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 . . .

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Managing Poppy's social calendar

(Before I start on the topic at hand, I'd like to point out how much of an impediment a puppy is to blogging. 'Downtime' is much reduced, and when I do form a lap, Poppy's either fussing at me or sitting on me – making it hard to think or hold a laptop!)

On Sunday Rick had to go to the coast on a veterinary call, and asked if we wanted to go along. With the beach 'officially' open, I jumped at the chance and Brian was persuaded. Poppy was going to meet the Pacific for the first time!

But first, the call. We mostly stayed in the vet truck out of the way of multiple people, horses, and dogs. But after Rick finished with the horses, Poppy got to get out for a little bit and meet the three dogs – who were big and a bit more intimidating at ground level that they had been from the cab!

After getting take-out Thai food and finding a parking spot near the beach (the actual parking lots were overflowing; there were a LOT of people at the coast!) where we could sit in the truck and eat, we harnessed the puppy and headed out for a walk. The weather was absolutely perfect, windless and mild. Brian and I shed our shoes and got our feet (and Poppy) in the sea.

We walked to the point at the north end of the beach, and noticed a large bird in the snag at the top – a very large bird that could only be an eagle. Seeking a better vantage point, Rick disappeared around the point. Poppy was desperate to follow him, but her paws would have gotten cut on the barnacles. Fortunately someone came along with distractions: a black lab and an apricot poodle. She and the poodle played, and when the lab went into the water, Poppy followed him!

Meanwhile, Brian did what teens do – stared at his smartphone (see him over there, sitting on a log?).

Well, maybe not just teens. Here are both my guys staring at the phones on our way back to the truck; ha!

I don't get it; natural beauty is much more compelling to me.

The very next day, Poppy came into heat. Oh, joy. No playing with the neighbor boy for a few weeks! (The neighbor did tell me yesterday – YAY – that Toby has an appointment at the vet's next month to get 'tutored.' Remember that Far Side cartoon?) Fortunately, Poppy has some girlfriends, and Tuesday my bestie Kate brought Glory over for visit. What a hoot to watch them play!

I'm hoping sometime soon Poppy can have a playdate with her sister. A tired terrier is a good terrier!

That's it for now from . . .