A small, family farm in Wisconsin

Posts tagged ‘Charlie’

A New Addition

After our Boston Terrier Charlie died in July, Lee and I missed him so much. The house wasn’t the same without that little clown around. We agreed that we needed to find another pup to fill our home and hearts. It didn’t take long to find a few Bosties fairly close to us. We chose Frankie.
Frankie is a fawn colored Boston Terrier. He’s beautiful. He has dark lining around his eyes, and he looks like he’s smiling. His ears are magnificent, and he may or may not grow into them.
We’re still learning about his personality, and I think it’s evolving. He’s a snuggler, a little shy and nervous in new situations. He’s stubborn and sassy and challenging. House breaking is mostly done. He has had the occasional accident, but they’re getting rare.
I had forgotten how time consuming puppies can be!
Our memories of Charlie will always be with us. We talk about him so often. Frankie isn’t a replacement. He’s an addition to our family.frankie 8-21-14 Frankie 9-27-2 Frankie2 8-24-14

Spring Update

hawaii52       Blogging has gone by the wayside lately, so it’s time for a little update.
This has been another late spring, due to very cold temperatures. Lee has just finished planting corn, and got a start on soybeans but then the rains came. We got so much rain that Lee is concerned about the bean seeds washing out. That’s the way farming goes. We just have to roll with it.
Our little Charlie is doing well. We know there’s cancer growing somewhere inside him, but he seems fairly normal and isn’t showing any pain. We keep a very close eye on him. We don’t want him to suffer.When Charlie had his surgery he was shaved on his belly, and one leg, and a large patch on his back. The back shave was to facilitate the placement of a fentanyl patch for pain. Oddly, not one bit of hair has grown back. There just isn’t any new growth. The surgery was in early April, so it’s been 2 months! Just an odd little bit of trivia for you.
In about a month my kids and I will be embarking on my bucket list trip to Hawaii. For me it will be a return to my birth place and a reunion with my mother’s family. Some of those family members I know and remember. Others I don’t recall having met. The main reason I haven’t been connected with this side of my family is that my mother didn’t stay connected with them and wouldn’t talk about them. I actually had to search for them and found them through a query on a genealogy forum. I was able to hook up with a cousin through that forum and then used Facebook to find and connect with the rest. One of the people I’m excited about is my half sister, who I haven’t seen since I was 11 years old. Well anyway,it’s going to be a fun and rewarding trip and I can’t wait for my kids to see the island where I was born and spent part of my childhood.
I’m planning to blog daily while we’re on our vacation, so that family and friends will be able to see and read about what we’re up to.
How about a recipe? We’re trying to eat more salads as entrees. It’s hard to get all those veggies into our daily diet.
Here’s a salad we like a lot. It’s a taco salad. You can substitute lower fat ingredients wherever you want to and it will still be great.
1 pound ground beef, extra lean, cooked and cooled
1 medium onion, chopped
1 head iceberg lettuce, broken
15 ounces black olives, sliced
15 ounces red beans, drained
1 cup of grated cheese
1 cup tomato, chopped
8 ounces tortilla chips, crushed
8 ounces thousand island salad dressing, low-cal
8 ounces taco sauce
Tip: substitute romaine, or spring mix. Iceberg just doesn’t have any nutritional value
Mix the thousand island dressing and the taco sauce together.
Mix all ingredients. Toss with the dressing.
Serves 8

Another Post About Charlie

A few weeks ago we took Charlie to the vet because he was having pain in his back. He probably injured it while jumping from furniture. The vet gave him steroids and by the time he was done with the prednisone he was feeling good as new. I think I must have had a premonition, because I had asked the vet to draw blood, just because he’s getting a little older, to keep tabs on him really. The blood results were a bit wonky…high white cells, low red cells. He was put on an iron supplement and antibiotics. Two weeks later there was virtually no change in his lab results. The vet suggested an ultrasound. We had to take him to a clinic that does ultrasounds and the vet there found a large, grapefruit sized tumor on his spleen. Long story shortened….he had surgery, spleen removed, tumor tested and it is cancer. Charlie is 11 years old and we had expected to have several more years with him. He truly is our furry little child and this diagnosis is heart breaking. The vet feels he could have 6 months left. Now that we know our time with Charlie is limited we’ll be enjoying every moment with this funny little guy.

There are a few posts about Charlie on this blog.  You can search his name and come up with them if you want to read more about him. I’ve linked to 3 of them.



A Feline House Guest

I’ve written about Violet before.  At nearly 11 years old she’s my oldest barn cat.  She lives a mostly solitary life because she refuses to associate with the other barn cats, and she’s terrified of most humans.  Violet loves me.  She chose me to be her person and so I’ve always watched her closely to be sure she’s doing well.  This winter has been hard on all of us.  I noticed Violet shivering  at times, and because she’s pretty old for a farm cat I felt like she needed special care.  So I brought her in the house.  I’m hoping she’ll be ready to return to her previous life of freedom when the weather warms up.  Her residency here has been almost trouble free.  I’m surprised that Violet has taken to using a litter box as if she’d been doing it her whole life.  She had never been in  the house before.  She learned quickly that the kitchen table is off limits.
We do have a serious problem though.  Charlie.  Violet hates Charlie.  I hoped at first that they would meet, be wary, and tolerate each other.  They rumbled twice.  First time wasn’t too bad.  Violet tried to kill Charlie, he backed off and left her alone.  The second time was more violent and Violet clawed his face, very close to his eye.  Charlie has typical Boston Terrier eyes and they are vulnerable.  I’m now very afraid that Violet will scratch his eyes out, so I keep them safely apart.   They each have plenty of roaming time, but just not together.
Violet’s favorite place to be is wherever I am and especially in my lap.  I’m determined that she will not be a permanent house cat, but time will tell.

Competing with the computer

Competing with the computer

Charlie 2/14

Charlie 2/14

Snuggling in my lap.

Snuggling in my lap.

Charlie’s New Toy

He’s watching me. Afraid I’ll touch his snake!

Charlie is one of those STRONG CHEWERS, even an AGGRESSIVE CHEWER.  Buying toys for him was an exercise in futility until we learned that he can destroy most any toy within minutes.  Over the years we’ve found a few toys that take much longer to shred.  He loves anything that  squeaks, but his goal is to get at the squeaker and he soon renders the squeakers silent.  I found the stuffing free toys to be longer lasting, and he even still likes them after he’s killed the squeak.  They’re good for shaking.  He also gets a lot of playtime out of Wubbas. 

Recently I ordered a stuffing free snake from dog.com.  Reading the reviews of the toy, I felt it would be a long-lasting diversion for him.  It’s about 2 feet long, and has sections.  The tail has a rattle, and the body is 3 sections, each with its own squeaker.  The catalog (and reviews) said that the squeakers won’t stop working, even if punctured.  What?  Yay!  A few days later the perfect toy arrived.  Listen to this…Charlie hasn’t let that
Charlie’s favorite things:the snake and the heat vent.

thing out of his sight since I gave it to him.  He adores that snake.  Carries it everywhere with him.  When he goes outside, he carries it right to the door, and only drops it just before he steps out.  He picks it up again the second he’s back inside.  He takes it to bed with him and snuggles his nose into it.  When he’s feeling sociable, he gently bites on it and it talks to him in snake squeaks.  The only time Charlie leaves his snake is while he’s eating.  This has been going on for days, and the bloom is still not off the rose. 

I don’t know why Charlie has fallen in love with this snake.  He’s never taken such a liking to a particular toy before.
 I recommend this toy for dogs who destroy their toys!

Animal Stories

There’s a stray cat hanging out here lately.  The first day I had contact with him there was a meow at the barn door.  I opened the door and was surprised to see a strange black cat  come in and walk right past me to the cat food dish.  Unfortunately he was terrorized by the resident barn kitties and I haven’t seen him come back in the barn since.  I don’t think he’s going to be able to make a place for himself here.  The existing barn cats are just too territorial and he’s not aggressive enough to stand up to them.  I can tell that he’s used to people but not other animals.  He looks like a wreck.  He is mostly black with a bit of white on his chest.  He has long hair which is full of burrs and matted.  He’s very thin.  I’ve been leaving food for him in another building and I put my cat carrier in there also.  I’m hoping he’ll get comfy and I’ll be able to catch him in there and take him to the shelter.  He needs TLC.  I’ve been calling him a “him” but I really don’t know his gender.  He’s rolled on his back a couple of times near me and I haven’t seen any boy bits.  He could be a she, or a neutered he.  I haven’t seen him near the horse barn for a couple of days but Lee has seen him around the farm.  Time will tell if I’ll be able to help the little guy.  I hope so.


We have electric wires at the end of the driveway, just above the ground.  They work similar to a cattle guard, and keep the sheep from going into the road.  Well, they used to.  We have an older ewe who has decided that a shock is a small price to pay for the opportunity to eat grass along the roadside.  She’s been escaping several times a day for a few days now.  This isn’t a good situation.  Bad things could happen, like a car accident.  There’s no easy remedy.  Lee can lock her up, but sheep don’t like to be alone and it will stress her out.  We tossed around a few ideas this morning and I’m not sure which way he’s going to go.  I’m hopeful he’ll listen to my idea to open up a pasture for them, but pretty sure he won’t 😦


Have you ever been awakened at 5 AM by a retching, gagging dog?  Was this dog under the covers?  Were the sheets freshly changed BEFORE the retching and gagging incident?  I’ll say no more.

Old Dog, New Trick

Stay? Seriously?

Charlie isn’t really an old dog, but he’s no spring chicken.  He’ll be seven on March 22.  You’re invited to help him celebrate.  Have a milkbone.  For every day of his seven years, Charlie’s been our wittle fur baby.  Spoiled and catered to, and indulged beyond words.  He sleeps in our bed, under the covers.  He gets special occasion meals for his birthday, Christmas, and all major and minor holidays.  He gets dessert every night after dinner.  He has 2 boxes full of toys.  We haven’t spent much time training him, because he never needed training 🙂  He nailed the housebreaking early and I think that’s all we cared about.  Our only bone (hehe) of contention has been his begging at the table.  For 7 years we’ve been allowing Charlie to beg, jump up, and generally be a nuisance at meal times.  Why didn’t we teach him not to do that?  Lazy.

You're making ME stay out? Not happy!

One night I was watching It’s Me or the Dog on Animal Planet, and Victoria Stillwell was working with a family of dogs.  She showed the owners how to train their dogs to stay out of the kitchen without physically restraining them.  She made it look so easy, so I thought I’d give it a shot.  It really WAS that easy.  She used a command, a gesture, and body blocking, so that’s what I did.  In a couple of sessions, maybe 30 minutes of effort on my part, Charlie learned to stay out of the kitchen while we’re eating.  Magic.  He just sits or lies behind the line, and waits to be told he can leave.  He doesn’t even try that sneaky belly crawling thing that most dogs do.   I love you Victoria.

Sad, but pretending not to care.

Usually Charlie only does what he wants to do.  I still haven’t trained him to lie down, even though I’ve spent a lot of time trying.  He knows what I want, just won’t do it.  That’s why this is such a breakthrough.  I’m just tickled.

Good boy!

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