Blondie’s New Ride

truck
Towels and newspaper headed for an animal rescue.

Well, it’s time.  Time to replace my truck.  The 1999 Chevy S10 pick-up I’ve been driving has almost 200,000 miles on it and it’s just time to get something younger.

We were thinking about getting another Subaru: a car, and abandoning the pick-up idea all together.  At first thought, I couldn’t remember much of anything I’ve hauled in the truck since I stopped building furniture for a living.  Now, I mostly haul dogs.  Having an SUV or cross-over with room for a couple of crates inside would solve the problems of hauling a dog (who is too wild to ride inside the cab with me) on real hot days, or bitter cold days, or in the rain.  But then I started to remember:

  • Those times I hauled firewood home for winter heating
  • Those times I hauled trash for Humane Society of Jefferson County
  • Those times I hauled 20-some bags of kibble for Newport Animal Shelter
  • Hauling supplies for Steele Away Home when they moved
  • Hauling away a large live animal trap for Helen
  • … and a few other times of doing favors for friends

No, having a pick-up has proven quite useful on many occasions, and is likely to do so in the future, given new things I’ve gotten into.  Besides, it is rumored that if a mountain man gives up his truck, he ends up eating kale pancakes and playing ice hockey. Continue reading Blondie’s New Ride

Boggled by Language Abuse

language, words, meaningBeing a writer, I take language: the meanings and flow of words, seriously.  Words have power and precise meanings.  Effective communication means using words properly.  Throwing together a mish-mash of terms or making words up by splicing improper suffixes onto a good word breeds confusion.  Even newscasters are trying to sound hyper-intelligent by tossing out big words spliced together using parts of two legitimate words.

But common terms are abused as well.  Just now I was asked if my truck runs on diesel gasoline.  This was not an either-or question, it was a yes-no question.  Diesel fuel and gasoline are two different things.  Using them together caused a train crash in the switch yard of my brain and boggled me for a moment.

An acquaintance often used the word “empowerized”, a melding of empowered and energized to convey vitality and excitement.  But it sent a little shiver up my neck every time I heard it.

A few other language laughables I can think of include:

  • I’ll go convertsate with him
  • I’m so flustrated!
  • That’s supposably a great new product.
  • A CEO philanthropist was referred to as a philanthropreneur by a news anchor.
  • Sorry, I’m not sure where I am.  I need to get orientated.

I could go on, but you get the idea.  And this doesn’t even get into words like irregardless.  Regardless means without regard.  Sticking the “ir” on the front makes it mean “not without regard” which is the opposite of what they’re trying to say.  There are SO many of these in common use today that I could go on all day.  But I’ll spare you that.

Now to be fair, the English language that we have today was made up by sticking bits of words from many other languages together.  And it evolves as each generation rises up and squishes it into their own mold of preferred expression.  So I may have no right at all to complain about younger people making up or twisting words into new meanings.  Maybe I’m just getting old and cranky.  Maybe I should just suckupicate and deal with it.

Josephine’s Urgent Request

Josie's request
‘Scuse me, I have a request.

Josephine came to us with a request.  We were sympathetic because poor little Josephine has had a hard road through life.  When she became known to us she had been a pregnant stray, was mangy and terrified of being in an animal shelter.  She came here as a foster dog for rest, healing, and sanity.

After working with her for a while we decided that the best thing for her … was to stay here.

Since then, she has met many foster dogs.  She really liked some of them.

Fosters are sent away once they are healed and trained.  That’s how fostering works.  Recently Josie heard us discussing plans for our current foster dogs, became upset,  and approached us with an urgent request …

Josephine’s Request from Doug Bittinger on Vimeo.

Callie has been here for treatment of heartworm since December  2017.  By the time treatment and recovery is complete, she will have been here for nearly a year!  That’s almost unheard of in our type of foster care.

Callie is settled in and convinced that this is home.  Marie and I have been discussing what it might do to Callie if we put her in a crate and shipped her off to another rescue who would then try to find her a permanent home.  She’s been abandoned before.  Maybe she’d be okay as long as she found another home quickly.

Callie is a Pit Bull — is it realistic to hope for a quick adoption?  Not really!

By their true nature, Staffordshire Bull Terriers (A.K.A. Pit Bulls) are wonderful, gentle, loving companions who were once known as Nanny Dogs because they were the preferred breed for affluent families who wanted a companion for their children.  Really!  But today it is this breed’s turn to suffer persecution by ignorant people because of what HUMANS have forced these dogs to do.

Callie is a sweet, gentle, affectionate, goof.  We love her.  She loves us.  And all of our dogs have accepted her as family.  We might as well make that official.  We’re signing the papers on Friday.

A Prayer of Preparation for Bible Study

It is the assigned task of every true Christian: followers of Jesus, to diligently study the Word of God.  Listening to a sermon on Sunday mornings is not “studying” the Word.  This may prove enlightening, but God desires to speak directly to each of His children and He does that through Bible study.

2 Timothy 2:15 says:

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (NKJV)

The King James version says it more directly: Continue reading A Prayer of Preparation for Bible Study

Keeping Cool On July 4th

We cool our house with a small window air conditioner.  It’s actually rated to cool a single, 10 foot by 10 foot room, but it’s in our 12’ x 15’ bedroom (not counting the Master Bath and Marie’s walk-in closet) and we pull cool air out into the rest of the house with a fan that blows down the hallway toward the kitchen and living room.  One would think that this would not work at all.  But it does!

That one dinky window AC does keep our home comfortable (comfortable for US, maybe not for those accustomed to living in a meat locker) because when we built our house we prioritized strength and insulation over square footage.  Continue reading Keeping Cool On July 4th

Summertime Danger to Your Dog’s Feet

I was working a tent at an event one day.  A woman came along and stopped to talk with an acquaintance in front of our tent.  It was summer, quite warm, and we were set up on asphalt.  As their conversation continued I noticed that the senior Boxer the woman had on a leash was “dancing” a bit.  I waved to get the woman’s attention and asked if she’d like to move over so she and her dog could cool her feet in the shade of our tent.

is it safe for dog feet“Oh, no: I’m fine.”  She responded from under her sun hat.

“Yeah,” I thought, “YOU’RE fine but your dog is suffering.”

I got a bowl and broke out a bottle of water.  With the water in the bowl I set it in the shade and asked the woman if she’d let her dog come over to get a drink.

She gave me an exasperated look and said, “I’ll be leaving in just a minute.”  but did let out her retractable leash so the Boxer could sidle over to get a drink and cool her feet.

Their conversation dragged on and on, so I stooped there and petted the dog to keep her in the shade. Continue reading Summertime Danger to Your Dog’s Feet

tools

Wielding Unfamiliar Tools

I am something of a handyman.  I often make repairs around our house and property.  I am, by no means, an expert at plumbing, electrical, or concrete work but I understand the principles and can usually cobble my way through a repair project.  For small repairs I often employ the familiar tools and various glues, a staple gun, nails, screws, and yes: even duct tape.  But today I needed to make a repair for which none of these would help.  Today I needed to bring into service — a needle and thread!

One of the dogs got overly enthusiastic and tore a hole in the cover of a dog bed.  Discovering that there was “stuff” inside, she proceeded to pull what was inside, out.  Thus she tore the end off one of the fabric tubes full of fiberfill that makes a bolster around the dog bed.  She also pulled a basketball sized wad of fiberfill out.  I caught her at it, gathered the filler and put the bed up until it could be repaired.  Today, I tackle that. Continue reading Wielding Unfamiliar Tools

Using Epsom Salt in the Garden

Most people are aware that Epsom salt makes for a soothing bath if you have itchy skin or sore muscles, but did you know it’s also beneficial to some of your garden plants?

Why Epsom salt?

Epsom saltEpsom salt (magnesium sulfate) is high in magnesium.  Magnesium promotes the uptake of nitrogen and phosphorous from the soil.  Magnesium also promotes the creation of chlorophyll, the stuff that gives plants their green color and is essential for photosynthesis.  By improving photosynthesis the plant feeds itself better and stays healthier.  Magnesium also aids a plant in the production of more flowers, which in turn become fruit.  Boosting photosynthesis also boosts sugar production, so fruit trees and vines will produce sweeter fruit.

Before using Epsom salt it is recommended to have your soil tested for magnesium content; amending it may not be needed.

What Plants Benefit?

Most flowering plants can benefit from the use of Epsom salt.  This includes flowers such as roses.  But my focus is the vegetable garden, so I’ll confine my discussion to those plants.  The primary benefactors are the nitrogen hungry plants like tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplant, cucumber, squash, and zucchini.  Do not use it on beans (which are nitrogen fixers) and leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, chard, and kale.

Signs of Need

Continue reading Using Epsom Salt in the Garden

Altering S.S.P.

It has been S.S.P. (Standard Sleeping Procedure) forever that Blondie Bear inhabited the snuggle bed at the foot of our bed and Cochise preferred to sleep in the corner by the wall.  During times of high stress (heavy rain, thunder, fireworks, hunters on the mountain at night, etc) Blondie would slip around and sleep beside my side of the bed.  Here she could prompt me and I could slide an arm over and scratch her head when she needed comforting.  Yeah, I know: we’re not supposed to do that, it just encourages fearful behavior.  But she’s my “sweetface baby girl” and I am a softie sometimes.  Especially where she is concerned.

Blondie’s Safe Sleeping Spot

When Cochise passed away, Blondie began sleeping along side the bed every night.  She’ll lounge on her bed until we’re all settled, but once we’re ready to sleep, around she comes.  This could be a problem with mobility as I get up at night to tend to dogs clickety-clacking along the hallway — potentially needing to go outside.  But I know she’s down there, so I probe gently with my feet as I sit up.  Blondie stays real still, letting me discover where she is not so I can find floor and stand up. That’s trust!

I have to think she is still missing her best friend and is seeking solace in staying close to me at night.  Most of the time she does not seek skritchies.  Once in a while I am awakened by her big square nose poking me gently, but most of the time she is content with being close.