Thursday, August 27, 2009

BOO 5/17/2002-8/26/2009

Tuesday night I made the difficult decision to have our dog, Boo, euthanized.

Although she was only 7 years old, for the past half a year or more, a tumor was growing in her abdomen. It caused her no pain and did not slow her noticeably until Sunday morning. Gourdo and I took the dogs for a walk, and she started out running ahead of us with her usual zest, nosing into every groundhog hole and checking every tree for squirrels. The return was a different story. She lagged behind us for the first time ever. Monday she seemed fine, but by Tuesday night she was in misery. It was a sorry night for both of us. Wednesday morning I brought her to the vet. She was completely absorbed in her pain by then, and I was completely absorbed in her. It was horrible.

I'll spare you the details of all this, and instead, I'll share with you a few of the good things about my dear Boo.

Boo was a miserable puppy, born in a barn to people who didn't coddle or interact with the litter. She was peppered with fleas, had runny eyes and nose, and a wispy, brittle coat. Her tail was bald and bent where a steer stepped on it. It was her pathetic-ness rather than her white coat that earned her the name Boo-boo. She was wary of humans in general, and men in particular. She was terrified of the broom and of the vacuum cleaner.

Oddly, though, she loved fireworks. Everything from bottle rockets to smoke bombs were cause for delight. Even sparks from a fire circle excited Boo. Once she broke free of our hold and snatched up a lit roman candle. She ran all around the yard with it, firing colorful balls of fire at anyone who tried to get it away from her.

As she matured, she finally mellowed a little in her attitude toward men, but she always remained a vigilant guard dog whose bark would deter any but the most intrepid individuals. She loved my dad, though. When he came for Sunday visits, she greeted him with cries of joy and she stayed near him till he left to return home.

She loved to visit grandma in Hocking County. As soon as we'd turn off Route 33 and onto the road my mother-in-law lived on, Boo would sit up in the van and stick her nose out the window, deeply inhaling the scent of the forest.

She slept beside my bed, and every night she'd give a long, exaggerated sigh as she settled. It was so comical! Don't dogs sleep almost all day? Why the big sigh as if to say, "Man, I am SO ready for bed!" It always made me smile.

If anyone left a dirty dish sitting in the kitchen sink she'd pull it out and clean it off, breaking the dish more often than not. She shedded prolifically. Although she was not permitted on the furniture, and we never caught her there, patches of white fur indicated exactly where she spent the day while we were at work.

She figured out how to open the cabinet to get into the trash. She ate garbage. She tangled with skunks. She chased cars. She growled at men. She growled at children.

But she loved her family, and we loved her. We'll miss her. And I believe, as many animal lovers do, that we'll see our pets in heaven. Until then, Boo.

PSALM 36:6 Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your judgments are like the great deep; you save humans and animals alike, O LORD. (NRS)

1CORINTHIANS 15:38 But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. 39 All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. 40 There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. 41 The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor. 42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Rogue's Gallery

Feast your eyes on the mug shots of five garden rogues: thistle, bindweed, purslane, lambs quarters and black medic. I'm sure there are some places where these devils are welcome. I know purslane and lambs quarters are edible. Some people probably even welcome them. But I don't.

Thistle is the worst, I suppose, as this rogue is armed with spiny leaves that make pulling a literal pain. Not only that, it has a taproot that reaches to China, as well as a penchant for colonizing. The only good thing about thistle is the goldfinches seem to love the seed. I wish they'd eat every bit of it so it didn't self-sow so rambunctiously.

Bindweed and its kin are morning glories that take over wherever they happen to grow. I've seen lawns and flower beds completely choked out by bindweed. They aren't difficult to pull, but supposedly every bit of root left in the soil regenerates into a new plant. Nasty habit, that.

Purslane has succulent leaves and fleshy stems. It has a habit of spreading wide and low over the ground. It produces zillions of seeds that sprout in every nook and cranny of our patio. Quite nutritious, I'm told. Maybe someday I'll gather up the nerve to try it. Of course, should I find I like it, it will undoubtedly quit growing in my patio and walkways and garden as prolifically as it does. Alas.

The last mug shot is of black medic. The trefoil leaves remind one of another spreading, weedy groundcover, white clover. Black medic has small yellow flower heads and it spreads out in a tangled mat all over my flower bed. When I go to pull it up its little black seeds scatter everywhere. I'm tempted to vacuum my flower beds.

All summer I pull and hoe, but by August it's impossible. The rogues have the upper hand. I quit. Weed photos by JulenaJo.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hints of Autumn

Ok, it's still really early, but to me it feels like autumn is definitely on the horizon. There was fog this morning. Dew on the spiderwebs. Darkness barely lifting at 6 a.m. I took a few photos to show how it looked outside my back door. I even included a photo of my "creative potting" technique! LOL There is a story there, but that's for another day.

I so dread seeing summer's end that maybe I get a little jumpy at the first inkling of autumn. Now, granted, I enjoy all the seasons for their various blessings, but winter is harder and harder to bear the older I get.

This summer has been odd in so many ways. Cooler than ever, for one thing. No bugs, for another. That is probably because it's been too dry for insects. I've seen more honeybees though--they've been swarming to my birdbath and the Russian sage--and I'm happy for that. But I've not seen more than a few beetles on the Rose of Sharon and the roses. There are no mosquitoes.

Evenings on the patio are a delight without insect pests to bother us. The only concerns this year are lack of water and the rampant weeds, especially thistle and black medic. August Fog photos by JulenaJo.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Busy Week, Fun Week

We have just completed county fair week and another Saturday at Farmer's Market. Talk about busy!

Our daughter brought her horse to the fair as a 4-H project, and she entered showmanship, pleasure, and contesting classes with him. In one short year she's learned how to care for a horse and how to ride well enough to enter these classes and enjoy it. Even though she didn't place, she rode as well or better than some who've been riding from little on. Watching her perform at the fair was the most fun I've had in years. Fair week was also the most exhausting week we've had in years.

Meanwhile, the cutting garden that I've been tending all summer has yielded gorgeous armloads of sunflowers, cosmos, larkspur and zinnia for the Farmer's Market. But guess what? They don't sell! Imagine that! People kept commenting on them and touching the Velvet Queen sunflowers. "Are these real? Oh my gosh! They ARE! Beautiful!" Not one stem sold. I gave my bouquets away to another vendor rather than take them home. I told her I might just skip the flowers next weekend but she pointed out that they did make our booth space the most attractive at the Market, and that drew people to it. What did sell was my tatting and crochet work and the dried gourds my husband has been dying and crafting into birdhouses. We're running out of gourds and there are 3 more weeks of Market to go. I will be busy crocheting and tatting this week.

Our weather continues to be extraordinarily dry and, for the most part, cooler than usual. Today, however, we'll see temps in the 90s with a desiccating wind. It feels as though a storm could blow up, but Gourdo says there is nothing in the forecast. Our lawn is non-existent, but at least we are saving money on the mowing. Some of the young oak trees and roses look extremely chlorotic. I'm sure the dry conditions have a lot to do with it. Even though I've been watering the roses, it's a very stressful situation for them. On the other hand, Gourdhenge, as you can see in the first photo above, looks marvelous, simply marvelous! 2009 Garden Photos by JulenaJo.