A Birthday Present for Mr. Bruce

Here it's his birthday, and he is slaving away at the cabin (for reals – he's desperately trying to get the new foundation in place before it snows). It's an exceptionally beautiful day and I am very much enjoying his birthday present while he is away. I don't feel a bit guilty because every year, for any occasion I would merit getting a gift, I always ask for something that benefits all of us. Usually something for the house, and usually it entails labor. More than a couple of times I've heard “why can't you just ask for jewelry, like most normal women?” Well, this year, his “present” is not just for him. It's something we will all love and share, hopefully for many, many years to come.

Her name is Declan, she is 8 weeks and 2 days old. She weighs just over 4 pounds and is about 5 inches tall at the shoulder. Her name is Irish/Gaelic and means “Full of Goodness”! Oh, are we ever in love, and I mean all of us including Glee. She arrived at the shelter in Bozeman, from a shelter in northeastern Montana that rescues animals from the Indian Reservation. Apparently on the reservations, they don't believe in spaying and neutering, because I checked 3 separate shelters in Montana, and they all had received an abundance of puppies and dogs that had been taken in during a sweep rescue from the reservation. Many were feral, and they keep those dogs longer to try and restore their health and socialize them so they will be adoptable.

We lost our little Rootin' Tootin' Twister in July. He was 16 years and 5 months old. That is amazingly elderly for a Border Collie/Australian Shepherd. He started failing badly. A lady that ran the Animal Welfare League in Laurel many years ago told me something that has stuck with me all these years. She said “We must remember to choose quality over quantity in the time our pets have here on earth; that is our duty to them.” So we decided it was time, and did our duty because we loved him. He was a fine and awesome little fellow, and it was truly a gift that he spent his life with us.

I had been very tentatively checking out adoptable dogs in shelters across the state, not sure if it was the right time to add another member to our family, but looking none-the-less (what is wrong with me? I just can't seem to help myself). Every so often, I would peruse the shelter sites, and Friday morning I had a break at work and decided to take a look. This little baby just sprang off the screen and basically said “Here I am! What the heck are you waiting for?” It said she was a Pembroke Corgi (like Glee), Chihuahua cross. So, a bit smaller than Glee, which is good because we need smaller for more portable now that we have the cabin. That way we can bundle them up and sling/secure them to the front of us, and we can all ride (putt-putt) in to the cabin on the snow machines this winter. I've seen folks perch their dogs in front of them on snowmobiles, but I think, for safety sake, I will try to fashion something out of a sheet to keep them secure against us when we ride in.

I decided to call the shelter and see if they had more info about her, because there was some conflicting info in her file they sent home. It turns out they have no idea what breed she is, as they just scooped up as many dogs and puppies as they could when they did the sweep. Apparently, they did not see parents of any of the puppies they collected, or if they did, they didn't know which babies went with who. So the shelter staff just guessed at her heritage. I think she looks very much Jack Russell terrier, but does have the Corgi coloring. Who knows? I just hope and pray she doesn't get St. Bernard sized. That would be more than a little inconvenient, but we would still love her 🙂 !!

The way things fell into place, it seems it was just meant to be! I saw her on the shelter site Friday morning and contacted them immediately. There was another family that had sent in an application to adopt her, so I figured we were out. The shelter called Friday afternoon and said the other family had cancelled, that if we wanted to meet and possibly adopt her, we needed to get there that afternoon. They will not hold puppies because they want puppies placed and bonding with their new family ASAP, and they knew she would go fast. By a lucky twist of fate, Bruce was home, gathering equipment etc., to take to the cabin to start his foundation job. Bless his heart, he dropped everything and flew over to Bozeman to pick her up.

She has been such a good little baby. She cries for only a few minutes when I put her in her crate when we go to bed. She has slept all night long the 3 nights she has been here….knock on wood! I am so lucky that with the job I have now, she can go to work with me! I took her to work Saturday and she did so well. Glee has been so very patient with her, but it will be nice for her to have a break while Declan is at work with me. Puppies do tend to pester a bit!

There are so many animals out there that need families that love them, I am glad that we were able to shorten the list even by one! We will love and cherish her cuz we are of the clan of folks that are dedicated (probably beyond reason 🙂 ) to their furry kids!





Doors At My House; The Variety Pack

I have a horrendous weakness for, well, many things! But a beautiful old door can make me go weak in the knees. If I had my way, every door in this house would be antique. Unfortunately, Mr. Bruce and I don't see eye to eye on this subject. I had a nice small stash of old doors in the garage that I had found here and there that I had big plans for……but due to my lack of carpentry skills they sadly sat in the corner of said garage gathering dust. During one of our more ambitious spells, we got semi-organized and had a rummage sale. Guess what busy Mr. Bruce sold unbeknownst to me when I was looking the other way – yup, my doors. And to rub salt in the wound, he sold them for less than I had paid for the darn things! Well, I've gotten a few replacements since then, but the aren't yet installed. A couple of them will be used up at the cabin. That should entail less whip cracking because he is more, what's the word, enthused about doing things at the cabin than he is at home. That cabin is his baby, kinda like the house is mine.

Anyway, I have been able to twist his arm a couple of times to install some “not your run of the mill” doors at the CottageLodge, and I am ever so appreciative.

This was right after the addition was finished. We bought a decorative exterior door, but it never looked right to me. It was just begging for a pretty, old fashioned screen door. So I shopped and shopped, and finally found an affordable one, and Bruce built out extensions and installed it.


I think it very much adds a nice cottage-y touch.

This is my bedroom door. It is an old exterior door, with beautiful beveled oval glass. A gal was remodeling her old house and had, literally, thrown this door out on her lawn. This is a small town, and I knew who she was, so the day after I saw it I called her up and told her I'd give her $15 for it, and she happily agreed! It was painted a ghastly shade of cement gray, so I stripped it down to the old varnish and had Bruce install it just that way. I painted the bedroom side of it a soft cream color and that's how she's gonna stay!

It had a big hole where the other gal had pulled out the bolt lock. Course Bruce was gonna fix that hole someday 😉 , and about 5 years later I decided to just look thru my stuff and see if I had something to “temporarily” cover that hole. I remembered getting these harness ornaments at a rummage sale, but could not think of a way to use them…….voila!!



They just worked slicker than a whistle! Check one off Mr. Bruce's honey-do list.

This is the door to Bruce's bathroom downstairs. It came from my little house and is really, really old. There was an attached garage on the back of the little house, and after scraping and saving for several years I had enough saved up to turn it into a family room. The carpenters wanted to throw this door out. Good Lord, I came unglued. They, I'm sure, thought I had lost my marbles…..why would you want to keep this old piece of junk they asked. Some people will never understand 🙂 . Just look at this beauty –



I love it, plus it allowed me to bring a small piece of my little house with me when I had to leave it to move here.

This is the door down to the basement. It came from my Mom and Dad's farm. Before they remodeled, it went out to this weird solar greenhouse thing that was attached to the house. They tore the whole mess off and I inherited the door! It is really nice for bringing a lot of light into the stairwell and downstairs.

This door was my anniversary gift from Bruce one year.

Their was an awesome authentically old screen door at my little house, complete with General Store squeak and bang. It was super cute. I adopted this poor dog from the animal shelter and she had severe separation anxiety (understandably – her story is a whole post in itself). Right after I got her, I left her in the yard for just a bit while I ran an errand, and she completely demolished that old screen door. I was sad and kept the remains, hoping that someday it could be salvaged. It got hauled up here when I moved, and lo and behold, Bruce scraped together as many of the pieces of that door as could be rescued, and built from scratch this beautiful door. It is between the dining room and kitchen and serves to keep the critters out of the front part of the house, but still lets the heat from both of the wood stoves circulate back and forth.

He used the spindles, and as much of the wood from the original door as he could.

It could use a quick coat of paint. Miss Glee scratches it when she wants back and forth.

Someday when the laundry room is completely finished, I will give you a photo tour. There are 4 doors like this in that room, all made by Mr. Bruce. I showed him what I wanted, and he just slapped them together in nothing flat. Three are swing doors, one is a big sliding barn door. (I have got to figure out what kind of vitamins he takes when these projects get whipped out; I'm gonna order them by the case when I do!)

This is the door into my Christmas storage room. I wanted it to be incognito and blend right into the wall. Guess Bruce is part Genie, cuz my wish is his command (sort of 🙂 ). I'm just lucky as heck he is so talented, and doubly lucky that he is willing to listen to what I think will work and do his darnedest to make it happen!

Well, that covers the more unique doors in my house. There are a few other just plain old average ones that I hope to replace someday, but they do their job for now. I didn't take a picture of one of the most important doors in my house, that being the doggy door! It's tad grody looking, but is worth it's weight in gold!






So, I was being very lazy, and thought how I might just skip the Halloween decor this year. Then I remembered I had skipped it last year because we were tearing out carpet in the living room and replacing it with oak floors, and having the existing oak floors in the dining room and hallway refinished. Then I painted: the living room (3 different colors), hallway, dining room ceiling, all the trim in the whole front of the house, the front door inside and out, the screen door, and all the porch railings. I wallpapered the entryway, finally squared off and finished the opening where the gothic window was supposed to go once upon a time, and we added the birch bark backer to the Tulikivi hearth. Truth be told, I was too dang tired to put any Halloween decorations up!

This year, I had none of that for an excuse. I finally decided to get off my dead rear and get in gear. What good is it to have all this stuff if you don't put it out, right?

I started on the front porch and worked my way in.



I think this is a bicycle basket. I found it at a rummage sale. My thought was to strap it to the gate after filling it with fake flowers (because they won't be hurt if snow sit on them). It works pretty well!


These 2 little green pumpkins were the extent of my pumpkin crop from my raised bed veg gardens this year – WooHoo.


You flip a switch on this guy, open the top of his skull, and his eyes (sockets) light up, and it looks like flames come out of his skull. Too cool! (I'm easily entertained)

This little gaggle of witches were some of the first Halloween decorations I bought when I got my own place many moons ago.

My bat picture was an illustration in a super old (early 1900's), tattered kids book I found at a rummage sale. It didn't even have a binding on it anymore, just loose pages held between the covers. So I took some of the cuter animal pictures out, brought them to the copy shop, and had them enlarge and print them on heavy card stock for me. I framed the other animals, but decopaged the bats onto an old metal tray from the thrift I cleaned up and spray painted black, and use it for Halloween. I like bats.






My Mom made the cute jack-o-lantern pillow for me.

I made the crow plate from an image download from Country Living magazine's web site. I printed it onto old dictionary pages, then decopaged them onto a wooden blank plate that I had painted black. It was a pretty inexpensive project and I like it a lot.

This book came from the free bin at the thrift! I haven't read it yet, but knew it would be perfect to set out for Halloween along with the magic wand my big little son made for me in shop class a few years ago. (I was thrilled when he gave it to me, but now that I think about it, do you 'spose he was trying to tell me something? 🙂 )



I got these little paper mâché bats about the same time I got the little group of witches. They are pretty fragile and I've not seen anything like them since I got them so long ago.

Haunted barn.



Here are our counter egos, Bruce, my little son, and me, Halloween style.





This witch cracks me up. If you clap your hands, shut the door too hard, or drop something, etc., she goes into a cackling frenzy and rocks back and forth. There's been a few times Mr. Bruce has stumbled out of bed at 6 in the a.m., shut the door into the kitchen, and off she goes. Probably not exactly what you want to hear before your eyes are barely peeled open. She's been the source of just a bit of under your breath muttering in this house…. 😉




Even if it's a pain in the neck dragging all this stuff out, it's worth it once it's done. It helps me quit whining about summer being gone so fast, and gets me into a cozy fall mood! One (AKA me) really needs to remember to appreciate each and every day of each and every season!