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.



Friday, October 25, 2013

New Dog Bed

We recently acquired a new dog bed from Doctor's Foster and Smith, one of our favorite online retailers.  With winter coming up there's been more competition for the one heated dog bed in house, and with Tito's13th birthday coming up, we want to ensure that his old, creaky joints have a warm place to rest on cold winter days. 
So we got a big, fluffy dog bed (emphasis on big and fluffy) and a heating pad to put inside the dog bed to help keep our pups warm through this winter.  Preliminary results are promising.  The bed might be a little too big for Shaak Ti, but she doesn't seem to mind.  
The view from ground level truly shows the immensity of bigness and fluffiness that we're dealing with here.  Shaak Ti's nose and noggin are barely visible amidst all the coziness. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sweet Potato Harvest

There was much yard work to be done over the weekend to get ready for the first snow of the season.  We got an inch or so of wet snow on Sunday, but it was mostly melted by the end of the day.  I spent Saturday frantically getting the garden ready for winter, on the off chance that we got the 4 or 5 inches that were "possible" from the storm.  I had visions of everything being covered in snow until next Spring and that actually scared me into action. 

One task that needed to be completed was harvesting the sweet potatoes.  It was an experiment this year to grow them (we'd never tried before) and it was quite a success. 
I didn't so much "plant" the sweet potato as threw it in a collection of compost and shredded leaves from the previous autumn.  This was a seriously low maintenance experiment since it needed no tending whatsoever and because it was in range of the sprinkler, I didn't even need to manually water it.  
The leaves of the sweet potato vine were pretty well fried from the hard freeze we had over the last weeks, it was ready to come out. 
These were the vegetables of our non-labor - about a dozen sweet potatoes, three or four were pretty big.  After I harvested them, the remaining compost was broken down enough to top dress two raised beds in preparation for winter.  The sweet potato experiment?  Complete success.  A dozen sweet potatoes, virtually no effort, and a handy place to break down compost for use in the garden.  We'll do this next year for sure, maybe even have more than one sweet potato/compost bin. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Fall Weather and First Snow

It's fall here in Eastern North Dakota.  The breeze has turned stronger and chillier, blowing the falling leaves in showers of autumn colors.  We've been swamped with pulling the last tomatoes, peppers,and eggplant from the garden and getting everything ready for winter.  The hard freeze on Wednesday night did in the last summer crops including the sweet potato vine that I need to wrangle and chop up into compost. 

The apple trees are holding onto their leaves (barely) and the marigolds somehow still look quite vibrant.  That may all change if we get some snow over the weekend.

From the National Weather Service:
THE FIRST ACCUMULATING SNOW OF THE SEASON IS POSSIBLE SATURDAY
NIGHT INTO SUNDAY. THERE COULD BE A BAND OF 1 TO 3 INCHES OF
SNOW ALONG A LINE FROM AROUND DEVILS LAKE TO GRAND FORKS TO
BEMIDJI. THE LOCATION OF THIS SNOW BAND WILL BECOME MORE CERTAIN
ONCE THE EXACT TRACK OF THE LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM IS KNOWN. IT WILL
GET VERY COLD BEHIND THIS ALBERTA CLIPPER...AND NORTHERLY WINDS
WILL INCREASE SUNDAY AND SUNDAY NIGHT. THE UNSEASONABLY COLD
WEATHER WILL CONTINUE NEXT WEEK.
We'll be busy as little beavers putting the rest of the garden to sleep for the winter, raking and chopping leaves and adding them to the raised beds.  As always, there's so much to do and so little time.  Nothing is quite as motivating though as the threat of snow, it's one heck of a deadline. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Homemade Sauerkraut

This weekend brought a visit from Alycia's folks who came down to run errands and celebrate Alycia's Dad's birthday in the big city.  I'll be discrete and not tell you how old he is, but suffice to say he is retirement and Social Security eligible.  During the gardening season, and especially in late Summer and early Fall they always bring us gifts of extra produce from their gardens or their friends gardens when they visit.

This trip they brought green and red cabbage as well a large sack of apples.  We quickly turned the apples into a large pan of apple crisp, which pairs perfectly with my morning cup(s) of coffee.   The cabbage got sliced up, crunched into a crock, and is currently fermenting in the basement with the hope that it will soon become sauerkraut.
These are the good looking cabbages that Alycia's parents brought us.
I just chopped up the cabbage with a knife, though having a mandolin or more chopping patience could have yielded smaller grain of cabbage or more consistent size, but that's fine with me.
Making sauerkraut has always been on my list of things to try, but fear of the unknown and my hesitation to try fermentation (oh yeah I just rhymed), kept me from experimenting.  But sauerkraut is incredibly simple; just chop up the cabbage, put it in a crock, add salt, wait a few weeks.  Super easy. We'll know in another couple of weeks how it turned out, I'm looking forward to having a big jug of homemade sauerkraut sitting in the fridge all winter. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Gift From a Loyal Reader

In our long and storied history here at Deaf Dogs and Benevolent Gnomes we had never received a spontaneous gift from a reader, but that all changed today.  One of our most loyal (and by far our most sarcastic) readers from Southern California, Andy (last name withheld due to his fears of government surveillance), sent us a package in the mail.

Since we have a few months of non-conducive crop growing weather coming up here, we won't be able to plant these until next Spring.  Even though I have to wait a few months, I'm looking forward to trying some of these new plants/herbs out. 
You can see the product here or check out the website My Patriot Supply.

Thanks a bunch Andy!! We hope that this sets a precedent of more unexpected gifts being sent from readers.  Please ask if you need our mailing address to send us a gift, we'll be happy to provide.