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.



Thursday, April 28, 2011

Another Awesome Deaf Dog Video

Here's another deaf dogs video.  I think you'll find it's much better than the first one. I'm sensing a trend towards better and more frequent video sharing.

This video stars Shaak Ti and the Puppy, but also includes Tito the Wonder Puppy.  You'll notice that Tito only likes playing when Shaak Ti is upside down and vulnerable or otherwise defending herself against the massive puppy onslaught.  Tito plays dirty, no doubt about it, he just bides his time for Shaak Ti to be preoccupied, then darts in, CHOMPS, and off he goes.  Except for occasionally getting run over by the other two, Tito rarely gets any payback for all this deviousness. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Beets and Borscht and Biscuits

There are a few veggies that we haven't planted in our first few years here in North Dakota like beets, corn, chard, and carrots.  Why?  Alycia's parents in Cavalier, North Dakota plant them in multitudes and always have extras, so there's no need for us to plant them in our garden.  At the end of the growing season we get a delivery of a couple dozen quart sized freezer bags full of cleaned, blanched, and ready to eat beets.  It's a pretty sweet set up.

What to do with all these beets?  Well we eat them occasionally in salads or as a side dish, but the best thing to do with beets is to turn them into a delicious borscht.  A big ol pot of borscht, with plenty leftover to freeze for Alycia to take for lunches. 
I'm not much of a close up food photographer, so I'm probably not doing this delicious dish justice.  Plus, I was good and hungry so there weren't multiple shots happening. 
A big dollop of sour cream is the perfect finishing touch for this hearty, earthy, savory soup.   I also made some tasty Parmesan cheese drop biscuits* to accompany the soup, it all worked out so well. 
*Sorry, there were no pictures of the biscuits, they were warm and crusty and begging to be eaten, so there was no time for photos.

What do you do with your beets?  Anyone have a favorite beet recipe they'd like to share?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Deaf Dog Video

It took me like 3 years to realize that my digital camera also shoots videos.  Me and technology aren't always the closest of special friends.  This is my first foray into home videoing and as such, you get to suffer through my growing videographer pains.  Yes, this video is pretty bad, but I promise that my subsequent video taking efforts will be much better.

Here's Shaak Ti and Puppy playing. Turn on the sound for the full effect.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I Control the Weather

Yes that's right, apparently I control the weather.  After writing that Spring is Officially Here, the weather Gods promptly made an example out of me by dumping 8 inches of snow on Grand Forks over the weekend in a somewhat unusual spring snowstorm.  It also snowed lightly yesterday and is forecast for another inch or two of snow today/tonight and another chance on Friday.  It has been duly noted that I am too big for my britches. 
We went from this scene.....
...back to this all too familiar scene.  I tried to convince Shaak Ti to stand in the same spot for comparison purposes and she would have none of it. 

It's also been a quiet week here on Deaf Dogs and Benevolent Gnomes since some manner of sickness has knocked me flat on my backside.  As such I haven't posted much this last week, sorry, I'll make it up to you.  

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Spring is Officially Here

We might not be out of the woods yet in terms of flooding (don't fret we're dry here and in no danger whatsoever), the river is expected to crest around 52 feet here in Grand Forks on Thursday or Friday, Spring is definitely here.
Shaak Ti does a great job modeling next to the last snow patch.  I took this photo a couple of days ago and this was the last of the snow in the yard (it's along the North side of the garage so it never gets direct sunlight).  After a few days of 50+ degrees and some rain, this patch is currently the size of a dinner plate (my dinner plate not your dinner plate, which is likely substantially smaller).  Snow be gone!!!
The tulips have also started to pop, a sure sign of Spring!!  These will probably be a foot high by the end of the week and we might have blooms very soon. 

The weather now is so fantastic it defies adjectives, warm during the day and cool at night.  The mosquitoes haven't come out to play yet so outdoor time is fun and fancy free with no bugs.  I'll get some seeds started indoors this week and they should be ready for transplant by Mid-May.  Even though we have pleasant Spring-like weather, we're nowhere near our final average frost date, and I jump the gun by planting the garden even in Mid-May. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Flocked

Deaf Dogs and Benevolent Gnomes and it's humble creator, El Gaucho, attained worldwide recognition yesterday when it was mentioned in the Along Life's Highway - The Yard Art Game blog.

See the Flocked entry on this fantastic blog to read what all the hubbub was about.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Trouble With The Law

It seems that my nephew has already attracted some attention from state law enforcement authorities. 
It's always a shame when good kids go bad, especially at such a young age.  I'll do what I can to be a positive role model as an uncle, but it may be too late and Jacob may already have a permanent record.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Welcome To New Readers

I have a longstanding tradition of personally welcoming all new readers here at Deaf Dogs and Benevolent Gnomes.  This wasn't much of a challenge when I had four readers and they were all family and friends.  But after last months Urban Homesteading and What it Means to Me post was mentioned on a Facebook group, my readership exploded.  I went from 9 followers to 15, almost overnight.  Wowzers.

I vowed that I wouldn't let my meteoric rise in the blogosphere go to my head and endeavored to stay focused on my humble origins, and true to my original blogging promises.  As such here is a hearty Deaf Dogs and Benevolent Gnomes welcome to the following new followers:  

Stone Cottage Mama - Has some fantastic stories of urban homesteading in the Pacific Northwest.  I may never keep chickens and ducks like she does, but I do enjoy all the terrific pictures of their feathered residents and the detailed information about their care.

Nitty Gritty In The City - A fellow Midwest resident, she has a very entertaining blog and I look forward to every posting.

Liberalucy -writes a terrific politically oriented blog that I spend way to much time reading.

And to Sheryl and Brande, who near as I can tell (please correct me if I'm wrong), don't have a blog of their own but are gracious enough to visit mine.  Thanks!

Much love to my new readers and many thanks to all my readers.  You validate my time spent on here and every visit and comment is greatly appreciated.  Thanks!!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Baby Pictures - My New Nephew

Here's another cure baby picture for you all.  My nephew Jacob. 
Look at that big ole' Buddha belly.  He's gonna be a swarthy young gentleman when he grows up.

Monday, April 4, 2011

I Won!!!

There are a ton of great blogs out there that are more popular than this one (I know I know, calm down, it's OK, this came as shocking news to you) and they often get cool books or new garden tools to try out, write a review of, or giveaway on their blog.  In the course of all the incredible blogs I visit I end up entering quite a few of these giveaways.  Well, I finally won.

Special thanks to the awesome folks at Dog Island Farm (a great name and a fantastic website so chock full of information I get lost there) for randomly selecting me as the winner.  See Winner Winner Chicken Dinner.  Thanks!!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Spring Projects on the Urban Homestead

The urban homesteading blogosphere is atwitter with everyone's plans for Spring and various upcoming projects on their dockets.  What are we going to be working on here at the Deaf Dogs and Benevolent Gnomes Homestead in the next few weeks?
  1. Shoveling snow.  Yeah, this sucks.  Even though it's near 50 degrees today, we're under a Winter Storm Warning here in Eastern North Dakota for Saturday night through Monday morning.  We're supposed to get 6-9 inches of snow, but I'm really hoping that this storm will skirt us like the last one did a few weeks ago (see Major Winter Storm on the Way), or maybe just dump rain instead of snow.
  2. Finish the compost bin I started in the fall.  It's a 3-bin system (like the one here) and has a ton of space for yard waste.  I quickly realized last summer that my new yard was WAY too big for one small compost bin and needed additional space to make compost.  I'll continue to use the one large plastic compost bin for kitchen waste, fruit and vegetable waste from the garden, and anything else that attracts pests since it's more secure than the open 3-bin system.  
  3. Build a fence around the blueberry and strawberry patch in the backyard.  These are all within the backyard, inside the fence, and have taken a beating from the puppy tornado this winter.  Between her eating the blueberry bushes, crashing into them and breaking them, and peeing on the strawberries, I think it's for the best that this area is cordoned off from Little Miss Puppy Carnival of Destruction. It won't be a serious fence, probably just made of scrap wood or lilac shoots, it just needs to be a visual deterrent to keep her out of the area.