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.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Garden Pictures and Future Plans - Part 1 of 2

In theory this blog is supposed to be about gardening and homesteading and Idaho (formerly North Dakota) and deaf dogs. The deaf dogs aspect has been really all we've written about for months now, with only sporadic postings on other topics.

Why, you may ask? As we settle into our routines, get used to new jobs, and unpack the house (yes lots of stuff is still in boxes), it's much easier to post a cute picture of Shaak Ti or Shadowfax asleep in front of the fire than draft a substantive post on plants or gardening. Plus we moved last year right in the middle of Summer (aka Gardening Season) and didn't have much of a garden at the new homestead. So we'll start to right that ship now.

The new gardening area of the homestead has a lot of positive aspects going or it. The previous homeowner(s) did a fine job establishing the "bones" of the yard; some hardscape, layout, irrigation, paths, garden beds. There are some things that I might have done differently due to personal taste, but nothing that is shockingly "OMG, I've got to change that now". There are several nice big rocks/small boulders placed throughout the yard too, which is another unique element of visual interest that I probably wouldn't have done on my own, but truly enjoy.

As an aside, if you really want to see some rocks and boulders, check out my blogging friend Karen and her site Quarry Garden Stained Glass.
One minor annoying thing is that there is landscaping fabric everywhere - in all the garden beds. It's used to suppress weeds, but it really only suppresses some weeds and only for a little while. And while it allows water and some nutrients to penetrate down to the roots of plants, it interrupts the natural cycling through of tiny critters, microorganisms, and breakdown of organic material to create good healthy soil. I am not a fan of landscaping fabric.

So how to approach a brand new almost-blank canvas of a yard and garden? Numerous moves over the years have taught me that patience is key to understanding a new garden area. In a perfect world I could watch for a full year to figure out where the sun shines during different seasons, where the water collects, what are all the pros/cons of the space I have, and what areas are shady/sunny, hot/cool, dry/damp, etc. Since successful gardening boils down to putting the right plant in the right place, it's critical to know the attributes of the different places in the garden.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Tito Sleeping Soundly

Over the past years we've chronicled the difficulty of photographing Tito. Suffice to say that it isn't easy, and pictures of Tito are infrequent. Generally any attempts to snap a photo of him end with him angrily declaring his disdain for being photographed. It was lucky that he was soundly asleep and we snapped this picture of him sleeping.
This particular dog bed is overdue for an appointment with Alycia's sewing machine, though that doesn't make it any less comfortable of a napping spot for Tito. And it's looking pretty good that we'll have some posts in the near future about something other than deaf dogs, maybe even some gardening pictures. What do you think about that?

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Shaak Ti Warms Her Tummy

Tummy Warming Experience Level - Advanced Intermediate
As we've mentioned in previous posts, Shaak Ti (and Shadowfax to a lesser extent) spends a lot of time staring at or basking in front of the fireplace.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Shaak Ti Contemplates the Meaning of Life

Shaak Ti spends a lot of time in front of the fireplace, usually warming herself. But occasionally she'll just lay there and stare at the fire.
"I was in my room and I was just like staring at the wall fire*
Thinking about everything
But then again I was thinking about nothing."
 - Mike Muir, singer/songwriter

* only this word was changed from the original lyrics

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Birds Have Returned

One of our favorite hobbies is watching birds, either here at the homestead or when we're on vacation. We aren't hardcore birding folk by any means (though we still vividly remember the Harlequin Duck we saw in Glacier National Park years ago), but anywhere we go we try to have a bird identification book, binoculars, and Alycia's iPhone with bird ID apps aplenty.

Back in North Dakota we had a plethora of birds visit the homestead. You can find old posts about cool birds we saw in North Dakota here, here, here, and here. There are probably even more bird posts, because uhhh we kinda like bird posts. Bird visitation was usually concentrated in Spring and Summer though and there were few year round inhabitants.

During our first several months at the new homestead in Boise, Idaho we'd noticed a real absence of birds, spotting a few common chickadees and nuthatches, but not much else. We're in an older neighborhood with lots of large, tall, densely planted trees. Hawks and raptors crying in the distance and circling way overhead are common. We were afraid that the presence of birds of prey would diminish the local small birds at our feeders. It took a few weeks of putting out feeders with nyjer/thistle, black oil sunflowers seeds, and suet before we finally had visitors.
Some small goldfinches started showing up, and after a few days they were numerous. These goldfinches are noticeably smaller than the American Goldfinches that were regulars in North Dakota. Alycia and I have settled on an ID of Lesser Goldfinches. Since it's still Winter, it will be a few more months before the males develop their bright yellow gold coloration. We'll be watching in anticipation for them to develop their summer plumage, and eagerly awaiting any other birds that stop by for a visit.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Shadowfax Watches the Westminster Agility Trials

Shadowfax has never shown any interest in watching television, but this weekend the Westminster Agility Trials were on and she was very excited. She was happy to see at least one competitor that looked like her - a spotted American Staffordshire Terrier. He didn't win, but he made at least one new fan.
She watched intently for a few minutes then returned to lounge in front of the fire. Luckily none of the pups have a tendency to watch too much TV, so we've never had to discuss limiting their screen time. 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Packed Up and Ready To Go

Dogs are smart and intuitive creatures. They know that the appearance of a suitcase is a bad sign. One or both of us is going away, and that's no good.
Alycia recently had a conference to attend. Based on experience we know to delay the presence of the suitcase for as long as possible to avoid the pups consternation. Alycia started packing for her trip and Shaak Ti tried her best to tag along.
After a few minutes Shaak Ti realized that this was going to be a lengthy and difficult vigil and it might be best to rest up for the upcoming "if you're leaving, you're taking me with you" protest.
Unfortunately Alycia's suitcase was already partially packed and she wound up with a nice coating of Shaak Ti hair on her clothes. Nothing like a light dusting of dog hair to remind you of home. 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Shadowfax Needs Attention

Shadowfax can be a bit needy at times. And she's not shy about making it known that she needs some attention. Like, right now.
It's a fairly predictable routine, morning and early afternoon is spent snoring away the hours, then about 2:00 she demands attention. I've even got the time stamp  on the lower right hand corner of my laptop to prove it. Today she was super patient and waited until 2:02.