(otters courtesy of the Seattle aquarium)
It’s entirely possible that there won’t be an epic tomatoes 2014 edition. The outdoor growing season here is very short, and I will probably give one pot of cherry tomatoes a try to see how it goes. I’m switching my gardening plants. One of my projects for this summer is to get an indoor herb garden going. I also bought some lettuces that I’m growing in large bowls. Spinach, some kind of red leafed lettuce, other baby lettuces, and possibly bok choy. I picked them all out from a bin at the store where I buy my mead brewing supplies. They do a lot with hydroponics and had some nice started lettuces.
Here’s the bowls and pots I’m using. They come in a bunch of different colors and are made out of bamboo. They’re slated to last 3-5 years. They also won’t shatter into a half dozen pieces like those clay pots do when you accidentally drop one on the kitchen floor. Hint: if you want to drop a clay pot on the floor to see what happens, make sure it isn’t already filled with dirt. Trust me on that one.
For the herbs, I’ve got:
They’re all tolerant of living in containers. I used regular soil for all of them except Lemon Balm, which likes sandy soil. I made my own mix by blending sand and potting soil. I’ll also be adding a lavender plant later on. Lavender is one of my favorite herbs, and it’s got plenty of uses. Tea, culinary lavender (possibly for mead?), bath salts, etc. All of these can be used in cooking or in teas, and will be very nice to have over the winter. The two trees on the end are going to be bonsai. They’re redwoods that I picked up while Griffin and I were visiting Redwood National Park. They sell tiny baby trees for folks to take home. I saw them and immediately thought of turning them into bonsai trees.
And yep, that’s still snow on the ground! It doesn’t usually melt until the end of May. This is a south facing window, and will give plenty of sunlight. During the winter, I’ll probably need to add a plant light. They’ll need longer light and more heat than we usually get. I tried to pick herbs that would be good for containers, and also have a few different uses. I drink a lot of tea, and plan on using some of these to add into tea blends. Sage and rosemary are also good when added to omelets or scrambled eggs.
For anyone who’s interested in the bowls, I found them at a local store. They’re made by Rosso International, which also makes pet bowls, bird houses, and other assorted goodies out of bamboo. It’s a renewable resource and very user friendly. They’ll also decompose within 6 months of being thrown away. I’ll keep updates going on how they hold up and how the herbs fare.
3100 miles later, we’re back, and in one piece! And the blog was neglected for a couple of weeks after I got back too… but I’ve got about 2 gigs of photos to go through and getting caught back up at work. So! I’ll have some photos to post soon. In the meantime…
WordPress has this neat feature where it logs the most commonly used searches that sent people to your blog. Here are some of mine, presented for your enjoyment:
bagels raven’s nest
buy mr. purples like cats griffe
pissed off doberman
werewolves having twins novel
I’m not really sure what a shankhunk is, or a Mr. Purples likes cats griffe. I think I’ll blame my dog for that second one! He does like cats, and hasn’t managed to figure out why they don’t want to play with him. And the soapbox. Ah, the soapbox. I think there might be one or two scattered around this blog.
Trip photos soon, and the road trip was one hell of a good time… but it’s good to be home.
Heading out to the Oregon coast for some camping and hiking. The entire seashore is open to public use. No private lands, no private beaches… just 300 miles of open beach to enjoy. Griffin’s coming too, he hasn’t seen the ocean. He’s an easy dog to travel with, good in the car and good with other people and dogs.
And then there’s Powell’s bookstore. Because honestly, who can turn down a bookstore that takes up an entire city block? I’ll probably need at least a half a day in there, maybe more.
Expect some updates to the reading list when I get back at the beginning of April!
So what’s on the current reading list? Let’s see….
A Dance with Dragons- Rereading George R.R. Martin’s books.
Proven Guilty- Jim Butcher, also rereading because he’s got a new book coming out in May.
Night Owls- Lauren M. Roy’s first book. On order, waiting for UPS to send it.
1493- Enjoyed 1491, so I’ve got a start on this one.
The Ghost Hunter’s survival guide- which is written by a psychic medium, who checks out paranormal situations. I picked it up for writing inspiration, since I’m going for some paranormal elements in my current writing project.
That should keep me busy for a little while. I’ve got several more that are waiting, and a possible trip to Powell’s Books in Portland next month. I hope they ship. A bookstore that takes up a city block? I could do some damage in there.
Well, six months, 2200 miles, and one domain expiration later… I’m back! Me and the crew traded Virginia for Wyoming and a new job. Griffin’s doing well, and Hextall the betta survived a trip across country in a Nalgene bottle. My large tropical houseplant made it too. It’s currently parked under a window for maximum sunlight. Normally, I wouldn’t take a houseplant with me on a large move. They tend not to always handle those things very well. However, this plant was a gift from my mom, and I’ve had it for 8 years. So, into the back of the Jeep it went, and now it’s a nice bit o’ color in 6 months of snow. And I have to say, Wyoming is a great place. I love it out here, even the -30 days!
So, the crew’s settling in out here and my goal is to get back into blogging. I tossed WordPress another year’s subscription. Let’s see if I can manage a post more than once every 6 months. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!
Griffin’s had symptoms on and off since December/January. After the latest round of vet visits, I still am not any closer to actually figuring out what’s wrong with my dog.
He started off with the runs, did a round of antibiotics, cleared it up. Rinse and repeat. Then I noticed he was losing weight, despite eating almost twice the normal amount of food. Had him in to the vet, found out he had elevated lipase and amylase- which are signs of trouble with his pancreas. His amylase is five times normal. Or it could possibly be a problem with bacterial overgrowth in the small intestines. Or something called EPI, which is covered extensively on the EPI Dogs website.
Some of his bloodwork didn’t match up with EPI though. He’s responding well to Metro antibiotic, which makes the vet lean more towards pancreatitis. Except that he’s missing a few key symptoms of that issue. He’s got a great appetite, his energy level is incredible, he’s not in pain.
So for now, we’re treating it like chronic pancreatitis. Griffin will stay on Metro and I’ll also switch his food to a low fat/low fiber diet. The vet recommended Hills prescription diets, but Griff can’t have corn because Bad Things Happen when he eats it. Hills Science Diet is very fond of putting corn in their dog food, which might be okay for some dogs, but I’ve had three dogs in a row now that can’t tolerate corn (two Dobermans and a mutt). Top contenders right now are Annamaet, Verus, and ProPlan. I need to visit the pet store and read labels. Verus was recommended by another Dobie owner whose dog has similar problems. I’ve had a few people talk about slippery elm bark, which is supposed to be excellent for digestive problems.
I’m going to talk to another vet about doing an ultrasound too. There’s the possibility of a tumor, which is sort of this elephant in the room after I lost Logan to bone cancer in 07. Griffin’s symptoms don’t match anything exactly. I’m hoping that he’s just the odd duck and has chronic pancreatitis with atypical symptoms.
I’ve been neglecting the blog (again), and things happened over the past two months. Plenty of good times to go around!
The Raven’s Nest, which is actually a rental house, is probably being tossed up on the market. I don’t have a set answer from my landlord yet, but they are being very evasive. Their house inspection for damages was most definitely showing the house to their cousin and her husband. It isn’t unreasonable for a landlord to want to do a house inspection every once in a while. This is a 40 year old house and has some original features, like the windows that turn part of the dining room into an indoor swimming pool after a storm. We’ve been living here for four years now. So yes, absolutely if I owned a property, I’d want to have a look at it every once in a while and see what sorts of things I need to fix.
Except that damage inspections don’t usually include comments like “Wow, that’s a big closet,” “we’ll need to power wash the deck, this is scary,” and “I think my sports gear will fit in here.”
The great house hunt begins mid-June. We technically have until the end of July, but finding a rental for two people and two dogs is going to be all kinds of fun. It’s always best to start early. Moving is a great time to weed out junk too, and we’ve been Freecycling a lot. If you haven’t checked out your local Freecycle, you should do so. It’s a great place to get and give all kinds of things. The only rule is that it has to be free.
And then there’s Griffin. I took him back to obedience school to work on a few things, and he promptly sprained his front leg doing recalls. Now, for him to put up that much effort to run at me was fantastic. Good dog! The trip to the emergency vet’s though. He handled it fairly well, let the vet look at him, and everything. Thankfully it was just a sprain.. Then the pain killers they gave him made him have trippy dreams. They also made him occasionally go WOOF, just one bark every five minutes or so. This is not amusing at 3am. He was pretty much stuck in the living room for two weeks because he wasn’t allowed to do stairs.
And he turned 8 back in April. His balance is getting a little worse, but he hasn’t had any flare ups from Wobblers in a while. He’s happy. So I am, too. We started Nosework again tonight. There will be an upcoming blog post about that, since it’s a great way to tire your dog out and they have a lot of fun with it too.
But for now, there’s rum downstairs and ginger beer in the fridge. I think it’s time for a meeting of the minds.
Remember the planted fish tank I started last fall? It’s made progress. One of the plants flowered, which is a good sign that it’s healthy and happily chugging along.
I had plans on getting a betta online, but I was in Petsmart buying dog toys when I saw that guy. He’s a half-moon betta (something about the tail shape), and is solid black with a little blue splashed on top of his head. I’m waiting to see if his color changes any as he grows. He was a tiny little thing when I bought him. If kept well, bettas can live to be 5 years or more in age. His nickname is Darth Betta. He does need a proper name, but I’m still thinking about it.
I need to work on my aquarium photography skills too. I found out my camera, a Nikon P100, doesn’t have a fast enough aperture speed to photograph underwater. The trick to taking photos of fish tanks is to have a fast aperture speed and to shoot at different angles without a flash. At least, that’s the trick according to the websites I googled. They also are professionals with much better cameras than I currently own.
I’m okay with that, because I bought the camera at a close-out sale. I’d love a Rebel someday. So for now, I’ll keep on going with my current Nikon and practice taking pictures of this tank to improve my skills.
If you’re anything like me, you love the coffee. I stumbled upon this post on another blog, while looking up bacon wrapped tilapia (side note, it’s delicious, and I’ll need to follow up with a post about farm raised vs. wild caught eventually).
You take coffee, mix it with butter or another healthy fat, plus MCT oil, and drink. It’s important to note that not all butters are created equal. The author of the blog I linked likes Kerrygold, and so do I. It’s tasty stuff. It’s also from grass-fed cows and is not highly processed. Sure, it costs more than the cheap butter, but one of the things I’ve budgeted for over the past few months is buying quality food for myself. If eating healthier means I need to cut my budget in other areas, then I’ll do it. Since having the broken leg, cutting down on inflammation and really being aware of how food affects health has become even more important.
I’ll admit I needed to look up MCT oil, though. It stands for medium chain triglcyerides and is similar to coconut oil. I really do suggest googling those two oils for more information. I’m using things based on what I do well on, and that will vary depending on the individual. I’m also not a nutritionist, so most of what I’m stumbling on is in the course of my own research. I definitely need to learn more about healthy fats and oils. One of the things I ran into as a problem was anemia, which is very common among women. Since I’ve figured out how to use diet to regulate my iron levels through what I eat, I haven’t needed to take an actual iron supplement in a year and a half. That’s a huge thing for me, because the supplements affected the way other foods tasted for me.
Since I have coconut oil in the house for cooking, I’ll whip some of this up and try it for breakfast tomorrow. Supposedly, the Bulletproof coffee has enough protein and fats in it to be a substitute for breakfast. I’ll try it on my day off. That way if I get hungry, I can cook something else. A note for dog owners- if your dog is intolerant to fish oil supplements like Griffin, coconut oil is a great alternative for them.