Saturday, July 19, 2014

Message received!

I love dogs, and one of my favorite things is to watch them interact with each other.  It absolutely fascinates me.  I have a Belgian Laekenois named Linda who is the most neurotic dog I have ever lived with.  One of her neurotic issues is going out a door.  She bursts out any door, whether it be a crate, the house, or our mud room.  It drives me crazy!  I have to hold her by the collar and walk her to the back door, otherwise she runs out with all four legs flailing, skittering and scraping herself across my hardwood floor, knocking over whoever is in her way.  I can't tell you how much I have yelled, tried to re-train and with absolutely NO luck.  She still acts this way.

Tonight I let her out to potty with my other dogs plus two dogs I am dog sitting.  In her usual fashion, Linda went ripping out of her crate, feet everywhere, falling all over herself, and that is when out of nowhere I heard a growl and felt teeth graze the back of my leg.  I went to correct the growling/snapping and then realized what was going on and stopped.  Suddenly, Linda was back IN the crate, and hot on her heels was the little Boston Terrorist pictured above.  Again Linda came rushing out at me, and again Toby (the Boston) sent her right back into the crate.  This happened 4 times before the message was received and Linda finally WALKED out of the crate in a calm manner.  For 9 months I have done everything but stand on my head attempting to teach Linda what Toby taught her in 5 minutes.

I love to watch the communication between a group of dogs.  It is amazing to witness them communicate in a language that I don't speak and clearly the results they achieve are faster.  Sadly, Toby will only be here with us for a week while his mommy is on vacation.  Perhaps he will have to visit more often...

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Damn dog...

What you see is a picture of Linda and I sharing a tender moment.  

However this picture is really Linda's way of saying:  "Mommy, I am so sorry I can't be trusted for 10 minutes alone and I ate the drywall in the laundry room.  Please don't ever leave me again!"

Damn dog....

Monday, June 30, 2014

On blueberries, blackberries, and being wrong....

Saturday afternoon, after the central air was installed, I got an itch to start canning.  Lately I have felt terribly behind in the preservation department.  This is largely due to the devastating weather we had several months ago that wiped out all of our gardens, causing my plants to be behind in production.  And normally where I would be raking in the produce by this point, my cupboards are bare.  (By nature we have a hard time supplying ourselves with fruit here because of space contraints, so every year we know where to go to get fresh grown berries that we can preserve for use later in the year.)  Sadly our favorite local farm didn't have any black raspberries that survived the flood, and their strawberry production was very limited this season.  

On a very last minute whim The Reluctant Farmer and I decided to drive 45 minutes south to pick blueberries.  We had never done this before, and I honestly had no clue what I was doing, but we figured it out.

Reluctant Farmer:  "Honey, have you ever picked blueberries before?"
Me:  "Nope.  But I want to pick 20 pounds in the 45 minutes prior to them closing, so let's move!"
RF:  "I don't mean to squelch your goal, but there is no way we can pick 20 pounds of berries in 45 minutes!"
Me:  "Yes there is!  This will be like taking candy from a baby!"

And in a typical Reluctant Farmer manner she said no more....

I tell you I was a woman on a mission.  I ran from bush to bush tossing berries in my bucket, looking like a bumble bee with ADHD!  (It was then I realized the real reason we would be washing these berries prior to use was not to remove toxins from them, but instead to rinse off my sweat.)

We did it though, we managed to pick 10 pounds of blueberries in 45 minutes. 
Did you catch that?!  
If not read the small print..
 (The Reluctant Farmer was right.  It is impossible to pick 20 pounds of blueberries in 45 minutes...)  

That's okay though, because I happily went home with my blueberries as well as several pints of blackberries and all are properly stored for the winter, or until next week if I keep looking at these pictures.... 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

147 reasons not to call...

Today a family member hostilely accused me of not returning her phone calls for the last several weeks, and she's right.  I have been off the radar for awhile.  This isn't a direct attack against anybody, and I'm not angry. I have just been very pre-occupied with my garden, horses, and my home life.

I allowed this person to hurt my feelings, and tonight as I was reflecting in the garden I realized this had nothing to do with me, any every thing to do with her.  I have been busy living my life and I have no regrets about being virtually impossible to get a hold of for the last 6 weeks.

I was deep in thought tying my tomato plants up, when The Reluctant Farmer took my picture.  As the click of the camera lens brought me back to the present, I jokingly said to The Reluctant Farmer:  "I have 147 reasons not to call.  They keep me busy all on their own...."

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Potatoes in Bins

Keeping with the theme, "The garden is a living class room for our mind.", we try to add something new here to the farm every year.  This year we decided we would try to grow potatoes, but instead of growing them in the ground, we wanted to try them in raised beds.  The reason for this was simply space.  Since all of our growing is done in town, we a lot of times run low on space so most of the gardening we do here is above ground.

To start this project we used:

(25) 1" x 6" x 24" boards
(4) 2" x 2" x 30" pieces of wood
(120) 1 x 5/8 screws
cordless drill 

To start out we laid 2 pieces of the 2" x 2" x 30" pieces of wood on the ground and then attached 5 pieces of 1" x 6" x 24" to the the 2" x 2" pieces with 3 evenly placed screws.

We did that twice, and then attached 5 more boards to the third side.  After you finish this you should have what looks like a 3 sided box.  

On the 4th side we added only one board to the bottom.  

We filled this with 1-2" of peat moss/compost/manure and then added our potatoes.  Because the box is 2' x 2' we were able to place 16 potato pieces in the box.  (You can plant 4 potato plants per square foot...) and we covered them with 1 inch of our soil mixture.  

When the plants sprout out of the soil about 2-3" you completely cover them again, just enough so you can't see any green.  You do this over and over again until your potatoes get to the top of the box and then wait for the tops to turn brown.  At that point it is harvest time!  

Please keep in mind that I have not harvested this way yet.  We are up to our fourth board, and our potatoes are growing like crazy!  I think this is going to be amazing, but if you want to make sure you can wait for The Reluctant Farmer and I to harvest these in the fall.....

Monday, June 9, 2014

Not our time

George the horse is no longer with us.

Katzya really loved him and where he will make the perfect horse for someone, that person is not her.  It was a tough decision for her to make, but a decision that I am proud of her for thinking through.  My heart is sad because I know how badly she wants this, but letting go speaks volumes in regards to the level of maturity starting to take pace inside her teenage mind.

At the end of the day, her riding ability combined with the fact he was so young, just was a bad combination.  Now we start over, and where it feels as if I have looked all over the entire state of Ohio for a horse this last week, I know the perfect one for our family is out there.  We just haven't shaken the right tree yet.

It will come.  It always does, but in God's time not mine.  This I must remember....

Friday, May 30, 2014

A Girl's Best Friend

My daughter tells me that a girl's best friend is her horse.  I don't personally know this to be true, because I can't quite get over my fear of these large animals to form that bond.  However if you hang out with our "barn family" for any length of time, an intense bond between the two is evident.  I don't have to understand the bond to support it or see that it's tangible....