Monarch Butterflies

I have been planting milkweed around my home for 2 years now along with raising monarch caterpillars inside my home.  I release them into the world after 24 hours of coming out of their chrysalis.

This year is the first year I have found monarch eggs on the milkweed plants outside my home.  I am so happy all my hard work is paying off finally.  I have planted so many flowers and milkweed around my home.  It keeps the monarch coming back for more nourishment and they also lay their eggs on the milkweed.

Twice a day I venture outside to check the milkweed plants for eggs or for hatched caterpillars.  Once I find the eggs or small caterpillars, I take them inside and put them in an old ice cube tray lined with a wet paper towel.  The paper towel helps to contain the moisture of the leaf until the egg hatches.  It generally takes 4 days for them to hatch.

The reason I have been taking them inside is because there are so many aphids and ants on the milkweed plants that can harm the eggs and small caterpillars.  They have a better chance of survival indoors.  I don’t take all of the eggs I find inside.  I take about 10 a day and then let nature take it’s course outside after that.

I did some research on natural ways to get rid of the aphids.

So, what is a natural way to get rid of those pesky aphids on your milkweed plants.

Why lady bugs of course!  I just ordered 1,500 lady bugs from amazon to help control the aphids.  They will be arriving by Wednesday.

Generac Generator

We have lost power so many times in the past 10 years I have lost count.

Ice storms, a tornado, hurricanes and one particular nasty snow/ice storm in October a few years back.  We were without power for 10 days!!!!  Luckily we have a wood stove however it didn’t heat the whole house.  Our poor rescue dogs were not happy. My rescues Dark and cold 

If dark and cold isn’t bad enough, we lost all of our frozen and refrigerated food several times over the years.  Thousands of dollars in food thrown away. 

We finally decided to get a generator.  We wanted one that powered the entire house which is just shy of 4,000 sf.  My husband did a lot of research and we decided on the Generac 7042.  We signed the contract back in early August of 2018.  It took quite a few weeks for the generator to come in.  It was around 2 months.  Once it did, our contractor contacted us to set up the installation.   Keep in mind, you’ll have to set aside a few days to let the contractors do their work.  They need access to your electrical panel and run the gas line. 

Day 1,  the pad went down along with the generator, a few days later the plumber came over to do his hook up.  Once the plumber was done, the electrician came back over to set the system up and to do a test run.  He took his time and explained how the system works and even set up the wi-fi and assisted with the phone app.  The app is amazing.  If there is an issue with the generator both the electrician and I know it even if we aren’t home. 

It’s a huge comfort knowing we have the generator if we ever lose power again.

Lasik Update Week 1

It’s officially been 1 week since the Lasik.

No more eye drops as of today.  As you recall I was using 2 different eye drops, one a steriod and the other an antibiotic in my eyes, PLUS a sterile rewetting drop every 2-3 hours.

Each morning when I wake up my eyes are a bit cloudy which is normal.  It takes about 1/2 hour for them to adjust.  That is mostly due to the build up of “stuff” in and around my eyes as they heal.  A warm, wet face cloth placed over my eyes for a few minutes takes care of that.

The instructions are not to wear eye make up for a week.  My doctor suggested to stretch that to 2 weeks if possible.  I will do that.  What the heck?  I already scared everyone in my office going without make up for an entire week….What’s one more week right?

My close up vision is challenging.  I have worn the cheater glasses for 2 years now so that wasn’t a surprise to me that I still needed them.  My doctor said that the close up vision will get slightly better than it is today within a few weeks, however, I will still require the cheaters for close up work.

All in all I am happy with the progress so far.  I am not one to take it easy and slow down so it’s a bit challenging for me.  I have 2 speeds.  Full speed ahead and sleeping.

My dogs have been so good the entire time.  I think they know that their “Mom” needs some TLC.  I am sure they will be back to their normal self as soon as I am.

2 Weeks Post Op

Woke up at 5:00 am and my eyes were a little blurry, which is normal.  The good news is each  morning my eye site gets sharper and sharper along with less cloudy.

I put in my Sustane Ultra eye drops Eyedrops however I experienced something different this morning.  There was pain in my right eye.  It felt like a pin poking me in the eye.   I gave myself an extra dose of the eye drops and the pain went away only to return an hour later.  I kept using the drops through out the day which made it feel better but only for a short time.

I ended up calling the doctor who asked me to come in.  When I arrived they took me right in and did a few vision tests which went fine.  He examined my eyes and tested them for dryness.  The doctor said my right eye was healing a little slower than the left and it still looked a little rough like sandpaper.  Yikes, that sounds bad.  He said don’t worry, and that I would be fine.

He changed my eye lubricating drops to something a little thicker and longer lasting.  It is called Refresh Optive. Single use drops  He also recommended a special night time eye lubricant which is Refresh PM Ointment or Genteal Ointment. Ointment It’s a thick ointment that stays in your eye all night and keeps them from drying out.  After I put them in I have to go right to bed because I can’t see much at all with that thick stuff in there.  I put on my eye shields and go to bed.

Update:  2 Week Post Op Plus 3 days, which brings us to Memorial Day Weekend.

In general my eyes are feeling better.  The right eye is still being a little stubborn.  They both felt good all day today until around 6:00 pm.  My eyes felt tired and I just wanted to close them.  I rested for a little while and they felt much better.

I’m not unhappy I got the Lasik.  I get impatient and want to see perfect NOW.  I need to chill out and in 2 more weeks all should be just fine.

Fast forward to August.  My vision is great.  The dry eye syndrome has gotten much better.  I only use the drop 3 x a day.  H O W E V E R……………………………………………………………..

I traveled to San Diego, California in mid August and 1 week after I got home I contracted a staph infection on the tip of my nose that spread to my eye!!!!   The very eye that I spent so much time and money on fixing.  It was brutal.  My eye was burning so bad I could hardly open it.  It was red, swollen, tearing like crazy and very painful!!  I called the lasik surgeon and they saw me right away.  I was put on a combo steriod and antibiotic eye drop to clear the infection out of my eye.  My vision was so very cloudy.  All I could see was white, no colors or no shapes of anything.   I was so scared I was going to lose my vision.  I mentioned to the eye dr that the tip of my nose was red and hurt.  That comment wasn’t taken seriously and they said to use the eye drops to clear the infection.

After 1 day it wasn’t much better so I went to my primary care doctor.  He put me on an oral antibiotic and said if I didn’t feel better in 24 hours to go to the ER. Within 1 week I was much better. It was so very scary.

Lasik Eye Correction Surgery

My 28 year old daughter recently had Lasik correction on her eyes.  She raved about it; telling me how wonderful it was and how clearly she can see now.  Her actual surgery is the video below.

I have had glasses since I was in the 4th grade.  I finally got contacts when I was 18 years old.  I am now 53 years old.  I wear my contacts every day and when I get home from work I take them out and put on my heavy, thick glasses.  The glasses have the super thin lenses however with my prescription they are still pretty thick.

After careful consideration I decided to just go for a consult.  The initial appointment was free and lasted about 1 hour and 15 minutes.  The criteria is as follows:

20-55 years of age

Nearsightedness up to a -9.00  (I was a -7)

Your cornea must be of normal thickness and curvature

Do not have Keratoconus or other corneal pathology

Lastly must be in good health

What is Lasik?  Learn More

Step #1  Consult  Schedule about 1.5 hours for this.

Step # 2 You can not wear your contact lenses for at least 3 weeks prior to your procedure.  The contacts actually change the shape of your cornea therefore you can’t wear them anymore.

Step #3 Your procedure.  I was very nervous.  I arrived 15 minutes early, signed and filled out a few forms and then in I went.  The doctor checked my prescription again and gave me a valium and 1/2.

He fully explained the risks and the benefits along with the entire procedure to me. 

We went into the procedure room where numbing drops were put in my eyes.  A cover was put over my left eye as they were working on the right eye first.  My eye was taped open, and then an object was placed over my right eye.  I felt a HUGE amount of pressure like my eye was going to pop out (but obviously it didn’t).  I lost sight completely for about 3 seconds…..Then the laser started.   I was instructed to look at the green light only.  Oh wow, but there were so many pretty red lights all around the green one…….I did my best and focused on the green light.  I smelled a burning smell.  It wasn’t bad or gross, just that smell of burning.  The procedure was so quick!   On to the left eye.  I was anticipating the pressure again and was able to breathe through it.  And once again, DONE so quickly.  Protective eye shields were taped over my eyes and I had to keep my eyes closed for at least 5 hours.

Step #4:  Husband picked me up and  took me home to SLEEP.  Sleep was good for the first 5 hours, and then I got a little bored.  I had to lay flat on my back for the entire time.  That is because of gravity and the cornea flap had to heal.  I eventually got out of bed after 7 hours and opened my eyes briefly.  I was amazed on how clear everything was even through the eye shields.  My eyes felt a little sticky.  Time for the eye drops.  2 different eye drops 4 X a day plus lubricating eye drops.  This sounds like alot but it’s really not.  I fell right into the routine easily.

You have a follow up visit with the doctor the very next day after the procedure and for me I have one more 7 days later and then a few weeks later and so on.   The visits are all included in the initial price.

I am now on day 5 after the procedure.  I feel great!  My eyes are healing quickly.  I am taking fish oil and some extra vitamin C to help with the healing.  I do experience dry eye thoughout the day but that’s normal.  That is what the lubricating drops are for.

Things to remember  DO NOT RUB or TOUCH your eyes!!!!!  More importantly NO EYE MAKE UP for 1 week.  My doctor said to hold off for 2 weeks if possible.

I need to wear my eye guards every night (for 1 week or more) and I also purchased some clear safety glasses to wear around the house.  I have 5 dogs and they do get excited to see me and they tend to jump a little.  The safety glasses are a good extra protection.

Brown Bats

One warm fall evening I was down in my basement taking the dogs out into their fenced in area to do their business before bed.  As I walked down the stairs, turned the corner, I could have sworn I heard something fly by my head like a small drone or something with wings?  I dismissed it because I had 2 glasses of wine.  Oops my bad.   I went back upstairs and forgot about it.

I forgot about it until it happened 3 nights later.  What on earth could that be flying around in my basement?  I ran upstairs and shut the door.  The next day I looked all over the basement without finding anything.  Again, I figured I was hearing things.

Fast forward from October to a VERY COLD December.  I was once again in the cellar taking the dogs out. 

I happened to glance up at the tall ceiling that led up to the garage.  What did my wondering eyes did I see, but a hairy blob of something huddled in the corner.  I was hoping it was just a large gathering of dust.  The more I looked at it, the more it looked like it had hair.  I ran upstairs and got my camera.  I zoomed in on it and took several photos.  I blew the photos up on the computer so i could see what it was.

It was a brown bat.   Brown bat images It must have flown into the garage and then made it’s way into the cellar when the doors were open back on that warm day in October.  I was grossed out but also delighted I wasn’t imagining things after only 2 glasses of wine.  Things flying around my head in the basement in the dark is very scarey.

Now I am thinking.  How on earth will I get that out of my house?   I grabbed a large fishing net and managed to get it into the net.  It sort of just fell into the net like it was sleeping.  

Don’t worry about the next part, because (spoiler alert) the brown bat lived.

I ran outside with the bat in the net and tossed both the net and the bat out into the cold snow.  As I started to close the door behind me I turned around to look at the bat.  It was shivering and cold.  I felt so bad.  Even though I was scared and had the heebie jeebies  Urban Dictionary  I ended up bringing the bat back inside, but just into the garage.  I placed it into a shoe box with a cover. I went back into the house and did some research on how to care for a bat.  There were so many websites and great information.   I was able to warm up a potato, put it in the box next to the bat to keep it warm.  Of course it was still out in the garage in case it got loose.

After about 20 minutes of research I found out that there are people who actually take in the bats in the winter (or anytime) and rehab them.

I was so exited.  I found a semi local place to take the bat.  It was an hour away.  Oh yeah, just what I wanted to do on a Sunday.  I had no choice though.  I love animals and couldn’t bare to see the poor thing die.  

I went back into the garage to check on the bat only to hear it flopping around in the shoe box.  Oh wow, I woke it up from it’s hibernation with the warm potato.  I called the phone number from the website and spoke to the lady who rehabs bats.  She said to bring it right over.  

My husband and I got into the truck and drove an hour to Greenfield, Mass where we met with the very nice lady.  She carefully opened the cover of the box and picked up the brown bat.  She stroked it gently and talked to it.  She told me it was just a baby.  She then explained how she would hydrate the bat and then take it up to her bat room and let it go back into hibernation until the spring when she would release it.  

I was proud of myself for overcoming the stereotypes of bats and looking into how to save instead of just tossing it outside.  

There are so many things bats are good for.  Insect and mosquito control are very important along with spreading polen

My dad made me a bat house as a gift.  Thank you Dad!!  I of course had to decorate it with bats. 

Kennel Cough

Get Well Soon Marcus 12-2018

Kennel Cough

Our poor boy.   He is 11 years old and due to the fact he has tracheal collapse, when he gets kennel cough it’s a long and stressful recovery for him and us, his humans.  He has contracted it several times in his doggie lifetime.

The most recent time, (aka now),  he got it from one of our other 2 dogs that went to the groomer.  3 days after getting groomed the other 2 dogs started coughing and sneezing like crazy.  That spread through the house quickly until all the dogs were coughing.

The good news?  3 out of the 4 dogs recovered within 3 days on the meds.  The bad news is Marcus is lagging behind.  All the dogs were prescribed Clavomax.  That didn’t seem to do the “trick” for Marcus so after consulting with our veterinarian he was switched to Baytril.  Cross your fingers this works quickly.

What is Kennel cough? It’s a infectious tracheobronchitis.  In simple English, it’s a doggie cold.

There are many different strains just like the human common cold.   The most popular cause is Bordetella bronchiseptica. 

Vaccines are helpful in preventing kennel cough however it doesn’t guarantee your dog won’t get it.  There are 3 forms of vaccines.  One is injection, the second is oral and the third is a mist.

Our dogs are doing the reverse sneeze thing, coughing and then gagging and spitting up white froth.  I am cleaning up the mess quickly and disinfecting the house and their beds.

Marcus Kennel Cough Episode

What is tracheal collapse?  It’s a condition where the windpipe begins to collapse.  Think of it this way; you put a straw in a thick milkshake and suck.  The straw usually collapses.  That’s what happens to dogs with tracheal collapse.

It’s common in small dogs, especially Yorkies.  Our Marcus is a Maltese Yorkie known as a Morkie.  We have switched his collar to a harness so it takes the pressure off of his neck at all times.   We also notified the groomer so the next time he does go they will be very careful with the harness they put around his neck to keep him still during the grooming process.

It took Marcus 2 weeks to show signs of improvement.  Today (2 weeks later) he is only coughing when he gets super excited or barks.  He is on the road to recovery.

Peek a boo

Rescue Me Part 5 of a 5 Part Series Rescue Dogs

As the title states;  “Last But Not Least”.     SOLD FOR $5.00 TO THE CONNORS FAMILY Rescue date October 20, 2012

October 20th, 2012.

We discovered there was a little female dog that needed rescuing.  She was at the HartfordAnimalShelter

A little history on the dog, she was found in a park in Hartford, CT dragging her leash behind her running through the park.  Did someone lose her or just let her go?  I wonder? 

We couldn’t bring all of our other dogs at once to meet her so we only took 1 of them to meet the new dog.  We decided to take Amber. Amber is very friendly and a good judge or character in other dogs.

The latest rescue is a terrier mix, beige with some orange on the tips of her ears.  She was cute but very shy and timid.  She seemed to be scared of her own shadow.  We played with her for a while.  She was playful and liked to give kisses.   We ended up signing the papers to adopt her a few days later.  She was a whopping $5.00.  She wasn’t spayed so we would need to get that done asap!  I held her on my lap on the ride home thinking of a name for her.  It was October and we were driving by a large pumpkin patch.  I looked at her, saw the orange hair on the tips of her ears.  That was it…. We would call her Pumpkin….Punky for short. 

The first few days were great.  Everyone got along fine.  Then, “IT” hit the fan.  It was potty time and I gathered everyone up to go down to the walkout basement and into the fenced in area to go to the bathroom.  Everyone made it to the bottom of the stairs and then I heard this horrendous scuffle with yipping, barking and growling!!!!  It was Punky and Riley going at it.  I was in a panic.  I had never experienced a dog fight before.  I grabbed Riley by the hind end, spun her around gently away from Punky and picked her up.  We all walked outside and I put Riley in a separate area of the pen.  I was so upset.  Thank goodness no one got hurt, including me.

Unfortunately Riley and Punky got into another fight a few days later and then again a few days after that.  We had a MAJOR decision to make.  We either have to keep Punky away from the other 4 dogs (just in case she fights with the others), hire a trainer, or bring her back to the animal shelter. 

11-14-2012 : 
 I searched and searched the internet for articles and advise on how to train an aggressive dog and how to fix “sibling rivalry”    I purchased a book from Cesar Millan

and went on his website, read until I was exhausted.  I studied why dogs are aggressive towards other dogs and how to fix it.   dog-aggressive

I was able to learn some pretty impressive things from the site and reading the books, however,  I needed some one on one personal help.  I decided to hire a trainer.  I wanted someone to come to my house and physically see what is going on here.  I decided on  Who You Gonna Call?

I highly recommend this training to any dog owner that is having issues with their dogs. As you have read, we have 5 small dogs. The 1st dog we purchased from a breeder and the other 4 are rescue dogs. The last rescue dog named Pumpkin arrived 3 weeks ago. She is a 2 year old female West Highlander Mix. We knew we needed professional help when she showed severe signs of aggression and fear.  She would snap, lunge and growl at the other dogs. I came to the decision we would have to find another home for the dog or find a miracle worker to fix this situation. I was in tears thinking about giving Pumpkin away. We decided we could not give up on the dog because obviously someone else did already.  We ended up calling a company called Bark Busters. When Scott arrived I was a bit nervous because not only was the new dog aggressive and barking at Scot the second he pulled in but, all the dogs were on their absolute worst behavior. A perfect scenario for Scot though.  I quickly learned that MY actions and behavior was 99% of the problem.  I wasn’t being the alpha dog or leader.  Scott taught me how to be the “leader of the pack”.  

The program is pretty intense, in a good way.  I saw instant results within the first 15 minutes of instruction, and within a few hours, I was amazed that my dogs were actually listening to us. No more jumping on us, no more barking at the doorbell, and the most important to us was no more fighting. We were able to have company this weekend and for the first time in a long time, I was not embarrassed on how much my dogs were barking or begging. I am very happy also with the email support I get from Scot when I have a question. He gets right back to me with an answer. Thanksgiving was certainly going to be a great one this year!

We found after a week the dogs were starting to revert to their original behavior.  We had to check ourselves because we were the ones that weren’t adhering to the program.  I thought the dogs were going to stay well behaved no matter what I did.  So each day I have to really watch MYSELF and adhere to all the thing I have learned.  

Look below who is playing with the neighbors dogs through the fence.  Prior to her training, she would be going crazy barking and scared to death. 

Elevated Pet Bed

Punky is staying and will remain a member of our family.  She even has her own stocking which we will put her name on it.

Her behavior is much, much better.  She is less stressed and trusts us completely.  She sometimes has issues with the other dogs still, and we have to keep her in check.