it:

Pumpkin Pie

3 cups real pumpkin puree
1 cup brown sugar (mixed light and dark, because mine was all mixed up in the same tub lol)
2 1/2 tsps pumpkin pie spice (see, I really am lazy)
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 Tbsp melted butter
2/3 cup milk (skim is what we had)

Of course, all those measurements are approximate. I am in no way a stickler when it comes to exact measurements. I used measuring cups/spoons so I get it close, but if I happen to throw in slightly less than a cup of brown sugar, or if my cups of pumpkin happen to be heaping, I just shrug and keep going.

The pumpkin was the most challenging thing to get right. Check out that recipe - 1 large c. pumpkin? At first I thought that meant a heaping cup, but if you read the recipe, it states that one large CAN of pumpkin makes three pies, which brought up the question: how big is a large can of pumpkin? Particularly since this cookbook was probably made in the 50s or 60s. Who knows if a large can of pumpkin now was the same size as a large can back then? So basically was I did was start with one cup of pumpkin puree, add all the other ingredients, mix it up, and then continue to add pumpkin until the batter tasted right and was the right consistency (it needs to be fairly thick). From my estimation, three cups was about right.

Now, as I've mentioned before, I'm a lazy baker. I don't like making pie crusts. They take too long, and mine tend to come out tasting like oil. Yuck. So I cheated and made this pie with a graham cracker crust, as we have several boxes of graham crackers that need to be used up. To do this, you just crush enough graham crackers to get a cup and a half of crumbs, add 1/4 cup sugar and approx 6 tablespoons of melted butter, mix it well, and press it into your pie plate. Nom nom nom.

You can pre-bake it if you like....I was lazy and didn't, but I'm wondering if I ought have, as the bottom crust was pretty moist as an end result. I don't know if pre-baking it will help it keep its crunch or not, but I'll probably give it a try with the next pie and see.

I suppose it's a testament to the tastiness of this pie that I didn't even get a picture of it after it baked. Jason and I had half of it gone by Sunday morning, and the rest we shared with his family. I was pleased with it, and everyone else seemed to enjoy it, so pumpkin pie #1 was a win.

I haven't decided what recipe to use for pumpkin pie #2, but I expect it will get baked today or tomorrow. Feel free to make suggestions!

For the record, I'm trying to get in the habit of using Twitter more than Facebook. I'll still be around on FB, but I suspect a lot of my posts will be routed through Twitter so that I can encourage more followers over there. Everyone loves my hilarious statuses, so be sure to check it out:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Dog Park Discovery

I know I pretty much only use this blog to talk about my dogs and my toys, but don't be deceived by this post's title - this one's about toys, not dogs (although, I will try to get a new post about the dogs up, as I took some adorable pictures of Piper and Munchie the other day).

On Monday, Jason and I took Munchie to play at the dog park. While we were down by the pond, I noticed something floating in the shallow water. Munchie went over and picked it up, so I had him hand it over and discovered this little guy:

Of course, at that point, it was dripping red mud. It's not a dog toy, and if someone brought it to the park as a dog toy, I would be sorely disappointed, because 1) it's tiny and could easily be swallowed by the large dogs at the park (we get a LOT of danes at our park), and 2) it's a beanbag - so the dogs that are too small to choke on it could rip it open and choke on the pellets inside. Not a good toy for a dog at all. Of course, the fact that I pitied the poor, muddy thing might have affected my decision to bring it home. ^.^

Once home, I scrubbed it up with soap and let it dry out. That's when Lizzie found it and claimed it as her own. We're still haven't picked a name yet, but I'm sure I'll find a good one soon. In the meantime, aren't these pictures of it with Lizzie cute?

So who knows how this tiny stuffie ended up at the dog park that day, but it's most certainly welcome in my toy room. Little, lost toys are always welcome in my room.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

McToys! Part Two

What's this? MORE McToy goodness? I think yes!

If you know me well, you know that my favorite movie Of All Time is Toy Story. I LOVE that movie (and its sequels!). This toy, if I remember correctly is a McToy from the original movie, circa 1995. It's actually a decent little pull-back car, really. I remember playing with it way back when it was a new toy. It's getting a pretty distinguished place of honor in my craft/toy room now. ^.^

I don't remember a story behind this toy, but Doug is the original emo kid of the nineties, so in a homage to awesome 90s Nickelodeon cartoons, I couldn't part with it. Big Smiles when I found this one (and a lot of humming the theme song!).

Pretty sure these guys came from McDonald's when I was very little. I didn't even know what they were when I was a kid! Never fear, though, I've grown into a moderately capable nerd-girl. Everybody needs a little Mario in their lives, after all.

I've always been a sucker for miniatures. I'm not sure why, I just love tiny plastic animals! I was a total dino nut when I was younger (and I still kind of am hehe), so the dinosaurs are just awesome. I remember that the pig used to belong to my farming Barbies (lol!). And I used to carry those little frogs around everywhere when I was about ten or eleven. I loved reptiles and amphibians! I don't even recognize the giraffe, but it's a pretty cool giraffe, so I suspect it'll find a place in my stop-motion when I get around to making it!

Oh, man. Where do I even begin with these? My sister and I were NOT car nuts. We didn't collect Hot Wheels obsessively. But we did, over the years, accumulate a few of these die cast cars. And while, yes, we did take them outside and play with them in the mud, we weren't technically playing "cars." No, these cars all had names and personalities, and the big cars were the parents while the tiny ones were the baby cars. Yes, we took perfectly awesome boy toys and turned them into something very girly. But I have very vivid memories of these cars, and still remember exactly which tree we would play under with them. Megan and I had a lot of fun with these, whether it was girly fun or not.

And lastly, the army men. I got these after my sister had stopped playing with toys, and they came to me through various second-hand means. I was never really into playing war or such, but given my love for Toy Story, seeing green army men always makes me smile. ^.^

Never fear, for these aren't nearly all of my McToys - I know I have at least one more box still left in storage to go through. I've culled a selection of them out to get rid of, but I still have these pictures as well as a healthy selection of others in my craft/toy room. I look forward to including them in future stop-motion video adventures, as opening the McToy Box always sends my imagination reeling, just as it did years ago. And I'm not going to lie, I still pick up a Happy Meal from time to time, so there's always the prospects of new characters being added along the way. ^.^

I've only just realized that I completely forgot to feature the McBarbie collection! No worries, though, I'm sure they'll find their way onto the blog soon enough. If there were ever McToys that we played with more than any other, it had to be the McBarbies. And seeing as I am STILL a huge Barbie fan (you never grow out of some things...), I think we all know we'll be seeing them around. ;)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

McToys! Part One

I probably should have done this before our garage sale last weekend, but I finally sat down with several of the bins of old Happy Meal and other miscellaneous small toys and sorted them into the ones I wanted to keep and the ones I was willing to part with. Some of these toys are as old or older than I am, so it was quite the walk down memory lane! I've held on to these for ages, because (unlike a lot of kids), I actually played with them a fair amount. Lots of good memories were tucked away in those bins.

I've decided to show off a few of my favorite finds. These aren't necessarily the oldest or most valuable of the lot; they're just the ones that brought me the biggest smiles when I rediscovered them. ;)

Anyone remember these? These are actually from three different sets. The robots/dinos are from the late '80s and early '90s (I think), and the little spy cassette-player is from the mid '90s. What I love most about these, though, is that they make great props for my American Girls - LOL! You know me, always on the lookout for miniature items for my doll dioramas.

These got a BIG smile from me when I found them. ^.^ They aren't actually McToys. Back in the early to mid '90s, there were these stuffed animal "mothers" that had a velcro pocket in their bellies with these little beanbag babies inside. You didn't know how many babies you got until you opened the toy. They were quite popular at the time. If I remember correctly, my grandparents bought one each for my sister and I, letting us pick them out. Megan picked a bulldog, and I picked a pink and white cat. I'm actually pretty sure I still have them in storage! I remember that Megan was SO angry, because my cat came with more babies than her bulldog. But man, we had some good times with these little guys!

Disney! I don't know that all of these were McToys. I know that Bambi and Thumper were, but I'm not so sure about the others. These are totally going to decorate my craft room/toy room/office. ^.^ Ursula doesn't want to stick to the window very well, but I think I just need to clean the suction cup a bit.

Once I outgrew Barney as a kid, I was all about the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. Trini (the yellow ranger) was my favorite, but I don't seem to have had her in McToy version. You can imagine my excitement when they did the run of Rower Rangers toys at McD. Some of these were the "special" toys that you had to buy extra at McDonald's. The larger action figure I think was bought from the toy store. I also have the red ranger action figure, but he's already locked in an epic battle with a Lego dragon in my room, so he couldn't make it to the photoshoot. ;)

Well, I have more pictures, but Blogger keeps trying to freeze Google Chrome. >=( So I guess they'll just have to wait for another day.

Monday, August 1, 2011

On Friday, I was cleaning out what I think are the last few boxes that came with me when I moved to Oklahoma. While I was in college in Texas, my bedroom at home became a sort of dumping ground for everything that no one else wanted, and so when I moved, I gathered it all up and brought it up here with me. The boxes have been sitting in our garage for two years now, but I think we're finally ready for a garage sale now that they've been sorted.

I found a lot of awesome stuff tucked inside those boxes while I was cleaning them out, though. Check out these oldies that emerged on Friday:

Both are rubber, for the 1950s, and needed some serious clean-up. But aren't they adorable? After a little digging on ebay, I found what they're actually called, but I can't remember now ('cause I'm awesome and didn't write it down). I haven't decided what to name them yet, but I do know I'll have quite a bit of fun making clothes for them to wear.

Patsyette and Takumi aren't quite sure what to think of these young new whippersnappers, but I bet they warm up before long. ^.^

I also found a vintage cheerleading doll from the 1940s and was going to find her a new home, but then it occurred to me that she is the perfect size to be a doll for my 18" AG dolls, as she is about the same size as the AG mini's. No pictures of her yet.

And while we're on the topic of dolls, here are a few fun finds for the Barbies:

See that ottoman? Any guesses on what it actually is?

That's right, it's an empty jewelry box! I'm thinking of "reupholstering" it, but since it's empty on the inside, it's great for storing tiny accessories!

And who doesn't love arcade games? This was a really old Dairy Queen kid's meal toy that I found in the boxes in the garage. I want to add legs to it so it can stand on it's own, but it should be a fun addition to Ken's bachelor pad.

And lastly, while we were at Staples yesterday picking up some awesome deals, I noticed that they had these tiny little boxes on sale for a quarter. I picked up some to hold tiny crafting supplies in my bedroom, but I also grabbed a couple of pink ones, because they're the perfect size for Barbie!

What can I say? An awesome dollhouse is all about the details and having a creative mind. Now if only Jason would actually *build* me a dollhouse like he's said he will. =p Then I could move them off the bookshelf they're currently crowded onto!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Oscar and Piper

Good news, everyone! (I can't say that phrase in my head without saying it in Professor Farnsworth's voice.) I found my card reader, so now the photo-dumping can commence again! Before I post some of the older pictures that were sitting in my camera, though, I had a little bit of fun this morning.

I'm way overdue for getting new pictures of my pup-pups, so I decided yesterday that it's photo shoot time. Now, I pretty much can only take decent pictures when I'm outside, but it's been WAY too hot to take the puppies out during the day just for some photos. Luckily, I was already up early this morning to go to grand opening at a new Dollar General (freebies!), so it wasn't too terribly hot this morning.

Of course, I can't take ALL the puppies out at once (can you say chaos?), so I'll be taking them out in shifts of two until everyone gets a few pictures. I was originally going to take Dolly and KiKi today, but I picked up a new collar for Oscar at Dollar General this morning (his old one was getting really dingy), so I decided to take Oscar and Piper this morning instead so I can get pictures before his new collar gets dirty. ^.^

Photo time!

For those of you who aren't familiar with my dogs, I'll tell you a bit about Oscar and Piper. Oscar is the black and tan, and Piper is the silver dapple (that is her silhouette in the picture above, also). Oscar and Piper are littermates, along with KiKi, and Dolly is their biological mother (Oops! They're all spayed/neutered now!). They are Miniature Dachshund/Shetland Sheepdog mixes and were born in June of 2006. They've been with me since birth. =)

Oscar and Piper are practically attached at the hip. They do everything together - they sleep in the same crate at night, they eat together, they groom each other, they play together - everything. They've been together since birth and I would never dream of separating them. I often refer to them as twins, even though they don't look alike.

Oscar is a total chunk - he takes after Dolly that way. In fact, he takes after Dolly almost exclusively - it's hard to tell he's actually a mix. He is absolutely precious and loving, and his eyes get so big and black sometimes that you think you might just fall into them. =) But, of all my dogs, Oscar hates change the most. He hates each new addition to the family until someone else comes along that he can divert his attention to. Big Boy has been with us for over a year now, and he STILL hates him. Oscar also hates strangers, and is our most fierce guard dog. Oscar will let you know every time someone slams a car door outside. Oscar is a hilarious dog, though, because he's harmless, but when he gets excited, he puffs himself out like he's Mr. Big Man and struts around like a rooster. We make fun of him all the time, but he doesn't seem to mind. ;) What a clown!

Piper is our athletic girl. She is kind and gentle, and very patient. She is more shy than aggressive, and it doesn't take her long to warm up to new dogs, although she is afraid of new people. When Piper wants kisses, she doesn't just ask for them - she smacks you in the face with her paw, so we have to hold her feet sometimes when we're cuddling with her. Piper is a super jumper, and definitely takes after the Shetland Sheepdog in her. She's not at all afraid to leap off the back of the couch onto the floor. And because she is such a sweetie, she made a fantastic babysitter when Munchie was just a wee thing and needed someone to watch him while we went about our business.

One day while the dogs were playing outside, I heard a commotion, so I went outside to check on them - but Piper was nowhere to be found! I was really, really starting to worry where my sweet girl had gotten off to, and I called Jason out to help me find her. Finally, it occurred to me that our super jumper, who liked to climb on things, could have climbed on a cage I had setting next to the fence and jumped over, whether she had intended to or not. So I peeked over, and lo and behold, there was Piper in the neighbor's backyard, looking positively terrified that she had ended up over there with no way back! The neighbors were cool with it and their feisty bull terrier was caged at the time, so there was no harm done, but poor Piper never pulled that trick again! We've since fenced that part of our yard off because the boys like to fence fight with the neighbor's Bull Terrier.

Oscar loves small stuffed toys. His favorite toy that we ever bought him was a small, fluffy ball that looks like duck. He carried his Duckie everywhere with him! They were best friends. Not only would he play with it, but he would also groom it, set it in his food bowl to "eat," cuddle with it at naptime, and carry it outside to go potty with him. I think Piper felt a little left out, as occasionally she would try to play with Duckie, too, and Oscar was NOT ok with that! Unfortunately, when Munchie came along, he got a hold of Duckie and ripped all his stuffing out, so Oscar can't have his little friend with him in the living room anymore, but I've sewed Duckie back together so that he can still sleep with him at night in his crate.

And those are my twins, Oscar and Piper. =) I'm hoping to be able to do photo shoots with the rest in the coming week, so hopefully I'll have the whole set done and uploaded soon.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Changing Names: Everybody's Leftovers

I was out in the garage today, sorting through boxes and letting my mind dance its little daydreams, and I couldn't help but smile. Because, you see, people may think we're crazy for salvaging things on big trash day, recycling and reusing containers like the world will end tomorrow, taking in sick, incontinent dogs, and all the other things we do that no one else would, but I find so much joy in living life with everyone's leftovers. And so, as you may have noticed, my blog has a new name. Not that I use it much to make it really matter, but I felt it time for a change.

And so here I sit with everybody's leftovers, only they aren't leftovers to my husband and I. Because in truth, we're kind of leftovers. We've been driven out, abandoned, ignored, and rejected, too. And so we welcome people, animals, and things into our lives that are unwanted and unloved, because we know all too well that just because someone or something isn't wanted, doesn't mean it doesn't have worth. They'll always have a home with us. A home where they are wanted. A home where they matter. And a home where they are loved.

Our Beagle/Basset mix, Junior, on the day I brought him home - the day he was scheduled to be euthanized because no one wanted a dog his age. He's been with us two and a half years now and is still going strong.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My card reader is still MIA (where did that thing get off to?), so today's pictures are brought to you compliments of my Droid. ^.^

A while back I posted about the silver maple seeds I had collected for planting. Well, today I show you a picture of how the little guys are doing. Soon I will need to transplant them from the Styrofoam cups I started them in and move them to bigger pots!

In an attempt to save more money, I've been learning the tricks of couponing. Yesterday we hit up Homeland (a local grocery chain) and CVS to grab a few freebies with my carefully collected coupons. ^.^ Here is what I managed to get:

I ended up paying about $2 in tax, but the items themselves were free with the coupons. I was especially excited about those pastas, as the husband and I love pasta for dinner. =)

Once a month, our neighborhood has Big Trash Day, when then garbage men come by to collect all your trash that is too large to fit in your trash bins. You wouldn't believe the perfectly good items that people throw away! Jason and I enjoy the weekend before Big Trash Day by perusing the neighborhood for items that we can use. Here is a picture of what we snagged last weekend:

I plan to post pictures of what I do with these items, so keep your eyes peeled for updates. =) Here are a few to start off with:

See that big black futon mattress? Our neighbor told us that the people who tossed it out also tossed out the frame for it, but someone already grabbed the frame before we came along. No matter, as what I really wanted the mattress for was this:

A nice, big, comfy dog bed to put out in the sun room! ^.^ The dogs love it and enjoy laying on it while they watch the world outside or taking a lazy nap. Plus, it's big enough that several of them can fit on it at once without starting the "he's touching me!" fussing.

I also found this Little Tykes art easel that was pretty dirty, but overall in good condition and still perfectly usable!

I took it out into the back yard today and gave it a good scrubbing. Now it is practically as good as new!

Jason and I don't have any little ones of our own (aside from the animals) yet, but it will be nice to have when we do, as if they are anything like me, they're bound to have an artistic streak. ^.^ Until then, I bet I know another little one who will get some use out of this. =)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I'm Not Dead, I've Just Lost My Card Reader

My card reader (the thing I plug my camera's memory card into in order to upload the photos) is MIA at the moment, which has contributed to my lack of updates lately, but I am alive and well!

Husband and I have been setting the wheels in motion for us to purchase some property outside of the city and start a farm. If all goes well, we should have a place and be moved in before autumn (hopefully in time to plant a pumpkin patch!). I am excited about living rurally again. I enjoy the city and its conveniences, but I dislike the constraints of living so closely packed with so many other people. It's hard for a hippie to live in suburbia!

I look forward to having a huge backyard for my dogs to play in. I plan to build some agility equipment for my more athletic canines, and, although I will be busy with the farming much of the time, I am still hoping to get them dog scout-certified through the mail, since there aren't any Dog Scout troops in Oklahoma. Soon I want to start uploading videos of their training to my Youtube channel.

The puppies I posted pictures of a while back found a great home together with a country boy and his fiancé who live outside of the city. They send us pictures of them every now and then, and they are getting big and doing well. I am very thankful that they now have a loving home and are still together.

The silver maple seeds that I planted in saved Styrofoam fast food cups have sprouted and are doing quite well. I haven't counted to see exactly how many have come up, but I believe it is around twenty. I would love to plant them on whatever property we end up buying (away from the house, of course). I plan to have a flower garden tucked into a grove of trees, so perhaps they will get planted nearby, where I can enjoy their beauty.

We have one of those cheap $5 or $10 plastic wading pools in our backyard that we used for the dogs last year, but it has since developed a leak. I am hoping to fill it in with soil and plant some watermelon vines in it. It seems like it would be a good planter for vining plants, anyway, since we can just pick it up and carry it with us when we move.

Husband showed me how to change spark plugs on his Grand Am a few days ago, and I really enjoy the learning experience. I am oddly intrigued by mechanics. I suspect I get that from my dad, as he always loved to tinker with machines. I am hoping to get a clunker for a project car sometime after we move so I can get more hands-on learning in that area. I am a big believer in hands-on learning.

Hopefully soon I will find the card reader so I can upload some of the new pictures I've taken over the past several months. Until then, live wisely and love deeply.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Seeds of Change

Now that spring has finally dug in its roots and taken hold, I've been wandering out into our rather bleak backyard more often than usual. And since this is the first spring I have spent here when I wasn't holding down a job, this is the first time I have started to notice the seeds dropping off our silver maple tree.

Aren't they wonderful? Look at how beautiful they are! They remind me of little fairy wings. In fact, I may use a few of the wings for some mixed media art along those lines.

Since I share a love of all things that grow, I've collected a bowl full of them to try and plant. I've seen a lot of discouragement on the internet about this, saying that there are much better maples to plant than these and silver maples tend to be a very "dirty" tree, forever dropping twigs, branches, leaves, and seeds, but I have dealt with all of these things, having one in my backyard, and they do not bother me tremendously. And it is really such a lovely tee with beautiful leaves; I would love to have a grove of them (away from the house) when we finally move out of the city. Besides, I already have thousands of these seeds raining down on me, and lord knows I enjoy using what the earth readily provides.

So for now, it is my little horticulture experiment. And who knows, if I end up with a bunch of little saplings that I don't want come winter or time to move, I can always give them away.

And so the cycle of seasons continues.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Showing Off the Niblets

These are my little niblets. They're both four weeks old and male. I can't keep them, of course, but I've certainly enjoyed having them here, particularly now that they are, in my opinion, in the cutest stage of puppyhood - they're tottering around quite well now, have started eating (face first) softened dogs food, they have the most adorable little barks, and they give sweet little kisses when you pick them up.

Oh, puppy love. <3 There isn't anything better.

That first picture is when the babies were just a week or two old. Sweet momma kisses! She's ready to be rid of the little leeches now, poor thing. ^.^