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.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Forsythia Blooms and the Mulch Monster Appears

Spring is upon us in the high desert of Idaho. Blooms are staring to pop on some plants, bulbs are emerging, and robins have begun to flitter about the homestead. Surely you can't get a more traditional sign of warmer weather than the presence of robins, the harbingers of Spring.

I've never paid much attention to forsythia before, possibly because I'm not certain they were in North Dakota. But forsythia are widespread here in Idaho and for gardeners, forsythia blooms are the first sign that warmer weather has arrived.
Our neighbor has a forsythia in the back of his yard that drapes over our fence. The bright and cheery yellow blooms have been in full effect for most of this week. Forsythia blooms may become a new official first marker for the arrival of Spring.

A time tested sign of Spring for us is the appearance of the mulch monster, aka Shaak Ti, taking a cozy nap on the warm mulch. The temperature needs to be Spring-like, the sunbeam needs to be powerful, and there can't be snow on the ground. Once you get those conditions, the mulch monster appears.

Shaak Ti is pretty good at napping in the mulch, or on the gravel path as she demonstrated last Summer. In North Dakota her favorite spot was against the house, laying in the dirt - the Deaf Dog Dirt Day Spa as we called it. We're hoping that a napping spot in gravel will keep her at least a little bit cleaner.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Do You Need Some Tax Season Help?

April 15th is rapidly approaching yet again. As a reminder, Tito and Shadowfax would very much like to offer you their assistance with completing your taxes.

The original inspiration post for Talking Tito's Tax Tips is here, along with an explanation of why we started this in the first place.

The incredibly informative and permanent Talking Tito's Tax Tips homepage is here.

*It should probably go without saying that this is not meant to be your only source tax advice, I mean they're talking dogs. If you have genuine tax questions, please consult your tax advisor.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Tito Takes a Turn and then makes a U-Turn

Tito had a pretty rough week last week. He had a couple of days of progressively more upset tummy, couldn't hold down anything, and worst of all had no interest in food. No interest even in fresh cooked ground beef. Once he turned up his nose at fresh cooked ground beef, we knew this wasn't a passing bug and immediately got him to the vet.

He got a shot of anti-nausea medication, a shot of anitbiotics, some fluids and more meds to take home. Alycia and I feared the worst. We started having quiet snippets of the conversation that we know is inevitable. At 17+ years old we know that we're playing with house money. Any additional years he lives is spiteful icing on an angry cake.
But if there's one thing I've learned about Tito, is never underestimate his will to live. I'm like 40% certain that the Grim Reaper has approached Tito to escort him to the great beyond, only to be taken aback with a sudden snarly charge that scared the tattered Reaper cloak right off him.

The day after his vet visit, Tito was noticeably better. A day after that he was back to his old self. Barking viciously at the wind, staring menacingly and growling at shadows, and bouncing around the kitchen for evening cookie time. It was an impressive recovery, from looking like he was at deaths door to the spriest 17 year old dog in the world. 

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?