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.





Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Garden Project - Almost Completed

Our secret garden project is very nearly completed. The door needs to be adjusted a bit and then hung and some fine tuning tweaks and finishing touches here and there need to be made.
The interior floor needs to be finished and is going to be a darker gray colored gravel with flagstones running down the middle.
It's substantially complete enough that you can either guess or we can reveal what this structure is. It's a greenhouse. And not just a season extending greenhouse, it's a full four season greenhouse that will allow us to overwinter plants and continue to produce small quantities of fruit, veggies and herbs throughout the winter.
There will be a whole lot more stories and photos of our greenhouse. We'll also tell you more about how it was made and give you some background on your new phrase for the day - shou sugi ban. Oh and that vertical black piping inside the greenhouse? We'll talk about that too.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Summer Vacation Photos

Alycia and I were lucky to take a summer vacation trip last week. We had been to Glacier National Park in Montana several years ago and had always wanted to return.
In addition to Glacier, we also visited the Canadian portion, Waterton Lakes. Waterton Lakes was lovely and much less crowded than Glacier. It was Alycia's long time dream to stay at the historic Prince of Wales Hotel. The hotel sits on a bluff overlooking Waterton lake and a dramatic glacier-carved valley. The above picture was the view from our hotel room.
It was a magnificent historic hotel and Alycia also enjoyed high tea as well. She'd read about high tea at the hotel and was eager to have afternoon tea. It was a unique National Park experience.
Alycia had a lovely spread of sweet and savory snacks that were all gluten free. John enjoyed the gluten filled treats just as enthusiastically.
We took numerous hikes and strolls throughout the parks, several free excursions that were led by Park Rangers. The Ranger led hikes were full of great information and discussions of local flora and fauna as well as history and geology. The Rangers also knew the area well and carried bear spray (as did we), so they were welcome additions to any hike. We saw the above grizzly bear from the road and were glad to be in a vehicle that close to a bear.
We did see almost all manner of wild creatures, black and grizzly bears, bighorn sheep, and even a big bull moose, antlers and all! The moose suddenly emerged from the heavy brush and crossed our hiking trail 20 feet in front of us on our hike above to Grinnel Lake. It was a pretty startling and stunning encounter.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Some New Canine Friends

Earlier this year Alycia had the idea that we get more involved with a local dog charity. We had met people and dogs from the local Boise Bully Breed Rescue group at several functions and they had just opened up a new facility at a warehouse in nearby Meridian. The group pulls dogs from shelters across the West and brings them to their facility, gets them medical attention and then finds them forever homes. It's a fantastic group of people and helps some incredible pups.

A couple of hours a week we go and walk dogs or play with them in the facilities awesome play yard. It's quite a lot of fun and we get to meet some awesome dog friends before they go to live in their new homes. It didn't occur to Alycia until a few weeks ago that we should start taking pictures of these great pups. Here are some photos of just a few of the dog friends that we've met recently.
This is Chief. He's the only pup that hasn't been adopted yet, though he has a meet-and-greet soon. He has a bad-ass backstory about being injured by a wild boar when he lived in Hawaii (seriously).
Agnes. She was one of Alycia's favorites, a sweet snuggle oriented pittie lump.
Blue. This 100 pound chunkster found a home recently. He splashed around in the kiddie pool with reckless abandon.

Gonzo. Another snuggle oriented pooch. He looked like a little hippopotamus and was one of my favorites.

Cotton. A deaf bully mix. He caused a lot of consternation around the homestead since we have deaf dogs and all and he probably would have fit in pretty well. He was recently adopted to an awesome home!

Monday, July 29, 2019

New Wheels for the Wagon

Alycia got me our garden wagon as a birthday present close to 10 year ago. It has been a much loved and well used workhorse in the garden ever since. It's incredibly useful to throw in some tools, a few flats of plants, maybe a sack of fertilizer and haul it off to a spot instead of having to make multiple trips back and forth.

Alycia alone has hauled countless load of heavy bricks with the wagon. Our numerous brick-related projects over the years would not have been possible without the help of the wagon. Well they would have been possible, but there would have been a LOT more manual labor and brick hauling by hand involved.

The wagons inflatable wheels that have needed increasing attention and maintenance. For the last two years I've had to inflate the wheels before every use and even then they didn't hold air very well (or really at all). The usefulness of a wagon was somewhat mitigated by flat wheels.

Thanks to the magic of the internet (Amazon) I bought some new replacement wheels and installed them. The new wheels have a solid core and don't need to be inflated which should increase their useful life. The wagon is working better than ever now and should continue to serve well in the garden for anther decade.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

One of Those Days

You know those days. The kind where you're napping with your ear sticking out. 

Shaak Ti spent the morning napping with her ears askew. But it wasn't just her.
We knew it was a serious occasion as Shadowfax was afflicted with the same ear napping issues. Both the dogs are pretty annoyed that they don't have free reign of the backyard with the folks assembling our secret garden project. Maybe that's the reason for these ears sticking out.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Shaak Ti and the Tummy Troubles

We're written before about Shaak Ti and her Tummy Issues, and in an effort not to bore you awesome readers we've refrained from numerous or frequent posts about the same topic. For the last several years Shaak Ti has had recurring tummy related issues. And ever since she came to live with us we've known that her entire digestive system is her Achilles Heel.

Her latest diagnosis is a flare up of pancreatitis that should be well managed with strict diet management. For most of this year she's been on a diet of low-fat canned food. Shaak Ti has always been a finicky eater and we had low expectations of her reaction to this canned food, but she's taken quite well to it.  This latest flare up happened even though she was on her low-fat diet so we're a bit befuddled by the reason behind this latest episode.


After a few weeks of feeling sub-par, a couple of vet visits, and numerous medications, Shaak Ti is back in top form. She was out in the backyard yesterday vociferously giving some squirrels the business and we knew she was back at 100%.
So we're back to normal around here, weird napping position not withstanding. Hopefully now we can focus on the good tummy related topics, like warming your tummy and getting lots of tummy rubs.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Garden Project - Phase Two Update

Our secret garden project is about halfway completed. After a couple of days of work last week progress halted and will resume again mid-week.
It looks pretty good thus far.
We've made a good number of promises about when it will be completed. Please know that every promise has been made in good faith. Numerous factors that were totally out of our control have pushed the completion date back, but it looks like we're in the home stretch now. More updates and pictures to come!

Monday, July 8, 2019

Garden Project - Phase Two. For Real This Time!

Yes we had a bit of a misstatement a few weeks back with our post that our secret garden project was happening. We're very sorry. Unforeseen events caused it to be pushed back to today. We've been on a "too embarrassed to post until this thing got started" quiet period. We just tried to lay low until there was verifiable progress that we could show off.
 We can definitively say that the project is off and running!
And everyone can start hazarding guesses as to what they think it is. But you won't have to wait too long with your guesses. The project should be completed in a day or two, so we should have full pictures (with Shaak Ti for scale of course) by the end of the week!