The great natural spring hunt

What we now call Lawson Hill Farm was once part of a much larger farm that included a natural spring. When the farm was broken up into smaller parcels, the section with the spring was sold in the 1970s and we no longer had access. Even before the land was sold, we had been searching for more springs. Although we had found some suspect sites, we never found anything promising until the summer of 2020.

It started with the Grandview spring…

Grandview Hiking Trails sign

In 2019, Barry was using (with permission of the Lot Owners Association) the Grandview Lake hiking trail to train for his fall Appalachian Trail (AT) trip. The trail, which crosses our driveway and has an entry point marked as Lawson’s Farm, is hilly enough to provide a good workout. One morning, when headed east and just after crossing our drive, Barry spotted running water under a small foot bridge. Although he had crossed the bridge dozens of times over the years, he never noticed the water.

Looking north (toward our house) he could see the spring; a seep spring on the bank of a dry creek bed that has it start at our driveway. The spring is probably a hundred feet from Grandview Drive. Although it has never been “developed” it has a good flow.

Suddenly, after 50 years of looking, here is an active spring. Had it been there all those years and we just missed it because it was on Grandview property? Possibly, but we are skeptical that it wouldn’t have been found by Paula’s dad. In any case, it is here now and gives us hope of finding another, this time on our land.

Finding water in a drought

The summer of 2020 included a drought that lasted from mid-August to mid-October. While hard on the lawn and garden, it made searching for a spring easier. Barry had searched the area east of the house during the winter and spring, and had noted a couple of potential spots, but no real evidence of a spring.

Then in mid-September, while doing trail maintenance, Barry spotted some areas of deep green vegetation in a ravine and took a look. What he discovered is explained in the following video.

The search area

Map of search area

The Google Maps terrain view shows the approximate location of both the Grandview seep spring and our hunt area. There are a couple of interesting features shown on the map. There is our driveway listed as “W Locust LN”. But of more interest here is the appearance of blue “water” lines in both the Grandview spring and our hunt area. We need to research the origins of the map marking, but it would appear that there were clues available to us all along.

During the coming months we plan to dig around one or more of the spots we have found. Stay tuned for updates.

Teddy, Trees and Turkeys – Oh and Wildflowers Too.

Teddy at school, dressed in his training vest. Looking like a big boy lab.

Teddy continues his graduate school work and is advancing through the training levels.  If he continues to progress at the present rate, he will most likely qualify to be a therapy dog.  Of course his behavior at home is different from school.  He is still a wild and crazy puppy for us.  But life is much more pleasant than just a few months ago.


In the entire 30+ years we have lived here, both part-time and full-time we have never had to hire professionals to clear the driveway.  More times than we wish to count, we have sawed our way through downed trees.  But in this month of May we have had to call for professional help – twice.

Three large oaks lean across the drive, lodged in trees.


The trees, pictured above, are leaning toward the west.  We rarely have a weather event out of the east.   We awoke to find the trees leaning dangerously across the drive from a night when there hadn’t been a storm.The second leaning tree was across the driveway near the top curve.  This was the result of high winds in an afternoon thunderstorm that occurred just 3 weeks after the first 3 “leaners”.  Barry spent several days cleaning up after this storm,  The good news is we have our firewood cut for the winter of 2019-2020.

Turkeys and other beautiful birds

We are extremely luck to live in an area that is full of beautiful birds, wildflowers and wild game.  For several years we have had returning rose-breasted grosbeaks stop off to feed for a few days.  This year they arrived at the same time as the Baltimore orioles.  The birds shared the tube feeder.  The grosbeaks moved on but the orioles stayed for the summer.

Friends, who normal visit in late May, came in mid-June.  A heat wave forced us indoors for most of the weekend, but we were rewarded with a wonderful display of all the creatures who come to our feeding stations.  We use to refer to them as “bird feeders” but with raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks, and even the occasional possum eating the seed and corn, a new term seemed in order.

We have had turkeys too in the past, including a young male who would dine, then practice his calls in the yard.  This time we have two females coming for the cracked corn.

Our friend took this shot of one of our birds through the window.

Butterflies and wildflowers

We burned the prairie grass in the fall and planted more wildflowers.  This year, we have had a bumper crop of milkweed plants, a butterfly favorite.  Our friend Rick shot a couple of pictures of butterflies in the meadow.

Butterfly weed


Happy Birthday Teddy!

It has been a wild and crazy first year.  Teddy came the farm and everything changed.


An early walk with Paula.

Teddy just kept growing and growing.

He won our hearts as a great traveler.

He claimed the place as his own.

Prince Teddy

Even as he grew

The Graduate

He even made through puppy kindergarten.

Still very much a pup at 7 months.

Through it all our love for Teddy has grown too.

Happy 1st birthday Teddy!

Fall Burn – And Some Thoughts About Teddy

Fall is a busy time at Lawson Hill Farm.  The meadow needs to be burned every couple of years.  As much as Barry would enjoy doing the burn himself,  Paula, the fire department, and the woodland creatures appreciate the fact that a professional crew takes care of this chore.  Next up is planting more wildflowers along the walking paths.

Paula’s garden has continued to produce flowers, tomatoes and peppers late into the Fall season.  The new fence installed in the spring seems to have kept the rabbits and deer at bay.  Or perhaps the return of the coyotes to the woods has kept the rabbit population down.  We have seen few rabbits but plenty of coyotes on the game camera.

Barry has plans to secure more firewood so he can have more fires and do more fireplace cooking.  We still have an ample supply of wood to process from the timbering.  While we are looking forward to cozy fires and yummy dinners, we aren’t looking forward to the cold.

Our raccoon feeder

Mid-summer, a family of raccoons appeared at the patio bird feeding station.  Nothing unusual there, as we often have raccoon moms bring young kits around for a snack.  Normally they will come in the evening or at night.  But by late summer one of the kits would show up in the morning and hang around all day, until the food was gone.  Soon, an adult joined in.

To discourage this habit, we stopped putting sunflower seeds and cracked corn in the old metal tree feeder (a converted baby pig feeder put up by Paula’s father most likely in the 1960s)  After about a week, and after numerous complaints from the birds, we resumed feeding.  The young raccoon returned the next day, and soon, the large adult was back too.

We have no desire to tame the raccoons and are concerned about their lack of fear of us.  But sometimes you can’t beat Mother Nature.  Our birds are still able to feed at the tube feeder and suet feeder, but we feel sorry for the ground feeding birds.  We are also thinking that if this raccoon gains much more weight she is going to get too large to fit in the feeder.  We shall see.

And now about Teddy

 Teddy has been part of our lives for 9 months.  We are past the half-way point to adulthood for him and are just happy that we are all still living in the same house.   It has been a summer filled with adventures, both good and bad.

Teddy came home with a soft bunny toy.  Perhaps that is why he seems to love to chew on soft (as well as hard) things. Teddy has, for example, destroyed a number of linens and bed clothing, along with leather goods including shoes and purses.  Luckily,  our dear friend and Teddy’s Aunt Carolyn sent him a box full of toys from West Paw Design.  They are his favorites and he hasn’t been able to destroy any of them.  He even plays his own version of hockey (or polo), using an S-shaped tug toy to bat a ball around.

As Teddy has told you, he was only the second dog at his school to get to  an electronic training color.  Teddy’s “tazer,” as he refers to his electric training collar, was no match for his will power.  So the first collar had to replaced with a super powerful model.  He pays attention to this one and we seem to be needing it less and less.

Part of Teddy’s training was walking/running on a treadmill. In an attempt to burn off puppy energy, we have added a treadmill session to Teddy’s morning and evening walks.  It seems to be working. Teddy is still attending graduate school Tuesday mornings.  This is mostly for socialization and exercise (including swimming).

There were two trips to the vet emergency clinic.  The first was for removal from his stomach of a loaf of french bread dough, which had been peacefully rising on the kitchen island.   The second visit was just a check to ensure that wooden clothes pin he consumed wouldn’t be harmful.  Luckily Teddy had spit out the steel spring that had held the two legs together.  The nursing staff greeted us with “Look, Teddy’s back again.”

What?  Me worry?

Teddy is a wonderful, bright, fun loving and crazy silly Lab.  In other words, a normal Lab puppy.  He loves the world and all the things in it (except maybe raccoons).  He may be the smartest dog we have ever had.  And that isn’t necessarily a good thing.

To say that Teddy has been a hard puppy is a real understatement.  He seems to know when we are at the edge and he will demonstrate to us what a perfect dog he will be.  We are at that stage –  Teddy, can’t live with him, can’t live without him.


Teddy selfie


Teddy Gets Certified!

The Graduate

It has been some months now since we have done an update.  We have been busy with the garden, jeeps shows and summer time festivities.  Rather than wait until we have time to do a complete summer update, we will just report on Teddy.

As you can tell by the picture, he has really grown and has just graduated from Puppy Nanny Kindergarten!  That means he is a certified AKC Canine Good Citizen.  He passed his exams in 10 commands and knows how to behave in public places.  Least you be concerned, while he can behave like a well trained dog, he is still very much a Lab puppy.  But he can tell you the story.

A note from Teddy

Dear Friends,

As you have heard, I’ve been released from school.  Don’t get me wrong, I miss all my play buddies.  But Nanny was a bit of a problem for me.  I do love her and Kelly too, but they put a lot of knots in my tail.

Early on I ended up being kept after school a couple of times so my people could get some training.  So while all the other puppies got to leave, I’d set in my pen (and I had to be quiet) waiting for Nanny to show her tactics for handling me.  Why should a poor pup have homework?  Was I expected to “behave” there too?

All my buddies got to wear their collars and did their tricks with a training leash.  I already knew how guide my people with a leash.  You just pull.  And pull harder if you don’t get the proper response.  That didn’t work for Nanny.  OK, I got the game and it was pretty easy to please her.  Besides she was pretty generous with treats.

But my people are a problem.  Now I don’t ask much of them, but they haven’t been very trainable.  Anyway, the next thing I know is that I have to wear a special collar sarcastically named a “gentle leader.”  There isn’t one gentle thing about this torture device!  I mean people can make you go where they want and you have to follow.

Well, I was pretty sad.  Luckily the other puppies didn’t laugh, but I’m telling you I hate this thing.  I couldn’t do what comes naturally whenever I pleased.  Now I’m not saying I’m the brightest puppy in the world (although I think my writing has improved with schooling), I am smart enough to see how this leader thing works.  So I developed a two-front-paw system to extract my snout from the torture device rendering it useless.  Free to pull again.

Then it happened.  Actually it made me sort of proud that I was only the second puppy in school history to get a “training” collar.  Let’s be perfectly clear.  It is a Teddy Tazer.  I mean this thing is shocking!  Boy did that take the fun out of my escape trick.   It does send a message I guess.

While all this is going on, Nanny tells my people that I’m high energy and they are going to add extra exercises for me.  It seems that at play time, I was the last puppy standing.  My buddies are great fun, but after a while they would just want to nap, while I was not even close to being tired.

I got the treadmill treatment.  My people gave me one for home too.  I really don’t mind, but it is pretty silly at how pleased they are that I’m running and they are standing there cheering me on.  I don’t know why they don’t jump on too.  I’ll have to say I do sleep well at night.

So, after having my graduation date got pushed back a couple times, I figured I’d show them that it wasn’t that I don’t know this stuff.  I just didn’t need to do all the studying.  A dog just wants to have fun.

I decided to do everything Nanny ask of me.  I became a star student.  Although I looked pretty strange wearing three collars( my wear all the time collar, the tazer and a training loop collar), I went shopping and roamed around stores – some even had treats within inches of my nose!  But I knew I could pass the final exam.

So here I am, a graduate at 7 months.  My people already have me in graduate school on Tuesday morning.  Just me and Nanny.  I’ll try to remember how I’m supposed to behave when we meet.  But don’t count on it.


Surprise Spring Visitors And A Note From Teddy


Male & female red breasted grosbeaks

We are very lucky to have a large variety of birds that visit our backyard feeders.  Many stay year round and a few make a brief stop on their migration route.   One of our favorites is the rose breasted grosbeak.

Beautiful male grosbeak and his mate

This is the second year we have been lucky enough to attract these birds.  While we wish they would stay all spring and summer,  they are mostly likely headed north to cooler weather. We have spotted at least 5 males and 3 females.  The birds have been here several days and we hope they stay longer, but are happy to have even a short stay.

I think I saw a squirrel

And now a word from Teddy

Teddy has started kindergarten and asked that we post a note:

Dear Friends,

I am channeling this through “the man” because, well because I don’t have thumbs.  I know you want to know how my first day of school went.  First, I thought they said this was going to be kinder garden.  Let me tell you, it was no rose bush.

Anyway, I got the cage in the car treatment first thing.  No walk, no nothing.  I let them know how I felt about it too.  Do they really think this is the way I should be treated?  What did they do?  Ignored me, me!  We finally stopped and I was ready for anything.  Almost.

I was the first kid at school.  Figures.  So what was I supposed to do?  They take me to a cell and leave me where I can see everyone talking about me.  So I let them know what I thought of that – in the loudest terms I could.  The next thing I know, I’m being told we don’t do that here.  Well I do!

Or maybe not.  It seems HUSH is the key phrase of the day.  Then they were gone.  The rest of the morning is a blur.  Puppies everywhere and I can’t play with them.  I guess as the new kid I have to show I’m good company.

Finally, it is my turn to perform.  I guess that is what is going on.  I got something to eat for just doing simple stuff.  Nothing wrong with that.  But then it is lunch time (the tummy knows) and NOTHING happened.  Can you believe it!  They forgot to pack my lunch!  It that cruel or what?

The afternoon was more of the same.  If I did what they who must be obeyed said, I got a treat.  This to a starving puppy.  Anyway, I’ll do a lot for food.  Then suddenly I got to join the party with all the puppies.  Before long, my name is called and they are HERE.

But first I had to show how I’d spent me day.  No problem, as long as the food keeps coming.  Actually I’m pretty impressed with what I’d done on day one and I could tell they were too.

Suddenly I’m out in the free air and then back in the car cage – wait! Is that a food bowl??  So that is where my lunch was hiding.  OK, feeling better.  After a fine meal a puppy is entitled to say a few words.  Then there is that HUSH thing again.  OK, fine.  I’m too tired to fight.

Then we are home.  I even got a second dinner to make up for lunch.  I could get use to that.  But I’m hoping this thing is over.  Too much like work.  But I’ll let you know.  A guy never knows what might happen around here.


I’m beat

Lions, Tigers and Teddy – Oh My!


No ball is safe

Spring is in full bloom and so is Teddy.  He is growing quickly and every inch a Lab puppy.  Zoos use cages and fences to keep the lions and tigers from harming others.  We use cages to protect the large house plants from Teddy attacks.  When we aren’t frantically searching for the LPOSPL (Lab puppy owner’s suicide prevention line) number we are enjoying a beautiful funny loving Lab.

Early April walk in the woods

Teddy’s Day

Lucky for us, Teddy isn’t a real early riser, more along our own schedule.  He has an early breakfast and then some in-house play time, while we drink our coffee and do our morning routine.  After our breakfast Teddy gets the first of two walks for the day.

After the walk and more play time, usually out in the yard, it’s time for a big nap.  Then is time for Teddy 2nd best treat of the day, lunch.  After lunch is a mix of play and napping, with an occasional chore or training exercise.  The chores have been limited since Teddy is still working on his fetch and release skills.  Barry is hoping to train him to pick up sticks out of the yard and to load them in a wagon.

Teddy lending a paw

Late afternoon, after a couple of more naps, Teddy gets his second walk and more play/training time before it is time for DINNER!  Like all Labs, Teddy is a good eater.  He mostly rests after our dinner and before bedtime.  He sleeps well during the night too.

You can’t have too many naps

Other big days

Easter was forecast to be stormy, but the rains held off and Teddy and Violet got to play with Violet’s, soon to be Teddy’s, new toy.

Teddy with Violet

Teddy was a little kinder to Violet and they will best buds when Teddy is a little older.  Teddy loved the day with Evan, Tammy, Maddie and Robbie.  Between them we were given one tired puppy at the end of the day.  That is a good thing.

Teddy has also had more big boy vaccinations and his monthly checkup.  He now weighs 25 pounds and is a healthy specimen,  He also has had introduction session with two trainers.  While it is too early to start formal training, we need to begin some basic things now, like walking correctly on a lead.

The second trainer also runs a dog daycare and behavioral center.  Nick has worked with Cesar Millan and is very good at what he does.  Imagine walking into a building with over 120 dogs playing in the back, and not hearing a single bark. When we asked how that was possible, Nick said “Barking isn’t allowed here and they all know it.” In the hour session, people and dogs walk in and out and Teddy was perfectly behaved too.

Nick’s assessment was the Teddy was a very smart Lab and could mostly likely be a service animal.  Who knows, maybe one day he will be a therapy dog if we don’t enter therapy first.

Prince Teddy


Best laid plans and Teddy’s big adventure

Teddy posing in his temporary Florida home

The plan last fall was simple.  We would get a puppy when we returned from our annual Spring Break trip to Anna Maria Island (AMI) with Evan, Tammy, Maddie and Robbie.  The trip was set, the breeder selected and all was right with the world.  Then in January, the breeder sent word that the litter was here and we would need to pick up our puppy in early March.  Ten days BEFORE the AMI trip!

We had a choice of giving up our pick and not getting a puppy this spring or taking an 8 week old pup on a road trip. With encouragement from family and friends, we started planning the trip.

The new plan was to take 3 days to make the 16 hour drive to AMI.  We outfitted the Jeep Cherokee with a soft crate that would allow us to place and reach the puppy from the front seats.  Reservations were made at dog friendly hotels and we started work on our house training plans.  The only unknown was how Teddy would react.

We made a few short test “trips” around town with Teddy in his road home.  Those tests went well and gave us hope that it might work.  So when the day came, we could not have asked for a better road tripper.  Teddy was perfect on the 3 day trip down and the 3 days coming home.  He was “accident free” in the car and the hotels.  There were only 2 minor accidents in the condo (our fault).  We couldn’t have ask for more from a dog of any age.

Teddy takes AMI

Our dog friends had said that the trip would be a great opportunity to socialize Teddy and would provide a great bonding experience for the family.  And it was.

It’s hard work being a star

We had Teddy on many short walks near the condo, which is located on a very busy street.  Most walks were on side streets with less traffic, but lots of pedestrians and dog walkers.  On one trip a women stopped her SUV in the middle of the street, rolled down her window and asked if she could take a picture of Teddy.  We said sure, assuming she would pull to the curb.  Instead, she jumped out of the SUV, and crossed the street for pictures.  Meanwhile traffic had to move around the parked vehicle.  No one seemed to mind.

Other cars merely slowed when they saw Teddy.  Every walk we were stopped multiple times with people wanting to meet and pet him.  After a couple of days, many people knew his name and would call out to us as we walked down the street.

Maddie working her puppy magic

Sometimes you just have to hang

Unfortunately, there aren’t any real action pictures of Teddy to post.  They are all pictures of post walk or play resting.  He does that very well.

Can’t a pup have a quiet chew?

Teddy got lots of love and lap time.

Some laps are bigger than others

Home again, home again

Sorry Teddy, no dogs allow on AMI beaches

After a week of being in one place, we again put Teddy in his road home and headed north.  Other than fights with the GPS, it was a smooth trip.  Teddy slept like the tired puppy he was.  Weather had been perfect all week and it wasn’t till the final day that we hit rain.  Luckily for all of us, the rain stopped just in time for our last gas and pit stop.

On the second day, light traffic and Teddy’s perfect behavior allowed us to drive a couple of extra hours, and that made for a short final day.  As we approached the farm, Paula told Teddy “We’re home!” and he got really excited.  As soon as the car was stopped and Teddy released, he made a beeline for his favorite pee spot, then ran around  the yard in pure joy.  We weren’t sure those first 10 days would have been enough to stay in a young puppy’s mind, but he clearly felt right at home.

Teddy chewing on some good ole home meadow grass

Do it again?

We are confident we made the right decision to take Teddy at such a young age.  He met all sizes and types of people and dogs.  He was a natural as a traveler and those long naps in the car certainly worked for us.  We should also get some credit for the planning and care we took to make sure it would be a safe and comfortable trip.  Would we do it again?  Well we are planning the next AMI trip with Teddy now.

A final note.  The tradition continues

There is a chair that has been in Paula’s live since an early age.  It is made of hickory and once had been used by Army Officers in their club at Camp Atterbury.  The chair has been a favorite resting and sleeping place for all the dogs in Paula’s life.  Since our return home Teddy has continued the tradition.

Teddy Meets Violet and Other Important People

A special first visit took place on Saturday.  Teddy got to meet the members of his extended family.  Violet is a hundred pound Shiloh Shepherd who lives with Evan, Tammy , Maddie, and Robbie in Indianapolis.  Even though it was chilly out,  Teddy was up for the adventure.

Kids, dogs and puppies.

Not much more fun than to watch kids play with a puppy.  Unless it is to watch a puppy play with a dog 10 times his size.  After lots of hugs and play,   Teddy got to chase Violet.  The two had, in fact, three separate play times.

In round one, Teddy chased Violet around.  At one point, Teddy clamped onto Violet’s  tail.  Without a noise Violet just trotted off with Teddy flying behind her.  Violet finally flipped her tail and Teddy dropped off with a mouth full of fur.  Violet is one of the sweetest dogs you will ever meet and clearly patient too.

Between rounds, Maddie and Robbie played, loved and hugged Teddy.

Round 2 of Violet and Teddy saw more of Teddy doing the chasing and not doing much catching.

In between runs and romps came lots of love and more play.

In round 3, the kids had worn Teddy down, just a little and as the video shows, Violet was able to have some fun too.

A long fun day

We made sure Teddy got plenty of rest periods, including a nap at lunch.  There was lots more play and hugs.

As the day ended and the visitors left, Teddy was asleep before their car was at the bottom of the drive.

What a wonderful day for Teddy and all involved.

Vet Update

Teddy had his first vet visit last week and a second follow-up visit today.  Between visits, he has gained 2 pounds.  The vet staff think he is going to be a BIG dog.  That is fine with us.  We look forward to watching him grow.


Spring & Teddy come to the farm

After a very mild winter, spring has come early.  Although we haven’t needed the snowplows (yet), blooms have appeared.  The daffodils above were blooming at the end of February.  Always exciting to see life returning.

And speaking of life returning, our quite country life just got very exciting.  Teddy, a 7 week old Lab, has arrived at the farm.  Teddy was born just north of the Ohio river in southern Indiana.

Paula and Barry made the two hour drive to pick Teddy up on a sunny early March day. Teddy was ready for an adventure, but he hadn’t had many trips outside of the kennel and none away from his litter mates.  As we drove away, Teddy let us know that this was all new and he wasn’t too sure about it.

Paula finally got Teddy to take a little nap, but not until we had driven for half an hour or more.  After his nap, he woke feeling much better about the whole event and before he knew it, we pulled into the driveway and up the hill.

Teddy took to the grass – his first time on that surface – and enjoyed all the space.  He was ready for a pee break too.  This outside stuff is OK.

We spent some time in the yard before heading indoors to have some lunch.  In true Lab form, Teddy was ready to eat!

A little post lunch nap and back outside to explore.  Teddy really likes the outdoors.

He is going to love these long walks in the prairie grass.

He is going to be a trooper

Time for another nap – this one in a special place

An exciting first day and the first of many to come.  Stay tuned.