A transplanted Southern Californian living in North Dakota Idaho, with some insights 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, April 13, 2019

Big Garden Project Underway

The big garden project we posted about the other day is fully underway. For the record Alycia said I was being "a blog tease" by just posting a picture of a metal stake in the ground. The accusation stung a bit.
The work crew came by to stage some of their equipment and mark off the area that they're going to dig. The wheelbarrows are for transportation of the dirt. 
We're going to be removing a whole bunch of dirt from the back yard and instead of having the work crew haul it off, I made some raised garden beds in the front yard for them to deposit the dirt. This is the much preferred "two birds with one stone" gardening approach.
The crew has lined the grass with plywood to prevent it getting trampled from numerous wheelbarrow loads.
After the first day the crew left their digging machine in the back yard. We're on day two of digging. Everything was OK until a depth of about five feet when they hit hardpan (aka caliche - this is your word for the day) and their pace slowed considerably.

The hole is going to be roughly 8' x 10' and 7' deep. And at our insistence they fenced off the hole so the yard was safe for dogs during the construction.
All the material that was removed on the first day was hauled, one wheelbarrow load at a time to the raised garden beds in the front yard. This is roughly about half of the total material that was removed. The other half of the material? That is going to be staged in the back yard to be put back in the hole once the hole is completed.

So what does all this amount to? What are we doing? You can feel free to hazard a guess, but we're going to leave the big reveal for a later post.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Shadowfax the Majestic

Shadowfax the majestic and mighty pittie poses for the camera. We've learned to capture these moments quickly. Taking time to try for perfect picture composition is a recipe for a lost shot.
Wait!!! Is that a squirrel. Quicker than you can say "Squirrel!", the shot is lost as Shadowfax races off to investigate the alleged squirrel sighting.
Today is a tough day for her and Shaak Ti as our big garden project officially breaks ground (literally). They'll be stuck in the house for most of the day as workers and equipment work on the yard. More about our big garden project will be coming soon.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Big Garden Project Started

This seemingly innocuous picture below represents the much awaited and frequently alluded to secret garden project that we have started.
I know it doesn't look like much, it's just a metal stake in the ground. There are three other stakes, they make a large rectangle. What's the big project? What's the big reveal? You'll just have to stay tuned, there will be more pictures and posts in the coming weeks.

Monday, April 1, 2019

A Fine Afternoon

Shadowfax enjoying a fine warm Spring afternoon. Alternating between protecting the house from squirrels and neighbors walking by, and lounging on the patio.


Monday, March 25, 2019

Raised Garden Beds

Construction continues on the raised beds in the vegetable garden.

Raised beds take a little time to construct and need the addition of a large amount of material (soil, compost, mulch) in order to fill. But in my experience they're worth the large amount of work on the front end. Even though they're only a foot or so above ground they require less bending over to harvest or pull weeds. This benefit will increase as we get older and less mobile but want to continue gardening in our later years.

Because they're above the ground raised beds also decrease the risk of soil contaminants being drawn into your veggies. In older neighborhoods lead can be a concern and it's possible to have significant lead contamination built up in the soil. Although we haven't had our soil tested for lead yet, we've mitigated much of the possible risk with raised beds.
We've learned a lot over the years about raised beds and the pros and cons of different types of construction. The raised vegetable garden beds that we had in North Dakota (pictures here and here and here) we fairly easy to assemble but started splitting, cracking, and breaking down after 3-4 years. I didn't want to be making new wooden garden beds every five years.

The new garden beds are made with landscape blocks and will last for quite a while. They're "permanent" but could be moved if I really don't like how they function or am really motivated to move them. We're going to temporarily pause the garden beds at this point. We need to leave some space in the bottom of the picture for...well we won't ruin that surprise quite yet.

And yes that's Shaak Ti in the upper corner of the picture, looking up at the squirrel (not pictured) in the tree. 

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Shadowfax is Hot Under the Collar

We've barraged readers with numerous pictures of Shaak Ti and Shadowfax roasting themselves in front of the gas fireplace insert. They truly love it. On a daily basis I have to drag Shadowfax away from the front fireplace because she's gotten too hot, has started to pant, but is too lazy to move on her own accord.

This is one of the rare occasions where Shaak Ti is being the smart one. She is plenty warm and cozy but a reasonable distance away from the fireplace. Good girl Shaak Ti.
Spring is approaching though and we're nearing the end of fireplace season. The forecast is for highs in the 60's next week. The seasons change and roasting in front of the fireplace will be replaced by soaking up the sunshine on the back patio.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

And So It Begins

We will slightly change the famous quote from Lao-tzu - "The journey of a thousand miles bricks starts with a single step brick."
The process of constructing raised garden beds has begun! It shall start in the vegetable garden area in the backyard, then the rest of the backyard, and eventually the Forests of Tuckborough and Buckland...I mean then the front yard.

We're focusing on the vegetable garden area in the back yard so that we can ready for Spring planting and also because we have a big garden addition on the way. That will have to remain a surprise for a few more weeks though, so stay tuned for our big garden announcement.

And yes there was an obscure Lord of the Rings reference thrown into the blog post today. We do have a dog named Shadowfax after all.

Friday, March 8, 2019

This Dog Shaak Ti

This dog Shaak Ti. She kills me.
Every day it's something different, yet somehow the same. Arranging her bottom to get it better roasted in front of the fireplace, that's been a regular occurrence all winter. Yesterday she got the super-insane-zoomies and tried to jump the baby gate (she hasn't done that in a few years) and failed miserably. She went up, and like a stunt plane that stalled out, crashed back to earth butt first. Falling on the bottom that she had so artfully and delicately roasted all morning.

She seemed upset that I laughed at her. I tried to tell her that she's getting older and can't do silly stuff like that anymore. I don't think she heard me. She's not the best listener.

This dog Shaak Ti, she kills me.