Monday, July 27

There really is no place like home...

Toto says she is feeling much better. She had a great cozy set up today to relax in - a big, soft, comfy quilt with her favorite stuffed dog toys. She loved this and relaxed all afternoon while watching tv and eating chicken dinner. When she got tired of watching tv I read to her from - you guessed it - her favorite story:
"The Wonderful Wizard of Oz"!

Mycotoxicosis again

Just disbelief as I saw Toto come in jump on the bed and I noticed mild shaking.

I told my husband she was shaking and he thought it was just too cold in the house.

I put her down on the floor and she had that walk where she was stumbling around.

And I just flat out have to admit I just freaked out panicked.

Then of course the fast dash to the emergency clinic.

Warning: for other pet owners. Mycotoxicosis is a mold toxin that can form in a compost (dogs can still get to this with a secure lid on it), on food in garbage or food left out (in another case someone had left out a pan with leavings from a roast outside), on grains (put in a compost or in your garbage/kitchen trash), and, as we learned, mulch - the list goes on - leaves, average garden debris, almost anything.

Although a lot of vets are aware of this, some are not, or it can be misdiagnosed or not diagnosed in time or the person could be gone and not realize their dog has this. There is a small window of time to get your dog to the vet and get treatment.

Toto had been in the backyard and I thought it was safe back there - we had dismantled the compost bin months ago when this had happened. Now we found out this toxin can form on mulch, leaves left on the ground, hay used as mulch, basically anything. I am still researching this - pea gravel and plain dirt my be less likely to have this.

I spent the weekend redoing my garden. I am removing the mulch we had.

She had had a full 'dinner' of chicken breast, a bit of pasta and a small amount of prescription diet id. She went outside and I noticed her exploring and nosing in a particular spot around some mulch. The vet said some dogs will put mulch in their mouths.

She was kept for 20 hours at the emergency clinic on an iv. I had told them I would call often and most certainly did.

We went out to the yard and even in the hot southern sun we found mold on the mulch she was nosing around in. Mold forms on moist wood in the enclosed plastic bag you buy at garden centers - so check very carefully and follow up with more checks as it can form underneath the top layer.

Toto is resting comfortably and doing fine. No walks today and she will be getting lots of cozies (when you pile the quilts and comforters in a big pile - dogs love this), pettings, love and chicken dinners (her favorite) - and a good dog movie - the cute Hotel for Dogs.

I will be doing a mold check daily in the backyard on everything and supervising her quite carefully.

Saturday, July 18

A Garden Party hosted by

Susan of Savoring Time in the Kitchen , who not only has a spectacular garden but also has a some wonderful cooking recipes and photos. I got excited when I read she would be having this garden party.

I planned my garden menu around herbs.

The al fresco menu:

Basil with cream cheese sandwiches with rosemary garnish.

Some strawberries and

A strawberry drink I made by taking organic strawberries and simply crushing some into some ice water. Strawberries always make a great garnish.

And some green tiered cupcakes. Piled really high with gloppy icing and lots of sprinkles.

The best for last: homemade mint chocolate chip ice cream - fantastic.

Now off to visit the other Garden Partygoers.

Just got to everyone on the list and I tell you - the gardens and produce are spectacular! A lot of people do not realize the work that goes into gardens (that is why I stick with herbs which are a bit less work). Such beautiful, well tended gardens at all the blogs. It was actually like reading a gardening magazine.

What a fun garden party - thanks Susan for hosting this!

Thursday, July 16

Swap defautlers

I also feel quite freely to speak my mind about all the people that sign up for swaps and then just flat out give an anemic response and then don't respond much less send their package.

Sadly this is a recurring thing in a lot of swaps. I would hate to think of a beginner blogger being excited and signing up for a swap and running into this.

It has happened to me. The wicked witch swap last year netted me a lady who flat out took my package and I received nada, not even a thank you or that she had received it.

Some swaps I have read about have super strict rules. Some apron swaps even require a reference! And a copy of the mailing receipt to the hostess. Some little children had been involved with their moms in receiving a little apron and in more than one instance these little kids sat waiting for their little aprons that never arrived.

Is this what our fun friendly innocent swaps are evolving into.

I do know I am not the only one going through this and happily I feel compelled to write about this problem so that others do not think they are alone in this!

Well, better late than never and surely better than being a defaulter - my package did come in! And it is quite wonderful.

But still, though, giveways and blog parties seem more of a sure deal.

A Very Sad Day

I know I talk on about all my wonderful pets. Well, two of the oldest ones were having health problems. They had been going to the vet to take care of these things.

One dog, my beloved Silkey (a puppy mill rescue) had some problems and I had to put her to sleep this past Tuesday.

The next morning I sat in the backyard with my dogs who were missing her and my other oldest dog, Sprout (Little Sprout when younger) went outside with us and then asked to go back in quite quickly. We lingered outside for not more than a few minutes and I went in expecting to find her on the pile of comforters I keep on the den floor for her.

She was missing. I went searching through the house fearful she may have fallen (she had bad arthritis) and could not find her.

I then looked more carefully and found her dead in a place (behind the stairs) that she had never been to. She lay peacefully dead.

I am just heartbroken to lose two of my most precious dogs each day.

My littlest Ariel is taking it really hard as Sprout was the 'mom' dog to them all.

I am so grateful to all the blogworld and all of you ladies because I already have something to look forward to: the blog garden party hosted by Savoring Time in the Garden. I would be just hysterical with grief but at least I have something to plan for.

I really do love all you fellow bloggers and feel we do help each other through these trying times.

Update: my poor little delicate Ariel is taking this hard and had to go to the vet for not eating. Dogs really grieve for other dogs.

It is good that I had something to plan for this week (the blog garden party) -that has helped - but this has been a really tough week. Thanks to all of your who have commented and emailed... - I love all you 'url friends'!


Sunday, July 12

Welcome to the Ice Cream Social given by

Jenn of Sweet Eye Candy Creations .

What a wonderful idea on a hot day and what a sweet way to cool down...
My childhood memories of ice cream involved the homemade kind. My father had 'farm folk' as relatives and it was a treat to go visit them for they usually had real dairy - the labor intensive kind -such as churned butter (unbelieveably good) and homemade ice cream.

The homemade kind where it had a crank and all the rock salt and had to be done outside in the easily over 100 degree heat. It was a lot of work but worth it.

How much more carefree and easier it is to replicate that now. Real homemade ice cream with an electric ice cream maker - we got one that required rock salt which really brings home that old fashioned creamy taste.

We made three flavors of custard ice cream. Strawberry, creamy blueberry, and chocolate & cherry.

Then, I made an ice cream cone tower with Stuart on top. This ice cream topper is from the tutorial Jenn gave us (actually referred to as a cupcake topper) in the Sweet Six Online Art Seminar. I love how it turned out!

I can't wait to visit the other ladies in the ice cream social and get more ice cream!

Thursday, July 9

A MeMe Award from Sherry & Paper trinket Giveaway

of If I Could Set My Soul Free She has a great blog and just hosted a paper bag swap that was a lot of fun.

Seven things I recently discovered about myself are...

1. Finally, my flagging interest in politics has been restored: Brad Pitt for Mayor.

2. That I love our new ice cream maker. The kind that uses rock salt and real cream and other real ingredients. You can customize some terrific flavors...triple chocolate espresso is an idea.

3. Me and the dogs are really enjoying homeschooling this summer. They get home cooked meals, an invigorating curriculum and we save daycare tuition costs - I just might become a Stay At Home Dog Mom.

4. The precious rescued cats at Animal Rescue League of Elk Grove, California have great taste in tv shows. The League is requesting people donate any spare tv's they might have. These help relax and soothe them. What do these little fur cuties like? -Desperate Housewives and nature shows - in that order.

5. I am an avid pre-cycler. I have a stash of a hidden-from-Hubby hoard of used coffee filters, egg cartons and (horrors) cardboard toilet paper rolls. My most recent swap hosted by Sherry involved paper bags - loved this and never realized both what fun you can have with paper bags and how many you can fit by mashing them flat in the top of a closet.

6. Ab crunches are gone. Outta here, don't need them. No more I should have, would have, could have done a crunch. They may contribute (some sources are saying outright cause) a collapsing pelvic floor. Jaw dropper shocker. Tummy pull-ins held for various counts (yes, a retro isometric exercise) and some pilates non crunchable ab exercises are alternatives.

7. Chocolate is truly a remarkable substance. It really is an affordable necessary luxury. I have found many uses for it - not just eating it (obviously the best use), but creating with it (chocolate clay), imbibing it (chocolate liquor) and even bathing in it (my chocolate truffle sugar scrub). I do not, though, take it to the garden in the form of cocoa shell mulch as this may not be good for dogs.

Thanks Sherry for giving me this award!

Paper tiny trinket Giveaway: (This is not actual life size - the pizza is about the size of a quarter)

This includes my tiny bags for holding the pizzas and a tiny handwritten menu and 1 pizza, and three slices of pizza stickers. Enough for a tiny pizza feast. The stickers are usable as their backing is still attached. These realistic stickers are made by 'sticko'.

Your comment must have a blog link to an email or an email in the comment post, please. Leave a comment through til next Wednesay to be eligible.