My attempt to move from Southern California and create a happy and sustainable urban homestead in North Dakota, with some musings on life with deaf dogs, a gluten free spouse, and the occasional mischievous garden gnome. Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoy.



Saturday, November 27, 2010

Turkey Day Aftermath

We spent our Thanksgiving up in the country at the Cummings Family Estate in Cavalier, North Dakota.  Initial weather reports of blizzard conditions never quite materialized and though there was some snow and wind, travel as quite decent to and fro.  Puppy was introduced to the Grandparents who were quite impressed with both her manners and puppistic tendencies.

Today we're recovering from the three day parade of feasting and festivities by having a quiet morning at home, napping and resting and partaking in numerous leftovers.  I'm a happy camper with a breakfast of leftover apple pie, pumpkin pie, and strong coffee.  Is there anything better than leftover pie for breakfast in the days after Thanksgiving?

I'll get to work on posting more puppy pictures.  

Sunday, November 21, 2010

More Puppy Pics

It's officially sweater season here in North Dakota.  The weather shifted from pleasant and 40 degrees to a high in the low 30's and very windy with wind chills near 0 and snow on the horizon.  We needed some doggy outerwear to keep that recently shorn tummy of the new puppy warm.  Shaak Ti's brown sweater fits her well (we got Shaak Ti a new sweater) since it's a bit longer. 
Here's a pose of the sweater modeler.  Keeping her warm this winter is going to be a challenge, but Alycia harnessed the magic of the Internets last night and ordered some more warm clothes for her. 
And not to jinx anything, but she's great in the house, ridiculously friendly to strangers, plays well with other dogs at the dog park, has been accident free in the house, and walks well on her leash.  I know this sounds like the bragging of a proud new puppy parent, but for her age, she is really, really well behaved.  Whether in the house or on her leash her default when she's not sure what to do is to sit and wait patiently, which is awesome. 

Our only issue is that she plays too rough with Shaak Ti and Tito (totally expected for a puppy her age) and doesn't understand yet that every waking moment isn't play time (again, totally expected for a puppy her age) with every dog she sees.  This is also one of the few areas where being deaf can be a hindrance.  With puppies and dogs, auditory feedback is important to communicate to/from your play buddy if you're playing too rough.  Since deaf pooches can't hear the whines, yips, or squeals from other dogs if they're being too rough, it can make the "learning how to play nice" process a bit slower.
So for now, puppy is on a leash during play time.  This enables us to pull her out of the way if Shaak Ti needs a breather or if puppy is playing too rough.  Sure it makes playtime stacked in Shaak Ti's favor (which she shouldn't need since she's a Jedi and all) but that's just fine for now. 
More pictures of puppy playing with Shaak Ti.

We got our first snow of the year last night and this morning, a nice comfortable dusting.   With a bit of luck, the next set of puppy pictures should be of the "Puppy's First Snow" variety.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

New Puppy Pictures

Here are the first (of what I'm sure will be many) puppy pictures.
Hello Everybody!!!  For the record, she is very cute and incredibly well behaved for her age. We're still not entirely sure what kind of dog she is, probably some mix of pit bull and dalmatian.
One of her MANY toys that she gets to play with.  If you notice too, her tummy was recently shaved for her spay surgery.  Alycia has (very reluctantly) accepted the task of buying some sweaters and other doggy outerwear to keep her warm this winter.
She enjoys tug of war time.  Actually she really enjoys just about all manner of play time. 
Shaak Ti watches apprehensively from her doggy bed.  She's been getting the full effect of the new puppy who desperately just wants to play with her every single minute.  Unfortunately the pup is just too rough/spazzy/crazy/flailing/bonking right now.  We're going to keep play time supervised for now and take little pup to doggy day care and the dog park where she can learn how to play correctly.  She's still really young (4.5 or 5 months or so), but she'll learn.      

Shaak Ti also has a bit of a short memory.  I certainly remember that this was pretty much exactly how she behaved when she first came to our house.  Many Tito snarls later she understood how to play correctly. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

It's A Girl!!!

These are old pictures taken by her foster Mom.  As soon as the puppy craziness enables me to do so, I'll take some of my own pictures and post them. 
Truth be told, she's a pretty good puppy, we just need to work on controlling her craziness with all the sensory input of: new house, 2 dogs to play with (who don't necessarily want to always play with you), tons of toys, new people, etc.  I think once we do that, it will be good.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Last Call For Voting

There are only a couple of days left to vote in the new poll if you haven't done so already.  You've got until Sunday night to cast your vote, the day before the big announcement....

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pig Spleen and Weather Predictions

I'm not making this up.  I don't think I could make this up even if I wanted to.  This ran on the Grand Forks Herald website today.  Here's a link - Grand Forks Herald Article, but the links don't always work well, sometimes they want you to create an account, so I copied the article below for you, gentle reader. 


'Mean' winter forecast? North Dakotan has some spleenin' to do

Pig spleens and their height and width are how Norbert Schulz predicts the snowy season in North Dakota. This year, Schulz offered the same advice as years before: Buy a new shovel. 

By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun 

RURAL PINGREE, N.D. – It’s not the most traditional way of predicting the weather, but one Jamestown man boasts a near-perfect record stretching back decades.

Pig spleens and their height and width are how Norbert Schulz predicts the snowy season in North Dakota. This year, Schulz offered the same advice as years before: Buy a new shovel.

“It’s going to be real nice here for a while; then she’s going to turn real mean,” Schulz said sizing up the spleen in his rural butcher shop.

He said the weather should continue to stay nice through Thanksgiving and then make a turn for cold and snow in December and January before it warms up again.
As for why to measure with the spleen, Schulz, 83, said it’s something he learned from those before him.

“I got it from the old-timers. A lot of old-timers went by the pig spleen,” Schulz said.

His son, Steven, 54, who runs the family farm now, is next in line for pig spleen predictions.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Job Of The Week

Actual job posting from the Grand Forks Herald:


Sugar Warehouse Temporary - Crookston, MN
American Crystal Sugar Company
American Crystal Sugar Company
  
As the nation's largest beet sugar producer, American Crystal Sugar Company is committed to finding ways to continually improve. It's why we reward people who take action, work smart, and reach further.
Great Pay. Apply Today.
We are seeking qualified applicants to fill temporary Warehouse Positions at our factory in Crookston, MN. These positions work 12 hour rotating shifts with a wage of $12.57/hour up to $13.88/hour.
We offer a safe working environment with advancement opportunities. Applicants must be at least 18 years old, with a High School diploma or GED and pass the entrance testing requirements, pre-employment drug test and criminal background check.


Pretty cool huh?  Who wouldn't want to work in the Sugar Warehouse?  Sara I know you would?  Amy you totally would?  I know that I certainly would work in the magical fantasy Willy-Wonkaish vision I have in my head.  Ahhh dozens of little orange faced, white coolat wearing, singing midgets dancing around and making confectionery delights.  Oh wait, that's more than just the Sugar Warehouse vision, never mind.  

Sadly I bet the real Sugar Warehouse isn't quite as wonderful as I have envisioned.  It probably has a lot of heavy things to lift and many mechanized sugar transporting devices.  Still...wouldn't it be cool to say you work in the Sugar Warehouse?  

Friday, November 5, 2010

My First Guest Posting

I was honored by a recent request from Sara at Sweet Somethings to do a guest post on a blog she writes for - From Blah to Ta-Daa.  Sara is a super good friend of Alycia, an amazing cook and baker, and has one of the best behaved pooches you'll ever see.  Seriously, I can't tell you how many pictures I've seen of her dog Rory with food/treats balanced on the end of his nose (scroll down through these links here and here for examples) or on his head (here).

I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention Sara's amazing cake pops, tiny little cakes on the end of a popsicle stick.  She has an Etsy shop, Sarandipity Sweets, where she sells them online.   And perhaps as a testament to how awesome her ideas and her baking are, she's incredibly busy with orders for these delicious little treats.

So I dusted off my recipe for Neatlloaf and sent it off to Sara for her to use as a guest post.  Since the From Blah to Ta-Daa blog always includes pictures of the recipe results poor Alycia had to suffer through a dinner of homemade Neatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy all for the sake of furthering my burgeoning online writing career.  Poor dear.  She was so distraught and suffered so mightily for the sake of my blogging that she went back for seconds.  And thirds.  She's such a trooper.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Gnome Management In The Garden

The Utah State University extension office has a great video on You Tube of how to manage the most invasive garden species known to man, the garden gnome.  Enjoy.
 
Gnome Management In The Garden 

Thanks to lifeshighway for passing along this awesomeness.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Happy Halloween Hangover

Anything left in the ol' candy bowl?  Still experiencing some minor shakes from ingesting copious amounts of sugar and chocolate?  OK, maybe that's just me.  As I prepare to polish off the last Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, I thought it might be prudent to post a Halloween picture or two.
Our Jack O Lantern was grown in Cavalier, North Dakota at the Cummings Family Estate and it was a doozy.  It probably weighed 30 pounds and was almost completely solid inside, so there was a LOT of scooping out of pumpkin innards.  Though thankfully the aforementioned innards weren't slimy or stringy at all, more of a semi-solid spongy consistency.  There was quite a bit of scraping work and flesh removal as the inner cavity was only the size of a small spaghetti squash (can you handle the gourd on gourd analogy?) and needed radical pumpkin cavity enlargening surgery before it was ready to display. 
Since the kids couldn't have candy, a little sausage treat was in order.  It's amazing how well everyone remembers their "down" command when a tasty morsel of sausage is involved.  This picture is shot form the point of view of the sausage morsel holder, nothing but compliant, well behaved pooches as far as the eye can see.
Tito and Shaak Ti watch through the glass as Alycia hands out candy to the Trick or Treaters.  Alycia really enjoys the Halloween experience - handing out candy, seeing the kids in their costumes, and demanding they say "Trick or Treat" before she gives them candy.  She's the paragon of proper Halloween etiquette.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Coming Death Shortage

A fascinating article on the repercussions of longevity, and how though science may provide staggering increases in life expectancy, the changes in society will be profound.  Subjects from bioethics, technology, population demographics, economics, and inter-generational wealth exchange are covered.  Even though it was originally published 5 years ago, it's still very interesting.  Have a read....

The Atlantic Magazine - The Coming Death Shortage