Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Play play play

Even after playing all day, and going to the dog park to see the other eskies, there was still MORE playing this evening, chasing, wrestling, etc

Barclay says, I don't have the energy for this like when I was a pup! After all, I'm almost 2 1/2!

What what what, did somebody want to PLAY?!?!?!

She doesn't have an off switch!

When she does run down, she wants to be around us, which is nice. My other eskimos have always appreciated some "alone time", she wants to be nearby, which is sweet.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Family Portrait

Take 1

Take 2

Take 3 - Perfect!


There's a disturbance in the force

There's something going on at our house...

Don't blink, or you'll miss it!

Something viciously attacked the water dish!

The cats are worried...

Barclay and Jack were peacefully enjoying a rawhide, when suddenly

Attack! What could this monster be?!


Yup, we succumbed to the charms of the 5 month old eskie that needed a home.
She has been a constant blur of activity for the last six or so hours.
Wish me luck for a good night's sleep!


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Homemade Tortellini

I got a yen for a smoked salmon ravioli I get when we go to this brilliant little restaurant in Ashland, which we haven't been able to go to for a couple years. Thought I'd just go ahead and make it myself - except I like tortellini even better than ravioli, and I've made those before so I already know how. Found this recipe:

And got to work:

Easy peazy, if you don't mind standing at the counter for a couple hours folding pasta. Luckily I don't. Thought it was kind of fun, actually, folding tortellinis and watching TV. They all go right in the freezer so I can cook them as I need them. Can't wait to try them.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sleeping in the tub

For about the past week Barclay has been sleeping in the tub in the master bath. It's cool and quiet, and close enough that if anyone gets up he can hear it and come join in. It's a little slippery though, so when he's just woke up and is uncoordinated, it's a bit tricky for him to get out of. Barclay still constantly surprises us with the things he thinks up.

"Go away, will ya? I'm trying to sleep here!"

Thursday, June 24, 2010

How does my garden grow? Up!

Last night we were out in the garden until after dark putting up trellises. It was rediculously hot yesterday, so we couldn't get working on the project until the sun was almost down. It seems to unfair to have gone from record cold and constant rain, to 'too hot' in a day!

I had been researching different trellising methods, looking for sturdy tomato cages, considering building some myself, trying to reuse leftover fencing, just feeling out the project. The final solution appeared when I found a roll of 50' of heavy plastic garden netting at the hardware store, and they marked it down from $50 to $20. Combined with a few t-posts and some trellises I already had on hand, we managed to cover all our bases.

 Two long walls of netting for the tomatoes to climb up. Just in time, too. The little tomato cages I used to protect them while they were growing under covers were getting to be a tight fit. Much longer and I wouldn't have been able to get the tomatoes out.

A wall for the beans, and the one nearest the camera, on the raised bed, is for the cukes. Now that it's sunny hopefully everything will start growing, and the trellises are all ready for them.

I just got the new Territorial Seed catalog for winter gardening. Looks like if I want to have winter greens it's almost time to plant them! For Pete's sake, our summer garden is barely started! I'd better get to work on figuring out where the winter stuff is going to go!


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

New roo

I have too many roos already, but some folks on our chicken list asked me to take in this little guy to try and find him a home (he was a city chicken, and his 5AM crowing had worn out his welcome), and I'm quite taken with him. He's a bantam, so he's not very big, and cochin for sure. Other than that, I don't know, but he's got irridescent green in his feathers, and crazy feathers on top of his head, and he's pretty mellow. What a cutie!


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Apple cobbler

Apple cobbler, from scratch, thanks to this recipe

Fruit Cobbler on AllRecipes.Com

Yum! I made a half-recipe of this a couple weeks ago and it was great. I'm using a different type of apple this time, had a few extra apples to use up, hope it's just as good. At least I know the recipe is good.


Monday, June 21, 2010

Nigerian Email Scam

I got an email scam today

How's everything on your end? This has had to come in a hurry and it has left me in a devastating state. I travelled to Wales for a volunteer Training Program (UTP), and unfortunately for me all my money was stolen at the hotel where I lodged by robbers. The Embassy only cleared me of my travelling documents and ticketing since I came in on unofficial purposes. I didn't bring my phones here and the hotel telephone lines were disconnected during the robbery incident,so I have access to only emails.

Please can you lend me £1160 ($1,750 USD for me to relocate to another hotel and also get another flight ticket. As soon as I get home I would refund it immediately.
I am looking forward to hearing from you.
Oh how terrible, my poor friend is trapped in Wales, and the robbers have cut the phone lines at her hotel and so there is nothing but email access. Thank goodness their didn't cut her broadband connection! Though I suspect if the hotel's phone was out, there would probably be another phone somewhere. After all, it's not like Wales is some undeveloped country, they do have cities there - in Fact Dr Who is almost entirely filmed in Wales! but ok. Oh, wait a minute, I don't know anyone who's visiting Wales. Most telling, if it was someone who knew me, they'd know I wouldn't have $1700 to send to anybody (as if)!
The slightly creepy part is that it was signed and had a somewhat local address, which makes me wonder if it was actually targetted somehow, though it didn't have my name on it. The funniest part is that I found the originating IP address on the email header, and it went right back to Nigeria. I know some people have been acting like it's unfair to refer to these email scams as 'Nigerian Scams', but there you go, the IP address is pointing right there. Hard to deny it is indeed a Nigerian behind it.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Cleanup crew

After work I moved the chick tractor, and sent the main flock out to cleanup the leftovers from where the tractor had been parked. Chicks are very messy eaters! It's good to see the flock doing work around here for a change!

Mama hen stopped to check out her chickies. Chickens aren't very sentimental, so I don't know if she recognized those were her chicks, or just remembered there was good food inside the tractor, and wondered how she could get to it.

Guess what, chicken butt!

Beautiful (the chicken) wandered out to explore while I was doing chores this morning, and when she tried to come back to the coop Barclay was in her way, blocking the narrow path. He stood there nose to nose, wagging, to see if she would run, but instead she just got this slightly put-out look and was leaning this way and that to see how she could get around him. So then he turned his side to her, which he does to invite dogs to play, and wagged his tail, and she just kept trying to get past, and was about to try going under him, when I asked him to get out of her way. So he let her by, and then sniffed her butt on the way past. He just wishes they would play with him. It's funny to see him trying to communicate with a chicken using dog language :)

Meanwhile, in the brooder, the four baby chicks are doing fine. Hanging out, eating and sleeping, like good babies.

The barnyard mix babies, who are 8 weeks old this week, are sure different looking. Two of them have black heads now.

The two with the black heads appear to be hens.

The one without a black head seems to be a roo, judging by the comb he's sporting on top of his head. Much bigger than the other chicks. The two black ones appear to be girls, and the other one (didn't get a picture of him today) who is buff and black appears to be a roo - so 2 roo and 4 hens, not a bad turnout.

Garden update - with pictures!

The weather is still gloomy, cold and wet. Within the first two weeks of the month we'd set a rainfall record for June, and have been setting daily records for cold. You know that if you are setting records for rainfall in the NW, it must be really wet!

Out in the garden things are growing along. As you can see from the first bed on the right, the lettuce is loving the weather!

As is the second planting of lettuce and spinach.

The arugula keeps trying to bolt. The onions seem to be doing well also. I have three broccoli plants that survived the slug onslaught. The slugs have been real pests this year, partly because the rain keeps washing away the slug bait. They ate my cucumbers as soon as they appeared, leaving little stumps :( I'm about ready to try the 'piepan of beer' trap on the slugs, but then I would have to go buy some beer to waste on the slugs.

The squash has blossoms

The beans are poking up. Pole beans on the left, yellow bush beans on the right. I'm looking forward to doing some canning and pickling with these guys! Right now they don't look particularly happy, a little yellow and stressed. I think this bed didn't get the chicken compost like the rest, but I know it got plenty of llama compost.

The potato plants are peeking out of their mounds of straw. I hope the slugs and potato bugs are not gobbling up all my potatoes under there. In a wet spring like we're having, I'm wondering if growing potatoes in straw was a good idea. The straw is absolutely infested with those little black grass spiders. When I walk by I see them scurrying in every direction. They don't bother me too much. I hope they eat potato bugs!

My waist-high heritage variety tomatoes almost make me look like I know what I'm doing. Unfortunately the tomatoes I started from seed aren't doing nearly as well, maybe half as tall and wimpy stems. Was it the vigor of the variety, or something I did wrong in starting them? Oh well, learn a bit more every year. I'll be saving seeds from these heritage varieties this year for next year, so we'll see what happens then.

That's the garden so far. I'm surprised at how quickly it has filled in, and there's still more I want to plant! I need to find room for the cuke starts I picked up, and the peppers. I would like to find a spot to stick some winter squash, like acorn squash. I'd like to do some winter veg, and I want to raise lettuce in a cold frame so I'm reserving the raised bed for that - if I ever find a window to use as a cover for it. And of course everytime I set foot in there there is weeding and pruning and other chores to do. I must say, the garden is keeping me plenty occupied this year!


Friday, June 18, 2010

Peppers, cucumbers, pickles!

Today I went to the store to buy some T posts for building a trellis for my tomatoes and beans, and instead bought some pepper starts, cucumbers, and pickle cucumbers! Problem is the cukes need to be trellised too, and I still didn't get any trellis supplies! I was going to buy 8 ft T posts to pound into the ground and attach a length of fence to for the beans to climb, and discovered the 8 footers were $10 each!!! Ouch, can't do that. I'm going to have to find some T posts around here to reuse, or think of something else to do. Today was a mild day, only sprinkled a little. As soon as mother nature turns the heat back on, I know I'm going to need to start tying up my plants somehow.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Garden update

Today I weeded, planted another plot of lettuce (we've been having dinner salads from the first planting and the second planting is about 4 inches high), planted more onions, removed the straw mulch from around the tomatoes because it was attracting slugs and bugs, and put it on top of the potato mounds. Lots done, lots to do, but it's still under control. The beans are all about an inch tall, so I have a little time, but putting up a piece of fence for them to climb on is my next concern. Oh, and I saw a flower on one of the squash plants - go squash!



top row: Mowgli, Saki, and Barclay, middle: Navi, bottom: Sitka

I've been taking Barclay to the dog park to play with the other eskimos. There's our friends Sherry & Scott with eskies Saki & Sitka, who are in our dog club, and Amber (who took the picture) with her eskie Mowgli, and then we ran into Megan and her puppy Navi (she's right in the middle of this picture, Barclay is just above her). Unfortunately today we found out Megan is moving and needs to find Navi a new home. Navi is only 5 months old, and adorable! What a horrible temptation!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

New chicks

This weekend I picked up 4 Splash Orpington chicks - they will be white speckled with black.

I had hoped the broody hen's chicks would hatch and I could slip these in with the rest, but the way it worked out I just cleaned out the brooder and set it back up for these little guys. They spent the first couple days in my friends brooder (she got six of them), so now they have to get used to being in a much smaller group. We'll see how they do.

Don't count your chickens..

..before they hatch! Today I finally moved the broody hen to see what was going on under her. She has been sitting on 12 eggs for 24 days, which is a few days overdue from the 21 days it should take to hatching - and there was still no sign of chicks. I moved her off the nest and had a look at the eggs - two were rotten and broken, just the membrane holding the goo inside, and two were uncracked. There were signs of other broken eggs in the nest, and she had kicked out a couple shells last week. I removed the whole thing and dumped it in the compost pile. I don't know what went wrong with those eggs, but it was time to let her get off the nest and walk around again. She's out scratching around with the other chickens now.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Planting apple trees

We took advantage of the break in the weather today to plant some of our apple trees. The new orchard will be out in the front pasture, near the end of the driveway. I spent quite a bit of time hauling tools and waterhose out there (had to find the hose, untangle it, run it out there), and then Dave came out to help with the hard part.

As you can see, the dogs were a LOT of help!

 Dave and I shared hole-digging duty. Because our pasture is heavy clay, we have had problems with trees not growing well and surviving out there. The latest thing I've read is to dig a hole that is shallow and wide. This is supposed to break up soil to let the roots have a better chance of digging in. Also, it keeps the tree high up so nutrients can get to the roots easily. I'll go back and mulch on top of the planting area.

It is tough digging out there! Five trees was enough to wear both of us out!

Just as we finished the storms rolled in and it rained the rest of the day.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Beautiful Day, chickens are loose

What a nice day! I let the chickens out to explore the yard. They seemed to really enjoy getting out into a new area. I'm sure it's boring always being in the orchard.

I even opened the tractor and let mam hen and her chicks out. I had hoped this would help start to integrate the chicks into the flock, but instead mama hen ran off to terrorize the other hens, and the rooster had to break up a fight between her and one of the other hens who hadn't been doing anything! Then she wandered away and completely ignored her babies while the teenage roosters went over and picked on them (probably because they are at the bottom of the flock, and were relieved to see someone who would be under them!). So I tossed the teenagers into the extra tractor. By evening all the chickens had gone to roost, including mama, leaving her chicks in the tractor to huddle up for the night alone. I think they'll be fine, she's just not as good a mama hen as some of the others I've had. She decided she was done with them, and has been trying to escape the tractor for the last few days.

The three blue/buff chicks are very pretty.

 This poor guy looks like he's put together with spare parts! It will be interesting to see what he/she looks like all feathered out.

What a handsome roo!