LEIA VERSUS THE ARMY OF 500

Leia 6 1/2 months

Leia is waging war on the Army of Zinnias. Their training base has been located in my backyard for over twenty years.

the brave volunteers

About a month ago the volunteers started to emerge from the trenches where they had wintered over.  Leia immediately pounced on the unsuspecting troops. She dug into their trenches and uprooted their supplies. 

The General put out a desperate call to the Horticultural Army for reinforcements.

Five hundred zinnia troops were dispatched and deployed to the demilitarized zone where they trained in canine deception tactics. 

The odds are not good.

Leia versus an army of 500 zinnias . . . the battle rages on, one platoon follows another in an unrelenting assault. 

The battle is sure to heat up during the long days of summer.

Zinnias are celebrated for their bravery and hardiness. They are most likely to triumph.

Ongoing reports from the Seed & Stem Channel will keep everyone informed about events occurring on the front lines.

Stay tuned . . .

When Leia abandons the battle, she turns to snooping. Heidi even suggested we call her Snoopers.

She scoped out the dishwasher when my back was turned and took a spoon. 

Leia and her stolen spoon

Hey diddle diddle
It’s Leia and the fiddle
And the cow jumped over the moon.
A little dog laughed to see such a sport
And Leia ran away with the spoon
. (apologies to Mother Goose)

Then I mistakenly trusted the little stinker, and she grabbed the current issue of the Chronicle of the Horse.

Perusing her magazine

Life is never dull with Leia around.

Dear Readers: I enjoy sharing my life with Leia, but sometimes there’s a lull in appropriate material on which to base a blog post. I’d love to have your requests and ideas for future posts.  You can leave your response in comments or contact me personally.  Thank you in advance for your input and suggestions. It will be very much appreciated.  

SIX MONTH MILESTONE

May 17, 2020 – Leia is 6 months old today.

She’s almost as tall as Heidi and can no longer walk under Heidi’s belly or run between Heidi’s hind legs.  One of the biggest six month milestones is the major breakthrough in Leia’s housebreaking.  About five weeks ago it was like a switch flicked on in her brain. Since then she has not soiled her crate or had any accidents in the house. She consistently goes to the back door when she needs to go out. I hope I don’t jinx myself by proudly proclaiming her achievement!

She now sleeps through the night; ah, it feels good to get a full night’s uninterrupted sleep. 

I continue to train regularly, but the pandemic quarantine has made it impossible to do close proximity training. As a result, Leia, unfortunately, still wants to jump on people when she first greets them. She is the first puppy I’ve had that does not want to keep four paws on the ground, in spite of my conscientious training attempts from day one. 

Leia and I go for outings without Heidi which is when we bond and work on leash manners.  She’s a pleasure to walk on leash in public.   

Then there are the days when I take both Leia and Heidi for off leash sojourns in safe venues.  Some of these places have water access, and Leia wastes no time submerging herself and getting muddy.  She’s still figuring out how to swim – she does a splashy dog paddle with her front paws.  She is so passionate about water, and it’s delightful to watch her joy. 

Heidi in foreground – Leia down creek (or should it be Leia is up the creek?)

But . . . I still can’t trust her loose in the house.

Why?  She’s still a thief!

She has discovered a box in the laundry room where I store random cleaning supplies. She loves the scrub brush, and the other day she stole a box of small trash bags. I’d gotten distracted by something and forgot she was loose.  By the time I remembered, she had completely demolished the carton and was whipping a trash bag around. 

She also likes to help me unload clean laundry from the dryer – unloading means stealing.  She stole a sock and ran off.  After she relinquished it, she rejoined me to see what else she could grab.

Yesterday she tried to swipe my mail-in voter’s ballot from my kitchen table. She claims she’s now old enough to vote. I explained that she would have to pass her Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test first before we could consider voting privileges.  (Note: The CGC test is administered and conferred by an examiner certified by the AKC. It is one test usually required as part of the process of becoming a registered therapy dog.)

Leia is also promoting herself as a wine connoisseur. She checks out the various wine bottles in the rack and allows the aroma to roll upon her palate.  She leans towards those varieties that have notes of raspberries intermingling with traces of tartness and a buttery melody.  <rolls eyes>

The puppy next door, Harper, is Leia’s playmate; they’re the same age.  Harper is a female Bernese Mountain Dog/German Shepherd mix, and she’s named after the Phillies player Bryce Harper.  Sometimes they get together to romp, and other times they play through the fence.  Heidi is the self-appointed umpire.

Leia keeps a sharp eye peeled for an open gate so she can dash upstairs. She makes a beeline for my bedroom where she grabs my slipper and slobbers all over the L.L. Bean insignia. She would love to take permanent possession.

So that’s where its at folks – life with six month old Leia is delightful.   

Leia at six months

SEEDS OF HOPE

HANNAH

Hannah would have been 13 today.

When she died last September this paw print was enclosed in the sympathy card I received from my vet. 

It is handcrafted from 100% cotton with annuals and wildflower seeds embedded.

I saved it to plant this Spring in memory of Hannah.

Then Leia arrived – the garden digger . . .

I knew that if I wanted the seeds to grow that I would have to look for a creative alternative.  So I decided a pot would be my best option. 

I had a little ceremony this morning to celebrate Hannah’s birthday, and gently buried the paw in fresh potting soil. It’s now sitting in the sun behind a Leia barrier. 

I can’t wait to see if they germinate. 

There’s something perpetual about gardens and blooms. . . joyful expectation.

They teach us to nurture our own garden of hope.

MOTHER’S DAY WITH LEIA

Leia at 5 1/2 months

She looks innocent, doesn’t she?

Don’t believe it!

Her Mother’s Day gift to me so far has been a variety of mischievous pranks.

After a quiet breakfast with Leia and Heidi relaxing peacefully in the kitchen with me, all hell breaks loose.

Leia disappears, and it’s a few moments before I realize she’s no longer in the kitchen. I scurry to the family room and find her with my coat. She’s riffled through the pockets and seems content to lie upon it. I gently convince her to “give,” all the time chuckling under my breath. I hang up my coat out of pup-reach and turn to find that she has taken my shoe. Again, we practice “giving,” and she very kindly relinquishes my shoe. Happy Mother’s Day – woof!

I place the shoe out of pup-reach and decide that it would be a good idea to let Leia and Heidi out into the yard. Out they go!

When they come in, I give them a bowl of water.  Leia drinks first (no manners), and then promptly picks up the bowl when she’s finished and dumps the remaining water all over the laundry room floor.  She does have a fixation on indoor pools! I quickly grab a towel to soak up the water, and Leia disappears. 

Unfortunately, I left the gate open to the living room when I carried the laundry down.

I know where she’s gone – upstairs!!

I call “LEIA!” in my sternest boss voice, and she magically appears at the top of the landing where she’s been up to nonsense in the bathroom.  “Hi Mom! Happy Mother’s Day!”

I run upstairs – fortunately, she had not unraveled the roll of toilet paper.  When she saw me coming, she ran into my bedroom and tried to steal my slipper.  She dropped it when I said, “NO!”  Then she hopped into Heidi’s dog bed for two seconds before running to the rear corner of my bedroom where she put her paws up on my bed. 

She then runs back to the bathroom and investigates the bathtub – think indoor pool . . .

By this time Heidi has appeared.  Heidi always wants to help keep order, but Leia just snuffs at her.

I finally took Leia’s collar gently and escorted her downstairs. 

She went into the kitchen and took an unsuccessful swipe at trying to grab my fleece jacket hanging on my chair. 

I continue escorting her to her crate for some chill-out time.

All that LOVING energy!

I guess there’s a Mother’s Day walk in the works. . . and I can’t stop laughing!

CELEBRATING APRIL’S SEND-A-CARD MONTH

April is designated by the US Postal Service as national send a card or write a letter month. When I read about it, I decided it would give me a creative outlet and an opportunity to reach out to friends. I only sent out cards that I made. Some were my dried leaf cards and others were newer creations designed for specific persons.

I hand wrote personal messages in each card knowing it was a special way to let my friends know I was thinking about them during the COVID quarantine. I have discovered that one of the most difficult things about the quarantine for me is missing my friends, touching, and hugging.

This card went to a friend who celebrated her 65th birthday on April 27th. I came across the pen & ink sketch when I was cleaning out my craft supplies. The frame was salvaged from another card I’d received many years ago and decided to repurpose.

This card was designed specifically for a husband and wife. He is a writer and knows how to facilitate change and get people involved. His call for action is always a type of revolution. And she is a an artist who incorporates the figures of goddesses into her work. She messaged me and said how much they loved this card. I knew it was perfect for the two of them!

This card was designed for a childhood friend and her husband. The three of us all have a warped sense of humor. We certainly are prime examples of disorderly, vigorous, and disreputable senior citizens.

When I found this horse picture, I knew right away it would make a great card and who would get it. As I started working with the image it made me think of a carousel horse, so I used strips of craft paper and washi tape to create a linear effect. I almost kept it for myself!

Many of my friends got one-of-a-kind leaf cards which I’ve been making for several years. I’ve accumulated quite an inventory, and I love choosing which card goes to an individual. These leaf cards are very time consuming to make, and many recipients opt to frame them. I enjoy sharing my creative efforts as much as I enjoy receiving cards and letters myself.

I got so absorbed in the project, the days in April just flew by; it certainly helped cope with the challenges of the non-routine quarantine. Unfortunately, I forgot to photograph most of the cards I made before I sealed them in an envelope and mailed them.

And I, too, received cards and letters from friends during the month of April along with text messages and emails commenting on and thanking me for the cards I’d sent.

Everyone said the same thing, “It’s such a treat to get personal mail delivered!”