Friday, June 29, 2012

Back to business as usual

Now that the dust has settled, we’re back to doing the things we love to do…working in the gardens, taking care of the girls, designing, stitching and sewing for me and reading, listening to music and chilling for Mr. Painted Quilt…

and counting the days until our new Westie puppy arrives!

westie puppy 3

I don’t know which one but he’s one of the furbabies in the picture above. 

I can’t believe it!  Just this afternoon we received confirmation and pictures from the breeder that all the pups have made it past the two week crisis period and are doing fine…

and one of the males has been reserved for us! 

Now we have to wait until mid August because they have to be at least 8 weeks old before we can bring him home.  We’re thrilled beyond belief!


Mr. PQ and I started working in the new flower beds around 10 a.m. and finally called it quits at 1:15 p.m.  It took us all that time to edge, plant a few blue hydrangeas that our neighbor gave us and spread and level some mulch.  We’ll probably tackle the other bed on Monday and then that’ll be it for this year.


The flowering dogwood is in full bloom.  It is absolutely gorgeous and the photo does not do it justice.


The fragrance from the rose garden is intoxicating.


And would you have a look at the girls!  They have grown by leaps and bounds and absolutely love their new home in the coop.

Look at these two hanging out on top of their feed dish…


and the other two hunting bugs in the corner.  There isn’t a fly or bug to be found in their coop because they snatch them up in an instant.

One day this weekend we will open the doors and allow them to go outdoors to free range.  From everything that we’ve read and been told, they will find their own way back to their food and water inside the coop.

We’ll be keeping our fingers crossed!


The much-needed rain that fell while we were away made a big difference in our little kitchen garden.  Everything doubled in size almost overnight and we’ll probably be eating our own lettuce in another three or four days.


Tomorrow is market day, my favorite day of the week.

You’ll know where I’ll be, bright and early.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

1800 mile puppy quest–part 2

Saturday morning dawned bright and sunny…and so were our spirits.  Just a couple of hours more and we would have our new puppy.  We were like two children at Christmas and the wait was killing us.

red stars divider

We went for a leisurely breakfast then stopped at a pet shop to pick up a crate for the new addition to our family.  We had given Mac’s crate away many years ago, never thinking that we might possibly need it again.

I don’t know how many times we looked at our watches but the time seemed to be standing still.  We decided to take a slow drive to the address where we were to pick up the puppy.

red stars divider

We arrived at 11am, an hour early. 

The first words out of Mr. Painted Quilt’s mouth were, “I don’t like the looks of this” and if the truth be known, neither did I.  The house was kinda shabby looking but being the eternal optimist that I am replied, “Let’s not judge this book by it’s cover”.

Mr. PQ is a retired police officer and he immediately knew that something was amiss.

It took three knocks before the ‘gentleman’ of the house came to the door.  He was dressed in baggy pants…you know the kind that hangs halfway down the butt…no shirt and a woollen tuque pulled down over his ears.  His words of greeting to us were, “We were expecting you a little later”.

red stars divider

If you’ve read this far then you have probably guessed that our 1800 mile quest for a puppy does not have a happy ending. 

In short, the puppy that was handed over to us was NOT a pure bred Westie, the mother was NOT on the premises, the vet certificate was NOT real and was obviously forged because there were things crossed out, dates were changed and the veterinary clinic sticker was missing.

Without going into all the sordid details, what we uncovered was a fence for a puppy mill which supposedly are a real problem in Quebec.

red stars divider

We were devastated.

Forget the fact that we had already driven 900 miles to find out that we had been taken and that the $200 deposit that I had e-transferred to them was as good as gone.  Our concern was for the poor little puppy. 

As soon as Mr. PQ identified himself as a retired police officer and that our next stop when we left there would be the local police station, they became very belligerent and defensive and started coming out with contradictory stories, different from the ones that were told to me during our two telephone conversations prior to making the trip. 

At that point we were going to leave with the puppy when they started to sing a different tune and offered to give us our money back if we would “just forget about it”.  After showering us with insults, they reluctantly returned our money and we left….directly to the police station. 

Since returning home, we’ve been told that this operation has been ‘closed down’, the couple has been arrested and they will not be operating from these premises any longer.  The puppy and several kittens were seized and are now being cared for at a local shelter.

red stars divider

I want to say that I am sorry if I led you to believe that our story had a happy ending and that we came home with a new puppy.  That was not my intention.  I just wanted to share with you the fact that it is so easy to be fooled by misguided people who obviously have no conscience.

It was an emotional and expensive lesson but the one thing that Mr. PQ and I have learned is that if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is.  We also learned that unless you know the people personally who are offering “pure bred” dogs for sale, pay a little more and purchase your pet from a registered breeder.

That’s what we are going to do.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Our 1800 mile quest for a puppy!

Back in April, we lost Mac, our best friend and companion of 15 years.  Both Mr. PQ and I vowed that it would be a long time before we would entertain the thought of getting another dog.  However, even with our beloved Frankie, I never would have believed that a house could feel so empty without a dog…but it is.


We recently decided that we couldn’t wait any longer and it was time to fill that void.

I had been in touch with Westie breeders in Nova Scotia without too much luck.  Either their dogs hadn’t been bred recently or their puppies had already been promised to good homes.  They offered to add my name to their lists for when the next littler of puppies came about but we I couldn’t wait that long.

So last week I started checking out other sources for Westie pups and much to my amazement, there were several offered on Kijiji and most were a long distance away. On Tuesday, I found “our” puppy.

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

We made contact with the owners and were told that there were only two male pure-bred puppies remaining from the litter, that the mother was on the premises, that they were vet-checked, had their first shots, were dewormed and that all the medical records were available.


Were we ever excited!  The puppies were located in Grenville, Quebec, about 900 miles from where we live in Nova Scotia and about 20 miles from where we used to live before moving here. 

We made arrangements to pick up the puppy on Saturday at noon.


I started to make some quick phone calls to see if there was room at The Calico Inn for Frankie…yes!

I called our friend Percy to see if he would feed and water the girls while we were away and take in our mail…yes!

I called the ferry service to see if there was a spot available on the Thursday afternoon ferry…yes!

We were good to go!

Yes, it was going to be a very short, whirlwind trip but we decided to turn our adventure into a mini vacation at the same time.


Last Thursday dawned bright and sunny, a perfect day for traveling.

After we dropped Frankie off at The Calico Inn, we caught the 4 o’clock ferry from Digby, Nova Scotia to St. John, New Brunswick and settled in for what promised to be a smooth three hour crossing. There was no wind to speak of and the Bay of Fundy was as calm as a sheet of glass.


After leaving port, Mr. Painted Quilt and I just kicked back, relaxed as best we could and tried to enjoy the beauty that surrounded us.


The Fundy coast of Nova Scotia is rugged and mountainous and the raw, natural beauty is a sight to behold.

The photo below shows the relatively narrow gap that locals refer to as “The Gut”.  This is the entrance into the Annapolis Basin from the Bay of Fundy and the south western shore of Nova Scotia. Digby, from where we set sail, is just around the corner of the peninsula on the right.  If you look at the coastline straight ahead and in the distance, our house is located somewhere in the center.


We stayed in Bangor, Maine on Thursday night, shopped on Friday until  around noon then continued on our way to Montreal through New Hampshire and Vermont.  No quilt shops this time…just personal and household items…and a new puppy toy or two.

The scenery in New Hampshire is breath taking, the aroma of the pine trees in Maine is intoxicating and the mountains in Vermont are as green as they say.


After a long day’s drive, we arrived at our friend’s house on the west island of Montreal at around 7 p.m. on Friday evening.

Stay tuned for the rest of the story…


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Where do the days go?

Can you believe that there are only 10 more days left until the end of June?  Yikes!  And today is the Summer Solstice and you know what happens soon after, right?  The days start to get shorter and before we know it, autumn will be here.  But that’s not a bad thing.

This morning, Mr. Painted Quilt and I moved the girls to the chicken coop in the barn.  This will now be their permanent residence as they have feathered out nicely and no longer need to be under the incandescent heat lamp.

Aren’t they getting big?


It took them about a minute to settle in and start exploring.  They seem to love it there and are not at all skittish. 

Since day one, whenever I approached them, I made a kind of chirping sound to announce my arrival so as not to alarm them.  I find that they  recognize me both by the sound and my physical appearance and are not afraid.


On the way back to the house from the barn, I had to do a quick tour of our ‘back yard’.  The flowering dogwood is now in full bloom and the pastel peachy-pink color of the petals is spectacular!


The roses are finally starting to open, in spite of the very dry spring we’ve had.


I try to water our veggie garden every day but because we’re on a well, we have to be prudent until we get a significant rainfall.  If we thought that a rain dance would help, we’d be boogying from now until sundown. 


Yesterday I received two piles of 6”  shirting charm squares from a swap that I participated in on Kathleen Tracey’s Small Quilt Talk board.  There are close to 100 different pieces of fabric and not one is repeated.  I love shirting fabric and can’t wait to use them in a future scrappy reproduction quilt.


And for the first time since November, I went back to my hooking group that meets every Tuesday at our local rug hooking shop.  It was great to see all the gals (and guy) again and it felt so good to get back at it.

I made some progress yesterday and of course Frankie had to check it out…


and gave it his 100% approval!


Yesterday must have been my lucky day because I also received my gifts from my swap partner Pam (no blog) in Connecticut.  I also joined in on a pincushion swap on the Jo Morton Stitchers list. 

Pam read on my blog that we had chickens so she appropriately made me a hen and matching egg pincushion(s).  Her work is exquisite and I’m thrilled to bits not only with the pincushions but also with the other wonderful goodies that she included.


After moving the girls and then doing a little bit of weeding in the gardens this morning, I came in and baked this blueberry pie for tonight’s dessert. 

Do you think we’ll be able to wait that long?



Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sunday Musings

When we initially bought our house, we had a vision as to how we would like to make it “ours”.

The 175 year old house has great bones which has allowed us to make the necessary yet subtle changes we wanted without having to sacrifice too much of the original look.  The five acres of land and out buildings were a blank canvas just waiting to be transformed.


Last spring, Mr. Painted Quilt dug out a huge flower bed for me which I envisioned as a rose garden. 


We got everything planted but then when I became ill, everything was put on hold and although all the new plantings survived the winter, by the time this spring rolled around, the bed had become overgrown with weeds and needed a lot of work.  With a little bit of elbow grease and some TLC, here it is today.


This bed includes five different hybrid tea roses, a Japanese maple, a white lilac, an heirloom iris, white daisy, lamb’s ear and heuchera.


The rose bushes are filled with buds just waiting for a little bit of sunshine to help them burst forth.


We want to visually separate the ‘front’ part of the back yard between the house and the red barn from the “back forty” with a series of strategically-placed flower beds. 

Below is the first stage of two new beds. 


The photo below shows the initial plantings.

In the foreground and to the right is a flowering dogwood that we planted late last spring.


Here it is this year just starting to throw it’s beautiful salmon pink flowers.  In another week it should be in full bloom.


To give you some perspective as to where they are located, in the photo below you can see the new beds in the distance, to the left of the barn. 

We plan to add contour to the beds…rather than have them remain the boring rectangular shape that they are now…by digging out and shaping the borders a little at a time.  In so doing, not only will they look more natural but they will also increase in size and be able to accommodate more flowers.  You see, there is method to my madness here.  *wink*


Because our property is in a rural area, it is not uncommon to have many species of four-legged animals emerge from the woods to pay us, our flowers, veggies and fruit trees a visit.

Although I took this next photo through the window in our mud room late in the afternoon and in the early spring of this year , this is not an uncommon sight in our back yard.


There were actually five deer visiting but I only managed to capture four (look closely) in this photo.

And here is what was visiting in our neighbor’s back yard just a couple of days ago…a black bear, photographed from her deck just as it was returning to the woods at the edge of her property! 


I wonder if it was the same one that Mr. PQ spotted at the edge of the woods on our property while he was cutting the grass on the tractor the other day?  My guess would be yes.

Because of the abundance of wildlife, unless we were to erect a high fence around it, we had no alternative but to locate my veggie garden right outside our back door, the one we use all the time.  We thought that if we placed it close enough to the house…hence the term ‘kitchen garden’…then the critters would might be hesitant to invite themselves to dinner. 

So far so good.


Along with the rhubarb which is flourishing and just keeps on giving, I’ve planted several varieties of heirloom tomatoes, lettuce and some hot peppers for Mr. PQ.  My everyday herbs are located in the pot on top of the wooden barrel.


And so many of you have enquired about ‘Les Girls’.

I just came in from my morning visit with them when I top up their feed and give them fresh water.  They are doing really well but I must admit that because they are growing by leaps and bounds, they are also becoming more chicken-y looking by the day and their chick-y cuteness is quickly fading. 

After all, they are now 26 days old!


On a cold and rainy day this past week, I managed to take some time off to shop and finally purchased the fourth crate that I’ve been needing  for my “hands-on, go-to” stash.  I wanted to raise the fabric up one level so that it wouldn’t collect the dust that just might  gather on the floor.

I haven’t decided what I’ll put in the bottom crate but I’m sure I’ll come up with something.


And I just had to take this photo with the sun shining in on my featherweight and mini quilt.  Wouldn’t it make a pretty picture for a notecard?


Frankie says hi and wants to thank all of you who so kindly left a comment about my recently completed granny squares quilt.  He just wanted to tell you all that he loves it too!


Thanks for stopping by.