Thursday, July 21, 2011

July in the Garden & Belgian Independence

Ahhh July, the hottest of months... let the dog days begin! My dad decided to start a vegetable garden this spring for the first time and I was thrilled to be around to help a bit. He built raised beds, brought in some top soil to suffice until our own table scraps had composted enough to use, and planted some seeds that we ordered from FEDCO. We now have a garden full of golden chard, dill, sugar snap peas, zucchini, beets, nasturtiums, basil, chives, cucumbers, and onions!

Looking down into our beautiful Golden Chard
In the evening the other day, the light was just right for taking photos of some of the flowers that are in bloom. It's been a while since I have spent a summer in the eastern US. It's different from the west but beautiful. I love the colors of the warm months, the wafts of sweet nectar from the lilies, the buzz of bees, the feel of the wind gently caressing your skin.

Some sunflowers that my mom bought at the farmers' market
Stargazer Lilies brightening up the lovely late afternoon
Hydrangeas beginning to bloom and turn pink
Oh and in case there are any Belgians reading this... Happy Independence Day! Today marks the 180th anniversary of Belgium's independence from the Netherlands. Although this was actually declared in October of the 1830, they celebrate July 21st 1831 because that is the day their first king, Leopold I, took his oath. Considering how unethical, greedy, and corrupt a lot of kings are, if you read about them, Leopold actually seems like he was a pretty cool individual. He even tried (albeit unsuccessfully) to regulate female and child labor, which I give him props for. That is pretty progressive considering this was the late 1800's!

I am always fascinated with people who have interesting lives and Leopold's childhood intrigues me because when he was only 5 years old he was appointed a Colonel in the Russian Guard! I just cannot imagine how something like that would actually manifest itself. I mean, how much can you expect from a 5 year old? I wish there could be 100 versions of myself that lived in different time periods, in different social circumstances, in different parts of the world, so I could truly have a better understanding of other people's lives and perspectives!

A portrait of Leopold I by George Dawe

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Back in NY & My First Doggy C-Section!

You're going to have to give me some artistic license to change the format of how I've been writing. I would like at some point to fill in the gaps in the rest of my trip but I will do so as they come up in my exploration of other things. Sometimes life throws you curve balls and the nice outlined plan you had for yourself doesn't quite work anymore. I hope you will just take my word for it and have a little faith that I can still entertain you with my witty humor and amusing anecdotes! ;)

So, I'm back on Long Island for the foreseeable future. I'm working at Harborside Veterinary Hospital ( and loving it as always. If they (and my family) would just relocate to Montana everything would be perfect and I wouldn't have to fret over where in the USA I'm going to live! I'm working on it... wish me luck, lol.

One cool thing that I have experienced since my return home this past spring was witnessing my first canine cesarean section! A long haired chihuahua was giving birth but the first puppy was breached so she had to come down so we could get the babies out of her. What an amazing experience. I have never seen a birth of any kind before and it's quite amazing to watch an animal take its first breaths of air. As soon as the puppies were out of the mother we had to cup them in our palms and swing them downward to expel all of the fluid out of their lungs and sinuses. I had to watch a few times before doing it myself because I was so afraid I was going to hurt them! They were so tiny but to get all of the fluid out of them you really have to swing with force. It's one of those things you get used to I suppose. There are a lot of things like that in this job! Luckily, I was able to document the puppies' cuteness after their airways were cleared.

They are so small!
 And even more luckily a few weeks later the owner brought the puppies back for a check-up while I was working so I was able to get a follow up photo! Even though they are chihuahuas, which I do not normally love, they are pretty adorable! But man, look at that difference!

They are so much bigger just several weeks later!