Author Archives: TaMara

Bixby and Scout: Six and a Half Months

Twenty seven photos and only two weren’t blurry. That tells you everything you need to know about a 6 month old Great Dane puppy. She’s about 77 lbs these days.  She is running behind Bixby by a mere 10 lbs since she arrived, which would put her at about 140-145 lbs when she’s full-grown.

She has suddenly decided to be a trouble-maker. I’ve been letting her roam the living room when I’m gone for short periods of time – usually under an hour. That stopped last week when she decided to start eating the windowsill and an extension cord. Until she’s past her chewing phase, she’ll lose a bit of freedom.

She’s completely adorable, regardless – if I scold her, her tail droops – if I yell at her and put her in timeout, she gives me looks like a thirteen year-old who has just been told she can’t wear makeup or date. I can practically hear her thinking, “you’re not my real mom.”  No matter what, she’s terribly sweet and we’ll ride out this pre-teen, hormone driven behaviors.

Bixby really, really hates having his photo taken.

If we could make it through the Bixby teen years, we can make it through Scout’s. Speaking of the Big Guy – he’s feeling much better. I’ve started him on an anti-inflammatory for a few days because it sure looks like in addition to his bacterial infection, he has a bruised rib which makes him very cranky (and by cranky, I mean scary-snappy). This also means I can’t let them be outside together because Scout tackles him like a linebacker.  The results were almost immediate, so I’m hopeful they’ll be able to play again soon, they miss it.

But for the most part, he is back to his lovable, easy-going self.

I have dinner company for tomorrow and I’m going to make lemon tarts for dessert, so there will be photos and a recipe (that I’m pretty much making up myself based on these lovely tarts I had in Paris), Until then…



Spring Garden Surprises

I know I’ve been MIA again. Work and the gardening, puppy craziness and Bixby getting (very) sick took up much of the last few weeks.  Bixby is on the mend – he had a bacterial infection in his small intestine, which the vet thinks may have bloomed because of the amount of emotional upheaval he has had  the last few months.

I will get you pictures of him and Scout – who is 6 months old and I can’t believe I haven’t had time to do her 6 month photos yet. I inherited the “lady” above and this was the first year I’ve managed to get her “hair”. I think she’s cute.

My garden is a constant surprise this spring. When I moved in, the entire yard, front and back, was like an English cottage garden gone wild. It needed to be tamed and the backyard needed to be dog (hey and now duck!) friendly. So I set about getting rid of the invasives and moving the plants I wanted to keep.

The result was, last year, not a lot of blooming. But this year, now that everyone has room to breathe and grow, wow! I go out front every morning just to see what will surprise me today.

The backyard is now mostly grass, but the grapevine is bursting with baby grapes. I have bird netting ready to go to keep the squirrels and birds out and hopefully I’ll get a great harvest.

The wisteria vine is magnificent, but still has never bloomed. I believe it’s well over five years old, so if anyone has any suggestions for getting them to bloom, I’d love to hear them.

I’m loving iris season and I inherited a botanical garden’s worth (and culled them heavily, but still they are everywhere).

And this beautiful columbine, I have two of these :

I haven’t even mentioned the dozen lilacs bushes I inherited. They are my favorite and the fact my property is surrounded by almost every variety and color is only a bonus for me. I don’t mind trimming them after the blooms are finished.

I’m heading out, even though it’s drizzling, to plant lettuces and spinach. The rest of the veggie garden is flourishing. We’ve had almost daily afternoon rains for the past week or so.

I’ll get those puppeh photos next. Until then…

“Don’t Forget To Show Love” – President Austin

By day, Austin Perine is a mild-mannered four-year-old from Birmingham, Alabama. But once a week, he turns into this alter ego: a superhero set on feeding as many homeless people as possible. Steve Hartman reports.

Veggie Garden and Flowers

I’m heading out to plant peppers. I already have the tomatoes and potatoes in:

The tomatoes are well protected from the chill (we’ve had snow and frost since I planted them):

I don’t quite have enough water walls for the peppers, but 2-liter bottles and gallon milk cartons will work as well, just not as photogenic. I also have hoops so I can cover all the beds as needed. I have a bunch of veggie seeds, too, but I’m not in the mood to plant this weekend. Got a full schedule already, so I’ll do that this week sometime – pretty easy when the beds are all nicely prepped.

I have been enjoying the hard work of the previous owner. This is just the early showing of tulips, they became more showy as the weeks went on.

The rock garden is looking terrific:

This was a few weeks ago – a lot of late spring flowers are just about ready to bloom, so I’ll update next week.

I can’t wait to show off the roses in the rose garden. I moved 19 roses, mostly from the backyard (to save them from the dogs) into the front garden bed. Seventeen survived and are thriving – probably because I’ve given them space and fresh soil. They were in a mass of planting originally  – so much so that as I was removing a lot of the invasive plants, I was finding roses completely hidden and dwarfed.

Okay, off to do gardening chores…



Found Out Why The Ducks Shunned Their New Pool

I went out and bought the biggest pool I could fit into my car:

It’s about 5 feet in diameter and a good 8 inches deep. So, theoretically they could swim (by swim, I mean they lie flat and zoom across the pool and do barrel rolls). They like to do that before splashing around in it and grooming.

Often when I change things up for them, I have to show them where, how and what they need to do. So I filled the pool and grabbed the ducks and put them in it. They freaked out and flew out of it, in their domestic duck kinda way (lots of scrambling). I thought maybe the just needed some time, but nothing I did enticed them to stay and play.

Then I realized what was wrong…

Read the rest of this entry

When You Just Run Out Of Gas


Yeah, Nope: What’s Under The Bed?!?!


Walked into the bedroom to see all three cats surrounding the bed, looking under it. Yeah, no way was I going to look. I went and got Carson and set him about vacuuming. I neither need nor want to know what might be under there.

I emptied the bin outside, just to be safe.

Carry on….


Silly Scout Being Silly

She’s entered her silly phase. She has learned “feet check” very quickly, making rainy days like today much easier. She also rings the bell both inside and out to come and go – Bixby refuses to ring the outside bell. Now if I could just convince her that ringing the bell does NOT mean I’m gonna jump immediately. (How many times can one puppy ring a bell in the 3 minutes it takes me to actually stop what I’m doing and let her out…let me count the ways).

That ear. I’ve been trying for a while to get a photo of her unruly ear, but she’s always on the move, so it’s been difficult. I was working at the patio table,  which I have blocked off, otherwise I’d never get anything done. Here she is doing her best, “why can’t I sit by you”.

Unruly ears last such a short time, I really enjoy it. I have a whole slew of Bixby ears (here’s one). They generally settle down by about 6-7 months. I miss those ears.


Excuse Me, I Think You Have Neglected Something

In the mornings I leave the patio door open enough for the cats to go in and out and get some backyard time. This morning, Mabel showed up to make it clear there were not enough cornflakes and cilantro in her life.

I remedied the situation.

I guess I should be glad she didn’t come on in and help herself. And don’t worry, Maddie was not far away, soaking in the sun and letting Mabel do the heavy lifting this a.m.

p.s. If you want to win the heart of any duck – cilantro is your key. And please don’t feed ducks, wild or domestic, bread. Very bad for them.


Bixby: The Unboxing

I hear unboxing is a thing. If I had only known this earlier, Bixby and I could probably have made a fortune…or at least enough to pay for his food. He LOVES to open boxes. I’m pretty sure I told you the story about how he mugged the UPS man one day on a walk because he was carrying a box to someone’s house (luckily, it was our UPS man, so he understood).

We have started getting our food from Chewy which means Bixby is in heaven. Scout doesn’t understand what the fuss is.

Here he is in action: