Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Highway Robbery?

Would you like to see what "highway robbery" looks like in Loudoun County Virginia? Well, here it is. Doesn't it look so innocent? Well don't be fooled. Under the country exterior of this farmers market there is a crime being committed...

Let me tell you how I uncovered this little local scandal that is happening right under the nose of all of us who pass by this stand every day...It all started with my buying produce from a farmer down the road from us. His prices were very reasonable; under a dollar (.75 cents) a pound for vegetables. I've enjoyed stopping by there the last several weeks buying whatever they had, squash, green beans, cucumbers and tomatoes. It's all done on the honor system. You go inside this little shed (below) and pick out what you want. There was a scale, you weigh what you have, and put your money in an old cookie tin. A lot of times I left more money than I spent. One day I was so appreciative of the beautiful produce that I left a note thanking them...Corny I know, but I was just so grateful to find a good place to buy fresh veggies. I even bought free range eggs, that were really pretty--Most were brown, some were kind of green in color. But I could tell the garden was about "done" when the counters that were once full of fresh produce and eggs were looking a bit bare. I really wanted some fresh tomatoes so I decided to stop at the place whose picture is at the start of this post. I was stunned at the prices. The tomatoes were $3.50 a pound (£2.27) cucumbers were $2 each (£1.29) and a dozen of the free-range eggs were $5 a dozen (£3.24) and don't get me started about how much the apples and cantaloupes were!! Those prices are nearly doubled than the ones at "the fine grocery store (that I love) known as Wegmans" and I left the little roadside market with my bag clutched tight and a new commitment to have my own garden next year!

I really want to support the local growers and farmers, and I know I shouldn't complain. I know it's hard work to grow a garden--But am I the only one who thinks those prices may be a little steep??

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Prize to Start My Week!

At the end of a long, busy day at work it was a real treat to open my mailbox this evening and find a package from blogging-friend Sharon of Life with Jack and Jill Sharon ran a contest last week where we were asked to come up with a caption of a picture of her pup Jill. The followers of her blog voted for their favorite caption, and I won!
Sharon always keeps things interesting on her blog and added a twist to this contest by not telling those of us who entered what we would win, so I was excited to see what my surprise package would be!

I have to admit that I thought it would be something "dog-related." It wasn't--Sharon you really did surprise me!! When I opened the package I found these really lovely coffee spoons! Sharon told me that they are "Frank M. Whiting, George III pattern that was patented in 1891."
They really have very pretty detail on them!
Coffee spoons bring back memories for me. My Mom used to have them and my siblings and I used to use them for everything from cereal to hot chocolate. I think it was partly because they sit so comfortably in your hand. Eventually the ones my Mom had became lost, so I really am excited that I now have my own to use!

I don't know about all of you, but I really love trivia! My head is filled with it, and I'm going to finish this post by asking you if you know why coffee spoons are used? It's because usually tea is served hotter than coffee, but it is not drunk in its hot stage. In order to be able to start drinking tea shortly after it has been served, a wider cup is used, than those cups used for coffee. To help reduce the waiting time, a spoon is used to cool the drink and the larger the spoon, the quicker the tea will be drinkable. Coffee is typically drank differently so it requires a different role for a spoon. A spoon is (supposed to be) only used to stir the milk and the sugar, without a need for cooling. So the coffee spoon is smaller, so it will have less effect on the temperature of the drink. And if you are NOT like me and follow the rules of etiquette, always make sure to serve a coffee with a coffee spoon. ~And I'll bet you thought I only knew about dogs!!~

I hope you'll take a moment and stop by Sharon's blog! Sharon has a really fun sense of humor, and I've so enjoyed her posts from the chapters of her life, and getting to know her!!
Thank-you so much Sharon for the nice prize!!
It's a great way to end a Monday and to start my week!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Weekend in Picture Review

We had a nice quiet weekend!! I really needed some down-time and wanted to spend time with the dogs before the week goes into high gear. We didn't do too much.
Carl mowed the grass...
I tended my dying flowers, however I'll leave these cone flowers for the birds to enjoy.
The dogs watched from the porch.
(Hamlet on the left New/Old Sam on the right) But unknown to the dogs, something else was watching from the porch too--Do you see it?
I am quite sure this Praying Mantis saw me--It looks like its smiling, doesn't it?
That ended working on my flowers. So we went for a walk. I'd much rather see this Swallowtail butterfly!
We walked up to the top of the hill in back of our property. It really has a nice view of the Short Hill Mountains.
Sheba and Rudi love going to the top of the hill too--It usually means some new smell for them to roll in! Even Hamlet made the walk. He never looks like he's out of breath. On the way back down the hill, I did see a "fatality" that was caused by one of our dogs--I've no idea how it got there or how long it had been there (Yes, it's a stuffed squirrel minus its head). After church today I took Bubba swimming. If you've not seen it, below this post there is a 40 second video of him.
When I got back the other dogs and I played a round of frisbee. It doesn't take much to wear them out. (Sheba top, Josh second picture)

Afterwards we sat on the porch, relaxed and watched the sun go down. It was a nice way to end the weekend. I hope you've had a good weekend too!! (Josh)

A Swim Video of Bubba

This is just a quick 40 second video that I took today and it shows what swim-therapy is like for Bubba. He is now on his 12th session and while it's not very exciting it gives you an idea--Pretty much all I do is lead Bubba around the pool and he quietly swims with the ball in his mouth. It's quite boring I'm afraid, but of course very good for him and I think he likes it! I'm really noticing a difference as he is picking up the pace a little bit when he walks and has even managed a little bit of a gallop--A good sign!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Wild Week and Sam

A typical crazy, hectic start to the week has, as always, put me behind on all the things that I enjoy doing; including reading many of your blogs. With my day off on Thursday, I hope to get caught up--I've missed reading what everyone is up too.

Sam continues to settle into his new life in the "group home." This evening he was in the crowd to meet me when I came home. It's always a good sign to see these pups up and about and part of the crowd. The only thing I've not seen from Sam is a tail-wag...I hope I see that soon...

I did hear from Doris's daughter, Pat. She was supposed to be there on Saturday when I picked up Sam, but she just felt that she couldn't, so her husband met me instead. Pat did e-mail me on Monday and asked about Sam. I responded and sent her a picture. Below is a response that I received from her today which again confirms how much Doris treasures her boy Sam.
Hi Kim

Thank you for the lovely e-mail with Sam's picture, and for being so understanding about Saturday. I just didn't think I could handle seeing him go. I printed your e-mail and brought it over to my Mother to read and see Sam's picture. I can't tell you how much your care of Sam means to my Mom, she loves Sam so very much and tried so hard to care for him. Mom is going through so many major adjustments with losing her home and moving into an Assisted Living Facility, and her knowing that Sam is happy means more than you can imagine.

I appreciate your kindness and compassion for our situation, please give Sam a big kiss and hug from his Sister.

Thank you again for everything, please let me know if you need anything further.

Please stay in touch.


Pat, Sam's Sister
Isn't that a nice e-mail? It all continues to pull at my heartstrings.

By the way, someone asked about how we're dealing with having 2 Sam's in our household. It's really not a challenge at all because neither one of the Sam's listen, and at least "old Sam" who is hard of hearing has an excuse!

I hope you all are having a good week!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sam Arrives at Golden Pines

In his much younger days Sam was said to be a maniac. He was a bit territorial, leash aggressive and didn't get along that well with other dogs. He chewed everything and anything including doors and trim and even a garage door. He got into the trash and stole food off the counter. The dog that is laying on the floor in my living room is no longer this dog. He days of bolting through an open door and running off are now memories for him. He has problems walking because of arthritis and may even have a slight problem with incontinence. He is also a bit confused and I know he doesn't quite understand what has happened to him. But there is still a spark there. He tried to chase the cat and even tried a little bit of 'dominance' over Hamlet...He fell to the floor...twice...Poor Sam...Poor Hamlet. But there's no question that Sam has been well cared for. His coat is neat, nails are trimmed and his teeth look good too. When I spoke with Doris last evening, I promised her I'd let her know how he was doing, and that when she got all settled, we'd arrange something where she could see him. I know that the rescue won't approve of that, but I doubt I'll even let them know. Doris was there when Sam needed someone and made a difference for him. She dearly loves Sam and I know is very concerned about him. I can't and won't be heartless in this whole thing.

Tanner's vet visit went well. His eyes are just fine, pressure is normal in his good eye, and not able to be measured in the eye he has no site in. We're just to really watch him for any dramatic changes and not to vary his routine. My vet thinks he's in pretty good shape.

Hamlet on the other hand...I've been in a bit of denial about the return of the tumor. But it's time to face the reality and that's that it is bigger than I thought it was. It's not bigger than it was originally, but it is pretty deep within the tissue of his shoulder and extends up under his front leg. My vet doesn't think that doing the surgery again is going to work. So much tissue was removed in the first surgery and if we do the surgery again, because it came back so quickly, it would no doubt return and we'd be having the same discussion. We both agree that it's a good idea to be proactive and so I'll be making an appointment with the holistic vet to see what she has in her bag of tricks for us to try. Hamlet otherwise is healthy.

It was a very busy day. Carl worked on getting our barn-doors ready to be repainted and after Sam was settled I did some late afternoon errands. The day ended on a very quiet note, everyone was worn out from a game of frisbee and a couple of good long walks. All was quiet and then I heard Sam harassing the cat...Yes, that spark is still there and there are a couple of things he's going to have to learn--Can you teach an old dog a new trick?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Dog Day

I'm getting behind, and I'd hoped to have a day to get caught up on things around the house and with my blog reading too. But it doesn't look like it's going to happen. At least not today.

Hamlet (pictured) has a vet appointment this morning. Unfortunately the huge lipoma that he had removed in April has returned. I'd hoped that it wouldn't and if it did, perhaps it wouldn't be as big. While it's not as big as it was, it is growing and with the tightness of the skin, it's bothering him. I don't want to put him through another surgery, so I'm going to discuss with my vet about Hamlet seeing a holistic vet. There's one in this practice that uses Chinese herbs. I've used them in the past and one in particular shrunk the tumor of a senior boy that I had at the time. We'll see. Tanner is also coming along for a check up as well. He's had a good week and no "senior moments" that I noticed.

Finally, I received a bit of a frantic phone call yesterday from the rescue. There is an 88 year old widowed lady named Doris that fell and broke her hip. She adopted a dog from the rescue in 2001 and is now unable to care for him. She has been in the hospital for 2 weeks and is now going to be moved to a senior care facility that doesn't allow pets. He has been left in her house alone, and of course she has missed him terribly and is very worried about him; so much so that she's been calling her home several times a day and leaving messages on the answering machine so he could hear her voice. (Someone has been coming to her home twice a day to let the dog out). No one in the family wants the dog and they all feel that he should be put down, but Doris doesn't want to do that. Doris and her vet think that he may have some quality of life left. Can you finish this story? Yes, we (or should I say "I") agreed to take him. I am going to be picking "Sam" up today after our vet appointments. There is no question and even I will admit that we are truly (!!) bursting apart at the seams, but I always have room for another...I called Doris and spoke with her. To say that she's heartbroken about giving up her precious Sam is an understatement. By the way, did I mention that her treasured Golden is 15 years old? The life expectancy of a Golden Retriever is 12-14 years. I know we won't have him for long. But this is so sad for Sam and Doris to lose one another at a time when they need each other most.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Terrible Way to Start the Day!

It was bound to happen. I should have known it was only a matter of time. But I've felt that we were a bit invincible and it couldn't possibly happen to us. I was wrong and it almost cost Rudi her life. What could I possibly be talking about? Well, let me tell you...It all started with our pear tree. For several reasons we won't be able to enjoy them this year so I've been letting the dogs eat them as they find them on the ground. They are really small this year, a little smaller than a tennis ball and the skins are very rough. But each morning a couple of the dogs go to the tree and find the pears that have fallen off. This morning was no different. When we were done with our walk I saw that Rudi had found another one and was carrying it around in her mouth. I never let the dogs bring the pears inside but today I went ahead and let Rudi bring it in with her to eat. Sheba and Josh immediately noticed that she had one and were quick to try and get their share of it. Rudi was prancing around making all her noises and was doing what I can only describe as showing off that she had something that the others wanted and something that she knew wasn't allowed inside.

I don't know how it happened all I know is that I heard this noise in the living room and saw that Rudi was struggling to breathe and I immediately knew that she had swallowed the pear! I don't know how many times I grabbed her to try and help her, but she kept getting away from me. I couldn't really see the whole pear when I opened her mouth but I could see enough of it to know that it was beyond reach of just grabbing it and pulling it out. Another problem was that she kept locking her teeth as she kept trying to swallow it. I can't begin to tell you the panic I was feeling. In my head I did the quick math and knew that with the morning traffic it could take me at least 25 minutes to get to the vet. I could see that her gums were already starting to turn pale and I felt that she probably wouldn't make it if I made the trip. I knew that I had to find a way to remove the pear.

I do know how to do the Heimlich maneuver on a person and I know that can be done on a dog, but I don't know exactly how to do it. So I straddled Rudi and put my hand on the outside of her neck. I could feel the pear and so I tried to work it back up her throat. I felt it move and come back up part way, but at that moment Rudi forced herself away from me. I grabbed her again and got her down onto the floor; I think I was practically laying on top of her to keep her from getting away from me. Her teeth were clamped shut and I wished that Carl had been there to open her mouth. I don't know if I have ever felt so panicked, scared and as alone and in such despair as I did at that moment. I pleaded with God to please help me to know what to do, to please not let my precious Rudi die because of something I had so foolishly thought would never happen. I remember the dogs standing there watching and I recall saying something to them about how afraid I was, that I didn't know what to do because Rudi wasn't letting me try to get the pear out.

No sooner had I said all of that than all those feelings were gone and there a sense of calm that came over me and Rudi became very quiet and still. Laying on the floor I again tried to push the pear back up her throat. SLOWLY but surely it rose up her throat. Rudi let me open her mouth, so with that hand I held it open and with the other I held the pear and I was able to grab it and remove it from her throat!! We both laid there on the floor for several minutes as I cried and said prayers of thanks--Rudi also laid there quietly, panting and trying to swallow. When I stood up the dogs came to me and gave me what I felt like was a "congratulations" because they all started barking, and some of them were licking Rudi's face--It felt like a real celebration! Actually come to think of it, it was.

There was blood on the pear and I worried that something in Rudi's throat could be torn so I took her to the vet. It took me 30 minutes to get there. The vet checked Rudi out and feels that she is okay, but she's been given some antibiotics just in case. He told me that I'd saved Rudi's life. He also told me that this happens most frequently with tennis balls. Most people he said take them to try and get help and the dog sometimes dies on the way. I am very humbled and thankful beyond what any words can say that today that didn't happen.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Late Night Visitor

Sam kept barking at the back-door this evening, and when I opened it, I found this nighttime visitor sitting on the porch. I wonder what he wanted? Had my Prince finally come? He looks like he might be hungry. Was he here for dinner or to be dinner? I'll never know because I didn't invite him in...It was too late, and Carl (my other Prince) had already gone to bed, which is where I'm going too--I hope you've all had a good day! Good night everyone!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Our week is off to a running start. Carl is again working days this week and left the house this morning around 4 AM and will get home after I do this evening. (I think Carl likes to leave early because he doesn't have to make the bed!) So before my day goes into high gear, I wanted to thank those of you who took a moment from your lives and shared your thoughts, experiences, and gave support as we wade into the unknown with Tanner. After reading your comments, and also a link provided by "Shelia and Bob" I do think that a bit of dementia has set in for him. Since he's due to have his eyes checked again, I made an appointment for him to see the vet on Thursday. Whenever there's a change in one of our dogs, I think it's a good idea for the vet to see them to make sure nothing is being overlooked.

As you know, we have cared for several senior Goldens. But each one as they have reached this tender age and their years start to show, their path becomes unique and different from the one before. I can't help it, I always find myself a bit bewildered as we begin what we know is our final journey together. Of course I don't know how long it will be until it ends. However for now, I don't have to think about that; I firmly believe that despite these "senior moments" Tanner is happy and healthy. We will continue in the direction we've been taking with him and when he unknowingly veers off course we'll be his guide and his compass to help him get headed back in the right direction--Thank-goodness he doesn't drive or cook!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Concern for Tanner

Today I'm finding myself once again concerned about Tanner. Some of you know that he's a 13+ year old Golden that we've had for just over 2 years. He had treatment for glaucoma, and at the end of May had a bout of canine vestibular syndrome. While I think that he's about 98% back to where he was, I have my concerns about him since this occurred. Sometimes Tanner doesn't seem like he knows where he is--This has just started happening since he was hit with that. When I got home from church, I left the backdoor open so the dogs could go in and out. A little later when I went to shut the door I found Tanner laying in the grass in the pouring rain--When I called him he seemed a bit startled, but got up and came back inside, tail wagging like nothing was wrong. It was like all the sudden he clicked back into reality. This isn't the first time this has happened. We watch him very closely outside because he will sometimes wander off or just seem to walk aimlessly and end up in the bushes. While I know that he has limited eye-site because he's blind in his right eye, he still has vision in his left. I find it all a bit unsettling and a bit sad too...Is it maybe just old age or could it be as a result of the vestibular syndrome--Any thoughts?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Lazy Saturday

Its been a pretty quiet week at Golden Pines.

Carl who has been working his month of nights was changed to days this week. This means that I'm playing the role of "single parent" and having to do everything in the morning and in the evening with the dogs which doesn't leave me time to do much else--I'm not complaining, it just keeps me busy. (Sheba above)

It's great that the weekend is here. Carl was nice and made the bed this morning. Didn't he do a good job?
We decided that we would go and look at pavers at one of the nurseries today. I really want something besides dirt and grass around our back-porch. We just have to decide on the size and kind of stone, concrete or flagstone--Who knew there were so many choices? Then we went to Wegmans grocery store. For those of you who have never heard of Wegmans, I'm not quite sure how to describe it. But I think that it's a name that strikes fear in the hearts of supermarket owners from New York to Virginia. They offer specialty shops and in-store cafes for whatever you may be craving. There's also a seafood bar, deli, cheese shops with around 300 different varieties, and even a French-style pastry shop, and a flower and gift shop too--They even offer gourmet cooking classes. With the exception of valet parking, you name it, and they will probably have it. Can you tell I love Wegmans? (By the way, Wegmans policy is that you can't take pictures inside the store, so I copied this one from their website. But we have this same view from our stores mezzanine where you can sit and enjoy lunch, dinner, coffee or whatever...Did I mention that I love Wegmans?)
After my culinary outing we came home. The dogs are good. I asked for and got permission from the rescue to continue the swim-therapy for Bubba. YAY!! He was supposed to have gone swimming on Thursday. But Bubba and Toby both needed their nails trimmed (or sawed off) because they were so long and I couldn't do it myself. I had it all worked out. I'd take them in, let the groomers at the vets office that the rescue uses do the job and off I'd go. It would have all worked out if the person who did the nail trim would not have nicked the quick of Bubba's nail or his toe or something that had him sporting a bandage on his foot the last couple of days. They were vague about what they did, but the vet wasn't about his not going swimming. I took it off today and saw that the nail has been cut pretty short.

We did a little bit of yard work--Carl pulled off "bag worms" from one of our trees. We weren't paying attention and quite a few of them attached themselves to one of our pine trees. I'm hoping the tree will recover and the caterpillar that you can see emerging from it's "bag" and its friends won't. While Carl was collecting caterpillars I played frisbee with the dogs and we just hung out. Its been a nice afternoon. All the dogs are worn out from playing and I think I'm going to join them in a late afternoon nap. (Top photo Rudi--Middle is Sheba--Bottom is Josh)
I hope you're having a relaxing weekend too!! (Tanner)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Bugged at Golden Pines!

Here at Golden Pines, we hate bugs!

Black and scarlet bugs

Green Bugs Bad Bugs Mean looking bugs Any kind of a bug... A bug in the grass A bug on the side of a tree A bug on the glass Long bugs Young bugs Fat bugs
Skinny bugs Buggy bugs Yes, we hate bugs...

Okay, I do which is why I usually stay on the porch.

Hope you all are having a good week!
***The pictures of the bugs have been taken through the summer; whenever I'd see a bug, I'd take its picture, most have been cropped down. But the picture of the dogs was taken this morning--The dogs in the photo are, starting at the bottom, Josh, Sheba (head through the railing) the Chub Brothers with Bubba being closest, Toby and Rudi in the very back.