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.



Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Adventures of Beaver-Dog

It's entirely possible that the puppy we adopted isn't a puppy after all.  She may well be some kind of puppy-beaver or dog-beaver hybrid.  This can't be proven yet, it's still in the hypothesis stage, somewhere between "existence of Sasquatch" and "climate change" on the continuum of settled science.  

Puppy is the first puppy I've ever had, as the other dogs we have (Tito and Shaak Ti) were all acquired after the initial spazzy pure puppy phase.  Being that my sister is more experienced with raising puppies, I'll occasionally call and ask her advice, or more often ask her "Uhhh I saw the puppy doing (blank) today, is this normal?"  So it didn't totally cause my sister any alarm when I called the other day to inquire of her "How much wood is it OK for a dog to eat?"
You see, chewing on and then consuming wood is one of the puppy's favorite activities.  Favorite Activities.  I can't highlight or special font this enough, she really, really loves chewing and eating wood.  On occasion there will be little piles of wet mulch where she has just enjoyed chewing the wood, but more often than not, the wood is going all the way through her system.  Trust me, I know, you don't want me to explain how I know, just accept that I know.     

Most days puppy spends hours outside, nosing through the woodpile, gnawing and stripping bark off the bigger pieces of wood, and dragging the manageable ones around the yard to a sunny spot on the grass, and eating them.  Like having a wood picnic.  Since she's not tall enough to reach the top of the woodpile, nor woodpile savvy enough to realize the potential for disaster, she occasionally causes woodpile avalanches.  I'm always afraid that one of her self inflicted woodpile avalanches is going to cause a serious bonk on the noggin and lead to an injury, but oh well, it's a risk we'll take. 

I'm not sure what to attribute this woodpile love too, and since honestly it's 1) a really cheap toy and 2) much better than chewing on furniture/shoes/other household goods/people, I can't complain. Still it is a bit odd.  Maybe it's just a phase...
Happy as a clam, or more accurately, happy as a beaver-dog.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Freeze Warning

It's almost Memorial Day weekend and we have a Freeze Warning tonight in North Dakota.  Ugh.  I went out and tucked in the sensitive peppers, basil, and oregano into a nice cozy blanket for the evening, hopefully they stay warm.  The other cucumbers, pumpkins, squash, and melons are already protected with buckets (to prevent the damn bunnies from chomping them), so they'll be fine.  The verbeena, sweet alyssum, and marigolds that I planted over the weekend will unfortunately have to survive on their own.  We'll see what the morning light brings.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Happy Spring Pictures

Sorry loyal blog readers.  Unfortunately I've had some actual work to do recently and this has seriously impeded my pro bono bogging activities.  Between work, the hustle of Spring gardening and planting, and pooch care, blogging has come in a distant fourth place on the priority list.  Here's a smattering of miscellaneous Spring pictures for y'all.
Our tulips are just finishing up blooming.  These are two really pretty varieties, yellow, and yellow with a striped red center.  The bunny banner was a Christmas gift from Alycia's Mom.  Just so everyone knows I'm not normally a purchaser of bunny banners, though as far as bunny banners go, this one ain't half bad.

My problem with bunny banners is that they're never an accurate depiction of bunnies.  Bunnies don't just stop in your garden and harmlessly sniff the tulips (as this banner depicts).  They maraud through the garden, wreaking havoc, chomping everything in sight and teasing my poor deaf dogs into a barking frenzy. 
Shaak Ti models next to the tulips in full bloom.
These are Cummins tulips (very close to Cummings).  They're really unique looking, purple with white frilly tips.  I've never seen tulips quite like these before, they're pretty cool.  These were purchased thanks to a generous housewarming gift from Alycia's friend Andy in San Diego.  Thanks Andy.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Prisoner Escape In Cavalier, North Dakota

Big news from Cavalier, North Dakota from the Grand Forks Herald. Hopefully I'm not mistaken for this guy just because I have red hair. Maybe we'll wait a while before our next visit.

Prisoner Escapes in Cavalier
Pembina County deputies searching for Glenn Troy Stegman
According to Pembina County’s Chief Deputy Sheriff Jeff Osvold, Stegman, 34, was being led back to jail from a bond-reduction hearing about 10:30 a.m. today when he took off running. Stegman still was at large at 3 p.m.

By: Stephen J. Lee, Grand Forks Herald
A Walhalla, N.D., man escaped from custody this morning in Cavalier, spurring a search by law enforcement and the local school to lock-down.

Monday, May 16, 2011

My Spam Folder Thinks I'm Getting Old

I pay a good deal of attention to my spam folder.  I'm not the kind of guy who just blindly deletes the e-mails and moves on to other tasks or ignores my spam folder completely.  Because even though these e-mails are unsolicited and full of scams, lies, and false propaganda, I still think they have something to say to me.  And lately I think my spam folder thinks I'm getting old.

Sure I still get e-mails offering the newest and most advanced herbal reproductive organ supplements, but lately there have been more offers for generic Viagra, Cialis, and other ED medication - mailed discretely from a reputable "Canadian" pharmacy.  My spam folder thinks that I'm getting less concerned about the size of my God given endowment (a young man's issue) than I am about my ability to keep said God given endowment attentive and able to be utilized (more of a mature man's issue).

And yes there are still plenty of hot Russian and Ukrainian women offering themselves as candidates to be my next wife.  And yes they are still more than happy to offer graphic descriptions of their abilities and proclivities, but nowadays they seem more likely to be seeking "distinguished gentlemen" or state they are "good for a mature man" (yes these are both quotes from recent spam I've received).  What gives?  I'm neither distinguished or mature. 

Fewer are the promises to find hot young singles in my area, and more frequent are the solicitations to locate that high school classmate before my upcoming reunion.  Have I crossed the imaginary spam line from likely to be seeking hot young singles to be more likely to be undergoing some midlife crisis by reuniting with a high school flame*?  I'm closer to my 10 year high school reunion (it was a while ago) than I am to my 25 year reunion (it's not for a while), so what gives?
*the joke's on them. I was not the most popular dude in high school and don't really have any long lost high school flames pining for me.  I know, I know this is hard for you to believe, but it's true. 

I get more offers for cruises, genuine Rolex watches, and tees times at the most exclusive golf courses than I used to receive.  These all seem like offers and possessions of an affluent older gentleman, not a young dashing gentleman such as myself.  Does my spam folder think I'm getting old?  Yeah, I do.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Local Music Video

I can't believe that I didn't discover this sooner, but better late than never.  A couple of Minnesotans released a music video in January.  It took my fellow blogger, lifeshighway of Along Life's Highway - The Yard Art Game, to alert me to its presence. 

I'm only posting this because I feel like it's now past the possible winter jinx period.  There's no way that this would anger the snow gods and cause them to drop more wintry precipitation, is there?  I sure hope not.  

Sunday, May 1, 2011

North Dakota Snow in May

Apparently snow is not unheard of, but still pretty rare in May.  We celebrated the arrival of May with some snow last night and this morning, not a lot, an inch or two.  This makes seven consecutive months with measurable snowfall (Fargo has had eight months in a row since they received some snow in October that missed us) in Grand Forks.
How rare is snow in the month of May?  The last time (according to the Grand Forks Herald) Grand Forks received snow in May was May 11, 1946, quite a while ago.
These poor tulips were just getting ready to open, you can see the flower buds just ready to pop.  I'm sure they still will, they're pretty hardy flowers and acclimated to cold.  Maybe the color will look even more striking with the snow underneath. 
Along with snow there have been some impressive winds in the 25 to 35 mph range with gusts higher than that.  The western and central parts of the state have been under blizzard warnings and Bismarck (the state capital - this could help you in a trivia contest someday) and Dickinson have recorded of gusts of 60 to 70mph.  Crazy.

We're going to spend a cozy day inside.  The yard work that was planned for today has been put on administrative hold pending nicer weather.  Just in case you're wondering, the folks here at Deaf Dogs and Benevolent Gnomes helped spread the word about this nasty winter.  See the November post - Pig Spleen and Weather Predictions.  And maybe it's time for you doubters to recognize the power of the pig spleen.