Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Winter is Still Here

This time last year I had already planted my entire garden. The year before that we had a heat wave of 20º C that caused my lettuce to prematurely go to seed. This year the air is still cold, the ground, is still frozen, and we still have snow coming out of the sky.

Don't get me wrong, I love Winter and I believe the last few years have been abnormal. I don't mind that we still have snow on the ground. I think it is a good thing to get back to something resembling a normal Winter schedule. I just hope that the Summer is normal to. If not then my garden is likely to be in a lot of trouble this year.

I was betting on a cooler summer than the last two so I chose a lot of cooler weather plants. Kale, Snow Peas, Spinach, Fennel, Kohlrabi, and the like. Plants that do well in a area that averages less than 22ºC during the Summer. Unfortunately, the weather casters are predicting a hotter, muggier, and longer Summer than last year. If it is hotter than last year then not only is the garden in trouble but so am I.

I am much like the cooler weather plants. I thrive in dry, cool conditions. It is one of the reasons I prefer Winter to Summer, and Fall to Spring. I love it when the average temperature in the Summer never goes above 23º C. When it is hot and humid, especially the humidity, I will have a chest cough the entire Summer that makes every activity difficult and physical activity is more likely to make me sick than relax me.

So, I am crossing my fingers that once again the weather casters have it wrong. I pray my instincts are correct and that I and my garden will be able to thrive, grow, and enjoy the coming Summer.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Expanding my Horizons

When I formed this blog it was meant to be a way to share information on small scale gardening, canning, cooking, and the joys of a semi-rural home. As I went along I shared a few things outside of that narrow view of me and my life, but it didn't seem appropriate somehow.

PeterC and I were talking last night about where I should go with the blog. He suggested that I have been limiting myself unnecessarily. He thinks I should be sharing my adventures in all aspects of my life since they impact my life here at home.

Thinking about it more today I have to admit that he is correct. I started researching ways to live comfortably with limited, or no, advanced technology because of the doomsday myths surrounding Dec 12, 2012. Joining the SCA, and gaining access to said knowledge was one of the ways I chose to prepare myself.

When Doomsday failed to materialize, which for some reason I take rather personally, I thought the interest in low tech living would disappear. It hasn't. I find myself as interested as ever. Instead of looking at this as a way to survive the future, I now must admit that I am just as interested in learning about society, cultures, and livelihoods in the Bronze Age and Early Post Roman eras England.

Perhaps it is simply because the SCA is my current hobby of interest. Perhaps it is a matter of not know what else to do. Or perhaps, just perhaps, I've always been interested in in ancient technologies and the SCA has finally given me a true direction of study, along with a handful of people who are willing to share what information they have learned along the way.

Regardless of the reasons for my current interests, the fact is the things I learn do play a part in what I grow, what I eat, what I make, and in general what I do here on this little slice of land. For most posts this probably will not make a difference. But there will be some posts that go into more detail and take on the air of a research paper, along with references and examples if they exist.

Hopefully, you will enjoy the journey with me.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Catching Up on Dora

Whew, it has been hectic here and a month has passed since my last post. I'll get you all caught up on things around here in this post and hopefully not let it run behind again.

Dora, as we call her, is doing well. She still thinks she is a lap dog and PeterC is encouraging her every chance he gets. She is a very high energy pup and needs a lot of play time before she can settle down for a nap. But, when it is nap time she wants the lap as well.

Dora also figured out how to open the gate to the outside kennel. She and Dunny, our other much older dog, decided to go walk about for a whole day. Luckily, just as we were giving up hope of finding them they found PeterC. He was sitting in the truck drinking a cup of coffee before he continued the search and these two fugitives walked up to the truck and hopped in as if this was a normal outing. Needless to say the gate got a lock that same day.

Of course that didn't stop Dora. She managed to squeeze under the chainlink fence of the kennel. Luckily, Dunny couldn't fit through so Dora stayed in the yard...well mostly. We came home from work to find doggy prints in the fresh snow, travelling up and down the front hedge and back and forth on the front porch. We checked in the back and Dora was in the yard, but three seconds later she joined us on the front porch as we unlocked the door. Quite the little escape artist. PeterC fixed that problem, too.

As you can imagine, Dora gets bored easily. Unfortunately, it seems to happen only after we have gone to bed. Several days in a row we would wake to find something out of place and heavily chewed upon. It finally came to a head when she pulled one of my carving tools out of its pouch and chewed it up. She had to stand on her hind legs to get this tool and it was only by chance that she grabbed a tool that doesn't have an edge. Otherwise it could have been a deadly experience.

We went to the Pet store and spend quite a bit of money on chew toys that same day. It is absolutely shocking the price of chew toys these days. You know your getting older when even something like a chew toy is far more expensive than you remember from your youth, or even just a few years ago. Back to the story.

Dora of course showed no interest in any of the toys unless PeterC was playing with it or if Dunny showed interest in it. So back to the drawing board we went and came up with the idea of "flavouring" the chew toys with treats. The stinkier the better. She thought that was a great idea but that only lasted as long as it took her to figure out there was no actual treat left.

We bought a Kong , 3 plastic cups on a rope, and a miscellaneous assortment of small stinky treats we could stuff into said toys. Joy of joys, this worked. At least it did for a couple of days. She soon figured out the trick to getting the treats out of the Kong and managed to destroy the cup and rope toy. But, for a whole two days Dora did not chew on something she wasn't supposed to.

Last night Dora got back into the carving bag. This time she only pulled out a few pieces of scrap wood I keep handy for making nalbinding needles. No harm done, but I fear the wood is no better for her than the tools themselves. So we are scratching our heads trying had to figure out a way to keep her entertained when we sleep. If anyone has a solution we are all ears.