Sunday, August 29, 2021

Almost "Adios, August!"

I've posted more on my dressage blog this month than I have here; I suppose that's because there's more progress in that arena (heh). Still....

Even if the rust-colored leaves here are from scorching heat and drought:

So thankful the scorching heat seems truly over, but we are still crispy-dry. I continue to do CPR landscape watering, and of course keep the garden watered. In return, it is blessing us with lots of food.
Much of this...

...went into this. We're eating a lot of pasta salad this summer!

Mediterranean Eggplant

I decided to dehydrate that big bag of basil

Another batch of pasta salad

The fruit on our trees has been affected by the drought, but there is fruit. This morning I picked the first of the prunes and loaded the dehydrator.

There has been at least a temporary reprieve in the DS's employment drought. After not having a job for a month (don't ask me why in today's "employee's market" 🙄), Brian is working at the State Fair. So is Rick, as State Fair Veterinarian, in addition to taking care of his usual clientele. It means early mornings and late nights; both of us are tired. But I did catch one pretty sunrise because of our current schedule! (The others have been unremarkable.)

I've gone with Rick twice so far for his evening rounds; last night I envied this gilt her deep, relaxed sleep:

This sheep, on the other hand, looked ready for a night on the town!

The Fair is smaller this year, but I am just glad it's back after it was cancelled last year. There's no draft horse show for either Brian or me to compete in, but Rick's Shire client is there to do demonstrations with his big, black beauties daily.

Speaking of cancelled events, our annual neighborhood picnic is a no-go again this year. After last year's pandemic cancellation, the hosts wanted to hold it this summer, but they weren't comfortable with unvaccinated people attending, and a few of the neighbors who always come aren't (including a retired nurse; sigh). I got this update from the source when I was walking Poppy yesterday afternoon; it was good to see this neighbor for the first time since before the pandemic. And look at my good girl chilling in the shade waiting for me!

My cousin and his wife are still recovering from COVID, but at least both are home now. My cousin can't do much of anything without oxygen, and who knows if they will fully recover or be 'long-haulers.' That whole situation had me pretty worked up; I still struggle to understand how people can fall for such lies. And now some childrens' hospitals are maxed out; some of the youngest among us (you know, the ones "they" said couldn't catch or at least get sick from COVID) are now dying. I'd better shut up now; I can feel my agitation rising.

I need to chill, like Poppy:

That's it for now from . . .

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Some relief, and carb therapy

I think we might be through the worst of the summer from you-know-where, at least weatherwise. Yesterday was deliciously cloudy and COOL with the barest hint of moisture (see below); today feels – dare I say it? – like a normal Pacific NW summer day. No stretches of days in the upper 90s or higher in the forecast, either. Hallelujah; I can turn the oven on! heh

Last night I made stuffed zucchini; Rick and I polished off two good-sized squash that way. Today I used up the last of the shredded zucchini stored in the fridge to make a lemon zucchini cake – and prompted polished off a big, warm chunk of it. I have been craving some sweet baked goodie and that really hit the spot, physically and psychologically. Yes, I was self-medicating to deal with the stress; hey, there are worse ways.

Here is something else I made with shredded zucchini – twice, because it was that good (thanks for the recipe, Susan!). Pizza, with a grated zucchini crust (served with tabbouleh made with homegrown cucumber and parsley):

The tomatoes in the salad were from my MIL; obviously, her plants are producing better than mine. But look at these little volunteers at the end of the bush beans; they're LOADED with cherry and pear tomatoes! Leigh did a post on landrace garden vegetables; these would be tomatoes to save seeds from if I started tomatoes from seed!

For Chuckie fans (here's looking at YOU, wyomingheart!), here he is checking out Brian's old go-kart. No matter how talented Chuckie is, though, he won't get this machine going; Brian blew the engine out.

Here are some sky shots. #1 was taken on an evening walk; #2 was an arresting sight on my way from barn to house; #3 is a shot of the Big Dipper that I was surprised my iPhone could capture!

The 'peepers' continue to grow and do well in the flock, and will still come up and eat from my hand. 😊 I wonder if Poppy will be any less obsessed with them when they stop peeping and start making 'adult chicken' noises.

Here is Poppy with her sister Penny at one of their recent playdates. You can tell we were at Penny's house; we don't have any green grass here!

My sister sent me the following dark humor today:
What prompted this? The news that one of our cousins is in the hospital with COVID; his wife is at home on oxygen with possible blood clots, also from COVID. He is a doctor, she is a nurse; both are UNvaccinated because they listened to the fifth horse of the Apocalypse. I have no words; the craziness in our world blows the mind.

That's it from a still-parched but more comfortable . . .

Friday, August 13, 2021

Stick a fork in us all

We're DONE already!

We are enduring our fourth heatwave, the second with several triple-digit days. Next week it is 'only' supposed to be in the low 90s.... Wednesday night it stayed HOT, and several chickens, old and young, were open-beaked breathing when it came time to shut them in. Unwilling to lose any more to heat or leave them vulnerable to predators, I pushed Rick to help me do something. Out of the two options I came up with, barricading the pop door with a running box fan for the night or replacing the window with wire for the rest of the summer, he chose the latter and we went to work. The result has made the closed henhouse MUCH more comfortable:

I'm back to CPR watering. Despite my efforts, I won't be surprised if we lose some plants. Even with regular applications of water, some things are just not adaptable to these conditions. In my garden, the reactions are mixed. The bush beans may go the way of the snow peas; the plants look okay but just aren't producing much. Similar to the tomatoes; the plants look great and I see lots of blossoms, but have only gotten a handful of cherry tomatoes so far. The Armenian cucumber hill seems bent on take-over and has been covered with blossoms for weeks, but I have yet to see one fruit set. On the other hand, this is what I harvested Wednesday morning – when it was already way too hot to cook:

Our earliest apples are ripening, too; I harvested this one from horseback because all the lower ones have been eaten or knocked off by said horses:
Is this a Gravenstein? Tree was here when we bought the place. Tasty and crisp!

Maybe I can get Rick to haul the ladder to the upper pasture Sunday morning so I can pick some, at least for fresh eating. Not sure I have the heat tolerance to do much else....

Yesterday afternoon I led the horses out to the middle pasture. I had propped the gate open to make it easy to lead both of them through, and when I slipped off their halters, they turned around and went right back in the barn! "No, thank you. Too hot! Too buggy!"

The least affected of all of us is Poppy. She still goes, goes, goes; her tongue just gets longer. Here she is yesterday morning, working the wood pile:
If you pick her up outside she's almost too hot to hold, but with her small, lean body mass, she cools off quickly.

That's it for now from . . .

Wednesday, August 04, 2021

Melancholy me (a whine warning and pretty pictures)

My "Reading List" of followed blogs has been out of commission for days, reappearing for a short while just to tease me before crashing again. So when I have time I've been scanning the long alphabetical list to click on the blogs most likely to have updates, but I have to admit to clicking on Every. Single. One. at least once. Where are these bloggers who have gone silent – a few for over a decade? I deleted a smattering for whom I never felt a deep connection, but most were written by people I considered blog pals, even friends. Some of them I've even gotten to meet in real life which was a delight, every single time. What are they doing now? Are they even alive? It has left me with a sense of loss . . . on top of the daily burden of sadness I feel about my son. I wish I could report that there have been some positive developments there, but....

I stay busy because things need to be done and to ward off the blues – duties at home, office work, tending garden, caring for all the critters, playing with 'sticks and string' (spindles and fiber). And watering, always watering something this long, hot, dry summer. This week on the news the weatherman said that our heat starts gradually abating around the middle of August, but with weather seemingly everywhere turned on its head, I think all bets are off.

So how about those pretty pictures!?! I won't feel bad if you skipped straight to them; I would have if I were you. Here are some morning skies – and one evening one (the last one). Any clouds we get are appreciated for the shade, but morning ones are especially wonderful because the house doesn't heat up as fast from solar gain.

Our recent first picking of tri-colored bush beans, to go with the bounteous basil, prolific parsley, a couple of cukes, and zillions of zucchini (not complaining; we're eating well!):

I gave up on our snow peas, though. The plants were struggling and seemed to want to set seed instead of producing tender pods; I think it's just too hot for them. So I pulled them out (see the empty row to the left of the kale?), moved the soaker hose to benefit the onions (probably too late), and treated the boys:

There's a new kid in town:
Do you see it, in the tree? I've spotted this Douglas' squirrel for the first time on our property just this week, twice in two days. It's much smaller than our Western gray squirrels and the California ground squirrels; hopefully it steers clear of Poppy!

The bumblebees have been joined at the lavender buffet by butterflies:

I spent quite a bit of time early this week getting rid of THIS food source, Tansy Ragwort, on both our lot and the neighbors':
Found this bad boy, too:
I put all those flowers in an old feedback so they couldn't head out into invasive weed seeds. Meanwhile, my less-than-lush hosta is nevertheless starting to flower:

A parade of my most recent projects with sticks and string:

And for dessert, here's a heaping helping of cuteness with a comedy cherry on top. I caught and haltered Berlin a second time this week, and carried her into the barn to clean her fleece and trim her hooves for the first time. Little lamb, meet huge horse!

I decided to put a coat on her, and she proceeded to demonstrate why I wanted her in the relatively clean barn aisle instead of outside:

Yep, lamb drama over being restrained by that awful thing on her head!

That's it for now from . . .