Thursday, March 25, 2010

Moment of Truth

Here it is: the moment when Oklahoma gardeners survey what plants died, thrived, or hung on during our extraordinary winter.

I stepped out this morning to take a peek at the patch of old fashioned garden I've created in a tiny oasis of afternoon shade. Happy surprise! After years of planting violets supposedly hardy in zone 5, Oasis plants in Stillwater promised me this one would be different. And there it is, the tiny green deck-of-cards club shaped leaves, breaking dormancy.

White violets. Emily Dickinson would be so pleased. Continuing the theme, the gooseberries, elderberries and currants survived, as well.

The garden's bordered by small patio covered by a porch and ceiling fan. (To stay cool and, though it's sadly prosaic, to blow bugs away. This is Oklahoma.) Though it's in a semi-private area outside the residence, guests who have a yen to read Jane Austen in an appropriate setting are welcome to use it.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Freckles, The Wonder Dog

She may look like an old hound dog, throwing her head back and baying, but Freckles is much more than that.

Last summer, we hosted a family with a four year old son who, for no reason the family knew, was terrified of dogs. We arranged to let our canines outdoors only during the part of the day that would inconvenience the family the least.

The next morning, I let the dogs out for a run. When I went to call them in for the day, I saw the mom and her son outside. The two of them were laughing as together they rubbed a delighted Freckles' tummy. "I petted her while he watched from the window," the mom explained, "and he got to courage to pet her himself. We're so grateful to Freckles. She's a therapy dog!"

We adopted Freckles when she was about a year old. She was hungry, scared, sick, and showed clear signs of abuse. But it's amazing what basic vet care, three squares-a-day and love can do for an animal.

They might not be the prettiest or trendiest of pets, but you never know: that bedraggled cat or dog you rescue might just turn out to be a Wonder Animal.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Torvald, "Son of Thunder"

Anyone who has stayed with us has enjoyed (?) a big welcome from our greeters, dumped dogs we've rescued over the years.

Torvald, Norwegian for "Son of Thunder," is the newest addition to our family. He wandered out of the woods one morning, half-frozen, muddy, terrified and starving. In other words, about the same shape as all our other cats and dogs were when they found us.

In this photograph, Torvald is "helping me" prune the trees in the Dancing Bean's small orchard.