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, December 21, 2019

Shadowfax Approved

Shadowfax can easily be described as a heavy chewer, she's easily plowed through dog toys designated as "tough.
The green stick in the picture is her Goughnuts Dog Toy (Amazon link here). We don't endorse many products here, but this stick is really awesome, we've had it since 2014! We even wrote about it back in 2014. Five plus years is an eternity it Shadowfax toy-time. If you have a power chomping pup who destroys toys, you might consider a Goughnut for them this Christmas.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Japanese Maple - Emmett's Pumpkin

We planted a couple of Japanese Maples (acer japonicum) in 2017 when we moved to the homestead. They took a year or so get fully acclimated and last fall they had some interesting colors. One variety that we planted, Emmett's Pumpkin, is an upright Japanese Maple that is closer to medium sized shrub than a small tree.

We really wanted this particular variety because it's main feature is turning bright orange in Fall, thus the name Emmett's Pumpkin. Last fall we weren't terribly impressed with the color but figured since it was the first year it might need more time to fully produce spectacular color.
This year it put on a terrific show of orangey-pumpkiny goodness. We look forward to many more years of fall foliage from Emmett's Pumpkin.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Evening Snuggles

Yesterday was pretty typical evening here at the Deaf Dogs and Benevolent Gnomes homestead. We snapped a quick photo of the dogs getting all snugly.
This pose lasts until feet or legs fall asleep and the people have to stand and get the blood flowing again.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

New Birds at the Homestead - Evening Grosbeak

Fall migration saw a new bird (new to us anyways) pass through our area. These evening grosbeaks stopped by intermittently for a few weeks, likely on their journey south. We hopefully look forward to seeing them again in the Spring.
This is the evening grosbeak,they're pretty striking. We had rose breasted grosbeaks on a regular basis in North Dakota, but this was our first time seeing the evening grosbeak.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Long Term Forecast

This is the forecast for the next 5 months or so.
Compelling indeed. We've said it before and we'll say it again, these dogs have a pretty rough life here at the homestead.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Fall Grape Harvest

When we bought our house a few years ago it had two large established grape plants on the outside of a South facing fence line. The grapes made a nice visual addition to the fence, softening the hard line of 50+ feet of wooden fence and gave us some fruit too. Our first Fall harvest was modest and we made enough grape juice to fill two gallon containers. 

This Spring saw much more rainfall and we deliberately irrigated over the Summer with our flood irrigation a few times per month. As a result the grapes got much more water on a more consistent basis. This translated into a whole lot more grapes that were much sweeter than prior years. These are 5 gallon Home Depot size buckets.

Alycia's parents also bought us a cool Christmas present last year - a Stainless Steel Steam Juicer (Amazon link). We had actually found this online a few years back and bought one for them and they enjoyed it so much they figured that we needed one as well.

The juicer makes the process much simpler and tidier. Fill with water and grapes and set on the stove on high. Then it took an hour or so of steaming and we had about a half gallon of juice and some steamed grape mush (which we happily composted). The grapes are dark, Concord-ish. They're sweet with lots of seeds and will probably be turned into some grape jelly forthwith.

The end result of a few hours of picking grapes and another several hours of tending the steamer was about 6 gallons of tasty grape juice. It's in our chest freezer for now and we'll make some jelly and unfreeze the rest periodically throughout the Winter for a fresh, tasty treat.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Fall Snuggling Season

Fall snuggling season is officially upon us. Warm and pleasant days with cool nights quickly changed today with highs barely into the 50's. We're on the edge of a weather system that's bringing multiple feet of snow to northern Idaho and western Montana. We're just getting cooler temperatures and a few rain showers.
Cooler temperatures and the change of seasons means we start taking our napping configurations a little more seriously. Shaak Ti is a pro at this though, she knows how to snuggle.
Fall is also know as "tuck in the dogs 30 times a day" season. Shaak Ti and Shadowfax both enjoy snuggling under an array of blankets.
We hope you're nice and warm wherever you are.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Shaak Ti Being Shaak Ti

Shaak Ti. She's a pretty special dog. Her silliness is consistent and daily. Napping, walking and being a goofy little pup, that's her daily routine.
We've managed through some bouts of upset tummy over the last couple of years (more frequently in the last several months) and now she's back to eating regularly. We may be purchasing a rotisserie chicken per week to add to her meals, but it's totally worth it.
Napping in the sunbeam, napping in the dirt (that's why she looks brown in the photo above), napping in the mulch and occasionally napping on an actual dog bed. This dog, she just kills me sometimes.