Thursday, May 28, 2020

Maybe we need a pond



Between Poppy's PT, the red-winged blackbird who is hanging around, and my black bathing beauty of a Morgan mare, I think it would be well-utilized. Unfortunately, mosquitoes would probably love it, too, and I'm not into bugs. Thankfully bugs aren't a big problem around here, like they are in Minnesota (no black flies, few ticks, normal-not-state-bird-worthy-mosquitoes; don't hate me, Mama Pea!). Still, I'm always tickled to see the swallows return every spring and bats flying around at night to eat what bugs we have.

I'm hoping these barn swallows successfully raise a brood this year:

Violet-green swallows have claimed our cream-colored nest box (I have no idea what that white rectangle is!):

That's it for today from . . .

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Digging in the dirt

Since we're getting a few summery days followed by a chance of rain this weekend, I decided to make the garden priority #1 today. I untangled the irrigation tubing and laid it out, noting the need for replacement parts. Then I planted the poor basil starts that I bought at least a month ago and kept forgetting to put in the ground. Next I planted hills of Red Kuri winter squash (thanks, Mama Pea!), zucchini, yellow straightneck squash, and burpless cucumber, followed by the two packets each of bush beans and sugar pea pods I bought this year. I still have lots of lovely tilled soil to work with and some Red Garnet yams that are sprouting, so I'm going to try rooting some slips to plant for the first time.

I had 'help.' Brian grumpily consented to pound in t-posts for my sugar pea trellis, and these two 'supervised' part of the time:

Two days ago Rick finally disconnected the power arm of our non-functioning electric gate so that it can be closed manually. With the perimeter a bit more secure, I decided to turn Poppy loose while I worked in the garden and hope for the best, and she enjoyed the freedom to snoop and chew and torment Chuckie immensely. Oh, and dig:

"Whaddya mean, my nose is dirty?"
She was pretty good about staying out of the garden at my request, but started excavating just outside the east garden fence. When I had finished planting and was ready to head in for a shower, I had to hose her off first. She didn't like that at all and struggled enough to work her way backwards out of her harness, but I managed to snag her collar and finish the job (after which I really needed a shower!).

Now I need to finish making supper. I'm trying an amalgamation of two recipes (here and here) from links that blogpal Debbie sent me. The seedless watermelon chilling in the fridge will be the perfect finale on this warm day. It's our first watermelon of the season; the chickens will be delighted to get the rinds.

Oh; while I've been relishing the last beautiful bearded iris blooms, the white flags snuck up behind me!


Feeling good about today's progress at . . .

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Navigating these times

We accepted an invitation from church friends to go for a walk at Willamette Mission State Park Sabbath afternoon. The Sabbath before the same friends had invited us over for supper, which wasn't something I was comfortable with. While my concerns were respected, they were not shared; this person is convinced that she and her whole family got COVID-19 back in December so are now immune to it (despite the 14 "resurgent" cases on the USS Theodore Roosevelt.) When we got there, Poppy in tow, we joined a much bigger group than we realized were gathering; five families (18 people total, including four current and one former schoolmate of Brian's) and six dogs!





I tried to get Poppy to pose with the poppies....



I casually kept my distance, managing Poppy, taking photos, listening to conversations, and keeping my mouth shut. That – keeping my mouth shut – seems to be a lesson God is repeatedly driving home to me. Now, more than ever, people seem convinced by their preferred sources and nothing can convince them otherwise. To voice a dissenting opinion or share refuting facts does nothing but cause conflict, and who needs that? How I appreciate the blogging community I belong to, the people who read (or at least comment on) my blogs and those whose blogs I follow. Your voices keep me from feeling alone in the madness of this world!

I was happy enough to get out on a beautiful day for a walk and a chance to give Poppy an adventure, but was not desperate to get together with others. And by the time we headed home, I was exhausted – not from the exercise, just the socialization! No question that I'm an introverted homebody well suited for this time of social distancing.

On Sunday I got Bridget sheared. I thought she would take as long as her twin, but thankfully she was easier. Now I just have skinny Bittersweet (who will appreciate that the weather's warmer) and Sarai (if her fleece has finally loosened enough to roo), plus skirting the four that need to be shipped off next week. The end is in sight! (Unfortunately, I also found some green foxtail awns in Bridget's fleece, so the girls' pasture access has ENDED.)

Also on Sunday, Rick came in with a handful of treasure – our first strawberries of the season! I guess that means adding picking and freezing strawberries every couple days to my to-do list. I'd give a king's ransom to have them in raised beds; bending over our densely packed square bed of plants is a back-breaker.
Yesterday Rick and I fixed the fence along the north side of our garden. The bird netting we put above the wire field fencing on one stretch years ago had ceased to be effective, and deer had discovered access. Now it's buttoned up tight, just in time to plant seeds now that the soil has dried out enough.

And Poppy had another playdate with Toby, the 'neighbor boy.' He has a couple tunnels, and yesterday Poppy went through them for the first time. Our neighbor said I could borrow one to play with her more at home, so we took the shorter red one.


A tired puppy is a snuggly puppy:
Poppy had what I think was her last underwater treadmill session today. After her time was up, at my request, we filled the tank to the point where she had to swim if I kept her from standing on her hind legs and measured the depth. Turns out my stock tanks (I have a second oblong tank that doesn't hold water) are deep enough, so I'm going to see if there's a way to reseal the oblong one to continue her resistance work at home, on top of other regular exercise.

That's it for now from . . .


Saturday, May 23, 2020

Searching the cupboards

Don't worry, our cupboards are far from bare; I learned the art of 'stocking up' from my mother. 😊 But shopping less during the pandemic has meant that I'm finding and using up some pantry items I've had for longer than I can remember. 😏 A couple recent examples: I found a bag of buckwheat flour shortly after reading this blogpost  –that's serendipity, if you ask me! (The beauty of the formula is that I could make it to use up all the flour I had, which was a little more than the original recipe called for). I took it to work and shared it with my boss, who is gluten intolerant; SO good with coffee! I get a weekly recipe emailed to me by The Splendid Table, and this one was easily adaptable for the bag of pearled barley I found (enough for two batches) plus the other ingredients I had on hand (canned garbanzo beans for the win in batch #2!).

"Your bed is SO cozy!"
Our cool, damp May has my lean, sleek pup shivering much of the time. She has outgrown all the coats we were given, so I decided to see if we had anything else on hand that fits her. I thought I could alter Dozer's coat to work, but couldn't find it in the 'dog cupboard.' But there were other things in there to try on. 😉 First I tried the sweater on her that my mom sent as a late Christmas present:
It's the right length, but she's not the 'right' depth. (Wouldn't a stylish black patent leather belt to cinch it up complete that outfit perfectly???)

Then I tried on the baseball jacket my mom sent years ago for Dozer. Poppy looked great in it; she's a tomboy, just like me! 😁

I spotted something I didn't recognize, and pulled out a spider costume Mom must have also sent for Dozer. Ha!

This will be perfect for next Halloween – if we do some training so Poppy will keep it on. 🤣
There were a couple other costumes in the cupboard as well, from long ago when the local feed store had an annual pet costume contest and there was an annual Third Street (our 'Main Street') daytime trick-or-treat event. My friend and I had brother and sister bulldogs (from our breeding pair) that we had great fun dressing up and taking to these events; bulldogs lend themselves happily to such silliness. So when my mom finds something cute in the discount bin, she still sends them my way!

My 'stock tank swimming pool' idea for Poppy's continued physical therapy didn't hold water – literally. But I did put her in for a test run before the water leaked out overnight, and it was miserably cold for her – and not quite deep enough. So for now regular playdates with the neighbor boy encourage her to use her leg, and hopefully it will strengthen over time. They have so much fun together!



This week I decided to take back my deck from Chuckie and Poppy to feed the wild birds. (I'm still trying to convince Chuckie to stay away with frequent applications of water....) Yesterday a red-winged blackbird visited frequently, which is something I've never had happen before. Is he not finding enough bugs with our cool, damp weather?

The plants don't mind the weather; my garden starts are looking good, the grass is growing great guns, and this variety of iris opened this morning:

That's it for now from . . .