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.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Shaak Ti Goes for a Walk

Shaak Ti is 9 years old, but she still appreciates a good walk. Especially if that walk is a special "Mommy and Me" walk with Alycia.
In an effort to try to get her to sleep in a few minutes later than 5:00 am, Alycia has started taking Shaak Ti on an additional evening walk to attempt to tire her out.  Now, this is in addition to the 2 walks (40-45 total minutes of walking in the morning and afternoon) she already gets every single day.  As you can see and hear, Shaak Ti gets pretty excited about her special walk

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Shadowfax In the Sun

You may not know, but pit bulls are solar powered.  They need to spend hours in the sunshine to recharge their batteries, and even then they have trouble mustering up enough energy to do much.
 Shadowfax does this most days, soaking up the sunlight as long as she can. 
You also might not know that pit bulls are also really, really lazy. Shadowfax in particular has two speeds - 5th gear and Park.  That's it.  She's either racing around and instigating shenanigans, or a huge lump of unmovable deaf dog. 
Shadowfax has a pretty rough life here. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Fall Garden Pictures - Apples and Marigolds

It's Fall here in North Dakota, both the calendar and the weather are attesting to this fact. We have had a long stretch of warm and dry weather, which has extended our growing season a good two to three weeks longer than normal.  It's also been nice that cool temperatures have killed all the mosquitos and made outside work much more pleasant. 

We finally got a hard frost (down to the mid to low 20's) over the last few nights, which means that we had to pull up our tomato and pepper plants.  The more cold hardy beets and onions were able to stay outside for a few more days, but we pulled those as well yesterday and got busy pickling the beets and drying the onions. 
Our zinnias, hostas, Monarda (beebalm), and coneflowers (echinacea) didn't make it through the hard freeze, but the marigolds and petunias are still going strong.  The marigolds look pretty contrasted next to the brown foreground/background of fallen leaves.  The orange flowers on the left are 'Golden Gem' Marigolds, with 'Inca Gold' Marigolds on the right side of the raised bed.  These are regulars in our garden and we plant them in abundance every year.
More 'Inca Gold' Marigolds in front with 'Golden Gem' Marigolds in the back, along with onions and tomatoes and even a 'Paprika' Yarrow way in the back.  We're big believers in flowers and plants that attract beneficial bugs; marigolds, yarrow, sweet alyssum, verbeena, petunias, etc. the list goes on.   We intersperse them with all of our veggies and include them heavily in our annual flowerbed planting.   
These are cherry tomatoes (Sweet 100) which produced prolifically this year. Believe it or not, there are only three tomato plants in that huge mass.   This is probably the perfect location for them, along the garage wall, underneath a bit of the eaves, facing West.  This site was a compost pile last year and has a large amount of well rotted compost and horse manure. 
Our apples are just about ready to pick.  These are Haralson or Haralred apples, I'm not sure.  They can withstand a bit of frost, so we're going to leave them on the tree as long as possible to give them an opportunity to sweeten up a little more. 

That's an update from the homestead in mid-October.  We've been frantically busy around here and posting has been sparse, sorry.  Plus honestly, the dogs just haven't been doing anything cute recently...so there hasn't been much to post about. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Watermelon Harvest

For us, watermelon are the ultimate demonstration of gardening perseverance.  We plant them and they seem to languish in the ground for weeks, doing nothing.  Our dreams of delicious melons disappear with every passing day of non-activity.  But then in late July they pick up steam, then explode in the heat and humidity of late summer, and invariably we have some nice looking melons come harvest.
This was the biggest of the watermelons we grew this year (overweight ginger gardener for scale).  We have another 4-5 that will be big enough to eat as well, and out warm, dry early autumn is helping squeeze every last bit of growing season out of the watermelon.