Little Miss Mischief

Doesn’t she just have the look of mischief?

She is a non-stop ball of fire and I have to admit she does make me laugh quite often.   Frankie is exhausted from the day, but little Miss Billie has the look that she will get up and going in a second!   The Purple Martins are busy tending to their young and I was able to capture one of the baby birds on film.   As soon as the mother saw me, she flew right at the baby bird and guided it quickly back into the bird house.

Then she sat glaring at me protecting her babies from the click of the camera!

This Red-headed Woodpecker was hopping around in the cucumber patch and stopped to give me a quick pose before flying off.

The Bluebird has to be one of my favorites – their color is so blue and they always make me think of “the bluebird of happiness” … a happy thought!

Now the cicadas are still out there humming along but their noise is not as intense as it was a few weeks back – thank goodness these guys don’t bite.   We have decided we need to obtain some Guineas to assist in bug control – that may not happen until next spring, but it needs to happen.   The weather has been very stormy both in Southern Illinois and Northern all week and I am hoping it will let up a bit.   Rain, rain go away … I need to do some serious weeding.


Tough Doggy Day

I wanted to share this story so others can avoid the same terrible mishap happening to their own precious pets.   Anyone who owns a dog or cat and had some type of surgery knows the all too familiar and hated “cone” that the poor patient has to wear for what seems an eternity.   Well, here is Frankie and the hated cone after a heart wrenching day.   The poor guy is still not sure what happened – but I was there and can tell the story.

We have four dogs – Frankie and Augie are good pals and get along very well.   They do wrestle around as dogs do and usually I end up yelling for them to “Stop”!  The other two Billie and Sarge are small and although Billie will start to mess with the bigger dogs it really is not a good idea.  

What occurred today (and one time previous) is as they were wrestling around Frankie got his claw nail caught in Augie’s chain collar.   Bad scene and now Frankie has many stitches in his front paw and a punctured lip and nose.   We still don’t know the extent of the repair but he will either need a root canal or a pulled tooth.   He came down in the struggle and landed on the ceramic tile … tooth first.

So the bottom line – if you have more than one pet who needs a collar, do not use chain link collars.   I should have figured this out the first time it happened, but sometimes we don’t realize there is an issue until tragedy strikes.   Everyone is still a bit shook up, but we will all recover and hopefully someone out there will avoid this same crisis.

poor Frankie 😦  

Weekly Photo Challenge – Curiosity

Pound Puppy Feature!

How can you resist such a cute face?   Meet Billie Girl …. she just turned 1 year and is our latest puppy from an animal shelter.   I decided to showcase my pound puppies on this Feature Friday.   Not just my own puppies, but the people and places that put their heart and soul into caring for these animals that come to the shelters hungry, homeless and most times neglected.

Meet Augie and Frankie … this photo is close to 3 years old, so these pups are quite a bit bigger now and they are as lovable today as the day we brought them home.   I remember when we decided on a shelter to visit, I would spend hours browsing their website looking at all the puppies they had at the time.   Most shelters have some type of rules and a contract along with a fee for adopting a pet.

Each of my pups definitely has their own unique personality.   Here Frankie was a bit confused and thought the kitchen table was where he should take a nap.   He still likes to sit in the chair and keep an eye on things.

Animal is another website where you can locate a shelter near you.   I am very happy with our family of dogs and most certainly recommend checking your local animal shelter if you are considering adding a dog or cat to your family.

Augie loves running the property, while Frankie and Billie take time to enjoy the fireplace.

I got my Cricut!

Yes!   We purchased the Cricut and I am overwhelmed to say the least!   I did attend the demonstration and ask many questions at the local craft store yesterday and now I do feel much more comfortable with it.   There really is ALOT of different shapes, sizes, fonts and figures this machine can cut.   For those unfamiliar with a Cricut, it is an electronic cutting machine.   Different cartridges can be purchased and used to create whatever you have in mind.  My unit came with 2 cartridges and I purchased 2 additonal ones – Walk in the Garden is backordered but I did come home with From the Kitchen.

 My first flower creations!

As I left the store I saw this couple walking down the sidewalk with their 4 dogs.   I watched in amazement as they loaded all 4 well behaved dogs into their small vehicle and drove off.  I really thought I was seeing things!

Also this past week I was notified that I won Free Seeds from Everything About Gardening on facebook.  I am a fan and my name was chosen … I love winning!   Jeff @ does a fantastic job of promoting his business!   I was amazed at another of his links – gardening videos.   Check it out at   Tons of information … tons!   Thank you Jeff … I will have fun picking out my seeds!

Another wonderful discovery this past week is Linda from Scentsibilities.  She left a comment on my post about square foot gardening and mentioned she is on the board of a non-profit called Growing Places Garden Project and they use this method in their gardens.  She encourages everyone to check out the website and start working with others in your community.   What a remarkable person and a wonderful cause!

Billie in a box!

Billie the puppy made me smile today …

If its been a while since you had a puppy in your home you forget all those long hours of puppy training,  getting up a few times during the night,  wake up call in the morning at 4 AM and the constant repeat of the word No.  All that is quickly washed away when you have those “puppy moments” and remember why you brought the little bundle home in the first place….to make you smile and that she did today.

Yesterday we stopped at the local grocery store and I scored a big box of apples – they weren’t perfect apples and a few were even useless – they were boxed up and being sold very cheap – I was in my glory … a bargain for me and my dehydrator!!  So I sliced and dried all day yesterday and the dehydrator is still running with another batch.  Apple chips are the best!

 Apples drying in the dehydrator

My first big batch of apple chips – all types of varieties mixed

Trail mix with the apples – I will eat the apple chips just as is, but you can make up your own homemade trail mix very easily.  I added almonds, pretzels and chex cereal here….and those chocolate chex are to die for.  I could probably eat a whole box if that voice in my head wasn’t yelling Stop Stop…enough girl!

So the Puppy Moment came when I took a second to check where the puppy was since it was so quiet all the sudden.  I found her in the box that I had brought the apples home in – all snug and comfy.  She has ventured out of the box a few times but keeps going back in there to nap … she found it all on her own – no coaxing from me! 

I also spent some time this weekend packaging up the Free Seeds for the Great Garden Giveaway – they are all ready and waiting!  Make sure to tell all your garden friends about the event.  I listed the Free Seeds on craiglist this morning and received over 100 hits before someone flagged and deleted the post.  I am guessing it was viewed as a promotional thing of some sort.  Last year I gave away hundreds of seeds on craiglist and had no problem. 

Thank goodness I have my little puppy to make me smile!!!

Homemade Goodness

Homemade gifts are treasured gifts … gifts from the heart created with care and love.  The time taken to create these gifts cannot be measured in numbers and the goodness that flows from the gift cannot be measured in words.  There are many among us that have a natural talent and are able to create crafts with the whirl of a pen or the hum of a machine.  The gardeners in us are able to create homemade goodness fresh from the earth and as we plan ahead for the coming planting season we should think beyond our summer harvest and look to share the harvest with gifts of goodness that will no doubt be received without hesitation.  Canning our summer crops is an art taken and continued to this day from our ancestors and one that  carries a message of our hard work in the garden.  At times it truly is difficult to part with our canned goods but this act holds a true connection to the earth and the homemade goodness we pass along to those we care about as we give them a gift from ourselves.  Take some time to plan for those gifts now .  Grow extra tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers along with your normal plantings. 

Browse some preserving cookbooks and articles to find great combinations or create your own recipes that may become your next family favorite! 

Remember to include herbs which can be used fresh or dried for later use – these can even be used as a great gift …. dried herbs!  

Flowers need to be included in your garden plans as well.  Fresh flowers are gifts that  will brighten anyone’s day and a nice vase brimming with homemade goodness lightens up any room in the home.  Certain flowers dry well and can be used in dried flower arrangements and there are dozens of craft ideas you can create with them.  A few of my favorites are lavender, globe amaranth, baby’s breath, statice and strawflower. 


I did have my sewing machine humming along just recently making the new pup her own place to lounge.   Earlier in the year I spent some time creating this doggie bed for the bigger puppies and they seemed to have forgotten all about it until the new pup arrived.

Now they are very possessive SO I had to make the baby puppy one all her own!  It’s so funny – how she knew it was hers!  These doggie beds are homemade and the best part about them is I used old bed pillows and throw pillows to stuff them.  Took the old worn outer layer off and used the insides to make these.  I could have made new throw pillows but I am guessing the pups like their beds better!  Good way to recycle those worn out pillows –

Once I had them all put together I did pop them in the washer for a good cleaning using this Homemade Laundry Soap.  I have been using this soap for almost a year now and I love it!  I have posted these directions in the past and wanted to make sure to share it once again.  I was asked if it works good in a front loading machine. Yes, it does and that is one of the reasons I searched out this laundry soap recipe. Store bought laundry soap is ridiculously high priced and I wanted an alternative and it does a fantastic job!!!

Three simple ingredients – 1 bar castile soap, 3/4 cup “washing soda” and 3/4 cup borax

Probably the hardest part of all this is grating the bar of soap – I found this GREAT grater and it works perfect!  I did try freezing the bar of soap to make it easier, but it really grated the same (it’s a hard soap).

The finished laundry detergent seems soooo clean!  Use 1 tablespoon for light loads and 2 tablespoons for heavily soiled laundry.  For the most part I use 2 tablespoons and the results are wonderful.  I keep a copy of this recipe in the same drawer as the laundry soap so when I am running low I can make up another batch.

 Finished laundry soap

                                       Homemade Goodness!