Friday, July 10, 2020

I've really got to do this more often

More frequent posts would mean fewer photos and less mental effort to put them all (not that you ever get them all) together with thoughts and words, but I'm having trouble managing that. So here goes another big catch-up – and I'll try to check in with shorter posts in the future (she says hopefully).

The very afternoon of my last post, we picked up and unloaded the first of four loads of hay. Our local hay guy had stored first cutting orchardgrass in his barn for us, and needed it out because he was getting ready to bale alfalfa. We were going to haul it all on Sunday, but with a chance of rain in Sunday's forecast, we decided we'd better not wait. So we got a load Friday afternoon, another load Saturday night, and two more loads on Sunday – and managed to avoid the rain! Now our barn is satisfyingly full; we left enough room for a couple tons of second or third cutting orchardgrass for the sheep.
Poppy's first hay season

safety inspector


Hay crews were busy on our hill that weekend, too, trying to beat the rain that never really materialized. (I'm glad the hay we got was put up several weeks earlier; this was too mature.)
I was sure we were losing another one. One morning last week I found one of our Black Australorps on the floor of the henhouse. She couldn't stand and I figured it was only a matter of time. To let her die in peace without getting henpecked, I placed a bottomless wire cage over her in such a way that she could access food and water, and picked a few tender greens for her. Every time I returned I expected to find her dead, but by afternoon she actually seemed a little better. That night when I shut the pop door, the wire cage was empty and she was up on a roost, and she has been fine ever since! That's a first.

Last Sunday I finally got Rick to fix the water lines so I can more efficiently water the garden plants. We also picked the last of the strawberries, the first flush of marionberries, a small bowl of black raspberries, a smattering of boysenberries, and a mediocre harvest of red and white currants. The currant bushes were hard to access for all the grass and weeds. Rick said with some surprise and frustration, "I weeded these earlier this spring." Uh, yeah; weeding is not a 'one and done' thing around here, especially this year! I also picked basil and made pesto; yum.
Wrens serenaded my berry picking
Will this heat cycle never end??? It does, finally, seem to be waning, and Rick confirmed that with cytology today – but she's still not safe to socialize with the intact neighbor boy. Poppy really needs regular romps with other dogs; humans just don't cut it in the energy expenditure department. She did get to play with her sister after we finished hauling hay Sunday before last; Penny and her people were going out of town and they were showing me what needed to be watered.

Here is a much mellower Poppy the next day. As I've said before, a tired terrier is a good terrier!

This week I've worked my usual two days, and covered for Rick's vacationing secretary the other three days. I took Poppy with me to the clinic which was BOR-RING –

but we did stop to play with a friend's terriers after work Tuesday (Poppy wore them out!),

and on Wednesday another friend brought her dog to the clinic.

I played with Poppy when I got home from work Thursday,

 but like I said, humans don't cut it. When I turned my back she jumped back on the bed and destuffed the little pillow I use to support my shoulder at night,

and when I put her in the laundry room to work Stella and do evening chores, she destroyed the pink bed she sleeps on. Used to sleep on . . . it's in the trash now.
It's a good thing she's so stinkin' cute!

Last Sabbath we had our first in-person church service in almost four months. It was a physically distanced, outdoor affair, which we can easily do behind the church on our very large lot. Everyone brought their own chairs and signed in at tables in case contact tracing was needed; the building was only open for restroom use with masks on. I was comfortable with the protocol, although I don't crave the physical gathering as some do. The plan is to continue doing this for the time being. In the meantime....

Yesterday afternoon, Penny and her people got back from their camping trip in eastern Oregon. They attended an outdoor July 4th gathering, at which one of their friends didn't feel well. Too much to drink, he thought. A few days later, still not feeling well, he got tested and found out he has COVID. By then, Penny's 'dad' was having symptoms, and is still sick. Penny's mom feels fine, but they are both planning to get tested and are presuming he, at least, is positive . . . and over 70 with heart problems. 😳 Obviously Poppy won't be going over to play with her sister for awhile. And maybe I'll stay home and watch church on live stream tomorrow!

Stay safe out there, people. Love from . . .

Friday, June 26, 2020

Homefront hodgepodge

After the cool and wet first half of June, it's gotten hot. The garden seems to be taking it in stride. The photos below start on June 12, where you can see the parsley going to seed on the left edge of the photo and the beets going to seed on the right side of the photo, threatening to take over the sugar peas.

By June 19, I had hacked back the parsley and had Brian yank out those overwintered beats, and it looks much tidier. The black plastic is my experimental sweet potato bed. So far, ten of the eleven slips are hanging in there.

All six of the Red Kuri winter squash seeds that Mama Pea sent me germinated – and are taking off.
I still haven't gotten help getting those water lines hooked up and functioning (various parts need to be replaced). But I did finally get a soaker hose on the bush beans and sugar peas this week – which made both plantings shoot up at least six inches!

I picked up a couple more tomato plants so have a total of nine now. The last two I got are called "Pink Bumble Bee," a new-to-me variety. There are quite a few little green tomatoes on various plants, but there is also something strange going on with five of the first six plants I bought. The top of the plants look 'club-footed' for lack of a better description. (The only reason the sixth plant doesn't have this is because a deer nipped off the top of the plant and it hasn't generated any new growth yet.) It looks nasty, and yet the plants are still producing flowers and fruit. Anyone know what it is, and what I should do about it???
I've picked strawberries five times now (I actually got help from Brian the last time!), and have put 27 pints in the freezer in addition to what we've eaten fresh (including a strawberry rhubarb pie I made for Fathers Day). There will be a few more, but not likely another big picking.

Three of my four daylily varieties are blooming now. The Stella D'Oros have been going for awhile now:
Then these on the south side of the house started in. This variety didn't bloom at all last year!
The tall lemon yellow ones under our double-flowering cherry have just started blooming; the dark red ones planted in between them alternate with have buds but no flowers yet.
Inside, my cheery 36th anniversary orchid is blooming away – and a wee orchid I bought for myself (last year?) has a new flower stalk!

Poppy's heat cycle grinds on; wearisome for man and beast. Her wardrobe has expanded; she got 'panties' to keep from dripping in the house and I picked up a pink harness for a buck at the local shelter's thift store that she can't slip. When we go for walks she begs to go into the neighbor's lot to play with her friends; twice now there's been a puppy party in progress to which she wasn't invited. 😢 😞

The sharp-eyed among you might notice a third dog in that photo (there were actually two more – then). The last time Poppy got to play with Toby (the 'neighbor boy') and Milo (the springer), Milo's owners mentioned they had been searching for an Aussie and had finally found one. They drove clear to a rescue in Florida(!) for lovely little Freya, a black tri-color no bigger than Poppy and Milo. Um, yeah; that black tri-color Aussie looks considerably bigger, doesn't he? Big enough that Freya is hidden on the other side!

Last Thursday a dear friend messaged me about her travails. Her husband died last year so she recently sold her home in Oregon and moved in with her sister in Washington. Among other problems, Jeannie's dogs weren't working out as guests in her sister's antiques-stuffed abode with three resident canines; she was going to have to rehome them. My heart immediately broke for her and for her dogs, a small, shaggy blond pound puppy and Maui, a big, beautiful Aussie. I would have offered to take them but knew that Rick would not approve, so I went into helper mode. I asked a bunch of questions and started thinking of possible placements. The next evening I rode Lance down to get the mail and met Milo's people, now with Freya in tow. Before I even thought it through I asked, "You wouldn't be interested in a full-sized Aussie, would you?" "YES!" they responded, and I got their contact info to pass on to my friend. The next day, I texted the 'neighbor boy's' owner. They have mentioned getting a second dog; would they be interested in Minnie, Jeannie's other dog? Possibly!

To make a short story shorter, all of Milo's family (three men, two dogs) drove up on Sunday and came back with Maui, and my neighbor made the same drive on Wednesday and came back with Minnie. So although they no longer live in the same home, they do live on the same lane and have frequent meet-ups together, and although my friend is heartbroken, she feels good about their new homes. Poppy has gotten to meet Freya, Maui, and Minnie through the fence, and can't wait to JOIN in the fun! Oh, and Jeannie sent something back for me:

She made this for me for Christmas, but we never managed to get together. I will treasure it; it features sheep, which is how we met and became fast friends.

Back to Poppy. She isn't as interested in playing right now and leaving her outside unsupervised is out of the question, so we've had to wear her out in other ways. I take her to the barn with me for chores, but that's not enough. Enter a surprising turn of events: three times this week Rick has gotten up early and gone for a WALK! I think that's more than he's voluntarily gotten up early or exercised in all of 2020 before this week! I don't know if he is having cardiac symptoms that are worrying him or what, but a long walk first thing in the morning is a sanity-saver for our pup and her people.

Brian started work today, and is ready to quit. 😒 He'd been planning to drive combine again this summer, but we've pointed out that with college to help pay for, he needed gainful employment for more than five weeks this summer. He applied at a few places with no luck, so when I pointed out that Monrovia Nursery, just five miles from home, had "Now Hiring" signs out, he agreed to apply. He was hired, doesn't like the manual labor, and is hounding his old combine crew boss to PLEASE find more work for him so he can switch employers. Bad form (especially with the racially-charged description he gave for the work today) according to the way I was raised, and bad crowd over at the custom farming outfit, but I'm guessing Rick will let him. That means a repeat of last summer; not fun. 😖

The sheepy boys are back in the long strip between the horse paddocks and arena; the grass has grown up again nicely so they are appreciating the forage. All three have gained weight and are looking better; I've been giving them supplemental feed each evening.

As you can see, the neighbor's house looms over us, built on the highest point of their land as it is. At least at the front of our house trees screen most of the view.

Oh, hey, good news; I finally got a haircut after five months! And she cut it so short I won't need a haircut for another five months! So I'll only have to spring for three haircuts in 2020; woohoo!!! (Trying to look at the glass half full here; work with me. 😉)

That's the photo-heavy update from . . .