Monday, September 10, 2012

The blog is ended

There will be no more Wilton Diaries updates.


I could not resist buying these beautiful mums. I can't wait for the blooms to open, especially on the multicolor mum.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Photo Spot

I still love our stone walkway. It is one of the best improvements we made to the house.

Cooper and Otis like it too.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Happy Birthday Cooper !

Cooper has been with us for 4 years. He is now 11 years old. Cooper is an amazing dog who continues to  flourish in our home. Our diamond in the rough has turned out to be a true gem.

This is what Cooper looked like when we adopted him. Cooper's skin is now pink and his coat is soft and silky. The dog that did not want affection has disappeared. Cooper will often spend work days in our home office with me. When Coop wants to get petted, he will thump his tail, until you go to him.

Cooper has taught me patience. He reminds me that trust is fragile and cannot be rushed.  Cooper still has his moments of craziness. However, we now take his exuberance in stride. We no longer wonder if  a dog who survived a lifetime of abuse can shed his fear and be happy.  Coop is secure in the love of our pack. His sparkling eyes and wagging tail announce, "Life is good".

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Wilton Jewelers

It is rare to find a business that I love and would recommend without hesitancy. Wilton Jewelers is a shop that I am thrilled with.

I have been to Wilton Jewelers several times over the last few months. Howard, the store owner, is a very nice and trust worthy person.

I have been amazed by the high quality work that Wilton Jewelers has performed. A mangled platinum band was restored to near perfection. A chipped diamond was cut and polished making this tired stone sparkle again, while losing very little of the carat weight. Earrings which had lost accent pearls were repaired and look beautiful.

Wilton Jewelers has a wonderful selection of jewelry. The display cases sparkle with diamonds, sapphires, emeralds and rubies.  If you ever need a reliable jeweler, I would suggest speaking with Howard at Wilton Jewelers.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

King Crab

Stew Leonard's is running a tremendous sale on King Crab Legs. I love crab legs, but rarely buy this expensive treat, especially since Jeff does not eat seafood.

I left the store with 6 large legs. It turned out that this was too much crab for dinner for one. I ended up having crab salad for lunch the next day.

Both dinner and lunch were fantastic. The crab was sweet and juicy.  I do have to say that the Costco crab legs tend to be larger. However, their cost is much higher.

Photo by: Northwest Seafood

Friday, August 31, 2012

Chillin' Out

The dogs enjoying the new deck.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

New Heating System

The heating system has been replaced. We were told that this high efficiency system should reduce our oil and electric consumption. I hope that is true.

The hot water tank is much smaller than the original one. Supposedly, the system heats water so quickly, that a bigger tank is not needed. The smaller tank is also more energy efficient.

The install took one day. Two plumbers arrived at 7:30 am and an electrician arrived at 1:00 pm. Cold water was available during the installation, which made being in the house much easier.

When the heat was turned on to test the system, Coop, Otis and I began to roast. Extra heat on a 90 degree day is a too much!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Congratulations, Jeff !

The Connecticut State Sporting Clays Shoot was held at Fairfield County Fish and Game this weekend.

Jeff won the Class A FITASC event! Jeff started shooting FITASC in April 2011.  He has made great progress in a little over a year.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Oil Burner

This is our existing 30+ year old oil burner. Back in May, we realized that the furnace needed to be replaced.

With Fall and colder weather approaching, we knew it was time to order a new heating system. We are also having the electric water heater removed. The new furnace will supply the hot water.

The installation is supposed to take 1 day. I am hoping we do not encounter any install issues. It is tough to live in a house with no running water.

Friday, August 24, 2012

New Door

The new basement door is installed. This is Cooper's favorite spot. Coop loves being able to see outside.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

New Windows

The basement and garage windows are installed. These Andersen windows match the windows on the first floor of the house.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Deck Complete

The deck is finished.

Aerial views of the deck, shot from an upstairs window.

We are very happy with the way the deck turned out.  .

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Garage Window

These are the existing windows in the garage and basement.As you can see they are in bad shape.  The previous owner, replaced one of the panes with a piece of wood. He then drilled a hole in it to run electrical wire outside! I always wonder what the previous owner was thinking when he was doing "home (not) improvements".

We are having the windows replaced while the deck is built.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Almost Done

The deck is almost finished.
All that is left to complete are the stairs and gate.

This is what the deck looks like.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Basement Door

We replaced the basement door shortly after buying the house. However, due to the constant moisture and lack of sunlight, the outside frame was starting to rot. While the deck is being built, we are having a new door installed. The frame is made of a composite, that should last forever.

The new door is all glass. Cooper will love being able to see outside. I hope  the quality is as good as the sales person claims.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Most of the floorboards have been installed. I like that the builder put an "edge or frame" on the outer rim of the deck and then installed the floorboards on a diagonal within the frame.

The railing is also starting to be installed.

Friday, August 17, 2012


The railing posts are installed. The floorboards are starting to be installed. We chose to run the flooring on a diagonal, instead of the traditional horizontal.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


The framing for the deck is almost complete.

The new 32 foot deck is much smaller than the previous one.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Footers Ready

The footers have been poured. We are waiting for the lumber to be delivered, so construction can start.

Monday, August 13, 2012


The footers have been dug and inspected. Deck construction can now begin.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Ready to Cook

Our oven is finally fixed. I am not sure that I will ever try the self cleaning option again!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Bath Time

Ice cold water does not feel bad on a hot and humid day!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Deck Demolition

Our old deck has been completely removed.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Deck Started

When I arrived home, I was surprised to see a trailer in the driveway.

The railings have been  removed from the deck.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Please feed me

Poor Otis has been sick for the last few days. I am not sure if he caught a virus or ate something he should not have. In any case, Otis needs to be taken out every hour.

We stopped feeding Otis on Saturday to rest his stomach. When Cooper gets fed breakfast and dinner Otis just sits by his bowl, with big sad eyes.

I feel so guilty. Unfortunately, there is no way to explain to Otis that being hungry will help him get better.

Thursday, August 02, 2012


Cooper believes that if the sun is up, everyone should be up. Getting up at 6:00am on Saturday and Sunday is no fun. Bleary eyed we walk down the street. Upon returning home, the dogs get fed. Ten minutes later, Cooper is sound asleep on the bed.

At 6:45, wide awake, Jeff and I look at each other and say what do we do now ? Unlike Coop & Otis, going back to sleep is not an option. The only upside is that the grocery store is not crowded at 7:00 am.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Deck Update

The wetlands permit for our deck was approved with surprising ease. Unfortunately, the builder began another project while waiting for the permits to clear.

We are hoping that the deck construction will begin next week.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

For the Birds

In this hot humid weather, Cooper and Otis are blowing their coats.

I quickly learned that it is wise to brush the dogs outside, as fur flies everywhere. The photo shows 1 days worth of hair.

The dog's undercoats are incredibly soft. Although it is not nesting season, I have put the hair out for the birds. Perhaps the birds will use some of this fur in their nests.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Super Suit

We had a thunderstorm that started at 4:30pm and lasted until 11:00pm. I put Coop's Thundershirt on him and waited to see what happened. The Thundershirt did help to lessen Coop's anxiety. When  the thunder passed directly overhead, Coop still shook. However, he did not try to squeeze under furniture or hide behind doors. Coop even stretched out and napped for a while.

This picture shows Cooper wearing his ThunderShirt when Jeff cut the lawn. After a few minutes in the vest, Cooper hopped up on the bed and stretched out.

While Thundershirt does not completely solve Coop's phobia, it definitely helps Coop be calmer. Two thumbs up for Thundershirt!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Happy Birthday Otis!

Otis has been with us for 3 years!  It is hard to believe how quickly time has passed. We think Otis is about 6-7 years old.

This is the photo that started it all - when Linda F. asked if Cooper would like a brother. How could we ever say no to such a beautiful dog?

Otis is 80 lbs of love. His exuberance for life and desire to be close to people never decreases. Otis is a sweet (and rambunctious) dog, who acts as a protector when Jeff is gone.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Annual Exam

Cooper had his annual exam with Dr. Duffy.  Dr Duffy gave Coop a clean bill of health!

Dr Duffy examined some new lumps we had noticed on Cooper and said that they were not cancerous. With Coop turning 11 in Sept, we talked about geriatric testing. I explained that none of our other dogs survived past 11 years of age.

Dr Duffy said that other than some gray on his face, Coop does not act geriatric. He would not recommend additional testing. Dr Duffy asked if Coop really was 11 or could he be younger ? Unfortunately, we have no way to know Coop's true age.

Dr Duffy said he expected to see Coop in July 2013. Let's hope that is true!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Deck Delayed

A few hours after the Deck blog post went out, I received a call from our builder. I knew that we were in trouble, when he said, "We hit a snag with the Wilton Wetlands Commission".

Although we are reducing the size of the deck by 40%, the Wetlands Commission is stating that we need a Wetlands permit, because we are changing the footprint of the deck. This makes absolutely no sense to me. It would be fine to rebuild our mammoth deck, but a smaller deck is cause for concern ?

As you might remember, our last encounter with the Wetlands Commission took months to resolve and was extremely expensive. I am hoping that this experience will be less painful.

For now, deck construction is on hold.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


This is our existing deck. As you can see it is very large and not very attractive.

Even worse, the deck is in bad shape.

We believe a previous owner built this poorly constructed deck. The builder did not dig the footings deep enough. As you can see the footing has shifted and the support beam rests on the dirt.

We are having a new deck built which is much smaller and suits our needs. Construction should begin in the next few days.

Monday, July 09, 2012


Cooper gets very nervous during thunderstorms. Coop's whole body shakes and he tries to get as close to me as possible. Cooper will squeeze between the bathroom door and tub and wait for the event to end. Cooper exhibits the same behavior when the lawn is being mowed or the snow blower is running.

While attending a party at our Wesport family's home, we met a man who rescues Australian Shepherds. He stated that his dog was thunder-phobic and raved about how a Thundershirt helped ease the dogs anxiety.

I visited the Thundershirt website and the testimonials were amazing. Wrapping a dog in a thundershirt, seemed to have an incredibly calming effect. Thundershirt comes with a 45 day money back guarantee.

I ordered a Thundershirt for Cooper. We have not had a thunderstorm since it arrived.  I  put the shirt on Coop, before Jeff mowed the lawn. I cannot say that Cooper was completely relaxed (he was still panting). However, Coop did not shake like he normally does. It seems that Coop's anxiety level was reduced, as you can see in this photo taken while the lawn mower was running.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Of Mice or Voles

I was walking Otis in the back yard on the long lead. Otis was in the woods when suddenly his head ducked down, then came back up with something hanging from his lips. I think Otis grabbed a mouse or a vole.

I yelled at Otis to drop it, but I am not sure he did. The next thing I knew, Otis had nothing in his mouth. I hate to say it, but I think that Otis ate what he caught.

I am wondering if Otis will be able to keep his pre-dinner snack down or if I will get a closer look at what he caught.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Hard Headed

Jeff and I were working on the back deck. When I closed the sliding door which leads into the house , I left  it open a few inches. Otis could stick his nose outside, but that was it.

Imagine my surprise, when a minute later, I saw Otis walking on the back deck.

I thought that I must have left the door open more than I thought. I ushered Otis back inside and again pulled the door mostly shut.

A few seconds later, Otis was back on the deck.

I then realized that Otis stuck his head into the small opening in the door and pushed, until the door was open wide enough to walk through. I never thought that Otis would be smart enough or strong enough to do this.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Missed Opportunity

Cooper loves to chase chipmunks. Walks with Coop often follow a zig-zag pattern as he tries to run after the chipmunks that dart in and out of the woods.

We were walking down the road. There were 2 chipmunks a few feet away. Jeff and I spotted them, but Coop was distracted by a bird farther down the road. One of the chipmunks literally ran under Coop's legs.

As the chipmunk raced under Coop's belly, Coop stood focused on the bird. The chipmunk made it safely across the road. I asked Coop - how did you miss that ?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Escape Artist

After spending a few days away, we went to Passage East Kennel to pick up Cooper and Otis.

When I arrived at the front desk, the attendant said that Otis was a little dirty. With that, Otis came running towards me. I noticed that Otis was wet, but it was only after he pressed against me that I realized my shorts were now muddy.

The attendant explained that Otis had dug a hole in his kennel and slipped under the fencing. I asked if this  happened during the thunder storm (thinking that Otis was scared). The attendant laughed and said, No, it happened this morning. The dogs had play time in the yard and were then brought back inside. A few minutes later she noticed Otis running around. She was surprised by how quickly Otis dug  a hole big enough to fit through.

I apologized and she explained that some dogs do this. That is the reason why they have multiple levels of fencing. If a dog escapes the kennel, they are still inside a much larger fenced area.

Coop did not follow Otis out of the kennel.

Upon arriving home, both dogs received a bath.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Sunny days

Coop and Otis love these sunny days

Monday, June 18, 2012

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Gillette Castle

We had never been to Gillette Castle in East Haddam, CT.  We decided that it would be a fun way to celebrate my birthday.

The Castle was built in 1919 as the private home of actor William Gillette, famous for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes. Gillette built his own railroad which circled his 200+ acre estate.

While the home is not my style, it contains some incredible woodworking.

Each of the doors in the castle is unique.

We were lucky to visit on CT Open House Day. This meant that we received free admission into the park. There are gorgeous views of the Connecticut River from the terrace.

We enjoyed a nice lunch at La Vita Gustosa. If you are ever in East Haddam, you should definitely visit the Castle.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Four Years

We have not forgotten you, Danny. Always, always...

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Drying Out

Cooper and Otis got their first outdoor bath of the season. After five minutes, Jeff's hands were frozen from the cold well water.

The dogs spent the afternoon drying out on the deck. I love how soft their fur is after a bath.

Thursday, May 31, 2012


The cedar chest cushion from Calico Corners finally arrived. I really like the way it looks.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

New Peony

I received this beautiful peony as a gift from our Westport family.

I can't wait for the buds to open.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


I received two pieces of furniture from my Mom that I wanted to have refinished. Our Westport family suggested that we bring the furniture to Custom Design Woodworking in Norwalk.

I sent photos of the pieces to David, the shop owner. A few days later I received an estimate.  Jeff and I loaded the buffet and the cabinet into the back of the 4Runner and dropped them off.

I was told that it will be several months before the furniture is refinished. I am hoping that the cabinet's water damaged top and the buffet's chewed leg will soon be a memory.

Friday, May 25, 2012

New Again

A few weeks ago, we brought my Mom's antique chair to Calico Corners to be reupholstered. The chair had not been used in years, due to a broken seat.

I received a call that the chair was ready to be picked up. Calico Corners did a great job repairing the chair.  I think it looks amazing!

The fabric looks even better against the wood than I had imagined.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

In bloom

The peony is now in full bloom and looks fantastic. I noticed that the bud had opened when I was headed out to the grocery store.

I asked the woman in the floral section if they had any peonies in stock. She said they had not received any this year. The florist said that peonies are popular for Mother's Day, but they did not receive any for the holiday.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Vet Checkup

It is hard to believe that another year has passed and it was again time for Otis' annual vet exam.

Jeff took Otis to the Norwalk Vet Hospital. Dr Duffy said that Otis was in great health. At 81 pounds, the vet thought Otis could lose 2 or 3 pounds.

Jeff said that Otis was very well behaved while waiting to go into the exam room. I was surprised, since Otis tends to be vocal whenever I am at the vet with him. I guess Otis knows who the Alpha in our pack is.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Fox Sighting

Just the other day, I wrote that it had been months since I saw the fox. This morning, I was looking out at the pond and there was the fox, standing on his hind legs sniffing the forsythia bush. The forsythia is one of Otis' favorite places.

The ducks saw the fox and swam into the middle of the pond. The fox slowly walked across the yard and then trotted up the driveway and out of sight.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


Cooper and Otis enjoying their toys.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Who's there ?

Otis was sitting by the front door, looking out into the yard. Otis began to bark and growl. I did not bother to look outside. I assumed deer or squirrels were in the yard. After 10 minutes, Otis was still growling.

I finally looked out and saw the mallard pair sitting in the front yard. The ducks eventually wandered towards the bushes and began to peck at  the ground.  A short while later, I saw them waddling up the driveway. Something must have scared them, because they suddenly flew back to the pond.

Now that the ducks are becoming more comfortable and roaming the property, we will need to use extra care when letting the dogs out or backing out of the driveway.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I love peonies. They are one of my favorite flowers.

Unfortunately, I have not had much success in growing these beautiful flowers. When the new walkway was installed last year, my peonies were displaced.

This spring, I noticed this lone peony growing in our front yard. I am hoping that it will bloom.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Cooper and Otis have found the softest spot in the yard to relax. When the dogs come inside, they smell like fresh mulch

Otis loves to roll around in the mulch, which means he needs to be brushed before coming in.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Fox

It has been months seen I have seen the fox. I thought that the mild winter would have meant increased odds for the fox's survival. However, I am wondering if the fox was hit by a car or has found a new hunting ground.

I am hopeful that one day the fox will appear in our yard again. I really enjoyed seeing the kits hiding out under the shed the last few years.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Popular Place

We have been having a lot of  hawk and owl activity at the pond. I am not sure if this is due to it being spring or due to corn.

I have noticed that the corn which the ducks do not eat, attracts birds, squirrels and chipmunks. I am sure that other creatures like mice also are drawn to the pond for this tasty treat.

I have seen the hawks  and owls sitting on a tree limb above the pond. The hawk has been spotted sitting on the ground at the edge of the pond (presumably eating something warm and furry for breakfast).  It seems that these birds are smart enough to understand that the pond provides ample dining opportunities.

Monday, May 07, 2012


As if discovering that we needed a new heating system was not enough, our washing machine died.

 We called our resident appliance expert to get some advice on which models were the best.  We then went to Best Buy, PC Richards and Sears Home Appliance. When we arrived at the first store, I opened the lid on the washer and was surprised to see no agitator. I thought, WOW - washers have changed a lot since we last bought one. Many of the washers are now front loaders. A front loader would not fit in our laundry closet, so we went with a top loader.

 We chose an LG washer. I was told to be sure to read the manual before washing clothes. It seems that laundry is no longer a simple process of add soap, add clothes and press start. The LG is unbelievably quiet when in it is running. Much less water is used, but the washing time is much longer (1+ hour).

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Sweet Potatoes

In the box of Mango's Munchies dog  treats was a bag of large orange colored snacks. I thought they were carrots, but the label said dehydrated sweet potato.

I gave one to Otis and Cooper.  Otis immediately grabbed the treat and began to chew it. Cooper sniffed it cautiously and after a moment began to eat it.

The next day, Coop grabbed the treat the instant I offered it to him. I never would have imagined that dogs like sweet potatoes.

Cooper wants to say thanks to Maine Mom Linda F for all the great snacks!

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Mound cake

Obviously, it has been a while since I baked. My pound cake turned into a "mound cake". However, it still tasted great with fresh strawberries and ice cream.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012


I knew it was going to be a long night when the owls started hooting at 5:00 pm and Otis started howling in response.

I often hear the owls calling after sunset or early in the morning. Seeing them in the late afternoon was a real surprise.

Jeff did a great job capturing our feathered friend. There were originally two owls sitting next to each other, but one flew away before we could get the camera.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


Jeff picked up 20 bags of mulch at Home Depot. It was a nice day, so Otis was outside with us. As soon as the back door on the 4Runner was opened, Otis tried to jump inside. Unfortunately, the mulch completely filled the car.

As Jeff unloaded the mulch, freeing up space, Otis would jump in the car. Jeff would chase him out. As soon as Jeff walked away, Otis was back in the car. When the last bag was removed, Jeff shut the door.  Otis looked so sad, when he realized he would not be going for a ride.

As we spread the mulch, Otis spent an hour running back and forth and rolling in the warm grass.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Mango's Munchies

Cooper sends a big THANK YOU to the wonderful person  who sent him a box full of Mango's Munchies dog treats.

I was working at home when the doorbell rang. Cooper and Otis raced to the front door. I was surprised to see the mailman holding a box and other mail.

The box was addressed to Cooper. I opened the box and found it full of delicious dog treats. Unfortunately, there was no card stating who had sent us this wonderful gift.

I am hoping that one of our blog readers is the sender and will know that their kindness is appreciated.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Calico Corners

I recently received a chair from my Mom, who said that the chair was originally owned by her Mother. When we brought the chair home, we noticed that straw was falling out of it. Upon flipping the chair over, we saw the webbing on the bottom was broken and the chair was stuffed with horse hair and straw!

I wanted to have the chair repaired. We brought the chair to Calico Corners, which has gorgeous fabrics. I asked if they could fix it and was told yes. The sales woman said let's see what we are working with and proceed to peel back several layers of fabric.The  woman commented that this must have sentimental value, since repairs will cost much more than the chair is worth.

Using our couch pillow as  a guide, we found a fabric that will look fantastic. I am excited that we will be bringing this piece of family history back to life.

I also received a cedar chest from my Mom. We found a beautiful fabric and are having a custom cushion made for it.

Both items should be ready in about 6 weeks. I can't wait to see what they look like.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Cooper Update

Cooper is slowly getting better (we hope). Coop is still on a diet of canned chicken and rice - no kibble.

I worry about how much weight Cooper has lost since he became ill. Poor Coop does not understand why he cannot have treats or milkbones.

If Coop continues to keep food down, we can introduce some of these items at the end of the week.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


I can't wait until the Stargazer Lilies open. I think the bouquet will be gorgeous.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Home Again

Cooper is out of the hospital and back home!

The vet took x-rays and ran more blood tests.  The x-rays did not show any blockages or anything irregular. The blood tests showed the pancreatitis was getting better. Cooper was given IV fluids to keep him hydrated.

The vet gave us a prescription for appetite stimulants and said to keep doing what we have been doing (only allowing Coop to eat a bland diet).

I hope Coop will be feeling better soon.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Cooper is still not able to keep food down.

I spoke with Norwalk Vet Hospital. They said Cooper needs to be hospitalized for several days for observation, nutrition and fluids. Additional testing may be needed to determine if Cooper has a more serious illness.

Jeff will drop Cooper off on his way into work. We are hoping that Cooper will be home soon and feeling better.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Young's Nursery delivered and planted our Japanese maple. Harry came out to oversee the proper placement.

I was told to keep the tree watered in this extremely dry and unusually warm weather. The Japanese maple is fairly bug resistant and deer typically do not eat the leaves. Hopefully the tree will have a long and healthy life.

I am amazed by how different the walkway and stone wall look, now that the tree is in place.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Not Hungry

Cooper is still not interested in eating.

The vet had suggested a special low fat diet for Cooper. This canned food is something that Coop has enjoyed eating previously.

After 4 days of not eating, I can hear Coop's stomach grumble. When I put out his food, he sniffs and walks away.

The one thing that Coop is interested is Milkbones. Is that like a child wanting candy but not vegetables with dinner ?

Sunday, April 15, 2012


The Easter bunny managed to find us, even though we spent Easter on Long Island.

I received this Egg-Plant in my basket. The egg is ceramic. You crack the top and add water. In 2 weeks, snapdragons should begin to grow. The egg is now sitting on the kitchen window sill soaking up the sun.

Friday, April 13, 2012


Cooper has been skipping meals, but  I was not too worried. We had spent several days away from home and I know that staying in a new location is stressful.

When we returned home, Cooper refused to look at his kibble. After 24 hours of vomiting, I knew it was time to call the Norwalk Vet Hospital.

The vet examined Cooper and ran blood tests. The blood work showed that Cooper has Pancreatitis.

Cooper will not be allowed to eat for the next 24 hours. After that, he will be given small portions of a bland diet. The vet warned that symptoms tend to get much worse before they get better. I added Resolve carpet cleaner to the top of my grocery list.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Why we like Harry

We had a new walkway installed at our home last spring. This year we wanted to have a Japanese maple planted along the walkway. In February, I spoke with Harry, the landscaper at Young's Nursery. Harry said that Japanese maples would start to arrive in April and I should contact him at that time.

I spoke to Harry this week. Harry asked what kind of maple we wanted. It turns out that there are MANY types of Japanese maples. Did we want a vertical or a cascading ? Green or red or purple leaves ? Did the ultimate height or width matter ?

Harry gave me the name of several possibilities to research and then suggested we stop by Young's to see what they had in stock.  After looking online, we visited Young's. The Japanese maples do not have their leaves yet, so the trees looked very different than what we saw on the Internet.

We decided on a cascading Crimson Queen. The trees we saw were small (5-7 years old) and we wanted something larger. We drove home and I immediately called Harry to request that he look for a larger (10-15 year old) tree.

Five minutes later the phone rang and Harry said, "I heard you were at the Nursery . I just missed you." Harry said that they had a large Crimson Queen in Woodbury and suggested we drive there to see it.

 I said. "If you think it is nice, we will take it." There was silence and Harry said, " These plants are like pieces of sculpture and it is important that you see the tree without it leaves. Plus such an old tree is very expensive and I want to be sure you are satisfied." If we liked the tree, it would have to be dug out immediately (before leaves appeared) or we would have to wait until Oct! I again said, we would buy it sight unseen, but Harry was adamant we visit the tree. Jeff and I agreed that we would be at Woodbury the next day.

Five minutes later, the phone rang again. Harry had found a large Crimson Queen in Wilton, could we come to see it ? Jeff and  I jumped in the car and were there in 5 minutes. The cascading limbs had an interesting appearance and we agreed to buy the tree.

I asked  Harry when they could install the tree. Harry said, "When will you be home ?" I asked if we needed to be there, since his crew built the wall and knew where the tree should be planted. Harry was aghast, "We need you to say where it should be placed and how it should be positioned. Once it is away from all the other trees, it will look very different. Did we want the tree to look best pulling into the driveway, walking up the stairs or when viewing from the sitting wall ?"

So much for just digging a hole and dropping the tree in it. I am hoping our maple can be planted in the next few weeks.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Over the last few weeks, the ducks have been coming to the pond less and less. I had not seen the hen in a while, but the drake still shows up occasionally for breakfast.

Jeff and I went to walk the dogs at 6:30 am and the male was waiting at the edge of the pond. I immediately grabbed some corn and brought it to him.

When I took the dogs out at noon, I was surprised to see the pair floating in the middle of the pond. I scooped up some more corn and placed it at the edge of the pond.

In the evening, I saw the ducks again sitting at the edge of the pond. I said to Jeff, "They can't be hungry for dinner...can they ?" Jeff said, "Why do you think they are here - they want CORN." I went back to the garage, got more corn and brought it to the pond.

The ducks immediately gobbled up all the corn. I guess that we are no longer a wildlife Bed & Breakfast, but a full service restaurant.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Happy Easter

Wishing you a wonderful Easter and a basket full of chocolate bunnies!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Just Hanging Out

Lately, Otis likes to spend his time laying at the top of the stairs or stretching out on the stairs.

I think that Otis likes to look out the front door and keep watch for anyone or anything who approaches.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Dueling Owls

We awoke early in the morning to the hooting of owls. As soon as Otis hears an owl, he begins to whine and run from window to window. All hopes of sleep are lost.

As we walked up the driveway, I saw one of the owls flutter in a tree. This was the first time I got to see our Great Horned Owl up close. I was surprised by how big and broad he/she was. The hawks that frequent our yard are svelte in comparison.

The owl was screeching and when he stopped another owl would respond. A few steps further down the driveway and we spotted the second owl. The owls kept hooting back and forth.

After a few minutes, one owl flew towards the other, almost brushing the owl still perched in the tree. This caused the perched owl to fly off. Soon the first owl followed.

Seeing these beautiful birds made getting up early worthwhile.

Photo by George Jameson

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Almost Easter

I couldn't resist these beautiful Easter flowers. My tulips never survive the deer, so I really enjoy seeing them flower in the house.

The Easter lily should be flowering just in time for Easter.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Danny's Spot

When Danny passed away, we planted a tree hydrangea in his memory.

The other day, I noticed the female mallard walking around Danny's bush. The hen then sat down behind the bush. I wondered if the duck might be looking for a nesting spot.

I immediately wondered what Danny would think about a duck selecting his special place to nest. I decided that it would be fitting for the ducks and Danny to still be connected .

Unfortunately, the hen did not choose to lay her eggs in our yard. She has not been around for a few days, but the drake still shows up for breakfast. I believe the duck is now sitting on her nest somewhere.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Take Out

Jeff and I were at the Danbury Fair mall late in the evening. We had eaten dinner at home. I thought dessert at The Cheesecake Factory would be a great way to end the day.

We went into the restaurant and were told there would be an hour wait for a table. Thankfully, there is a takeout counter for anyone who wants dessert to go.

Jeff ordered the Black Out cake. I ordered the Tuxedo Cheesecake ( layers of  Fudge Cake, Chocolate Cheesecake, Vanilla Mascarpone Mousse and Chocolate) . Both were delicious.