Who We Are

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Farmers' Market!

Ha roo, pups and cool cats!  It's me - Zim.  Oh, was yesterday a great day!  It was cooler than it's been (in the 80s -- 27-30℃) so Dave and I got to do all kinds of cool stuff.  We got nice, long walks in the morning, then after lunch, we got to go to the Kansas Ocean!  We'll show you pix from that trip tomorrow.  While Dave  grabbed a nap  guarded the house in the late afternoon, Mom gave me the secret sign that she and I could venture out on yet another adventure!

Here's where we landed:

IMG_8699 Zim at the Farmers' Market

How exciting!  I hadn't been to the Farmers' Market in quite a while!

We looked all around.  That in itself was great fun!  Unfortunately, it's too early in the year for much locally-grown produce, but I did see a lady with a bunch of herbs you could take home and plant. I thought I might be able to find something for some of my friends!

IMG_8700 Zim at the Farmers' Market
"Excuse me, ma'am.  Do you have any catnip?"

It was worth a try, but she seemed fresh out.

IMG_8701 Zim at the Farmers' Market
"OK!  Thanks anyway!"

Maybe later in the season or something.

Mom came home empty-handed, too.  Later in the Summer, things will pick up and we'll be back!  And it was still fun to go to the market!

Play bows,

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Landscapes 'R' Us

Ha roo, pups and cool cats.  It's me, Zim!  So ... as you know, Mom and Dad have been doing some major league work out in the gardens lately, digging up dead stuff, putting in new stuff, adding rocks, adding mulch, moving stuff around, knocking themselves out doing all kinds of crazy things!  Well, back in October (please remember that anything in that font color is a hyperlink to help explain), they re-did the bed along the driveway.  The plan was for Mom to plant stuff in with the big boulders I helped her buy once it was growing time.

A few weeks ago, she bought three really cool ornamental grasses called Purple Love Grass and put them in! Mom thought they'd be great because they don't get real tall - 18-24 inches - and they're a real intense red color! Here's a look at them after Mom planted them:

IMG_8074 Purple Love Grass  

They'll grow in no time - or at least two of them will.  The third one is dead, unfortunately.  Mom decided rather than mail order another one, she'd find something locally -- she knew they wouldn't have Purple Love Grass, but maybe another grass that would stay fairly short and be a bold contrasting color?  Keeping that in mind, she hit one of the local places and came home with this:

IMG_8627 Erianthus Ravennae

Nice, isn't it?  And the lady at the store said it would only get to 14" tall!  That sounds perfect, doesn't it?  Oh ... are you wondering why it's in a terra cotta pot instead of the ground?  Well, after Mom got home and was getting ready to plant, she read the tag that was in the pot it came in.  It's a grass called Erianthus Ravennae, and it's not supposed to get 14 inches tall ... it's supposed to get 14 feet tall!

IMG_8591 Zim and Dave
"You're going to need a bigger pot, Mom!"
"Ha woo.  A bigger pot.  Good one, Zim!"

Mom's got just the place for it out back, fortunately, where it will have plenty of room to grow.  

Instead of trying to find another grass, Mom decided to put one of our favorite sedum plants in the front part of the bed - Dragon's Blood sedum.  It's tiny now:

IMG_8532 Dragon's Blood Sedum

...but in no time, it will fill in and turn deep red.  It only grows to a few inches high (not a few feet... ha roo!) and it will set off the big rocks real nice.  We have some out back that we've showed you.  Dave and I really like this stuff - Mom should have asked us what to plant there!  What could be cooler than something called Dragon's Blood?!?

Just so Mom wouldn't feel too bad about the inches/feet confusion, we decided to give her a nice pose by the front porch.  We even smiled for her!

IMG_8555 Dave and Zim
" 'You're going to need a bigger pot.'  Ha woo.  You crack me up, Zim!"

Well, OK - Dave is still laughing, but I was definitely smiling for the camera.  (That's my story and I'm sticking to it!)

Play bows,

PS:  Also, all the time spent in the garden means less time at the computer.  We're trying to get to all of your blogs - we promise!  If it would just RAIN one day!!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

It's not about the barbecues ... It's not about the sales ... It's not about the 3-day weekend...

On Armed Forces Day, we honor those who have served or who are serving in our military.  On Veterans Day, we honor those who served or who are serving in combat.  And today, on Memorial Day, we honor our war dead.

Arlington National Cemetery
Photo courtesy of Army and Air Force Mutual Aid Association

To read an excellent Memorial Day message, please click here.

Please join us in honoring those who gave the last full measure to our country with a moment of silence.

IMG_8545 Dave and Zim

We thank God for these men and women, for these heroes.  May He bless their souls.

Dave and Zim - and our bipeds

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Serene Scenery Sunday

Woo, everypup and everycat.  It's me, Dave, here with Serene Scenery Sunday.  As many of you know, Mom and Dad have been working really hard out in our gardens lately.  We thought we'd show you just a few of the things out there that made all of us feel really good.  Ready to take a look around?  Let's start out front!

Remember the rocks Zim helped Mom buy?  Mom used them to help finish off one of the retaining walls that curves around the house and into the front yard.  Here's Zim, checking Mom's work:

IMG_8482 Zim
"Those jigsaw puzzles Mom does on her iPad are paying off!  Nice fit!"

He approved the layout and checked for sturdiness:

IMG_8483 Zim
"This ought to do the trick!"

Mom and Dad are hoping it will help prevent our garden mulch from washing into Fluffy Black Cat's yard and washing down the hillside.

Guess what's blooming out back already?  The pink/purple Rose of Sharon!

IMG_8374 Rose of Sharon

Can you believe it?  It doesn't usually bloom until the end of June or in July!

A couple weeks ago, I showed you the Stella D'Oro Day Lilies in bloom.  (You can also see them down in the yard in the second pic here.)  This week, our Aunt Janet Day Lily has opened up!

IMG_8539 Day Lily

We don't remember what variety it is, but our Aunt Janet sent Mom the seeds, so ...

Just across the brick path from that, Mom planted a new-to-our-garden plant!  Check it out:

IMG_8542 Starburst Ice Plant

It's called a Starburst Ice Plant.  Mom put three of them in.  They're supposed to like lots of sun and can tolerate a ton of wind.  Mom thinks they're perfect for our garden.  Behind it, just past the chunk-o-limestone, you can see one of the Echinacea plants.  We got that one from a fund-raiser for the Blind Dog Rescue Alliance last year; we also have a couple of the same Purple Coneflower variety from supporting a MaPaw Siberian Husky Rescue and Referral Service, Inc. fund-raiser!  We like having a special connection to our plants!  Speaking of special connections ...

Mom shopped a bunch of the local nurseries and is trying three more types of Echinacea for our garden - Tomato Soup/Prairie Stars, Flame Thrower, and ... I can't remember the last one, but it's hot pink! They aren't doing much yet, but we'll keep you posted on them.  I like the array of color, being the Guide Dog for the Color Blind that I am, but Zim ... Zim really likes the tag showing where the hot pink one was grown.  Check it out:

IMG_8453 Zim
"Were they grown by my bestest friend, Huffs?"

Given that Zim's bestest friend, Huffle Mawson, Explorer Cat's nickname is "Huffs", he's rather partial to them!

Speaking of friends, look at who helped Mom water the garden and wash the bat guano off the lower deck this week:

IMG_8446 garden friend

Pretty cute, isn't he?  He made Mom feel serene out there; she encouraged him to start eating more bugs.

Last, but not least, here's something that made me feel nice and serene:

IMG_8408 Dave

Nothing beats playing with a SQUEAKY toy on a cool evening!

Have a serene Sunday, everyone!  And stay cool!!!


Saturday, May 26, 2012

On Patrol

Ha roo, pups and cool cats!  It's me, Zim!  It's a busy holiday weekend, so Dave and I will be stepping up our patrols, keeping the neighborhood safe and secure!

"Woo, Zim!  Check out the M's geraniums!  Very colorful!"

Of course, some of us might get a bit distracted here and there, but fear not!  We'll be out there patrolling, guarding the AO, protecting everyone!

...Until it gets too hot, then we'll be in the air-conditioned house.

"Ha roo roo roo!"

It's 0915 and it's almost 80℉  (that's 26.6 or so℃).  I think it's time for this patrol to head back to HQs!!!

Stay safe, stay cool!

Play bows,

Friday, May 25, 2012

Photo Finish Friday

Woo, everypup and everycat.  It's me, Dave.

IMG_8500 Dave

 Just for the record ...

IMG_8502 Dave
"Most impressive!"

... Zim and I had nothing to do with the big hole in the neighbors' yard.

IMG_8499 Dave

Ha woo.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Rock Star

Ha roo, pups and cool cats!  It's me, Zim!   Saturday, Mom and Dad slipped out of the house for a while without me or Dave -- without us!  How crazy is that?!?  But that's not the worst of it.  They came back smelling like ... like a friend of mine.  Do you remember in October when I got to go shopping at the rock place with Mom?  (Click here to be reminded of what an awesome trip it was!)  That's right!  They smelled like my Golden Retriever friend Sandy!  Both of them! I just couldn't believe they'd go out there without me.

I'm not going to pretend I didn't pout a bit which could well be why Mom and Dad were whispering about something on Tuesday, then Dad said, "... and you should take Zim with you."  What?  Even though I didn't know where we were heading, I jumped into the car, game for whatever lay ahead!

Mom said where we were going was a surprise - but that I'd probably figure out where we were going before too long.  Hmm...

IMG_8387 Zim
"Where are we going, Mom?"

We went past the KSU stadium and the Vet School, and kept going and going and going.  There was only one place I could think of that's way out that way ... and ... and ... and ... I was right!!!

IMG_8388  Zim and Sandy

We remembered each other right away and just had the best time walking all around the place together!  My friend Tara was there, too, and she remembered us even though we'd only met her one time!  What a nice biped!

Mom wanted to look for some Russian Sage and for some rocks.

IMG_8394 Zim
"Yeah, yeah, yeah.  The Russian Sage is in there.  Now where did Sandy go?"

I mean - really.  Where were Mom's priorities?

Anyway, Sandy and Tara helped us pick out just the right boulders for Mom and Dad's project...

IMG_8390  Zim and Sandy
"I like those Tuscan Field Stones for what your people want to do, Zim!"
"You're the expert!"

...then it was time for us to head back home.

IMG_8391 Zim and Sandy
"I'll come back again soon, Sandy!"

Being the gentleman that I am, I am not going to comment on what we may or may not be doing in that photo.  Ahem.

Anyway, Mom was thrilled with the rocks we bought and with the Russian Sage plants.  As for me, what a great surprise, getting to go with her -- and to see my "rock star" friend, Sandy!  I sure hope Mom and Dad have another project that will entail going out there.  And soon!

Play bows,

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Nice Job!

Ha roo, pups and kit-cats!  It's me, Zim.  Wowzers, was yesterday a busy day!  As Dave told you, we scheduled a truck to dump a big pile of mulch in the driveway for Mom and Dad to spread in the garden.  Sure enough, the nice man showed up right on time, "first thing" in the morning.  (Not "first thing" as far as my schedule goes, but in biped work hours terms.)  Dave and I went out to inspect the mulch and to offer Mom and Dad a few words of encouragement.

"Wowzers, Dave!  That's a lot of mulch!"
"Does this mean Mom will be out here all day instead of with me?" 

Dave was obviously concerned about Mom doing too much hard work.  He thought maybe he could help out.

"I can dig it!"

Mom didn't want Dave to do too much, though, so ... what can I say? Rather than supervise, I thought I'd get a little more involved.

"OK... so if we take some of this and ..."

"... put it in here ... about 7.2 million times ..."

Sounded like a good idea!  So ... having shared that advice with Dad ...

"Alrighty then!  I'll be in the house if you need anything else!"

My advice worked so well, in fact, that when Mom came in to get lunch for me and Dave, Dad called the nursery place and asked them to send another truck full of mulch over.  That's right - another full load!  Dave and I had lunch, a short walk, then got right back to work - supervising from inside the air-conditioned house.  It was exhausting ... but when Mom came in a few hours later and announced that they were done, I owed it to her and Dad to go out and inspect.

"Oh... nice!  Nice and fluffy and cooling!"

It's important to praise and encourage your bipeds when they've done a good job.  Of course ... 

"Ha roo!"

...we all know they couldn't have done it without Dave and me!

Play bows,

Monday, May 21, 2012

We're Ready!

Woo, everypup and everycat.  It's me, Dave.  As Zim told you yesterday, Mom and Dad scheduled a delivery of a big truck full of mulch today.  We know it's going to be a whole lot of work, but I think we're ready.

I started prepping last night. Here I am, helping Mom relax:


We need to store up some energy while keeping our minds sharp; we decided to tackle a Sudoku puzzle.

"Try putting a 7 in the upper right corner of the right-hand block in the middle row..."

I'm pretty sure she couldn't do those without me.

Zim did his part last night, too, and now he's getting set near the front door...

"... and ... stretch and ... hold ... "

...by doing yoga stretches.  Gotta be in fine form to supervise, you know!

The mulch is here, so it's a good thing we're ready.  Mom said something about another half cup of coffee ... but Zim and I are all set to GO!!!  Don't worry - we'll pace ourselves.

Have a great day, everyone!


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Serene Scenery Sunday

Ha roo, pups and cool cats.  Zim here, all set to kick back and slip into the Zen of Zim Zone.  Ready to join me?

Nothing's more serene this time of the year than relaxing on the upper deck after our morning walk!  While Mom and Dad sip coffee, Dave and I watch over the yard.


Well, OK.  Dave likes to keep one eye on Mom ... but I like to focus on the yard:

"Anybody down there?  Ha rooooo???"

For newcomers to our blog, Ao4 HQs is built into a steep hillside, and the deck we're on is 1-1/2 stories up from the back yard -- we can see everything from there!  That's where most of Mom's sunset and storm pix are taken!

You can see the day lilies down there ... want to see what else is shakin' in the back yard?

The roses are still blooming:


Mom put a bunch of new stuff in this year, as Dave told you last Serene Scenery Sunday.  Most of it still looks like sad relatives of Charlie Brown's Christmas tree (if you know what I mean), but she put some Blue Lyme (Blue Dune) Grasses in that are looking OK.  Here's one of them:


It's that  half-dead  half-alive looking thing in the foreground.  Past that are some Purple Emperor Sedum that Mom transplanted last year and beyond them you can see the Butterfly Weed.  It's in full bloom now! Let's go in for a close-up!


What a great kick of color!

Mom and Dad have both been working really hard in the gardens this season.  Don't worry, though!  Not only are Davy and I doing our parts to help (by keeping the comfy, cool house safe!) but Mom had a bunch of helpers the other morning!  Check this one guy out:


Isn't he the bee's knees?  Ha roo roo roo!

Anyway, Mom said there's a big truck coming tomorrow morning to deliver mulch, so we're all going to have our work cut out for us.  They're getting more than last year, so Dave and I are going to need to pace ourselves.  All that supervising can really tire a guy out!  We'll let you know how it all goes!

Until then - I hope you have a tranquil, relaxing Sunday!  Keep it serene, everyone!

Play bows,

Saturday, May 19, 2012

My Job Interview/Proposal

Ha roo, pups and cool cats!  It's me, Zim.  As I mentioned yesterday, I came up with a great idea for a Summer job.  For the past few weeks, I've seen this really cool trolley parked over by the Giant's Castle.  I was curious about it so I did a little research and learned that you can rent it out by the hour.  Hmm...  I asked Mom to take me over to where it is so I could see if the trolley would fit into my Summer job plans.

Here I am, checking it out:

"Easy enough to climb aboard!"

Let me back up a bit and tell you my plan...

My idea is to rent out the trolley and give tours of the Kansas Ocean!!!  Seriously!!!  It's becoming quite the hot spot these days, so can't you just picture me going over the transoceanic bridge on the trolley, then cruising along the boardwalk?  The tourists would go crazy for something like that, don't you think?

We could have a postcard made ...

Your Kansas Ocean Tour Guide - Zim!

...made using that shot (like we did with another one!) and sell it in the gift shops lining the boardwalk!

I really think I'm on to something here!

"All aboard for the Kansas Ocean!"

Hmm.  No takers yet.

"Ha roo?"

OK.  I can wait.  The tourists will be lining up in no time.

I sure hope this pans out!  It could be a REALLY fun Summer!

Play bows,