The Rainbow Bridge is a little heavy

2011 was a horrible year for me, as I lost more pets than any pet lover should be expected to endure.   I had already lost my 15 year old lab/cocker mix Lucky in late 2010 and I expected that I would be spared any further losses for the foreseeable future.  As it turned out I was wrong.

On July 19, 2011 I received a call from my neighbor that my precious Alpha was lying under a tree in her yard and appeared to be failing.  I rushed home and found her there, laying under the tree, basking in the sun, but she was already gone.   She was 15 years and three months old.  While it is perhaps not old for a cat after the horrible time she had gone through in her life, with collapsed lungs, broken legs, smashed jaw, it was a surprise she lasted as long as she did and I am grateful, that in the end, she slipped over to the Rainbow Bridge lying under a tree, in the sun.

On September 6 I found Con (full name Amy’s Con) in the garden with an obvious broken leg.  It appeared he had been hit by a car.  I took him to the vet and they whisked him away and took x-rays.  They led me into a darkened room and I looked in horror at the image of his shattered back leg.  “Can you fix it” I said, my voice waivering “no” the vet said “the break is too bad” “can you amputate?” I said, tears already washing down my face.  “We could” the vet said “but he is an old cat (15), and he likes to be outdoors, it would not be fair to him”.  I kept my eyes focused on the x-ray.  “Sometimes you just have to know when to let go” the vet said.  I stood there transfixed.  “If he were mine” he said softly “I would let him go”.  I signed the paperwork and kissed him on the head.  “See you at the Rainbow Bridge” I said as I scritched his head and watched his eyes close.  I picked up his ashes a few days later and wondered what to do with them.  I thought of various places to put them, in the back yard with the other animals, but then I thought “no he hated the other animals, he would hate that” so he is where he always loved to be, behind my computer.

   

I am now copying this from a forum I post to the weekend that I lost Judy.

My most precious darling Judy chose Thursday October 13, 2011 to slip over to the Rainbow Bridge, on her own terms, and by her own rules. She jumped up onto the bed and snuggled up to me, and there she slept. At some point of me extracating myself from her body and going to work and my Mum getting up and checking on her she chose that moment to go to the rainbow bridge. I have no idea why, other than the fact that she was an 11 year old boxer and way older than she ought to be, she was still puppy like the day before, she frolicked in the yard with Cueball, she ate her dinner as heartily as any dog ate her dinner the night before. And yet, and yet, she knew it was time and she chose to take her leave while Gramma and Norman were visiting, in order to give me arms to grieve. There has never been a dog more perfect than Judy, a charming young lady, who always knew her manners, who was always a perfect polite boxer. I am slobbering at her loss, Cueball is beside himself with grief. Mum, Norman and I went away for the weekend after she died and her loss was out of my mind for a while, but now I get back to the house and she is not there, there is no joyous welcome, and her absence is palpable. I know that I was holding on way past the years that I was allowed to have, but damn, I would have wished for a few more days.

Us human animals lovers are doomed to grieve, our pets are never meant to outlive us, we are always meant to outlive them.  The pain is never lessened by the inevitability however, we know it is going to happen and yet we take them into our hearts.  I will never apologize for that.

I am now officially dangerous

My DH bought me a greenhouse as a post Christmas gift, mainly because he knows that I get cranky when I cannot garden in the Winter, and also because it was such a steal-of-a-deal in the post Christmas sales at Harbor Freight (especially with a 20% off coupon) that he couldn’t pass it up.   After spending a couple of day over two different weekends trying to figure out the instructions (which had obviously been translated in China from the original Elfin), I finally got it put together and my what a fine greenhouse it is (literally).

Once it was built I quickly set about planting seeds in all of the various containers that I have saved over the years (there are some good things about being a pack rat sometimes).  I reused all of the potting soil from various pots that I had laying around, completely ignoring the advice of those who say “never reuse potting soil” (I suspect this is more a product of the potting soil industry than it is of sound minds).  In short order I had two types of lettuce, arugala (rocket for those reading from the UK), and spinach in.  In my tomato patio pots from last year I sowed more tomatoes.  I sowed beet, dill, fennel, catnip, spearmint and garden peas.  The peas I put in long skinny containers and added some spare tomato cages for them to climb up. 

In addition to veggies and herbs I also planted lots of flowers.  Marigold, Zinnia, Impatiens, Portulaca, Poppy, Stock, Hollyhock, Butterfly Weed and Mexican Sunflower.   This is where the dangerous part comes in.  Normally when it comes to my flower gardens and containers out front I rely upon the “dead plant section” at Lowes.   If all of the seeds I have planted germinate and turn into fully formed bedding plants I will no doubt run out of places to put them and will end up wandering the neighborhood and randomly planting marigolds in the neighbor’s yards. 

In a little over two weeks everything (well almost everything) is rising to the challenge and germination is going great guns.  The lettuce are up

Spinach is up

As are the peas (after an initial battle with the slugs over the seeds)

Most of the flower seeds have germinated and are sending out their first leaves, although I am still waiting for the Mexican Sunflowers and Butterfly Weed. 

It feels so good to wander out into the greenhouse on a grey and overcast day and dig around in the soil, no matter how cold and wet the soil is.  So long as there is a modicum of sunshine, it is doubled while in the confines of the greenhouse.  I would recommend one for anyone who loves to garden.

I’m Baaaaaaaack!

Since my old blog host decided to abandon the site last year, I have been very lazy about finding a new host.  Of course the intervening holidays did not help but I now no longer have an excuse.  So here is my new home wordpress.  

I suppose my need to begin blogging again is due to the fact that I can feel Spring in the air.  My forcythia is already blooming  and the first of my hyacinths has poked its chubby head above ground and one single pink bell of a bloom is open. 

Hyacinth

  The other bulbs are pushing above ground and it will only be a matter of days before the first daffodils are open. 

It must be an indication of the effects of global warming but, other than a couple of very cold nights, we have not even seen winter this year.    Many plants that in normal circumstances would have died back due to a hard frost are still thriving.  While not in bloom right now (this is an old photo) the cheerful gazanias that I have in the pots by my driveway have over wintered quite well.

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While digging under the leaves in some of the beds I found begonias unfrozen and hunkering down for the winter.  African Daisies, considered a tender annual, planted along my pathway are also still thriving.  It has been very strange, and today, as I type it is in the upper 60s almost skirting 70 (which it will be tomorrow). 

I should not complain of course, having suffered with S.A.D. in the past I am quite happy to enjoy these balmy winter days, when on the warmer ones the crickets sing in the evening and the lizards come out during the day to bask in the sun.   Jeremiah, the bullfrog that lives in my pond, can be seen with his nose above the water on the warmer days, he, like the lizards, taking advantage of the sunlight warming his blood.   The birds have appreciated the warmth of course, not having to worry about snow or ice.   To my delight though the Goldfinches came home for the winter, which I was worried they would not do, and can now be seen squabbling over the many feeders in my garden. 

2011 was a strange year, and a sad one as I said goodbye to many of my pets, as we humans are forced to do when we share our lives with those who we are expected to outlive.  I will be posting more news soon, once I get the hang of wordpress.  But welcome to my new home.  I hope you enjoy it.