All Quiet on the Western Maryland Front

And that’s just how I like it.

It’s been a good week here, a routine week–my favorite kind. Work, workouts, dogs, my favorite teenage boy after school. And the weather’s holding onto summer just a little longer.
Since my man took off for a week at the beach, and I stayed home, it’s been a week without cooking.
I made myself a list for the weekend, including some domestic stuff. Not a lot there as–sorry guys–men are messy. The house has stayed in order this week, so that item didn’t go on the list. Since it didn’t I took a couple hours to work instead, got the workout in after that, then started harvesting herbs.
I have four ice cube trays of chopped oregano in the freezer. I’ll pop them out, bag them today, then move on to basil–and rosemary if that fits my day.
My garden may be winding down, but I still had the pleasure of wandering out, cutting hydrangeas, and some this and that. My lovely editor sent me flowers last week, and as they’d faded some by Saturday, I culled out what could be culled, added those this and thats for a pretty little spot of color.
On display.

It’s nice to wake up to flowers, a clean kitchen counter, and snoring dogs.

Most mornings, Atticus comes up to my office when he’s ready to go out. He doesn’t much like to go out without Parker unless it’s an emergency. Getting Parker up in the morning is like dragging a teenage boy out of bed.
Five more minutes, Mom!
I start off cheerful. Let’s go, let’s go! Give him a pet–Come on, let’s go out. He’ll roll over, curl up. Every morning, same deal. I’ve found the only way to deal with it is to grab the end of his dog bed, haul up (he’s all muscle!) and roll him out. Then he yawns, stretches–all this while Atticus is dancing around. Gets up, stretches, stretches, takes a couple steps, stretches–and if I walk out expecting him to follow, he’ll try to sneak right back onto the dog bed.
When BW’s here, and gets the dogs up, I hear him go through the same routine. I imagine my voice mirrors the rising exasperation in his.
So we’ve done that today, and I had my hour or so up here to check on the world before feeding time.
Pancho is now pretty much completely deaf so he no longer hears my whistle. You can hear my whistle at least a quarter mile away–ask my boys. The other two come running like maniacs, but in the past couple months, either BW or I have to go around to the front of the house and the dog hut where Pancho spends most of his time sleeping. Wake him up–he’s always a little startled–then he’ll lumber around to the back of the house behind me.
Today Parker’s feeling frisky, so as we walk around, he charges Atticus. They jump, wrestle, leap on each other, growl and dance and carry on. Then in their wild joy ram straight into me. I repeat, Parker’s all muscle. And Atticus? To paraphrase the bard: He may be but little, but he is fierce.
They nearly took me down.
Anyway, that’s done.
Dogs! Atticus, Parker and Pancho.
I’m going to work for a bit, get in that workout, do the herbs. Then my weekend list is all checked off. (Routine–we hope–dentist visit in the morning, but I’m not thinking about that today.) I should have time to spend a little of a quiet Sunday with a book.
Before the dogs got going, at some trembling moment before full dawn, I looked out my office window. The sun must have been at some perfect point of rise because while the sky was more dark than light, it shot sparkles through my woods. It looked like faerie lights glimmering.
I figure with that start to the day it’s going to be a good one.

42 thoughts on “All Quiet on the Western Maryland Front”

  1. Your gift of words never ceases! You make the day sound magical and it makes me look at my own world that way. Thank you for these little spots of amazing in the everyday!

  2. I agree! Men are messy. My hubby was also gone last week (golf outing with buddies) so once the house was picked up on Monday, it stayed picked up. Even if they are messy, though, you tend to miss them at some point when they are gone so that is the trade off.

    Seems summer is not going down without a fight, at least in my neck of the woods. Just when you think fall is actually here, summer comes back with a vengeance with all that heat and humidity.

    Enjoy your peace, quiet, and neat house while you can!

  3. Love your puppies. Who is who in the pic?

    I am beyond excited. I got the limited edition JDR MP3 collection from TTP.

    My car has been in the shop for
    2 weeks. I get it back on Monday. I cannot wait to play my new discs in my car. No more borrowing from the library!!!

  4. Your relating of your day makes me feel I’m right there with you. I love reading about your normal day. The dogs look so sweet. And content. That alone is a treat to behold. Thank you for this. My Sunday has started with an unusual calm.

  5. I love hearing about your dogs! I have a 9-year old Chihuahua who loves to sleep in, too. He normally rolls out of bed around 10:30 or so, and then dances in place until I have him leashed up. Fortunately, I can pick him up if I need to get him going earlier than that, and he never seems to resent it when I have to wake him up.

    I’m also in Maryland, although the opposite side (about 10 miles or so south of Baltimore). The light has been gorgeous and magical here, too, both early in the morning and at twilight. I love this time of year!

  6. Do you dry your herbs first or chop them up or just plu me hem in water and freeze?
    Thanks !!

    1. Chop them, put them in ice cube trays, add water, freeze. Top off with a little more water, freeze. Pop out, put in labeled freezer bag.

      Take them out all fall and winter to add to soups, stews, sauces.

  7. What do you do with the herbs in the freezer? I haven’t heard of this before.

  8. I love to read about your day, even your vacations, it takes me right there with you. Your dogs are so beautiful, and so comical they make me laugh. Your gardens are so wonderful, I can smell them when you talk about them, thank you for sharing. Enjoy your time, and the magic.

  9. Great read…thank you for sharing! Sitting here in almost 90 degree weather wondering where the heck was this all summer…. sigh!

  10. Thanks for sharing Nora. 🙂 I have a burning (to me) question for everyone. I just read the Nalini Singh Guild Hunter series. All in row, this month. Anybody else see the similarities between Elena & Raphael to Eve & Roarke?!! So many. Not complaining, it was part of the reason I really enjoyed the series!

  11. Utterly astonished at a dog who likes to sleep in! So funny, although not for you in the mornings I guess. Thanks for the reminder to put up some herbs. So spoiled by summer’s largess and just picking outside the door.

  12. I don’t prep them at all. They’re fresh, so I just wash them, put them in my processor to chop, then freeze them in ice cube trays. Been doing it this way for years. It’s great.

  13. Nora, even just describing an early Saturday morning, taking the dogs out for their morning trip, and freezing herbs, there’s and underlying story in your words! You can hear it! The joy in the simple things. It’s amazing you don’t have a housekeeper or cleaning person coming in every day and/or a cook preparing your meals for the week. I think I would, especially the cleaning person.

    1. Then somebody would be in my house! I like my solitude.

      And thought breaks are really nice, I actually like to cook.

  14. My two cents, yes the weather there has been sister & I spent Thursday through today at InnBoonsboro, loved it! We really didn’t want to leave! Have a wonderful day!

  15. So enjoy reading this, your dogs are absolutely gorgeous. Have one that doesn’t like to go out either in the morning, they are a hoot.

  16. I just pop my dill in long skinny ice cube trays (the other ones are used for extra brewed coffee, so they don’t dilute the coffee ). I just cover w/water, & freeze. Why do i need to top it off w/water again?

    I just realized that your table looks like the same granite as your countertops. That’s so pretty, & a great idea.

    1. I often do that because I seem to underfill the first time. So I give it another skin of ice. Not always, but I can eyeball it when it’s frozen and do that if I need to.

      Long, skinny trays for dill. Hmmmm.

  17. Nothing better than a quiet weekend all to yourself, and well- the dogs. Some lazy chores, a workout (you’re so disciplined) and lucky us- some writing, too. Love the idea of freezing the fresh herbs. I may have to buy them from the store (black thumb) but I think I might preserve some myself. Blessings of the season, Nora and Laura. Celebrating Mabon with my group today. Good food, good company, and the bonus of my five and a half year old granddaughter- the apple of this Mimi’s eye!

  18. Pets are the best! I have two cats, who continually challenge and entertain me. I love all the flower arrangement photos. Your weekend sounds heavenly — enjoy!

  19. It summer coming on here in Australia. Not my favourite time of the year as it will get too hot for walks with the dog and sitting in the sun to read. We have the most fabulous winters here in Queensland and if I could stop the roll out of the hot months, I would be in paradise. Your day sounds just blissful to me……

  20. I have a black thumb. I had lots of plants when we lived in Germany, the first time i ever had houseplants, but since we came back to the states in !980, I end up killing them. The one thing doing good is some bamboo I bought in 2013 and even though I sometimes forget to water it, it keeps growing. I’ll stick with it. I’m really not into gardening or anything. I have a cat, I rent, share a back yard, so cat is perfect. She never goes outside. Too dangerous now days for kitties to go outside.
    I joke I’m a widow with a cat and we get along fine.

  21. Loved the pictures, especially of your fur babies.
    I had a friend that grew herbs inside in little pots during the winter months so I’ve never thought about freezing fresh herbs in ice trays until now. She passed away five years ago and I’ve just bought the dried herbs that are bottled since then. She had the green thumb! (Mine’s black) I even killed an air plant once lol!
    I’m glad you’ve had a good week. Can’t wait for Year One. That first chapter just whet my appetite for more.
    Thank you Nora for sharing your private time with us.

  22. Oh yeah, I like that part about your whistle and how far it can be heard. My Deddy used to call us home with his whistle and he’d better now have to whistle twice lol. He taught me how to whistle and it can be ear piercing! My son can attest to it.

  23. Sounds lovely. Personally I would like all that, though with lots of people around. I am opposite to Nora in that I dislike my own company.

  24. Thanks for your words. Read them at the end of a stressful weekend so they are brightening the start of a vacation to the UP of Michigan (am taking a couple of your books with me).

  25. That’s it . . . I’ve decided my very favorite posts are the ones that include your beloved dogs. They are so beautiful. Life is always so much more lovely with them around. And your comments about getting Parker out of bed! Hilarious! (My yellow Lab Frost wouldn’t go out on Sunday morning because it was raining. I finally had to coax her out via the garage, as she could slink under the carport on the way to the gravel to do her business. What a big baby.) Atticus is getting big! Sweetie. And even tho your senior boy is getting on in years, he is so handsome; you can tell he’s a good lad. So, thanks for sharing these dog moments with us. Total enjoyment on this end.

    My boys are on their way out on some hunt or another tomorrow. I too am looking forward to a house that stays – shall we say – less messy. On that end, I totally agree with you.

    Have a good week, Nora. You too, Laura. Thanks for this window into your world. A pleasure, I assure you.

  26. Watching your dogs get older is always difficult. I see mine getting grey around the mouth and want to stop time so I can have them with me for ever. Here in my part of the world it is spring and everything is already in bloom. Africa doesn’t really do winter. Planted rosemary and mint this morning so we’ll be doing herb freezing as well. In between work I am re-reading The Search. Have I told you how much I love your writing? You are simply magnificent.

  27. Me again. I’m back. Sorry. I just wanted to say that as I was reading through all of the blog posts yesterday, I wished there was a “like” button (as on FB) where I could “like” or even “love” the comments. The ones about the herbs – grand ideas! And a new author to research (Nalini) – grand again. So anyway . . . thanks again.

  28. Lovely post. Living here in the south we would call that a down home post!Reminds me I need to get up earlier in the day for that alone time. And teenage boys test their mommas for sure. I don’t do a thing with herbs, maybe I should learn. Thanks.

  29. As the fall weather continues here in Ohio, I too have to get cracking with the “To Do List” for the season in preparation for the coming winter.
    Clean out the chimneys of two wood burners and inspect the fire bricks to see if any of them need replaced.
    My garden is a container garden on my front deck. Time to cut back all the plants or dis-guard them entirely and redo the pot in bulbs for the spring..
    I need to get my SUV in for a major tuneup before the weather get cold. As I just got new tires, that’s not an issue. Just have to make sure the car goes to work every day and is ready for climbing the hills going home at midnight.
    The cat houses are cleaned and re bedded with fresh straw for my 4 outdoor cats.All are rescues or strays that were dumped in the winter. Though they live outside, they are happy here and the one older cat will stay in the basement at night.

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