The Cat’s Meow

I didn’t grow up having cats as pets. To be honest, I didn’t give cats much thought. I believed the stereotypes about them, that they are arrogant, the owner follows THEIR rules, and they climb on everything in sight. I have to say, when I lived in the city I had a cat that for reasons known only to her….picked me to be her person. She was a stray that lived on my front porch. I started feeding her and that sealed the deal. She was mine from then on. A small delicate, black cat. I named her Salem. Having an outside cat worked for me. She had her life. I had mine. I pet her and fed her and she purred for me. Then I married my husband. He had inside cats… now I had inside cats too.




Samson was a black Maine Coon, long haired and elegant. Samson was very stealthy. He could sneak up on a person before she realized he was even there. One night, early on in our marriage, my husband and I had gone to bed. It was pitch black in the bedroom so I couldn’t see a black cat. Samson found his way to the top of my head and curled himself into a tight furry ball on my pillow. In the middle of the night I woke up, feeling a “presence”, it was like I was wearing one of those fuzzy Russian hats. Joe was the other cat. A black and white domestic cat. A sweet boy who liked to “talk”, and was content to lay around and watch the comings and goings of the family members. My husband was Joe’s person.

All three of the cats I mentioned have passed on. Samson, from old age, went to sleep and didn’t wake up. Salem, for whatever reason got high blood pressure, went blind, and had a stroke. Her poor health broke my heart. Joe just recently passed from a 6 month bout with feline cancer. Joe was the first pet I’ve ever had to put to sleep. I cried like a baby.


Nikki is a calico. I suspect that she was “dumped” out here in the country, by someone who no longer could afford to take care of her. She showed up at our house several years ago, and hung out under our deck. I noticed her one morning and coaxed her to me. From then on she was ours. We ended up bringing her inside because she had already been declawed and fixed. She couldn’t live outside with no front claws. If I could sum Nikki up in one word, it would be persistent. She loves being loved.


A couple of years ago, stray mama cat chose our barn for her labor and delivery. She bore five kittens, four survived. For being stray kittens, even the vet has said, “They are some of the most beautiful cats I’ve ever seen.” Lara Croft (Barn Raider) is a buff long haired girl, her sister Juliette a sleek Tabico (tabby with calico coloring), and the two boys are big and long. Dante a sleek white, and his brother, Virgil, a gorgeous long haired white. Virgil does not understand that he is a long haired white, and is not above trouncing through whatever might be on the barn floor. Dante went to live with our grandson, in Texas, the other three are with us. They live in the barn and hunt around our twelve country acres. They are the best mousers, hands (or paws?) down!


This puts us up to last October. I was on my way to work with one of my home instruction students, when I saw the smallest little piece of gray and white fluff on the side of the road… the middle of nowhere. No houses around. This little guy looked like he couldn’t have been weaned for very long. He was so small! I called home, and my daughter drove to where I gave directions and picked the little guy up. I took Itty Bitty to the vet and he was checked out. Now, he lives here with us and his other feline friends.


Finally……last but not least… Jack. Jack is a young orange tabby that showed up at our house a couple of months ago. I don’t know where he came from. He was attracted to me like a magnet. Every day he greets me when I go over to the barn. I am seriously wanting to bring Jack inside. He has a special place in my heart.

So, as you can see, I am now a dog AND cat person. Probably, if truth be told, I am just a plain ol’ animal person.

It is difficult to obtain the friendship of a cat. It is a philosophical animal… one that does not place its affections thoughtlessly.

Hot Diggity Dog!

I’ve been thinking about dogs lately. Actually, I think about dogs quite a bit, since my family has four of them! Each of them is unique and special, with their own personality. If a person doesn’t understand that, than it is pretty clear to me that he/she has never owned a dog. I really can’t imagine my life without my canine companions. They make me laugh. They make me yell (sometimes). They shed and howl and bark. They jump and lick and are loyal beyond anything else.


Ace is technically my daughters dog, although she “shares” him with the rest of the family. He is a twelve year old baby. He may be getting old, and because his joints ache, he takes longer to get moving, but he loves to love. Even though he is a 70 lb, pure bred Scotch Collie, he does not understand why he can’t be a lap dog, after all he is a dog and we have laps. Ace has been the best guard dog….running the perimeter of our property, letting the coyotes know that they are not welcome here. Now, he spends his days laying around the yard, and barking at the UPS guy…..not because he will eat the guy (in his old age he doesn’t have many front teeth left), but because he knows the guy will give him a treat. According to Ace, the UPS guy is smart. The FedEx guy needs to get with the program.


Lonnie is a Terrier mix, the vet thinks maybe a Terrier and a Schipperke. Lonnie is my son’s dog…he and I went to the shelter and picked Lonnie out of a line-up. From the moment I saw the, then 5 year old little guy, with his big brown eyes and energetic spirit, I knew he was the one….so did my son. In a few months we will celebrate 5 years with Lonnie. I can’t imagine life without this guy. He makes me laugh. He can do several tricks and runs in circles when he knows it is time to go outside. I enjoy laying on the living room floor with this little guy laying next to me. He also enjoys a good massage and belly rub during our TV time. This dog isn’t spoiled, at all. Really. I promise.


August of 2014, the family decided to get another dog. My daughter and I made a trip back to the local shelter. Rocky was a 1.5 year old brindle Boxer and not really sure what other breed, mix. I think maybe a lab? Really not sure, and Rocky isn’t saying. Rocky was the dog in the back of the kennel with his tail tucked between his legs, nervous to come to the fence so he could be pet. He wanted to, but he was scared. Come to find out, he had been an owner surrender, his first family couldn’t afford his care. He was then adopted and brought back, because another family dog didn’t get along with him. Poor guy. He needed a family to love. My daughter and I looked at each other. We knew this shy brindle was going to be our newest family member. After bringing Rocky home, it took a little while for him to not be so scared…’d never know it to look at him now! Rocky has a vicious bark and scares the delivery drivers, “I think he would eat me for lunch!”, but Rocky is a true love bug. He is content to run around the yard and play with his other furry friends, or lay at my feet while I’m sitting at the table. He has soulful brown eyes, and I swear he knows how great life is now, compared to what it was. He is grateful. I can feel it, and see it in his expression. I love this guy and am so happy we chose him……even if he has chewed up my solar lights, ripped up plants, and mauled all his toys. Such is the life of a dog owner.


Lastly, is our little surprise, Mitford. Last September, Miss Sophia (the neighbor’s dog) and our Ace were the proud parents of six little bundles of joy. Sophia decided to have her precious pups up under our deck. We could hear them crying, so my daughter did an army crawl through the (very) narrow space under our deck to retrieve the puppies and bring them up on the deck where we could all admire them. Pudgy and blind, but we fell in love with them. We and the neighbors each kept a puppy and the rest were given to good homes. Mitford will celebrate his first birthday on the 29th of this month. He has the beautiful soft fur and curled up tail of his mama, and the coloring and size of his daddy. Mitford has enough energy for everyone. He is a natural “fetcher” and loves to chase–and bring back his toys for more. I love to pet him, as his fur is incredibly soft. He irritates his grumpy daddy with all his shenanigans, but loves running around with his buddy, Rocky.

Yes. I love dogs. I have always considered myself a dog person. I was fine with this title until about ten years ago…..then I married a cat person. Now, I’ve expanded my love to the feline persuasion too. I’ll blog about them in my next post.
God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:25 

Birthdays & Celebrations and Life & Death

The month of May is busy at my house. That is busy with a capital “B”. There are several family members with May birthdays, including my own. Then there is Mother’s Day, a daughter’s high school graduation (and subsequent party) and finally, Memorial Day which kicks off the summer months. Shew! I am tired already, and I’m only half way through the month.

Yesterday was my birthday. I turned forty-seven. It is not a “big” birthday, but I always become contemplative, nonetheless. The years have come and gone, and I like to believe during that time, I’ve learned the important things. Quite often I am reminded of how much my life has changed. I asked my husband the other day as we were driving home from town, “Can you believe that we live here, in rural Ohio? Who knew that we would ever end up here.” Anyone that follows my blog, or checks me out on Pinterest or Instagram, knows from my photos that I love my life in the country. I am grateful to God for all the ways that He has chosen to bless me.


My son’s birthday is tomorrow. He is slipping out of the teen years and into the twenty-somethings. I find myself looking at him, recalling his growing up years. My heart carries a collage of memories. He has changed a lot since May of ’95, and so have I. I am proud of the young man that he has become. Life hasn’t always been easy, but God is always so good. You can read some our story herehere, and here.

Most people know that I am an avid animal lover. My husband teases me with the unofficial title of “Dr. Doolittle”. She walks with the animals and talks with the animals….. I admit, I do talk to the animals that call our piece of country, home. They talk back too, just not with words. When I married Scott on a winter evening in January of 2006, I gained a new family to blend with my own. Not only did I gain a new husband, and children, but several new pets. Joe is a black and white domestic short haired cat. He is now 16 or 17 years old. A few months ago we noticed his face and leg were swollen. After a trip to the vet, we were given the news that Joe probably has cancer. At the time, Joe still had a lot of spunk, but as time has worn on, it has spread and he is tired from this hard journey. It will not be long, and we will be forced to say goodbye. In the midst of our May celebrations of life, we will begrudgingly have to say hello to death. I hate it. Dealing with death never gets easier. Yes, I know that Joe is a cat, he is not human…but, he is loved and will be deeply missed.


I guess with all my birthday contemplation, and this craziness I call May, I am reminded this month, for me, is a reflection of life as a whole. Life and beauty and celebration. Good memories with family and friends, mixed in with the hard stuff. The painful stuff, that wedges itself into our days. I will be the first one to tell you, that I get that. I really do. Life isn’t perfect, not even most of the time…..but, it is good.


Green Acres Is The Place For Me!

Today is a day to smile…or even laugh out loud. I am not one to take myself too seriously, and also am not above sharing some of my own exploits with my friends in the blog-o-sphere to allow you a chuckle, guffaw, or even…a snort. Just sayin’.


“Green Acres is the place to be.

Farm livin’ is the life for me. 

Land spreadin’ out so far and wide 

Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside.”
Green Acres Lyrics by Vic Mizzy

Some of my readers might be old enough to remember the TV show, Green Acres…or at least reruns of it. Or not. Regardless of whether you remember it, it was a funny TV show from the late ’60’s and early 70’s that aired on CBS. It was about a couple that moved from the city to the country.

Sometimes, when I am out feeding the chickens, or making my way to the barn to let the horse out into the pasture, or chasing the dogs around the yard, I “hear” the Green Acres theme song running through my head.

Just so you know, country life is not for wimps. Seriously. Today I am going to share some of the potential disasters as well as the gems of country living, just in case you are thinking about making the trek to the country. It is better to be informed.

Ten Things You Need To Know Before Making The Country Your Home:

1. Animals are messy and they poop a lot. And they don’t clean up their own poop. That is left up to you. Mucking out a stall, or cleaning out a chicken coop is your new domain. Own it. Make sure you have good boots, I speak from experience.

2. Chickens can be very entertaining to watch, almost relaxing if you catch them on a good day, OR it can be like all Hades has broken loose and Armageddon is upon us. Don’t be fooled, people. Chickens can be mean….to each other….and to you! The term “hen pecked” is real.

3. The Tractor Supply Company will become one of your all time favorite stores. You will find yourself pulling into TSC, when you are in town. It doesn’t matter whether you actually need anything or not…you go in, just to look around….or see the new baby chicks…or talk with the traveling vet….or maybe to price the new windmill lawn ornament. Don’t judge.

4. You will find yourself perusing Amazon for things like chicken “saddles”. Yes, they are a thing. No, one doesn’t ride a chicken….they are cute little “aprons” that protect the hens from the over eager rooster. Don’t ask questions.

5. You will become mesmerized by wide open spaces, green pastures, blue sky and quiet back roads. You will swear that no one has better sunrises or sunsets than you do. Don’t be embarrassed if you happen to stand in your side yard admiring the sun as it sinks into the horizon amidst blazing purples, pinks, and oranges… with your mouth hanging open in awe. Not that I’ve done that or anything.

6. There is nothing like a clear night in the country. Star gazing will become an addiction. You can’t see the stars in the city. You just can’t. Out in the country the stars shimmer like a million diamonds in an ink black sky. The fact that it is pitch black outside with not a street light in sight, is fine….just be aware that there are lots of animals that are nocturnal…um….in case you happen to run into one accidentally.

7. If you are truly in the country, you will probably be miles and miles away from everything. No “quick trips” to the grocery store, Wal-mart, the pharmacy, or a clothing store. Trips into town are usually planned, and if you forget to get something you are just out of luck. I do miss having a plethora of restaurants to choose from, all within 10 minutes of my house. Oh, well…..

8. During the cold weather months, the snow plow becomes a “thing”. Realize that your mailbox will most assuredly become a casualty of the plow. Most country mailboxes look like they survived a war, unless you are one of those people that have warm weather mailboxes and cold weather mailboxes….and you switch them out for the season. Don’t laugh, this happens.

9. Realize that any time you grill out on your porch or deck, will be the time that the farmer who lives behind you decides to spread manure. It is what it is. Stinky. Enjoy grilling out anyway. You will get used to the country “aroma”.

10. Don’t freak out if you see livestock in your front yard, munching on your grass. They don’t get boundaries…and, the grass truly is greener on the other side. Think of it as them doing their part to keep your large front yard mowed.

If none of these 10 things have deterred you, than maybe you should think about finding your own “Green Acres”. You can’t beat life out here in the country.

His Name Is Mitford

Our house is a zoo. My husband calls me “Dr. Dolittle”. It is true we have a lot of animals on our 12 acre property. (Ace, our senior dog, Lonnie our 9 yr. old terrier mix, Rocky our 2 year old Boxer mix and now Mitford, the puppy. We also have 2 indoor cats, and 4 more outside cats that are the best mousers ever. All but one of the cats, was either dumped on us, out here in the country, or was a stray left to wander, before they met us. We have 8 hens who give fresh eggs, 1 rooster, and a horse named Jazz, who is a retired barrel racer.) I am grateful for the land that allows us to have our animals. Yes, they are a lot of work, and time….but, worth it to me. Mitford is a ten week old puppy. I named him after the town in my favorite book series by Jan Karon. Mitford is one of the six offspring of our Scotch Collie, Ace and his “girlfriend” and next door neighbor, Sophia. Ace and Sophia made beautiful babies, even though it wasn’t a planned event. So, Mitford has one blue eye and one brown eye, which gives him a unique look. He has his mama’s big ears and super soft fur and, his dad’s huge paws, and coloring. I’m guessing that when he is fully grown he might weigh in at, at least sixty pounds.

Since Mitford is still not house trained he has to be walked every hour, and even then he has some accidents….but, he is getting better. Luckily for us, we have radiant heat, in our colored concrete floors. (We decided that concrete floors are different, but kind of fun to have.) The floors aren’t very forgiving when I drop a dish, but they are easy to keep clean. So, anyway, back to my story….. Mitford’s bathroom breaks have me living my life in one hour increments right now. At first, I was like, “This is going to take forever”, and I wanted him to hurry up and be done. Now, I am learning to slow down and enjoy the moments of walking around the property. Mitford and his schedule are forcing me to slow down and appreciate. We just came in from a walk and I took the time to see the heavy frost on the grass and roof tops. The sky appeared to have a blue haze over it, a haze the exact color of cold. It is sort of blue-gray. I pulled the zipper up farther on my coat and tugged my hat down lower over my ears.

So many times, I let the tensions of the day get to me, forgetting to slow down and actually enjoy the moments. Thanks to a little fluffy puppy, who is helping me to remember that all the moments are precious.


A Wondrous Mystery

I love animals. They bring me a lot of joy. We have several dogs and cats, chickens, and a horse. I wouldn’t mind getting some llamas one day. Until then, I am content to watch our neighbor’s llamas across the road.


Yesterday our neighbor’s dog had her litter of puppies, up under our deck. My daughter and I spent the majority of the day yesterday looking after Mama and her six little fur balls. Ace, our Collie, and Papa to this crew looked on, not sure what to make of these whiny little things.


As I sat there and observed Mama taking care of her babies, washing them, feeding them, protecting them….I had a God moment. Life, in all forms, is such a wondrous mystery. A miracle. It made me happy to witness it.


On the sixth day, God created animals, and He said that it was good. Then they made man (and woman) and gave them the responsibility of naming the animals and ruling over them.

A great responsibility indeed.

24Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind”; and it was so. 25God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good. 26Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”… Genesis Chapter 1











I love this cow that wanted her photo taken.

I love this cow that wanted her photo taken.

Living The Life

I was out in the front yard this morning, walking the dog.











Well, if I’m truly honest, the dog runs around the yard while I stand there taking in the stillness of the morning. It was early, around 6:30am, but was already light outside. I spotted one of the neighbors jogging by on the road, with his dog. My dog barked a good morning greeting. The killdeer (noisy birds) are up and at it. The geese honked at the “pond” across the road. The llamas grazed. The rooster crowed, and I heard someone driving on the road a few miles away. It is amazing how much one can hear out in the country.














Last night I was outside (once again, the dog and I) around 10pm. It was completely dark, and still fairly warm. I heard cows bawling. I figured it was the neighbors cows at the end of the road, or maybe the ones owned by the neighbor over the hill. I enjoy watching the black and white cows graze in the field beyond our back property. I find it peaceful. Cows don’t really get in a hurry. They mosey around, chewing their cud, meditating on the things of life…like whether or not they will walk over to the other side of the field, or just lay down where they are. Deep stuff.



I love this cow that wanted her photo taken.

I love this cow that wanted her photo taken.











Yesterday (and most days, really) I throw open the back doors of the barn and let Jazz into her stall. After I get her situated with her food and water, I go back to the open doors and stare out across the pasture. I can see clear back to the end of our property where it butts up against the fence of the farmer who lives behind us. Fence posts, against a blue sky with white fluffy clouds. Space. Breathing it all in (yes, even the farm smells!).














It’s just so beautiful to me.

I am blessed.


A Lover Of All Things Furry and Feathered

I love animals. I’ve had pets since I was a child. I used to consider myself strictly a “dog person”. That was true until the last several years. Now I just consider myself an “animal person”… A lover of all things furry or feathered.

It wasn’t until I was in my 40’s and  I moved out to the country with my family that I had opportunity to own several animals. All of which are pets….even the chickens! Seriously, if I had my way I’d have my own petting zoo.

Yes, I know animals can be a lot of work. They can be stinky and messy and shed like nothing I’ve ever seen. Doesn’t matter. They give love and devotion that can make me smile on even the worst of days.

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” — Genesis 1 

So thankful for my furry and feathered friends.


100_0869102_2679102_3066102_3142102_3242102_3407102_3495102_3695102_4140102_4115102_4149102_4333Photo-6Photo-10Ace and Junior--The Greeters

They’re Coming To Take Me Away…

horse fly, Diptera family Tabanidae, Tabanus s...

Image via Wikipedia

On this incredibly stinkin’ hot day in the rural Midwest, I thought we could all use a good dose of humor. I will allow you to laugh at my expense. Dawn vs. Nature. It is not a pretty sight.

I thought that we had moved to a picturesque setting in the rural farmland of Ohio. Actually, this turned out to be true, although I had no idea the other critters that had also chose to live alongside us on our little slice of land. In the Spring we had a raccoon under the deck. This visitor caused our dogs to nearly go berserk. At 3 am in the morning. The dogs couldn’t get to the “scared out of his wits” raccoon, and the raccoon was NOT coming out with two “Cujo‘s” on the loose. There was not much sleeping going on that night for anyone in a five mile radius of our house.

We have a ground hog that has a vacation home down where our property meets the road. He is quiet and keeps to himself. Every time I see him, The Wind and The Willows comes to mind.

We have Bambi and family that trek across our side yard on a fairly regular basis. Fun to watch, unless one decides to jump out directly in front of the the family van….then it is a little scary. The other night my husband laid some rubber on the road when he braked hard not to hit a deer that literally came out of nowhere, directly in front of us. My heart was hammering in my chest during that little moment, as I was nearly decapitated by the stupid shoulder strap safety belt. Are there any statistics on death by shoulder strap?

In August and September we have the gnat plague. Where in the world do gnats come from? Honestly, there is no food sitting out, nothing like that….they just appear like clockwork. In August. They stay for two months and the family chases them around with the bug zapper before they disappear, or are inadvertently eaten, as they are always in my way while fixing dinner. Um…they look like pepper. Sorry. I looked gnats up on the internet. They are a nuisance, but harmless and will not kill anyone if eaten. I don’t know why they come here. It’s one of life’s mysteries.

In late Fall and early winter the field mice decide that it is time for them to head toward their winter retreat. The retreat happens to be our garage, and if they are slick enough….the main living quarters. This does not set well with me. At all. I hate mice with a white hot passion. They mock me, as they scratch around in the walls. I find myself yelling at them ….and I know I am not imagining that I hear the faint sound of laughter. Go ahead and laugh! It’s all fun and games until I start laying out glue traps. Stinkin’ little fur balls. Then who will be laughing? I digress…….mice put me in a precarious mental state.

We are currently battling a horse fly population that has reached biblical proportions. Now, before I moved to Ohio I thought I had seen horse flies. I was wrong….at least not like these. These flies are the huge. Their heads are the size of my thumb nail. I am not kidding. One has to make a run for it when leaving or entering the house. If one should linger too long on the deck, there is a great possibility that said person could possibly be carried off by the mutant horse fly gang. They dive bomb anyone on the deck, like miniature Kamikaze pilots.

I better go. I’m heading out to the deck.

I think I’ll take the electric bug zapper with me. It reminds me of a lightsaber.

Just call me Luke Skywalker.

Sum…Sum…Summer Time!!!


It’s summertime in the country. Here in the Mid-west we had a blazing week of heat earlier in the month, but since then it hasn’t been so bad. I could live with the 70’s and 80’s–with no humidity. It would be fine with me if it could stay like that, say, until the end of September– than get chilly. Okay, maybe I ask for a lot…

In the meantime I’m bringing you some more pictures for “Take Me Home Tuesday”.


The view directly across from the house.

Is it just me, or doesn’t that look kind of artistic?

My daughter mowing the yard this past weekend. She enjoyed herself.

Ready to plant some more lavender.

Home Sweet Home…