About Me

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I live on 6 deeply wooded acres in the boonies of Middleville, MI. I'm married to an amazing man, Brian. He's pretty much the best thing that has ever happened to me. I'm a big animal lover. I have 5 cats; Bella (6), Cognac (3), Georgia (3), Maggie (2), & Auggie (8-9mos.) We recently lost our kittens, Aesop & Amelia, to a battle with Feline Leukemia. I feel the need to mention them. They were amazing beings that showed unconditional love like no other cats I've had. I also have Cheech (9) that I'm fostering. We have two puppies; Charlie & Henry. Having a blast! I'm a dabbler in photography, photo shop, & crafts. I'm kind of a bookworm/nerd/geek. Yes, I have read the Twilight Series. No, I'm not obsessed. I love Shakespeare, Nathaniel Hawthorne, C.S. Lewis, and L. Frank Baum - among others, obviously.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

"Summer" Lovin'

Hello! Coming up here in the next week or so I'll have a brand new blog with a brand new look! So, stay tuned on that!

I thought I'd give you a post today that wasn't about Henry, though, he'll be in a few pictures. I have a lot of pictures to show you today, too.

Brian and I have been so incredibly busy with our yard work. But it's so rewarding being able to say that we've done it ourselves. Sadly, I didn't take any before pictures so that you could see where we started.

We are loving this 80° weather in March:


Last weekend we cleaned our front garden:




One of my lilies is coming up already:


Now, when I say we cleaned our front garden, that might not sound like a lot... But it really is. Like, really is. We live IN the woods. The leaves are never ending. Brian and I raked out as many leaves as we possibly could and also pulled up some iris bulbs that had gotten a little out of hand. If you want any bulbs, let me know.

Along with the front garden area, Brian and I also tackled a hillside that went out of control with a Vinca plant. When we moved to this house, we had no idea what some of these plants were nor did we know how much work they would be. I pulled one of the vinca vines out by the root and it was over 6 feet long. Imagine thousands of those overgrowing on a hill. It was horrendous and took us several hours. (Sadly, I didn't take any pictures.)

Now let's fast forward to this weekend. Someone is graciously giving us a 10' x 10' shed this week, so we needed to prep an area for its arrival. Brian went and bought some cement blocks and bags of gravel to make a level area.

I'd say he did pretty well:


Charlie enjoyed being out there with us:


Henry enjoyed doing his own thing while we were out there:

He now uses the cone to his advantage... He scoops up leaves in it and tries to eat them. How much more awesome can he be?

Brian found a salamander while prepping the area for our shed! We put him in a jar so we wouldn't step on him. We named him Cesar Salazar. We released him a little bit later.


We also cleaned out our three tiered garden! We finally have the time to actually garden in it this year! We're going to be growing roma tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, watermelon, pumpkin, green beans, cucumbers and chives/green onions.


We haven't quite cleaned it out completely yet, but we're almost there! It took us a long time with the leaves. Brian did a lot of that part for me since I kept getting bit by ants. Thanks, B! All that we have left to do is pull out some of the weeds that are left, till it, add in some good soil, and then wait until planting time!

The people that lived here before us left all of this (and more) in the tiered garden area:


It was a mess in itself since they were stuck in with two years worth of weeds. But, we can use them this year for our beans and tomatoes!

While working in the tiered garden we found this:


We think it's a strawberry plant. So, we're going to see what happens this year and if it produces any fruit.

I made this recipe yesterday. It called for fresh chives/green onions. So, we bought some, but I didn't really have the heart to throw out the bulb and root part of them. So, I found this site. Warning: the site plays music. If you find that annoying, scroll all the way to the bottom to turn it off. You basically just plant them into a pot and you can have an endless supply of green onions! How awesome is that!

So, I did it:


I also started my seeds for my roma tomatoes:


They'll take about 6-8 weeks until I can plant them outside in the garden. I planted 3 seeds in 4 containers. Hopefully my cats don't destroy them all in 6-8 weeks.

I snagged this picture today:


I love birds.

I forgot to post this in my blog from about a month ago. We bought this toy for Charlie and Henry. It's an interesting concept.


You can put entire meals or treats in it. In the holes on both sides are these little rubber spines. You cut them, however many you want, so that the treats will come out. You can make it so that they come out easily... Or not-so-easily. It's good for "plumper" pets because they exercise while they're eating.

We went with not-so-easy:


For some reason they kept taking it into the hallway.

They kept getting it stuck in the bathroom, too. As soon as they'd get it out...


It wound up in the bathroom again...


Henry was declared the winner:


I guess he must have an impressive jaw because he was able to pick it up and carry it off. After about 30 minutes of trying his hardest, he managed to unscrew the ends apart. We just let him have the treats in it.

It is a great toy. They're still really interested in it, too. We've actually had to hide it when they aren't playing with it.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures from today's post.
Have a great day!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Henry Update #4

I heard some very good news tonight from our vet!


Our vet said that they were benign growths that are commonly seen in dogs with allergies. He doesn't believe that Henry has ever had an allergic reaction, though. So, we're not entirely sure why they grew in the first place. MSU was also pretty confident that our vet got it out completely. So, we may never see it again! If it does happen to come back our vet said that we could get Henry tested for allergies. But he doesn't think it's necessary at this time.

Here are a few pictures:


Henry looks pretty happy from the news... Though, it could be the "tasty" rawhide, too.


Charlie sticking his tongue out. Daily occurrence.

I do want to thank every that prayed and sent good vibes our way. It helped knowing that people were rooting for him. It was greatly appreciated. I'm sure that if Henry could see you in person that he'd give you a big, slobbery kiss. He loves giving those.

While talking to the vet tonight I was telling him how I've been taking pictures of Henry's staples just to compare and make sure things are going as planned, he told me that it was actually a really good idea to do that.

So, below will be pictures of his staples. Day 7 will be the first picture and day one will be the last. You can really see what a difference there is. He's healing up very well. If you don't want to see, don't scroll down. I wouldn't blame you. Day one is pretty graphic and it was hard for me to look at.

Day 7 (it's not really all that graphic):


Day 1:
**Graphic! Do not look if you're squeamish. It's a hi-res picture this time - not from my phone.**


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Henry Update #3

Henry has had his staples in for 4 days. He seems to be adjusting really well now. He can walk better and doesn't cry when he tries to lay down / stand up. Though, he does hesitate a lot. He seems to be used to the tightness now, too.

I cannot wait until he gets his staples out on the 30th. He hates the cone. Just hates it.

But he plays a little bit and we've caught him laying on his staples twice now. So, they've got to be feeling better, right?

Charlie just does NOT understand why he can't play with his best friend, though. But, all in all, things are looking better.

Here are some pictures:

**Warning: Some may be graphic. (Some may be adorable, too.)**



It looks so much better.


Sleeping together.


Charlie on our ottoman.



Friday, March 16, 2012

100 - Henry Update #2

This is my 100th post today.

Henry has 25-26 staples. I'm going to show a couple pictures that may be a little difficult to see. But, as I update you'll be able to see his progress.

He is having the toughest time. Once he woke up more and more last night, the more freaked out he became. It was awful. I wanted to cry. (I actually did break down a little.) Henry is so incredibly miserable.

The lumps were attached to the muscle as well as the skin so tightly that our vet basically had to cut out some muscle and skin. So, Henry's skin was stapled up, but it's SO tight (because it has to be) that Henry's not used to it. Imagine getting an extremely invasive thigh/tummy tuck and the skin is REALLY tight and you have to get used to it. Then imagine a being a dog and not understanding what's happening to you at all. PANIC.

Our vet's office was VERY gracious in letting us drop Henry off there this morning since HPS has a board meeting today and I'm working short staffed. So, they're going to kind of babysit him and watch him for the day so in case something happens, he'll be able to get immediate assistance.

Because the skin is so tight, it hurts Henry to bend his leg at all. He's only comfortable standing and laying on his left side. Sadly, his leg has to be in a sitting position in order to lay down or stand up, so he cries ALL the time.

He was more alert this morning and wagged his tail when he saw us. So, he's still trying to be his happy-go-lucky self.

I must have heard them wrong, too... The biopsy results should be back in ONE week. Not two.

I'll keep you updated.

**Warning: Some of these pictures may be difficult to look at.**




Please keep this sweet, nurturing soul in your thoughts. Our vet said he'll be in a lot of discomfort for the first week.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Henry Update

I just spoke with our vet's office. Henry is doing fine. He has staples in his leg that will have to be removed in about 2 weeks. Our vet was a little perplexed with the removal because the mass wasn't what he expected it to be. He was expecting it to be a little fatty. It wasn't. It was very hard and very attached to the skin and muscle. He also found a second smaller lump right next to it. He removed that as well. They were very difficult removals, too. He's not at all sure what it could be now. So, we're having the lumps sent to MSU for a biopsy and should get the results in 2 weeks.

While I was on the phone I asked, "This is really weird, isn't it? He's statistically too young to have cancer, right?" They responded with a very bold, "Yes."

So, I guess we'll know more in 2 weeks. :(

Please keep Henry in your thoughts.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012


This blog entry is going to be tough... Last week we discovered that Henry had a rather large lump on his right thigh. It's about 3" long and 1.5" wide. No one wants to think that their one year old puppy has cancer... So, I did some research on what it could possibly be until Charlie and Henry went to the vet for their vaccinations today. I thought maybe it was a lipoma. (**Warning: the link has some pictures that some may find graphic. A lipoma is a fatty growth.)

Charlie and Henry went to the vet today for their vaccinations and our vet performed an examination of Henry's lump. He doesn't think it's a lipoma. He's really not sure what it is and won't know until he gets it out. So, please keep us in your thoughts and prayers because Henry will be having surgery next Thursday to have it removed. Hopefully we'll have some answers then. Our vet told us it could be a couple of things... Perhaps scar tissue from an injury (him and Charlie do play rather hard). But there is the possibility that it could be cancer. I called the breeder the other night to ask her if there is any cancer in his family history and she said no. She's just as shocked as we are.

So, now we wait... The only things that are in our favor right now are Henry's age and the fact that it doesn't seem to hurt/bother him when we touch/pinch it.

There is never a dull moment for the McKinley clan.

Here are a few pictures:

Henry watching the birds.

Auggie sleeping. Yes, this is how he sleeps most of the time.


Charlie sleeping... He looks kind of like a swan sleeping.


Cogs is feeling much better. :)


Maggie sleeping.


Charlie and Henry watching some television before bed. :)

That's all for now. Please keep us in your thoughts.