Molly and Maggie are now three years old. It doesn't seem that long ago that I decided I wanted a puppy (my last dog, a snoodle named Belvedere, died about 18 years ago during my first year of teaching). We went to the various shelters in Florence and Myrtle Beach, and saw many dogs that I would have loved to adopt, but they were too old. If it were just the two of us, an older dog would have been fine, but since we have six indoor cats, we figured we needed to get a puppy so it could be raised to live peacefully with the cats.
I did an internet search for shelters within 50 miles of us and found the Darlington Humane Society. They didn't have many puppies listed, but there was a picture of two babies, from a border collie mom. Both were looking into the camera with serious expressions, as if to say, what's taking you so long, come take us home.
The original picture from the humane society
We went to Darlington, hoping that one of the pups was still available, but thinking that babies so cute had to have been snapped up quickly. To our surprise, both pups were still there. Since we couldn't bear to split them up, we had not one, but two new additions to our fur family.
First night home
Although their weight was originally within 8 ounces of each other, Maggie (two black eyes) soon outstripped her sister and now weighs 52 pounds to Molly's 32.
Maggie, the laughing dog
Molly, still serious
When the girls' white bodies started showing black spots, we realized that dad must have been a dalmation. Molly has the dalmation head and border collie size, while Maggie has the dalmation size and border collie head.
We knew that the girls were close, in spite of occasional squabbles over pig ears (which Molly wins - she's small but much meaner, lol), but their closeness has really come out this week. Molly cut her foot in the yard on Wednesday. We cleaned it up and it stopped bleeding, so we just made sure that it was cleaned every time she came in from outside and thought it would heal on its own. Friday, she started bleeding again after a wrestling match with her sister, so we took her to the vet on Saturday morning, leaving Maggie at home. When we came home with a bandaged Molly, you would think we had been gone a year. Molly can't run free until the bandage comes off on Tuesday, so we decided to walk Molly on lead in the front yard which has soft lawn, and let Maggie run in the back which is fenced. Well, now Maggie refuses to go out in the yard without Molly. As much as she loves to run and bark at the neighbors, she will not go off the deck without her sister. I guess she thinks that if she lets Molly out of her sight, she will lose her. So we are walking both of the girls in the front for now, which takes three times longer, as Maggie is shy of "doing her business" while on lead.
Right now, the girls are zonked out on the couch, Molly on her back with all four feet in the air, and Maggie sprawled beside her, her head on Molly's tail.
Aug 23, 2008 | 3:58 PM PST
I haven't been doing much in the yard, as school has started again. Even though my students won't return until Sept. 2, my contract calls for 190 days, so I have to be there, playing with paperwork mostly. I had some unidentified seedlings coming up in my new bed, but since I had sprinkled several different kinds of seeds, I figured I'd wait until whatever it was bloomed. Well, I now know what they are. About four years ago, I planted a single, tiny, orange and pink lantana to fill in and add some color between two indian hawthornes under the front window. It soon became a huge monster plant that took over, choked out the hawthornes, and grew taller than me ( and I'm about 5'4"). I cut it back and it returned with a vengeance. I dug it out last spring (with hubby's help) and moved it and two others from the mailbox bed to the hot side of the house, where it's the only plant besides weeds to flourish. Last summer, it started regrowing under the window. I have dug, pulled, and even poisoned this plant. This year, I was extra careful while preparing the new bed to pull out any old roots I could see. I thought I had finally conquered the monster plant. But the mystery seedling are - you guessed it - baby lantana. Anyone want about fifty orange and pink lantana plants that are indestructable? I'm going out tomorrow morning to attempt to get them out (I've already tried tugging on one, and it's not moving). If pulling doesn't work, I'm just going to take my clippers and snip them off at the soil line. I would dig them out, but they are mixed in with my zinnias and ice plants in many places and I don't want to disturb them too much if I can help it..
Aug 6, 2008 | 7:15 AM PST
I just spent an hour cutting dead branches from my two four year old loquat trees in the back (I have another in the front that is still healthy, thank goodness). Apparently there is a disease called fire blight that can spread from roses to plants like hibiscus, and unfortunately, loquats. Earlier in the spring, my husband cut down the rose that was taking over the deck. Later I used the same loppers to trim the suckers on the bottom of the loquats in the back. I didn't know about fire blight or the importance of sterilizing cutting instruments before going to another plant. You can believe I do now! The tips of the branches started dying first and making a curved shape that I read is one of the distinctive signs of fire blight. Soon there were bunches of dead leaves throughout the trees, mixed with still healthy branches. I'm hoping since there is new growth on the trees that doesn't seem to be affected by the blight that they will come back to lushness. Right now, they look pitiful. I know, just one of the many lessons learned in gardening. I just wish I had learned it sooner.