July 16, 2019

Doggie Deterrent

     In an effort to keep our spokesdog Chihuahua named Abby off the couch, I refer you to the photograph on the right of this post.  Note the colorful flowers I have ingeniously scattered, dare I say strewn, upon the flowerdy sofa cushions. The effect is lovely, thinketh I ... and so does Abby, for she maneuvers her little self among and between the petals.  I shall continue to try and outsmart her.  My odds are slim, I fear.  -jmm  

July 9, 2019

Save Our Doggies!

pretty pink puppy paw
      Let's cut to the chase, as they say.  It's just miserably hot outside.  I am often downtown at book signings and far, far too often see owners walking their dogs on the sidewalk which is hot enough to blister their animal's feet. Please everyone, I know you want to show off your dog because you love him or her, as much as I love my Abby, but if you can't stand barefooted on that same sidewalk for 60 seconds or more and not have to put on your shoes, don't take your dog out for a walk.  Test the sidewalk every time in this weather.  Also, how much fun is a walk for your dog if they are fighting thirst, as well? 
     Remember, too, don't take your dog for a run while you're on a bike! Our babies want to please us so much, but they can't tell us when they're in trouble.  Common sense, everybody. Use common sense.

July 1, 2019

Backdoor Plant with Goodbye Lie Excerpt

      I can't remember where I first heard the hydrangea referred to as the backdoor plant.  No matter, I have always thought that was a charming name. It is especially true in days gone by because, in my research, I found people often planted them near the back door since they were and are showy. Either huge pink or blue flower heads can be your choice, depending upon the acidity of the soil. Want pink flowers?  Add lime.  Want blue? Add coffee grounds!
   
 Hydrangea cutting from neighbor Peggy 
 For details, google the planting instructions for hydrangeas, but they are 
easy to grow. Put them in well-drained soil in full to partial sun.  Someone told me they like lots of water, hence the name which has hydrate in it or close to it.
     Cut the blooms when they are at their best and let them air dry in a vase to make lovely bouquets. 
     I mentioned this plant in The Goodbye Lie.  Here is an excerpt featuring young Jack Patrick Dunnigan set in Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida in 1882.  He grows up to be featured player in Amelia Island's Mark of a Man set in 1898.

The Goodbye Lie, An Excerpt     
     "Look there, Mama," he said pointing to her bruised extremity. "Bree looks like Peeper, the way she carries on about her feet always being swole up."
     "Jack Patrick! All I can tell you, my boy, is it's a very good thing Peeper didn't hear you make such a disrespectful remark or she'd clobber you like a long-tailed rat!"
     "I didn't mean no disrespect, Mama."
     "Any disrespect is correct, son."
  "Yes, ma'am. Any disrespect. But Peeper is always saying her feet hurt her, isn't she?"
    "You're running out of wiggle-room, young man. Now carry your sister's bag to the buggy."  
     "Yes, ma'am." Jack Patrick was forever getting a scolding and could never quite figure why. What he'd said about Peep was the truth. Once he'd transported the valise to the carriage as his mother requested, his thoughts strayed to spending the night at Warren Lowell's house. It would be fun, provided they kept clear of Aunt Noreen. He'd need permission, of course, so decided to ask his father, since so far today, the two of them hadn't had a fuss. But it was still early and there was plenty of time for him to get into trouble. Caution was Jack Patrick's watchword. After his sister and her husband had driven out of sight, he dashed around back of the house to chase the chickens. Then he spied Clover. "Hey, ole pard. What cha doin'?"
    "Just dumpin' a little salt and vinegar on the weeds along your ma's walkway."
     "Seen any slugs around?"
     "Matter of fact, Pat, I did see one crawl under Grammy's backdoor hydrangea bush there. Now that was 'bout five minutes ago, so you might have ta go lookin'."
     Jack Patrick knew he could count on Clover to use his new nickname, at least when his mother wasn't around. "Got any extra salt?"
     "All ya need."
    "Thanks!" On his belly in the sand, Jack Patrick determined that a slug melting from salt was a thing of mystery. Besides, he was safe with Clover. He rarely caught any grief when they were together. As he searched for the slimy creature, he called out, "It was sure good to have Bree home for a spell, wasn't it, Clove?"

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