Category Archives: Dogs

Dog Quilts

Our dogs might just be a little bit spoiled (I hope you read a bit of sarcasm into that sentence,) and after writing this post I can no longer blame that solely on my husband. Each dog not only has his or her own bed, but they also have a blanket to go on their bed. Over the years our dogs have worn through many old blankets we have given them. The main problem with giving people blankets to dogs is that rather than covering up with a blanket like people would, dogs walk on the blanket, then lie on the blanket, and some, like our Ranger, might even feel it necessary to walk in a few small circles on the blanket in order to create a nest to lie in. These blankets can wear out quickly. They need something sturdier.

I decided to make the dog quilts when I realized that our old living room curtains would make a durable quilt backing and perhaps hold up better than the blankets that we had been giving the dogs.

I used two layers of flannel then added the curtain, that is a heavy woven fabric, for the backing and binding. I finished the first one Tuesday evening and after showing it to my husband we presented it to the dogs.

When we placed it on the dog bed my husband coaxed Ruby on it so I could take a picture.

Shortly after Ruby got up Ranger staked his claim.

The next thing I noticed was Ruby hiding in the corner. I think she was pouting.

I guess I should have waited until I had both quilts finished before I presented them to the dogs – what was I thinking? πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ

Since Ruby made me feel guilty that Ranger got a blanket and she didn’t, Wednesday became a quilt making marathon for me. I had the second one finished by Wednesday evening.

I did have a nice even pattern planned for this quilt with the same color blocks connecting on the diagonal. After sewing the first two rows together I realized I had sewn the second row of blocks on upside down and messed up the pattern. I decided not the rip out all the stitching and redo it because the dogs wouldn’t care about the pattern of the blocks.

We (Ranger, Ruby, my husband and I) all love the way the quilts turned and as a bonus they add a warm and cozy feeling to our living room.

Thanks for reading.

Do you have a spoiled pet in your life?

A Summer Evening at the Farm

Tuesday evening as we headed to the farm I didn’t really have a plan as to what I was going to accomplish. I knew there were things that need to be done, like cutting some grass, weeding in the prayer garden and cleaning garlic, but I didn’t feel an urgent need to get any of those things done.

So, I took the evening off and just enjoyed being at the farm on a beautiful summer evening. It was a great time for picture taking so grab your favorite beverage and join me.

*For anyone who is burned out on nature pictures you can play a game as you read ” Count the tennis Balls” let me know in the comments how many tennis balls you saw in the pictures. *

As we arrived at the farm shortly after 6:00 P.M. the first order of business was to feed the chickens the kitchen scraps we had collected throughout the day. As usual Ruby had to sniff though the goodies to see what she might like. Since it was mostly watermelon rinds and peach peels (I canned peaches that morning), I’m not sure if she actually found anything good to eat.

The weather is still very summerlike but there is a feel that fall is fast approaching. Late summer/fall flowers, like these black-eyed-Susans and purple loosestrife, are in bloom.

The hibiscus are beautiful this year.

I’ve been waiting all summer for these volunteer cosmos to blossom. I am reminded of my maternal grandma, who loved these flowers.

I’ve also been waiting for the opportunity to photograph a dragonfly. As I wandered through the prayer garden, this one posed on a lily leaf to oblige me.

The balloon flowers continue to blossom, but I think I need to add deadheading them to my to-do list to keep them flowering longer.

After photographing the balloon flower, I looked toward the beach and was pleasantly surprised to see our green heron. Long time followers might remember that each year in late summer we begin seeing a green heron dining along the edges of our pond. In past year I have speculated that there were a pair perhaps living in our woods since on some occasions I had seen two of them.

A couple weeks ago my husband first mentioned seeing “that bird” and he has talked about it, and how good it is at catching fish, a few times since then. Until Tuesday night I had yet to see it this year.

My husband and I agree in thinking that this is not the same bird we’ve seen in past years as it looks younger.

It also did not seem as skittish as in past years.

I was probably within 15 feet when I took this photo,

and as I stood on the edge of the prayer garden it continued to comb the shoreline making its way right past me,

on the hunt for a minnow or a frog.

Check out that hair do. Looks like a rock star. LOL!

After my rock star friend flew to the other side of the pond, I began making my way to the main garden, AKA puppy playground, to take some photos. I passed this patch of wildflowers near the beehives. I’m not sure what they are but the patch has spread each year and they make a grand showing.

When I got to the main garden and was approaching these sunflowers, I noticed two hummingbirds that seemed to be playing near the flowers. Unfortunately, they flew off before I could get my camera.

A few weeks ago my husband noticed that birds had begun eating our unripe apples. He at first was blaming it on crows but we have since witnessed sparrows flying out of the trees as we approach. He chose the tree with the most apples on it and put netting over and around it. While none of the apples are visible in this picture rest assured, we can now leave them on the tree to fully ripen.

We did leave the rest of the apple trees un-netted, so the sparrows have plenty to eat (unless the crows get there first.)

Before I continued my garden tour, I had to play a game of fetch with Ruby.

I threw the ball several times and each time she brought it back to me to throw again.

When she decided to take a break, I continued on my way.

The sunflowers, a beautiful variety that we had not planted before, were buzzing with bees.

Melons (not tennis balls)

Cantaloups were planted late and are not yet ripe, but we should get a few nice melons from these plants.

Green Hubbard

The squash are still growing as well. I expect it will be at least another month before we harvest any.

Some pumpkins are beginning to turn orange.

After leaving the garden my husband and I sat at the picnic area for a while. Ruby decided it was time for another game of fetch.

The chickens don’t play fetch, but I have seen a curious hen walk up and peck a tennis ball.

I have seen Peanut play with a tennis ball, but fetch is not his game either.

When the flies started biting my ankles we decided to relocate. We sat on the beach to enjoy the scenery. Thankfully there were no flies there.

The wind was calm, and the water looked like glass.

Until my husband threw some fish food in. The minnows began feeding almost immediately leaving rings on the surface of the pond.

The sun was setting in the west. The green heron was still fishing along the edge of the pond but was beyond the cameras reach. It was peaceful feel just relaxing and soaking up this environment.

Then the entertainment began.

Ruby and Ranger began ruff-housing.

Running and chasing each other, barking and kicking up sand.

It’s funny to watch them play like this knowing they are BFF”s.

My camera battery went dead after this photo, but you really didn’t miss any of the good stuff. I hope you enjoyed our evening at the farm. Thanks for spending time with us.

One last photo for those who are counting.

Are you making the most of the last days of summer?

How many tennis balls did you count?

A Good Busy

Hello and welcome. August is upon us and I feel like I’ve been MIA (blogging action at least) for a while. It has been longer than I like to go between posts so I’m going share a hodge-podge of things that have been keeping us busy.

Dog Tails

Ruby has been with us for nearly two months now and we are all happy she’s here. When I first introduced you to Ruby I had mentioned a few things that she needed to learn. She has proven to be a quick learner. She no longer tries to get in bed with us at night and rarely puts her paws up on our chests. She is doing well with knowing that she can shoo the chickens out of the barn or off a chair, but she does not chase them for fun. The chickens are no longer afraid of her. To them she is just part of the farm family.

When we adopted Ruby from the shelter we were told that she had not been well socialized and took a while to warm up to people. While at times this may be the case, she had no problem socializing with people and other dogs when we had a family picnic at the farm.

Ruby swimming with the family.
Ruby always eager to play fetch.
Ruby playing chase with Captain and Misty.
Ruby waiting for Kara to throw the frisbee.

It took a few weeks for Ranger and Ruby to bond. At first Ranger seemed to think of Ruby as an intruder, especially when he would be getting attention from my husband or me and she would push her way in or when she would curl up on my lap as I was kicked back in my recliner (he was used to having the choice of my lap or my husbands.) But it wasn’t just our attention that Ruby sought. She worked hard to get Ranger to be her friend.

Often modeling his behavior or initiating play sessions.

She just doesn’t understand the concept of hunting.

Nowadays Ruby and Ranger spend a lot of time ruffhousing or wrestling.

Ruffhousing

Sometimes it can look and sound like they are being mean to each other, but they are just playing and having fun. They really have become good friends.

Besides ruffhousing with Ranger, Ruby’s other activity of choice is playing fetch. A ball, a frisbee, a stick – if we throw it Ruby will fetch it and bring it back to be thrown again. She is definitely a retriever.

My husband often comes home with a sore arm from throwing the ball so many times, but Ruby’s not done, after she eats, she will go get a ball and bring it to me or my husband, wanting to resume the game that was started at the farm.

Incidentally, she has also learned not to chew up her toys. In the first several weeks she chewed up several balls and other toys. Each time she would chew a hole in something we would throw it away as we didn’t want her swallowing plastic or whatever materials the toy was made out of. We began monitoring her and telling her “no chew” or “be nice” when we saw her chewing up a toy and she has since stopped destroying her toys. We do still allow her to chew up sticks.

Making Curtains

Last week, our hottest week so far this year, was a good time for me to have an inside project to work on, so when my husband suggested we needed new curtains for the kitchen and back bathroom I decided to make some. It was also perfect timing because my sister, K.C. was in town for a day, so we had lunch together then made a trip to the fabric store. πŸ™‚

Below are the results of this project.

Kitchen curtains are opened most of the day.
But necessary to block the morning sun.

My husband and I agree – we Love the kitchen curtains! Even when they block the sun they still brighten the room.

The pattern on the bathroom curtains is honeybees and clover. πŸ™‚

We also like the bathroom curtains just not as much as we love the kitchen curtains.

Chickens

It’s been a while since I have blogged about the chickens and quite honestly it hasn’t been our best year of raising chickens. In the spring we lost about half our flock to a fox or family of foxes. We can only assume that there was more than one because on one day we lost seven chickens in just a couple hour time frame. They were not killed on sight they were carried off by their predator(s). On a few other occasions we lost one at a time.

The fox was pretty bold. My husband yelled to chase it off a few times. It has been at least a month now since there has been any evidence of fox in the area, so think that perhaps it has raised its young and moved on.

These chickens are some of the chicks we bought this spring. Out of the 12 chicks we started with this spring we still have six of them – two black and four white. It’s too early to tell, but we suspect one of the white ones might be a rooster since it’s comb and wattles are far more developed than the rest of them. We expect the hens to start laying in August.

Garden Stuff

The gardens continue to do well. Having everything mulched heavily with straw has worked so well. Not only has it kept weeds well under control it helps the soil retain moisture making it available for the plants.

Our squash and pumpkins were planted late but they are doing well.

They are beginning to blossom and form fruit.

Melons and cucumbers were also planted late but are blossoming and forming fruit as well. We did pick our first cucumbers this week and I plan on making pickles soon.

Look at the little watermelon. So cute!

Cabbage is looking good – I’ll be making sauerkraut this year.

We’ve started picking tomatoes. I’ll probably have enough to start canning next week.

Stuffed peppers are on the upcoming menu. We have been including garden produce in our meals each day. Perhaps I’ll share some of these dishes in future posts.

So far this is the only sunflower to blossom since the deer ate the tops off of most of the plants. It is a beauty though.

Thanks for visiting. Watch for future posts on how we are eating and preserving our harvest.

Meet Ruby

I want to take a minute to introduce you to our newest family member. Ruby is a lab/shepherd mix, about a year old.

We had been thinking and talking about getting another dog for quite a while, but a couple of things had to happen before we did. First, we decided we would wait until after my vacation to visit my sister. It would not have been fair to my husband or the dog to get a new dog and then have me leave for a few days. Second, on June 2 we were scheduled to have new windows installed in our home. This required a lot of preparation on our part, taking down shutters, moving furniture, curtains, blinds, etc… There just wasn’t a lot of time to spend with a new dog.

Even though we continue to be busy with the farm and spring cleaning at the house, this week seemed to be the right time to find Ranger a new friend. I had been watching the website of our local animal shelter for a while and knew they had a lot of animals in need of loving homes. As we backed out of the driveway to head for the shelter on Tuesday afternoon my husband asked, “are we doing the right thing?”

“Let’s pray about it” I replied, and we did. “Lord please help us find the perfect (for us) dog.”

Ruby was one of three dogs we met when we visited the shelter on Tuesday afternoon.

God answered our prayer.

When we brought her home, she immediately began responding to her new name (at the shelter they were calling her Chipotle). Our first order of business was giving her a shower and as I did she stood very nicely while I washed her and then she gave me kisses. She has been well behaved both in the house and at the farm.

She is trying very hard to get Ranger to love her. At this point he is tolerant and slowly warming up to her but there is a bit of jealousy on both sides as they are both vying for my, or my husbands, attention.

It is apparent that in her past life someone spent a good deal of time training her as she has only had one accident in the house at night. She knows and responds to many basic commands among them are “come, sit, stay, leave it, this way and release.” She loves to play ball and tug-of-war. She loves to cuddle and will climb on my lap when I sit in my recliner. She loves to go for rides. She loves to go for walks and spend time at farm.

She still has a few things to learn, like not to chase chickens; not to greet people by putting her front paws on their chest; and although she knows she doesn’t get to sleep in bed with us she still needs to be reminded.

Overall, I’d say Ruby is a real gem. πŸ™‚

Addendum: I’ve been writing this post little by little each day this week and each day it seems there is more to love. Yesterday, Saturday, Ranger and Ruby had their first real play session. They ran around and chased each other and barked at each other and tails were wagging the whole time. It was great to see the kids dogs getting along so well.

Thanks for stopping by.

Blame It On the Dog

I have discovered that, for a couple of reasons, blogging from my recliner is not the best option for me. First of all, when I sit down and lean back with my feet out in front of me it tends to trigger a hidden switch somewhere in my body that causes my eyelids to get heavy. This is not something new; it used to happen years ago, when the kids were still at home, and we would have family movie night. Everyone would enjoy watching a movie together except mom who dozed, and possibly snored, through most of it.

The second problem is that when Ranger sees me sitting in my recliner it is an open invitation for cuddle time. He seems to think that my lap is better suited to a lapdog than a laptop so as soon as I sit down, he comes and puts his paws on my knees and pleads to come up.

Cuddle PUP

Who could resist that face?