Saturday, December 10, 2016

Everyday Life

Hello!  It's been a while...  I seem to have lots of photos of wet dogs with water toys and not much else to share, so today I thought I'd simply drop in with snapshots of everyday life at the Miller residence.

First of all, I want to mention that Wally is 100% recovered from his knee surgery and back to running like a 2 year old.  We're keeping him in shape with lots of swimming and running and walking.  It's not the best weather for it with all our rain, but it makes no difference to the dogs.

Okay, now about that everyday life...  We've put up some squirrel feeders.  We started with one feeder for the one squirrel that was hanging around, then a second feeder for the competition that showed up.  Now there are three squirrels and we've added a third feeder.  Squirrels do not share quite as nicely as the birds do.  These feeders are full of critter crunch which the jays love, as well.  So now the squirrels and jays have to take turns.  I wonder how many squirrels are going to show up?  Wally followed Rich as far up the tree as he could manage.

Here's one of the little critters now.  Our squirrels here on the coast are Douglas squirrels -- grayish brown on top with red tummies.  They're not much bigger than chipmunks.

LuLu is our official squirrel watcher.

I went outside to take a picture of this hydrangea hanger on...

...and turned around and saw this:

She's giving me "the look".  How dare I go outside without her?

Lastly, we have Rich hanging the Christmas lights with Wally watching out below.

Simple, ordinary, everyday life.  Happy holidays!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Rain, Rain, Go Away and Come Back Later, Please

Hello!  Long time no post, but I thought you'd like to know that Wally went for his follow up appointment and x-ray last Monday and he's got the green light to move ahead with his activity.  His bones are all healed and, let me tell you, looking at the x-ray I can see Humpty Dumpty has nothing on Wally.  However, unlike Humpty Dumpty, he was put back together beautifully.  Now we have to be very careful to work him up gradually to full steam.  The walks are longer, he's allowed a little running, and will go for a short swim a couple times a week soon.
Just when we got that news it started raining and has hardly let up.  Maybe you've heard about the northwest storms on the news.  On Saturday we got an emergency broadcast that told us to go to an interior room because tornado-like winds and nickel-sized hail were coming any minute.  Well, we dodged that bullet, but north of us folks were not so lucky.  There was a small tornado up the coast on Friday, but we've barely had a wind gust.  Not complaining.  Here's Rich and the kids coming back from a rainy walk:
We either walk together or trade off.  I love to walk in the rain, but I detest slogging along in rain pants.  When I go I simply accept that I'll come back wet from the hem of my raincoat down.
It's business as usual here at home.  The deer are still enjoying my flowers and bird seed.  This guy's wondering if it's safe to come out:
He looks like a deer statue, doesn't he?  Hardly...
I've decided to quit fretting about the deer and the garden.  A new neighborhood development has encroached on their green zone, so it's getting more difficult for them to find food.  We don't have a deer population explosion, but their territory has shrunk.  I watch them approaching through the trees and I stay quiet as they nibble -- a little bite, then head up, ears twitching, listening, worried and fearful.  I would not like to take each meal in such a manner.  I have plenty in the garden the deer don't eat, so I'm not going to keep trying to grow things they enjoy.  They love the impatiens which I was hoping to grow in the shade around the bird bath.  It was like putting a pot of food out for the deer.  I finally moved those pots to Wally and LuLu's fenced-in backyard.
Well, that's all from the home front today.  It's time to dry off some dogs.
Have a good day!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Still a Few Things Blooming

The mornings are cooler, the days are shorter, it feels like fall, but still the summer flowers keep blooming.  I don't have a lot specifically for fall, but these long bloomers just go on and on.  We've had beautiful days.  Some of our prettiest, really.
Looks like dew drops on the geraniums, but it was actually Man and Nature coming together... Rich was washing the windows.
Wally and LuLu love to wash windows.
Still taking the dogs for frequent 10 minute leash walks for Wally's therapy, but he's feeling like he should be turned loose for more.  It's hard to keep him down.  His follow up appointment is October 10th and I'm hoping he can start increasing activity after that.  I can't wait to take them swimming again, but it will have to be a little bit at a time.
I don't have much in the way of pictures to share.  I've had my hands full lately and the camera and I haven't been very companionable.  I'll have to see what I can do about that.  Just wanted to say "hi" and wish you a happy fall!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Just Checking In

Hello, there!  We are now four weeks post surgery and it seems Wally is doing beautifully, but the surgery vet will be the one to judge when Wally has his radiograph and exam at eight weeks.  In the photo below, Wally and LuLu are getting ready to go for a walk.  No, Wally is not being impolite.  That's his security spot.  I think he associates putting his harness on with going to the vet.  He hates going to the vet.  LuLu loves her harness and all that's associated with it, including going to the vet.  Here she's being sympathetic with Wally's feelings.
Wally is supposed to go for three to five 10 minute leash walks per day.  We judge how many walks he takes by how much time he's spent that day walking around the yard.  When we're outside, Wally and LuLu are outside following us everywhere.
Once we're out walking, Wally is perfectly happy with it.  We could tell they were getting bored with the same old walk, though, so now at least once a day we drive to a different spot for our walk.  New smells, new excitement.  Even though the walks are only 10 minutes, it sometimes seems like we're constantly out walking the dogs.
Just thought I'd share this photo, too.  We don't see a praying mantis here very often.  He/she would be a marvel of camouflage on a leafy plant, but here on the back of the house... not so much.
Hope your weekend is off to a good start.  I'm enjoying the approach of fall with cooler mornings, warm days, a different quality to the light -- all dappled and sparkly.  Some days feel like summer and some feel like fall.  I love it all.  Have a good day!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Better Every Day

On Day 7 post surgery Wally sang a song, so we knew he was feeling better.  Our little LuLu usually sings along with him in her sweet soprano voice, but it took her by surprise since it's been so long since Wally felt like singing.  She was walking around with a ball in her mouth so her song came out a little garbled, but it was beautiful nonetheless.  We were so happy to hear Wally singing and, boy, did we ever make a big fuss over both of them!
Just look at those happy faces:


It's good to see Wally smiling again.  He has such a sweet face.
The singing is always prefaced by a musical introduction on a squeaky toy.  It has to have a certain tone to warrant a sing-a-long, and when one squeaky toy wears out we go on a search for a new squeaky that sounds just right.
Later he did some break dancing.  There's nothing in the post op rules about break dancing.  That's when he rolls around and wiggles on his back and makes growly noises.

We allowed a teensy bit of tug o' war play time with LuLu, which was fine while Wally was laying down, but as soon as he stood up we put a stop to it.  It was fun while it lasted.

Wally even received a get well card:
It was a happy day!
It was such a happy day, in fact, that I felt like taking some flower photos.  First is my potted Coreopsis garden as seen from one of my kitchen windows.  I don't know if deer don't like coreopsis or if they just haven't found it yet.  They've certainly been browsing all around it.  The coreopsis have been in non-stop, profuse bloom since spring.
This pretty begonia surprised me by lasting the winter and coming back very nicely in the spring.  If it overwinters again I'll put it in a bigger pot and see how much it grows.  It's a gorgeous thing.
Pictured below is Lobelia cardinalis (or cardinal flower).  It's a perennial lobelia, tall, late blooming, fabulous red flower spikes and reddish foliage.  It's just starting to bloom, but it's covered with buds.  Here's the BEST thing:  deer don't like it!  The first time they encounter it in the garden they'll take a bite, say "ewww", and they won't touch it again.  That's been my experience.  It is labeled "deer resistant".
One last photo...  The orange wallflowers behind my adorable, sweet, precious, darling LuLu have been in bloom like this since early spring.  I've been planting long-blooming perennials in my pots the last couple of years.  Gee, the deer haven't touched these either.
Well, I'm off to hug on some Goldens and play in the garden.  Hope you have a very nice day!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Update on Wally

Hello!  Let me start off by saying thank you for all your care and well wishes and prayers for Wally.  He's now five days post surgery and doing quite well.  The first three days it was not easy to see him so down and, of course, we fussed and worried whether it was normal.  By the fourth day he had a little more perk to him.  On that day the vet called to check on him and assured us that it sounds like Wally is coming along exactly as he should.
In the photo above he's having his little 5 minute walk about.  He's supposed to be on a leash, but in close quarters we simply hover over him with a watchful eye.  You can see some redness at his incision site, which is actually dog-type bruising and to be expected.  There's a lot more of it on the inside edge of his leg.  You also see a lipoma (fatty lump) on his hip.  It's been there quite a while, but hardly visible when he has hair.  We'll have it removed if it gets too big and unsightly.
His surgery was a tibial plateau leveling osteotomy, meaning he has a fair-sized chunk of hardware in his knee to make it functional with three torn ligaments.  It was worse than expected, but he should recover full use of his leg.  There will be no running, jumping, or playing with LuLu for 8 weeks.  It requires constant vigilance and I imagine that will become more difficult as time goes on.  After the 8 week period we'll have to gradually increase his activity until he's up to full speed.
Wally is enjoying a little outside time whenever possible.  Here he is with his little buddy, LuLu, at the back gate.  I'm not sure why he likes to lay there because there's no view of anything but the garbage can, but it's a favorite spot.  He's laying on his surgery leg -- ouch!  Apparently that's okay.  LuLu stays close.
He chose to tuck himself into this seemingly difficult spot, sheesh.  Poor guy gets tired of the couch.  On Day 4 Rich lifted him into the back of the pick up (with canopy) and took him and LuLu for a short ride.  We'll have to somehow keep Wally from getting too bored and possibly depressed during this recovery period.  He's used to so much more activity and playtime.  LuLu's feeling the impact, too, so we have to give her special attention and exercise on her own.
When I brush Wally I always croon to him, "somebody must love Wally.  You gotta love a doggie an awful lot to want to brush him and comb him and take care of him like this".  That goes on and on during the brushing.  Well... somebody must love Wally, that's for sure, because he's sure getting a lot of care and attention and it's all given freely and happily.  It's all about Wally and LuLu and love love love!  Have a good day!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Our Wally's Having Surgery

Just thought you'd like to know.
Wally's had trouble with his left knee since he was about four months old.  Scared the dickens out of me the first time we came home from a romp in The Great Outdoors and he could barely get up after his nap.  I was certain it indicated hip dysplasia, my worst fear.  That's about the time it shows up if it's going to, from what I've heard.
Although he seemed fully recovered by the next morning, I took him to the vet for an exam and x-rays and found out his knee joint was a little loose.  No evidence of hip dysplasia.  Whew!  However, I was told his condition would probably worsen over time and he'd eventually have to have surgery.  Well, that time has come.
Halfway into his last run his knee went past the point of no return and he's not been able to put weight on it ever since.  He's been referred to a specialist and is scheduled for surgery next Thursday.
Don't let the photo above fool you, though.  It makes him look like an old dog, but at seven years young, Wally is very much just a big puppy.  He wants to wrestle and run and play and can't figure out why there's no longer any morning and evening bouncy ball.  Honestly, I'm glad the day for surgery has come while he's still got the spirit of youth in him.
Things have been pretty quiet around here.  No silly stuff, Wally.  Sorry.  I'll keep you posted.  Thanks for your time and your positive thoughts.

Saturday, July 30, 2016


It wouldn't be summer without a picture of a Swallowtail.  They're so beautiful.
This year I "caught" a Red Admiral sitting still long enough to get a photo, too.   They're very elusive and fluttery, so I had to be quick.  Not the greatest photo, but I was happy even for this.
Pictured below are two of my problems in the garden.  These are both three point bucks who've grown up munching on my garden.  I also have a doe and two spotted fawns this year.  This photo was taken in the evening from my kitchen window so, again, not such good quality.
The deer will also eat the bird seed from the hopper feeder.  I couldn't figure out why the seed would disappear overnight after I'd just filled it, but on the day this photo was taken I had just filled the feeder and it was empty immediately after their visit.  Now I only put a scoop at a time in there.
And check out the action below:
Another kitchen window photo.  Well, kitties have to drink, too.  I've done what I can to keep the feeders out of harm's way, but there's only so much I can do.   The birds sound the alarm when one of the neighborhood cats come around, so I always know when they're out there.  Only two of them seem to enjoy bird watching (ahem).  Feeders or no feeders, cats and birds will do what cats and birds do.  I love all the critters so I bear them no ill will, despite how it would hurt my heart should the unthinkable happen.
It would be quite another story if any critter -- four legged, two legged, winged, or slithering -- ever threatened one of my children.  No more Mrs. Nice Guy.
That's my sweet LuLu, and she wouldn't harm a fly.  Well, maybe a fly...
Have a beautiful day!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Peaceful Garden (Till the Jays Arrived)

The jays arrived with a flourish on July 18.  They didn't stay long, but they'll be back.  We always have jays in the summer.  I don't know about all jays, but these Stellar's Jays are a noisy bunch.  They sure raised a ruckus while they were here.

Doves are much quieter and gentler.  See him there in the bird bath?  I highly recommend clicking to see all photos enlarged in a light box.

Meanwhile, in the rest of the garden...  Hydrangea:


Daylily and Coreopsis:

Veronica and Wallflower:

My sweetest boy:

Astilbe which the deer ate after this photo was taken:

A wider view, upper walk, south side:

Our temperatures have been staying right around 70, so you know where I've been -- right out there in the garden.  Have a beautiful day!

 --  Leslie