Random Gifts

It’s that time of year. This was yesterday’s harvest from our vegetable garden. We get this much every second or third day. There are zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers, tomatoes and turnips. We also have basil plants that are the size of shrubs.

We are fortunate to have such gifts from the garden. I have already made two batches of zucchini bread. One year we had so many yellow squash that I used them to make scads of muffins for grandma’s 90th birthday party. No one realized they weren’t zucchini muffins.

My coworkers will soon be gifted with vegetables. In fact, if you see me coming, you may want to keep your car windows up, lest you return to find produce on your seat!

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A Day at the Beach

On Thursday we had our annual trip to Lake Erie with the grandkids. Each year I am amazed that we have such a gem only a little over an hour from our house. We usually go to the beach at Geneva State Park but the beach at Mentor Headlands is a fine one too. This time, it was to Geneva.

It is always a great day. The waves and sand are relaxing. Even the cloudy days there are great because then it’s not crowded. As you can see, our weather this year was perfect.

We spend the whole day there. That is a long time for me to go without a dog fix. Luckily, other people brought dogs. This one was named Cody and built like a Labrador but had slightly longer brindle fur. It’s a good thing he was there with his family because I loved him! He wanted to go in the water but every time a wave came near, he jumped back.

There are impromptu works of art that people leave as monuments to their beach trips. I saw a couple young boys make this one. They set the sand with water and kept exclaiming to their mother “It’s so sturdy!” They were very proud. Future engineers?

My granddaughter Maddie spent some time swimming with her Papaw, while grandson Tyler hung out with Aunt Livvi and me on the beach. Later we switched and Maddie and I strolled down the beach looking for beach glass. I realized I was too late to add to my beach glass collection this year as we passed a woman with a sieve, panning for the glass.

No trip to the beach is complete for us without a trip to the ice cream stand at the end of the day. The stand has a soft serve flavor of the week which this time was banana. The banana and chocolate twist was a hit. My granddaughter and I got the Lake Erie Salt Mine ice cream. Lots of chocolate in various forms with whole cashews. No salt in evidence. (The actual salt mines are under Lake Erie, hence the name.)

After such a perfect day, I can hardly wait until we go back next year!

Share the Joy

There are numerous benefits to having well trained dogs. One of these benefits is that you get to go places and do things together. Here are Nikki and Shelby (The Girls) after our walk at Bear Town Lakes Park over the weekend. They are sitting and laying down (on command) for their post-walk photo while my niece played on the tunnels and slide. The Girls also did some socializing with some other children at the park who wanted to pet them.

My older niece got to walk Nikki. If the leash is dropped Nikki will just sit down and wait. My niece did a great job of walking Nikki though and had so much fun that she wanted to go around the lake a second time. So we did.

After we got back to the house and ate lunch, we all played with hats. Shelby and Nikki are trustworthy and able to play with and be petted by my nieces who are 5 and 1 years old. (Never leave dogs unattended with small children, even reliable ones. Accidents happen.)

The dogs and I also stopped at my workplace on our way home. It had been such a wonderful day that I wanted to share the joy. Everyone feels better after a little dog therapy.

If Shelby and Nikki were unruly and disobedient, we would not have been able to have all these fun experiences together. Training your dog/s pays off.

Gifts of Summer

Peaches are in season! We got half a peck at the Farm Market nearby this morning. So this evening I made pie. Pie prepared with fresh fruit is a whole different experience than having a store bought pie.

Honey Rocks are also in season! They are a large muskmelon. They are slightly different than a cantaloupe, they are, well …, muskier. And they have visible ribs. Delicious!

A few weeks ago I picked enough black raspberries from our bushes to bake a pie.

And a few weeks before that I harvested service berries from our bushes and made a pie.

See a theme here? Living in the country does have numerous benefits!

Best Friends

It is good to have friends. Best friends. I firmly believe that you can have more than one best friend when you are an adult. There are friends for different occasions. These two are my reliable best friends.

Yesterday we volunteered at the County Fair together. I have no doubt that I can trust these girls to be well behaved with hundreds of people around. I don’t have to worry about incidents with adults, children, other animals, or unexpected circumstances when they are with me. They can handle it.

Shelby, of the red scarf, is the most obedient, well behaved dog I have ever had. We are a finely honed working team. She watches me to determine whatever it is that I want from her. She responds to my requests, verbal and often hand signals too. I also listen to her. If she indicates that she is unsure or stressed, I either reassure her or provide her with a short break, depending on the situation.

Nikki, in the green scarf, does her best to comply with my wishes although she doesn’t have quite the ability to figure things out that Shelby does. Still, I know that she will be well behaved and not cause trouble because that is her nature.

Yesterday at the Fair we participated in three things. First was the Therapy Dog Demonstration. Both girls are veterans with close to 100 visits under their belts (leashes?). Most have been to nursing homes. After that we manned one of the entrance gates for a couple of hours since it is easier if everyone takes a turn. Above are the girls at our station by the gate wondering why there is so much traffic. For our last event of the day we participated in something called Meet the Breeds where each of the handlers told a few facts about their Breed. The audience was then free to meet all the dogs.

What fine little ambassadors these girls are, for their breed and dogs in general. Also, I adopted them both from Northeast Ohio Shetland Sheepdog Rescue so they represented how fine Rescue dogs can be. They make me proud.

And after such good and hard teamwork, good girls get ice cream. (I got ice cream too, but I will spare you that photo!)

The Top Five Best Plants Blooming in My Garden This Morning

1. Cleome

The cleome are an added bonus. We have not planted any in about five years. They are a prolific re-seeder. We just move or weed out what we don’t want and enjoy the rest.

2. Morning Glory

The morning glories are also re-seeding plants. I have never planted any. They were here when I moved into this house 14 years ago and have come back every year.

3. Gardenia

The gardenia provides blooms with a two-fold gift. Not only are they are delicate and beautiful, their scent is also divine.

4. Verbena

I have to say, this particular verbena is the best one I have ever grown. I believe it is called “Cherry Blossom”. It has become the focal point of this urn.

5. Hibiscus

The hibiscus put on such a show! They have large, tropical blooms and new ones open up every day.

Stay tuned for more photos of new blooms as they arrive!