Herbert Henry’s Seen It Before.

It just occurred to me that at 101 years old, Herbert Henry has survived a few crisis, including the pandemic of 1918. Ja Da would have been a popular song at the time. Does the piano already know the song? I hope whoever played, played better than I.

“To bear in mind constantly that all of this has happened before. And will happen again—the same plot from beginning to end, the identical staging.” Marcus Aurelius – Meditations.

Sometimes Love Isn’t Enough

We have a visitor right now. She weighs about 10lbs, isn’t very steady on her feet and spends a lot of time shaking. She’s from the same puppy mill Winnie was taken out of and clearly they are related. So here I go again, trying to help a mill dog become a good pet for someone.

As we get to know her I’ll be making a list of things she will need to know before going to a permanent home. I want her more steady on her feet. She lacks muscle and coordination. She needs to learn how to get up and down stairs. She needs to be able to go off leash in an fenced yard. She needs to be able to get herself out a door to go potty.

These things a pretty normal for our normal pets, but they are hard work for a mill dog. You’d think going through a door would be no big deal. But, this can be a major phobia for these dogs. It took Winnie months to learn to step over a threshold and go through a doorway.

We are starting out a little further into the journey than with Winnie. She’s already been fostered for just over a year, and then was adopted. So she’s basically potty trained and doesn’t try to hide in her crate. She doesn’t run if she hears loud noises although she certainly does react.

The adoption did not work out, the owner describing her as a ‘shell’. But, we’ve already seen some sparks of a personality, most of this thanks to Sammy Sam, who is exactly the type of well adjusted pet dogs like this need to learn from. In some many things I’ve read about mill dogs, a well adjusted dog to be a role model is described as the number one thing that can bring them around. Sammy Sam will soon have an honourary degree in doggy therapy. For mill dogs, who basically have a canine form of PTSD love isn’t really enough.


Backyard visitor–Red Bellied Woodpecker

I admit the title “Birder” sounds a little strange to me, as it suggests something more participatory than watching birds. And although I may be a birder, I’m certainly not a twitcher (someone who travels long distances to see birds). I prefer to let them come to me. I am a list maker however, and keeping a list of birds in my special list book is something I enjoy. My bird list contains few rarities–these are just the birds that inhabit the same environs I do. I’ve been keeping a life list for several years now, but throughout 2019 I kept a list of all the birds I saw. Today I sat down and took a final count–there were 75. A few birds that I didn’t quite identify didn’t make it on my list–like the black duck I thought I saw just before Christmas. I figure confirming it over the next few days will give me a jump on the 2020 list.

January 1Black Capped Chickadees
January 1Northern Cardinal
January 1Wild Turkey
January 1Dark Eyed Junco
January 1American Gold Finch
January 2Red Breasted Nuthatch
January 2White Breasted Nuthatch
January 2Mourning Dove
January 3Ringbill Gulls
January 11Raven
January 14American Crow
January 14Red Tail Hawk
January 17Purple Finch
January 19Hairy Woodpecker
January 20Redpoll
January 20Sharp Shinned Hawk
January 28Rock Doves
January 29Pileated Woodpecker
February 7Blue Jay
February 6Snowbirds
February 24European Starlings
February 6Snowy Owl
March 4Canada Goose
March 12Brown Creeper
March 14Common Grackle
March 17American Robin
March 17Red Wind Blackbird
March 18Turkey Vulture
March 20Blue Heron
March 20American Kestrel
March 20Common Merganzer
March 21Killdeer
March 23Mute Swan
May 5Bald Eagle
May 6Eastern Bluebird
April 17Red Headed Woodpecker
April 17Double Crested Cormorant
April 21Common Loon
April 21Osprey
April 21Yellow Shafted Flicker
April 21Eastern Phoebe
April 21Northern Meganzer
April 29Belted King Fisher
May 6House Finch
May 11Tree Swallow
May 14Cowbird
May 17Catbird
May 17Field Sparrow
May 20Baltimore Oriel
May 19House Sparrow
May 24Brown Thrasher
May 26Bobolink
May 27Barn Swallow
May 24Mallard Duck
July 26Green Heron
June 27House Wren
June 27Ruby Throated Hummingbird
July 5Cedar Waxwings
August 18Herring Gull
August 18Yellow Warbler
August 18Lesser Yellowlegs
August 18Caspian Tern
August 18Common Tern
August 18Dowitcher
August 18Least Sandpiper
August 18Semipalmated Sandpiper
August 18Egret
August 18Downey Woodpecker
August 19‎Gallinula
August 19Willet
August 19Bairds Sandpiper
August 19Black Bellied Sandpiper
August 27Phoebe
October 10Song Sparrow
October 12Red Bellied Woodpecker

Merry Christmas 2019!

Merry Christmas! Yes, it’s been a long time since I posted. In April we sold our home far faster than anticipated and had to be out in six weeks. We stayed with my daughter for six weeks while we bought a new home. The summer went far too quickly as we tried to unwind and squeeze every moment out of every hot day–camping and floating around in the pool were our main activities. My father passed away at the end of August, bringing our summer to a sad end.

Christmas 2019

As soon as the weather began to turn cool, we turned to fixing up our fixer upper. The house we moved into had not been redecorated since the mid-1980s. Every room had either wallpaper or border in loud florals, kitschy 80s goose motifs, and the sunroom had a particularly difficult to remove Thomas Kinkade border. So far most of the wallpaper has been stripped and several cans of paint applied, although much remains to be done. Things would have gone faster but for the wonky electrical wiring that need attention, requiring holes to be knocked in walls and lots of wire pulling and trying to figure out just what was going on.

There had been lots of ‘creative’ solutions had been applied to the wiring that were simply unsafe. The house needed a good electrician and luckily one moved in. While he complained of the work, I could tell he was glad to be once more using his skills.

I think I’ll leave things there for a bit. I’m putting togehter my 20 in 20 lists ala Gretchen Rubin, and one of the things on that list is to give this blog a little more attention.

Have a peaceful and happy Christmas and all the best for 2020.

So Quiet

Yes, this blog, never very noisy, has been extra quiet. Most of my belongings are packed in boxes awaiting the big move the first week in May. It’s been a hectic few weeks, but I feel like I’m on top of things. I’d like to move into a new home, but that doesn’t like like it’s going to happen. So everything is being put in storage until just the right house pops up. Then, I look forward to painting and decorating and making it ours. And, getting some garden put in. I miss my gardens!

A Disease Diagnoses-Throwback Thursday

I’m not sure what type of Throw Back Thursday post this is. Surely not uplifting or lighthearted. I’ve been hesitant to write about my husband’ disease. Perhaps because we live it everyday,  I have no energy to relive it in writing. Nevertheless this is what I remember of when we first learned my husband had Parkinson’s Disease.    I’m not even sure I’m remembering this all correctly. This will seem disjointed as I dig up small details from a time that already seems distant.

A stiffness in one hand and arm. A slight limp. We attributed it all to sleeping in an awkward position and a fall on the ski-out at Sunshine in April of 2005. A chiropractor that finally admitted he couldn’t do anything to fix these problems,  suggests a visit to the GP. The doctor makes a referral to a local neurologist. July 2005 and My husband goes to the appointment alone. A mistake. The neurologist diagnoses Parkinsonism.  I know what you have, he announces. He says it like my husband has just won a highly improbably lottery. My husband, at that first appointment hears only Parkinsons. This is not news you should face alone.

If I could use one word to describe the weeks immediately following this news it would be blackness.

I believe it was the second appointment when the neurologist prescribed medications. There is a chair for my husband and I  stand with my back to the wall in a corner of the office. I already dislike this doctor, who has made me feel like an inconvenient interloper. From where I stand, I read the computer screen. The diagnoses is actually Multiple Systems Atrophy.

My husband takes two weeks off of work as he ramps up the medication. The medications however, quickly prove more troublesome than the symptoms they were to alleviate. He is unable to drive, is paralyzingly fatigued and suffers from mental fog. He spends most of the day laying on lounge chair on the deck.

He still doesn’t know about the original diagnoses of MSA, a disease with a lifespan of less than ten years after diagnoses, and still doesn’t. And probably won’t unless he reads this blog. That’s okay.

A Little Crafting

Front door sign - please remove snowshoes before entering.
Just a reminder if you should come into my house.

Now that all the Christmas decorations are put away I needed something fun to put on my front door. This was a quick craft that I whipped up while hubby was watching the hockey game this evening. Cardstock letters are Mod Podged to an inexpensive signboard I bought at Michaels. I made a sign like this several years ago when I first got my Cricut and it is still holding together well with only a little fading of the colors.

In lieu of an interesting ‘photo a day’ this will have to do. I remember having this problem last time I did a photo a day challenge. During the winter months the scenery started to look all alike. And sometimes it was just too cold and wintry to go out exploring and looking for something new.

A Photo A Day – January 5

As friendly a January day as is possible. Sunshine, blue skies, fluffy clouds, a frozen pond and a beautiful old barn.

At one time, it would have been filled with loads and loads of hay for the dairy cattle that lived in brick dairy barns beside it. The brick barns are long gone, and only a little rubble left. Only this structure and a hodge-podge frame house remain, along with the impressive brick gate posts that marked the entrance to the “City Dairy”.

I wish this old barn was mine. What would I fill it with?

Happy New Year 2019!

I always feel a little down when the holidays are over. But I’m setting my sights on some new goals this year. So there is lots to look forward to. I know there are some hard times coming but, that is just life.

Two small projects that I intend to keep going through the year are another photo a day project. And I am going to do another big year just using lists of birds that I see in my travels.

I know that some people do a big year and follow migrations or travel to see specific birds, but I am just going to record what I see in my daily life and see how many I can get. Today I saw wild turkeys chickadees and a cardinal. Nothing spectacular, nothing new to put on the life list, but a start anyway. I also took a photo as I went for a very chilly walk this afternoon.