Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday Dixie's favorite day of the week!

Making sand angels - Dixie's homage to snow! Our weekly Sunday visit to the local dog beach is her favorite activity. And she knows what day it is because she gathers her tennis balls together and throws them in our laps as a hint that she is ready to go. Usually, after her first dip in the water she likes to make sand angels, always just on her right side, but lately she has been rolling on her back and wiggling back and forth. It was a pretty quiet day today. Just a couple of other dogs. One big yellow lab came down and picked up her ball and proceeded to leave . . . we never saw the dog or her ball again. Luckily, I always carry a spare!

I am always confounded by how she can stand all that sand all over her face, and especially in her mouth. It just doesn't seem to bother her in the least. She is half Australian Sheepdog (mom) and half Rottweiler (dad). She came home a cute little puppy, and proceeded to grow, and grow, and grow, til she became the beautiful girl here. She's almost 7 now. When we lost our previous dog of 14 years I took it much worse than I had expected to. I started prowling the local animal shelter and SPCA for a new friend, but none gave me that special you get when you just know that one is the one. Then, one day when I was looking through the paper, I saw an ad for free puppies and the breed mix, and I just knew this was the right one. So, on a stormy Saturday afternoon my most wonderful daughter-in-law and I, along with the five grandchildren, went to Hudson (which is several miles away) to hunt down my puppy. After getting lost and then finally finding the right dirt road, we arrived at the site - a small farm complete with horses and a very muddy yard. When the owner went to look for the puppies she couldn't find them. As I was wandering around I looked behind the shed and saw coming out of a hole in the wall this tiny puppy - my puppy. I knew her right away. I snatched her up, said thank you, and off we went.

She has been a wonderful addition to our family. Very loyal and very protective of me. She lives for her time at the beach and I wish I had more time to take her. But she seems satisfied now for the one day. Believe it or not, our routine goes like this - she knows when she sees us getting her "beach bag" ready, she starts getting really excited. Then, when I get her collar, she explodes into joyfulness, but sits for me to put her collar on and then the leash (not that she needs the leash, as soon as the door is opened she makes a mad dash for the car). When beach time is over and we return home she heads straight for the shower and hops in - on her own, no begging or pleading or pushing or lifting from me. I love doing this in front of guests, they are always astounded. We shower together and then she eats, and then crashes out for the afternoon. However, I do believe if we offered to go again, regardless of how tired she might be, she would do it again, and again!

Contemplating what to do next . . . she is perfectly happy to be by herself - no other canines around - she doesn't play well with others. Oh, she tolerates other dogs, and really likes the little ones, but she's just as happy on her own. She had a best friend, Ellie, a beautiful Borzoi, she used to run with, but Ellie moved to Maine with her humans a couple of years ago. I know she missed Ellie for awhile because whenever she saw a brown and white dog she would rush up the them excitedly until she got close enough so smell and realize that it wasn't Ellie. And she doesn't care too much for puppies either, and lets them know pretty quickly where they stand with her - better in another area.

She knows we are getting ready to go home. This is her "herding" stance when she lets the ball go and retrieves it when it floats away. This is also a ploy to get us to stay longer also. If I go in to retrieve the ball, she will pick it up and move further out into the water. Such a cute puppy!

Well, hope you enjoyed our little foray to the beach. We are planning a trip to Ft. DeSoto where they have a wonderful Paw Park where we can all swim together. But that won't be til May or so. Until then, this park, although unofficial, is the perfect spot for us and all the neighboring dogs and humans.

Til next time, take care. K

Saturday, February 21, 2009

My Back Yard

What a beautiful a day it turned out to be, albeit a little chilly inside. Nicer outside in the sun. I live on a barrier island just west of St. Petersburg, FL. I am two blocks from the beach and two blocks from the Intercoastal Waterway. When I first came here (I followed the love of my life here from Connecticut . . . story to come at a later date!), Madeira Beach was a nice mix of commercial fishermen and lifer's on the east side of the boulevard and the tourists in condo's on the west side (aka beach side) of the boulevard. That was 20 years ago. Having been here that long, and in the same house for going on 11 years, I have seen the sad effects of overpopulation and lack of respect for the environment right in my back yard. But I'll stay down off my soap box for now and share some photo's from my back yard. Mind you, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I am a greenhorn when it comes to digital cameras - my previous experience has been with the disposible kind. But these did come out pretty good for a newbie. Take a look:

Bought this birdhouse on our way to Tennessee for Christmas. What a fun road trip that was! At my insistance we drove Hwy. 441 all the way. Not exactly a blue highway, but two lane most of the way. The birdhouse was purchased from a country man (oh if I had had this camera then) who was selling his wares from the back of his truck in front of a little grocery store. Cost me $7 and I still think I got the best of the deal. There are little tufts of moss, which I was told is dear moss, and a ledge to the doorway. Unhappily, none of the birds have come to claim it. I'm thinking of putting up a sign . . .
My first attempt of starting from seed. The pepper plant that was in here from last year blessed me with just one little pepper.

So I threw some parsley seed in the soil (after I plucked the pepper plant) and they actually grew! The marigolds were an afterthought, and I kind of thought it would be too cold for them, but ever since the sun started getting warmer, they are thriving. And looking beyong the parsley are two basil seedlings. I am encouraged.

This is the view from my backdoor. The huge tree back there is a ficus (which looks more and more like the banyan tree I saw during one of my computer searches. I' m still amazed that it hasn't pushed over the gazebo/arbor/whatever you call it, although it is pushing it's weight against the top. The Christmas cactus on the table was a gift in exchange for Thanksgiving dinner this year. One of my favorite holidays to cook for, and I was given a 20 lb. turkey so we invited some of our fishermen friends who had nowhere else to go.

Another blessing. I must have done something right here cuz these are my arugula (on the left) and lettuce seedlings.

I am starting cheap this season, the seeds are from the grocery store, the dirt is plain old potting soil with some seed starter and cow manure thrown in. Once I get more confident, I will move up the scale. Just a note here, Susan over at is writing a cookbook. For those that aren't familiar with Susan, please give her blog a visit. She is a delight, and is one who is partially esponsible for my newfound blog addiction. One more picture . .

My 'maters. I had terrible luck last year with the few I tried to grow. Kept getting infested with these tine green worms. Not sure if they were tomatoe hornworms or not because I couldn't find any pictures of what I had anywhere. I know that they didn't have the "horn" like the ones I saw, but they weren't nearly that big either. Undaunted, though, I'm trying again, but my placement will be in the front.
Well, that's about all today. Sure hope someone happens upon my blog to visit soon. See ya'!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Ah! The weekend

Maven: a trusted expert in a particular field, who seeks to pass knowledge on to others. The word maven "comes from the Yiddish, and it means one who accumulates knowledge. (Wikipedia)

That would be me. I can't believe all those blogs out there. I am addicted! I start with one, but as I am learning, you just can't stop at one, because there is that Blog Roll, with so many interesting sounding places to visit.

At first I was thinking of starting just a garden blog. But I also knit, and cook, and I am trying to learn to bake. And then it occurred to me that this blog is a journal of sorts. Recording my life as it unfolds into the wonderful world of retirement.

Retirement: the point where a person stops employment completely. A person may also semi-retire and keep some sort of retirement job, out of choice rather than necessity. This usually happens upon reaching a determined age. (Wikipedia)

Hmmm. So I'll actually be semiretired. But I'm going to hold out as long as I can before I actually start looking for employment. That is why I have to learn to be more self-sufficient. And I also hope that someone might learn from my experiences, because I'm positive that I'm not the only person in this world that is thinking about doing the same thing.

Stay tuned . . . pictures in tomorrow's post!!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Wow, my new camera just arrived. Now to figure out how to work it! It is a Canon 590IS with all kinds of neat buttons and such. It's too dark out now, or I would be outside shooting pictures to post. Stay tuned . . .

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Hello and welcome!

This is a test run to see how this is going to look. Will be writing much more on future posts. Besides, I don't get my new camera until Wednesday! Stay tuned . . . will be back soon :)