Blazes, Blooms and Barks

August 23, 2013 | My Jottings

It’s the most beautiful morning in our part of Northeastern Minnesota. We finally turned the central air conditioning off yesterday after a spate of hot, humid days. I glided through the house (glided? well, pretty close) and opened windows and breathed in the drier, cooler air. It actually got down to about 49 degrees last night and it felt delicious in our bedroom being covered with quilts and feeling the hint of autumn blow over us. Today is supposed to be warm, and tomorrow and Sunday are supposed to be oppressively hot and humid, and then I’ll be gliding around again to close the windows and turn on the air.

We’re getting ready to have gas inserts installed in each of our two fireplaces, but before that can be done, some chimney repair and preparation had to be done. The masonry company was here yesterday doing the work, and they’ll finish up today.


Then it will be time to decide which fireplace insert company we want to do the job, and to shop for what the actual faces of the inserts will look like. Perhaps something that looks a little like this. I’ll be sure to post pictures when the project is completed.

We love the sound and smell of a true wood fireplace or stove, but we’re trying to be realistic. Buying, chopping and stacking wood, carrying it in several times a week for a cheery blaze each day in the dining room hearth, and then cleaning out the fireplace, are not something I’m going to add to my plate. We had a gas insert in the first house we ever owned and while we missed that crackle and pop of a wood fire, we loved getting up on a chilly morning and turning on a warm fire with the flick of a switch. It heated the downstairs in minutes and was so economical in the fall and spring when we wanted to warm things up without turning on the furnace for the whole house. So hopefully by the time the snow flies (which can be October) we’ll be enjoying our meals by firelight.

We had such a long winter this year, our hostas are blooming late. They usually bloom in late June. These are in front of our deck, to the right.


And here’s a picture of Mildred Virginia Sizzlelorum, aka Millie, doing her morning sniffing in the front yard.


You can click to enlarge these photos if you like, and if you do you’ll be able to see the three collars the dogs wear when they go outside. The blue one is Millie’s regular collar, with a cute little blue bone tag that gives her name and phone number in case she gets lost. The red one is an electric fence collar to keep the dogs on our property instead of traipsing around the neighborhood as they would be likely to do on their own. If they walk too close to the underground wire around the perimeter of the lot, their dog fence collars go BEEP-BEEP-BEEP loudly and then the dogs back away from where they’ve been. The black collar with the hangy down strip is one of the anti-bark collars we were forced to get when we moved into this house a little over a year ago. If you’ve never seen the “anonymous” note our across-the-street neighbors wrote on the back of a piece of our mail back then, you can click here for a smile or a smirk.

Our scruffy Schnauzers are yippy little things, it’s true. When they see people strolling by, or squirrels trying to finagle the birdseed out of the hanging feeder, or when the postal carrier brings our mail each afternoon, they bark. And bark. And bark. It can be irritating. So to deter them from their outdoor barkiness, we now put horrible black shock collars on them before they go out to potty, to keep them from bothering Burt and Arlene. Thankfully Schnauzers are known to be fairly bright dogs, and Edith and Mildred learned within 24 hours what those black collars were for, and they keep quiet when we put them on. If we don’t put them on they know it, and they run outside and begin to bark almost immediately. 🙁

In knee news, I am now ten weeks post op. I went to my physical therapy appointment yesterday, where I reached a milestone of sorts. ROM (range of motion) is paramount when recovering from knee replacement surgery, and measurements are taken each time I go to PT. Up until yesterday, I’d only been able to straighten my right leg to 12 degrees, 0 degrees (totally flat) being the goal. And I’ve only been able to bend my knee (flexion) to 95 – 100 degrees while holding my mouth open in a silent scream. Yesterday my ROM was 5 degrees and 112. Yay! Improvement. I told my PT Suzanne that I felt like my progress had sped up, from Glacial Speed to Tortoise Speed. We laughed together.

Do you have any weekend plans? Reading? What are you reading? Baking? What will you make? Traveling? Where will you go?

We’ll be at home this weekend, putting on and taking off many different collars on our pooches several times a day. And reading a bit. And giving thanks for being able to do a little straightening, flexing and gliding, considering the knee and all.  🙂


  1. Linda says:

    Home all weekend My first overnight weekend visit with Rody… He turned four months old today & He is our miracle baby ….as is my friendship with you dear Julie thru Holy “airwaves” ! Think of you often & pray for you always… L XO

  2. Just Julie says:

    I’m so happy you get that time with him Linda! He’s such a beautiful boy, and blessed to have you in his life, as am I! xoxo

  3. Helen in Switzerland says:

    Well done on doing your exercises and on the knee progress!!! You’ll be running marathons before you know what’s happening!!

  4. Just Julie says:

    Maybe I’ll run marathons in heaven, Helen! Hahaha…I’m happy every day if I can walk enough to go grocery shopping! 🙂 xoxo

  5. Ganeida says:

    I am dealing with neurotic cats. Suitcases do that to them. 🙂

  6. Just Julie says:

    Poor kitties! Isn’t it amazing how tuned in our pets can be? Our schnauzers hate when Michael and I are gone for the night and act very on edge until we return. I’m thinking of Libby and all of you, dear Ganeida… xo

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