Friday, July 31, 2009

Little Friend Big Friend

Coleman's getting old although most people won't notice it. But I know. He is eleven. I took this picture of Coleman and his friend Gertie a few weeks ago for posterity. Not that either of them is going to die any day now but I realized that I didn't have a recent photo of them and thought I should get one before I forget considering the last one I took was maybe five years ago.

Then, digging through old photos I found this one of Coleman and his friend Buddy. Buddy passed away almost three years ago. Buddy was the dog Coleman looked up to like an older brother. I think we both miss him.

Tomato season bummer

What could have been!!! If only we hadn't had so much freakin' rain. I am looking at a raised garden that is sitting in two inches of water. It's horrible. Most of the tomatoes have or will get blossom end rot or the plant will end up with blight or some other fungal infection if it hasn't already. The plants are FILLED with green toms and I cannot look forward to them all getting ripe and juicy. So sad.
Above is a picture of one miracle Nyagous tomato that ripened this past weekend. The only heirloom that I planted that looks like I might get a handful of ripe fruit. The other two that are still doing their best to survive are the Sungold and Baby Beefsteak.

Next year I'll plant my toms in containers so I can move them to higher ground if need be.........

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Animal Farm Foundation Internship

Last week I had the good fortune to participate in a one week internship at Animal Farm Foundation. There were nine of us in this session; women from Massachusetts, New York City, and Albany. We heard lectures ranging from kennel enrichment to nutrition to adoptions and marketing and everything in between. We had hands on clicker training workshops and dog play groups. Each intern was also assigned a project dog to work with everyday. I got to work with Camo who is an advanced trick learner and we worked on "Spin" and walking under and through my legs. I wanted to eventually work up to "Zig Zag" which is where you have the dog walk through your legs back and forth while you walk so I might take some time on Thursdays after training class to do that. We also worked on his "Stay" while I circled him. Dogs don't normally like to stay in place when they can't see you. He did well and by the end of the week I could have him "Down Stay" while I walked all the way around him four times. What a good boy.

A highlight of the week for me was the Frisbee/disc demo that Nadja and Thelma did for us. What a treat. They did it in the horse riding arena so the ground was a lot softer than what Thelma is used to working on but she did great anyway. Take a look.

One of the hotly discussed subjects during the week was what and how to call what we normally refer to as Pit Bulls. Most dogs called Pit Bulls aren't even genetically of the breeds regularly known as Pit Bulls like the American Staffordshire Terrier or Staffordshire Bull Terrier so even with the best of intentions are we doing the dogs a disservice by labeling them by their looks? Or should we be promoting exceptional dogs as Breed Ambassadors to promote a better picture of what the public think of Pit Bulls? Should we call dogs of unknown ancestry "American Shelter Dogs"? It's something that I'm still trying to get my head around since I have been a "Pit Bull Aficionado" for so long. One of the studies we discussed is partially online. "Visual vs. DNA Identification of Dogs"
You can also scroll down and look at "Can you find the Pit Bull"

For a few days after the internship I seriously thought about immediately changing careers but I am now thinking that I should take the opportunity while I have the influence, to use my job to promote as widely as possible, things I learned during the week as well as general animal welfare issues. I decided it would be a shame to squander the audience I have already, especially in Japan where it is so incredibly backwards. Did anyone else see the CBS Sunday Morning clip about pets in Japan and the rent a doggie store??? So messed up.... Anyone with $25 can rent a dog for an hour.
There is lots of work to do.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


My grandfather really loved flowers. I remember he had orchids inside the house and lots of flowering plants on the patio. Once when I was about 5 years old we went for a walk and we picked different colored morning glories along the way and he showed me how to make watercolor paint with the petals. He was also very good at painting. We have some dark colored morning glories at our house that are blooming now. They are kind of a weed in how prolific they are but I can't pull them all out because of the memories of my grandfather.

The bees are going nutz over the opium poppies. They buzz like crazy when they are on them. The poppies are also so pretty and unbothered by bad bugs; I will make sure to plant more next year.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Turtle crossings

Since we've moved, we've been trying our best to save turtles that are crossing roads. They've mostly been Eastern Painted turtles but today I was able to help a Wood Turtle cross a busy road. In a weird way, because they are slow moving, it's easier for cars to avoid them I think but there are big trucks that might not see them and mean people so it's best to move them in the direction they were going to safety. I love turtles! They are so cool.
(picture above was not something I took. stolen off the web.)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Pretty Spidey


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Featuring Tink

I meant to post this short video of our outdoor cat Tink a while ago, but then he got sick last week, right before Coleman, and I got sidetracked. Tink was orignially called Tinkerbell until our neighbor told us she was a he. I just call him Tink now or Tinko. (We like names and nicknames that end in O.) Tink had an abscess on his hip last week that had to get drained. So much puss came out it was gross. He was on antibiotics too but is better now. Coleman is better too for those of you who emailed to ask.

Oh and did you notice his extra toes in the video??? He even has them on his back paws.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


No more rain please. This weekend was so nice and mild and sunny. Could we please have some more of that?

We were invited to a 4th of July party at the home of Jane Berkey, who owns the shelter I volunteer at. I had never been up the hill far enough to see the other areas where she keeps her horses and the back of her house. It is so gorgeous! My favorite part of her house was her pool surrounded by huge white Hydrangeas and flowing ferns. Jane had hidden ping pong balls all around her back yard and pool area and if you found any, you got a prize. Prizes ranged from $1 to $100! I got one of the bigger prizes which was a funny dog saying t-shirt and a $25 gift certificate. We had lots of food, played croquet, and hung out with smoe nice folks and some cutie dogs that were busy socializing. (a few of the shelter dogs)

Today we cleared out the peas to make room to plant something else and harvested some broccoli, small onions, purple kohlrabi, and of course a HUGE haul of snap peas which I froze in ten ziplock bags. The rain made the tomatoes a little fungus-y so we cut away the infected areas and I am hoping they will make it. NO MORE RAIN PLEASE.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Coleman not feeling well

Poor Coledog has a urinary infection. First one he's ever had. He peed on the floor in the middle of the night and had blood in his pee. He's on Clavamox now..... should be better shortly. While we were at the vet's office this morning the vet also checked his hind legs and gave us lots of new supplements for his arthritis. His morning regimen is going to be intense.