Archive for the ‘cats’ Tag

12/01/2021 “CATS”   Leave a comment

I’ve posted many times that I was a cat person. When I was a kid, my father raised beagles and trained them for hunting. We never had less than 10 or 12 puppies scampering around the yard and it was one of my chores to feed them, play with them, and shovel up after them. I would leave the house with food and I would be mobbed by gangs of puppies and it was a lot of fun but it got old after a few years. I’ve always found dogs to be very needy to the extreme and that put me off a little bit. My parents continued after the closing of the kennel to have one or two dogs for the rest of their lives. It was just how they were raised and they could never understand why I preferred cats. I’m not about to get into a long explanation on why I prefer cats because I’m sure you’ve all heard the pros and cons. It just seems that people raised with dogs prefer dogs and people who were raised with cats prefer cats. I’m not saying that’s the way it is for everyone but that’s the way it was for the people that I knew and why I took so much grief when I refused to have dogs as pets. I’ve loved every cat that’s been in my life regardless of their quirks.

Relationship between cats and humans goes back as far as you can imagine. Most historians believe it all began in ancient Egypt where cats were worshiped and, according to legend, were responsible for eliminating a plague of rats in Egypt. Egyptians not only mummified their dead pharaohs, but also mummified their dead cats. Over the centuries many superstitions have developed concerning cats and I think I’d like to review a few of them now especially for those of you who are dog people. Let’s go…

  • In the dark ages cats were mistrusted and believed to consort with witches and warlocks. They allegedly brought evil and bad luck as well. Some folks reason that the bubonic plague that killed thousands of people in Europe during the medieval ages was caused by killing the then believed “evil cats.” In killing the cats, they were killing the natural predator of rats – the creatures who actually were spreading the plague with their fleas.
  • Most superstitions about cats have been passed down from generation to generation and most are utter nonsense but believed nonetheless. To this day many people actually believe that if your path is crossed by a black cat, you are in for some bad luck.
  • If a cat washes it’s ears, then bad weather is on its way. Or if the cat licks its tail, it is sure to rain. Of course, this has to be nonsense since that’s about all cats do is constantly wash their ears and tails. Cats are always cleaning themselves and are known to be exceptionally fastidious.
  • If the first person a cat looks at after washing itself is young and single that person will marry soon. For this superstition to work, you have to be young and single. You middle-aged people can forget about it.
  • It is said that if a cat is present at the marriage of a couple, they will have good luck in that marriage.
  • For those of you cat haters, don’t throw a cat overboard while on a boat. It is said that will cause a storm to blow up. And honestly if you throw a cat into the sea, you deserve to have a storm blow up.
  • Black cats spawned a variety of superstitions. If a black cat comes to your door, you will soon have a lover in your life. If a black cat adopts you, you will have bad luck, so send it away. If a black cat lies on a grave, it means the dead person’s soul is being possessed by the devil. And last but not least if you stroke a black cat’s tail seven times you will have good luck in cards.
  • If you see a white cat, that means poverty, just seeing a black cat means wealth. And if during a full moon you see a white cat it means you’ll be married soon.
  • The superstition that cats “suck” a baby’s breath away comes from the Dark Ages. A cat cannot and does not “take” a baby’s breath away. In fact, cats like babies and will often sleep at the bottom of their cribs the way they will sleep at the end of their masters or mistress’s bed.
  • Many people are frustrated in dealing with cats because they are not obedient. They obey no one unless they feel like it. In some circles they have a bad reputation similar to those given to independent women. What kind of a world would it be without cats or independent women? Think about it.

I’ve owned seven cats in my life, some good and a few not so good. I would never ever be happy unless I had a cat at my side. In my opinion they are absolutely the best pets ever. As with any pets if you rescue them from a shelter, you could get some surprises. Cats like any other animals if treated badly or abused never forget it. If you adopt from a shelter, be prepared to deal with the issues they bring into the relationship. If you spend the time, you can bring them around and you’ll be even closer to them than you would’ve been without all of those problems. I’ll recommend to anyone a shelter cat and would never turn one way. Pets are to be enjoyed but as with anything you must put forth the appropriate effort to welcome them into your family.

DOGS ARE COOL BUT CATS RULE

07-27-2016 Journal – Unexpected Vacation Days!   Leave a comment

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I’m still on my first cup of coffee this morning. I’ve been awake for an hour and only left my bed once. I’m relaxing and preparing for my day which I hope will remain calm and restful.  I’m trying to decide what I’ll be doing with my unexpected few days of  vacation I’m on. Anyone who is in a lengthy relationship knows that any day your spouse or partner is away doing something is a free vacation (mental health) day. We certainly never tell them that’s how we feel but facts are facts.

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My better-half has once again volunteered to help out her daughter and son-in-law by babysitting their children for three days while they’re on vacation in Los Angeles. I volunteered to stay at our home while she travels to their residence to be with the kids.  She’ll be staying there until the weekend and it’s my job to arrive in a timely fashion with takeout meals and moral support.  That’s the kind of job I really like.  For a change I’m able to avoid a total commitment of my time and energy to others and to enjoy my alone time   Hooray for me.

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I get to spend my day working on a painting I started a few days ago for which I need real peace and quiet to do.  I hope to make serious progress over the next three days while listening to music that soothes me instead of hurting my ears.  It could be as close to heaven as I can get these days  and I intend to make the most of it.  It will end soon enough.

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My biggest chore for today is to decide what food I need to buy for their dinner and  when to deliver it to her and the kids.  I suspect she’ll be damn glad to see me after chasing the two toddlers, two dogs, and two cats around the house for half a day.  I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy but she seems to love it. I’d better remember to throw a couple of cold beers into the food bag as well.  It’ll be just like tossing a life vest to a drowning man.

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Well, I’d like to keep writing but my stomach is rumbling and wants to be fed. I’ll make us a delicious breakfast, drink another cup of excellent coffee, and count my blessings once again. I can picture in my head my better-half, the two little boys, two dogs, and two cats all snuggled together in bed for the next two nights. I can’t help but smile a little and when no ones around to hear I can laugh my ass off.

Special Note to Self: Be sure to give her a thorough flea and tick inspection upon her return. We don’t need any tiny livestock catching a ride to our house.

WHO DOESN’T LOVE VACATION DAYS

06-25-2016 Journal – Summer Day Trip!   Leave a comment

As always my better-half and I try use our time wisely.  She’d been working for more than a week without any time off and it was burning her out. Finally a rare day-0ff arrived and we wanted to make the most of it.  The day was bright and sunny and expected temperatures were to be in the mid-seventies.  Perfect! We packed up the car and headed north along to coast to the towns of Brunswick and Bath, Maine.

The drive went smoothly although the summer increase in traffic was immediately obvious.  It’s always relaxing to just cruise along the coast, watching the boats, and listening to some good music.  We stopped briefly in Brunswick to attend the Strawberry Festival taking place in the town square. A friendly crowd of people enjoying the warm day.

Then we were off to the town of Bath, Maine. It’s most famous feature is the Bath Iron Works. Over the years they’ve build or repaired damn near every American naval vessel.  Just up the coast a short distance is a restaurant, the Kennebec Tavern, located on the water with a great view from their rear deck.

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We were both starving and were pleasantly surprised by the variety of seafood on the menu.  I ordered an extremely dry Malbec wine to go along with my oysters and Caesar salad.  The better-half went outside the box a little and ordered a scallop and bacon sandwich with crispy onion rings on the side.  Everything was just as delicious as it looks here.

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After lunch we took a short walking trip through the town so the better-half could do some shopping.  She scored a few items that will magically appear under the Christmas tree in a few months.

The trip home was uneventful and we were ended the day relaxing on the deck.  Then it was back to reality with garden watering and paying some much needed attention to the cat.  He hates when we leave him alone and he made it immediately obvious by totally ignoring us for an hour.

CATS ROCK !!

12-04-2015 Journal–Christmas Nonsense & Trivia!   Leave a comment

Twenty shopping days until Christmas and still no snow.  This weather is starting to freak me out a little. I was out on the deck this week putting away the furniture and had to return to the house to remove some clothing. It was too hot. Can you believe that? Anyway here are some photo’s and Christmas factoids for your entertainment.

*** Germany made the first artificial Christmas trees. They were made of goose feathers and dyed green. ***

Yesterday my better-half took me along as an escort while she Christmas shopped. This was how yesterday appeared to me:

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*** If you received all of the gifts in the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas," you would receive 364 gifts.***

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Rain doesn’t help my already waning amounts of Christmas spirit. What a mess.  I find myself wishing for a good snow storm that would drop four or five inches of the white stuff on us. 

*** In Mexico, wearing red underwear on New Year’s Eve is said to bring new love in the upcoming year. *** 

Last evening we began decorating the interior of the house. A little wine, a little beer, and lots of patience.  We made a great deal of progress but it wasn’t easy. Here are a few shots of the debris ridden living room in these “before”  photo’s.

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*** The poinsettia plant was brought into the United States from Mexico by Joel Poinsett in the early 1800’s. ***

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*** Rudolph" was actually created by Montgomery Ward in the late 1930’s for a holiday promotion. The rest is history. ***

We put the finishing touches to the tree and of course the damn cat insisted on hiding underneath and did his best to knock it over. That’s one Christmas tradition we’ve tried for years to change but he just won’t listen.

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*** Clearing up a common misconception, in Greek, X means Christ. That is where the word "X-Mas" comes from. Not because someone took the "Christ" out of Christmas. ***

Our holiday preparations will continue for another week or so or until we run out of holiday stuff to hang on other holiday stuff (truthfully that will never happen).

*** Eggnog first became popular in England where it was considered a drink for the upper class. ***

20 SHOPPING DAYS LEFT

05-08-2015 Journal – Beaches, Blankets, Bikinis   Leave a comment

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Yesterday was a day spent enjoying the warm and sunny eighty degree weather. My better-half had the day off and we were able to spend some quality time together just bumming around.

Living in Maine has it’s issues like bad winters and quirky weather patterns but it also has a lot of pluses.  We’re able to visit the White mountains within an hour, the ocean and beaches within a half hour, the  New Hampshire lakes region in one hour, and Boston in two hours.  We also have an abundance of wildlife that we sometimes take for granted.

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As we left our home and traveled less than a mile we observed turkeys roaming around  in a nearby field.  We see turkeys on a regular basis as well as hundreds of seagulls and as many hawks.  People in our rural community that have chickens are well aware of the hawks, coyotes, and foxes. If your chickens are free range or left outside of a fenced area then you can be sure to lose a few to these predators. It’s also possible to lose a small cat or kitten right off your deck if your not careful.

These two pictures were taken less than a mile from our house. This fat old fox was just strolling along the road, crossed right in front of our car, and then stopped to watch us from the woods.  He hung around long enough for me to get these shots.

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With the day being so warm we decided to make our first Spring visit to a local beach.  Maine residents are a hearty folk who hit the beaches as early as possible in the Spring.  We have a need to shake off those winter blues once and for all.  While it was sunny and warm the wind still had a chill to it but it didn’t seem to matter.  A lot of sunbathers were on the beach and even one crazy fool of a wind-surfer.  That water was damn cold but he was having a great time.

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We had an all-around terrific day walking the beach and taking a few pictures. There’s no better way to kick start our Spring and Summer seasons.

11-11-2014 Journal – Coffee, Sandwich, and a Horse!   Leave a comment

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I awoke this morning to find a beautiful sunny day with temperatures in the high fifties.  After a few days of BLAH I was overjoyed.  Once again my better-half was on a day-off and we grabbed our cameras and headed out to run errands and enjoy our day together.

I needed to do a little shopping for two flash drives that would help me solve my most recent computer crisis.  I quickly found the drives at Target, made the purchase, and then retired to Starbucks for a coffee and to await her return. Oh, let me correct myself, not just a coffee but a Grande coffee.  That’s a medium coffee from those of you normal people who haven’t let Starbucks change your approach to the English language.  I try never to frequent Starbucks for only one reason, the cost.  Today I had a medium coffee with milk, no latte, no whip cream, and no fancy flavoring.  Just a medium cup of coffee and one snowman shaped sugar cookie.  That’s six dollars I’ll never get back again and while the barista (PC BS Title) tried to soften the blow by telling me how good the cookie was, I wasn’t convinced. When she saw that her efforts weren’t working she then gave me a small card for a free game App for my IPad.  Even the App sucked.

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My better-half also has her own issues with Starbucks so after she arrived we quickly left that shopping center and made a stop at a nearby Dunkin Donuts for some good coffee and a breakfast sandwich. I had a medium size flavored coffee and a breakfast wrap with sausage, egg, and cheese that came to only five dollars.  Eat that Starbucks!!

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On the return home we passed a local horse farm where I stop occasionally to take pictures and to pet a horse or two.  I found out something interesting during my visit today that I never knew before.  Horses and cats seem to have a lot in common.  I walked up to the fence of the corral and one of the horses spotted me and made a beeline straight for me.  He walked right up to me, nuzzled my hand, and got a few pats on his nose.  I had my camera out and started snapping away when he suddenly turned around and gave me his large ass to look at.  He refused to turn back around and face the camera for some reason.  He must have been a little annoyed that after coming right over to me I hadn’t rewarded him with a carrot, an apple, or a few sugar cubes.  He was being a little pissy to say the least.

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That’s the same routine my cat sometimes uses when he doesn’t get his way. He sits in the middle of the room directly in front of me with his back turned and gives me the "Big Ignore".  Who knew it was a trait for horses too.  I returned to the car properly chastened and we headed home.

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Another day here in the paradise that is Maine.

11-05-2014 Journal Entry– Furry Birthday Greetings!   2 comments

This is my week for celebrating.  There aren’t many days during the year that I choose to remember fondly but this is one of them.  Today is my cat Stormy’s fourteenth birthday.  Don’t worry, this posting will not be some crazy-ass cat lovers gushy and sentimental rant.  I’m not some over-the-top PETA idiot who thinks animals are more important than people but I do have a soft spot for certain ones.

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I’m what most people would consider a cat person.  Over the years I’ve had a number of dogs, a snake, a ferret or two, hamsters, and a few cats.  For some reason I like having a friend who keeps his or her opinions to themselves, who is that perfect listener we all seem to be looking for, and is somewhat self-sufficient.  A friend whose who offers a fair amount of unconditional love and will listen to whatever nonsense I decide to spew.  If he doesn’t like it he just walks away without snide remarks or any rolling of the eyes.

Of all of my pets two stand out from the others.  They’re both cats and both lived to be more than fourteen years old.  I started out as a dog person due to my father’s decision to raise and sell hunting beagles.  We always had dogs and puppies running around the yard and I shoveled my fair share of excrement as part of my chores.  I really do prefer shoveling it from a litter box instead of scraping it up from different areas of the house.

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Once I returned from the Army and started my working life, dogs became more responsibility than I could handle.  My jobs required that I move around from apartment to apartment, state to state, and having a dog would have been impossible.  Dogs for me are much like small children who never grow up and remain needy as long as they live.

Stormy came into my life for a number of reasons.  I found him in a local shelter the week after 9/11.  One of my ferrets had just died and her bonded mate was grieving terribly.  I brought Stormy home and that cat and ferret eventually became inseparable.  Years later when the second ferret passed on Stormy was inconsolable and slept on top of the empty ferret cage for months.  We’ve been together every since, thirteen years and counting.

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He’s makes friends easily, had his own Twitter page for a while, and even had a children’s book written about him.  Now that he’s reached middle age he’s slowed down some but still the best mouser I’ve ever seen.  Just last night he was on patrol all night because he saw one of those annoying field mice that decided to take shelter in his house.  It’s only a matter of time before that stupid mouse makes a fatal misstep and I’ll find his corpse in the kitchen next to Stormy’s food bowl some morning.  That’s where he leaves his trophies so I can see and appreciate them.

He’s also attached himself to my better-half and slowly over time has become her official bed buddy.  So a big Happy Birthday to Stormy and hopefully he’ll have many more years with us.  I might even spring for a can of Fancy Feast for dinner tonight, after all it is a special occasion.

12-25-2013. Journal Entry – Christmas Day   Leave a comment

Well, another Christmas has come and gone.  It’s late and the last of the family and friends have headed home.  The day started early with my better-hale preparing some of her family traditions for Christmas morning.  She makes a batch of cinnamon buns covered with lots of sugary icing.  That and a large cup of hot coffee will definitely get your heart started.  The grandson and his mom and dad arrived in late morning requiring the platter of shrimp to be unveiled and devoured.  We all gathered in the living room around the tree for a time  chit-chatting about this and that.  It was obvious to me that everyone was just going through the motions until they could dig into the pile and open their gifts.

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“The Aftermath”

As you can see an hour later and the room looked like Santa had shown up and then exploded.  It took almost as long to clean up the debris as it did shopping to buy the stuff in the first place.  The cat and grandson had a great time rummaging through the piles of wrapping paper and boxes seemingly more interested in that stuff than the gifts themselves.  Kids!!!!  Cats!!!!

Another hour has passed and everyone appears thrilled with their gifts so we snack a little more waiting for the next group to arrive.  Our two visitors from northern Maine have finally arrived with tales of the previous day’s ice storm and the fact that most people up north are without electricity.  It’s one of the hazards of living in Maine and those storms can be brutal.  The last time we had one here we were without power for almost a week and a half.  It’s difficult to sleep in a cold bed wearing a parka, gloves, and a tassel hat. It’s hard but we did it.  The pictures taken during that storm are locked away where no one can seem them.  We looked god awful.

After our new visitors had a beer and a few snacks the bowling tournament on the X-box began.  I was able to avoid all of that because of my leg injury so I was the official photographer.  Everyone had a ball with my better-half taking home the winners trophy.

Then it was my turn to cook and to fed the hoard with a decent meal.  A honey-baked ham, rice, Brussels sprouts, and corn took care of everyone’s hunger pangs.  It was followed later by delicious apple and pumpkin pies.  Then after digesting for a while it was back to the X-box for a few rounds of darts which I also avoided by using “cleaning up the kitchen” as my excuse.

After loading up the cars they were off for the night leaving us at least two days of clean up.  All in all a successful holiday gathering with a fun group of people.  The better-half is scheduled for work at 5:00am and her son is flying out at 9:00am.  Unfortunately none of us will be getting enough sleep tonight and we should be zombies all day tomorrow.

I hope your day was as enjoyable as ours.  Merry Christmas!

10-25-2013   2 comments

Doing a journal entry today is what I hope will be the beginning of a lazy day.  My better-half is gone until Monday to see her parents in Delaware and to spend a little quality time with her sister in Maryland. She’s on a short four day vacation but guess what, it’s also a vacation for me and the cat.

The cat doesn’t say much but I know he’s been enjoying himself a great deal.  He finally has total control and ownership of her half of the bed and is making the most of it.  He’s not all that big but if he sprawls out he can cover a pretty large area.  He hasn’t left the bed for more than a few minutes since she departed and I’m sure I can anticipate an interesting evening on Monday when she returns.  Since the cat can be almost as stubborn as my better-half it should be quite a show.

I was able to get a lot of tasks completed yesterday and spent a few hours running from store to store.  Shopping is always a chore because I find myself more interested in people watching than roaming mindlessly around looking for deals. I avoided Walmart completely because people watching there is no longer a challenge. Weirdo’s, freaks, and oddballs as far as the eye can see and that’s just the employees.

I visited another local establishment to look for a few used books and possibly a movie or two.  I picked up a copy of Steven Spielberg’s Artificial Intelligence.  It was a little cheaper than I thought it should be which usually means that it sucks and unfortunately it did. After watching it last night I discovered that even the great Spielberg can drop the ball every so often.  I dearly love science-fiction but this move  was a real stinker.  Lesson learned, buy no movies from that store that are priced less than four dollars.

My dieting continues and I’m into my third month.  My bodies adjusted to both the changes in my diet as well as the ever increasingly difficult exercise program.  The workouts have become a normal part of my weeks activities and I’m finally comfortable with them. I’m down twenty-five pounds and going strong.  I hit a plateau that lasted for almost a week where my weight refused to budge but after adjusting the workout routine I finally broke through it.  It was frustrating as hell to be working so hard and seeing no results.  At that time I was exercising twice a day, seven days a week.  I cut back to one session a day, five days a week, and almost instantly began to lose weight again.  The more weight I lose the harder it’s becoming but I just have to persevere and stay mentally strong.  I’m more than half-way to my goal and that keeps me going.

As I mentioned, today is a down day for me.  Nothing too strenuous, no exercising, and no errand running or shopping.  I plan on watching a little TV and reading a lot.  The Maine weather has gotten considerably colder in the last week so staying in and enjoying the quiet time is the perfect thing to do.  Nothing is better than a hot coffee, a good book, and a lot of peace and quiet.

This is my 364th straight day of posting without either graphics or catchy headlines to grab your attention.  My goal of one complete year without missing a day will be completed tomorrow.  Hooray for me.  I’ll be starting the second year of this blog with a fresh outlook, a clear head, catchy headlines, and all the photo’s necessary to keep it interesting. 

04-28-2013   Leave a comment

I think I’ve survived my bout with the flu and it appears the worst is over. My ribs are still killing me from all the coughing but that will pass in a few days. What I need most right now is to get up and out of the house to enjoy the beautiful weather that’s expected for the next few days. The good weather and a little yard work will be just the thing to get me moving again in the right direction.  It’s time to change clothes and begin my Spring in a proper fashion.

My better-half is already out and about and doing her gardening thing and she’s awaiting my arrival.  The herb garden is in grim shape so that’s where I’ll start.  It appears that due to the heavy snow cover this winter most of the plants survived and are beginning to poke through the ground already.  I’ll just need to replant the basil and parsley which are annuals and a couple of thymes that didn’t make it.  That to me is a good winter result. In almost every winter since moving to Maine I’ve found it necessary to replace on average of eight to ten plants.

The neighbor’s outdoor cat should be really happy too. The catnip is already two inches high and there are a bunch of tiny little footprints already in the area from his nightly visits.  That dumb cat loves getting stoned on that catnip.

I’ve just about given up on growing thyme and I’m really tired of replanting and replanting with nothing to show for it.  We use a lot of herbs in our cooking which requires harvesting and drying them each Fall for storage.  I try to harvest only thirty percent of any plant because any more than that will kill them. The  thyme seems to be so delicate that if I harvest any of the plant at all it doesn’t  survive the winter.  I could try a large number of plants and take just a little from each but we don’t use enough thyme in our dishes to justify that.

It’s noon already and I’ve cleaned at least eight bushels of dead plant material from the garden.  Things are looking good here but we have a few more things that require our attention as well.  My better-half loves lilac plants so last year I purchased her two as a birthday gift and we planted them along the side of the house.  They made it through the winter and appear very healthy.  Unfortunately the amount of sun they get in that location could be better.  After some discussion yesterday we’ve decided they need to be transplanted elsewhere.

My better-half spent her morning creating a new flower bed in front of the house that receives more than eight hours of full sun each day.  We just finished transplanting the lilacs to their new home and I expect them to easily double in size by the end of the summer.  Once they start blooming that wonderful scent will make sitting on the deck a lot more enjoyable.

We just finished cleaning up the remainder of the debris from the backyard. It’s surrounded on three sides by woods and believe it or not trees make one hell of a mess.  More goodies for the compost pile which is beginning to look more like a compost mountain.  Thank God I use a lot of it each Fall to re-energize the gardens but it really does pile up quickly.

It’s early in the year but all of my better-half’s efforts from last summer are beginning to pay off.  She has daffodils, tulips, and many others flowers already in bloom and the front of the house looks fantastic.  It’s time for us both to put the tools away and call it a day.  These kind of days are always hard work but it’s well worth it.  It’s always been a great way for us both to clear our heads, forget about all of the everyday nonsense, and just dig in the dirt for a while.  It’s a great stress reliever and way cheaper than therapy.

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