Friday, February 6

My Neighbor is Leaving

Do you remember my neighbor, Marianne? She was unemployed and then she fell and hurt her leg and had to have surgery. Well, things have turned around for her a bit.

Marianne is a social worker and before she fell, she had applied for a job in Nunavut and had been accepted if she could meet certain conditions by providing references and paperwork. Well, even though she had the surgery, she met her obligations. Last weekend she let me know she had been accepted for the job.

Yesterday she phoned and told me she is leaving February 18th. She will keep her house and possibly return when she has leave. She will be in the Baffin Island area. What a great opportunity for her. She will be making good money, possibly come home for visits and get to enjoy the beauty of Canada's North.

Congratulations, Marianne. Though I will miss your company, I wish you all the best on your new adventure.

What will this mean for my blogging friends? I'm hoping she will send lots of photos through email that I can share with you. Possibly she will be able to tell a few tales as well. She has worked in Nunavut before and so she knows what she's up against. I think this is a marvelous opportunity and almost wish that I was going with her, but then I couldn't bear to leave here because of family and my new little Dakota.

Enjoy the weekend, my friends. We are to have warmer weather and I'm hoping that we can get out with the grandsons and Dakota for some fresh air and sunshine. If we do, I will be sure to take along the camera. ~Blessings, Mary~
PS. For those who aren't aware, Nunavut (pronounced noon-a-voot) is Canada's newest territory. You can find Baffin Island just above the red lettering at Hudson's Bay that says Canada. Look up and just a little to the right. Hope this helps.

Thursday, February 5

A Better Day with Dakota

I went to bed right after posting last night and put Dakota in his box in our bedroom. It told him, "Bed time." He seems to get this and went to sleep. However, just after hubby left for work, I heard him whine and get out of the box. By the time I got to the kitchen, he was wetting on the newspaper by the back door.

When he had finished his business, I put him back in his box and once again said, "Bed time." I never heard another sound out of him until hubby got home this morning, though there was evidence that he had used the newspaper earlier, as it was wet.

Immediately, hubby took Dakota outside and he actually did BIG business outside. That is great. I am hoping not to pick up too much puppy poop and it's great he went outside.

Here he is coming back up the sidewalk. You can tell his approximate size by hubby's feet. He wears a size 9, so he doesn't have a large foot.
Dakota sitting in the living room. He will sit when I tell him most of the time, and now he is starting to respond to his name. I called his name while poising the camera and he looked right at me.

Hubby and I decided to surprise Brandon and Jordan and take Dakota to pick them up from school. They were dying to see him again. Above, hubby has Dakota wrapped in a towel so he won't widdle in the van.

The boys were delighted that we picked them up and then took Dakota back to their place to meet Michelle and their dog, Buddy. Here the boys are holding him on the couch.

Jordan has a time holding Dakota as sometimes he's a bit wiggly. Here he's trying to get away.

Then they played the game of running around the table. Dakota got a little excited and widdled on the floor. Brandon got some paper towel and cleaned it up. That really surprised me.
Dakota got to meet the boys' dog, Buddy. I was surprised at how well Buddy accepted Dakota because he was infringing on Buddy's territory and Buddy doesn't usually like others of his species. However, he seemed to like Dakota and he wasn't at all afraid. Hopefully this means Dakota will be easy to socialize. We like to take our dogs to the dog park and of course there are all different breeds of dogs there. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I'm happy with the way he reacted.
Buddy was getting a little excited near the end, so Michelle held Dakota while I got my coat on. He is watching Buddy like a hawk. Michelle thinks he's cute and Barry came home while we were there and he even held Dakota for a while.

There isn't much in my life right now except Dakota. When he sleeps I either work on my writing or do chores. Not much of either getting done but today was a much better day and he's learning, so that is a plus.

On another note, Brandon handed in his choices for his high school courses today. He chose welding, horticulture, life studies and a few others that he thinks he will be interested in. I think he chose wisely. Originally, he had chosen gym over life studies, but when he found out he would learn to cook and that they have a restaurant at the high school, he changed gym to life studies. I think that course will be good for him and he will learn to wait on tables, cook, clean up and other things that go with working in a restaurant. Gym is not something that he always enjoys, so I think he made a good decision with that.

Take care. Anytime you get tired of hearing about Dakota, let me know and I will try very hard to find something else to blog about. ~Blessings, Mary~

Wednesday, February 4

I'm Tuckered Out

This post will be short and sweet because Dakota has me plum tuckered out. He slept all night, but woke me up this morning at 5:45. Now I don't mind getting up fairly early but I'd like it to be at least an hour later than that. However, he had other plans.

He was frisky all day and you have to keep your eye on him every minute. He can find things I didn't even realize were in this house. Like small pieces of paper and if he can't find one, he uses the newspaper we have by the kitchen door to make his own.

He is a cutey though. I bought him a chicken leg squeeze toy at the grocery store this morning. Watching him carry it around the house is hilarious. He takes it by the small end and carries it until he gets tired and then he drags it.

He slept from 6:30 tonight until about 8pm and then napped until 10pm. Now he is up and a ball of energy. I told hubby he could watch him until he goes to work. I'm going to bed. I'm not sure how long it will be for, so best be getting there.

Though every muscle in our bodies ache from bending down and chasing him around, we wouldn't trade him for anything. He seems to be very intelligent. I showed him where his water bowl was last night and he went straight for it after he had done his business this morning. I did get him to eat canned puppy food but he's having nothing to do with the dry chow.

Good night, my gentle readers. I will try to get more time to visit. ~Blessings, Mary~

Tuesday, February 3

Meet Dakota

We hadn't planned on getting a puppy so soon, but when the opportunity arose, we couldn't resist.Meet Dakota. He is 8 weeks old and is cute as a button. We went to pick him up this afternoon. He has two sisters that are still waiting to be adopted.

Brandon and Jordan went with us to have a look. Grandpa thought they would like that and they even got out of school a few minutes early, which was a BIG hit.

We looked at all three puppies in the litter, but this little guy seemed to have the most spunk. They all looked very much alike. Dakota is a lab/shepherd cross.

When it came time to take him to the van, we were given a towel in case he had an accident on the way home. Brandon carried him to the car and gave him to Jordan while he put his seatbelt on. Jordan held him for about ten minutes and then asked Brandon to take him. Brandon was happy to oblige.

Brandon held him for most of the drive home. Dakota looked out the window and finally fell asleep in Brandon's arms. He did wake up and whine a little and Brandon talked to him and cuddled him. He said, "There, Little Fella. I'll wrap you in the towel and get you nice and warm." He did and Dakota was asleep in no time.

When we got home, hubby carried the dog and set him down in the snow. We wanted to see if he would do his business before coming into the house. That didn't happen. I don't think Dakota had ever stood in the snow before, but he was curious about the world around him.

Once in the house, the boys played with him. He chased both boys around the kitchen table a couple of times and then they found one of Meeko's balls and rolled it across the floor. Dakota chased it and jumped and played. The boys laughed and so did I. Hubby had gone to the pet store to get him some puppy chow.

Here is Brandon holding Dakota. He really likes him. He was thrilled that they were having fun together.
Above, Dakota decided that he was going to get hold of Jordan's sweater and pull him. Sorry boy, you aren't that big yet. He did give Jordan a little nip, but I explained that puppies do this and that he has to be corrected. It is unacceptable behavior.

Here, Dakota is feeling very comfortable in Jordan's arms and Jordan is happy to be snuggling him. We had to take up hubby's slippers, as Dakota had his eye on them and was going to try carrying them round. Slippers and puppies just don't mix, so the boys set them on the couch on a newspaper.

After the boys left with hubby to be taken home, Dakota curled up on the floor and drifted off to sleep. He slept all the time hubby was gone and only got up to see who came in. Then he laid down and slept again.

We got him to eat and drink a little, but I think he was plumb tuckered out. We fixed him a box lined with a blanket at one end and newspaper at the other, as this was the way they had the crate set up for the pups. Tomorrow, hubby and I will get Meeko's old crate out of the shed and we will clean it and set it up for Dakota. That way he will have a safe and secure place to go if he wants to be alone and it will keep him safe if hubby and I have to go out at the same time.

Even though we adopted Dakota so soon after Meeko passed, he will never replace him. He will have a new place in our hearts and we will remember Meeko as the beautiful and loving companion that he was.

I hope that you have a pet in your life. They relieve anxiety and stress and bring laughter and love into your life. ~Blessings, Mary~

Monday, February 2

In honour of Black History Month, I give you, George Washington Carver...

George Washington Carver was born in Diamond, Missouri, sometime around 1861. He never knew his actual birth date, as records weren't always kept in those days. His mother was Susan Carver, a slave, which made George a slave as well. They lived on the farm of Moses Carver, who was George's father.

When George was still an infant, he and his mother were kidnapped by "night riders. Of course, that was during the Civil War. Moses Carver finally tracked George down and got him back by trading him for a race horse that was worth $300. At the time, George was very ill, suffering from whooping cough. Though he recovered, the illness made him very frail. He was unable to do heavy chores like other slaves, and so he was taught to learn and sew. George worked in the "big house" for his keep.

George enjoyed spending long hours alone in the woods around the farm. He loved nature and flowers and decided to take up gardening. People thought he was strange because he talked to his flowers. His interest increased and he began collecting specimens of plants and flowers from the woods.

When the Civil War ended, George could have left the Moses farm. Both he and his brother, James, chose to remain there. George taught himself to read. He had a desire to become educated. Not many black people could read in those days. Slave owners didn't want their slaves to have any education.

When George was ten, his father sent him to Kansas to school. While he lived there, he earned his living by working as a cook, a farm hand and a laundry helper. The work was hard, but George was determined to continue his schooling. He succeeded. He finished high school and set his sights on university.

George applied to Highland University, but was refused entry because he was black. George didn't give up. He continued to apply to universities and colleges. It wasn't until he was 30 that he finally was accepted to Simpson College in Iowa. There, he earned a living by ironing clothes for other students.

After George had been at Simpson for a year, he applied to what is now Iowa State University. He was accepted and graduated in 1896. He was the first black person to graduate from the school. He'd made history. He wrote his thesis on the amaryllis plant.

Since George had excelled in his studies, the university hired him as a teacher. Though he instructed others, he never gave up studying. He continued to focus on plants and soil. He conducted experiments on several types of fungus that were killing wheat, oats, blueberries and maple trees. After two years, he received his Master's Degree.

It was after he had his degree that Booker T. Washington invited him to teach at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, which was a college for blacks. He accepted and worked there for the rest of his life.

At Tuskegee, George developed a method to rotate crops. He planted cotton one year and peanuts the next. Did you know that peanuts replenish minerals in the soil? Because the ground was more fertile, the next year's cotton crop produced more. But as time went on, George found he had far too many peanuts on his hands. What could he do with them?

After a lot of thought and experimenting, George came up with over two dozen uses for peanuts. The farmers of the area were happy. They were making more money from peanuts than they were from cotton.

George continued to study. Plant chemistry was one of his many interests. He studied over three hundred uses for peanuts, soybeans, sweet potatoes, and clay. He received numerous awards for his work on these projects. It was his goal to find uses for lots of common things. Today, he would be regarded as a great inventor and scientist.

George never married. He was more interested in the world, plants and nature than in settling down and raising a family. He believed in God and was very religious. He died on January 5, 1943, at Tuskegee from anemia. In his Will, he left $30,000 to science. He left the world a great legacy.

I hope you enjoyed this brief look into the life of George Washington Carver. Have a great week. ~Blessings, Mary~

Sunday, February 1

Black History Month 2009: The Founding of the NAACP

February is Black History Month and this year is the Centennial of the NAACP. On February 12, 1909, The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was founded by a multiracial group of activists, who answered "The Call," in the New York City, NY. They initially called themselves the National Negro Committee.

On the 100th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birthday, February 12, 1909, six black and white citizens, formed the NAACP, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The struggle of African Americans to secure their rights had sometimes led to violent confrontations between blacks and whites. This is the Centennial year of the founding of the NAACP and is being celebrated throughout February, which is Black History Month.

I have always been interested in Black History and throughout February, I will occasionally post articles recognizing the role that African Americans and Canadians have played in the history of these countries.
Just to let my readers know that Meeko is missed here. The house is eerily silent. No toenails clicking on the laminate floor. No jingling of dogtags, but we are thankful for the eight years that we had him as our constant companion. He will always hold a special place in our hearts.

I had a touch of cabin fever today and wanted to get out of the house. It is strange being here without Meeko. It's been 20 years since we've been without a canine companion in the house, which makes us feel rather lost. So, when the power went out, we gave up our cleaning projects and went for a drive in the countryside, along the Grand River.

The river is high and in some places it is iced over and the water is not evident. In others, it is moving swiftly. It was a mild day and I thought there might be some ducks or geese about, but we didn't see any.

The above photo was taken from an old railroad bridge that has been made into a walkway. This allows people to get to different areas of the city by crossing the river instead of having to walk all the way around. It is very convenient. You can see another old bridge in the distance if you look closely.

This is an area of trails and there is a bench in this lovely spot where you can sit and a place for kids to have a bit of a break. I love the old evergreen. It has been there for as long as I can remember. There was no trail when I was young, but the old evergreen was there.
This is a spot along another area of the hiking trail. You can see the Grand River just beyond the shrubbery. It was flowing swiftly in this spot. I am looking downriver.
The Grand is really high in this spot and there will definitely be flooding when the ice melts upriver. This is not uncommon here. There is also a trail nearby and this is a great spot to park your car in the spring and take a nice walk. This is the area of the river that was right in front of us.

This is the same area but from a different angle. Here, I'm looking upriver. I love the shades of blue in this photo. This is part of the trail. As you can see by the sign, the trail is closed, but some people have been walking in the area and it was a nice day for a walk today. Hubby and I didn't walk this section of trail today. We are planning on a return visit in the spring, after the flooding has subsided and the mud has dried up.

Thanks for coming along with me on our little excursion. When we got back to the house, the power was back on but while I was writing this post it went off again for about five minutes. Not sure what is up with that, as it isn't storming and there is no snow or ice that should be affecting the lines.

Thank you to all those who left comments and sent cards of sympathy over the weekend. Your kind words of love and support were very much appreciated.

Take care and enjoy your week. Remember to take time to do a random act of kindess. ~Blessings, Mary~