Saturday, March 31, 2007

thin ice indeed

Thin ice signs were posted by the bridge this winter after someone dunked a sled. They made it to our shoreline and looks like they will go no further. Also a couple of plastic "bait" bags looks like.
This is 2 houses down the shore (toward the bridge). The woman who owned this house moved into a senior complex, and the house was bought by a couple who introduced themselves as "flippers." Exact description, but I had never heard anyone actually call themselves flippers. They ended up doing a nice job remodeling the house, but it's not selling very quickly. Anyway, they lucked out leaving the dock in - we've seen docks absolutely destroyed if the ice blows in hard and hits them.

Not a very clear photo - but there is a can of something laying on the bottom about 8 feet out from shore. A small gift from the fishermen, no doubt. With any luck it's a still-sealed can of ice cold beer. But much more likely to be an open can filled with yummy lake water. We get gifts like this all year round - I wonder if the people who use the lakes maybe think they're offering thanks to those of us who are lucky enough to live along the shore? No, probably not.

One of my chives clumps. It is so nice to see green things in the gardens! Rabbits or ?? are eating my tulips - what are they thinking????? I've waited all winter for them! Obviously, my dogs are not doing their job very well. I plant tulips in clumps of 10 or so and there are 3 clumps right now that the tips of the leaves are chewed down. I don't know if I'll get any blooms or not. Other clumps luckily are quite a bit taller and are probably safe at this point - I HOPE!

Have a ton of scilla planted all around - I love this bright blue flower. It's been in the 40's, so none of them are actually blooming yet - just buds. I hope the buds hang in there through this next week. They are very prolific - I have them moving out into the yard. I love it. The leaves are so small that they die back pretty quickly, so not a prob with mowing. I'd love to have bulbs naturalized throughout the yard - but I'd probably get pretty tired of the clumps of long grass and dying leaves if I did. Down by the Minneapolis lakes they usually naturalize daffodils along the boulevard - it is gorgeous. If I get down there this spring, I'll snap some photos and show you.

Look at this green grass! There are a ton of small branches all over. The dogs love it, of course. Still have bags of leaves to haul to the shredder, and the area on the right-hand side of the house and in front of the porch still are waiting to get raked. On the left-hand side you can see the roof of the new house across the street. Luckily for us, they can't see into our yard from any of their windows. They do see the entry patio on the street side, but I don't mind that. We had a small break in the rain, but still very grey so think more is on the way. A good weekend for getting inside things done - like reading, for instance!!!!


HOORAY!!!!!! We have open water on our bay. The ice rotted and disappeared yesterday afternoon. Bigger bays still have ice, but we're supposed to have T-storms this afternoon, so bye-bye ice. It's been raining pretty steadily since Thursday night, so no photos - but as soon as I can get out there I'll post some. It's beautiful! I need to get my rain guage out - but could get snow next week, so... Like the old saying, if you don't like the weather in Minnesota, wait an hour.

Friday, March 30, 2007

northern lights

The first weekend in November 2004, there was an incredible Northern Lights display. We had gone to Seattle that weekend for Ryan & Sara's engagement party and to meet Sara's family for the first time. We flew home on the red-eye Sunday night/early Monday morning. From the plane we could see the green lights flashing outside. Unfortunately neither of us had a window seat, so the view was limited. I was thrilled when we got home and I found these photos posted on the net. A guy who lives a couple bays over from us had taken about 50 photos that were incredible. I've posted 4 of them here. The quality of his photos was great, and I hope some of the detail shows in the ones I have posted.

I remember seeing the Northern Lights many times as a kid. We lived on a farm in northern Iowa, and the sky was endless. Every clear night during the summer (and probably year round), we could look up and see the Milky Way. It has been years since I've seen it. And when the Northern Lights did their display, it was better than any fireworks.

I remember both green and pink lights flashing across the sky when I was little, so I was happy to see the red show up in some of his photos. I've seen the lights a couple times in the past 20 years (how sad is that?!), but it's always been just fingers of green sweeping across the sky. I've found that if we have a halfway decent display and I'm aware of it, that I can see quite a bit laying out at the end of the dock and looking toward the north. It's just far enough away from house and street lights if I keep my eyes focused on the sky.

How cool would it be to see them from Alaska - big sky - no pollution ( hopefully, less anyway). It would probably feel like you could just reach out and touch them.
On the homefront, we have another grey rainy day. I can see leaves on the lilac bushes starting to show a little green, and the plants in the gardens are shooting up. The grass is even turning green. I love taking my garden tours (with dogs prancing and dancing through gardens and yard) and seeing all the new things pushing their way up through the dirt. Spring really is quite miraculous to observe!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

the guest room

Today's photos are very exciting!!!! Or not!
This is our guest room (which I was going to get totally decorated - done - finished this winter). About a year ago we hung new wallpaper. It has a pretty cool pattern to it - called "concrete" or "cement" or something exciting like that - still, kind of cool. It's a light sand color with grey in it primarily. The woodwork is all painted white - doors, windows, closet doors, etc (altho in these photos I can see that the closet doors need to be repainted - looking kind of off-white after Mark painted the woodwork ((before the paper went up)) ), and the carpet in the room is kind of a dark sand color.

We found some wood shutters at a garage sale and used 4 of them to make a headboard. The color contrast is maybe a little stronger than shows in the photo, but not much. Used a very dark royal blue for bedspread, light denim blue for sheets, and one sham pretty much matches the paper. My idea was sea and sand - a fun "cottage at the lake" look.

I was going to use the sand color for the sheets, but decided way too much beige!

I think I'm going to print some black and white photos and use simple black frames and set them on top of the "headboard" - maybe one of my gardens in bloom, one of the lake, one of the house??

Have a lovely photo of the beach in LA hanging on one wall - the photo is totally blue and sand colored. And another larger picture that I need to re-mat, frame etc for another wall. And then the 4th wall has an antique dresser with a cool mirror on it.

So basically all I have done is the headboard and bedding, but still... You would not believe how long it took me to find the bedding!!!!! I also want to find some cute ideas for night tables. We put a queen-size bed in there, so no room for tables sitting on the floor. I'm thinking maybe I can find some great shelf supports to make something??

One great thing I did is get a bedspread for the bed and a matching coverlet that I have on over the bedspread all the time unless we have company. The dogs can jump on the bed without me having to wash the bedspread everytime someone is going to be here. Smart, huh? Of course, the dogs (who lived on that bed BEFORE I had this brainstorm) don't really like that room anymore. Now they're lounging and sleeping at night in my office that has the cool iron bed in it. (Maybe I'll post some photos of it sometime - it is very cool.) They are probably trying to drive me crazy - and seriously, I don't have all that far to go, so they should maybe just stop.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Hot Air Balloons

Today's photos are all from the Natl Balloon Classic that's held every year in Indianola, Iowa. We were there a couple of years ago. It was a ton of fun. Unfortunately I didn't realize until we had to head back home that we were only a short drive from Madison County - of Bridges fame. So I definitely want to go back again and do the Bridges of Madison County AND the Hot Air Balloon Festival. Sometime I want to see the balloons in Albuquerque too.

Some of these aren't totally clear - it was early in the morning and the sun hadn't burned through the haze yet. We were at the county fairgrounds and all of a sudden dozens of balloons started rising over the hill coming toward us. It was suitably incredible.

It's fun sharing old pictures, but I am going to be happy when the gardens start blooming and I can share some current photos of flowers!! Chilly and rainy today. We need the rain, so no complaint there. (well, as long as it's nice again tomorrow!)

If I had a hot air balloon, I would probably choose colors like the balloon on the left.

The bottom picture was taken the night before. They had musical groups performing and a few of the balloons were lit for a night glow. It was very cool.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

the missing photos

See, aren't these pretty? I like the way the sun is shining through the coral bells' leaves. (Sedum "Autumn Joy" and coral bells)
I forgot to say HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, JEREMY & SARAH! on last post so wanted to do that. Their 2nd anniversary was yesterday, and we emailed back and forth, but I thought they should have a shout here too.

waiting for flowers

It's been a few days since I posted. I've been busy working in the gardens - raking, raking, raking. Have the east side of the house left to do and that job will be done. Nice!

Yesterday we hit 81 - it was a gorgeous day. Mark got in a nice motorcycle ride, I played in the dirt, and the dogs were totally worn out from romping all day. We all have spring fever!

Kobie is a poser, no doubt about it! This shows off the lovely haircut he got so he'd look nice for Thanksgiving when Ryan & Sara were here for a few days. Went back to November '06 for today's photos. All of these were taken on 11/23 except 2nd lake photo which was taken 11/25. Green grass and open water - gotta love it!

So, here's the difference 2 days can make. I don't recall if the lake stayed frozen after we got this light skim 11/25, but it probably wasn't long after that. Today it's really rotten and breaking up along the shoreline - but still nicely frozen in the center. At least there haven't been any fishermen out in the middle since Sunday!

Isn't this a pretty picture of my grass? I love the ornamental grasses, but it's a really short time that they look nice before the snow buries them.
I do computer work for 2 companies that sell gift items to retail stores. One of my guys expects to have all of his reports for the month by Friday - which means I should have had them in the mail today. I'm still working on them. Working really gets in the way of gardening. Hopefully I'll finish up tonight and get them in the mail tomorrow morning.
French class this morning - very fun. I'm going to try to actually do my homework this week. I know if I spent even 15-30 minutes a day on it, I'd be way ahead of where I am now. So that's the plan!

Had some lovely photos of sedum and coral bells on here - but just managed to erase them - so guess maybe you'll see them on tomorrow's blog! There are so many things coming up in the garden - I love this time of year. Scilla is almost ready to bloom, so will have "real time" photos to share soon!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

warmer days

Some images from the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden near the Walker Art Center.

This one is the Spoonbridge and Cherry. It's totally cool in person - and from the freeway as you drive past - and in photos, I guess!! St Mary's Basillica is in the background.

This was a totally cool sculpture - copper wire wrapped to make a ball - it looks like a giant ball of yarn with sticks in the center. They have it sitting in a small garden with evergreen shrubs. I love it.

This is the Frank Gehry carp in the Conservatory. These photos were taken last winter. Today the snow is gone - mid 60's yesterday and today - and looks like most of the coming week. Looking more like spring everyday. One of our outdoor thermometers gets hit by sun in late afternoon. Yesterday we watched it climb from 65 to 88 in about 5 minutes. Then we went to Dairy Queen to celebrate the first 88 degree day of the year!!!

Raked more gardens today - still much more to do, but it feels good to be outside working. Our son Kyle came out for awhile today - had lunch with us and did a couple loads of laundry - I'm sure that lunch was the main reason... ;)

Tonight was all about the heating pad - oh well!

Friday, March 23, 2007

feels like spring

These first 3 photos were taken in 2005 and Kobie and the fountain in 2002 - so not current by any means! In these first two I was planting out the east fenceline after we took out the hedge trees, and Tess was bored, bored, bored. So it looks like she was playing hide-and-seek while waiting for me to finish. In reality, she might have been catching a couple z's! (Click on the bottom one and I think you'll see her eyes peering over the hosta)

Oops - guess Kobie was bored too!
In the summer, when it gets hot, they head for the fountain for a drink. Doesn't seem to faze them if the water is fresh or starting to turn green - slurp, slurp.

Finally a spring-like day here!!! Yesterday we had fog so thick we couldn't see the lake most of the day. Today bright sun, light breeze and mid 50's. Tomorrow warmer yet. Then rain over the weekend, but maybe it will help soften up the lake ice.
I went out and cut back one garden - felt so good to be working in the garden again! Would like to get more done tomorrow. Still too wet to rake I think. I don't cut back most of the plants over winter - more interesting to look at and holds leaves and snow in place to insulate the soil after it freezes. So the gardens look especially clean in the spring after everything is cut down and raked out. Mostly I am simply thrilled to be gardening!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

reality check

Today's pictures are a reality check for me. I have been moping around because the vast majority of garden blogs I've been finding have been in warmer growing zones, and they show beautiful tulips, crocus, daffodils. One even had the audacity (to me) to say "the daffodils are done now"!!!!! So I've been feeling pretty sorry for myself. Today's photos are all from the Arb and were taken March 18, 2006. One year ago, we had snow on the ground - quite a bit of snow it looks like. Today we have bare ground except for a couple places where we had big piles of snow from shoveling the porch roof and the patio. And even they are getting smaller by the hour. So no more pity party - when I have gorgeous blooms, I'll share them and all of this waiting will be forgotten for another year.
The red barn in this picture is kind of an Arb landmark. It's actually part of a farm that borders the Arb, but we have some of the most fantastic pictures (especially autumn with beautiful leaves on the trees) that include this red barn taken from other perspectives around 3 Mile Drive. It may be the main reason Mark sometimes goes down there to walk with me!

Mark went in yesterday and had the pins taken out of his finger. The nurse or anesthesist (or whoever) did a terrible job of giving him numbing drugs. His hand is swollen and very sore and we do not like her at all. But his doctor did a great job and looks like the physical therapist knows what she's doing, so I think we'll survive. Last night and so far today have not been fun though.
Background: January 23 Mark's middle finger and a radial arm saw blade came in contact with each other. It was not pretty. Luckily, the blade did not hit the bone and his finger was not lost. But it did cut through tendons, muscles, nerves, etc. So they reattached everything and let it heal until yesterday. Now he'll go through several sessions of physical therapy to try and get it to at least partially bend. Everyone's very optimistic.

Just received a book in the mail from Amazon. It's called Gardens of the Wine Country by Molly Chappellet. I found it at the library and renewed it the 3 times they allowed me to, which means I had it here for 12 weeks. Finally decided maybe I should just get my own copy. At Amazon with shipping it cost me $6.50 - not bad for a $40 book!

The first time we went to Sonoma with Ryan & Sara, I commented that maybe we should retire to Sonoma - it was beautiful. I just had the feeling that it would be a wonderful place to live. Of course the reality of real estate prices means I'll never actually live there, but this book shows some of the wonderful gardens in Napa (right next door to Sonoma). So maybe the next best thing!!

I picked up a book at the library today too - Staircase of a Thousand Steps by Masha Hamilton. One of her books was recommended on another blog I visit, so thought I'd start with this one. I'll let you know what I think.

Just finished a book by William Kent Krueger. He has written a series featuring Cork O'Connor as the hero that is really good. Krueger lives in St Paul and his stories are based in a small town in northern Minnesota. The ones I've read so far are Iron Lake and Boundary Waters. I enjoyed them both. He mixes Ojibwe stories in while telling the mystery story and it's really interesting. His descriptions of the Boundary Waters were very nice.

Have seen a couple good movies recently. Casino Royale - the newest James Bond - was okay. This Bond was kind of different from Bonds of old - vulnerable, maybe? I liked him.

The Holiday was a good romantic comedy. Kate Winslet was especially good in it.

A couple weeks ago we watched Borat - so rude it was funny. The Departed - violent but good. And when Mark was on a business trip I watched Marie Antoinette - interesting take on the story and set in Versailles - so I'll have to order it up again sometime so he can see it.

This photo looks kind of weird - it's metal sculptures on upright posts along a walking path at the Arb. I love the sculptures - I think just sheet metal that's been cut and allowed to rust. I wish I could think of a place to do something like it in my gardens. No doubt sometime I will! (Maybe by the gate that leads to the dock??? I'll keep you posted!)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JENNI!!!! (yes I did send her a birthday email - like I'm sure she'd be bored silly by my blog - but thinking of her today and had to give a shout)

To everyone else : HAPPY FIRST DAY OF SPRING!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

blogs to check out

These photos are from Snoqualmie Falls near Seattle. Our son and his wife live in nearby Sammamish, and we visited the falls on an overcast day when we were there over Memorial Day last year. The waterfall has a 270 foot drop and is quite impressive.

I have some bug that must be going around. One day I have a splitting headache (I don't get headaches normally) and the next my stomach is killing me. Then back to the headache and so on. I hate being sick. I do think that everyone should have a sick day now and then - when you cozy up with a good book and cup of hot tea. But actually being sick bites.

The reason for this "more than you wanted to know" narrative is that I didn't feel good when I woke up today, so opted out of my French class. No reason to pass it on to Nadine and Susan. This is good or bad news: good because now I might actually finish my homework assignment by next week; bad because if Susan went to class, I am now even further behind than before. I really need to get my act together on the French thing. I know once I can get into the gardens, it will be even harder to make myself spend time on it. Maybe I need a little trip to France in my future to get me going!!!

I have some interesting blogs to pass along. Recently the Minneapolis Star Tribune ran a feature on "No Knead Bread" which originally showed up in the NY Times last November. The Strib mentioned a woman who lives here in the cities and has a blog . Her blog covers a lot of different topics, but she started it because she wanted to document a year of breadbaking. Her goal was to make every bread in The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. She has wonderful pictures and comments and one of the things she covers is the no knead bread.

Rose Levy Beranbaum's site is also a good one with a lot of different baking projects.

While checking out Beranbaum's site, I found which has wonderful step-by-step instructions and pictures for making the No Knead Bread. She just added a link from her main page to the bread page. (Kitt also has some beautiful flower and poodle photos posted!!!)

Last night I was surfing for garden blogs and found one that is written by a woman who is starting a new site with 2 friends on bread baking. They have a newsletter you can sign up for - as does Beranbaum.

Just in case you want to check them out!!

Monday, March 19, 2007

I want to see my tulips!

More pictures from the Netherlands. We were there last spring for Queen's Day celebrations. Queen's Day celebrates the queen mother's birthday and Amsterdam is the place to be. Quite a party. Here is one of the new friends I made that day. He was a good sport.
At the Keukenhof, there are beautiful gardens and tons of sculpture exhibits. This was one I thought was really cute. Ceramic pigs look to be more well-behaved than poodles! (Love the fence.)

Isn't this pretty - like catching a glimpse of the yellow tulip road. I have more tulips pushing up through the ground - hooray!!! The red shoots from last week are definitely tulips, and now I can see green shoots nearby which would be the daffodils.
When we were at the Keukenhof, I ordered about 125 bulbs for me and 90 or so for my next door neighbor. They shipped them in October. I can't wait to see all of them blooming. I think everything I ordered there we could have bought here - maybe cheaper even. But I did see tons of new tulips that will be offered to the public over the next few years. I have my list and know what to watch for! Last year I did a lot of moving (what a surprise - that will probably be on my headstone!) and think I displaced many of the tulips I've had for years. So may be replacing quite a few next fall.
The lake is starting to melt along the shoreline. Still people fishing out in the middle though - drat! At least we haven't seen cars or trucks out there for a couple days! The average ice-out date is April 15. If we get the nice weather they're predicting, maybe it will be early this year - that would be nice.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

kitchen project

Here's my Kobie boy... see... profile. What a handsome guy! He and Tess were watching squirrels on the birdfeeders, but when he saw the camera, right into the chair and showing that profile. Goof!

Thought I should show you the kitchen progress. We decided around Christmas that it was time to look into updating the kitchen. Our first plan was for Mark to make all new cabinets. But after looking at what I couldn't do to rearrange things, I decided base cabinets were fine - they just need new features. The uppers may be completely redone. Not to that point yet.
I spent many hours trying to figure out how to use the space I have most efficiently, and we went around to a bunch of places looking at possibilities. The first step involved dealing with the blind corner cabinet. This photo shows the solution in progress. Mark cut a hole in the wall behind the cabinet - so what you're seeing is the landing by the side door - looking up from the basement steps. I now have a 24x24 space that is totally accessible from the landing - plus the original 20x24 in the kitchen. I used the blind space to store rarely used things, but with this new space I can get at everything easily.
It will have 2 shelves in it - 3-10inch spaces to use. He's going to make the door look like a window with mirror behind it. So this afternoon (while I'm playing) he's painting the inside of the cupboard. Next step is putting trim around the frame of opening, and then he's going to paint the beadboard on the wall going down the stairs. Then it'll be ready for the door and one step of the project DONE. I LOVE IT!
Will show you more photos as the project continues.

Speaking of projects, these 3 photos show the new house going up kitty-corner across the street from us. In December they tore down the house on that lot and now we have a lovely McMansion. We are so thrilled - NOT!!!!! (Wait until we get our next property tax statement - then we'll really not be happy!)

It's actually a nice looking house - lots of architectural detail on the outside. It's a fairly small lot, but they put a lot of house in. They built over and under the garage. When I came home Wednesday, one of the builders was just packing up and offered to give me a tour - very nice - and fun! Master suite upstairs on the lake side, plus laundry, 2 other bathrooms, 3 other bedrooms and a huge center hallway. First floor is great room with huge kitchen, dining and living spaces plus a cute little sunroom/porch - all facing the lake. Basement will have home theater under garage plus built in bar, rec area, storage and rough in for another bedroom. Phew!

The street side will be all driveway I'm sure because no one has enough parking here. The lake side of the house is very impressive looking - but as a gardener I think I'd be very unhappy. They have completely terraced half the yard with boulders - and put pure icky clay in all the planting spaces - yargh! Don't know if flat area of yard will be all grass or patio and grass. Not much room for kids, dogs, or gardens for sure.
I'll get photos of lake side and put them in a future entry.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

garden stuff

These are pictures of my beautiful ornamental grasses - that for most of the winter lie flat on the ground under snow!! I'll have to cut them back soon. I have to put them on the lakeside of the fence, otherwise Kobie snacks on them constantly and they never grow taller than 5 or 6 inches. He is such a help in the garden! Looking at the holes and skid marks in the garden, I'm amazed that any plants survive - between rabbits, squirrels, and dogs, the flowers have to be pretty tough.

I just went out and looked, and I have quite a few things showing up. The peony on the west side of the house (by the side door) is showing some pretty red shoots. Also have Jacob's ladder, primroses, and coral bells showing green. The dwarf and tall bearded irises have green too. I can't wait to see the first blooms.
My new roses all look like they survived - hope so! Last year at the Arb sale I bought 9 new roses. It took me all summer to find places to put them all, but they were roses I had been hoping to get at some point - and there they were! I planted 2 gallicas - Charles de Mills and Apothecary's Rose. A cabbage rose - Fantin-Latour. A moss rose - Alfred de Dalmas. These are all old garden roses and will only bloom once, but the scent and blooms make it worthwhile. Plus I love the idea of having roses that were discovered or introduced hundreds of years ago. The other roses I put in were all shrub roses - Country Dancer, Hawkeye Belle, J.F. Quadra, Souvenir de Philemon Cochet. And that's only 8 - hmmmm - maybe I just WANTED 9! I guess if you add in the 20 or so that I already had, 8 is quite enough. Of course, there are dozens more I'd love to try. Thinking that big old maple tree might just disappear sometime when Mark's on a business trip - I need more sun!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Spring Fever

I don't know if you can see it or not, but the bottom picture shows tulip or daffodil bulbs coming up!!!! This is by my gazebo down by the lake, and I have cute little red-orange tulips and bright yellow daffodils that are always the first to bloom in the gardens. I think this garden spot just gets warmer faster than the others. They aren't the prettiest spring flowers I have, but they are so welcome after a long winter that they might be my favorites!
The top picture shows dwarf bearded iris coming up. Still way too early to get out and start cleaning up the gardens, but this past week we have had gorgeous temps - right around 60 yesterday and today - and the gardens are responding. I LOVE IT!
(If you click on the pics you can see better - but for some reason when I click on them the pix become gigantic and you have to move the cursors to see different parts - I have a lot to learn about this program yet!)
As you can see, we have lost a lot of our snowcover. There are still piles around the house where the sun isn't as strong. The ground is still frozen, so it's like a lake in the yard in spots. In the background of this pic you can see someone out ice fishing on the lake. We went for a walk Sunday and talked to our neighbor who was out fishing. He said the ice is still 2 feet thick. So guess we won't be putting the dock and boat in this weekend!!! (I have spring fever - can you tell??)
The pooches are enjoying all this warm weather too. These aren't very good pictures - I'm trying to learn how to take pix of black dogs - it's hard!! Tess is really hard because she usually doesn't sit still long enough to let you take the shot. Kobie poses whenever he sees the camera. He evidently has it in his head that he looks better in profile. I only got this head-on shot because he heard something on the road across the lake.
I broke down and got a copy of Cesar's Way. I have never seen him on Oprah or Nat'l Geographic, but his book really is good. We definitely treat our dogs like people. They both have way too much energy - get over excited when we come home or someone comes to visit. We have kind of ignored it because after a minute or two, they become very calm and relaxed. But that first two minutes - phew! His take on it is that they aren't getting enough exercise and that we aren't demanding the behavior that we want from them. I can't argue with that. So we are now taking walks every day and our neighbor has agreed to help us with the greeting problems. Who knows, they might become great dogs yet!!!