Tuesday, July 31, 2012


With great sadness...I have to tell you all that we lost a wonderful family member and friend last week.
Gus was such a wonderful and sweet dog...Smudge's best buddy and babysitter.
His passing was a great shock to us and it is still very hard for me to believe he is gone.
We noticed that Gus was slowing down a bit and contributed it to his older age.
He would have been 10 in October and he also had some leg issues that we thought might be causing some of the slowness.  He had to have both legs operated on when he was two, due to cruciate ligament problems.  It has also been extremely hot here this summer and that was another thing we imagined was bothering him.  We even took him in for a check up just about a month ago to discuss his age and leg issues.  He seemed as healthy as a horse....other than just walking a little slower. 

I took Gus and Smudge down to my neighbor's small pond for a swim one day and 
Gus got right in and paddled around.  Smudge on the sideline playing in the mud..
We walked back home and...again he was a little slow, but nothing that concerned me other than that.

The next day....he would not eat...Gus never ever passed up a meal and would jump up and down in anticipation...I knew something was really wrong.  We took him to the vet immediately...thinking maybe he had a kidney stone.  He had problems with that in the past and that was the only other time in his life that he had turned down a meal.  When we got him to our wonderful vet... she told us that he looked a bit dehydrated.  This surprised me because he had been drinking as normal.  We gave him fluids and did some blood work...the blood work did not look good.  High white cell count and low red.....
Our vet wanted to do an x-ray to check him out a bit further and she decided to keep him overnight.
The x-ray revealed some sort of mass on his heart.  Our vet already had suspicions of this...a type of 
cancer that grows on the blood vessels on the heart.  She told me the name...but I can't remember...I was just so shocked and devastated.  The tumor is very aggressive and grows at a fast rate.  It ruptures the blood vessel and then the heart and surrounding area fills with blood. Making it very hard for the heart to work....She suggested we get an ultrasound just to be positive...we did....it was....and we made the decision at that point to let Gus go....In two days time he went from swimming with his 
friend to not having the strength to stand.....

We miss you buddy......

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Adventures of an epileptic bulldog. Plus a bit of concrete.

This is a shot of Elk Knob State park that I took a couple of years ago.
The clouds are Lenticular clouds. 

Looks like a spaceship.

I love seeing these clouds.  

We had a bit of a setback with Smudge last week.
She had a seizure early in the morning (5 a.m.) and then settled down. 
I called my vet to report it and let them know that she only had one.
Then....later that night (10 p.m.)  she had another one.
This was on the 3rd of July.  My local vet was closed and this meant a trip to the 
emergency vet that is an hour away.  On the way to the vet, she had another seizure.
Needless to say...we were very upset and concerned when we arrived and Smudge ended up 
spending the night there.  We got home at (2 a.m.)  The next day....July 4th...we 
went back down to pick her up.  They had given her valium to calm the seizures and she 
did not have another one.  That was a 400.00 experience.  So...we talked to our vet and we are now 
prepared to handle this type of situation without an emergency vet visit.  
Before this episode, Smudge was seizure free for a little over 30 days.  

Some people may ask...why don't you get pet insurance?
Well..number one, I have crunched the numbers and I really do not think that it is worth it.
Just like our insurance...you pay out the rear for it and it really doesn't cover what you need.
For Smudge...( and this was before she was diagnosed with Epilepsy) if she 
lived 10 years and had no issues... it would cost over 5000.00 for insurance during her lifetime.
This amount would NOT include copays, normal office charges, or deductibles. 
Plus there are also (in the fine print) charges for preexisting conditions and hereditary conditions 
that are not covered.  Honestly...all I think that pet insurance will do is up the charges we are now paying for veterinary care..I may change my mind at some point, but I just don't get why people buy it. 
Some of the pet insurance companies do not even cover yearly vaccinations or routine office visits.  

A concrete chair that I made several years ago.
I am getting ready to start another one that is similar.
You can see the older style of texture that I used.  

Another cost involved with Smudge's epilepsy.
A new deck railing.  
We needed one anyway...but it now keeps Smudge safe from the pond and from falling
in case she has a seizure while outside and we can have all of the dogs out at once.

This is a new birdbath that I made as a commission.

The client's other birdbath broke and she loved the stand and needed a new 
one to go with it.

I took a "cue" from the stand and made a spiral birdbath.

I added a little blue to the spiral to accentuate it.

I think it turned out really nice.
I also think the birds will love the texture of the concrete and be able 
to grip it really well. 

Me:   Smudge get out of that pond!!!

Smudge:  Shaking her head....NO!

Smudge:  Are you talking to me???

Me:  Come on Smudge....get out!!

Smudge:   Ha ha ha...you can't get me....the new deck railing is keeping you 
on the deck...Ha ha ha...

Smudge:  I will just wreak havoc.....grrr.....Look!  
Lily pads!!!  
I love lily pads!

Smudge:  Hmmm...maybe I should get out....

Smudge:  NO!!  I am staying in!!  ha ha ha......

Me:  Smudge....You BETTER get out of there!!!

Smudge:  La la lala.....I can't hear you!!  Ha ha ha ha!!!

Smudge:  Can't see you either....ha ha ha..

Smudge:  Hey...what's this?  

Smudge:  A lily pad bloom!!!!  
I love them!!!

Me:  I am going to get you!!!!
Smudge:  Oh NO!!!  She is going to get me!!!

Smudge:  Sorry folks....I am out of here....and FAST!

Now all of the dogs can be out at he same time. 

Zippy likes that!

I have this wonderful pair of Keen shoes.
This was actually a photo challenge shot, but I just want to say...
I am so glad these shoes are waterproof!  Ha ha ha..
It even says so on the little tag on the side of the shoe.

This is a very important feature in open sandals.

Well, well, well....what do we have here???
"Someone" chewed up my vintage cookbook.
I wonder who it was????

Fun mini mule story:
Our brave and wonderful farrier came over to trim the minis and the horses.
We caught Ollie the wild mini mule by roping him first in the stall, and then putting his halter on.
This is our normal catching method and works well.  You see, Ollie is one wild mini mule.
He will not let you get within 10 feet in the field and will only let you pet him if you are on the 
other side of the fence.  It has been this way for several years.  I have spent DAYS trying to tame this guy and NOTHING has worked.  Once you catch him...he settles down and is tolerant of handling.
The farrier trimmed him with no issues and he got a hair cut.  I thought that I did a good job on his hair cut.....until I started to take him back out to the pasture.  Then I notice the long piece of mane in the middle of his neck....About the same time I noticed that...Ollie took off ran over me and headed for the pasture...lead rope, and halter still attached.  It took me 30 minutes and many biscuits to catch him again and remove the halter and lead.  
Never a dull moment.  
With the added bonus of giving my farrier a great laugh.

Knock, knock...let me in.

View of the side garden.

My vegetable garden.

The glads are really nice this year.
The rest of my garden is a little slow and small.  
That last frost in late spring really took it's toll.

More beautiful gladiolas.

The Bishop's Children Dahlias are really doing well.

Another view...Zippy sneaking in.

View through the garden gate.

Cone flowers.

Smudge resting.

Smudge sneaking around in the giant pumpkin plants.
"Someone" chewed the end off of one of the vines....
I have 4 pollinations as of the 4th.  

This little beauty is a Vista Gladiola.  

I got the bulbs from Pinetree Garden Seeds.


The inside of another beautiful gladiola.

I love the new deck railing!!!

Miss May.

Smudge being bad.
She jumped in the pond on our way back from the shop.
I could not get her out.  
She kept running from me and sticking her tongue out...Ha ha..

More glads.

Smudge in "jail".

Zippy and Smudge loving each other.

This is an interesting chipmunk.
He/she kept adding large rocks in front of this hole to keep rain water out.  
I checked it yesterday and....so sad....it had been flooded.  The hole was gone.

I am sure they will rebuild.  

Have a great day!!!
Thanks for stopping to read another installment!!!!