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, June 29, 2016

Window Watcher

The forecast yesterday was for a 70% chance of high squirrel activity, with a strong likelihood of bunny shenanigans in the afternoon.  As such, Shaak Ti was on high alert all day. "I see you out there Mr. Squirrel".
This couch is out on the front porch and is the only piece of furniture that the dogs are allowed on.  Shaak Ti makes the most of this whenever we're out on the front porch and spends time staring out the window, napping, or snuggling with Alycia. 

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Family Unit Day - 2016

We celebrated our first official Family Unit Day on June 24, 2008.  It marked the one year anniversary of Shaak Ti coming into our lives and represented the day we became one family unit.  The addition of Shadowfax in 2010 didn't change the date of Family Unit Day, it's still an amalgamation of all the dogs birthdays and adoption days.  We take a moment on this day to appreciate each other (OK Tito probably doesn't appreciate me) and reflect fondly on the incredible years we've had together. 
Shaak Ti has been in our lives for 9 years now.  That makes her likely around 10 years old, and she hasn't slowed down much.  She's still an attention starved, never-ending well of pets, and starts every day at 4:45 am, raring to get out in the world and chase those pesky bunnies and squirrels. 
Shadowfax is all about celebrating Family Unit Day, but only to the extent that it doesn't interfere with her getting to play outside.  As you can tell by the look on her face, preparing this blog post is clearly getting in the way of my taking her outside to play and she's none too happy about it. 
We know how to ring in an exciting celebration around here. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Early Summer Garden Pictures & Garden Tour Panic

We're just a few days away from the official start of Summer.  The gardens here are in full swing with late Spring and early Summer blooms at their peak. 
This is the west side of our house.  The prolific white flowers are a naturalizing daisy that we got from a friend of Alycia's.  These daisies have been more than happy to self-seed and fill in the empty spaces.  They honestly spread a little too aggressively, but they're pretty easy to thin out or pull completely in the spaces that we don't want them, and the little white flowers with yellow centers are very cheery. 
The Grand Forks Garden Tour is this weekend, and Alycia and I were looking forward to a leisurely and casual tour of some of the gardens in town.

Until we found out that not one, but two of our neighbors are stops on the garden tour.  We had to spring into action and get the homestead ready for passersby who would be checking out our flowers on the way to the official garden tour stop just down the block.  This is the front of the house, hostas surrounded by different salvias.
There was literally only one days warning.  We read on Friday in our local paper about the Garden Tour and almost jumped out of our chairs when we noticed that two participants' names were our neighbors.  Anybody who was somebody in the local gardening scene might be walking by, we had to make everything look its best.  The pots and plantings on our front step look ready for random people to admire as they pass by. 
I stopped by the neighbors house and (after giving her a whole bunch of grief about not warning us sooner) asked if she needed any help.  It should be a busy weekend in our little neighborhood - along with the garden walk is a Historical Society Tour and a 12 hour marathon Relay for Life in the park.  Good thing we got our gardens ready!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Petunia Tower

I was picking up my friend a few weeks back since he has a pickup and agreed to go with me on a horse manure run.  As I stopped by his house, he was out chatting with a next door neighbor who had built a pretty awesome vertical tower that was planted with petunias. 
I was inspired and decided to build a petunia tower of my own.  I took a length of hardware cloth (aka chicken wire), formed it into a cylinder and added it to the middle of an old metal washtub that we had picked up at a garage sale for $5. 
I linked the hardware cloth together with some spare pieces of wire I had laying around and made sure that the cylinder was very secure.  This would keep it from collapsing and the contents spilling out.  I cut holes in spots and placed half-lengths of pots in the holes at a 45 degree angle to hold the petunias on the side of the tower.  The majority of the cylinder is filled with mulch (free from the mulch yard) and then the planting areas were filled with a mix of planting soil and horse manure. 
The top of the petunia tower is planted with a lovely rich purple variety called Johnny Flame - it seemed appropriate.  There's enough soil at the bottom of the tub holding the tower in place, and the weight of the mulch in the cylinder is more than enough to keep the whole thing upright.  I'm not worried about structural integrity or the tower tipping over. 
This will continue to fill in as the petunias grow, I'll be sure to post additional pictures as the season wears on and this becomes a tower of pinks and purples. 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Important Birthday

Many of our good readers have no idea that your fearless blogger just celebrated a milestone birthday. Yes, not only does John build hills in our backyard, he is now officially over the hill himself.
I tried (and subsequently failed) to keep a surprise party from John. He was not at all willing to play along with the charade and honestly seemed to enjoy making me clumsily spin an intricate web of lies. 
We had a lovely sushi dinner with people friends.
Which was followed by some yummy gluten free cupcakes. 
Sasquatch was there as well. 
In various forms. 
John received some fun presents, notably Sasquatch LEGO's...
and Simpsons LEGO characters. 
My parents just dropped off all of my LEGOs from childhood, so there were plenty for John to play with. I was keen on the castle sets when I was a kid...
John also received a couple nice weeding implements from my parents. Perhaps the present he was most excited about though was the one he bought himself: the Weed Dragon. 
Look it up if you can't figure out what it does, you will be impressed.  We will definitely post pictures (and maybe videos) when we fire up the Weed Dragon.
Not to worry, this will obviously be used responsibly since John is officially a grown up now.