It all began with a simple row boat ride around the lake. My son, Jamie, and his friends Scott, John, Ben, and wonder dog "Buddy" landed on my shores and decided they needed to pursue a quest! Earlier that day, they were traipsing through the woods and spotted an abandoned and very dilapidated paddle boat in need of repair! Although retired to an inconspicuous spot for at least 3 years (as long as I have lived here), it has been pulled from the woods and resurrected to a full blown "chariot!" Pulled behind a 4 wheeler through dense foliage at high speeds, it is home made fun at it's best!!! And Buddy, the rescued Cocker Spaniel mix, is right there with the boys... enjoying every minute of adventure, fun, and silliness!! This dog ROCKS!!!
First, the paddle boat was assessed for durability and sturdiness as parts were deleted, altered or bludgeoned in order to refine this mess into a fabulous chariot. Final plans were made over dinner (cat Marcus was the centerpiece on the table, enjoying a cat nap in a Smucci original cat bowl bed!)
Here are the results...
It is LOUD when Scott pulls Jamie, seated in the "chariot," with his 4 wheeler on my gravel driveway. This really sounds as though a train is running through my property... an absolute riot!! I am surprised, and delighted, that my neighbors haven't executed me!
This is Derks, the miniature horse I routinely visit and provide
with treats like apples and fresh carrots. I think he likes me
because when he sees my truck he runs to the fence and pokes
his nose through the openings, anxious to eat. Well, I have been
given quite the reality check! Yeah, he likes me but not NEARLY
like he likes my buddy Justin. The other day we went inside the
gate to give Derks a hug and I just assumed he would be happy
to have my hugs. NOT! He literally neighed when he saw Justin
and would have nothing to do with me. I think Justin is a
horse whisperer or has some special powers! Just look at the
photos of this horse hugging this human! I know I have never
seen anything like it. Justin just shrugs it off and tells me it
happens all the time... with all horses!
Today, Derks was moved from his temporary home at
Southview High School to his "summer home" in Michigan!
He will spend the next 3 months on a farm with Dixie,
another miniature horse who I like to visit and feed.
Someday these guys are going to neigh when they see me
and like me better than Justin... maybe. I wonder if they
like cake and ice cream?
I really fell in love with front loaders several years ago in Kentucky at a national lawn and landscape show. Accompanied by Jamie Mullins, former landscape partner, we played on the equipment... scooping up loads of dirt, dumping it into big piles and dreaming about owning it all! Well, I was fortunate enough to catch a few photos this weekend of Justin Martin sitting in the big scoop shovel of a John Deere tractor and elevated 3 stories to clean out the eaves of the beautiful farmhouse on the Zyler estate. What a wonderful property! We worked hard cleaning up the debris beneath 100 year old maple trees and an apple tree orchard, as well as cutting and defining beds for unusual varieties of iris, lilacs, and roses. I can't wait to go back!
Jamie continues to assist me with all of my endeavors while pursuing his own interests. Recently he acquired his Michigan driver's license, passing with flying colors and exemplary skill. I was told by examiners that he is extremely conscientious on the road, so I guess we are lucky to have a very safe driver join us all!
My love of lawn care (big trucks and powerful equipment!) spills over into Jamie's life. He is great at striping a lawn and handles the Billy Goat (one of my prized possessions!) with ease. Last week he assisted me in preparing and planting an herb garden for his sister Meghan at her new home in Sylvania. Removing sod, tilling soil, hauling manure, and tilling again is not an easy task. Jamie was there, and photos will be forthcoming!
Smucci photographer, trade show assistant, and computer technician are a few of Jamie's roles relating to my custom pet bed business. Tirelessly, he has supported my travels over the past 3 months enduring long hours and little sleep. And, of course, ME as his very demanding boss! My attention and insistence on perfection and detail at the trade shows is enough to make a grown man weep! Maybe 10 grown men!!
Jamie Kahn... how far you have come. Your wisdom, kindness and intelligence has been a source of inspiration to us all!
The Sylvania Southview Horticulture team won first place at the 2009 state competition. Justin Martin placed first overall in the individual competition and exhibits natural talent according to his favorite teacher, Rick Fredericks, head of the FFA program at Southview.
FFA (Future Farmers of America) began in 1928 and is dedicated to preparing members for leadership and careers in the science, business and technology of agriculture. Justin's aptitude, abilities and hard work have led him to the prestigious honor of being number one in the state of Ohio.
I have had the privilege of working with Justin during the time that I owned a lawn and landscape company. He was enormously helpful and supportive during a difficult business transition with the company. My best memories of this time include cutting lawns with Justin and enjoying his never ending smile.
Justin is a full time high school senior, works 40 hours/week for James Nursery, and maintains lawns for his personal list of customers. He has also assisted me in my recent travels to Detroit, Columbus and Lexington for trade shows for Smucci products as a true friend with my best interest at heart, exuberantly and without pay.
I hope I can return the many favors he has unconditionally given me over the years. I am trying and assist Justin in cutting, edging and trimming all of his personal accounts each week... without pay.
Thank you, Justin, you are a rare and wonderful person! I am privileged to know you.
I have received numerous phone calls and text messages encouraging me to NOT be normal (the "real" me and "normal" are not synonymous), and to NOT give up on my dreams. Thank you for the communication, but honestly I really meant exactly what I wrote in a prior blog post entitled "For One Month I Will be Normal"... it's just a break as I tend to some practical matters in my life and determine the next best direction for my growing business. Keep in mind that for me blogging is similar to keeping a journal and is an honest expression of my thoughts as I move forward. My blog is like a diary with two exceptions. I will not confess the details of my love life, and anyone in the world can read it!
To avoid mass panic, I thought I would fill you in on the progress I have made in 2 weeks. I am recycling rusty angle iron meant for scrap and welding these pieces together into beautiful dog house structures. They will be draped in linen, fine trim, and gorgeous beads.
I regularly visit 2 miniature horses and give them treats. I keep an ample supply of apples and carrots in my truck at all times so that I can stop by their "homes", climb the fence and feed them. Derks is smaller than a Great Dane and the top of his ears reach my waist. He is adorable! With pale blue eyes and a soft nose he has captured my heart. I haven't taken a photo of Dixie yet. Although she has found a good permanent home, she was abused and is a bit camera shy.
I have also been completing the educational requirements necessary to re-instate my nursing license. I just completed a course on stress management and now have an even better understanding of the amazing adaptability our bodies and minds possess in handling life's dramas. Hmmmm... wonder why I chose this subject to study?
I applied for a part time job at the Tractor Supply Company on Central Ave in Toledo and love their mission statement. It is filled with the integrity of good old-fashioned and honest values emphasizing teamwork. I spoke with John, the manager, and enjoyed our discussion about the economy, his business, and my current endeavors. I am an avid shopper at Tractor Supply and have incorporated some of the hardware into the design of my pet beds. I also purchase all of my pink cowgirl boots at the store!
Gotta go and help a friend cut some lawns, pull out a few bushes, and plant some flowers. Will need to stop by Lowe's for supplies and call my friend, Lynn, who has just returned from a month's rest in Palm Springs. Oh, and I have a meeting at noon (I am LATE!), followed by a custom work-out at Urban Active. I also have a meeting today with a new client to discuss plans for a VERY SPECIAL HIGHLY INSPIRED CUSTOM DOG BED, which I will name the "GRATEFUL DAWG BED." For all you "Deadheads" out there, I will incorporate some of Garcia's artwork into design elements for the cushion honoring the lucky dawg who gets to sleep on it every night! His name is Jack Straw... yeah, from Witchitaw!
More later. Much happening!
In the spring of 2000, my 3 children and I were home on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon following Carolyn's golf lesson, Meghan's piano recital, and the completion of Jamie's homework project for English. I had hired a landscape company to take on the task of cutting my lawn that season, as I knew the myriad tasks of assisting my children in meeting their responsibilities would be daunting.
The doorbell rang, and the landscape crew stood at my door. One of the boys was holding a tiny bird, his hand stretched forward for me to see as his eyes questioned my response. "We found him before the mower got him...we don't think he can fly."
I carefully took the baby bird, warmed it within my enclosed palms, and thanked my lawn crew for bringing it to me. They looked relieved that I had taken the burden of the tiny bird from them, and left.
I placed the bird in a cage, built by my mom, complete with a nest I had salvaged after a rainstorm knocked it to the ground. I attempted to feed the baby, but it was clear that my dietary selection of water, bread and worms was not at all appetizing to him. I set the baby bird in the nest, inside the cage on my back porch, while contemplating what to do.
I remember the discouraging words of the lawn crew as they left my house and the few friends I frantically called for advice, "forget about it debi, just let him be."
Over the next few days, an amazing thing happened.
A brightly colored, yellow male finch began swooping down close to the cage and making all kinds of remarkably loud noises. The baby, quiet until this point, began making unusually loud noises in return. I took the cage, with the baby still inside, to an open area in my backyard and just watched. I will never forget what I saw next. The adult male finch landed on top of the cage, screetching loudly, and began feeding the baby bird through the openings of the wired cage.
This scene replayed every 2 hours over the next 3 days. At dusk, all activity stopped, and I would bring the baby onto my porch for warmth and a good night's sleep. At dawn, the feedings resumed.
My children and I watched this connection between the brightly colored adult male bird and its' baby for three days, with incredulous awe, quietly and from a distance. Meghan's friends would stop by, and we invited them to watch. My mom and sister, Carol, could not believe that this was happening, as they stood by to see. At the end of the third day, I held the baby bird one last time, placed him on top of the cage, and watched him fly up into a nearby tree with his dad.
And then I cried, for a really long time. I felt so sad that the baby bird was gone, and so simultaneously happy that he had made it, and was able to fly away with his family. But even more, I had experienced something very special, along with my children, their friends, and my family. Life stopped as I knew it, with all it's busy stuff. I relinquished all control, listened to a bigger and wiser voice, and... I just let it be...