A Fall Sunday in Maine And JP Update

Turkey Tracks: September 4, 2022

A Fall Sunday in Maine and Jackpot Update

It is a BEAUTIFUL day here in Maine.

Jackpot was dry last night and ate a good breakfast.

It seems like forever, but I’ve only had him since last Saturday afternoon.  That is seven full days counting today.  With very few exceptions, JP has not been out of my sight for these seven days: quiet time in his crate after lunch most days and night-time (when I didn’t sleep next to him on a palette next to his kitchen crate).

This dedicated time has produced amazing results.  He has bonded to me and is my shadow, he knows his name, he comes when called (most of the time) and recognizes my open-palm hand signal to come, he pees outside on command unless he truly does not need to go, he asks to get into my lap for a cuddle and belly rub, he is sometimes asking to go outside if he needs to potty (I take him out frequently and asking to go out means I have to recognize the request when it comes), he can go up and down all the stairs, and he can jump on the downstairs couch but not my bed yet.  I’d say that’s a lot of great achievements.

I am now trying to extend our bedtime to at least 9 pm and eventually our rising to later than 5:30 am.   So last night I took him downstairs after dinner for the first time since last Saturday when he came and showed he was not ready for a room with a rug and a dog bed (which he attacked with biting puppy behavior—I’ve put it away until he gets older).  

He had SUCH a good time playing with his toys downstairs last night.  And all over the house, he sees his reflection in a glass door or window and thinks there is another dog just…there.  He will stand for a long time just staring at the reflection and trying to figure it out.  He has stopped barking and growling at the reflection. (Those symmetrical white slashes on the backs of his ears fascinate me.) 

Eventually, he crashed next to my feet.

We had a really nice walk this morning on my neighbor’s property. We always walk around the edges of this small pond.

There are HUGE bull frogs sunning themselves on that bank you see to the left. JP made his way down there this morning and went nuts over those frogs, who make a big “plop” as they jump into the water. And this was one of those times when he did NOT want to come when called. That’s a training process though, and he is only barely 5 months old.

The humming birds are gone. I’ve taken down the feeders, washed them, and stored them in the garage. This is one of the first fall tasks, signaling the ending of a summer.

The filet bush beans in the cold frame are blooming. Soon I’ll have delicious little filet beans. These plants will make beans until a frost kills them. (The blue flowers are borage, which has just leaned over into the beans. I leave borage if I can as the bees love it.)

So, that’s it for today I think. I’m waiting for a poop to see if JP is improving.

And I’m looking forward to tonight with Jackpot downstairs. Maybe there will be some tv?

“Wyoming Mountain Crossings” Top

Turkey Tracks: August 25, 2022

“Wyoming Mountain Crossings” Top


I’ll meet the van around 1 pm SATURDAY at the West Gardner rest stop on 95—which is about 45-50 minutes from me.

The transport left Vidor, Texas, this morning.  And Glenna has been chatting with us off and on via the Messenger link.  I’ve learned that Jackpot does not pee his crate at night any more and is definitely 4 months old now.  And Gorgeous black and white Muttley doggie with the vivid blue eyes insisted the van stop as he HAD TO PEE.  And so on…

Today I made a trip to the Belfast Co-op and picked up organic goat milk yogurt (Jackpot) and a case of frozen okra (TWELVE packages) I had ordered (me).  I cooked also, in addition to my dinner of roasted chicken breasts, an organic chicken and made bone broth—so Jackpot will have a heathy something for his belly when he gets home.  The Instant Pot made this task easy.  

For dinner I also cooked a cut-up cauliflower head in a bigger pot and when tender, put it into the food processor with a little liquid, butter, and salt and whirled it until smooth.  It was good—very smooth and almost creamy—maybe needed more flavor, like herbs, sauteed garlic, and more salt and maybe some cream.  But now I’ll use the rest to try to make a cauliflower crust, then I’ll top it with some of the chicken I roasted today, some Mozzarella cheese—and maybe some other things too. I’m looking forward to trying out this crust.

I’ve had both outside time and sewing time this week, so this scrappy top got finished.  And I finished the scrappy backing and cut binding and batting as well.  So now I have TWO quilts to longarm.  But I’ll take a break and just piece some blocks from the leftover scraps from this LOOOONG, but fruitful, project.  This quilt is the 10th from cutting up the Cotton+Steel stash starting last fall.  All but one have been sent to family members. I have a few Churn Dash strips left, so I’m making those into scrappy blocks that are far less planned.  They are cute.  And two bins of cut 3 1/2 inch squares.  And two sacks of smaller squares that I’ll probably sew into 4- or 9-patch blocks.  Who knows?  I don’t.

Friend Betsy Maislen helped me with the name for this quilt, which has a targeted owner—a great niece—who lives in Wyoming:  “Wyoming Mountain Crossings.”

It is still 99.5% Cotton+Steel.  But the pieced backing came from my stash for the most part.

I’m not sure to where this day has disappeared, but now I’m going down to sew a bit.

It just started to RAIN.

Jackpot Will Go Traveling

Turkey Tracks: August 23, 2022

Jackpot Will Go Traveling

It’s been a week of waiting for information from the Sweet Pups Nation Rescue and Sanctuary about the health of the transport dogs and Jackpot, in particular.

One upshot is that none of the adult dogs got the virus. Only the puppies got it. When Glenna (president of SP’s and lead summer driver) turned around in Tennessee last weekend, she ensured that the puppies got to medicine before the virus got worse for them. Otis, the one puppy who was so sick, went straight to the hospital when Glenna got home and is stable and recovering. This week, Glenna also took Otis to the renowned A&M vet hospital about 4 hours away from her so she could understand more about the virus. Otis will not transport until fully recovered.

All the puppies are now fine. Some have stools that are loose, but no diarrhea and no blood. All puppies will go to the vet tomorrow for a final check. Jackpot is eating and drinking, and Glenna sent me these pics of him on Sunday. He likes water! I wonder if he will actually swim. AC Slater loved water, but wouldn’t get his back feet off the ground and just take off swimming.

I’ve seen this look before: it’s “what is that thing you are pointing at me and is it going to hurt?”

He seems quiet—and I think he is not totally feeling well yet. He is on some pretty strong meds. He may be a laid back dog, but…how can he NOT be fairly traumatized? Born under a tree to a mother who was tied up, separated from his siblings when rescued, lots of medical interventions all at once (multiple vaccines, neutered, heartworm meds, maybe worming meds, microchip jab), the transport process, and then getting sick. And now, another vet visit and the transport again.

I long to give him constant love, stability, fun outings, toys, great food, and to see happiness and play fill up his eyes. LOL. I also hope to get him potty trained fast. Hope is the operative word there.

Anyway, Glenna is going to leave on Thursday. And she and her grandson Joey are getting the van ready again. Here’s a picture from last time—I suspect the view is from back to front. Loading the cages is clearly a science in and of itself.

The transport method is to move the dogs as quickly as possible over these long distances—this one is 2000 miles. So the driver drives like a long-haul trucker, with just a few rest stops. Night is probably good as it would be cooler.

Glenna is attached to several of the transport dogs. One is Roux. Here’s how Roux traveled on the last trip. Asleep on Glenna’s arm.

Glenna is passionate about her dogs. She is a saint. For sure.

And I look forward to meeting her in person.

Peaceful Moment

Turkey Tracks: August 13, 2022

Peaceful Moment

I spot mowed yesterday. The front grass needed mowing. There was also one spot in the back and the grass along the driveway.

When I finish mowing, I always love how tidy and pretty the grass and gardens look—even when yesterday the garden plants are falling over from the drought and the grass has huge brown patches. I stood on the front porch for a minute, looking out to the garage, watching the whirlygigs whirl, and hearing the windchimes at my back.

Sweet Pups has an alternative driver, but he was in North Carolina. They will get a new schedule organized this week. Meanwhile Sweet Pups President and driver Glenna is home resting and being monitored by her doctor. She is an amazing person and works so very hard for the dogs she rescues, saves, and keeps in the Sanctuary.

Drought, Deer, Puppy Food, Quilt Top Finished

Turkey Tracks: August 7, 2022

Drought, Deer, Puppy Food, Quilt Top Finished

We didn’t get any of the possible rain predicted during this last week, and temps went higher.

We have a serious drought here—with grass and fields turning brown.

I think the drought is part of why the deer is eating my green plants in the garden. She did serious damage Friday night. I didn’t spray when I saw her last week, as I thought we would get rain and was going to wait. That was a mistake, for sure. I sprayed yesterday, so we will see.

I’ve also spent HOURS researching what to feed a puppy. Can I just say that the first ingredient on the Purina Puppy Chow is whole grain CORN, followed by chicken by-product MEAL and soybean MEAL, meat “flavors,” and host of what are likely really cheap chemicals. No wonder dogs today are as sick as people. This food is starchy and a chemical brew. There is NO WAY I can put this crap in a bowl for any living creature to eat. This…. This is a great example of what has gone seriously wrong in this country in my not so humble opinion.

Note: I completely understand why the rescue organization uses this food. They are operating on a shoe string financially and are doing the best they can. This food has got to be better than what these puppies were getting while their mother was tied under a tree and at the mercy of owners who should be immediately tied to that tree for the rest of their lives. I can’t imagine what the mother or the pups were fed, which is why Buster Brown was sick when rescued. The carelessness of some people with regard to pets just does not amaze me, but hurts my heart.

Right now, stop! And google “Maggie’s Song” by Chris Stapleton and listen to it.

Feeding puppies is tricky. I could feed an adult dog real food in my sleep—and have with the last 3 dogs I’ve had over the last 20+ years. Puppies need higher levels of zinc and calcium and an appropriate balance between calcium and phosphorus, for two things. And the need for appropriate omega 3 fats. And whatever recipe one uses, it has to contain balanced nutrition or it can cause problems. Plus, too much of some nutrients can also cause problems.

So, I’ve learned a lot about raw food recipes, where to get things like whole beef and whole chicken ground with bones and organs, and a whole bunch of new ingredients for me that provide needed nutrients (powdered kelp, hempseed, green lipped muscle powder, krill oil, and more).

I am old enough to remember when dry dogfood wasn’t around. My grandparents fed dogs kitchen scraps, and most lived to ripe old ages and looked really healthy. I don’t know what else these dogs ate, but it wasn’t dry dog food. And meds like heartworm preventatives weren’t around—so these dogs had to have pretty strong immune systems. I did just fine with my last 3 dogs—the two rat terriers lived to be 16 years old, and AC’s coat and teeth were awesome.

But I can do better, and I have some recipes with which to start. It is also important to change out or combine protein meat sources to prevent the development of food allergies. I’ve found places that ship the meat proteins I need, and now I’m hoping they will arrive without mishap, still cold, etc.

It’s all a very interesting journey…

Once Jackpot is 1 year, I can use many more recipes that are suitable for adult dogs and that can be sourced easily locally.

I will also use Milk Thistle in a herbal form to help him detox from all the puppy vaccines, heartworm and worming meds, etc. And Slippery Elm is on the way to help with any diarrhea he may get. He’s had a long journey and will arrive tired and stressed.

I finished the “Wyoming Stars” quilt top and am now piecing a backing with the last of the Cotton+Steel bigger fabric pieces.

This block has fascinated me as when used without sashing it makes the most interesting secondary patterns.

I chose to make the block center dark, but when sewn to other blocks a pattern of light and dark squares forms. Also a larger light diamond forms with a star at the center. Then there are the x’s and long diagonal lines that form.

It’s busy, so the dark border contains/stops the business. I think it will need a light binding, and I have enough of one more bigger fabric to use for binding that is a sort of tan neutral.

It’s going to be HOT here today. And there is no rain in sight of any appreciable amount for the next week.

But Jackpot’s journey to me will begin this week, and he arrives next Saturday. The new dog beds and toys are here, and my life is about to drastically change. Again.

I’m excited.

Northern Water Snake

Interesting Information: July 17, 2022

Northern Water Snake

This snake is a new one for me.

Friend Betsy Maislen was spending some time at Squam Lake in New Hampshire, where she also sent me a picture of the area from the top of ”Rattlesnake Mountain.”

She said the snake was ”very curious.”

Being mostly raised in the south—which included a lot of fishing around local ponds, I would have had an instant panic attack while thinking cottonmouth moccasin or a swimming??? rattlesnake.

I’m not sure I would have slowed down to process the shape of the head, which is clearly not a viper head.

If you are more curious—as I was. Here’s more information. These snakes can get fairly long.


Busy is Good: Sunday May 22 Update

Turkey Tracks: May 22, 2022

Busy is Good: Sunday May 22 Update

For now I’ve put away all the ”doggie” things in the house, including the big crate in the kitchen. I’ve taken the old chewed dog beds to the dump. And the house seems so quiet, and there are now so suddenly so many empty spaces.

I am working hard to create new daily patterns.

Well, maybe they are the same, just without ”that dog!”

I’ve blown off and swept the back deck—so it is ready to be washed down for the summer season. I just want it to get warmer before I drag out the hose and go to scrubbing. It’s 50’s and 60’s here. And rainy off and on.

I’ve weed whacked, mowed, and done a little weeding OUTSIDE—which felt good.

And somewhere in the past few days I put the Churn Dash quilt on the longarm. And that was a mistake—because the backing wasn’t square and needed trimming. So AFTER I had basted it, I realized it just wasn’t right. So I took the quilt (as yet unnamed) off the long arm and took out all the basting and started over—which included putting on a leader at the top to give me more room at the bottom. Yesterday the quilt went back on, and everything looks good. I got the edge and one pass done before I quit late yesterday.

I finally settled on a medium grey for the quilting—as it worked best with the front AND the back. You can just see a little at the top of the quilt—as all is now set up for another pass.

I have enough of a cheerful Cotton+Steel red blender that I’ll use for the binding—as the goal here is to use up this part of my stash.

Yesterday I made a run to Belfast—and on the way replenished my Dark Harbor coffee at Green Tree in Lincolnville Beach. I needed raw butter blocks from the Co-op. And I got some yarn to make a new red wool scarf to replace the one I’ve had some time—which I washed in early spring, and it felted. You just never know with wool in a washing machine… But, that scarf was way too short anyway. And it curled at the edges. Live and learn…

So I went into Heavenly Yarns and got some very pretty red wool that is a Maine product: Quince & Company, Osprey.

I’m just going to do the same pattern I did with an aqua wool scarf I made because I like it so much. It has seed stitches at the edges so it won’t curl—and is just a simple basket weave pattern.

This improv ”thing” is going to grow into something—a rug maybe. Basically it is using up fabric selvages and cotton yarn I had from other projects. I’ll go around the center with the cotton yarn—and them I’ll start back in some way with fabric selvages. It’s an experiment. It’s funky. I don’t really care… It’s just…something.

That’s my Dew Drop cold diffuser next to the yarn. It could take ”doggie” smells out of the downstairs in nothing flat.

I knitted the center, as I’ve done with selvage placemats—but had to resort to crochet when the piece got bigger. Maybe it will wind up being one block that gets sewn to others. It takes a long time to make the selvage center as it requires…selvages. And I’ve been using up stash fabrics for months now.

Speaking of the Cotton+Steel stash project, I think the big Bear Paw blocks will use up the remaining 3-inch strips that I cut. And I have enough of the ”Dotty” neutral for the sashing.

Today is very foggy and cool.

I’ll get out for a walk—maybe with my ear phones and my Audible book.

OUTSIDE is good, you know.

And then I’ll grill a steak for lunch/dinner and work on the longarm.

AC Slater: Waiting at the Rainbow Bridge

Turkey Tracks: May 19, 2022

AC Slater: Waiting at the Rainbow Bridge

Here’s one of my favorite pictures of my sweet boy—who is asking me to ”go,” to play.

I had to put AC down yesterday—and I thought you’d like to know.

In a nutshell, the resident Lyme he had flared badly over the weekend, so I took him to the Camden Animal Hospital first thing Monday morning.  They dehydrated him and got him on all the strong Lyme meds, but then his back legs totally went limp on Tuesday afternoon. He couldn’t walk. Or, pee without his back legs. I held him in my arms all Tuesday afternoon and all that night. He wouldn’t eat anything.  

So, more x-rays yesterday morning, Wednesday, showed he had something, some injury maybe, in vertebrae on his spine that, together with his Lyme, rendered his legs useless—a possible combo of Lyme nerve damage and possible injury.  

An operation in Portland may or may not have helped—meanwhile he was on the heavy-duty Lyme meds. Plus, he already had all the food issues from a reaction to his 1-year rabies booster, so that I cooked his fish and veggie food, which was the only food he could eat without allergic reactions.  How would I feed him, assuming he would even eat, while he was in a hospital in Portland? How would I manage a 40-pound dog whose back legs were not working?

I just couldn’t see a clear way that could help him and that I could manage.  It just felt like the kindest thing I could do for him to put him down. AC was a hard charging, high-energy dog—even if I could have worked out all the logistics and the meds worked and the operation worked, he would have hated having to be sedentary, quiet, docile for the rest of his life.  That just was not, at all, who he was.  

I was totally exhausted yesterday.  I got a good night’s sleep last night, so feeling less tired this morning.  And I am beginning to catch up with things that were on hold for the last 4 days. But I am going gently, too. Everything will wait.

I loved AC so much.  He was my forever, forever dog. He brought so much life, and joy, and sweetness into my life—in countless ways. He was the smartest dog I’ve ever had. His vocabulary was huge. He had just turned 4 and up to 4 days ago, seemed healthy and happy.

Now I will take a dog break for some time and regroup.  I’ve never been alone for the last 20 years as I’ve always had dog companions.  So it will be good to take some time to see how it is to live without a dog when one is alone.  Pros and Cons, for sure.  But I want some good time to fully grieve a companion who had such a hold on my heart and my time, who brought me such life-giving gifts. AC can never be replaced. Not easily. Maybe not ever.

It all just happened so quickly…

But life is like that some times, isn’t it? Change can come in the bat of an eyelid.

There are lessons to be learned from AC’s life. I will spend some time contemplating those lessons. Some include that it is important to get outside every day, that is is important to be happy, that it is important to play often each day, that it is important to feel joy from the small moments we are given every day where joy can be present if recognized as such.

I’ll start with those.

Water, for AC, was a never ending…joy to be experienced.

Spring Creeks Are So Fun

Turkey Tracks: April 11, 2022

Spring Creeks Are So Fun

On Saturday, AC doggie and I made a trip over to Barrett’s Cove to see if he could chase his ball there. The Snow Bowl field is being ”fixed” and is looking so much better—but it’s roped off until the seeded grass gets established—which will take some time as grass seed needs consistent 65 degree weather to sprout and grow.

We’ve had so much rain recently, and the lake is really high at Barrett’s Cove. Much of the grass there has huge puddles, but we did find some dry ground next to the little creek which was running really fast. Deep pools lay along its length that were way over AC’s head.

And wouldn’t you know, AC dropped his ball into the creek above the bridge, and it bounced along faster than AC could manage.

There was great carrying on to retrieve the ball as AC won’t go over his head into the creek’s pools, and I couldn’t quite reach the ball in time while I tried to negotiate the steep creek banks.

We finally got it just below the bridge when it ran up against bushes at the creek’s edge and AC could reach it while keeping his back legs firmly on ground.

Will he drop it again into creek water?

Who knows. He’s a pretty quick learner actually. He remembers his encounter with our local porcupine when he was a little over 6 months old. It was late at night, and there was no way I was going to be able to take him to the emergency vet clinic on my own as he was frantically pawing his face. I sat on the floor and pulled out the quills, one by one, which is horribly painful for a dog. And he let me. He just seemed to know. In fact, it took several days as some had broken off with his frantic pawing at them—and it took some days to find those and to ease them out.

Porcupine is currently wreaking havoc in the emerging plants in my garden. And AC saw him the other night but did not charge him. And now I go out with him on his last trip out at night—after reminding him about how BAD AND SCARY porcupine is.

Sunday was beautiful and sunny. As is this Monday morning which will start a new week.

The Great Melt-Out Begins

Turkey Tracks: March 11, 2022

The Great Melt-Out Begins

We may yet get more snow and more cold snaps, but the great melt-out has started.

Today is sunny, and the air is clear and crisp and holds the promise of spring.

AC and I had a lovely morning trip yesterday to the Snow Bowl area. The rutted, ruined field has some stretches where he could chase his ball for a bit.

The pond is still covered in ice, but it’s no longer safe to walk over it, especially at the edges. I noted in the little nature journal I made in 2005, that the great melt-out in 2004 was April 17th. I think the pond could be clear earlier this year, but time will tell.

These ice houses have been pulled to the safety of firm land and will be hauled away for summer storage soon now.

The Snow Bowl ski area is still active for those trying to get in the last days of skiing for this winter.

AC doggie had a fine time alongside the creek that runs into the pond—smelling out traces of small animals. Or so he thinks.

He thinks there are small rodents EVERYWHERE now. Look at that very happy tail!

The little creek next to AC’s hunting endeavors is so sweet. It is gentle today, but is capable of being a rushing torrent that would sweep away a dog at times.

What will AC and I do today?

There will be some outdoor activity, for sure.