Sunday, October 31, 2010

That takes the cake, Rosie!


Rosie ate J's birthday cake, as it cooled on the counter supposedly out of her reach. J hid his disappointment well, saying it was the thought that counts, and he doesn't need a cake.  Since I am going to work tomorrow (I know!) and he took the day off, I told him if he picks up another box, I will make it when I get home.

To make sure the day wasn't a total washout for J, I will include some of his Halloween pictures.  We actually doubled our trick-or-treaters this year... to 2!

Hope everyone's Halloween was a happy spooky one!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Restoring Sanity with Mr Crazy

Ameranth took a bus last night to attend the Jon Stewart Restoring Sanity Rally in Washington DC. J and I watched it live on TV this afternoon, but didn't see her there, although we had told her to wave. She called later so we know she not only survived the huge crowds of people and the bus ride with strangers, she also had a good time.

I enjoyed the rally, but they were preaching to the choir since I appreciate moderation in all things (except food) and hate the name-calling and venom so often in the news.

Meanwhile, we were dealing with important matters at home. J's birthday is Monday and I needed to know what kind of cake he wanted.

J: Well, my favorite is chocolate with chocolate frosting, but since Ameranth doesn't like that, I'll have white cake with chocolate frosting.

Me: White? or do you mean yellow?

J: Oh, I do remember Aunt Edie's white cakes- they were the best, but you like yellow cake, so I'll have yellow.

Me: It's your birthday, and I like any kind of cake so- white or yellow?

J: White....You know what I'd really like? Banana cream pie!

Me: Okay- that's even easier. Banana cream pie it is.

J: Mmm Mmm Banana cream pie. Wait- what is that again?

Me: Banana cream pie? It's bananas in pudding with whipped cream and a graham cracker crust.

J: Oh, you mean a 'pie' pie. I meant Boston Cream Pie.

Me: Well, which one do you want? They don't make the Boston Cream Pie mix anymore. (Betty Crocker, why have you failed me? And yes, I can make it from scratch but it just doesn't taste the same as the mix my grandmother used)

J: Boston Cream- that's what I want.

So off we go to the grocery store. J always parks in the same two rows: first we go up the second row in, and then down the outside if nothing's available in his first choice. That way we go in the correct door to grab a cart and circle the store in the proper direction. Today we had problems- too many people were shopping and 'our' rows were full.

J: Hmm, no openings. Now what do we do?

Me: Why don't you try the third row? I saw some spaces there.

J: All righty. That's what we'll do.

Me: Oooh, exciting. I don't think we've ever parked in this row before!

J: I think you're right. My, aren't we adventurous today?

It's a pity none of our children were with us. They so love our humor. 
But they might have decided we need to restore some sanity right here in Maine.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Back off, Bird!

The cardinal was back this morning, tapping away to wake me up. Maybe there are little bugs on the window sill, but I don't think so. Ameranth thinks he remembers the bird feeders we used to have out back, before we had silly dogs who try to eat the suet and jump at the feeders.

He woke me in time to see fog making the morning soft and furry, but as fast as I dressed, it was still almost too late to catch any photos.
The pasture picture doesn't really show the fog, but to the south, our neighbor's house and the road are still misty.
I ended up just preparing the steps today, since I noticed some dirt and mildew spots that needed to disappear. It was beautifully sunny and hit 70 this afternoon, which is my kind of fall day.

Maybe the bird was telling me to get my butt out of bed and enjoy it!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tuesday Randomness in Maine


Today was a beautiful day here- sunny, not windy and in the 60's. A tiny Indian summer, and I wanted to stain the steps. But I read the instructions first, dammit, and while I was going to ignore the "wood must be completely dry" part, the "no rain expected for 24 hours" part got me. It will rain tonight and probably tomorrow, so no go.  Buuut, Thursday and Friday are supposed to be fairly warm and fairly dry, so I will aim for then. The next picture of these steps will have color in them. I hope.

Sunday we cleaned the chicken coop and added insulation, then covered it with the panels we saved from the bathroom demolition. Not the prettiest job, but good enough to keep the hens from eating the fiberglass- which they would.
Some of the girls venturing in when we finished. One really wanted in while we worked, I suppose she may be one of the few that are laying. I wish there was a way to tell which ones were worth keeping. Maybe I should try a hidden web cam.

Went to the dump Sunday and found that the hours are changing next week, from 4 days a week to 3 for the winter. The roof over the reuse area is finished now, so the unwanted-but-too-good-to-throw-away stuff stays drier,and I assume more desirable. So desirable in fact, that there is a two item per person, per day limit. Why? Isn't the idea for someone to take the junk and recycle it?  I did hear one of the workers tell the story of how he stopped someone from cherrypicking golf clubs. If he wanted some, he had to take them all, plus the bag. Hardcore rules, indeed.

I made a pot pie from leftovers tonight and it was good. J and I were both a bit leery of the idea but happily enjoyed it. Ameranth used the leftover pie crust dough for a little apple tart, so everyone wins!

That's about all the random non-news I have so- Good Day!

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Cardinal Sign?

While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
`'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more.'  *

Then I woke completely and sat up looking at the window facing the foot of the bed.
A plump red cardinal perched on the sill, pecking at the glass. We stared at each other for a second or two, and off he flew. But just as far as the lilac, and then he was back, tap tapping again.

That happened a couple more days last week, and then he was gone. No idea what he was looking for. If that was some kind of messenger, I completely whiffed it. Please try again.

*Edgar Allen Poe

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Idle comments

Ameranth and I just came in from the garden, where we pulled old pumpkin vines, and many weeds,(and found one more butternut squash!)  getting it cleaned up for the winter. We then tackled the hen yard where an obnoxious weed had taken over. I don't know the name but it has stubborn roots and very sharp little burrs on it. I remarked that the burrs were like tiny caltrops.

Ameranth agreed, then said "You know, a lot of people would not know what you meant. See how video games and movies are educational?"

Earlier today she found an article online about a gay man enlisting (again) in the Army.  He had gone to West Point and served for 10 years before being discharged in July, because he was gay.

Ameranth: "Good for him! I'm glad he can do that. Not that enlisting in the Army is something I would ever want, but if he wants to, he should be able to do it".

Me: "That is not very Christian of you!"

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

It's the meds

Okay, I get that prednisone increases your appetite Rosie, but really? Raw squash? The first from the garden this year?

It was lucky we had more as backup, because that was beyond saving. Not that I would think of using a dog-chewed squash. Ha, that would be nasty.

Monday, October 18, 2010

I was gone - did you miss me?

Strange as it may seem, I apparently have readers who demand new fodder every so often. Since they are family, they know how to reach me to nag me make sure I am okay. Anyone else probably did not miss my life updates. Actually, the blog gets updated more often when I am not busy doing anything. When I have actual new stuff to write about, I am too busy doing said stuff to write. Go figure.

I was happy today to find new Ladyslipper pictures on her mom's Face-book account and saved them to my computer to share. So with no further ado, here she is.

Hopefully, when she is a bit older, Shoeshine will be able to bring her to visit us.

The cold I developed in R.I. was still with me all of last week, which sucked, but the good news was I successfully kept the germs to myself and neither of my parents caught it. That would have been quite the guilt trip! My sisters and I browbeat my folks into accepting the fact that they should have grab bars installed in their bathroom. One sister suggested that they totally redo it with a walk-in shower and that was enough to make the bars seem minor, I guess.

J and I drove down Friday, took my mother out to buy the ones she wanted and installed them Saturday morning. We replaced a towel bar and added a lower one at the side, but that was it. #4 asked me where the others were, and I told her that was her argument to make- I hadn't won it when I tried for 2 more bars. Baby steps.

However, later drama forced their hands when my father stood up too abruptly shortly after dialysis and keeled over. A 911 call, rescue truck ride and 2+ hours in the emergency room later, he was sent home with instructions to stand up and wait before he moves on in the future.  We struck quickly and won the 2 extra bars in the bathroom. 

Ameranth stayed home with the dogs(Thank you) and welcomed us home with the news that Boomer had a large bump over his eye. Unknown origin. We are guessing it may have been a bit of porcupine quill that worked it's way out, especially since it drained overnight.

Oh, speaking of dogs, Rosie had her first monthly steroid shot Friday. It was pouring rain, and I had to force her into the car, then into the vet's office. As we walked in the lobby I heard a low moan, followed by a couple more- it sounded like a sad,sad cow. She has a few hard little bumps on her leg which are probably quills and I mentioned them to the vet, commenting that I told Rosie if they were tumors that was the last straw. The vet thought I was kidding.

Ameranth finally got her photos uploaded. Here's the evil porcupine in a tree after it tried to kill my dogs It's a little small so I think it's probably this year's and was out on it's own for the first time.
Here are the frolicking dogs moments before the 'incident'.
And here's Boomer as he repaid Ameranth's kindness in taking him with Anna hiking up Mount Pisgah. He raced up the fire tower and then promptly forgot how to go down steps. Ameranth doesn't like heights.
After forcing herself up as far as she could and having me try calling him down on speaker phone, a friendly hiker finally showed up. He didn't mind heights, but was a little leery of helping a dog who was growling at him. He had to lead him all the way down because as soon as he let go Boomer tried to head up again. 

On the plus side, there were lovely views from that far up.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Back in place

     'Tis evening on the moorland free,
         The starlit wave is still:
      Home is the sailor from the sea,
         The hunter from the hill.
               A.E. Housman  
Or, my father's home from the hospital and I'm home in Maine.

My mums finished blooming while I was away,
 and the hens were allowed back out to play.

The last pumpkin came off the vine and just in the nick of time, since we're supposed to get a frost tonight, although the sumac still is bright.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Is today Wednesday?

It's hard to keep track of the days, but I've been in R.I. long enough to have to do laundry.

My father has had two dialysis sessions so far and is doing well. As of today the tentative release date is Saturday, assuming he is able to walk steadily enough to get himself around the house. Rumor has it that he told his nurse that he wants to get home to clean up the fallen leaves. She was somewhat reassured by the news that he plans only to ride his lawn tractor to do so, but I think he should probably plan on a springtime cleanup instead. If it hadn't been raining all week, I would have done it myself. I still might be able to get out there Friday, when we are told the sun will reappear.

I have J's cold. And am not happy about it. I stayed home with my sniffles and cough today which I am sure the hospital folks appreciated. I am worried about infecting my mother, so have taken to cleaning surfaces with antiseptics wipes wherever I go.  She says she doesn't get colds very much anymore. Sure, because you don't go anywhere to be contaminated. Me neither.  But J brings the germs home to share, so I don't need to.

Ameranth told me that there was a bit of excitement at home today. Yes, indeed, another porcupine encounter. She would like to think that there was no damages today because the dogs had learned a lesson, but I don't know. But they didn't rush in or try to bite it, and she was able to drag them all back to the house without another vet visit needed.

It's been nice spending time this week with my mother, except for the whole 'father in the hospital' thing. Having me here makes him feel better too, since they each worry more about the other than themselves. Ma has always been forgetful, more so when flustered, but aren't we all? She's been doing pretty well giving me driving directions at least. I must say, we can have the same conversation a few times a day (or in a half hour) but I can do that with J too. Hmmm, maybe it's me, and nobody pays attention to what I say? No, that can't be it.

Let me see if I can find another picture here to steal.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Away from home

Ah ha! I remembered what my password was so am able to write a post from R.I. on my parent's computer. Victory!

My father was admitted to the hospital Thursday after having trouble breathing and generally not feeling well. He has been valiantly fighting off dialysis, but heart problems and fluid retention have gotten the best of him. I invited myself down to stay with my mother until he's home again. One benefit of being retired. My 3 sisters do a great job helping when needed, but they all have jobs to work around, while I am free for another month.

I also delivered Mabel home to her parents Saturday, since I was going right by them. Good timing on her behalf, because upon my arrival in R.I. I was greeted by the news that J and Ameranth were on their way to the emergency vet's because of a porcupine encounter. First person account can be read here.

I cannot believe how much money dogs have cost us in just 2 weeks! Yikes. Poor J has a wicked head cold and frankly, I was glad I was getting away, hopefully before I caught it. Doubly glad that I missed the porcupine hullabaloo.

Tomorrow, my father has surgery to install a port in his jugular vein for the dialysis, the idea of which makes me shudder. Oddly, I think he prefers that (out of his line of vision) over the shunt in his arm which was prepared months ago, but did not heal properly large enough.  Ideally, Monday goes smoothly, dialysis starts and he starts feeling better and better. He comes home, I go home and all hell will break loose, I suppose! At my house, not here :)
I snooped around this computer and found a photo of Torsey Lake, one of his favorite spots.

Friday, October 1, 2010

She bounced back

Just a short post to let anyone who is interested know that Rosie is back to normal today. She ate dinner last night and has been fine since. I think that delaying her (formerly evening) prednisone for 12 hours to start giving it to her in the morning, combined with the stress of the vet caused the setback.