Gracie’s Trip to the Vet

This Sweet Girl visited the vet today. Mike said she was so very brave!

Gracie Looking Out the Window

Dr. Steve says that the “warty” like thing on her eye has to come off. He’s trying an approach of squeezing it (yes, she let him…she’s a good dog) and I’m applying a steroid ointment at night. If it goes away or is reduced enough not to bother her, then we won’t attempt surgery.

He doesn’t want to do surgery due to her age…she’s almost 15. He listened to her heart. It beat strong. He watched her walk. Her arthritis was still manageable.   He felt of her lumps and bumps (too many to list).    He made a loud noise.  She didn’t hear him; her world is quiet.

Most dogs Gracie’s age are very thin.  She runs to fat.    Yes, her arthritis would be better if she was a little lighter, but Dr. Steve is delighted that she’s not thin. 

She still finds joy in her life. She loves riding in the truck, running to the shop, eating, and laying by my feet or on the couch beside me. I’m her “important person.” Mike is her “second important person” but not quite as high as me.

And I love her.  With all my heart.


Sweetie Pi

It’s time to start putting birdseed in the feeders!

Feeding the Birds in Mendota

And, for the first time ever on this blog, enters Sweetie Pi the Cat! I mentioned the “bird” word and she could not resist.

Sweetie Pi Posing for the Camera

She’ll be watching that bird feeder!

From Sweetie Pi and me, thank you for reading the blog. We are sitting on the couch…purring and typing.

Is typing the right word? Maybe I should have said “keyboarding” or “keying”?

Sounds strange.


Rainy Mendota Sunday October 7

It is one gray, rainy Sunday here in Mendota. Mike asked if I wanted to turn the heat on, but I think the gas fireplace will knock the chill off in our house. “Turn the fireplace on”…that is a term that I did not hear until the 1990’s. We used to build a fire in the fireplace, but now we “turn the fireplace on.” We have two gas fireplaces…the one in this picture is a direct vent, and it throws out a very modest amount of heat which is perfect for a day like today.

While the small bit of heat this fireplace throws out is good for today, it’s not enough during the winter. At that point, we use it more “for looks.” There is something about a fireplace and candles that lightens my mood.

I’ve got a candle stuck in one of the bowls of gourds in this picture although it doesn’t show up that well. That’s okay as the prettier part of this picture  is one of my dear girls taking a snooze. That’s Princess Gracie Barker Beaule. She a member in good standing with the American Kennel Club…she proudly mentions this to Luckie daily. Luckie, of course, is of questionable lineage, and as Gracie constantly reminds her, she will never be a member of the American Kennel Club.

Here’s Luckie…it’s an old picture you’ve seen before of her eating her Dogster icey treat. She could care less about Gracie’s snobby remarks.

 Back to candles… I put tea candles everywhere I can. They burn about four hours.

While everyone was sleeping and all these little candles were burning, I decided to cook up a pot of something…

Mums in a Pot!!  Want to eat one?


Sammy Update

Sammy the Cat came home this afternoon feeling so much better than when he went to visit Dr. Steve Dotson at Bristol Animal Clinic. His abscess has been drained and he’s been pumped full of antibiotics (as there is no way I could get a pill down that throat). We’ve been trying to keep him in the house, and he’s been fairly pleasant, although he’s swung at me with his paw, bit at me and growled. I will admit, however, that some of those were in play.

After spending $170 on this little devil, I don’t want to let him out. However, about two hours ago he slipped out. I’ve been calling and calling.

I went and got Mike up and told him Sammy was gone…probably eaten by a coyote.

He went out on the porch with me to call and look for Sammy. He looked up toward the pergola and guess what he saw?

He won’t come down. I’ve held out ham and cooed at him. He just looks at me like I’m a small bug.


Sammy The Cat

Sam the Sinister Cat went to the vet today. He normally gets very sick in the car, but he felt so bad that he did not eat this morning, so he was “running on empty.”  He wasn’t very sinister either.

The lump that seemed so hard and didn’t seem painful when I first discovered it turned out to be an abscess.  It was opened today by Dr. Dotson and he is spending the night at the Bristol Animal Clinic.  I know it is scary for him to be caged and at the vet clinic overnight, but  I’ll bet he is much more comfortable  there than he was at home last night.

Since I’m working tomorrow, Mike will be picking him up.

I miss that mean little face tonight.  I’m the only one he likes!




Mendota Daily September 26

We’re in about the 4th day of fall, and the nights are getting very cool here in Mendota. I love sleeping in on these cold mornings.

Tomorrow I will not be sleeping in. As I mentioned in the post earlier this week, Sam the Cat has a lump on his little neck/jaw area. I did not think it was bothering him. I just found the lump on Monday while petting him, so I made an appointment for next Monday. Sam is a challenge to drive to the vet, and I wanted to be the one to drive him. Since I’m working on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday this week, I felt Monday was best since he did not appear to be in any discomfort and was eating normally. Now, however, he is in pain, and I’ve left my vet a message that he’ll have to see Sam tomorrow. Sam was abused as a kitten and he’s really a mean cat. He’ll have to be sedated before the vet will even be able to touch him. He also gets car sick. Poop pee puke. You get the picture.    I hope you weren’t eating when you read that!

We’re still working on projects and getting ready for winter. This weekend, I worked on the beehives.   I worked and took these pictures just as it became daylight as I wanted the bees to be inside their hives and not hanging around the entry way as they do during the day. 

Here’s Hive #2. If you look  at the base of the hive, you’ll see an opening going across the width of the structure. We leave that open during the “honey flow” so the bees can get in and out easily. If all is well, these hives have many thousands of bees bringing in pollen and nectar, and traffic can get quite congested. It reminds me of Federal Express in Memphis during take offs and landings.   Quite fun to watch as they zoom in with their little pockets full of pollen. 

As the weather cools and the bees become less active, we close this off. We do this to keep out cold and pests such as mice.

Here’s a picture of the same hive after I inserted a spacer.  Look at the bottom now…

When it gets much colder, we’ll close this off to a very tiny opening which is much smaller than what you see in the picture above. I’m very worried about my bees and how they’ll do this winter. They are positioned so that they don’t get strong wind, but they also are in the shade.   I’d really like for them to get the morning sun and the evening shade but it’s reversed.  If we know in advance that there is extreme cold this winter, we may bubble wrap the hives to help hold in warmth. The bees will cluster around the queen and keep her at about 85 degrees.  In summer,  they fan her  to keep her cool.

It is also time to remove the vents from the top of the hive.  In the picture below, I’ve removed the cover, and I’m getting ready to remove the vent.  The dark brown that you see under the screen are a few hundred bees. 

The vent is very useful in the summer. Just like in your house, the hot air rises and the vent allows the heat to escape. If you have attic vents, it is a similar principle.


In the picture below, I’ve removed the vent and placed the heavy block back on the hive to keep the roof in place.  I left the vent on the side of the hive so that the bees will be able to get back into their hives.   On the day following, I picked up the vents and took them home.  I’ve now got to ask Gerald how I clean them up to store it for winter.  We’ll be using these vents again next summer.

I really enjoy these bees. I was up at the hive this evening swapping around Mason jars of sugar water for these little guys. They’ve got used to my being there every day and are paying little attention when I make the swap. For some reason, one got up my sweatshirt sleeve (I wasn’t wearing the protective clothing). “Yikes,” I thought..”I’m going to get stung.”  Wonder of wonders…I did not!! Thank you little bee (who by the way would have been dead tonight had he or she stung me.)

 There is so much to learn and so much to risk if you do something wrong.

I will be so happy if next spring I have four hives of healthy bees.

To those who buy our honey, we greatly appreciate it.   We are working hard to provide a quality honey and to to our part in restoring honeybees to Southwest Virginia. 


Walking Around On Swinging Bridge Road

Hello everyone! “Mavis” found my blog and commented on it. Hi Mavis! It’s fun when someone I don’t know finds me and LIKES me! Just so you’ll know, I can’t see who is following the blog unless a comment is left. I can see the number of views, and I can actually block IP addresses for spammers or trolls, but I don’t really know who reads until a comment is left. I know I like Mavis because she is a canner. Yeah Mavis!

So…I worked today. I’m working until the end of August! Anyway, I got home from work and as my diet has blown up this past two weeks, I decided to go for a walk.  Mike was going to take the “dear girls” (our dogs Gracie and Luckie) for a “loop” on the “outer belt” of Mendota (large Swinging Bridge Road loop) so he dropped me off. I decided to take you along on my walk.

This is the first little face I saw on Swinging Bridge.  Let me introduce you to Patty.

Patty is a rescue dog. She has quite a big of Great Pyranese in her, but today that is not what she is talking about. She is talking about the very bad haircut her Mommy gave her.

Patty:   “Look…she cut my fur!!

 Punkin:  “You don’t expect me to look at you, do you?”  

Patty:  “I don’t care how I look..I love my Mommy.”

And just like that, it was time to visit the chickens.  As we enter the wire enclosure, we’re greeting by a Welcome Feather.  These are no ordinary chickens.

These chickens live at the Dean’s Hen Hilton.    How many hens do you know that live like this?

The sunflower shelter is made completely out of recycled materials.  I had to insert a large picture.   (I’m using a new photo editing software…free of course…hope it’s not all elongated!)    Very cool.

Speaking of needing a haircut…see the feet on this chick…

I think Margie said that the chicken pictured above is a Brahma.   We weren’t quite sure if this is a rooster or a hen.  No one is crowing but no one is laying yet!   It will happen soon!

Here’s another sweet girl…actually two sweet girls.  Margie and one of her Aracaunas.  This chicken is special as her eggs will be a blue green color.  Very pretty.  It’s a color Benjamin Moore would like to copy I’m sure!  Once she is a bit older, she’ll start laying and I’ll show you a picture of one of her eggs.

Check this out…what do you think this shelter for three of the girls is made out of?

Did you say it used to be a table?

It’s time to leave.  In just a short while, I’ll be visiting Margie and the girls weekly as they begin laying eggs.   I have committed to one dozen beautiful, healthy free-range eggs each week.   If we don’t eat the eggs, I’ll whip some scrambled eggs up for the dear girls.

 I head out Swinging Bridge.   Not much going on this evening.  Here’s a truck.  We have way more trucks than cars in Mendota, and if someone doesn’t have a truck, they probably wish they did!   I feel like I’m walking through a salad bowl at I approach this shady area.  Have I said that before?

Almost home. I walk by the unfinished barn which is being built of recycled materials.   The work is going slowly but at least there is shelter for some hay. The goats will need that this winter.   You’ll never hear me complain about someone who works a little slower.  My projects take three times as long as everyone else!


I’m home from my walk. I have a large project ahead of me this weekend. I’m going to reorganize my pantry closet where I store cleaning supplies, filters, vet supplies and quite a bit of my canned goods. I wanted to share the BEFORE picture to keep me motiviated to tackle this project this weekend.

Two window treatments and the pantry. I will be a happy camper if I get this done by Sunday.

Thanks for reading my blog. It means a lot to me. Talk later!




One of my friends who reads this blog is Diane Malcom.  Diane commented about country living being the best.  She’s right.   There’s living…and then there’s living in the country!

Sometimes, however, there are inconveniences.  Power outages are one inconvenience.   We have storms in the forecast this evening, and I saw Appalachian Power’s trucks in the area earlier today.   Usually Mike and I are in the group without power.  I can recite AEP’s phone number from memory!!   Following last week’s June 29 storm where so many folks in our area were affected, we were not.     (Well, there was a six-hour outage, but one that small doesn’t even count!)    Just up the river about a mile on Barnrock Road,  folks did not have power for several days.    There’s no public water in this area, so when the power is off, there is also no water.   Miserable.

Before we had a generator, if there was a storm forecast, we’d run water in the bathtub, fill plastic bottles and the teakettle, and hurry around doing all of the things that required power.  People in the country are very attuned to weather, and it’s our nature to prepare. 

A few years back, we set money aside for a full-house generator.  It was installled the winter of 2010.   The generator was installed on one day and went into use for a 36-hour period the very next day.  Talk about luck!   You will never hear me brag about a car, and I own no fine jewelry–no diamond ring in my possession.   However,  I will tell you that I kept that generator box in Mike’s shop for weeks beyond what was necessary, as I wanted to make sure everyone who came in saw it.   We were playing Rook around that time, and I could not wait for my friends to see that Generac box.  Just so proud.    Can anyone relate?   The generator is up there at the top of my list of  favorite things.

It’s a Generac, so I call her Genny. 

However, she’s a bit slutty.  Won’t do anything unless her boyfriend Wally tells her to.  

Wally Watermelon….

Genny thinks Wally is a gas!  Wally thinks Genny is a little square.

Wally isn’t really ours. He just stays here loafing around until Genny needs him.     At first his owner, Ferrellgas, frowned on his appearance. Eventually, however, they came to accept him, and I’ve even sent them pictures.

It’s all worth it…we have to keep the house comfortable for our pets. 

As I look at this picture, I feel a need to put a disclaimer…small print.   I’d change the font size here if I knew how!

Gracie is a beautiful dog, but she is also one dirty little dog.  I’ve been waiting until it’s cooler to bathe her as I’ll have to do it outside where she can stand on the rough pavement.   Her hindquarters are so weak that I’m fearful she would injure herself if groomed professionally.

I’m looking for a day with low humidity in the 80’s.   We have warm water outside so it won’t be shockingly cold.  I’ll bathe her and then drive her around on the golfcart until she dries enough to bring inside.  (She’s afraid of blow dryers.)  

Until then, she’s just stinkin’ and I don’t care.   



Mendota Daily July 6, 2012

Sam the Sinister Cat takes a moment from being mean and suns himself on the patio while I am working my tail off inside. (He’s allowed into the house where there is A/C — just won’t stay in…apparently, he’s a little devil!)


Mendota Daily June 29

Thank you to everyone who has asked about my sweet girl Luckie.  She is doing better today.   Still quiet but she’s eating and keeping it down.  I felt so bad for her, and I wanted to do something, so I drove to town and bought a bunch of expensive dog food and treats.   This doesn’t make any sense, since we are having to leash walk her to prevent her from eating deer poop as indiscrimate eating is part of her problem!   Obviously, she doesn’t care where her food comes from if she’s eating poop and we know where that comes from.   It makes me feel better though.

While I was out getting Luckie’s food, I was on the Gate City Highway, turning left at the signal light toward the Bristol Mall when I saw the Google car!   First thing I thought about was rolling down the window so the camera could see me (my debut); and the second thing I thought about what — I want that job!

Back in Mendota, things are moving along.   The guest house bedroom now has hardwood.  Even with help from our friend Mark at the onset of the project, it was a very large job for Mike with an artificial knee and bad back and neck, but by doing a little each day, it’s almost done.  I LOVE IT!   Still needs paint and toe molding, but here it is:

The work on the hardwood and Luckie being sick gave us a late start on changing the dining room from red to terracotta.

But we have started!

In this picture, we’re brushing the corners and around the trim.  I’m loving the paint color.    It’s the same color as our Virginia clay.  However, what is happening as this dining room is being painted is that I’m realizing the decorative painting doesn’t look right.  It probably will have to go.

Yesterday we were supposed to have “Farm Day” at the Mendota LIbrary as part of the Summer Reading Program.  It was cancelled, leaving the Farm Girls who had planned on bringing goats, chickens and horses to the library with nothing to do.   So…we decided to paint…ourselves!

Margie made me into a butterfly.

Lisa’s beautiful daughter, Danielle with her favorite flower on her arm…

Sunflower Girl

Lisa and Danielle…scheming…

And the magnificant Margie…she can paint anything!

We’ll be visiting Margie and Lisa’s place soon…lots of critters!

I’m keeping cool this weekend…staying inside working on projects!  How are you staying cool?


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