Halloween and Spooktacular Preparations

It’s Halloween Week!  Besides Christmas (and probably Spring Break), it’s quite possibly my favorite week of the year.

It’s also the week of my third annual (and second on the front porch) Spooktacular!  As such, I spent a good portion of the weekend making the preliminary preparations for having lots of people sitting on my front lawn for a couple of hours or so.

Among the myriad tasks I completed (such as some long overdue weed eating, and applying more ant bait to the lawn), I engaged in my favorite Halloween season ritual:  carving a Jack O’Lantern!  I picked up a couple of massive pumpkins from Sam’s Club for $7 each, and this one made for particularly attractive gourd.  Just look at its perfectly jaunty, stout stem!

Read More »

Walkin’ II: Early Morning Strolls

I’m currently cutting back on my calories and have so far dropped around ten pounds in the past two weeks.  I’d let myself get comfortable and complacent after a long, lazy summer.  Sure, I’ll loosen up a bit—both my calorie restrictions and my pants—for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, but I’ve been doing pretty well regulating my daily intake.  It had grown, quite frankly, massive.

I mentioned this latest of my various weight loss odysseys to my neighbor, the man who takes Murphy out for me and—more germane to this post—who is the Zone Captain for our Neighborhood Watch.  My adventures in dropping unsightly pounds and inches inspired him to propose the Lamar Neighborhood Watch establish small walking groups, and yesterday morning, he and I met shortly after 6 AM to walk a short circuit downtown.

Read More »

Bull Terrier Tuesday: It’s Official!

Well, it’s finally happened:  pending some signatures and initials from folks at The Bull Terrier Rescue Mission (at the time of this writing; they will likely be immortalized in digital ink by the time you read these words), I have officially adopted Murphy.

It’s been quite an adventure since I picked her up at the Sam’s Club in Goldsboro, North Carolina on 22 July 2021.  Since then, she’s been all over the I-20 Corridor in South Carolina, and all the way to Athens, Georgia.  She’s spent a great deal of time sleeping on couches—those on which she is allowed, and those from which she is forbidden—and she seems to win fans wherever she goes.

Read More »

Bull Terrier Tuesday: Dog Sitting

After a long and eventful weekend, Murphy and I are back in Lamar with an additional guest:  my childhood friend’s eight-year old blue heeler mix Gracie.  My buddy is going to the beach with his wife and kid, and needed a place along the way to drop their pup.

As such, I’m now running an assisted care facility for elderly dogs.  In all seriousness, the dog, Gracie, is a real sweetheart, and she and Murphy seem to get along well enough.  Murphy quickly established dominance once we got back to the house the other day, but then I put Murphy on her back to remind her who is really in charge, and it’s been relative peace in the house ever since.

Read More »

Lazy Sunday CXXX: Friends, Part II

The friendship rolls on this Sunday, as I continue to look back at past editions of Supporting Friends Friday (read last week’s here).  Introducing the (nearly) weekly feature has been a real joy, and it’s quickly become one of my favorite of my regularly recurring series.

The three installments featured this Sunday are a bit of a mixed-bag, unlike last week’s heavily musical selection.  We’ve got a professor and her book of poetry; an organization dedicated to helping bull terriers; and another musician buddy of mine:

Well, that’s it for another Lazy Sunday.  Thank you for being a friend!

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

Tip The Portly Politico:  Support quality commentary on politics, education, culture, and the arts with your one-time donation.

***NOTEThis link is NOT a subscription to my SubscribeStar Page; it is for a one-time donation/tip via PayPal. To subscribe to my SubscribeStar page, use this URL:   https://subscribestar.com/the-portly-politico***

Bull Terrier Tuesday II: Back to the Vet

Sweet Murphy Girl and I are heading back to the vet’s office this afternoon to get her skin examined.  She had some really painful looking welts and pimples on her underside that required an antibiotic and some special medicated shampoo to clear up.  Fortunately, her painfully long nails were trimmed (under sedation) during her last vet visit, and that has dramatically improved her quality of life.

When I got Murphy, she also had a bit of a flea problem.  The shampoo, along with a strong dose of flea and tick medicine, took care of that no problem.  I also nuked the house with a bug bomb while we went away for a long weekend, so any lingering critters should have been gassed out of existence.  So far, I haven’t seen any new unwanted visitors.

As far as I can tell, the antibiotic has done the trick, and she is looking much better.  Hopefully the skilled eye of the veterinarian will confirm what I hope I am seeing.  I’m not sure what caused the welts on her underbelly, but I suspect the fleas played a role.

If Murphy receives a clean bill of health from the vet today, then I will able to adopt her from The Bull Terrier Rescue Mission.

Read More »

Preserving Old Varieties

My local paper, the Darlington New & Press, features a number of editorial writers typical of the kind that get gigs writing human interest pieces for tiny small town papers:  local pastors writing brief devotionals; a guy griping about the things we all gripe about; an astronomer.  They all write in a similar, mildly folksy manner, which I’m sure appeals to the more advanced age of the paper’s readership.

One of their writers, Tom Poland, wrote a fascinating piece last week about rare heirloom vegetables, “Long-lost treasures and heirloom seeds.”  The piece tracks down the Bradford Watermelon, a watermelon variety thought to be extinct, but which survived on the land Nat Bradford inherited from his family.  The watermelon variety dwindled in popularity in spite of its sweet, superior flavor because the rind was too thin to survive bulk shipping.

After years of research into arcane newspaper clippings and agricultural history, Bradford discovered that the melons growing on his ancestral farm are, indeed, the legendary Bradford Watermelons.

To quote Poland quoting Bradford:

In Nat’s words, “The greatest watermelon to have come from the great age of watermelon breeding fell out of cultivation. Lost to the world, the melon lived on in the Bradford family farm fields. The last seeds on the planet of this wonderful melon were in a couple of mason jars.”

What a remarkable legacy—and a fortuitous one.  Heirloom varieties of many plants are enjoying increased interest lately as part of the current homesteading movement, as these varieties are often tastier than their supermarket, genetically-modified alternatives.

I suspect, too, that there is a certain joy in knowing that by planting these forgotten seeds, you are directly contributing to the survival of a variety.  There is a link to the past, and the agricultural experiments of our forebears.

Read More »

Murphy’s Vet Update

Yesterday I took Murphy to the vet, and Audre Myers of Nebraska Energy Observer asked me to provide an update.

Murphy is doing well.  Other than some very sensitive skin and a possible flea problem, she is in good shape overall.

She also has an inverted vulva (click at your own risk), which could be the result of excess weight.  That means I have to take extra care to clean out her lady parts, as the extra folds can harbor bacteria.  I also have to clean the vulva itself, which can bleed slightly if she rubs her butt too much.  Fortunately, the veterinarian expressed her anal glands, providing much-need relief in the hind quarters, so Murphy hasn’t been spinning on her butt quite so much.

She is on a two-week antibiotic to help with her skin inflammation, and I have special shampoo that’s supposed to help with her skin.  She does not like getting a bath, but once I put her doughy, sixty-pound body in the tub, she stands there very patiently while I wash her.  I just wish she would sit down in the warm suds—it would feel soooo good on her stomach, and would make cleaning a bit easier.

The vet saw one flea on her, but she has a good flea collar and took her first monthly dose of flea medicine last night.  I’ve also given Murphy her first monthly dose of heartworm medicine (she’s heartworm negative, but we want to keep it that way).  I’ve washed all of her bedding (and mine), and I think we have eradicated the flea menace.

All the medicine has given her some diarrhea, but it’s not uncontrollable (thank goodness).  She goes outside when we walk, and I clean her rump judiciously when we get back inside.

That sounds like a lot, but she really is doing well for an eight-year old who has endured a great deal of change in the past few weeks.

On the plus side, her nails are finally trimmed!  That seems to have helped with her limp considerably, and today was the first day in over a week that we have taken some good walks (and runs).  We still aren’t going very far, but she has enjoyed getting out more, sniffing every bush and fence post she can find.  We ran into some neighborhood kids, and she completely hammed it up for them, rolling around in the grass and begging for pets (and, knowing her, treats—she’s quite the chunk).

She’s dozing now on the couch while I write this and watch The Last Drive-in with Joe Bob Briggs.  She enjoyed some steak in her kibble tonight, and probably won’t more for another couple of hours (or she’ll pop up as soon as I’m about to click “Publish”).

There you go, Audre!  I always deliver for my readers.

—TPP

Bull Terrier Tuesday I: Big Vet Visit

Despite the sheer volume of dog-related posts a couple of weeks ago, I promise that the blog isn’t going to become a dog blog.  Bull Terrier Tuesday won’t be a regular feature, but maybe once a month or so I’ll give some updates on Murphy, the eight-year female bull terrier I’m fostering for The Bull Terrier Rescue Mission.

We’re nearly three weeks into the thirty-day foster-to-adopt process, and today Murphy has a big vet visit.  She had a good first visit the day after I got her, and her bloodwork has come back clean.  She’s also heartworm negative, which is a real blessing.  That first visit got her vaccinations updated, too, so Murphy is street legal now.

But today’s visit is a really big one.  Murphy is an old girl with a number of issues, all of which are easily resolved (I hope), but which will require her to go under sedation.

Read More »