Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sad Day in This Amazing Place

Today is a life review day. We're sitting with our old Golden Retriever, Molly, watching her draw her last breaths. The end is coming, we know that, but we aren't going to stretch out her life to the last miserable second. That's why, in a little while, she is going on her last car ride. In the meantime, the family gathers around her. Shine, the little rescue Whippet mix, who loves Molly more than she loves anyone else in the family, cuddles close. When Molly tries to get up and stumble around the house, Shine is right at her side. Some of the cats are stopping by for a rub and a sniff. We rub her ears and pet her soft gray-golden fur.

We don't really know for sure how old Molly is. She came to us from a rescue group as a middle-aged dog who had outlived her previous owner. That was in 2006. We are so happy to have shared her life for the last seven years, even though it cost us many loaves of bread until she finally trained us to put it away where she couldn't get it! She is remarkable for her unfailing resilience and joyfulness. Even as she started to lose her memory and become increasingly confused, until the last few days she would still have moments where you could see her old self light up her eyes, and she would give the joyful leap in the air that meant she was happy to join you in whatever you were doing. She was Shine's anchor as the little puppy from the hoard tried to figure out how to live with people. Several of the cats think nothing of using her for a pillow. When Bob was taking his first shaky walks as he recovered from his car accident, Molly was by his side. She is the embodiment of everything that is wonderful about her breed, and we have been so lucky to have her.

We love you, Molly B. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Blueberry Time

Last year’s blueberry harvest was pretty much nonexistent in Van Buren County. In fact, fruit in general was an almost total loss due to the drought. I have more of a personal connection to the blueberries, however, since my stepson has about 25 acres of them just down the road from where we live. He has worked hard on his blueberries the last few years. There were about 3 acres of them on the farm when he bought it, and he has singlehandedly planted the rest. About three years ago he put in a pond. As it turns out, it was in the nick of time, because if it hadn’t been for the pond, he would have lost all the baby plants that he worked so hard to get in the ground. As it was, he filled his water tanks from the pond and watered the young plants about every other day throughout the drought. Some blueberry farmers in our area wound up plowing all their blueberry plants under when they died, but almost all of Bob’s managed to pull through. 

Fast forward to 2013.

Some of the young blueberry plants

Maybe I'll check out the blueberries.

Poor blueberry bushes! They can't straighten up.

Here, I will help you!

      Godzilla makes sure the deer don't get too many blueberries. He is happy to work for biscuits and ear rubs.

     The blueberry patch is full of birds. Cedar Waxwings, Robins, Thrashers, Catbirds, Common Yellowthroats, Towhees and more are constantly present this time of year. I'm surprised they can get off the ground, the way they are stuffing themselves. Of course, I'm no one to talk. An awful lot of blueberries don't make it into the bucket. It's my duty to quality test them. It's a tough job. But some sacrifices must be made for the privilege of living here, in this amazing place.