The first time I laid eyes on Maybelle she was behind bars, in a kennel between the two dogs I’d come to see at the Humane Society. They were big German Shepherd-mixes. One was mostly black and impressive, and the other was about as striking a dog as I’ve ever seen — yellow like a lab, but with the profile of a Shepherd. And between them was a little 45-pound cattle dog mix with oversized ears that stuck out at a strange angle from her head. While the other dogs jumped and barked, she leaned up against the bars of her kennel and waited for someone to give her a scratch.Continue reading
I’ve got Spring Fever, and I blame Monty Don, otherwise known as Britain’s Favorite Gardener. After discovering a season of Big Dreams, Small Spaces on Netflix that I hadn’t already seen, I spent a couple of weekend mornings watching intently as people across England transform their backyards with the help of Monty. When I came to the end of the unwatched season I wasn’t satisfied. I started watching Monty Don’s French Gardens, and Monty Don’s Italian Gardens. All of this is on Netflix, ready to be binged. And while you might be saying, “I don’t care about gardening, that show isn’t for me,” I’m going to make a case for why you should all be watching Monty Don.
The title of this post is misleading. I’ve always been a plant lady–but focused mostly on the outdoor variety. Back in 2011, I bought a house. The yard was a bit of a wasteland, but I kind of liked that, because it meant I could make it my own. I begged, borrowed, and stole plants from just about everyone I knew. Roses and lilacs from my grandmother. Black-eyed Susans from my aunt. Peonies from my other grandmother. Irises from a family friend. Another family friend helped me procure wood for the raised beds for my vegetable garden. By the time I sold the house in 2017, the once barren yard was filled to near overflowing (though my mom did dig up some of Nana’s old roses and take them to her house before I put it on the market).
But since I sold the house and have been moving around, I’ve had to embrace houseplants. I had a few easy to care for plants at my old place–a spider plant given to me as a housewarming gift, a few cacti also given as gifts through the years. But I’ve never been much of a houseplant person. My cats were generally the enemy of any plants I brought inside. They either ate it or knocked it over. And frankly, I didn’t really know what to do with the plants, anyway. What does “bright indirect light” mean, anyway?Continue reading
Twelve years ago a sassy little orange cat forced her way into my friend’s apartment and refused to leave. After a brief flirtation with trying to be a cat person, she gave up and I adopted the feline. I named her Ruby (technically Rubia–because she was blonde). I was 23, and living with two roommates. The Red Sox won the World Series that year, and America re-elected George W. Bush (which is pertinent because I stole a bunch of “Bush Country” balloons from the Republican headquarters I had to cover on election night, then blew them up and left them all over the house to freak out my roommate–Ruby promptly popped a bunch and ate one, which she threw up on the way to the vet).
Today, I had to say goodbye. Continue reading
It’s that time of year in New England when I can’t wait to get outside, but all of my garden chores are clean-up related (read: boring). So in between raking the oak leaves out of the crevices (my oak tree holds its leaves through most of the winter and then dumps them in the spring–it’s very annoying) and putting down new mulch, I’ve been looking for ways to spice up my garden fun. That mostly consists of browsing Pinterest endlessly, and trying to grow starter plants in a terrarium. But I also decided to finally buy a bee house!
So here’s the deal! Not all bees live in hives. There are many species of solitary bees (who are not aggressive) and are GREAT for your garden. Your garden will benefit from having more of these insects around–and you can help combat colony collapse–and the houses are so darn cute! Honestly, picture this little palace when there are tomato plants and nasturtium all around. The bee houses (also known as insect hotels) often play host to other beneficial insects, like ladybugs and lacewings. Frankly, you can’t afford NOT to have one. Continue reading
This project wasn’t technically on my To Do List, but I thought it deserved a William Morris shout out. A couple of months ago I embarked on a mission to keep my dog from eating cat food. It hasn’t been easy. Those of you with both canine and feline housemates know that there is nothing tastier to a dog than a bowl of ash-filled cat food. But it isn’t good for them, and it often results in your dog waking you in the wee hours of the morning to take her outside for an emergency potty break. And because one of my cats needs to gain weight (I know…who has that problem?) I can’t have the dog sneaking in and eating her food out from under her. For everyone’s sake, I had to get creative.
I am, to put it mildly, an “animal person.” As I write this, one of my cats is asleep on my desk beside my laptop, and my dog is asleep at my feet. I find them endlessly fascinating. As someone deeply devoted to rescue, I often find myself in heated discussions with people who think breeders are the best (or only) option. This is a pretty common divide among dog people. Amy Schumer knows this.
For me, though, it’s not even really about rescue vs. breeders (though buying a dog is not an option in my book). I find breeding for the sake of it to be downright unethical. It leads to unhealthy dogs, even when they conform to so-called “breed standards.” Even “responsible breeders” are often producing dogs that are inherently less healthy simply for being a good specimen of its breed. Continue reading
and I wrote about it for Dogster. Check it out.
It recently occurred to me that I am going to need an author photo. This presented a bit of an issue for a few reasons:
- Most of the pictures of me that I actually like involve me making a weird face
- The pictures I’ve used for professional purposes are pretty darn old (and I harshly judge those who are still using their head shots from before they lost their hair, went gray, or developed wrinkles)
- A lot of my pictures have my dog in them
So I turned to my friend Leah and asked if we could have a photo shoot. She always makes me look good. We got some good author photo options, but as per usual, I ended up acting like a goon and taking a bunch of goofy pictures — and some with the dog.
It’s over. Just get me a ratty cardigan and take away my comb, because despite living with the world’s cutest dog I think I’ve finally gone and crossed over into Cat Lady territory.
It all started with Ruby’s gallstones. I didn’t want to have to hunt her down just to force a pill down her throat, so I started keeping both cats inside. And for about a thousand different reasons, I decided to keep them inside even after I stopped having to torture her with medications multiple times a day. Those reasons are boring, so I’ll skip over them, but suffice it to say that having two cats who really want to go outside but can’t can be pretty annoying. So I decided to resurrect an old dream of mine and make an outdoor enclosure thanks, in part, to Pinterest — and with lots of help from my boyfriend.
It’s July. The garden is starting come into it’s own. That means the tomatoes are ripening, the peppers have been coming in, most of the flowers are in full bloom–though some are past their prime–and the winter squash are big but not yet ripe.
This year I’ve been making a lot of flower arrangements. I don’t always do this, because I worry that cutting blooms might make things look less full. But the flowers are so plentiful this year — some of them have even spread to parts of the yard where flowers were never meant to be — that it seems silly not to bring some of them indoors.
I am waiting impatiently. I’ve gotten some strawberries, lettuce, spinach, and bok choi, but everything else is still tantalizingly small. Cucumbers are starting–and climbing like mad–while tiny squash start to make an appearance. I’ve got some small but nice green tomatoes, and the peas are starting to flower. I picked a single jalapeno, but the other peppers and eggplants are still elusive.
dsMy cat is sick. It’s a long story that starts with an emergency trip to the vet the day before I left for vacation, and ends…well…it hasn’t ended yet. As it turns out she has stones in her pancreatic and bile ducts. This is very unusual, and could be caused by a range of things from infection (not a big deal) to liver cancer (very big deal). The only way to know for sure what is causing these stones is an expensive and invasive surgery.
I am conflicted, to say the least.
There are meds that can break up the stones, but she reacted badly to them. She had gotten much better on antibiotics, and when the Ursodiol was introduced, she stopped eating again and had loose stools. We quickly discontinued the meds. She’s back to feeling good on her meds, but the stones will continue to present a problem as long as they are in there. They could move and cause other problems and pain. They could also continue to get infected, wreaking havoc every few weeks or months. And of course, we still don’t know what caused them in the first place so there may be underlying issues. Continue reading
I know…I know…You’ve been sitting at you computer, relentlessly hitting the reload button in hopes that I’ll start posting pictures from my garden. Well, you’re in luck, because I’ve been on a photo-taking spree. There isn’t a whole lot happening when it comes to the vegetable garden, but the flowers are really starting to shine. In some cases, I’m even getting blooms on plants that haven’t flowered before.