Thursday, March 31, 2011

Down at the Dyke

We met Donna and Breeze at the dyke today.  One of these days I'll get Breeze's picture.  Donna always has the chuck-it and balls:)

Luna almost doing Jake's usual play throw the damn ball bow.

Would you just 'chuck-it'!

Luna came back with the ball, but lost an ear.

Wet head/dry head.
Doesn't that look like a wet head below and to the left of Jake's dry head?

Luna got her ear back, but Jake lost his

I'd better shake that ear out.

And Larry asked where my photos of Calli were. 
Umm, well, Calli was at the end of the bar digging holes.  
Sorry Calli!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Slugs and Other Random Stuff

Slugs on drugs?! 
This is what I saw when I stepped outside this morning.  That slug is on the top of the window on the side of the garage, which is under the deck,  seven feet above the ground, and which is many many feet away from any damp ground/dark hiding spot where you'd usually find a slug. 
I guess it just got lost.


And then a bit later when I was out in the greenhouse I saw this. A bird's egg stuck on the wire that is over the back window.  Well sort of over the back window.  It was loose in quite a few places and was curling in.  I wondered where the heck the egg had come from, and why it ended up like that. 

But then I figured it out.  
Amazing how that happens sometimes!
Outside the greenhouse, in the peak, one side of the fiberglass has pulled away from the wood.
I know the swallows nest up in the peak, but the swallows aren't here yet.  I figure there are probably some sparrows using it until the swallows, who have a reservation, show up to claim their honeymoon suite.  And then I'm guessing that somehow the egg rolled out, down behind the left piece of fiberglass, and then hit the window wire that was curled into the green house, and got stuck there.

 And now that I've stapled the wire in place again, the egg is just hanging on there, glued by the bit of yolk that leaked out and then hardened.  
My very own Easter egg, well until it rots and I bump it and maybe it explodes and smells absolutely gross, and then I'll be kicking myself for not getting rid of it sooner.

I also stapled the wire back on the top half of the door where it was hanging off, because on Sunday I walked in and found a mess.
Not that there isn't already a mess in there, because over the winter it's become one of those places were we just put things.

A hen who figured that the greenhouse was a much better place to lay an egg than the actual chicken coop, had got past the falling off wire, and had destroyed two of my cabbage plants.  There were another couple that were pulled out, but I stuck them back in and they survived.  The wire is all fixed now, but since we are in and out of the greenhouse for tools all the time, and sometimes forget to close the door,  I've put a bit of protection over the cabbage and broccoli plants, because you can never be too careful.
At first I wondered if it might have been a mouse, but then this morning when I opened the door to the greenhouse and found a hen already in there, I knew who the culprit really was.

And this is what I got planted today

And this is where I planted them.  This little bed is at the top of the driveway.  When we first moved here there was a little animal shelter right there.  Then I figured that the soil would be really good because of all the animal manure, so decided to make it into a garden.  It's only about 10' x 10'.  I was thinking today that it would be so nice to be able to plant seeds without having to worry about something scratching/running through/ pooping on them.  We have to fence everything off.  That's the garlic there at the back of the bed. It was planted last Fall.

The fence is also to keep mucky soccer players and their balls out.
Luna pushed her ball across it twice while I was raking it smooth.  The second time I said a few unkind words.  The third time the ball rolled into the corner, and she just laid there and waited for me to get it.
Smart girl!

And down in the other garden, the hired hand got the other two perennial beds mulched.  He said he hasn't been paid yet!

Monday, March 28, 2011


Yesterday I brought this back from my mother's.  It was a sort of diary of the first dog we ever had.  She was a cairn terrier mix called Coco.  Like many things in my life, I started with great enthusiasm and then the enthusiasm petered out and the project came to an end.  I did keep this up for over a year though, and it was fun to read most of it.
I had just turned 13 years old when we got Coco.  The diary was an exercise book that I had covered in wallpaper.  Then I did this portrait of her as a little pup with one of those wood burning kits that were all the rage as Christmas presents back in 1969.

I didn't write her name backwards, it was just that the felt pen had soaked through from the previous page!
I think it's funny how I called her both *he* and *she* in the same paragraph, and even in the same sentence.  He/she even gets called *it* on some pages.

It's kind of sad though when I read some things.  Like how I gave her a slap... Not that I knew anything about dog training, other than what I was reading in books from the library.  This was our first dog.

Was it any wonder that *come here* was only effective when said in an angry tone?  Poor Coco, sounds like we had to threaten her to make her come.  
She did live a pretty good life though.  She got lots of exercise, my mum was big on exercise, and not only for dogs....  
She came camping with us, and was never tied or chained.
She also went through two heats before we got her spayed, and I was quite taken with all the dogs that were hanging around.  I tried to make friends with a lot of them.

I drew lot of pictures, and used the Polaroid camera I had got for Christmas to take photos

I made entries until the Spring of 1971, and then my mum made the last entry.

RIP little Coco. 
 Thank you for introducing me to the wonderful world of dogs:)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Seeds and Seedlings

Yesterday morning I was determined to get the rest of the one plot that was totally prepared, seeded.  The two beautiful days we had had were no more, and it started to rain.  Too bad,  but I continued on and got this plot finished.  At the top are the broad beans and onions that went in quite a while ago, and then the arugula under the green netting.  Below that are three types of chard, white stemmed, red stemmed and 'rainbow'.  After that is a bed of salad greens/mesclun mix/ whatever else I could add to it to make it interesting.  I think I added some spinach and a couple of types of mustard.  That bed will be cut to repeatedly when the leaves are small and tender.
Below that is a narrow bed of spinach, and then a last row of radishes.  I put the old sheep fencing around it to keep the dogs from digging/plodding/running through it.  Hopefully it is enough of a visual to keep the odd hen and the rooster out that fly into the garden area sometimes.

In the green house I've got my seed starting mat set up. 
Yep, it's an old water bed heater.  I used to be able to pick these up for a dollar or two at the thrift store or a garage sale.  They work great.  The thermometer part is that black tube under the hammer.  As long as it stays in contact with the mat, the mat will be at the temperature that is set on the thermostat.
Can you even buy a new water bed any more?

And here's my broccoli seedlings coming up.

Last Saturday my favourite nursery reopened.  I was there, and $60 later....
The only seedlings I bought were these early cabbage plants.  They are a weird cone shape.  Sometimes when the nursery transplants their seedlings into their little boxes, they are generous and you get more than the standard four or six plants.  I always check and pick the ones that have the most.
These cabbage were a real bargain.  I bought two boxes for $.98 each, and each one had 13 cabbage plants.  Some were much bigger than others of course.

So I took them home and transplanted each cabbage into it's own little pot.
They were at the perfect stage for transplanting, as the roots were still small and weren't all intertwined together

And a few days later the cabbages were all standing up strong.  I'll leave them for a couple of weeks, and keep checking the root growth in their pots.  Once the roots are to the outside edge of the pot, I'll plant them outside.

I should have waited until the afternoon to do the outside seeding, because it stopped raining and the sun came out.  The hens were doing some early evening preening, lined up along the fence and catching the last rays of the sun.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Great Gardening Weather and a Goofy Dog

Yesterday we had a perfect day, the kind that we say that we could take for the rest of the year.  Sunny, warm but not hot, a bit of a breeze, perfect!  
It's the kind of weather that is great for working outside.  We've been picking away at the garden.  Today we just about finished weeding out all the perennial beds, and some of them are mulched.  We are almost to the point that the rest of it could be rototilled.

That little tiller that Larry badly wounded last week.... well they phoned us a couple of days ago to tell us that the part had to come from Alberta, and it would be about $100, and then it would be about $175 in labour.  Add taxes to that, and it puts is over $300.  Good grief.  Do I love that rototiller that much?
That's going to make for some freaking expensive vegetables.
David said he was interested in looking at it and maybe he could put the part on (the intake manifold) himself.  Of course it's going to be really embarrassing if he can't do it, and we have to take the rototiller back in and get them to fix it.  Maybe we could find a different place to take it to.  So the plan at the moment is to bring the rototiller home as soon as the part has come in, which will hopefully be tomorrow.

I should have taken this picture yesterday when I first spread the compost on that perennial bed along the fence.  The hens were all lined up along the fence, their heads and necks stuck through the wire, picking at the worms and other stuff in the rotten horse manure.

And then in the afternoon the dogs always expect some kind of walk.  Sometimes we just walk around the block, but today we went down to the dyke.  The first stop is always their favourite swimming hole.
Calli has a rock, and is on the other side of the creek.

See those pilings in the distance, over and to the right of the dog's heads.
There is a gravel bar there, and that is were we met up with Donna and Breeze, some agility buddies.  Donna always has a chuck-it and a couple of balls with her, so Jake and Luna are thrilled to see her.

At the edge of the bar, right by the water, I saw a pair of sunglasses.  I figured they would be broken, but they were still in one piece.  On the inside of one arm they said 0-2years.  
Yep, they were sunglasses for a baby,
or maybe a dog!
They fit Jake perfectly.
He was one cool dude!

He didn't care that they were on his face. Nothing distracts him from the ball.
He ran after the ball and came back without the sunglasses.  Larry and I were back tracking along his route, and then Donna yelled that they were on the back of his neck.  When he ran they had flipped up and over the top of his head and were resting behind his ears.

Whatever, just throw the damn ball!

And today we got two eggs from the new hens.  One was outside on the ground, and one was in a nest box. 
Lay, girls, lay!