🐾 My Pack ðŸ¾

Let me introduce you to my pack. We started by rescuing our oldest girl, Nikita, from the local dog pound. We saw her picture in the local newspaper and were drawn to her. We went to see her after doing research on Siberian Huskies. I wanted to make sure I knew exactly what we were getting into with the breed and what to expect. Nikita had been found roaming on the streets and had been returned to the pound once already by a couple that was not ready for her energy level. We were able to rescue her and have happily had her now for 10 years.

The next husky we rescued was from a local rescue group. His name is Sitka. We got him when he was about 10 months old. He is 9 years old now. He is our resident clown and opera singer. We don’t know much about his background unfortunately.

We purchased our next two girls from a breeder one year apart as puppies at 10 weeks of age. We wanted to be able to watch them grow up and have two that were close in age that could keep up with each other. First we got Kaiya. She is 3 years old now. She is our red haired beauty.

Our last precious girl is our now 2 year old girl Akira. She and Kaiya are absolutely inseparable. They do everything together.

I hope you will come along with us on our journey and learn and grow with us as well.

Patience is a virtue

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Growing up I had an English teacher that reminded us that “patience is a virtue” on a daily basis. It used to drive us crazy as teenagers. Now that I am an adult, I have come to realize that this wise woman knew exactly what she was talking about. Everything comes in due time. This world that we live in is such a hurried place that we really need to slow down and be more patient.

I have been working diligently in my garden all week and really began to appreciate this as I prepare for the summer season. I am getting the porch ready and cleaning out all of the flower beds. Setting out the hummingbird feeders and new this year, an oriole feeder. I have tried different ones in the past to no avail. I saw this one at the store and decided to give it a try. You fill it with jelly instead of a liquid sugar-water. Well, lo and behold, I have a new resident in town, and he is the most beautiful bird I think I have ever seen! He announces his presence every time he comes to feed too!

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I have also had several beautiful swallowtail butterflies visiting my phlox. They are here much earlier than I expected, so I had to grab my camera really quickly to capture them. They really caught me by surprise. If you know me, butterflies and hummingbirds are two of my very favorite things. I could watch them all day. Although, I think I can add the Baltimore Oriole to that list now too!

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I challenge you to take the time to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature while you are outside working. Try not to be in such a hurry to always get things done that you miss the beauty that surrounds you. Breathe in the fresh air and take a few minutes to just “be”. Who knows….you might find yourself relaxing and relieving stress just by being outside.

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Being thankful

For those that know me, my husband travels a lot for his work. Often times I am fortunate enough to be able to join him, but most times I stay behind with the “kids”. I try to remind myself on a daily basis how lucky I am to live the life that I live. My husband affords me the luxury of being able to stay home every day, and I will never be able to repay him for that.

I was getting ready to go to bed last night, and I started to count my blessings as I always do. I make sure that I have all 5 of them in the bedroom all tucked in. I walked in and found this:

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Sitka usually is a floor sleeper, but when my husband is away he tends to sneak up on the bed with me (either him or Smokey – they make sure I always have a man in my bed). Akira never spoons me, but last night she decided she needed some Mom time, or she sensed that Mom needed her. This meant that I had about 6 inches on the edge of my king bed, but I was perfectly fine with that!

Last night was somewhat bittersweet for me as the day came to an end. A dear friend of mine had to say goodbye to her sweet dog and send her to cross the rainbow bridge. I quietly reminded her that her “Z” had many of my lost loves waiting to greet her on the other side of the bridge with wagging tails. I find great comfort when I picture the Rainbow Bridge. I picture thousands upon thousands of our furry loved ones on the other side playing and frolicking about with one another pain-free and worry free. Just waiting until we meet again.

It is never easy to lose a loved one, and for some reason, losing our four-legged friends really hits hard. They have this innate ability to love unconditionally and they never have any regrets. They live life to the fullest and enjoy every breath, every minute of every day. If people could just learn more from their dogs, I think this world we live in could be a much better place.

Swimming with Dolphins

My husband and I went on our first cruise in March aboard the Carnival Magic. We absolutely loved it. We went on an excursion in every port of call, but our favorite one by far was when we swam with the dolphins in Cozumel. We paid a little bit extra for the VIP package and it was worth every penny!  https://www.carnival.com/shore-excursions/cozumel/exclusive-dolphin-swim-vip-experience-304226

We were greeted with Mojito’s (non-alcoholic until time with dolphins was over) upon arrival, and escorted to our own private seating area overlooking our private infinity pool which gave us a view of the dolphins and the ocean. It was an absolute paradise. We had some light appetizers and then we were taken to meet the dolphins.

We spent about 45 minutes in the water with the dolphins. We learned about their behaviors and got to interact with them and their trainer. The most interesting fact of the day was that dolphins never sleep! They are also exceptionally strong. We had a group of 8 adults and only one female dolphin. She was able to swim on her back with us on her belly holding onto her fins. She did this continually until all 8 of us had swam with her. We got to kiss her, pet her, feed her and give her commands. It was an amazing day, one I will never forget!

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When we were finished swimming with the dolphin, we went back to our sanctuary and had lunch. We were able to order off of the menu, and also had a full bar at our service. We swam in the infinity pool while sipping our drinks and making new friends.

The next time you have the opportunity to swim with dolphins, don’t turn your nose up at the price! It really is worth every penny! Just make sure that the dolphins were rescued and that they are using the money for research and development.  http://www.dolphinaris.com/locations/cozumel/

I became a chicken farmer

My husband and I took the plunge this weekend and bought peeps! We have been wanting to raise chickens for many years and we finally followed through with it. We went to Rural King on Friday and bought 9 peeps. We got 3 different breeds: Rainbow Dixie, Black Australorp and Cinnamon Queen. We also got a coop and will build a nice size run for them. We certainly can’t let them free-range with our huskies!

IMG_6763There is quite a learning process involved if you have never raised chickens. First of all, they poop a lot, drink a lot, and sleep a lot. They are very entertaining to watch. I gave them snacks – cut up grapes one day and strawberries the next. There are lots of pieces on the ground, but they will chase each other around because one of them has a piece in its beak and they all want that one piece. It is hysterical.

I have also learned that although I bought my chicks in April, I probably cannot expect to see eggs from them much before the end of September. That said, I was able to find some older hens, approximately 6 months old, nearby for $16/each that I will be picking up this weekend so that I can start to get eggs now. These will be an Australorp mixed breed.

I am very excited about finally having fresh organic eggs and also about getting that very rich compost. By adding the chicken poop to my compost pile it will add nitrogen and make my compost very rich and hopefully my garden will be very well nourished as a result.

Peanut Butter & Pumpkin Dog Biscuits

I love making these treats for my pups because I know exactly what they are eating when they get these. They also LOVE them! These are very simple to make and if you keep them in the refrigerator they will keep longer as well.

Ingredients

2-1/2 Cups whole wheat flour

2 Eggs

1/2 Cup pumpkin

2 Tablespoons peanut butter

1/2 Teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk all ingredients together. Add water as needed to help make dough workable, but the dough should be dry and stiff. Roll dough into a 1/2 inch thick roll and cut into 1/2 inch pieces. OR roll out to 1/2 inch thick flat and use a cookie cutter (I like to cut into dog biscuit shapes). Bake until hard, about 40 minutes.

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Airbnb

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I had a wonderful experience this weekend while travelling to visit family in North Carolina. Like most people we normally stay in a hotel. We were going to need two rooms this time, so I decided to look into something different to save some money.

I had heard great things about Airbnb. These are places that individuals own – houses, apartments, condominiums, etc. and they rent them out to you for whatever price they deem appropriate. I looked up their website and started looking around. I found a cute little house 2 miles from where we were going. It was also $100 a night for the use of the entire 3 bedroom, 2 bath house which was $20 less per night than one room at the hotel!

I cannot recommend Airbnb enough after using it this weekend. We had such a wonderful experience. It was so nice to go back to a house after a long day of driving. We were also able to have our family come over to the house to visit rather than hanging out in a cramped hotel room. We had a kitchen to use, we were able to do laundry if we needed to, and we had sofas and recliners to relax in at the end of the day.

If you want to check it our for yourself here is a link to save $40 off your first stay: www.airbnb.com/c/colleeng1440

There are endless places to visit and chances are there is an Airbnb where you want to go. Give it a try – I don’t think you will be disappointed.

 

Time to cultivate your garden

“No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden. ”  Thomas Jefferson

As much as I would love to say that Spring has sprung, here in Ohio the weather just can’t make up its mind. One day we are having beautiful springlike weather and the next day it is snowing. I remind myself that this is the same thing that happens year after year and I must continue planning my garden.

The first thing that any gardener needs to do is decide what plants and vegetables they want to plant and then look to see when the last frost date is for your area.  https://www.almanac.com/gardening/frostdates  This will allow you to plan when you need to plant your different varieties of plants and vegetables.

April is also a great time to make your plans and start ordering things for the upcoming season if you haven’t already done so. I like to take inventory of all my garden supplements as well. I don’t use anything that isn’t organic, so I like to make sure I have everything on hand ahead of time.

Clean out your garden, and flower beds. Pull those pesky weeds. Winter hasn’t been very nice here in Ohio, so I have a lot of work ahead of me. I need to clean out all of my beds and lay down mulch. I will also till the top half of my raised beds for my vegetable garden and spread corn gluten meal to kill the weed seeds.

Make sure you try something new every year. Life is about taking chances. There is nothing better than the first day working out in the yard, getting your hands in the dirt, listening to the birds sing and feeling the warmth of the sun on your face. And of course, I always have my huskies by my side!

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