A transplanted Southern Californian living in North Dakota, 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.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Resting Up After a Tiring Weekend

We had a glorious weekend here at the homestead in North Dakota, so glorious that we're still recovering from it. We hosted visitors from Southern California, showed them the sights, enjoyed some local cuisine, and basked in the autumn splendor. 
The dogs were so exhausted from all the extra people and love and playtime, that they sacked out before our visitors had made it to the airport.  Friday and Saturday were particularly eventful as they had both sets of grandparents in the house, ready to shower them with love.  It was apparently exhausting, so exhausting that they snoozed noggin to noggin in their cozy beds.  
Even Tito was tired from all the shenanigans. Delivering all that anger and all those snarls to so many folks can wear down even the baddest dogs of the bunch. 

Saturday, October 1, 2016

North Dakota Sunrise

Don't fret we're still here, we're just preoccupied. Pesky things like work and meetings get in the way of the quality dog and family time, and suddenly the garden gets neglected.  We've been methodically going through our end of summer harvesting and fall garden preparations.  An hour or two here and there in evening and weekends scrambling to catch up.
Luckily we get sunrises like this in the mornings.  It's a great motivation to enjoy the day and a first glimpse of fall colors splashed across the sky.  There's a blue jay outside somewhere now, I can hear his bossy shrieks through the open window, I'm gonna go see if I can spot him. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Shaak Ti the Delicate Lady

Shaak Ti is indeed a delicate lady, genteel and proper in every respect.  She even sleeps with her paws delicately crossed. 
As you can see, it was a pretty rough weekend for the dogs of the homestead.  There was a lot of lounging in their dog beds or supervising from their pillowed perch in the upstairs window while us humans toiled in the garden.  

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

More Late Summer Garden Pictures

We're bearing down on the end of August, then Labor Day and possibly soon the end of summer. Here are some pictures from around the garden in the last week of August. 
This is the Blueberry area, just next to the Petunia Tower in the back yard.  The blueberries are surrounded by some assorted dianthus, sweet alyssum, and more petunias. 
This is the front edging of the garden area on the south side of the driveway.  The plants that aren't blooming are Indian Summer dianthus that I planted this Spring, I expect a great bloom showing next year.  There are also some trailing red verbeena, and the yellow flowers are Helenium autumnale - Sneezeweed. We only bought the sneezeweed because Alycia thought name was cool, but they've bloomed steadily and consistently all summer. I think we'll be adding more sneezeweed next year too.   
More verbeena, sneezeweed, dianthus, and even a lovely pink petunia. 
The Great Wall of Cherry Tomatoes.  These are planted in a raised bed along our garage and face south. Between the all day sunshine they receive and the heat that reflects off the metal siding, the tomatoes are really happy here.  Along the front edge of this raised bed are a few different varieties of marigolds (Inca Gold, Golden Gem and others). 
View of the Great Wall of Tomatoes from the other side of the raised bed.  You can barely make out the celery that we planted at the front corner of the box.  These got a bit overwhelmed, and probably were not my best decision to plant these here. 
Close up of the Golden Gem marigolds. These are one of my favorite marigolds and I either save the seeds every year, or let them go to seed in Fall and spread the seeds around the area where I want them to grow the next year.  Then I let the army of volunteers take over the next Spring, thinning them where it's needed. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

We Won - Free Stuff From Our Blogging Friends

Many thanks to Get Busy Gardening! for their awesome recent online giveaway.  If you haven't checked out their website or Facebook Account, I would highly recommend spending some time on their site.  They are our (almost) neighbors just down in the twin cities in Minnesota and have a huge repository of helpful gardening information.   

We entered online a few weeks ago and won: 
Thanks so Much to Amy at Get Busy Gardening!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Take Time to Enjoy the Sunbeams of Life

Shadowfax knows how to best manage a Monday morning: Find a good sunbeam and take a nap!
School has started again for both John and me, and we're cautiously optimistic about the upcoming year. Just 9 months to go until summer vacation...

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Cucumber Trellis Update

We posted pictures of our Armenian and Pickling cucumbers growing on a trellis (see post here) last month.  It's always impressive to me to see the growth that happens in late summer.  Here is that cucumber trellis last month:
Here's the same cucumber trellis exactly one month later. The heat, humidity and rain of the last month have helped these grow by leaps and bounds.  They've taken over their trellis completely and have overtopped the 6 foot fence. 
We waited and waited for the Armenian cucumbers to ripen and now we've got more than we can consume, multiple large ones are ripe every day.  That's the nature of of gardening here in the Upper Midwest...wait, wait, wait, then explosion of veggies. 

The Armenian cucumbers are eaten raw, the pickling cucumbers are used to make my tasty Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles, several quarts of which are sitting on the fridge right now.  I'll eat them throughout the winter and use them for fresh homemade relish as well.  

You may notice from the picture that many of the leaves in the middle and bottom of the plants are are whitish or pale looking.  This is most likely powdery mildew, which will eventually kill the plant, but won't really have a significant impact on the development of the remaining cucumbers.  Due to our short growing season here, a hard frost is going to kill this plant long before the powdery mildew will. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Petunia Tower Update

The Petunia Tower I created a couple of months ago (see Petunia Tower) is filling out nicely and chock full of lovely blooms.  It's on the East side of the house past the blueberry raised bed area and gets full sun until early afternoon, which the petunias have seemed to enjoy. 

This is the Petunia Tower and clematis (jackmanii clematis) growing on a trellis that we see regularly every day on our way in from the back gate or garage into the house. 
The close up of the petunia tower shows that there's a little room for improvement next year.  These look a bit straggly for my taste and I think next year I'll treat this more like a potted planting like we have on the front steps (pictures of front step posts here) and have more variety of plants rather than just petunias.  This is the fun part of gardening for me, trying something out, seeing how it goes, then making improvements for next year!