Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Elodie, the Labradoodle. Mourning the loss of a pet.

 


Elodie 

 

Always alert 

Always running 

Always in the lead... 

You are 

 

Never relaxed 

Never content 

Never fully trusting you’re secure... 

You are 

 

We feed you 

House you 

Dress your constant wounds 

 

Take you to see new things 

Buy toys you shred 

Buy treats that last only minutes 

 

To see you smile 

To see your tail wag 

To see you’re aware that you’re loved... 

You are 


Too curious, too adventurous

Too anxious to explore

You are


Too trusting, too naive

Too sheltered from the outside world

You are


Gone now

Across the Rainbow Bridge

You are


I was out of town when I received word that she had escaped the person who was dog sitting for us. She had been gone for two hours before they found her down the street. I was told she was very much alert and happy to be back with them, but then her condition quickly deteriorated. She had passed just minutes before arriving at the vet's office.
I received the news as I pulled up to my hotel in Birmingham, Alabama (4 hours away) to check in. And I needed a moment I never thought I'd need.
Elodie was a great dog. She was protective, silly, and always up for a romp. But I didn't know I had the depth of feelings for her that I apparently showed. I cried for a few hours before going to the conference I was traveling for. Every commercial on the television screen seemed to show dogs and their people. Every billboard along the route to the conference location seemed to show dogs and their people. And just when I thought I was over it, people were outside the hotel with their dogs taking potty breaks...and the tears came back again.
It's not easy to lose a pet. Some people roll their eyes at the emotions people have for animals, but at the end of the day, grief is still grief. Pets may not be humans, but because we are humans we love. Pets are among our loved ones. They see us at our best and our worst. They listen to us as we complain about our days, tell them our secrets, and sing in the shower.
To be perfectly honest, Elodie got on my nerves. A lot. Because she was all the qualities I'd ever wanted in a dog, being "Elodie" was what was irritating and endearing about her. And I think that was why I was responding in a manner I'd not thought possible upon news of her death. I also knew things would be very different when I made it back home, but I didn't know just how different it would be without her. I didn't know just how much of my life included her.
We spent an hour a day walking or jogging in the mornings, rain or shine. When I come up for air from behind my computer desk during the day, Elodie and I spent time together outside on the tailgate of the farm truck. I ran new ideas by her. I sang songs to her I hadn't written onto staff paper yet. I complained to her and ranted about the news headlines I'd seen that day. It was very difficult the first few mornings back as I woke up and had to walk alone. I have stopped going the route I used to go with her because it just isn't the same. I don't even go to the same pet store anymore because I remember every place Elodie stopped to sniff the toys and treats that were placed just at puppy eye level.
Healthy grief is taking time to process your feelings. My daughter found another Labradoodle who looks identical to Elodie, although this one is a lot younger. I wasn't ready to lay claim to her, so my daughter has adopted Lily for herself. I have to tell you, while I'm not ready to interact with Lily, seeing virtually a young clone of Elodie is fascinating. It's like reliving the happy parts of her existence (without the attachment). Is this weird? Probably. But knowing Lily is loved, even if not by me, kind of makes it okay in my mind. She gets plenty of attention among the other dogs we have (the Labradoodle in her commands attention), but a part of me hangs back. I'm still getting over not having Elodie here, but in an odd way, it's like she never left.



Thursday, April 18, 2024

The garden is looking like a garden now!

 Remember the other day when I was going out in the pouring rain to check on the garden? Yeah, well...that day saw the opening and subsequent ripping of my rain suit. ๐Ÿ˜… It seemed to fit fine, and I wore it over my regular clothes. I walked around for a few minutes in the driving rain, and just as the rain began to slow down, I saw a carrot top peeking out of the soil. As I bent in for a closer look, I felt the rip. It seemed small, but when I pulled off the rain pants, I saw it ripped from the crotch seam aaaall the way down to the ankle! I stayed dry, but I can't wear those again. Twenty dollars down the drain.

But with the April showers come mid-April, well, maybe not flowers. Take a look!

(Above) The little tree frog who eats stink bugs and moths
 (and probably spiders) on the porch.

I'm really thankful for nature's helpers!

                                             (Below) Various garden beds...




(Above) This comfrey is flowering!


(Above) I love mullein's health properties!





All these things have sprang up since the last rains. I'm so proud of my little corner of the world. I can't wait to see some tomatoes and peppers, though. 


Saturday, April 13, 2024

April Showers

What do you when it rains for three days and you are desperate to get into the garden. I went out and bought a rain suit. I haven't tried it on yet, but I am not above going out in pouring rain and pounding wind to baby my baby spinach!๐Ÿ˜†
My daughter's Great Dane escaped into my garden yesterday, and she almost got stuck out there coaxing him out, even in rain boots! He didn't like how his paws were sinking in the mud, so he decided he was just going to stay out there in my brand new strawberry bed...forever.๐Ÿ™„
You've seen Zeus before if you've kept up with my Youtube videos. 
Each paw weighs, like, a thousand pounds. He doesn't drink water from cute, dainty bowls. He drinks from a bucket. Like a horse. And where did he remember lots and lots of buckets? Noooow you're getting it. And the only way I can assess the damage is to go out in driving rain and 45 mile per hour wind, with mud boots that will probably get sucked off my poor, innocent feet. I'm not very fond of the cold, muddy watery feeling creeping around my toes. 
I'll keep you posted. If in my next video, it looks like I've been crying and covered in mud, you'll know why.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Welcoming The New Into The Old

 The garden that I've been envisioning is coming into its own now. April has seen lots of changes from the heartbreaking brown of winter to bursts of color as some of the perennials of the garden (along with transplanted starts) are blossoming. Well, some are blossoming while others are just debutantes. 

The strawberries planted among Peppermint Forest are beginning to peek out. I'll be adding more strawberries, but to grow bags instead of inground, just in case I decide this isn't working here.

The strawberries in the second pallet A-frame (below) have minds of their own. 

I have been enjoying the biodome experience from these Sterlite totes! They started out as seed starter greenhouses and have ended up finishing out some of my vegetables all the way to harvest. I have a head of Green Ice lettuce that grew from seed to harvest inside one of these clear totes!


This comfrey (below) is coming back after a mild winter of slumber. I can't wait for the flowers!

This lemon thyme (below)  is beginning to flower. It provided its yumminess all winter long.

The perfect-looking mullein plant (below) is going to make a great tincture!


These Sugar Daddy sweet peas will taste great in the pod or as dried peas. I plan to make some pea powder this year to go into some of my protein shakes.

This Zinnia flower mixture is going to be a beautiful addition to the west entrance of the garden.

The beautiful soil in the repurposed soil bed has been hiding underneath a shallow bed of weeds.




Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Cleanup is a grueling process

I take pictures of my garden as it is, and then I load them and photoshop pictures of what I want to see in the garden. Sometimes, this visual helps. Other times it stresses me out because I feel like my actual progress falls short of my expectations. 
But I'm gonna give it a shot. I'll show you the garden, well, part of it as it looks now and later my Photoshop goal.

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

DIY Biodomes/Cheap greenhouses for winter sowing


 In about 5 days, we'll have our last frost (fingers crossed) and I'll be able to put out a lot of my plants. I've got mixed feelings about taking my plants from the Sterlite totes that have been their protective biodomes. I'm gonna have to release them to the weather, the bugs, the birds, and whatever else is running around out there in the garden. If the video refuses to open above, feel free to click and watch it here.
I'm not ready to let them go, but I feel some of this hesitation is a mashup of feelings with my preborn twin grandsons and my daughter.  It's always been a little weird watching my kids make their own life choices and being completely responsible for the outcomes. And it's always been weird watching my garden take on a life of its own without my constant control over every single aspect of it. 
Am I really comparing plants with kids and grandkids? I don't know. I'm just putting out a weird brainstorm (more like brain scramble) and pondering it. My kids have always been a bit sheltered, just like I have sheltered my plants. Ed has informed me that if I insist upon leaving the plants inside the protective Sterlite containers, the awful southern sun and high temperatures fond of this region will bake and shatter the plastic. I have no choice but to let the plants out into the unknown. 
I never thought of myself as the controlling kind. Maybe a small bit of me is like that?

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Google Satellite went over the garden...

 Why on earth did it have to take pictures of the entire acreage with the garden in the hot mess, dead of winter stage?  It's right there, for everyone who is a fan of all that's fallen over, brown, withered, and disgusting to see.  Of course, it looks a little better now, but only a tad. 

Ed and Ethan moved some of the pallets around that won't be used this season. I'm re-doing quite a large portion of the garden layout. Whether it will all turn out like I have it in my mind will be fun to see. Some of the things that won't be coming back are the sunflowers. Apparently, the horse flies love them as much as I do.  I just don't feel like fighting them as passionately as I did the last two seasons.  I'll miss Sunflower Row, but once the horsefly breeding population is down some, I'm sure I can add it back in following seasons. 

Last year, I said I wouldn't grow anymore tomatoes or squash this season.  Well, after discovering Jellybean, Supersweet Candy Town, and other varieties of salad and cherry tomatoes, I'm growing lots of the littles. Tomato sandwich tomatoes and the gigantic slicer varieties take too much space.  I'm also going to grow one type of squash early this year-- a golden acorn variety.  I don't know why, but I know I will harvest them and dehydrate them in cubes. 

My focus this year will be peppers, mainly cayennes and bells. I have Albino Bullnose pepper seeds, but they didn't do well for me last year. I don't know if it's the seeds or the me.๐Ÿ˜† One of us did something wrong, though, I'm sure of it.

I need to get another coffee grinder, because that's how I grind my dehydrated foods into powders. Do you know of a better kind than the little handheld Mr. Coffee one I reviewed a year or so ago? Let me know. 

I didn't grow corn last year, but I am probably going to do some next season now that I have seen a gigantic decrease in rodents.Those ultrasonic pest deterrents really work.

I've still got a variety of greens and other brassicas to put out. Some are sitting in clear totes outside already, eagerly awaiting their release into the garden. 

Hopefully, the last of the building of our house will wind up, and there will be less traffic through the yard. We'll see.

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