Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Newest Member Of Our Family

Even before Misty was gone, folks tried to get us to get a new dog. We just couldn't, as long as Misty was alive. It just wouldn't have been fair to her. She needed all our attention. And then, of course, two weeks later our cat died of a broken heart, so we were in no mood to get a new pet for quite some time. But this winter, we told Mick that if he could prove he could be responsible and make his bed every morning, we'd consider getting him a dog for his birthday. I figured that if we were going to get a dog, we'd need to do it right after Mick and Tom were out of school on summer break. I started looking online at and marking the cutest dogs I could find as "favorites". Eventually, I had the courage to show the dogs I had favorited to Tom. He narrowed my choices down, confirming what I had already suspected would be the few dogs we would choose from, and then I sprung the news on Mick, showing him the possible candidates.

In my mind a dog named Tipper and a dog named Winken were the two dogs I knew we'd choose between. Both were cute with a capital "C". As it turned out, Tipper was in a shelter where, if he stayed too long, he'd be euthanized. Winken, on the other hand, was in a shelter where he'd stay until someone would adopt him, regardless of how old he got. Case settled. We'd adopt Tipper.

We got in the car and drove to Saugerties, New York. We told Mick where we were headed and why, but warned him that we still might come home without a dog. When we to got to the "shelter," we were pretty much grossed out. The place smelled to high heaven and there were dogs galore out in the fenced yard yapping their damned fool heads off. We went to the door, but no one answered. There was a car in the parking area, so someone had to be there. We went to the other side of the complex and finally an old guy came out to see why all the dogs were making such a fuss. We told him we were there to pick up a dog for adoption and he promptly told us, chidingly, that were were on the wrong side, that we needed to be knocking on the other side.We told him we had been over there but that no one was there. "She's there! I just saw her!"  Perhaps. But she didn't answer for us. So he dragged his tired old self around and knocked and he got the same response we did. Nada. So he went inside and closed the door. We heard some mumbling and then the door opened and Tipper bounded out.

Tipper, as it turns out, was the name they threw at him after he was dropped off by an animal control officer who had picked him up on the side of a road. Tipper, because of the white tip on his tail.

I signed a hastily prepared official looking document with a lot of blanks not filled in, paid our fee, which covered the rabies shot he had been given, and headed out the door with the old guy leading the dog to our car. We hadn't brought a leash, so he took the kennel's leash off, tossed him in the car and hastily closed the door before he could bolt. Tipper was wild not to be taken away from this old guy; he had been with him since early April and had obviously become attached. We all slid into our car doors, strapped ourselves in and took off for home. Man, did that dog stink. Like pee, to be exact. Plans were made about what we would do when we got home. At the top of my list was to drag out my No. 10 wash tub from the basement and give him a bath out in the yard. Long story short, he cleaned up nicely, is smart as a whip and will soon be fixed. Mostly, he stays in the yard with you without a leash, but if he catches a whiff of an animal that has been in or around the yard, all bets are off. He's part some sort of terrier - Jack Russell? Boston? - and beagle. He's already learned to sit, largely thanks to Mickey who takes him out first thing in the morning (sometimes with a puss on his face, to be honest) and when he gets home, and insists Tipper sit so he can put the leash on him. And then he makes him wait so he can walk about the door before Tipper. And Tipper waits. Smart as a whip.

Here are some shots from his first day in his new home with his new family.

In the pic below is Megan, who is living in our guest room for the summer. Last summer she was an intern at the Southfield Store. This summer she's a full fledged member of the pastry department. Enlarge the picture and look at how in heaven he is. In truth, when she comes home each evening, he parks his crazy head off at her. It's that whole watch dog and territory thing. I think he's forgotten this early moment of bliss.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Mary, Mary . . .

I'm not going down that gay road, BUT, Mary's garden is growing very well. Please and thank you. Finally. Let's start with the prettiest pictures, some of my herbs.

Sage and thyme, but I've left out parsley and rosemary and cilantro and dill, but they're all doing very well.

My collards seem to be very happy. I have about 6 or 7 plants.

 Unfortunately, my two surviving okra plants aren't that happy. As my mother puts it, "hot and dry", and it certainly hasn't been that here in the northeast. I mean, we're still wrapping up under quilts at bedtime with temps in the low 50s. Not okra weather. Oh well, I'll stick it out to see what I get.

 My tomato plants seem healthy as can be. I wove a trellis of nylon cord for them to grow up, and so far, they seem to understand.

I wish I had blooming squash plants to share. Squash blossoms are so fairy tale since they're so big, bright and beautiful.

Fairy tale or not, I still have yellow squash and zucchini babies living under those great big leaves. In about five minutes, I'm sure I'll have grown up squash I can pick and try desperately to give away. Isn't that what happens with squash? At least zucchini?

My brussels sprouts and broccoli seem to be very happy. My cauliflower, not so much. Yet.

Here's a photo of a bed of my Kentucky Wonder pole beans, climbing the trellis, yellow squash, collards down the center and lettuces on either side of the collards.

Did you know that pole beans grow up their supports the opposite direction of other vining plants?

I finally have some healthy looking beet greens, but I have no idea what's happening below ground. My mother says not to be surprised if nothing is happening beneath those beautiful green tops.

And while I have a seeming forest of carrot tops, I fear there is nothing below. Just like the danged beets.

I was fairly confident that my first lettuces were going to be a failure as they didn't match up to neighbors and friends of neighbors around me. However. We have been harvesting mesclun from my first planting, and I'm loving my planting of red leaf lettuce and romaine.

And lastly, some new flowers blooming on the hill behind the house. This flower garden is fun to watch because I have no idea what I planted last summer, nor do I have any idea what my friend, Elise, planted there last summer. This garden is a sort of community effort. It's so big, and there's no way I can buy enough plants to plant the thing, so I've gotten and am getting all kinds of plants friends and neighbors have dug up from their own gardens at division time.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Oh, Beautiful!

Toward the end of the school year, one of the teachers at Mickey's school decided to institute an annual talent show for the students. The First Annual. The note came home in his folder and instantly I decided Mickey would have to sing. He agreed. I thought of different genres to explore and somehow landed on "patriotic". Always a sure winner. At first, we thought he would accompany himself on the autoharp, but then, wisely, I decided playing the auto-harp and singing was simply too much. So, we decided we'd pull accompaniment off of iTunes. Of course, I have no idea about iTunes, but Papa being the young one of us two, he was called upon to find our accompaniment. When we were mulling around the auto-harp, I landed on "America the Beautiful", since I was able to find some simplified chords for the auto-harp. Even though we ditched the auto-harp early on, "America the Beautiful" stuck. "On that day", I was running late, having gotten tied up at work, so I called the school to say I was coming and to not let Mickey sing first thing. As it turned out, Mickey was the last talent to perform. When I got there, Mick had such a puss on. I figured he had gotten in trouble with his teacher. I mouthed to him "did you get in trouble", but a shake of the head "no" was his response. Then he mouthed back, "I'm scared."  Holy crap. I worked with him on all sorts of vocal technique and it never occurred to me that he'd be nervous. There was nothing I could do or say at this late date but sit back and let things unfold as they may. When you watch the video, watch how he looks at the camera before the songs begins. There's nothing but utter joy on his face. And then, right after, seriousness and concentration takes over - two things rarely seen from Mick - and he launches into his song. Although I cut the audience response short, his song got the greatest response from the adult led audience. Days after, I ran in to folk who were not there but had heard about his performance and they had to stop me to tell me how great they heard he was. And he was. Now, we're not talking about American Idol, but for a second grader conquering his fear and singing a nationally important song, he did GREAT! (And watch the teacher behind him being cross with the kindergarteners on the front row - love it!)