Respite Open Thread: A Little Bixby and Scout

great dane lying in the grass

Look at this happy girl. She is ALWAYS happy, even when I’m scolding her. And let me tell you, it’s difficult to discipline that face. But, now that Bixby is his old self, we’ve gotten serious again about training. Nothing worse than a 100+ lb dog who is out of control. Happy, bouncy, jumpy is great, except when it’s aimed at guests, strangers and other animals.

Speaking of the Beast:

great dane splashing in a baby pool

He’s enjoying the pool the ducks shunned. I’ve been filling it because Scout has been climbing in the duck pools, making them very unhappy. She and Bixby both enjoy cooling off in the larger pool. I just have to laugh because I have no children, yet there are 4 baby pools of varying sizes in my backyard (one is the old damaged duck pool that I turned into a “salad garden” for them).

great dane in a baby pool

You can kind of see in the background, my vegetable garden is doing well. Picked my first tomatoes and peppers this week. Plums are almost ripe and I’m not sure yet how the grapes are going to do.  I will not be canning anything. If I can’t prep it and freeze it, I give it away. Unlike our fearless blog leader, I do not enjoy canning.

I’ve been cooking though.

al pastor on crispy tortilla

I made instant pot Al Pastor (recipe here) and Sour Dough Bread (recipe here) with starter a friend gave me.

sour dough breads

And finally, just a snap of the snow on our hike last week:


I’m heading out to do some weeding and probably relax in the backyard before it gets too hot. Penelope enjoys that, if I’m reading in the lounge chair, she comes over for scritches. She’s been very, very needy the last few days and wants lots of attention. Me or Bixby, it doesn’t matter. This morning she had an entire conversation with me, following me around while I took care of food and water, chattering away at me. This is all new to me and I am completely charmed.

Respite open thread.


81 replies
  1. 1

    Hey, just a heads-up, if you guys know and like They Might Be Giants, they are selling a beautiful T-shirt to raise money for RAICES.

  2. 2
    Quinerly says:


  3. 3
    mrmoshpotato says:

    Doggos and dinner ideas. :)

  4. 4
    JoeyJoeJoe says:

    I saw that Raven mentioned in a different thread that he was going to Pigeon Forge. A suggestion: zorbing

    It was a lot of fun, and according to them, it’s the only place in the United States that has this.

  5. 5
    mrmoshpotato says:

    Beehive entry – stacked long exposure shot (Photo: nicnac124)— 41 Strange (@41Strange) August 3, 2019

    🎶The bees go fly into the hive. Hoorah! Hoorah!🎶

  6. 6
    Amir Khalid says:

    It’s good to know that Bixby is completely recovered. It’s just amazing, the difference between the mostly grown-up Scout and her baby pictures. But no Penelope Pearl pictures? I haz a sad.

  7. 7
    JoyceH says:

    Just FYI, if you haven’t yet purchased my latest novel, Mary Bennet and the Bingley Codex, it’s on sale now for 99 cents. Today is the last day of the sale, so get it now!

    Mary Bennet and the Bingley Codex

    And book 2, Mary Bennet and the Wickham Artifact, will be published in the next few days.

  8. 8
    John Cole says:

    I see a duck blogging tag yet there are no pictures of Pearl.

  9. 9
    MomSense says:

    @John Cole:

    We demand Pearl pics!!!

  10. 10
    Martin says:

    @TaMara (HFG): Ooh, done! Grew up with TMBG when they were still playing clubs in NY.

  11. 11
    raven says:

    @JoeyJoeJoe: I’m damn near 70, do I need this? Is it any worse than a 12 hour fishing trip to the oil rigs where the boat goes 70mph?

  12. 12
    RAVEN says:

    @John Cole: Maybe one of them big dogs. . . never mind.

  13. 13
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @MomSense: “Pitchforks came out today at Balloon-Juice demanding……duck? pictures?”

  14. 14
    MomSense says:


    Ha! We’re obsessed with Pearl.

  15. 15
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @MomSense: I thought it was Penelope? 😁

  16. 16
    Sab says:

    Put his harness on and took my dad’s old cat out in the yard for the first time in over a year. He really enjoyed himself when he wasn’t stepping on his leash with his back foot. He’s pretty much blind, but his ears work and he can smell. He took one of his hunting/pretend naps. I think he was sure he was going to get a chipmunk. No such luck.

  17. 17
    Elizabelle says:


    Penelope is her stage name.

    Will always be Pearl[/Earl] to me. Reminds one of her origin story.

  18. 18
    mrmoshpotato says:


    Penelope is her stage name.

    LOL Well played. Well. Played.

  19. 19

    @John Cole: I described her antics in vivid detail. I’m sorry if before morning coffee I am unable to both feed, water. collect eggs AND photograph the feathered ones.

    @Elizabelle: I can live with that, LOL

  20. 20
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Thanks for the heads-up. Just downloaded. Was hoping there would be a preorder option for MB and the Wickham Artifact, but couldn’t find one, so do please let us know when it’s actually available.

  21. 21
    rikyrah says:

    Afternoon to Poco and the tribe 😌😻😎

  22. 22
    raven says:

    Multiple fatalities in El Paso.

  23. 23
    rikyrah says:

    Scout is beautiful 😍
    Bixby is handsome😌
    But, where are the ducks?😲
    Where is my Pearl?💗

  24. 24
    zhena gogolia says:


    I guess I don’t have to ask caused by what.

  25. 25
    RAVEN says:

    @zhena gogolia: Twarnt mormons. . .

  26. 26
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    Unconfirmed reports of 3 in custody in El Paso, scene still active.

  27. 27
    RAVEN says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: The multiple shooter thing is almost always wrong but who knows. . . ?

  28. 28
    JoyceH says:


    Thanks for the heads-up. Just downloaded. Was hoping there would be a preorder option for MB and the Wickham Artifact, but couldn’t find one, so do please let us know when it’s actually available.

    I’m doing this all kinda half-assed, I’m not organized enough for pre-order. My launch schedule is – final proof-editing, formatting, fretful dithering, and then uploading. I keep saying I’m going to get all professional and organized… one of these days.

  29. 29
    JAFD says:

    Seeking counsel from our Kitchen Goddess, and the rest of yon jackals,

    Said a year ago Xmas that the Instant Pot might be worth getting when they sold for fifty bucks, and finally they did, and I got one as birthday present for myself.

    So, gentlefolk, if you’d like to pass on tips and advice, recipes, cookbook or website recommendations, etc etc, please do so. Thanks very much!

  30. 30
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @RAVEN: Locals have pointed out that it might just be the police arresting everyone with a gun as they work the scene.

    It’s sounding pretty sure that there are multiple locations.

  31. 31
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I don’t care how organised you are. Devote your time to writing novels. AFAIK I’ve read all your Regencies (I love the way they interconnect yet stand alone), and the two winery mysteries. Look forward to the Mary Bennet books.

  32. 32
    raven says:

    @JAFD: I use mine every-other day for steel cut oats, 12 minutes. I also use it for beans and blackeyed peas made with smoked turkey necks, take about an hour.

  33. 33
  34. 34
    BC in Illinois says:

    “What do we want?”

    “DUCK PICS!”

    “When do we want them?”

  35. 35
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: Shit, they’re arresting everyone in Texas?

  36. 36
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @raven: When I turned on the TV, they were interviewing a veteran who was reporting hearing gunshots inside the mall. The mall isn’t far from the Wal-Mart, so it could easily have been one person on the move.

    Police just said 18 killed.

  37. 37
  38. 38
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Only if they’re in the mall in El Paso.

    State rep points out that this is tax-free weekend, so shopping is more crowded than usual.

  39. 39
  40. 40

    @SiubhanDuinne: I read Mary Bennett and the Bingley Codex. Anybody who loves Austen would have a great time with it.

  41. 41
    Raven says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: No one really knows shit yet.

  42. 42
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism:

    Only if they’re in the mall in El Paso.

    So only all the good guys with guns in Texas rushing in where angels fear to tread. Got it.

  43. 43
  44. 44
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Raven: The El Paso times has it as somewhere between 18 and 30 victims. That narrows it down.

  45. 45
    germy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: The garlic festival shooter… it turns out he killed himself.

    All the earlier reports had the cops killing him.

  46. 46
    RAVEN says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Fucking idiots on MSNBC can’t stop talking about “this is your home town. . .”

  47. 47
    raven says:

    @germy: I also read he was hit and then did himself.

  48. 48
    Martin says:

    Why do I have a feeling this will be another white supremacist?

  49. 49
    germy says:

    Scene is still Active. We have multi reports of multiple shooters. Please avoid area police conducting search of a very large area. Media staging will be given when area is secure.— EL PASO POLICE DEPT (@EPPOLICE) August 3, 2019

  50. 50
    germy says:

    @Martin: If he was taken alive then I’ll know he’s a white supremacist.

  51. 51
    zhena gogolia says:


    The location seems not random.

  52. 52
    germy says:

    Here in Texas we've got 2nd Amendment bumper stickers and shirts. All kinds of stuff with ARs on em. Punisher skull adorned pickups. What we dont have, that fabled good guy with a gun to swoop in and be a hero… enough is enough.
    — 🍀B.A.G.🍀 (@RealBAG86) August 3, 2019

  53. 53
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @germy: A blaze of glory!

  54. 54
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @Raven: Not until they finish clearing the mall.

    What I have so far is one active military recounting hearing shots inside the mall and helping evacuate, early reports from the mayor’s office that I suspect included Good Guys With Guns that the police took into custody and later released, and current police statements.

  55. 55
    dmbeaster says:

    @germy: The police shot at him and I believe hit him before he then shot himself. It is understandable that the police perceived that they had killed him. Coroner figured out the precise cause of death, which is his job.

  56. 56
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Martin: Naw, disgruntled postal employee.

  57. 57
    germy says:

    What a country.

    Even Respite Open Threads are full of bloodshed and mayhem

  58. 58
    JoeyJoeJoe says:

    @raven: Actually, probably not, unless you like getting thrown around while you’re in a giant ball. There’s a couple of good, short but steep hikes in the Smokies, including the peak , Clingmans Dome, a 30 minutes drive outside of Gatlinburg, that might be a better idea

  59. 59
    J R in WV says:


    I bought the first volume not long after you first mentioned it, and really enjoyed it. I was a little surprised how much I enjoyed it, as Regency England is not my favorite culture, as the class boundaries and number of rich despicable high status misogynists are hard for me to accept even today….

    But you did a great job with your positive characters and a fun plot…

    Will definitely be buying the next volume of the series, keep up the good work! And congrats on your new book nearing publishing.

  60. 60
    RAVEN says:

    @JoeyJoeJoe: I live in Athens so I’ve done a good bit of slogging up there.

  61. 61
    Steeplejack (phone) says:

    @Elizabelle, @TaMara (HFG):

    Yay! Blog comity.

  62. 62
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @BC in Illinois:

    “What do we want?”

    “DUCK PICS!”

    “When do we want them?”


  63. 63
    J R in WV says:

    This morning she [Penelope Pearl] had an entire conversation with me, following me around while I took care of food and water, chattering away at me. This is all new to me and I am completely charmed.

    NO PICS? Really, Pearl seems like a wonderful character suitable for a series of many, many novels about the Duck and the Great Danes who can do what needs to be done. We are all charmed!

    I can barely imagine her conversation with you as you work around in her space. “Quack, quack, murmur, murmur.”

  64. 64
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    A Teen Scientist Figured out How to Suck Microplastics from the Ocean. There May Be Hope for Humanity.

    Microplastics are plastic fragments less than 5 millimeters in size and they pose serious environmental and a public health risks. They are ubiquitous, having contaminated the most remote places of the world, including France’s Pyrenees mountains and the bottom of the Mariana Trench; they can be found in tap water and inside marine mammals and fish. While it’s not yet clear how microplastics affect human health, it’s safe to say they are of great concern to scientists.

    Enter Ferreira, who speaks three languages, plays the trumpet, and has a dwarf planet named after him. Living near the water in West Cork, he was inspired to study microplastics after becoming “increasingly aware” of plastic ocean pollution. “I was alarmed to find out how many microplastics enter our wastewater system and consequently the oceans,” he writes in his project’s research paper. “This inspired me to try and find out a way to try and remove microplastics from waters before they even reached the sea.”

    More than 100 miles from the nearest lab, he conducted all of his research at his home, fueled by hot chocolates from his parents. After running more than 1,000 tests (and starting an accidental fire), he figured out a way to remove about 87 percent of microplastic from water by using a magnetic liquid, or ferrofluid. The challenge now, he says, is to bring the project to scale.

  65. 65
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Why the US has so many tornadoes

    Tornado Alley experiences more tornadoes than anywhere else in the world — why?

    Because God hates us?

  66. 66
    MomSense says:


    Police have a 21 year old white male in custody.

  67. 67
    Raven says:

    Oh the photos of the dude are disturbing because he wasn’t dressed for shopping. Jesus.

  68. 68
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @Raven: He’s wearing ear protection?

  69. 69
    germy says:

    @MomSense: You can commit mass murder and be taken alive by police. But if you’re not white and reach for your driver’s license….

  70. 70
    germy says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: The Sandy Hook shooter wore earplugs, also.

  71. 71

    @JAFD: I have a bunch of recipes on my blog adapted to the Instant pot, plus some links to other recipes.

  72. 72
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: because god hates red states

    @MomSense: I’m shocked SHOCKED I say

  73. 73
    mrmoshpotato says:


    he wasn’t dressed for shopping

    Safe to assume a TV idiot said that?

  74. 74
    J R in WV says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism:

    Don’t want to damage your hearing while committing a mass murder, right?

    Also: Trained at the range to always wear hearing protection!

  75. 75
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    Well, that was a bizarre interview.

    I’m not sure what’s more jawdropping, that the prankster got through or that the anchor talking to him can’t believe someone would do that at a time like this.

  76. 76
    Elizabelle says:

    Nothing like a mass shooting to break into a quiet Saturday afternoon. With/without ducks.

    New thread.

  77. 77
    MoxieM says:

    You have a lovely household, and it is a respite from the crazy. Even with juvenile giant breed dogs (wheee see what I can do with my tail, mom??), it is a sanctuary. Thank you so much for sharing. (But yeah, we want ducks!)

  78. 78
    JoyceH says:

    @J R in WV: I’ll keep writing the Mary books as long as they sell, but I confess to starting to feel a hankering for the Edwardian era. Changing times but still awesome clothes. Downton Abbey! Maybe I can do a couple series at the same time.

  79. 79
    Redshift says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Wow! That’s very impressive.

  80. 80
    Travels with Charley says:

    @JoyceH: I love your books! Thank you for the recommendations!

  81. 81
    Steeplejack (phone) says:


    I just bought Mary Bennet and the Bingley Codex and A Feather to Fly With to support the cause.

Comments are closed.