Monday, November 16, 2015

November musings..

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It wasn’t too long ago that the backyard was ablaze in color from our beautiful beech trees and oaks.  The winds came, followed by rain and more wind and now we are left with bare branches and flowerbeds full of leaves and tulip poplar seeds.  We spent several hours this weekend cleaning up the leaves that all seemed to fall at once.  I can’t remember a time when the poplar seeds all came down this early, nor when they were so deep on the deck that I had to broom at least once a day to keep the dogs from tracking them in.

The November weather is anything but typical, it’s been warm, far too warm for my taste.  Dealing with mosquitoes and ticks this time of the year is not something I’m too happy about.  I’m ready to be done with them, I’m ready for jeans, boots and sweaters, I’m ready for hot chocolate and a little time by our fire pit that we’ve barely gotten to use this year.  Speaking of which, where did the year go?  It seems to have just flown by and so much was left undone, again.  I guess as a gardener that is just part of the process, always looking forward to next year.  I’m praying for a very cold white winter that’s for sure, I really don’t want to be reminded of all that needs to be done next year.

Cooper and Tucker continue to be a source of amusement, to say the least and Tucker well he continues to grow and grow and grow.

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He is a little different from other dogs I’ve had.  He’s considerably more hard-headed and he also gets into more mischief than any dog I’ve ever loved.  Granted our greyhound BB ate things he shouldn’t but that was from separation anxiety, Tucker does it out of I don’t know what!  He has eating a banana peel and all from the counter, though Randy doesn’t believe it.  He ate some butter and it’s wrapper as well, off the counter.  We had to get rid of all the flat dog toys as he tried to swallow them and his most recent escapade was to take a bottle of cough medicine off the sink and open a child proof cap and pour it all over the dog bed!  I pray that this is just a phase and he’s going to learn that these behaviors are frowned upon. 

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Cooper continues to be the love of my life, <3 He is just ‘that’ dog the one that I always dreamed of having, the one that seems to understand me and who wants to be with me more often than not.  He is a constant comfort to me and my life is a better place because of him.  I love watching him play with Tucker, he is so truly happy to have someone to chase and wrestle with.  They spend so much time outside together playing, I can’t wait till the snow comes and they can chase each other through that.  If I could figure the paths that they take I’d just use those through the gardens and plant around, because anything under the foot of my ponies is doomed!

As we ready for the holidays we’ve decided to make some much needed changes, to let go of things that aren’t uplifting, that aren’t brining joy and happiness.  It’s time to focus our attention on the insides of our home and to clean and disown the things that just aren’t necessary to our happy life.  Sometimes letting go of stuff is challenging because we keep it out of guilt or obligation but if it doesn’t serve a purpose in your life that’s positive, why hold on to it?  Sentimental items can take up too much space and if nothing else I’ve learned that when you disown stuff, you open yourself up all the positives that couldn’t fit before!

In case we don’t check back before, may you have a blessed Thanksgiving if you celebrate it, if not may you have a blessed end to the month of November.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Vacation Rental..

I like details, I think people should pay attention to them because I think they can make or break something….
We took a trip to Mississippi with the dogs for a family wedding.  This was the first trip like this we’d ever tried, first time with the dogs, first time renting a house through VRBO.  Might be the last on the rental portion!
The house had stellar reviews and the pictures were wonderful. The house had a pool and a huge backyard, lots of room inside too.  I talked with the owner and she was fine with our dogs, which is a big deal because a lot of places want little dogs only.  The rental was expensive for a week but with a pool, hot tub, game room and being just minutes from the beaches and the wedding venue it was worth it. (We didn’t realize at the time the price might have been higher because Crusin’ the Coast was going on.)
Well, we walked in the door and knew we were in trouble.  The house smelled awful, I mean like OH MY GOSH OPEN THE FLIPPING WINDOWS!  The air conditioning was off and it was also very hot in there, stuffy, humid, dank. Ugh! We unloaded the Jeep and quickly turned on all the ceiling fans, cranked the ac on and high tailed it out back with the dogs.  (I ended up going to the store and buying plugins and fabreeze with tide to try and kill some of the stink.)
Reality really smacked us in the face with this one, that beautiful pool was outright gross, full of leaves, not running, low on water and looking pretty cloudy and slimy.  The pool deck was littered with deflated vinyl pool toys that were full of water, bottle caps, cigarette butts and other bits of trash.  The cushions for most of the chairs were either filthy, wet or ripped.  We contacted the owner who said her son was supposed to clean it and such but hadn’t and blah, blah, blah.. She gave us directions on how to use the little robot thing to suck the leaves out.  Wait a second, we have to clean it ourselves if we want to use it??? (These pictures were taken AFTER I moved everything I could and swept all around!)
Now I know that fire ants are an issue in MS, so I asked her and she assured me that she’d only seen “a couple” and had treated them.  She told me where the poison was and said I was free to treat them again.  There were many, many more than a couple and excuse me but I’m not the Orkin man!
We headed back inside to start unpacking, making a stop in the Game room, it was dirty, disorganized and smelled worse than the house, but why?  Oh, the “Hot tub” was one of those portable jobs over in the corner, you know the vinyl kind?  Upon lifting the lid I felt my stomach get queasy, there was slimy black stuff all in the bottom of the thing.  I dropped the lid and told Randy to stay far away! The windows were too gross to open, had no screens and most of the blinds were broken.  There was just crap everywhere!!
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On to the kitchen we went to unpack what we brought and to figure out what groceries we needed.
The pantry was full of junk, there was no where to put our food.  The cabinets must have space then right?
Um, nope not a spot to spare.  Every cabinet, every space in the kitchen had junk in it. Opening the drawers was taking your life or at least your feet into your hands because every drawer was full and broken!
Well the refrigerator will be empty of course..
I’d asked about a coffee pot and she said they had one but it was a plain drip kind, well that’s fine except Randy drinks caffeinated and I don’t.  So we brought our own pot, no big deal.  I have a protein shake every morning for breakfast and she assured me there was a blender there so I didn’t take my Vitamix.  When we finally found the blender it was scary old and more than a little gross.  I ended up buying a small smoothie maker when I went to the store to get air fresheners.
There were instructions on the refrigerator directing the current guest to clean out the refrigerator if the previous guest had left anything.  Um…why do I have to clean up after someone else?  We noticed that there were a lot of bulbs burned out around the place including the car port. 
That list said extra bulbs were in the cabinet over the microwave and to replace as needed.  Okay, wait what, you as the owner couldn’t check to see what bulbs needed to be replaced before the guest arrive???  Ironically, none of the bulbs up there fit anything that was blown.
Our adventure didn’t end there.  The bathroom was yet another bundle of surprises, drawers crammed with stuff, a shower head that didn’t work, a rusted shower caddy that I had to put wash cloths on before sitting anything on and oh the bonus came the next morning when there wasn’t enough hot water to make it through one shower, you didn’t even have to turn the cold on at all!!!
There were tv’s all over the place.  We first thought we’d watch tv in the den, but found that the remote in there didn’t work with that tv and the other remote didn’t have batteries.  We were trying really, really hard to make the best of it.  So one night Randy picked a movie for us to watch after we’d had dinner.  We tore that house apart looking for the remote to the dvd player, finally I texted the owner and was told that it was usually on the table and if it wasn’t there she didn’t know where it was.  The living room had a tv, surround sound and xbox?  No not really, the xbox wasn’t there but the controls were, the surround sound was broken and almost all channels were locked on the tv, not just movie channels but like Nat Geo Wild, Animal Planet and TLC. We tried to use the music station on the tv but it didn’t work, it skipped so badly that there were one minute lulls!!
In the description it said to ‘bring your rv we have parking’ well apparently like so much else someone brought one and left it and a bunch of other crap!
There were cats and critters galore in there and it was a nightmare keeping the dogs out of that area!
Lesson learned!  We’ve talked at length about what we are going to do for taking vacations and trips..I seriously think an rv is in our future, because I don’t ever want to go through that again!!!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Finding fall finally???

Welcome to the bone dry and hot edition!  This has been one of those summers that for the most part I could have spent somewhere else, a place where it’s a nice 85 with low humidity and occasional rain to keep things happy and growing.  I don’t water plants, the trees we had planted yes, but plants, not so much because the entire point behind planting drought tolerant plants is that you aren’t supposed to need to water them!  I have established plants that are wilted and looking right awful, we are at day 18 without rain, hopefully we will get some relief from the heat and the lack of rain soon!  The leaves have already started to fall, not only that but we’ve already used the cyclone rake once and the pond net isn’t even up yet!  The trees are screaming fall but the temperatures continue to say summer.

Tucker and Cooper continue to be a very big source of amusement in our lives.  Tucker is growing like a weed and at 6 months was just shy of 70 pounds!


This is the day after puppy first grade, apparently all the learning just exhausts him!  He continues to want to be Cooper’s best buddy in the world and while he likes being close to Cooper, Cooper isn’t so sure about that.


As you see they have a very stress filled life here at Logs End.


Things have been pretty quiet this summer, which is great considering it has been too hot to really ‘do’ anything outside or go anywhere with the dogs.  Hopefully with cooler weather we will get some more time outside.  I know Randy is looking forward to making a leaf pile for the dogs, he may be able to do that sooner than he knows!

Till then Cooper is ready to go!


Sunday, August 2, 2015

Two weeks in one..

Grab a drink, it’s going to be a long one..  Our internet has been down and out for most of the last three weeks.  No idea as to what exactly happened and really it didn’t bother me all that much.  However there is much to go over so let’s go!

Tucker is a love, a talker and a pain in the butt!


He is seriously lacking in manners and can’t get back into school soon enough!  He also has an eating problem, in that he eats everything and anything he can get in his mouth, rocks, sticks, leaves, cat poop, you name it.  I had to remove a 12” flat giraffe toy from that he had all but swallowed last week and he scarfed a raw duck neck, whole in one gulp!  He’s a maniac when it comes to food and he seems to always be hungry and by that I mean starving!  This week has seen a plethora of puppy teeth being lost, I suspect his eaten many of them!




Cooper is the best big brother ever, but I’d expect nothing less as he is the best dog ever!  He is so patient with Tucker and while he will tease him ruthlessly with toys, he also tolerates all the ankle biting, ear pulling and climbing that Tucker dishes out.  I love watching them play and hearing Tucker ‘talking’ to Cooper when he isn’t getting his way is priceless.

Yard work has been taking place, I know miracle right!  The weather decided to give us a break from rain and humid heat.  So last weekend we installed a new deck fan (it’s heavenly!) and we pressure washed and stained the decks.


Up next was my removing the ferns from around the fire pit and relocating them to the woods near the shed. (Yes the dog pool is down in the fire pit, it’s a perfect spot for it!)



They look really ragged but hopefully they will survive and come back and be lovely next year.  My goal is to make this, look like this;


Which is just a gift of nature.

The fire pit took some pondering and I decided on something that I’ve not had much luck growing because it needs dry and sun, something that isn’t in surplus here.


Lavender!  I mixed in some Silver mound Artemisia for a texture and color contrast.  I sure hope they thrive and fill in, I love lavender and this is a dwarf variety that won’t get so big Randy complains.  While we were working on planting them, the bumblebees were all over them I can just imagine sitting there, smelling the lavender and listening to them buzz.


Two weeks ago we had Nick, from Acer Landscaping come out and fix the fieldstone walls for us and they did a fantastic job!

I don’t like looking at the tractor parts and we’ve been working hard to clean up the back.  I suggested turning an old piece of a trailer into a ‘fence’ to hide that stuff and Randy thought it was a good idea and he implemented it, very nicely!


I’ll find something to plant in front of it or grow on it to dress it up a little.  This area around the horse shoe pits has been cleaned up nicely.  It looks so different when it’s clean!

Today was a big day, today we put up one of the two sets of gates!!!  We still need to attach the fence to it, but the gates are up!


Yes they are stepped on purpose, the yard is incredibly uneven.  We will work on finishing that up this week and hopefully building the other set and installing next week.

That’s all for now, have a great week!