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, May 31, 2020

Sharing the Dog Bed

Shaak Ti and Shadowfax generally prefer to have their own space while napping. But every once in a while they tolerate some sharing.
On the back patio the other morning, sharing seemed to be acceptable.
It was pretty warm out though. The mid-morning sun was already strong and the pups made a hasty retreat inside where it was cooler.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Storm Carnage and Clematis Blooms

We had a big storm roll through on Thursday afternoon. The wind howled and the rain lashed down for a few hours. There were numerous lightening strikes, a few transformers were hit, and there were reports of minor damage throughout town.
We lost a limb from the Norway spruce tree in the backyard. It got hung up on the fence and one of the new clematis trellis.
It was a good sized limb and took a little while to chop up and wrangle into our compost bin. We were lucky to just have a branch come down. A few houses away a tree came down and crushed the cab of a parked truck. Nobody was injured, but it was a decent mess to clean up.
While we were out taking pictures of the storm carnage we snapped a picture of the lovely clematis blooms. This is Clematis "Killian Donohue" that we planted about two weeks ago. It seems very happy in its new spot.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Shaak Ti the Plant Lover

Alycia was strolling outside the other day and looking at the plants and asked me "Why are these 2 plants struggling?" That's pretty simple, because Shaak Ti uses them for a pillow. Here she's using the patented "one plant for my head and one plant for my rump" technique. It's very advanced.

Sorry for my shadow in the picture, but it was the only way that I could get the shot without waking up Shaak Ti. She usually hops up when a shadow passes by. 

Shaak Ti, she's always had a special connection to plants. We've posted before about Shaak Ti and her plant friend. She's always had a unique relationship with both indoor and outdoor plants.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Sacked Out Dogs

We're nearing the end of fireplace season here at the homestead. Overnight temperatures are forecast to stay above 40 degrees starting this weekend. Not to worry though, the end of fireplace season coincides with the start of outdoor sunbeam season.
Shadowfax is enjoying one of the last fireplace warming sessions of the year. She does well with the transition to outdoor sunbeam season.
Shaak Ti had a pretty big day, thus the little bit of tongue sticking out. Her two normal walks plus a bonus walk with Alycia, along with her standard schedule of squirrel barking. Luckily for Shaak Ti the squirrel barking is still in person and not with Zoom. She'd be pretty bummed about that.

Friday, April 17, 2020

The View Inside the Greenhouse

Here's what it looks like inside our greenhouse right now. It is chock full of all manner of plants in various stages of growth.
We're in the process of hardening off the first set of plants. Hardening off consists of bringing the plants outside and exposing them to increasing duration and intensity of sunlight and natural conditions over the course of a week or so.

It's a necessary step to ensure that these little plants don't get transplants shock or stressed in their new digs outside. It involves a whole lot of hauling pots/buckets/flats of seedlings outside in the morning and then back inside in the evening, but it's worth it.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Some More Spring Blooms

Yesterday we posted some pretty flower pictures that were taken last week. Spring blooming bulbs aren't known for their longevity but here is what they look like now. The daffodils have lasted longer than expected and the tulips are just unfolding.
The yellow daffodils, yellow/white daffodils, and red tulips look great together. We're definitely going to plant more bulbs this fall and expand this area for next year.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

More Spring Blooms (from last week)

We've been so caught up in garden working that we've fallen behind on blog posts. No surprise there! These are some bulbs that were blooming last week.
These are yellow daffodils that we planted in the front yard. Their bright yellow blooms never fail to cheer me up.
We planted some smaller bulbs in the backyard along the greenhouse. The greenhouse are is looking great with a few early Spring blooms.
These are dwarf purple irises. The Shaak Ti photo bomb is just an added bonus.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Earthquake in Boise, Idaho

We had just wrapped up dinner here at the homestead yesterday evening when there was a substantial earthquake. Seriously, here in Boise, Idaho. It took me a few seconds to place into context what was happening, it just seemed so out of place. "We're not in California, but gosh this sure feels like an earthquake" (internal monologue has been made PG rated).

Interestingly enough we had watched a local PBS program a few days before about geology in Idaho (there's some pretty interesting stuff here) and they mentioned the last big earthquake in 1983.

There's a great comprehensive write up at the USGS here, you should check it out.

Earthquakes do happen here, but they are rare. From the USGS:

Historic seismicity in the immediate vicinity of the March 31 earthquake is sparse; no earthquakes of M5+ have occurred within 50 km of this event over the past 50 years, and the most notable historic seismicity in the region occurred about 100 km to the east on the Lost River fault zone.

Nothing was damaged here at the homestead and everyone is OK. Neighbors are a tad freaked out but they are all OK as well. Yesterday was indeed an interesting day. 

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Exercising at Home During a Quarantine

Routines all across the country and the world have been changed as of late. Our local YMCA has closed indefinitely but has offered online classes for folks to exercise at home. While John has gotten his exercise through a number of outside projects at the homestead, Alycia has tried to participate in online yoga classes.
Alycia commented that this was a reminder of why she doesn't do yoga at home. Apparently it's difficult to get a relaxing stretch when you have doggy toes and a tail in your face.

And yes Alycia's shirt says "No Goats No Glory". Good luck finding a cooler goat related yoga shirt than that.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Greenhouse Seedlings Progressing

We're in the midst of strange times, bewildering and anxiety producing. In these unusual days we are glad that we still have the simple pleasures of preparing plants for Spring planting, nurturing little plants through their first few weeks, looking forward to sunnier days ahead.
This is the scene from the greenhouse a few days ago. Many seedlings have germinated and are getting established.
They're in their tender stage now. Keeping a safe temperature and proper watering is critical and we water a few times a day, mist frequently, and monitor vigilantly. It's good to have something to take our mind off all the events transpiring outside the greenhouse.

We hope you are all well, your family and friends safe and comfortable. And even though it may only be a few moments of distraction, we'll try to keep posting regularly.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Spring Blooms - Crocus

It seems early, but our first blooms are popping up. It's great to see this splash of vibrant color after a long gray winter.
This Fall we planted some bulbs in a few spots around the front yard and are already being rewarded with colorful blooms. Yellow and purple crocus, the first daffodils aren't far behind.
There are a few spots throughout the neighborhood where daffodils are already popping up. Our dog walks through the neighborhood are colorful in Spring as we look at all the blooms.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Spring Forward Causes Pushback

Here at the homestead there has been some resistance to the time change. Springing forward isn't always well received.
Shaak Ti is none to happy about having to get up an hour earlier and has decided to spend the day hiding under the blanekts. Maybe now she can understand how us humans feel after a decade plus of her waking us up before dawn.
Shadowfax is more adaptable but equally unimpressed with losing an hour of sleep. Perhaps she understands instinctively that Spring means the re-emergence of powerful sunbeams. Probably not, but we do give her credit for enjoying a good sunbeam. 

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Seedlings Started in the Greenhouse

We started seedlings in our greenhouse mid-February, doing a few dozen of them every day.
The process has been to start them under the fluorescent lights with the blue heating mat warming them from below. Then as they germinate and establish their first true leaves, we'll move them to the South shelf which gets only natural sunlight and also has a blue warming mat underneath. Eventually when they get established enough, I'll move them to the upper shelf and remove the fluorescent lights.
We'll try to continue to post pictures as the seedling starting season continues. So far we've started veggies; tomatoes, celery, various melons, gourds, cucumbers and both annuals and perennials; several kinds of petunia, calibrachoa, celosia, coleus, salvia, various marigolds, and portulaca. Each shelf, two on the left (North side) and one on the right (South side) is about 11 feet long and I'm planning on filling them completely with happy little seedlings.

Seedling planting and germinating season moves quickly and we'll do our best to post updated pictures as our new plants emerge and start to grow. Have you started seeds this year?

Monday, February 24, 2020

New Greenhouse Pictures

We're rapidly approaching Spring here at the homestead and seemingly getting busier by the minute. It has come to our attention that we haven't posted any pictures of the greenhouse - our huge garden project that we chronicled last year.
The greenhouse is in midst of its busy time of year. We spent last Fall and Winter getting a feel for the space and seeing how the temperature would change based on weather. In the picture above you can see the electrical plug (small white box on the middle left side) that runs to the outlet on the porch as well as the hose connection on the far left side of the greenhouse. This was one of the cool features of this design, it's "plug and play", one outside connection for power and water and the whole greenhouse is ready to go.

Even though the hose is attached to the greenhouse it's been too cold to leave it permanently connected. We attach the hose to the back porch connection, run water and then disconnect so the hose doesn't freeze solid.
There were a few things inside the greenhouse over the Winter. On the bottom left are three dianthus that were potted up when the greenhouse was installed. We didn't find a place to plant them before Winter, so they went into the greenhouse to serve as plant guinea pigs. In the middle are two longer white oval pots that were on the front porch last Summer. They have verbeena, calibrachoa, and petnuias. I brought them in to see if the would survive (they did) and how they would look the next Summer (to be determined).

We also set up some fluorescent strip lights to provide extra light during seed germination. Between the strip lights and seedling heating mats (the blue mat on the shelf under the seedlings) we're hoping for good germination and growth.
The greenhouse is a tight space, 8 foot by 12 foot, that doesn't lend itself to easy photographing, so this is the best we've got. This is one last picture from just outside the open greenhouse door.

We'll share some more photos of our seed starting setup in the future post!

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Snow Day at the Homestead

We're having a snow day here at the homestead in Boise, Idaho. No it's not like the snow days in North Dakota where we'd get a foot or two of snow, sub zero temperatures and blizzard conditions. Here it's just a pleasant snowy day, a few inches of accumulation and some slushy footing for a little while.
The dogs aren't taking any chances though, and they're certainly not going to fret over trivial matters such as the amount of snow. They're just going to get all warm and snuggly under as many blankets as we can pile on top of them.
We'll rest up for now. There are some slushy and wet paws in our forecast this afternoon. 

Friday, January 24, 2020

New Dog Collars

Alycia had a convention in Orlando last Fall and spent some time at Universal Studios and Disneyworld. Naturally there was some gift store browsing.
Shadowfax got a cool new Star Wars collar.
Shaak Ti got a collar from Harry Potter World at Universal Studios. Alycia got it at the Magical Menagerie and it says "Magical Menagerie" on it.

I know, I know. It's all backwards, I know better than anyone. Shaak Ti is a character in the Star Wars universe and she absolutely should have the Star Wars collar...they just didn't have her size. But if there was ever a creature that belonged in a Magical Menagerie it's Shaak Ti.