Sow: long weekend landscaping

It’s been a long day with a very tight deadline for work, so I’m up late and writing more as a little wind down, despite my laptop feeling like it’s overheating from the exuberant pounding I’ve been giving it all day. Whenever I am away from the office for a week, there’s usually some sort of fallout. I expected today to go exactly the way it did and I was not surprised.

On the plus side, the weekend was a long one (Memorial Day here in the USA), so today, you’re getting lots of photos. First up was our long weekend landscaping project which fortunately was not hampered by all the (much needed) rain that we’ve been getting since Sunday.

A few days ago, I mentioned that Bruce and I were very unimpressed at the high cost of the type of patio planters we were looking for so we looked to the Urban Farm for a little inspiration: Stock Tanks! These mini stock tanks from Tractor Supply Company are absolutely perfect for some patio accents. Now we just need to find some patio lanterns (ah, a wee bit of Canadian content for you hosers).

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Look at me all covered with dirt and happy as can be. We picked up two tiny stock tanks for the new patio and put blue agave and lemon coral sedum in them. I like ’em! • Photo by Bruce

And guess where they're made...

And guess where they’re made…and if you’re wondering what the blue thing is in the driveway, it’s Gidget’s and Godiva’s wading pool • photo by Bruce

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Mini stock tanks in context after the first of the weekend’s rain storms. At least all of the plants, the grass, and the Urban Farm are super happy with all the water. Our new rain gauge said we received 1/2 of an inch yesterday.

Lots of good stuff to harvest yesterday…and more today.

The gigantic harvests are starting. Lots of good stuff to harvest yesterday…and still more today. From left: power greens mix (spinach, chard, kale), big bag of mint, a huge head of curly lettuce, a bell pepper, a bunch of beets, two jalapeños, and a big bowl of salad greens. 

As a special treat, it’s gratuitous dog photos galore!

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George could finally relax and sleep through the night again. • Photo by Bruce

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And here’s a little update on my sweet pal Murphy: here he is with his new sister Harley. He looks pretty content, don’t you think? • photo by Debbie

Sow: better than baking

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Ingredients for life: bok choi, mint, spinach, and salad greens


Yesterday morning, I had the pleasure of meeting one of my neighbors. She lives in the next little town over and is another Duck Team 6 outreach volunteer (she is in charge of donation collection). And I surprised her with a big bag of produce that I picked minutes before she arrived.

Mindy and I don’t know each other. She and Bruce work more closely together so I had heard her name but never met her. But she had come by the house the night before to drop off a couple hundred pounds of donated dog food and she and her two kids had been in driveway (it’s in the backyard) and saw the Urban Farm. Bruce said the girls were really excited about the idea of growing food. He showed them how to pick a radish to take home and told Mindy that she should also throw the greens into that night’s salad (try it, it’s delicious if the greens are super fresh). He was happy that the kids showed so much interest, but didn’t think anything more of it, since our next door neighbor kids love looking at the garden too — he even cut them a window in the wood fence so they can see the garden and the Gs playing.

Well, that night, Mindy texted Bruce to say that her kids are bugging her to start a garden! They never had a vegetable so delicious! They wanted to get right to it on the weekend! Unfortunately, it’s too late for that, unless all they want to grow is Malbar spinach, okra, and black eyed peas! But they had the right idea.

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I had to do something to keep those kids loving vegetables. So I picked gallon ziplocs of bok choi, salad greens, and spinach. Threw in a bouquet of mint. And when Mindy showed up with more dog food yesterday morning, I had a nice surprise waiting for her. She was thrilled and knew the kids would be too. And I told her if she let me know when she was coming to drop off food, there was more where that came from (at least through the very hottest part of the summer).

Used to be when I wanted to make friends with a new neighbor, coworker, or volunteer, I’d bake something. I dare to say, that a big bag of just picked organic produce makes people even happier than cupcakes these days. You should see people’s faces light up when I share the bounty. I have my “regulars,” like Tracy, the lady who looks after the Gs. She also looks after the Urban Farm when we travel so it’s only fair that she gets a weekly delivery. Same with my sweet admin who makes my work life so easy and keeps me running smoothly. But dropping off a veggie treat to someone who’s not expecting it is almost more fun for me than the person receiving it. I love to hear how they enjoyed it and the recipes they made.

And now for your gratuitous dog photo of the day:

Duck Team 6 Volunteer Guinness taking guarding the donated dog food very seriously • photo by Bruce

Canine Duck Team 6 volunteer Guinness taking his job guarding donated dog food very seriously • photo by Bruce

Even if all you can grow is a tiny planter of herbs on a window sill, next time you go to dinner at a friend’s house, cut a tiny bouquet and tie it to the ubiquitous bottle of wine with a bright ribbon or rustic cord. I’ll bet you a quart of okra, you’ll get a similar reception.

 

 

 

So: the Murphster

Meet Murphy. He was our foster dog for 3 weeks. You'll love the post I'll be writing about him (hint: it has a happy ending). Photo by Bruce

Meet Murphy. He was our foster dog for 3 weeks. Don’t worry this post has a happy ending. Photo by Bruce

Murphy was dumped. He should have been returned. Yes, he was adopted as an adorable little ball of puppiness. He was a Duck Team 6 dog, a cute puppy that went to what Duck Team 6 thought was a nice, responsible home with people that would love him and give him a wonderful life. He was loved for a little while. But then, their life got busy. Kids came and the sweet brown and brindle dog with the expressive ears became a pain in the ass. He was, after all, still a puppy, since he was under 2 years old.

So, one of the humans he trusted dumped him. At the local kill shelter near where the family lived.

Luckily his microchip told the city shelter that he was a Duck Team 6 dog or he might not have been around in 72 hours. He was supposed to be returned to Duck Team 6 for rehoming if the family couldn’t keep him for whatever reason. Instead, like cowards, they dumped him at the shelter with vague information that didn’t provide enough information. But the microchip did. And that’s how he came to the Mortroski Midcentury Bed and Breakfast and Home for Wayward Dogs for a sweet three week vacation filled with friends, food, playtime, wrestling, napping, lots of pets from nice visitors, walks, and fun. And had we not already had four dogs, we might have found a nice G name for him.

Here are some of our favorite photos of Murphy:

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Isn’t he cute? Aren’t those ears ridiculous?

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The Murphster looks a bit like Scooby Doo. With George photo bomb.

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Sleepy buddy.

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He’s a snuggler.

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Murphy liked to try to con me out of my breakfast.

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Gidget was his best buddy.

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This is the photo that got him adopted.

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Murphy fit in the pack just fine.

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Obviously Murphy’s former family never let him on furniture.

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Learning the finer points of Squirrel TV from Guinness. Gidget supervising.

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How could anyone resist all this cuteness?

So here’s the happy ending: after the three week stay where Murphy went from scared and sad and hating the crate (he was quite the escape artist) to a well-adjusted, happy-go-lucky boy, he found a new home. One of my coworkers and her husband fell in love with him. He has a new loving family who will spoil him, give him lots of toys and plenty of walks and play time. And his new older sister dog to continue to teach him the ropes. 

Gratuitous dog photo of the day? Really? Don’t you think you’ve gotten enough dog photos for one day?

To help more dogs like Murphy, consider a donation to Duck Team 6.

So: back in the infinite game

Hello again! I’ve missed you. No, really, I have. I’m not just blowing smoke up your ass like that long lost high school boyfriend that finally connected with you on Facebook a few days before your 2oth reunion. I don’t need to know if you still love me after all this time. That’s because I don’t have any guilt about breaking your 15 year old heart or not taking you to the prom, because that’s not what we have.

However, I do have a twinge of guilt for not writing a damn thing since March 19, despite polite prodding from friends near and far (sorry, Laura, I’ve been very lazy lately!). I finally realized today just how much I’ve missed my little virtual soapbox and the nice folks who’ve been entertained enough by my (mis)adventures to share their thoughts, kudos, feedback, and other comments with me.

So welcome back! And thanks for considering my little piece of the blog-o-sphere worthy entertainment for your weekend.

I won’t bore you with all the details. Suffice it to say, there was a disruption in the force and I was missing a critical factor. Call it schedule. Call it habit. Call it routine. Whatever it is, I need that magical ingredient, because without it, I have no discipline for posting in a timely fashion.

Something else kept stealing my time/energy/sleeping hours/brainpower/writing ability/goodwill. I could blame any of the following characters that live in my personal time vortex: Any of the 4Gs. Work. Volunteer work. Visitors. Foster dog. Bruce. Growing stuff. Picking stuff. TV. Books. Magazines. Cooking. Eating. Grocery shopping. Cleaning. Landscaping. Chilling out with a glass of wine. Work writing. Florida. Spontaneous adventures. The BigFix for Big D. Rotten allergies. Writing letters. Making plans. Rashes and being really, really itchy. Visiting friends. Creating travel itineraries. Dinner parties. Pinterest. Washington DC. Concerts. Facebook. Organizing. Making love connections. Checking stuff off my to do list. Doing nothing. (I know, that last one really isn’t that believable, but honestly, doing nothing was sucking up a lot of time.)

You get the picture. My well was a bit empty and yet, even rest, different activities, or a change of scenery wasn’t replenishing it.  That’s because rest or downtime really wasn’t the answer. But I didn’t know what was.

So this morning, while I was drinking my breakfast, I read Seth Godin’s latest post.

Green drink made from pineapple, apple, pear, homegrown spinach/kale/chard

Bruce tested, George approved breakfast green drink made from pineapple, apple, pear, banana, homegrown spinach/kale/chard. Photo by Bruce.

(Did you read it? I hope you did. It’s short and sweet, like me when I’m at my best.)

Thanks for the kick in the ass, Seth. I don’t even know you but your blog makes me think. Thanks to Hilton for introducing me to it.

So it’s time to get back into the infinite game. And put my thoughts out there no matter if the post is a photo, a quote, a story, or one of my long-ass descriptions of the mundane. I’ve missed doing it, more than I thought.

And yes, I’m going to deal with the one post that I’ve been writing in my mind for several months now. It’s blocked me a bit because I want it to be appropriate. But now I have a date to publish it in mind. A deadline (which is an interesting turn of phrase since the post is about a person who is no longer living).

You can take the girl out of advertising, but you can’t take the advertising out of the girl.

Today’s gratuitous dog photo (because George photobombing his own photo isn’t epic enough):

Meet Murphy. He was our foster dog for 3 weeks. You'll love the post I'll be writing about him (hint: it has a happy ending). Photo by Bruce

Meet Murphy. He was our foster dog for 3 weeks. You’ll love the post I’ll be writing about him (hint: it has a happy ending). Photo by Bruce

And a new seasonal feature — today’s gratuitous garden photo:

 

French Breakfast radishes! Yield is now up to 66 with more still on the way

French Breakfast radishes! Yield is now up to 66 with more still on the way. The Mortroski Midcentury Urban Farm has been producing so much good stuff this spring. Anyone know if I have time to reseed and get another ton of radishes before it gets too hot?

 

So: 3-day Guinness celebration

Let Guinness eat cake -- it's his birthday!

Let Guinness eat cake — it’s his birthday!

(WARNING: this post is pretty much all gratuitous dog photos with a little bit of garden and DIY commentary thrown in just for good measure. If you’re not a fan of my dog discussions, you may want to skip this one. It’s been very canine-focused around here for the past week.)

St. Patrick’s Day is a rather big deal in North America, so it’s only fitting that we gave Guinness, a great big black lab, a day of massive celebration for his made-up birthday. Guinness was a stray so we don’t really know what he thinks of the name we gave him, but we know he’s appreciated the three days of celebration he’s had in 2014.

First, on Saturday, the Gs all got a delicious buffalo shin each for their chewing delight.

We were hoping to distract them from being a little sad since their new pal Lacey went to her real foster situation on Saturday afternoon. We all really enjoyed having Lacey around. She was a wonderful houseguest and a super sweet dog that will make her new family very happy.

Once she warmed up to having four larger dogs sniffing her and trying to get her to play, Lacey enjoyed being around everyone. She was great on the leash too, which was surprising for a street dog. She tried really hard to fit in and even slept next to the Gs when we all were watching tv in the office. She loved her crate and went in it on her own (probably to escape Gidget).

Guinness especially enjoyed having a new lady friend. He was quite smitten with her.

A few photos of Lacey during her stay at the Mortroski Midcentury Doggie Bed & Breakfast:

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pre-bath: Lacey was a real trooper and once she got in the shower seemed to enjoy soap and hot water, but she loved the fluffy towels the best. Her new family will be thrilled with her bath time manners and fast drying time.

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We weren’t sure how Lacey would get along with fellow former street dog Gidget, but once they got to know each other, the girls enjoyed each other’s company

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being too big to be a lap dog didn’t stop Lacey from wanting to be held — or wanting to sit in chairs with people before they had their coffee

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Lacey was great in the car and was pretty chilled out as we headed to Take Me Home Pet Rescue, the group that found her foster

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Carpool buddies

At Take Me Home Pet Rescue, we took a last photo with Lacey (we are in our Duck Team 6 shirts):

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We all had fun together and while we were a little sad to see Lacey go, we know she’s going to be an awesome addition to another family. 

Well, with Lacey gone to her new life, the Gs have had to deal with going back to “normal” at the Mortroski Midcentury. Weekends are made for DIY projects! And digging in the dirt!

This past weekend we did a bit of both. Gidget the garden dog was very curious about the dirt digging (a favorite activity of hers).

Guinness spent his time rolling in the not yet green grass (and in the part of the yard which is being turned into a patio this week):

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Guinness, post rolling (he got up covered with little bits of dead grass and dust)

So far for Urban Farm spring 2014, we’ve got sprouting mixed greens, kale, swiss chard and spinach in Raised Bed #4, radish sprouts in Stock Tank #3, three kinds of beets, green beans, and two kinds of bok choi seeds in Raised Bed #3, red velvet lettuce seeds in Stock Tank #2. I replenished the kitchen herb garden this morning (yesterday was too cold for transplants) and have my fingers crossed that we will have lovely weather from now on. This weekend I’m going to get bell pepper and jalapeño transplants in the ground. I promise food pictures as soon as there’s something more to show.

Our DIY project is to get the office/tv room and attached bathroom finished up. We have a cool panel treatment that we’re going to continue throughout the office/tv room and a wall treatment that we need to install in the bathroom. We purchased the wood and metal tracks yesterday, then cut the panels tonight. We’ll install them tomorrow and then Bruce can paint them while I’m traveling for work on Wednesday and Thursday.

In the meantime, we have some outdoor work going on and will have an expanded patio in the near future. I’m excited about adding some flowering plants in planters and maybe some fun lighting. We love being outside.

After Sunday’s wood getting and seed planting, Guinness’ second birthday treat was an extravaganza for the entire family, 4-leggeds and 2-leggeds: steak eating! Yes, it was the people’s dinner and the very spoiled Gs all got meat juice and a fair portion of meat along with a bit of their usual kibble. We don’t have red meat that often around here anymore so it was a real treat.

After we cut the panels for the office tonight (table saw! lots of saw dust! minimal cursing!), Guinness had his third treat: Peanut Mutter Bars from Three Dog Bakery. Yes, it’s a bakery for dogs. You could eat the “cake” if you wanted, but it is not sweet, even though it’s made with all sorts of good ingredients like yogurt, carob, peanut butter, whole wheat flour, etc. Guinness shared with Godiva, George and Gidget but our old man would have loved to have all the treats for himself.

We figure Guinness is now about 10 since we got him 4 years ago in January. At the time the vet figured he was 4-6 years old. We really have no idea. His chin is getting whiter and he’s got more sparkly hairs on his face, but Gidget has brought out the puppy in him and he plays like a maniac with her. Hopefully he gets to enjoy many more St. Patrick’s Day birthday parties.

 

So: temporary houseguest

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Bruce getting ready to transport Lacey to the Mortroski Midcentury

Since yesterday there’s been a four-legged houseguest at the Mortroski Midcentury. Her name is Lacey and she’s around 2 years old. One of the families that Bruce knew through his Duck Team 6 outreach work  fell on hard times and was forced to move to a different place. Unfortunately, the place didn’t allow dogs and the family had to make a tough decision to leave Lacey behind and have Duck Team 6 find her a new home. 

So Bruce picked Lacey up last night after work. She was a little confused about the whole thing, but went willingly.

First, they went to the vet for vaccinations and a check up:

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Lacey is pretty laid back and not too worried about being at the vet and getting her shots. Guinness, Godiva, and George are like this at the vet too.

Then, when they got  to the Mortroski Midcentury, the Gs were a little overly enthusiastic and after getting poked and prodded at the vet, Lacey wanted the peace and quiet of a private crate in our laundry room. She really liked Bruce’s truck although she doesn’t have a drivers’ license.

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Lacey may look a little sad, but she’s tired from all the excitement

We humans got lots of doggie kisses and tail wags last night. She got a good night’s sleep in the borrowed crate, but was still very subdued (but hungry) this morning.

The Gs’ pal Tracy reported that Lacey was very sweet at lunch time. At that point, she was still being sequestered from the Gs.

But tonight, she greeted Bruce at the back door along with Godiva, Guinness, and George. It appears that she’s a crate escape artist and maybe spent the afternoon acquainting herself with her new friends. Or maybe the Gs felt she needed to be freed. (NOTE: Gidget is currently being crated for her own safety since she’s a naughty chewer. We are confident that she will outgrow the naughtiness soon.)

Everyone enjoyed dinner time together, except for our sensitive Godiva, who was too busy being a good hostess to eat her dinner:

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Lacey’s gotten 3 good meals and she really likes the Gs’ food.

And before everyone asks if we’re changing her name to Gracie, we’re not. We’re not upgrading to 5G because she’s an awesome dog and she’ll be perfectly adoptable. She’s sweet and gets along well with lots of dog personalities which makes her super adoptable. She’s going to be a nice addition to another family and a good friend to any pets they have. She’s about 55 lbs., 10 lbs smaller than Godiva and she’s not skinny. Bruce says she’s good on the leash since they went on a short walk this evening. She’s not food aggressive nor bothered by squirrels. And she’s got a spotted tongue like Godiva.

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what a difference 24 hours makes!

After dinner tonight, Lacey continued to make herself at home. While she spent a lot of her time outside, she’s far too comfortable inside to have never been a house dog. The Gs are all enjoying her company although everyone has gotten a little too fresh with the bum-smelling. There have been a few growls, but everyone has kept their teeth to themselves.

Since everyone is getting along and Lacey is getting well-rested, she’ll be having a bath tomorrow morning. If it’s like everything else, she’s going to be easy going and enjoy the whole process from the warm water to the fluffy towels. She’s already gone into the bathroom and checked out the shower where the bath will take place. No sweat.

Knowing the Gs, they’ll all come into the bathroom and hang out while she’s getting her bath. Gidget could already use another bath, although she had one on Sunday (white dog’s curse).

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everyone’s getting very comfortable

As an emergency foster family, we simply are a safe place for Lacey to crash on her way to another rescue group that can find her a good home. In this case, it’s Take Me Home Pet Rescue. She’s going to be with us for the next few days. But I think she might miss Bruce when she leaves:

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Lacey likes to snuggle

Lacey hopped up on her own to enjoy the comforts of the sofa with the rest of the Gs. I hope her new family is ok with dogs on the furniture.

So: great house

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Pretty in pink (photo by Trish at Three Dog Bakery Plano)

As you can guess by the big smile on Gidget’s face, she’s pretty happy that Bruce bought her a puffy coat last weekend in preparation for the earliest frost in 13 years that came on Tuesday night. Buying dog jackets/dog clothes of any kind is new territory for us since our bulldog didn’t need any additional insulation and the other 3Gs have thick natural coats. Poor Gidget doesn’t have a lot of insulation and her white coat is very short. Now she’s protected from the elements and won’t shiver during her twice daily walks with the rest of the pack. And believe it or not, she really does seem to like the jacket.

Other dogs are not so lucky. While our Dallas weather is unpredictable at best, sometimes it gets below freezing and that’s not good for outdoor dwelling dogs. So this week, Bruce built a dog house for Duck Team 6‘s Outreach Team to give to a nice dog named Goliath (and I helped). On Monday evening after work to be exact. For about 4 hours until we figured our neighbors would call the cops on our use of power tools in the later hours of the evening. Should have started on Sunday!

This dog house was different than other dog houses. You see, Goliath is a senior Great Dane who has lived outside his whole life. And like most GD’s, he’s very tall. So he really needed a mini shed. Unfortunately, a mini shed wouldn’t fit in Bruce’s truck assembled. So Bruce designed a modern dog house that was made of a preassembled floor, walls, and roof which could be joined together in Goliath’s yard.

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The floor: plywood base with deck posts to raise the plywood off the ground and keep Goliath warmer

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Bruce assembling the frame for the first wall. He attached plywood to one side of each frame.

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Test filling the walls together. The back wall is higher to allow water to drain easier off the single sheet of plywood roof.

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One wall done, on to the opposite wall.

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Gidget making sure Goliath’s house will be sturdy enough.

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Two walls done, on to the sides

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Framing up the side walls

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Final assembled house with Goliath inside—he likes it! It just needs a coat of paint.

More photos are available on Duck Team 6’s Facebook page Operation Goliath if you want to check them out. Bruce got Goliath setter in before the temperature dropped and he said Goliath seemed very pleased with his new digs.

However, on Tuesday night, one of the Gs was not so pleased with her home:

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Naughty Gidget decided to remodel.

And while I did have a lovely harvest on Sunday afternoon:

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Sunday’s harvest from left: bok choi, tons of basil, mixed salad greens, Russian kale, Swiss chard, nero kale, haricots verts, Malabar spinach, bell peppers, Anaheim peppers, jalapeño peppers

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salad greens growing away

it was not a great week for the urban farm. With several very cold days and frost, some plants couldn’t handle it. I have yet to assess the damage thoroughly (I was traveling for business starting early Wednesday morning and got home late last night), but it looks like even with the frost cloth as protection, several of the pepper plants and the Malabar spinach have bit the dust. Oh well, more compost for the spring!

Today’s gratuitous dog photo features four familiar mugs:

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4G Network on a coat buying mission (photo by Trish at Three Dog Bakery Plano): Guinness, Godiva, George, and Gidget

So: vaccination station

Yes, another long absence and I’m now in Boston Don’t worry, being busy keeps me out of trouble, the garden is growing like a weed patch, the Gs are all doing great, and Bruce has everything under control.  This time after a long pause, I’ve got several great stories to share and you’re going to get a couple of posts in a row.

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Our Gidget is a former street dog that was rescued by an organization called Duck Team 6. If you remember her story, she was found under a church in a part of Dallas where the residents often have to scrape by.

Duck Team 6 is a group of friends who have experience rescuing dogs from the streets. They are not a rescue group per se but really work with other groups to find homes for these dogs who have been dumped or who have been born to street dog parents. They also do community outreach and help people who have dogs keep them fed and safe. The folks who run the organization and the army of volunteers behind them work very hard to help both people and dogs.

In our spare time (mostly on weekends), Bruce and I have been helping them out. We’ve been to community events with “Duck” dogs who need to find homes and we answer people’s questions about the animals.

Last week (during the week!) we also bagged donated dog food:

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The Gs were pretty excited about what we brought home in the truck, but none of us were prepared for how much dog food we would be bagging:

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We thought we had 250 pounds but we had a bunch more. We ended up bagging almost 150 gallon sized zipped bags with the donated food. These would be given out at last weekend’s outreach event.

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Gidget was very pleased with our hard work (her tail is a blur because it’s wagging). She and George were the clean up crew for any pieces that missed the table or a bag and fell on the floor. They certainly did a lot of sampling. Godiva couldn’t have cared less; Guinness only sampled if the pieces landed near his front paws (he was sleeping next to the dining room table).

So then, we decided that we’d help at the actual event on Saturday. The event was a pop up free vaccination clinic where neighborhood residents could get free shots, free dog food, free leashes and collars, free flea prevention, free hay for dog houses, free nail trims (you may recognize the nail trimmer, Bruce cut the nails of nearly 60 dogs of all sizes):

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line up was long but everyone was patient (photo courtesy of Duck Team 6)

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If you look carefully, you’ll see me holding a clipboard. My job was greeting people and patients and checking them in. (photo courtesy of Duck Team 6)

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(photo courtesy of Duck Team 6)

photos by Teresa McClure

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Bruce doing pedicures (photo courtesy of Duck Team 6)

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Expert hands (photo courtesy of Duck Team 6)

Duck Team 6 expected a much smaller turn out than they ended up having. Over 150 dogs were vaccinated (and a few cats too). And more people kept showing up! So there will be another clinic in December and more happy people with their beloved pets protected against a host of medical issues.

Of course, none of this is without expense. Duck Team 6 is a very small not-for-profit, run by friends, supported by volunteers.

If you are interested in learning more about the great work that they’re doing in Dallas, like Duck Team 6 on Facebook (www.facebook.com/DuckTeam6) or supporting the upcoming December pop-up clinic with a tax-deductible donation, visit their website (www.duckteam6.org)

So: foster fail

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Gidget: splendor in the grass

If you happened to read last Sunday’s post, you might remember that we have a house guest at the Mortroski Mid-century. Or rather, that we had a house guest. You see, Gidget found a great home. A home with other dogs to play with, soft couches to sleep on, yummy food, lots of toys, walks twice a day, and a nice lady named Tracy who visits while the people are at work and enjoys administering belly rubs, throwing the ball, and giving out treats.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, we have a new 40 pound family member.  Stella, aka Gidget, is staying.

Yes, Fransi, Simone, and Joy, you called it days ago. No, it didn’t happen at the same time as the name change on Sunday evening. Actually, Bruce and I talked about it on Tuesday night, after dinner.

Why so soon? Because she was so damn easy and had fit in so well, so fast.

The prize you get for calling it are all the free Gidget kisses and tail wags you could want. You’ll just have to come to the Mortroski Mid-century for their administration. And you don’t have to hurry, because most likely she’ll be here for a good long while (touch wood). Remember she’s probably somewhere around one, give or take a few months.

So Gidget is a foster fail. Or really, Bruce and I are failures.

How did this happen?

We succumbed to a little street dog’s swift adaptation to life in a house. To playing joyfully with toys. To running laps with George and Godiva. To learning how to sit in less than 2 days. To crying when we left. To barking in happiness when we returned. To ears that detected Bruce’s truck as it was driving down the alley to our driveway. To knowing that the garage door going up meant another human was coming home. To barking at bicycles and baby carriages, but not other dogs. To “getting” how to walk on a leash just by following Guinness’ lead. To charming us out of bits of food. To charming George out of most of his food. To snuggles and kisses. To coffee table clearing tail wags. To razor-sharp puppy teeth. To sheer cuteness. To making herself right at home.

In short, we were soft touches, something that I know our friends and family are completely shocked about. It is completely our faults. We were weak. And Gidget knew it. So did the Gs.

When we made the leap from two dogs to three, I worried that we were upsetting the balance of our little pack. Guinness and Godiva were happy together, Mr. Laid Back with Ms. Sensitivity. But George’s goofiness and puppy-like playfulness gave Godiva a friend to romp with so that Guinness could have more naps.

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Making herself comfortable

This week, Gidget gave the Gs a purpose. Their mission: to turn a little street dog into a perfect member of the household so that they’d have another pack member. And they all gave it their all. From Guinness administering discipline to George showing her that sitting even when not asked usually ensures food when the humans are cooking. To Godiva reminding her that she is the alpha and must be shown respect. And all 3Gs played and played and played to wear the little street dog out so that she would be calm for walks and ready to turn in at bedtime.

Yes, we fully understand the folly of having four dogs. Four mouths to feed. Four times the vet bills. Four times the heartworm medication. Four City of Dallas licenses to buy each year. Four as many baths to give. Four leashes to hold. 16 feet to pedicure. More doo-doo to pick up. And lord knows how many toys that George, Gidget and Godiva will go through now.

We’ve talked about and thought about all of those things. And we are fortunate that our budget allows us to bring her into our home permanently. Yes, I said budget because sometimes when people think about pets, they only think with their hearts. That may be the very thing that landed Gidget on the street—someone who loved the cute puppy with all of his or her heart, but couldn’t afford to feed her or take care of her properly (she was not spayed). If we could not afford to adopt her and care for her properly, we would still be fostering and hoping like crazy that she’d find a great home.

The rewards will be priceless. One more four-legged friend that will greet us with tail wags and sweet doggie kisses, not just on the most craptastic of days, but every day. One more four-legged friend who will hang out in the garden. One more four-legged friend to snuggle with on the couch. One more four-legged friend who will make us go for yet another walk on those days when the weather is rainy/cold/hot/buggy and we really don’t want to walk.

Still, our days of fostering are not over. Over brunch with some of the Duck Team 6 crew, as we celebrated our upgrade to 4G, we let them know we’d be available for emergency fostering. One Duck Team 6 member who found her said that after meeting us last Sunday and seeing how happy Gidget was with the Gs, she was wishing for a foster failure. Maybe we all need to wish a little harder for the things we want to happen.

For more information, to volunteer, to foster, or to donate to help get Dallas’ street dogs like Gidget off the street, visit Duck Team 6.

 

So: house guest

Meet Stella aka Gidget

Meet Stella aka Gidget

This weekend’s adventure wasn’t about building something. It wasn’t about going somewhere. It was about making a new friend and helping a little dog get a new lease on life.

Stella aka Gidget (she is small and very active so it seemed like a perfect name for her especially since Stella has only been her name since Monday and it didn’t seem to fit her spunky little self) was a street dog that was found by Dallas rescue group Duck Team 6. on Monday. She was in a rough neighborhood. She was hungry and hot (remember it’s over 100° F here at this time of year). She’s around a year old, but definitely has a lot of puppy left in her.

When we saw this  video about her, we knew we had to help. And that’s how we got to be her foster family. We’re going to be watching her and letting the Duck Team 6 folks know how she does with other dogs (great), what she knows how to do, how she does with kids, etc.

It’s been a crazy week for this little dog: several great temporary foster homes and lots of new dog friends, nice people from Duck Team 6 to help her, a great vet to spay her and check her out, and now three dogs to hang out with.

Rght now she’s asleep. Guinness, Godiva and George are all also asleep. George is snoring loudly. They are exhausted because it’s been so exciting around here. Lots of play time. Lots of chewing. Several visitors.

And no, in case you’re wondering if today’s the day we’re upgrading the network to 4G, she’s not staying. She’s already got several people who want to give her a great home. She’s just here to hang out and learn the finer points of living in a house with other dogs from the Gs. And we’re going to be available to help more Duck Team dogs when they need us.

It was hot when the Gs first met Gidget in our back yard so we pulled out the pool:

Gidget likes water

Gidget likes water

She learned quickly that the sofa was a nice place to sleep:

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Hanging out with Guinness

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The floor is pretty good too, especially when you’re chewing

She likes people too and follows us around tail a-wagging. That is when she’s not snuggling.

She's a good snuggler

She’s a good snuggler

She’s getting along great with all of the Gs. Gidget really loves toys and likes to play as much as George does:

She's very playful

She’s very playful, but George outweighs her so he won this game of tug

Gidget is a smart girl. She’s already learned how to sit, thanks to treats and George showing her the way. I’m hoping that we can work on “paw” and “down” this week. She’s pretty good on the leash—we all went for one of our usual long weekend walks this morning and although she was very tired when we were done, she kept up just fine.

The girls are getting along

The girls are getting along great

This afternoon Tracy (the G’s pet sitter) came by with her husband Larry for a visit. In the photo above, George, Godiva and Gidget are watching them leave. Gidget really enjoys looking out the front window (all the dogs do) and so far has barked at people and bicycles. I’m thinking Guinness has informed her that they only bark at other dogs and people who are walking up the sidewalk that they don’t know because by this afternoon, she no longer barked at joggers or bicycles.

Gidget enjoys looking at the world passing by

Gidget enjoys looking out the window

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Guinness explaining the finer points of barking

Just like every dog that we’ve met, she’s starting to train us too:

Gidget learned that rolling over means belly rubs

Gidget learned that rolling over means belly rubs

so tired

so tired

napping with Guinness

napping with Guinness

I think I can safely say that Gidget’s having a nice visit. She’s a great dog and if you’re interested in adopting her, definitely contact the Duck Team 6 folks. She’d be a great addition to any home.

PS: Don’t worry, we did a home project at the Mortroski Midcentury this weekend. We started painting the laundry room. I’ll post photos when it’s all done.