A Mystery

During the two snowstorms, Sophie the dachshund escaped twice. Sophie is practically bald. And she was out in that snow both times for several hours. That was very upsetting.  I checked the whole fence line, and put some extra stones by the front and back gates in case that was her escape route.

She escaped a couple of times after that. I kept blaming myself, that she was sneaking out when I opened the door, and that she was so short I didn’t notice it.

Then in the past couple of days, she escaped again TWICE, and this time I KNEW it was not from me going in and out. The second time I was outside talking to my neighbor, and a truck comes driving up slowly, PRECEDED by Sophie walking up the middle of the road.

Sophie has lost weight as she gets older. So I walked the fence line again. It is rabbit and deer fencing, so the spaces at the bottom are about two inches apart. I found one place where it looked like she might have wiggled through, and so I wove a bamboo stake through that area. So far she has not escaped since then.

Sophie, the bad little dachshund, looking all innocent in her bed.


An Excellent Day!

But first! I have other things to share with you. My blog life is somewhat divided. I have this blog, and then I have my quilting blog. But sometimes things overlap. I have been working for the past month on a big event. I was invited to teach my quilted embroidery and be the “guest artist” at Quilting in the Garden, which is held at one of my favorite nurseries, Alden Lane. I wrote about the event over on my quilting blog, in case any of you want to see more. It was a wonderful experience. Getting to share 40 of my quilts with the hundreds of people who came through was really special.


Here is part of my quilt display in their greenhouse:

IMG_3784 2

My sister came over to the quilt show and brought me two huge boxes of velvets and silks. When I got home, I went through them and divided them into 4 piles: for me, for my BF Robin, for the thrift store, and for the garbage. The garbage pile got thrown on the floor, and Sophie claimed it. “My treasure,” she says. This is what she does when anything new and even semi-soft lands on the floor. She sat on that pile for hours, until I finally picked it up and put it in the garbage. Don’t feel sorry for her, there are only about six dog beds that she can choose from to sleep in.


Chloe was Robin’s favorite when she visited. And so I started sending her a morning snapshot of Chloe, especially because I won’t let her get in my lap in the morning, and she does her best to get as close as possible–she must be touching me.




Okay, so today…. The day started out bright and early at 7am when Kevin arrived (MLG) to help with some chores. My neighbor (who’s been my neighbor for 29 years) is moving, and so she offered me some furniture. I don’t really have that much room, but I like this pine chest. It will be nice to have a place to display a few things without them needing to be dusted all the time.


And this green leather chair with wood carving–her parents brought it from Italy! Its so beautiful, I couldn’t resist. I’m not a huge fan of green, but its not a bad green. I had to move some furniture around yesterday to get these things to fit in my house.


Then it was on to other chores. My neighbor also gave me a LOT of oak wood for my wood stove. Kevin measured it at one and three-quarters cords! I am all set for winter this year! While Kevin was working on that, I decided that this was the day to clean out the chicken house. It didn’t actually smell bad (when it gets wet is when it smells bad) but I wanted to clean it out before the rains come. It was a big job, and I was exhausted when I was done. But it looked so nice with fresh shavings on the floor. Later in the afternoon I ran out to see if the chickens were enjoying their clean house. This is what I saw–they kept coming in and out the door and staring at the floor. I texted Shelley a picture and she came up with the perfect caption: “THE FLOOR IS LAVA!!” Silly chickens.


And then I turned around and looked at my nest boxes again. I WAS SO EXCITED when I realized that one of my chickens laid her first egg. I had just been telling Kevin that two of them were early egg layers and might start at four months (which is exactly how old they are now.)


Its such a nice little egg.


And then I came back inside and pretty much did nothing for the rest of the afternoon ūüôā


In The Garden–What Season Is It?

My oldest laceleaf Japanese Maple thinks its fall. I think it got a little dry and so it decided it was time to change colors!


Is it spring? The rose bouquet in the oak tree fascinates me ūüôā



There are at least six blooms up there!


It must be summer. All the annuals continue to thrive.




The white marigolds have finally started blooming in earnest. I put the short ones in too early this spring, and I think they did worse than if I had just been patient and put them in later.


I bought a new hibiscus a few weeks ago. Couldn’t resist, even though I know its not frost-hardy. Aren’t the blooms beautiful?


Beautiful, yes. But a bit too close to pink–Sophie was EXTREMELY interested.


Ha! A Sophie-proof container. Every morning she stops below the pot and stares wistfully up at the blooms. And then she goes and chomps down one of the little blooms on the Abutilon. Her look says “they’re not nearly as tasty, but they’ll do in a pinch.”



I am enjoying the garden and the cooler temps we are having. I hope you all take time to smell the roses along the way.

Nervous Little Dogs

Found this draft languishing in my drafts file. This is my all-time favorite Larsen cartoon. He MUST have had a dachshund–his cartoons about them are so dead on. Anyway, I do wish I could get Sophie to use some of her nervous energy to make my morning coffee ūüôā As I said in an earlier post, Sophie seems to get nervous when I do my PT exercises. Here’s how she gets rid of some of her anxiety when I get my yoga mat out. Maybe some of us emotional eaters could take a lesson from her–chewing on a bone has a lot less calories than that cupcake ūüôā DSCN2868 ¬† DSCN2862 DSCN2870 DSCN2866 DSCN2867

Storage and Garden Report

First of all, I want to say a heartfelt THANK YOU for all the nice comments on my last blog about Mr. Monk. You all knew him better than most of my friends! All of us are doing fine. Especially Queen Sophie. After she got over her worry that she might be the next to be “banished” from the kingdom, she has taken back her “rightful place” on the chair next to me in the evenings.

And, I also wanted to thank so many of you for your interesting and informative comments on the previous blog about my knee. Since I wrote that, my first ortho doc got back in touch with me. He had been battling the insurance company all this time (over their refusal to approve the Orthovisc injections), and now advised me to file a complaint with the State Department of Managed Health Care. I completed that today. It will be interesting to see what comes of this.

In the meantime, how about a report on¬†some everyday life¬†stuff ūüôā

Last week J. the contractor came back to finish the little pantry and add shelves to the laundry room. Squeee!!! MORE STORAGE SPACE. I hardly know what to do with it all.

Here’s the pantry. That’s all I’ve put in it so far. I have those two big corner cupboards with lazy susans in them in the kitchen. I’m not sure what to put there, and what to put in the pantry. If anyone has ideas or opinions, feel free to share.


And here’s the laundry room shelves. Plenty of extra storage up there for I don’t know what!


I also had J. put this little hanging cupboard in the mudroom. It used to be in my bathroom. I still liked it so finally decided that this would be the place for it.


I tell you, for someone whose ONLY storage space for many years was a big closet in her bedroom, I feel like I’ve hit the storage jackpot!

And here is a view of the garden. Still pretty bare, but things are sprouting. There are little buds on all the trees. Its fun to go out there and scope things out every day. I have to be careful to not get carried away with planting, because there’s still a real possibility that we will get some frost, up until May.


The camellia bush is chock full of buds. The Pink Flower Thief is keeping a close eye on it….



May I have a word?


The Queen has requested an audience. Much like her owner, when she is falsely accused¬†(scroll to bottom of entry), she is like a dog on a bone. She won’t let it go.

I am NOT a Pink Flower Thief.


¬†I provide photographic evidence. There is NOTHING to be had in this garden BUT pink flowers. (editor’s note: my latest purchases from the nursery.)



There has been much goings on in the garden these days. A new throne room has been added.


I await the installation of the throne.


It is the appropriate height. The Queen must ALWAYS be higher than her minions.


Well, where is it??? A queen MUST have a throne. (editor’s note: all of this conversation must be read in a high, squeaky, demanding, queenly voice.)


In addition, I feel the need to unburden myself of the extreme vexation of living with unruly servants. This bed was installed for MY pleasure. I must be as close as possible to the lady (editor’s note: I put this little bed right next to my sewing table to keep Sophie from pacing.)

My manservant. As usual, doing NOTHING. He has gotten old and relatively useless to my purposes.


My lady in waiting. She has turned out to be quite the challenge. I am not done training her yet.


I finally tried sharing it with her. It DID NOT feel right.


Ah. This is how things must be.


Still, I must not be too hard on my servants. That is the true nature of The Royalty. Generosity of spirit is what we are known for (editors note: oh brother…)

The manservant, though relatively useless, is a very loyal soul.


I bid you all a fond farewell. I shall keep you informed of the latest comings and goings in my kingdom (editor’s note: there will be more garden updates in the future.)



Project Garden Improvement Update

MLG (Master Landscaping Guy) (is that a better name, Lori?) was over this week. I haven’t ordered the landscaping stones we need (300!!) so he got busy putting plants in the ground. I can’t really explain how delightful this is to me. After living here 27 years, and always planting things in pots, its almost miraculous to me. The ground is just clay and rocks and tree roots. So each time he digs a hole for another plant, he makes the hole extra big, and improves the soil all around the plant. This time he got FIVE plants in the ground.

This is the camellia, and three hydrangeas. None of them have been happy in pots.



Already the camellia looks better than it has looked in years!


And here is an updated picture of the bed. I planted two bleeding hearts (one pink and one white, some little begonias, and some irish moss. I love ground cover. I also planted my favorite corsican mint under the tree, and I am attempting (one more time) to grow elfin thyme between the pavers.


Here is photographic evidence that The Queen is a Pink Flower Thief!!




Y’all have a good weekend. Its finally warming up here, so I am planning to get some serious swimming done today! Right after I get some serious quilting done.

I Grew A Tomato

Tonight I didn’t take a walk. ¬†I watered my plants instead, hoping that Noah would get enough exercise running around the yard (sorry, Dog Whisperer, I know its no substitute for THE WALK.) ¬†Anyway, look what was ripe on my little tomato plant! ¬†I am such a proud mother. ¬†I got some old planter boxes from my mom, and thought they might work like raised beds (because the bottoms of the boxes were rotting out,) so I got one tomato plant and one zucchini plant. ¬†I laugh at myself every time I see them, because they were little plants when I got them, so I very nicely planted pink petunias in the corners of the boxes, thinking how pretty and decorative it would be while I was growing vegetables. ¬†Poor petunias. They don’t see much sun these days.

Anyway, this is not a good picture of my tomato, but it is the funniest ever. ¬†A good follow-up to last night’s photo op.

Along the lines of vegetables (we were talking about vegetables, weren’t we?,) as always, when I come home from a trip I am absolutely crazed for vegetables. ¬†Seems I get enough fruit on trips, but veggies are hard to come by. ¬†I know, salads. ¬†But I like cooked vegetables a lot. ¬†So I guess that’s my version of mindful eating. ¬†I just really really want to eat a lot of vegetables. ¬†Tomorrow I am going to make a pot of steel cut oats and push the envelope to see how much zucchini I can add and still enjoy it. ¬†There’s a lot of zucchini in zucchini bread, so I think it will work well. ¬†That makes me think that it would also work really well in baked oatmeal. ¬†I will try that in the fall.

And at the same time (coincidentally, I think,) I have watched a couple of documentaries: ¬† ¬†Food Matters and Dying to Have Known. ¬†Both are along the same lines, about the great qualities of a vegetable based diet. ¬†Dying to Have Known was all about the Gerson Diet/Therapy/Cure, ¬†¬†Dr. Gerson was a physician in the 1920’s who discovered that a plant ¬†based diet could cure quite a few incurable diseases, including ¬†cancer. ¬†Even if you don’t believe all of the evidence that they provide, you can’t help but think that eating more fresh fruits and vegetables is a good thing. ¬†I know I don’t get sick very often. ¬†Dr. Gerson also believed in coffee enemas, which I used to think was REALLY weird. ¬†But this time when I heard it, I thought about all the recent articles I’ve read about the “hundreds of helpful components” of coffee, and studies that show that coffee drinkers live longer (raises coffee ¬†cup to Lori!) and I thought, why not? ¬†If it works good in one end, why not the other? ¬†Its not any weirder than some of the other things they use from that direction. ¬†And that’s all I’m gonna say about that.

Here’s a couple of other random thoughts I’ve had about these documentaries (and others like them.) ¬†One thing they never mention (on both the vegetable and the paleo side of the fence) when they talk about how much better people feel/lose weight/are cured/etc. is that ¬†most of these people are going from a highly processed crap-food diet to a purely whole food diet. Whichever end of the whole food spectrum they are changing to, it has to be a wonderful shock to their body.

There is one thing I kinda disagree with the vegan documentary people about. ¬†That is juicing. ¬†They seem to think its necessary to juice to get enough vegetables in. ¬†Is that because it would take too long to eat the vegetables the normal way? ¬†Because in America we are in too much of a hurry and couldn’t spend that much time eating? ¬†Or is it because your body wouldn’t allow you to eat that many vegetables? ¬†They don’t address it. ¬†It doesn’t seem right to me. ¬†God didn’t put a Veg-A-Matic in the garden. ¬†On the other hand, it sure seems like a good excuse to get one of those super VitaMix machines that I see at Costco.

Oh, and now that I’ve mentioned God, let me give you my opinion on the whole Paleo, eat like our ancestors did thing. ¬†I kinda think that before the fall, when God first created everything, man ¬†didn’t need to eat meat to have a perfect diet. ¬†All those plants were plenty. ¬†And I think there were grains in the Garden of Eden too.*

(*disclaimer: ¬†I did not go to theology school or Bible college. ¬†I haven’t even spent a lot of time reading Genesis for proof of my theory. ¬†So take it with a grain of salt. ¬†BUT NOT TOO MUCH SALT!!!)