Monday, July 29, 2013


The doelings are helpful in many ways. They "help" me clean their shed, and they help me laugh.

Perhaps I could teach them to sweep, and not just eat the broom straws!

They excel at entertaining guests, like lovely niece Aimee, and they gobble up corn husks, too! All in all I must say that they earn their keep around the farm.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sad goodbye...

Thirteen years ago I attended my first ever grooming show in Nashville, TN. I was mesmerized by the grooming competition. Groomers, like me, in a ring surrounded by their peers,creating art out of living animals. I thought, "I could never do that." Then I thought, "I want to do that!" When I returned home from the show I told my husband, "I need a Standard Poodle, I want to compete." I was kidding. Sort of. A week went by and he asked, innocently, "When are we getting that poodle?"

At that grooming show one groomer had really caught my eye. Not only was her dog stunningly styled, she played with it cutely while waiting for judging, and she was so pretty and seemed so nice. After asking around, I found she had a litter of puppies that she was raising for a client/friend. Before I knew it I had arranged to buy one.

I had hoped for sweet, pretty dog with a nice coat for grooming. I got that, in spades. I forgot to hope for a dog that was smart. Standard poodles are known to be very intelligent, and I assumed any one I got would be brainy. I assumed wrong. Dazzle was not overly endowed with smarts, but she had a double helping of sweet and happy. She had a good life... and never knew unkindness. We moved to Maine from Memphis when she was 3, and she loved the huge yard and even the snow.

She traveled with me to trade shows, was a model for a clipper company, helped train more groomers and grooming staff to wash and prepare a poodle type coat than I can remember. She barked fiercely at "intruders," and loved her canine pals.

She's been ill for a few months. Her veterinarian and I suspect a tumor in her sinus. She has been having trouble eating and has lost weight. Sometimes she seemed to be in pain. So today I slipped her a tranquilizer around 2pm. At 3:00 her doctor arrived. Dazzle was sleeping peacefully on her favorite leather dog bed. The vet gave her an injection that made her unconscious. Her pug and toy poodle friends laid close to her as the final injection was given, and her heart stopped.

Chris buried her alongside some other much-missed pets. As he was digging her grave I was feeding the other dogs. By habit I got 4 bowls out, and cut her meat extra fine. Then I remembered that she was gone. She has been such an integral part of our lives for so many years... it will be strange to have her not be here. I am grateful for the gift of her life, and feel blessed to have known her, cared for her, and ushered her kindly to whatever is next.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

New puppy...

For some time now my sweet husband has been saying that we need a dog that will be protective of our property. Our beloved Doberman and Boxer have been gone a while. They were good dogs, but looked a little scary and we felt safe leaving home with them on patrol. Somehow the two poodles and two pugs didn't strike him as having any intimidation factor. As for me, 4 dogs was more than enough, and I had no interest in adding a new, big, high energy dog to the pack. Then a few things happened:
1. Our daughter took one of the pugs to live with her (this is good for the pug, as he loves her best of any human on the planet.)
2. Dazzle the standard poodle has begun to fail. Fast.
3. My friend got a dog I really like. He is a Black Mouth Cur. I like his looks, I like his size, (sturdy but not huge)I like his personality and I like how he acts around her livestock. I also am impressed by how he guards her property.
4. That same friend found me an available puppy. (She asked that I not mention her name, as in previous posts I have accused her of getting me into mischief by encouraging me to add animals to my life. So the name will go unmentioned but SHE KNOWS WHO SHE IS!!!)

So, last night a man came to our house with two Black Mouth Cur puppies. It took about 20 seconds to choose this one. We named her Ziva.

She came to work with me today and was a very good girl. It was only her second time in a vehicle, but she behaved beautifully. At work she greeted people nicely, was polite with the other dogs, and finally, after hours of socializing, laid down to rest a bit.

At home she follows the "big" dogs. Flirt thinks she is a pest. Poppy does not know what to think.

She thinks the goats are very interesting.

They think she is a little scary.

I love the look of her,and she is sleek and lovely to pat. So far she seems to be a very good girl. I am looking forward to training her to be a helpful farm dog, and feel sure we will have many happy years together. So, to my un-named friend... Thank you! We are enjoying our new Ziva dog!

Monday, July 22, 2013


I bought a bunch of flowers on sale since it is late in the season. I then proceeded to pop them into odd containers with very little planning or forethought.
Today the vibrant colors of this pot stopped me in my tracks. And made me happy.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Rainbows end...

This morning an adult Hairy woodpecker brought its chick to our bird feeder and tried to teach it how to feed itself suet and sunflower seeds. The chick looked just like an adult, but was very vocal and fluttery. Mama bird stuffed it's little beak full of suet before they flew off. I tried to catch a photo before they went, but failed. Maybe tomorrow. While out with my camera around my neck I noticed a few other things that called to have their picture taken.

I've never seen a chipmunk on our property in the past 10 years. I moved the bird feeder from the back yard to the side yard this year and now I have several of the little striped cuties running about. They are quite fearless, even dashing into the garage to raid the seed bins. When I was a little girl I was fascinated by chipmunks. I used to pretend I was a chipmunk, and hide in the corner cabinet of the kitchen. My mom would occasionally pop an M&M in my mouth and tell me I was a good little rodent! I like having the little things here now, they make me smile.

The runner ducks continue to grow. They are very pretty, their adult feathers are coming in beautifully, and they are comical to watch as they waddle about, looking for bugs and seeds to eat and dabbling in the pool. Or any water container. They make cute little quacking sounds as an added bonus!

As I cooked supper tonight some dark clouds rolled in from the west, and we were treated to a heavy downpour. It was nice, because the weather has been a little dry. It was still raining when my husband said, "There's a rainbows end in our yard." We often get rainbows here, but this is the first time in my life I have been able to see where one ended. Right.In.Our.Meadow. No need to look for a pot of gold, I know I am surrounded by riches.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Milking season...

Luna goat's babies are off at my friends farm now, and weaned. That means it is milking season. Every day at 6AM and 6PM I can be found at the milking station. It is a quiet time, good for contemplation.

A good goat, Luna trots directly to the stand and hops up. There she finds a bucked filled with oats, sunflower seeds and alfalfa pellets. She is very thin from making so much milk, so I drizzle a bit of molasses on there too, for added calories and some trace minerals. And because she loves the stuff!

She stands quietly and enjoys her meal. I wipe her udder off well, then gently squeeze the milk out of each teat. It takes me a while to do this, because Luna has small teats and narrow orifices, so getting two quarts of milk from the goat into the bucket costs me about 20 minutes. I rest my head against her hip and listen to her chew in the quiet. It is a spell of milking meditation for me. The sweet aroma of warm milk surrounds me as it hisses rhythmically into the bucket.

Once the little pail is filled and the goat is empty, I thank her and get the brush out. She loves to be brushed, and stands like a caprine statue while I run the wire bristles over her face, down her neck and chest, over her sides and down her back. Her eyes squinch shut in apparent ecstasy as I reach the itchy spots that she cannot scratch herself. When the session is over she nimbly hops down and heads obediently for the door where I release her to the pasture.

I make delicious, tangy yogurt from the milk, give milk to friends, freeze milk for future soap making ventures, and feed some milk to the two little doelings that we are keeping. I like milking season.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Random things...

A new groomer friend of mine, Ashley, is here visiting for 5 days from Texas. She is shadowing me at work (and helping a LOT!) and on Sunday we are going to have a day of cat grooming immersion. She likes my dogs. They LOVE her.

Flirt takes every opportunity to sneak into the guest room and bother poor Ashley. Here she is looking like some small animated thing rubbing herself all over the guest bed. She cracks me up.

Ashley kindly helps me with chores in the evening. The animals provide a few laughs... here are the doelings doing their headless goat impersonation.

Corn is in! These are the first ears of the summer... locally grown and fresh picked hours before we ate them. These were small, tender little things, bursting with the flavor of summer. I can't get enough fresh corn this time of year. Summer holds so many delights, I try to appreciate each of them as they come.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Left to my own devices...

Left to my own devices I like to spend a day off right here, at home. Because really, there is no where I like to be more. But luckily, I have my husband. Left to his own devices, he'd be running the road all the time. We balance each other nicely. Yesterday was unusually hot for Maine, and I had a long, LONG to-do list. Weed the gardens, mow the yard, clean the garage... it was endless. Chris had other ideas. Our daughter is visiting (I planned to make the two of them help me with that list!) and Chris pronounced, "It's a perfect beach day." I groaned a little inside...(my list! My LIST!) But I knew he was right, and donned my bathing suit. He sweetened the deal by promising a trip to my favorite local ice cream parlor, where they make the best creamy flavors of summer succulence.

We had planned to go to a different beach, but as we neared the ice cream place I saw a sign for Pemaquid beach and quickly Googled it.(Oh how I LOVE to have a computer in my pocket!) It sounded lovely, and was much closer by than the one we were destined for. We like to try new places, so off we went. Sandy beaches are less common than one might like here on the rocky coast, and this is a small,lovely "cove beach" that boasts sand flecked with something (we have no idea what!) that shimmers like a billion flecks of copper as each wave comes to shore and then recedes with a shower of sparkles.

The breeze off the ocean was cool and refreshing, but after reading and dozing in the sun a while I stood, and strode with great purpose out into that icy Atlantic. The first waves against my sun-baked skin made me gasp, but I kept walking, and dove head first into the salty chill. Bliss.

Soon enough it was time to come home and do chores...there are all those little faces to feed...

shower the salt off our skin and settle in for a peaceful evening. The day at the beach was a gem, destined to glow in my memory. I am glad that I am not always left to my own devices.

(Please note: I learned the hard way that expensive cameras and beaches do not always mix, so beach photos were swiped from Google images.)