Category Archives: Pets

Bixby Diaries: Week Two

Bixby Diary WK 2 Final

8.20 Fell out of bed last night (I fall out probably once a night), but no one noticed, so I went exploring and found a great treat. (TaMara’s note: Shelby, Einstein, Duncan, Coty and Sadie are going to come back and haunt me because they were NEVER allowed on the bed or other furniture).

8.21 Today I learned about timeouts. While biting a litter mate is expected, biting one’s person is frowned upon. (TaMara’s note: the timeout was more for me than him. Really took me by surprise nipping at my face)

8.22 My person cleans out the kitty potty spots every morning. This morning I decided to help her by carrying the plastic bag. I was rewarded for my good deed with a fun game of chase. Also worked really hard to climb onto the couch for naptime. (TaMara’s note: Sigh, let the haunting begin, because I let him sleep there).

Sleepy puppy

8.23 Went for a walk in a new place today. Lots of water, flowers, weeds and great smells. My person calls it the Ponds. I’m still unsure about getting too far from the house or car, I’m not all that impressed by my person’s ability to smell her way back. I don’t think her eyes are all that good, either. So far my vigilance has kept us from losing our way.

Time to Smell

8.24 Woke up this morning and found out I could now easily reach the counters by standing on my back legs. How awesome is that!  I must have grown a whole inch last night. So much to see up there.  (TaMara’s note: No, no, not awesome)

8.25 Spent a lot of time in the car today, I usually like my crate, but today I thought it would be fun to howl and bark. When we got home, I got another timeout, this time for chasing the cats. Is it my fault they run away all the time? (TaMara’s note: Again, timeout more for the cats and my sanity)

8.26 My person works too much, so I decided to take over her desk. She’ll have to find something else to do.

Desk surfing

8.27 Spent the day at the office again. Boooring. Came home and power napped. I feel a growth spurt coming on.

So sleepy

8.28 Big day. Learned sit and come – because steak, baby! I do anything for bits of steak. Also went to the vet for my weekly weigh in – and got to meet my vet. Got a shot and didn’t even feel it. I’m a big boy! 27.6 lbs and 17 inches at my shoulders. I’ll be 10 weeks old on Saturday.

See you next week, or when my person has time to type for me – BixbyPaw pring

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DSC_4847 (1600x1060)Lots of praying mantises today.  This one had a hold on a hummingbird before Mrs J, hearing a small commotion in the bush, reached in to rescue it.  She said she thought it was hung in a spiderweb at first and only saw the mantis when the bird’s foot didn’t come clear.DSC_4857 (1600x1060)This fellow is in the coleus but isn’t the same one from the other day.  That one had green eyes.  I’m not sure if mantises can change colors, a quick search found answers all over the map.  Some said yes, some no, and a few were firmly in the sometimes camp.DSC_4855 (1600x1060)I’m pretty sure this one is the same one from before.  He is in a green coleus right next to the vari-colored one, both of them in pots Mrs J has set in the shade of a small crabapple tree.DSC_4858 (1600x1060)My habaneros are loving this August heat.  I picked this bush once already and there are as many ripe now as before.  These are more than I will use.  Need any?DSC_8964 (1600x1060)We’re loving the big slicer tomatoes the garden is producing.  They are perfect for BLTs, or BELTs, as is the case here.DSC_4845 (1600x1060)Toby is still not sure I won’t do something to him he won’t like.  Ginger plays with him quite a bit and Toby doesn’t seem to mind, but let Homer come by and there will be trouble.  Toby has taken a serious dislike to that boy and we’ve had to separate them lest fur fly and the dogs become fearful for their own safety.DSC_8971 (1600x1060)I’ll close with a few more sammiches.  I fired up the panini press for this reuben and all the cheese ran out.  The pickle is a bread and butter spear.  Tasty!DSC_8968 (1600x1060)Last is a mushroom Swiss burger.  I sauteed some brown buttons in butter and olive oil, added beef stock with cornstarch for a thickener, and ladled them all over the cheese covered patty.  It’s a classic burger recipe, and for good reason.

Life According To Bixby: Falling Off The Bed


Bixby Life and falling out of bed



Life According To Bixby: Squirt Bottles

Bixby Life and the Squirt Bottle


The Bixby Diaries: Week One

Bixby 8 19 14

The Bixby Diaries

Week 1

8.12: What an adventure. Woke up in the morning curled up with my brothers and sisters – some are half-siblings, but we don’t differentiate in the litter. By that night, I was curled up in the arms of my person after a long day of everything being new.

8.13: Discovered my bark at 6:15 am. My person and her strange furry companions don’t seem as excited as I am. Conquered working in an office.  Work is boring. Went for my weigh-in, I’m a svelte 22.2 lbs.  Napped.

Working hard from the boss' chair.

Working hard from the boss’ chair.

8.14:  Mastered the scary, open back stairs at 6 am. On the first try. I’m a rock star. Or, so my person says. Napped.

8.15:  Spent the day trying to win over the strange, furry companions. Learn they are called cats. They look soft, but they have sharp feet. Kinda cranky, too. Napped.


8.16: Making progress with cats. Being a perfect gentleman…well at least I try. Napped.

Bixby and Emma

8.17: Rough day. Spent it being yelled at and put in time out. Sigh. Being a puppy is hard. But, got a cat to play untie-the-bow with me. So day wasn’t a total bust. Also, napped.

Bixby Bench

8.18: Rockin’ the potty training. Bark at door, go outside and potty. My person learned very quickly. Now who is the rock star? Oh, yeah, and I napped.

More Napping

8.19: Played in the park. Filled with great smells. Made my weekly weigh in.  24.4 lbs of muscle, baby! Been a long week filled with lots of adventures. Nap time.

Bixby Park

See you next week! – Bixby




Making Progress


Let's play string Final

A game of string is irresistible.


Bixby’s First Days

Bixby Portrait

Bixby is settling in. The cats are still cautious, except for the Z-Man, who is totally bent out of shape. He’ll need some extra love to get over not being the star of the show for a while.

Did I say it would take Bixby a week to figure out the stairs? Try a day. I have open-backed stairs to the deck and this morning at about 6, while I was bleary-eyed and wishing for coffee before puppy duty, he looked at me, looked at the stairs and very slowly and deliberately climbed them while I followed closely behind. When I praised him for it, there was a definite look of, “they’re just stairs, no big deal.” He  really is fearless.

Bixby in the Park

I said that when he arrived, I’d tell you the story of how he came to be a part of my life. In my adult life, I have rescued four Great Danes, one Greyhound and fostered another Great Dane. My first was a total fluke – a home daycare center decided at six months that my Sadie was too big – so they offered her for free to anyone who would pick her up. I’d been thinking that I wanted  a Great Dane and there she was. After she passed too soon from bone cancer (a Great Dane issue) Shelby came into my life after they found her running on the interstate, she was 9 months old.

Two years later, I was asked to foster two big black brothers – Einstein and Duncan, a casualty of divorce, and evaluate them to see if they could be separated. When it was clear they shouldn’t be separated, they stayed with me and Shelby. When I took the dogs for a walk, I had 450 lbs on a leash.

But this meant that now all three of my Danes were close in age and though they lived pretty long lives, they left me very close together – Shelby and Einstein died two weeks apart. It was difficult and probably took more of a toll than I imagined. Between that and other things going on in my life it meant I needed to be dog-less for a while. But last year, I decided that it was time to bring some canine energy into the house.

After a few months of looking, it became apparent that rescuing a Dane wasn’t going to work out. I then decided that I’d just check the shelter weekly to see if there was a dog of any type that clicked for me. There were a few, but there was always a wait list. I thought I’d found the perfect dog, an 11 year old wheaten terrier that was cute as a button and lovely personality, but she had two families ahead of me. That same day I ran into someone who had just rescued a tiny (and by tiny, about 100 lbs) little fawn Dane and I knew it really had to be a Dane.

I contacted a breeder I’d been talking with for the last 5 years, I like her philosophy, her techniques and the fact she breeds for health and structure more than anything. Bixby has a strong line of European Dane in him and a healthy line of American Dane. After talking with her for a couple of months, I decided that this was what I wanted to do. She and I figured I’d have a Dane by Christmas.

You see how that worked out.

So I bought a dog. Not something I ever thought I’d do, but it was love at first sight and we are having the adventure of a lifetime. But personally, there is something to be said for getting that house-trained, past the chewing everything in sight stage dog. I’ll enjoy the puppy stage, short as it is, while I can and as exhausting as it can be. Luckily, puppies come with their very own “off switch” and sleep so soundly my cats can wander around, sniff and poke at Bixby and he never even stirs.

Bixby Sleep

I found that stuffy at a thrift store for three dollars, hoping he’d find it snugly. He’s out like a light and snoring right now. I’m going to join him shortly because we’ll both be up at 2 am for a trip outside. Night.

p.s. no recipe exchange this week, we’ll pick up next week with some end of summer recipes. Until then…..




Bixby is Here

My friend took these while I was busy loving on him. I’ll have more from our first park outing later. Bixby 2

Don’t let the cuteness fool you. He’s smart, assertive and unafraid of anything. Oh, except the stairs outside, but it seems to be a coordination issue. I’m betting he’ll have it by week’s end. Also, he found his bark at 6:15 this morning and has been practicing ever since. I am fairly certain the cats will now kill him in his sleep.

Bixby 1

Available for Belly Rubs

Zander Belly Rubs Final

Before the  puppy arrives and things get too crazy, I wanted to give an update on the Z-Man. He’s been with us for 9 months and I don’t know what we would do without him. I really questioned when I brought him home if it was too soon after Harley’s death, but I should have known better. Clearly Harley picked him out just for us. He’s a two year old bundle of love and outgoing personality.

He is sweet, funny and always available for a belly rub. He sits by my desk so that I can reach over and rub it at any point during my busy days. I’ve become convinced he was an only cat before he came to live with us. He seems, still, completely fascinated by everything my other three cats do and imitates them, follows them and looks to them for guidance with unfamiliar things (like brushing and nail clipping) . Whether it’s his youth or complete innocence, the other cats accepted him almost immediately and there has not been so much as a hiss or a spat.

Paperweight named Zander1

I hold these down for you. Looked like they were gonna blow away.

He has perpetual “bed-head”. No amount of brushing can tame his curls. He has a magnificent mane and paws so big, I kept counting his toes the first few days, convinced he was a polydactyl.  He seems very happy here and even though I may be his fourth person in his short life, I think he’s content enough not to run away. He’s a bolter and the few times he’s made it out the door, he’s always come back. Still I’m hyper-vigilant.

He greets guests at the door and sits between us on the couch. Everyone loves him and he loves having company. He’s working on getting the other cats to come out and spend time with guests. On occasion he convinces them and everyone is in awe that suddenly there are visible cats, where once there were none.

I have no idea how he’s going to do with a Great Dane puppy, but my guess is, he’ll roll with it and enjoy the playmate.



DSC_4791Rain was threatening the other day and the hummers were really stoking up.  I played around with placing strobes on the ground around the feeders to try to stop the motion of the bird’s wings.  I took a few shots but it started to rain so I gathered the strobes up and quit before I could thoroughly try different settings.  I posted this at high resolution, click on it and it’ll get really big.  I counted about 30 hummers in this shot.DSC_8841 (1600x1060)Made a pot of chili just for this picture.  Turned out to be pretty good chili, I simmered some dried chilis to make a mole and added that to a chorizo/ground beef mixture with a chopped onion and a ton of garlic.  I held off putting beans in, adding them later.DSC_8846 (1600x1060)I think there are beans in the chili on this hotdog we had later in the day.  It has minced jalapeno and red serrano peppers with onions and shredded cheeses.DSC_4801 (1600x1060)Ginger had lots of fun with his new toy.  I think every cat in the house took a turn with it, and Katie spent a few minutes chewing it.DSC_8836 (1600x1060)Mrs J put together a salad, I added the olives and the pickled garlic.  It has a vinaigrette dressing of rice vinegar and olive oil with the usual herbs and a bit of Dijon.DSC_8828 (1600x1060)The habanero bush on the patio was starting to look like the peppers were thick enough on it to break the branches down so I went ahead and gathered all the ripe ones.  I have most of these drying to be ground for pizzas and the like.  I learned last year not to breath the dust from the processing.DSC_4804 (1600x1060)We opened the front door and found this stick insect clinging to the glass of the storm door.  No idea why he was there, the location pretty much defeats the blending in strategy in avoiding predators.  We see these now and again but almost always when they are away from their normal habitat.  Makes me wish for a decent macro lens for my camera.


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