Archive | February 2012

Ready, Set, Grow!

Two weekends ago while my husband toiled away organizing our basement, I set to work on our seedlings for 2012. I had thought that getting the seedlings going in mid-February would be great timing, since most call for 6–8 weeks of inside growth before being relocated to the great outdoors in late March or early April. However, as we have had temperatures reaching as high as 67 recently, I think I should have started getting ready to garden in December!

But crazy DC weather aside, come early April we will hopefully be transplanting four varieties of tomatoes, two types of cherry tomatoes, multiple bell peppers, and some jalapeno peppers, cayenne peppers, cucumbers, and red and white onions to our backyard plots. We’ve also got four flower options started to intersperse with our plants that will not only look pretty, but will (hopefully) help keep bad bugs away.

And when the time comes that it is indeed warm enough to plant outside (er, tomorrow?) we’ve got a whole bunch of direct sow seeds ready to get to growing too including leeks, carrots, sugar snap peas, green beans and a bunch of herbs.

My fingers are crossed that this marks the kick off of a wonderfully abundant gardening summer!

Thrifty Thursday

The picture pretty much says it all, but as you know from previous posts like this and this, I love to save money. When super double coupon days come around (the grocery store doubles all coupons between $1 and $1.99) it is a very exciting time. Exciting in a cheap nerd sort of way. Today’s trip to the store was the best by far — I saved more than I spent! Love it!

Our Pretty Pretty Princess

We spent the past week and a bit with our sixth foster: Princess Honey. Now, this may sound like a kind of pretentious name for a dog, but I’d say the name Princess Honey represented the sweet yellow lab pretty darn well. She was definitely a honey — she loved snuggling with us and giving kisses — and she was also a bit of a princess in that she was not going to do anything she didn’t want to do. And the Princess was a bit of a big girl, weighing in at about 80 pounds when she really should have been closer to 70…so if she didn’t want to do something it wasn’t going to happen! She was a very pretty dog and she spent plenty of time staring at us through her long puppy lashes begging for more attention.

PH came to us on Friday, Feb 3 and was one of the happiest fosters we have had. She was instantly wagging her tail, giving kisses and trying to climb in my lap while I worked. She was well behaved and didn’t seem at all interested in our shoes, clothes or whatever else may have been on the floor. PH was also a big fan of toys and almost always had a kong or rope in her mouth as she lumbered around the house. Unfortunately she loved her duck a little too much and pretty soon I had to remove both wings and feet due to her gnawing on them. It didn’t take long before the duck had to be retired all together.

She was really the sweetest thing and we had a great time with her — going for walks, teasing her about her puppy rolls, and snuggling with her on the futon while watching TV (see sleeping dog face). We quickly learned that one of her favorite things was being brushed and if you got her in the right spot, she’d thump her leg like crazy — whether she was laying down or standing up. It was hysterical to watch her. We couldn’t rile her up too much because she was heartworm positive so she had to take it easy while taking her medicine, but she liked to go after her toys if you threw them around the basement.

PH always wanted to be near us and was pretty sure that she was supposed to eat dinner at the table with us. She’d come sit right in the middle of us, rest her chin on the corner of the table and stare at us the whole meal. Occasionally she’d get bored and lay down, but more often then not she’d just sit there patiently waiting for the snack that never came.

The Wednesday after we got her an interested adopter came to meet her and took her home (how could he not?), but PH was back to our house on Friday. The adopter realized he wasn’t yet ready to have a new dog (it hadn’t been long since he had put his old dog down) and brought her back. By the next day she had another interested couple come to visit and the three of them hit it off. Then the true test came — she had to meet their other dog, Beau. We kept our fingers crossed that the pair would be fast friends so that PH could find her forever home and have a black lab brother the keep her company. Despite a bit of barking at the first introduction, the pair went for a walk without incident and came back into the house where they proceeded to run in happy circles through our living room, kitchen and dining room. It probably goes without saying that the Princess found her home that afternoon.

The next morning I checked in to make sure that PH and Beau were still getting along and was happy to hear that they had spent the night sleeping on the same bed! I think she’s going to like her forever home!

Sweet Dreams with Snoopy

This past December my Aunt Vicki handed me a Hannukah gift for us with the cryptic caveat, “This is a joke. Well, it’s kind of a joke.”

It was a pretty big bag and fairly heavy, so I was intrigued. I tore into the bag and unearthed possibly the greatest gift I’ve ever gotten: FLANNEL SNOOPY SHEETS.

Joke?!? What ever did she mean this was joke?

[Note: Per an earlier blog about “our children” it’s pretty clear I am a huge fan of Snoopy and the Peanuts.]

Although we couldn’t fit them in our luggage, my dad was kind enough to ship them to us. I waited with bated breath for the package to arrive on the east coast. When they did, I quickly ran them through the wash and got them on the bed. This is normally a task I assign to my husband, who can put the fitted sheets on much easier than I can, but I didn’t want to delay creating my Snoopy dream bed. He also had made some comments about not needing flannel sheets in during the warmest January on record… I was not going to let him get in the way! (Besides he’d wait until my teeth were chattering to switch to flannel sheets.)

Of course I had to share their adorableness, even if it is a bit delayed. As you can see they’ve not only got Snoopy, but the whole gang: Charlie Brown, Peppermint Patty, Pig Pen, Lucy, Linus and Woodstock. Plus — and clearly most importantly — Snoopy really loves them!

Huber the Slobber Dog

Last Saturday we picked up our fifth foster dog, Huber. We had to drive up to Buckeystown, Maryland which is just over an hour from our home. We left mid-morning and picked up lunch at a Mediterranean place near Frederick on our way to the vet. We collected Huber, got him settled in the back with my husband and I drove. We decided to take a more scenic road back through some historic towns and green rolling farmland.

Huber seemed happy enough for the first 10 miles or so. He particularly liked watching out the back window (which made my husband queasy just thinking about it). Then all of a sudden he scratched at the door and promptly threw up on the back seat—Huber that is, not my husband. I’m a sympathetic puker, so this was not ideal. We pulled over and my husband cleaned it up the best he could with two old napkins and a paper bag. When he had done the best he could do, we let Huber wander around a bit to see if he was still feeling sick. He seemed happy as a clam. We all climbed back in the car and started on our way again.

We’d gotten about 10 more miles when Huber threw up again. This time we happened to be right in front of another vet, so I pulled into the parking lot and went in to ask for paper towels. They were very friendly and gave me a whole roll plus some bags in case it happened again. When I came back out, my husband was trying to clean it up and found a large piece of yellow plastic that he thought came from Huber. I called the vet that we had picked Huber up from. The helpful advice of the woman at the vet? “Just keep an eye on him for awhile and make sure he’s getting water.” Oh, yes, we’ll be keeping an eye on him, I promised her. We still have another hour in the car!

Thankfully at this point he seemed to have gotten everything out of his system and he managed to sleep with his head on my husband’s lap for most of the remainder of the trip home—which took us through the DC burbs with some gi-normous houses, particularly near Potomac. They were ridiculously big. The only real benefit to these monstrosities I could think of was you could do a stair exercise routine and never get bored with your surroundings. Every once in a while we get nostalgic for our one bedroom apartment where it took an hour to do a “deep” clean and we had everything we needed within a few feet. Just looking at those houses made us miss that little apartment.

About four blocks from our house my husband suggested (somewhat emphatically) that I pull over and they walk the rest of the way. I did. They got out. Huber barfed. From that point on, though, all was well with our newest pup.

Despite the rough start, we had a good time with Huber. Best of all, he was one of the happier fosters we have had. He played with toys. While he didn’t like to fetch, he did like to pounce on the tennis ball and scatter it around in a sort of solo soccer game; he also thoroughly enjoyed a squeaky duck and a little tug of war with his rope bone. Huber readily wagged his tail, gave us kisses and nose bumps, and wanted to be with us all the time. He had the muscle to be in charge if he wanted to—he was about 75 pounds—but on walks although he would freely indicate his interest in something (other dogs, a squirrel or a particular tree), he would happily give up on it if the leash gave a slight tug the other way.

If there was one draw back, it was that Huber was a bit stinky and had some doggy dandruff. So Sunday afternoon we decided to give him a bath. We used the basement bathroom because it had a walk-in shower. He was so cute sopping wet and staring up at us with his big brown eyes clearly saying, “How can you do this to me?” My husband would have none of it, though. He told Huber he shouldn’t complain about getting a full body massage. We used some fancy-pants oatmeal aloe dog shampoo that was the most expensive shampoo I’ve ever purchased. But it was worth it since afterward he smelled nice and his fur was much softer.

On Monday I got a call from the wife of the couple who would eventually adopt Huber. In asking me questions about Huber she decided that they would come meet him. I told her where we lived and she said, “Is it safe to go there?” Well I live here, I thought, I think it’s safe… I’m pretty sure she had no idea how it sounded. Despite her fears, they safely navigated our neighborhood. And it was no shock to us that they quickly fell in love with good ol’ Huber and took him home that night.