Sunday, September 30, 2007
Yesterday, I was working in my yard and heard Oreo using his "I see another animal" bark. It is a deeper and more serious bark, than he uses at other times. Typically, when he uses this bark, it is to let me know he sees a squirrel or our next door neighbor's lab getting too close for comfort.
I didn't think much of his barking, until I heard some kids yelling, "Jake!" I knew this was one of our neighbor's dogs, because they are constantly yelling, "Jake, stop barking!" So, I figured their dog must have gotten loose. I looked into the woods and saw a flash of fur heading toward our yard.
I had never seen Jake, and he was not what I expected. For some reason, I was expecting Jake to be a springer spaniel, but Jake was a tiny, white, fluffy thing. Maybe a maltese. One of those dogs rich people carry in their Louis Vuitton bags.
I tried calling Jake to me, so I could get a feel for his temperament. Sometimes these pocketbook dogs can go either way. They can be sweet to their owners, but very snappy to strangers. Was I willing to lose a finger to save the dog from getting squashed by a car? Not really.
Luckily, Jake seemed to be smiling, and having the adventure of a lifetime. He was running with an expression on his face that said, "I'm free, I'm free!"
Jake came running up to me, and I tried to grab him, but he was too quick. By then, the kids had reached my yard and were trying to help. Unfortunately, they just kept screaming at the dog. This caused the dog to run further away, and toward our very busy road. I knew the best way to lure a dog was to talk in a nice, calm voice and act as if I was going to give him a fabulous hunk of steak.
My tactic worked. After a few tries, I was able to scoop up Jake, give him a quick hug, and hand him off to the kids. The kids were very polite and kept thanking me for my help. These are the same kids who scream at the top of their lungs at 10 PM, while jumping on their trampoline, causing me to lose sleep. Now, they were winning me over.
Their mom came down the hill through the woods to thank me too. She said, "I'm glad your dogs were barking, otherwise Jake would have run into the road, instead of your yard. Once he reached the road, he would be a goner."
I never had anyone say they were glad my dogs were barking. I usually hear the opposite. I don't usually care about the complaints, since I have to listen to their kids screaming all the time.
Then she said, "Jake doesn't get out much, so when he gets loose he just takes off. He's going back in his crate now."
Poor Jake. Had the time of his life, and now he was being punished.
After they left, I looked around for my own dogs. I knew they were safe inside our fence throughout the whole ordeal, and hadn't really paid any attention to them. That's one of the main reasons we put up the fence - to keep our dogs safe from other dogs. I expected to see them on the deck keeping an eye on things, but they weren't there.
I noticed the back door had been nosed open by one of them. I found the two of them, sitting in the corner of our mudroom, as close to the closed kitchen door, as physically possible. Huddled together for mutual support.
As soon as Jake set foot on our property, my two dogs went running for cover. Wimps.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Regardless, I went out to plant my bulbs today.
Last Fall, I was very ambitious with my bulb plantings. I ordered more than 300 bulbs - including a hundred and fifty tulip bulbs. There is nothing prettier in spring than a large group of elegant red tulips. I ordered some early bloomers, mid spring varieties, and the tall May flowering tulips. I wanted to have a non stop tulip display from April to May.
When I started seeing green in my garden last March, I waited anxiously for those green stems to sprout up. The daffodils were blooming and I had a few crocuses, but no sign of my tulips.
I thought, maybe they are just a little late this year.
As we got into April, there was no sign of tulip growth. May came, and still no tulips.
Unlike daffodils, tulips have to be replanted every year. Only a few are perennial varieties. So, it wasn't like I was out a lot of money if the bulbs didn't bloom. I think of tulips as "throw away plants", like inpatients and petunias. You have to buy them every year. What upset me was the lack of color in my spring garden, and all that time I wasted planting them in the Fall.
Why didn't they bloom?
I dug into the ground where I knew I had planted some bulbs, and there were none to be found. I began to face the fact that my endless battle with our resident mole continues.
All my tulips bulbs were the mole's dinner throughout the winter. The mole must think very highly of me for leaving him tasty morsels, so he didn't starve over the winter.
Hmm, I wonder if I don't plant any bulbs this fall, would the mole finally die from starvation? Am I his sole source of food? As much as I want the mole to drop dead, I'm not ready to give up on having a tulip display.
I did some research on keeping your bulbs free from rodent damage. Some suggest adding moth balls to the top of your soil. Others say that is bad for your bulbs. I could just see Oreo carrying moth balls around in his mouth, so that wasn't going to work.
One of my gardening catalogs sells crushed oyster shells. You put some in the hole with the bulb, and that is supposed to deter the moles from eating the bulbs. Although I am very skeptical this will work, I figured it is worth a shot. I also decided to try soaking all my bulbs in "tree guard". Tree guard is something I spray on my plants to keep the deer away. It is supposed to taste really bad (it does, I got some on my finger and had a taste), lasts a long time, and is water resistant.
Good thing I only ordered 50 tulips this year. Soaking the bulbs, adding the shells, and trying to keep Oreo away from all this, made planting my bulbs take twice as long as usual. Who knows if it will work. It wasn't deterring Oreo's curiosity. If I have no tulips next Spring, I will be setting a trap for that mole. I'll know what to lure him in with - tulip bulbs.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Oreo has a favorite ball, called an Orbee. It comes from Planet Dog, in Portland, Maine. Oreo actually has 4 orbees, because we are constantly losing them under furniture or in my hosta plants. If all 4 were missing, I don't know what Oreo would do. He has 2 glow in the dark ones (I search under furniture for those at night), a pink one (easy to find in the grass), and the original blue with green continents. They all come from the factory with a "fresh minty scent". I don't know if they make it minty to entice the dogs to play with it, or to keep it from smelling really funky. After a few days sitting outside on the lawn, I can't smell the mint. Maybe the dogs can.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Oreo was standing on the "dog couch" where a whole new world opened for him. Misty loves that couch, because she can see out the picture window. It was Munchkin's favorite spot too. Looks like the torch has been passed to Oreo.
Here it is all captured on film (or digital camera):
Sometimes when I am walking the dogs, I see other newspaper carriers delivering the paper. They actually stop their car, get out, walk to the person's door, and put the paper on the step. Not my guy. My carrier slows his car down to about 30 miles an hour, flings the paper out the driver's side window, over the car roof, and sometimes it lands on the driveway. Typically, I have to fish it out of the ditch. Sometimes, I just don't bother.
Today, when we got back from our walk, I checked the ditch. I saw several newspapers down there, but not today's.
This happens at least once a week. Usually on Sunday, when I really want to read the whole paper in the morning. I have a routine on Sundays, and when the paper isn't there, it throws off my whole day. Jeff ends up with "cranky Sara" until noontime.
I've had it. Nothing like starting your day annoyed.
This morning, I called the paper to cancel my subscription. The customer representative asked if I was canceling just for a vacation.
"No", I explained, "When I did cancel for my vacation, the paper was delivered everyday, and now that I am home, I'm not getting the paper."
When we went on vacation, I purposely canceled the paper for the day before we left for our trip, to make sure it really was stopped. Of course, our guy delivered that day. So, I called the newspaper and told them. The rep assured me that she would speak to the carrier directly, and her words were, "you don't want papers piling up while you're out of town."
Well, if the delivery guy got the message, he didn't listen, or he is just dumb. You would have thought he'd have noticed 7 papers piling up on our driveway, and maybe call the paper to see if I had canceled. Nothing like a pile of newspapers to scream we're out of town, come rob us.
Today's rep was persistent. She told me she could speak to the manager and try and get this sorted out. I said, no. This has been going on for years, and I didn't have much hope for any long term improvement.
The rep asked when I wanted it canceled. I said, "tomorrow". She told me that I was paid through October 11, and asked if I wanted to keep getting the paper until then.
Didn't I just tell her that I'm not getting the paper? Oh yeah, let me pay for something I'm not receiving, that makes sense.
Today, I read the "paper" on my laptop while eating breakfast (gotta love wireless). It really wasn't too bad. No black ink on my fingers. Now, I'll have less papers to recycle. I can buy all the Sunday inserts and fliers on Saturday at the grocery store. Plus, I'll save some money. This may not be a bad scenario.
I have a feeling that tomorrow, when I wake up, there will be a nicely bagged newspaper sitting on the driveway. Wonder how long it will take my carrier to realize I have cancelled. I guess that's why some people deliver papers, rather than perform brain surgery.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Usually, I love watching the weather report. In fact, I consider myself to be an amateur meteorologist. I have predicted our school's snow days and hour delays with about 75% accuracy. The only reason I have made mistakes is because of a change in administration. Some superintendents hate snow more than others. Our new superintendent is from the Caribbean, so I am hoping for lots of snow days this year!
Meteorologists have great jobs. They get all excited when there is bad weather. They take off their jackets, and roll up their shirtsleeves. The best part is that meteorologists don't have to do their job well. In fact, we expect them to be wrong most of the time. All they have to say is, "there was a change in the jet stream", and we forgive them. Sometimes, they even admit they have no idea what the weather will be, and blame it on conflicting computer imagery. They tell us, "one computer model says we will get three feet of snow, the other computer shows three inches". Even when they know a storm will hit, they always give a wide range ~ 6-12 inches or 4-8 inches. Let me tell you, there is a big difference between 6 inches and 12 inches, especially when you are trying to drive your car up a very steep driveway. You either make it in the garage, or abandon your car at the bottom.
I don't know who's idea it was to have the meteorologist discuss 9/11 weather, but weather people should stick to the weather. At least then, when they get it wrong, its ok.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Chicken Fiesta Salad
2 boneless chicken breast halves
1 (1.27 oz.) packet of dry fajita seasoning
1 10.5 oz can black beans (I used Goya ) , drained and rinsed
1 7 oz. can corn (I used green giant niblets)
1/2 cup salsa
1 tomato or some cherry tomatoes
shredded cheddar cheese
Rub the chicken with 1/2 the fajita seasoning packet. Fry the chicken in olive oil until cooked through, then chop into bite size pieces.In a separate pan, mix the beans, corn, salsa, and other half of fajita
seasoning. Heat until warm. ( I do this while cooking the chicken.)
Place lettuce in salad dishes, add some tomatoes. Top with chicken and
dress with the bean/corn mixture. Sprinkle the top with cheddar
cheese. Serve with tortilla chips. A dollop of sour cream is nice,
but not necessary!
Sunday, September 9, 2007
I am an avid coupon collector. Every Sunday, I clip coupons for items that I normally buy. I save at least $5 a week at the grocery store with my coupons. That's more than $250 a year.
There is nothing worse than checking out in a grocery store, having your coupons scanned, and hearing a loud "ehh, ehh" noise coming from the register, instead of the familiar and friendly "beep". The cashier studies the coupon, and tries to figure out why the coupon was rejected. Typically, it's because I bought the wrong number of items or the wrong size. Instead of running through the store to get another item, or the right size, I just tell the cashier that I'll use it next time. I don't want to anger the person behind me, who is already annoyed that my coupons are causing them to wait. Believe it or not, some people are actually anti-coupons!
Is this what the food companies want? For us to make mistakes, so we have to buy a full price item? Why can't they make a 50 cent coupon for one box of cereal, instead of $1 off of two boxes? Sometimes, I won't even cut out a coupon if I know I have to buy 2 of something. Especially, if it is something that would go bad before I could consume two. Sometimes this results in that company losing my business, because their brand is not the cheapest without the coupon. Not smart on their part.
I also do a lot of rebates. These typically entail saving UPC codes and receipts for large quantities of items. You mail it in, and get a check back for $5 or more. I think most people don't bother, because it is time consuming, and you have to remember to get the UPC code before you throw the item out.
A few weeks ago, I saw a $10 rebate for Kellogg's cereals, if I buy 10 boxes. Well, I eat Kellogg's everyday, and $1 off each box is a pretty good savings. So, this seemed worth the effort for me. I read the fine print, and it said I had to make all my purchases before Sept. 30. Plenty of time. I buy 2 boxes a week. I peeled off the UPC labels when I unpacked my groceries, and put them in an envelope with the receipt.
I just bought my last 2 boxes today and was preparing to send off all the receipts and UPC labels for my $10 check (expect to wait 2 months to get it). I decided to reread the fine print just to make sure I had included everything. I was horrified when I read that "all products must be purchased in a single transaction"!
How does purchasing all 10 boxes on the same day, rather than several trips, benefit Kellogg's? The prices haven't changed, and I'm still buying their product. Don't I deserve to save some money?
Who buys 10 boxes of cereal at a time? If you are buying 10 boxes, you should be shopping at a warehouse store, and buying your cereal by the barrel.
All my effort and diligence was for nothing. I am tempted to mail all my receipts and UPC codes with a nasty letter and a link to this blog. We'll see what happens.
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
If Oreo didn't want to get stranded somewhere, he had to learn to use the stairs. Or whine, until Mommy came to get him.
Jeff played tough love with him and forced Oreo to climb the stairs from our bedroom to the main living area. After a couple tries, Oreo climbed the stairs without coaxing.
There was a blanket trunk at the foot of our bed. Oreo learned to use that as a step to get up on the bed! That was quite a leap for a little dog. Now, we knew his jumping potential was there, but would he use it elsewhere?
Yesterday, as we sat on the couch to watch TV, Oreo made an attempt at a jump to join us. Misty was kind of in his way, so all Oreo could get on the couch was his belly. Jeff and I were excited, we hoped maybe this was it. Jeff got up and made room for Oreo to get a running start. Oreo took a couple steps, and up on the couch he went! We praised him and clapped, Oreo lapped it all up. Then, we pushed Oreo off the couch to see if he could do it again. Maybe it was just a fluke. This time, Oreo ran into the kitchen, did a lap around the table, into the living room, and then a huge leap onto the couch. You would have thought he won an Olympic gold medal from our response. I guess it was like when parents see their kid walk for the first time. Oreo sat there panting, soaking in the praise, with a look on his face that said,"Yeah, I am so awesome." Misty kind of looked at us like, what's the big deal, I jump on the couch all the time.
As a side note, I learned something too on our vacation. See that picket fence? Oreo's ball went over it. Rather than use the two gates to get out of the yard, I attempted to scale the fence. I was convinced I could do it. Jeff screamed, "Wait, I'll get it!" What? You think I can't jump this fence? I'll show you. I used to do gymnastics. One leg went over easily. If I could just jamb my foot between the pickets, I could make it over. Or not.
I now have a huge bruise on my thigh, along with some serious road (fence) rash. It is painful to wear pants and cross my legs. Even worse, I had to be rescued and carried off the fence by Jeff. Luckily, I brought a first aid kit for the dogs. Hope its OK to use dog ointment on people.
Monday, September 3, 2007
Saturday, September 1, 2007
The dogs seemed to enjoy themselves, and Misty didn’t have a nervous breakdown. Oreo had his first try at swimming, and he doggie paddled immediately. He really seemed to like the water. Strange for a sheepdog. Misty enjoyed rolling in seaweed - weird.
We bought our lobsters at Allen’s for $5.75 a pound! There were dogs at the lobster dock every time we went. They were running around free. No collars or leashes. They were filthy and wet. At the end of the day, they hop in their fishermen’s pick up trucks. What a great life for a dog. Such a different life than the ones my dogs lead.
Overall, it was a very relaxing vacation. Jeff and I each ate 5 lobsters while we were there, including 2 each on our last night there. Yum! I still have some stuck under my fingernails.