Saturday, August 15, 2015

Fall-like Weather and Soup Making

Yesterday we had our first serious hint of fall. Up until Friday, the week had been pretty miserable: it was warm, muggy, and not cooling off at night, but on Friday we finally, FINALLY cooled off and got some strong showers and wind.

I took advantage of a cooler house to quickly cook something that I can eat over the next week. Had I gone to the store and actually followed a recipe it might have been a better meal but I didn't want to leave the house because:

  1. I was lazy
  2. I need to be studying in a serious way
  3. I was waiting for my September Vogue which never showed up

so...I used what I had in the house.

Since I can't seem to grow anything but tomatoes and beans this year, I only had store carrots to go into the base.

By the way, on Thursday night I did a sad "why can't I grow zucchini" search on the Internet. There is practically a support group for this problem. I did not know that zucchinis need both boy and girl flowers, and some fanatics out there actually do their own pollinating of flowers!

I will have to think about this. At least I can grow tomatoes this year, which also went into the soup. Except for those Roma looking things...despite their inviting outsides they were terrible on the inside. I have no idea what is going on with them.

Every time I do a "kitchen sink" soup project I think of my Dad and that is not a good childhood memory. Hahahahaha. But clearly I have the same desire to throw a lot of things together that is reasonably edible, but with a lot less black pepper (sorry Dad).

Anyway, while I was cooking and studying, the rain came in and it just poured. Leela stationed next to the pellet stove in case, and worried.

Eventually she stationed next to Nim. I think she has this hopeful thought that he will save her.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Bad Bear

I tell you, this bear is pushing it. This has been my worst year. I have cleaned up so much neighbor garbage out of my yard.

And now, not only is he disagreeable to photograph (which I respect because he really shouldn't be comfortable in my yard anyway) and a litterbug, but on Tuesday he took out a section of my fence. :|

Nim posing with damaged fence - Instagram Photo

He basically pulled the section down and stomped all over it. If there was any doubt in my mind that the bear did it - he left big palm prints in the fenced area.

Nim says he didn't do it.

The section he destroyed is not actually the section I have been watching:

For the past few weeks I have been going out it the morning and pulling this section of fencing back up, which is harder than you might think and the fence looks even trashier than before. As you can see, he was pretty hard on this area on Tuesday night as well. I wasn't positive it wasn't the elk with those dark bibs on their necks. I was finding black fur on the fence but no evidence of what a elk might be eating.

Unfortunately the plum tree deposits some of the plums within the fenced area and I don't always get them all cleaned out in time. I now can say it is definitely the bear doing this damage.

Nim stood watch in case a neighbor chicken perhaps wanted to jump into his mouth while I cut and stretched fence. The replacement fencing I used is thinner gauge which is unfortunate given a several hundred pound bear, but I can carry the roll myself and wrangle it and so that is the way it goes.

I also cut back all the salmon berry in that section as I suspect the bear used to leverage his approach (there is no salmon berry on the side he has been pulling on). I had been on yard work restriction due to a tight studying schedule, but I would really like to make it harder for him to take down the fence again.

No denying he is beautiful...

Friday, July 24, 2015

Water Saga

Hooray for Friday! We are actually looking at maybe some rain today. I predict the rain to arrive right when my repair people show up.

This morning I looked out and this bunny was in one of  Nim's beloved dirt troughs. That is his bear and deer watching one to be exact. Nim isn't allowed in his dirt right now because he just had a bath for some obedience competitions this weekend. I am glad the bunny put some time kicking and smelling it up for him. I am sure Nim will be thrilled.

Although maybe the bunny changed the shape enough that it will be like the Simpson's when Homer's couch groove gets ruined and he says "You better put on a pot of coffee Marge, this could take awhile."

Look who is growing some antlers:

In other news the leak detector people came out yesterday and we found my water leak. It was pretty exciting actually. They push gas through the line and then you listen. It was crazy to stand in the leak area and feel the surrounding ground echoing (almost like a cave below you) - lots of water spreading out. After they left I rapidly dug the hole hoping to sweeten the deal so the well people would come out at night. No luck.

The failure seems to be actually at this joint or whatever you call the gray piece. And it leaks a lot.

Without the dirt to slow things down, the hole instantly fills and overflows when I do turn the well pump back on and suffice to say what little water pressure I had before is way less now. So, the water pump is shut off and I am not going to turn it on again until we get this fixed. 

Hopefully they come this afternoon...before all the rain comes in. :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Hello Babies

This summer I have been working like crazy to open up parts of the yard that are historically used for the wildlife traffic. I think the past 2 years of neglect is not only closing in the yard, but discouraging the wildlife.

Between yesterday's bear (who I actually think never cares what the yard looks like) and today's small elk herd I am thinking my efforts might be paying off. I have also had persistent deer this year...probably in part thanks to the plum tree.

What I don't understand is why they don't help clear this vegetation for me? They were even chewing on some of the dead stuff I had cut down!

This chestnut beauty definitely kept the eye on me as the rest of the group passed. There was a total of 5 babies in this group! So much loud peeping.

I wanted to run back out after they left and do more yard work for them. At least someone appreciates it.

But studying first.

I feel insanely lucky at times like these.


I even took some terrible video, but it makes me happy.

This video has some loud peeping as the little guys are still trying to come down into the creek (from the left side):

After the last (and noisiest) group makes it down:

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Hello Beautiful

Possibly the only upside to this unusually hot summer is that even gardeners like me are having success and having it early. My tomatoes are just starting to turn (unheard of for me to have a ripe tomato mid-July) and I have been picking handfuls of beans like this several days in a row.

Once all my greens ripen, I am going to have an out of control tomato situation. I love yellow tomatoes. Love them.

My plum tree is also out of control. This is just a snap shot of a much larger plum-littered area. I eat them when I can. The deer are doing damage, and I also suspect a bear.

Yesterday Nim blew up much more than he does for the deer and I went to the fence to see what the big deal was (he and I were both in the yard - that is where I work at my picnic table). There was a beautiful bear in the stream.

Nim maintained bear-vigil for awhile.

Then went back to his favorite dirt trough for a rest. :|

Later that evening I had Nim in the house, I was waiting for Well repair people, and doing yard work in the front area. I could hear heavy crashing in the back area of the property and assumed the bear was back in the yard.

I was right. He was actually up in the plum tree (which is probably where he wanted to go earlier in the day until he was foiled by Nim's big mouth and my presence), but didn't like that I had spotted him and came down. 

Once again, I am torn about having fruit trees in bear country. To be honest, it is "feeding the bears" just like leaving trash out. The plum tree is on its own schedule and only fruits some years apparently when it is in the mood, but this isn't the first time I have had a bear go up it.

Anyway, I had watch him to see which direction he went to make my direction decisions. He sauntered back into the stream and I went into the house to watch him out the window. As you can tell, he knows darn well I can see him. :) He was panting a bit and definitely drinking and messing around in water. Everyone is hot.

Monday, July 20, 2015

2015 Old Dog Haven Walk For Old Dogs

Hello! The Seattle area is having such a challenging summer. I feel like I have been off any normal routine for over a year anyway with all my job changes and CPA studying, then this summer heat hit and really foiled my plans to get back on track. We are HOT. I hate complaining about the summer because I struggle so much in the winter, but this is a challenging one. The rest of this week should stay in the 70s and that will be wonderful.

Sunday was the Old Dog Haven Walk For Old Dogs. This is my most favorite event and I almost missed it. :( It was about 96 degrees in Seattle, Nim's morning training went late, and the walk was in a new location in Shoreline.

Still, I made it around 2pm. I just love this event so much. Truthfully, I was pretty worried about Nim. As you can see there is really no shade and the air had that oven feeling. Poor Nim. So hot. He could hardly socialize at all. :) People that do recognize us from year to year noticed right away he was not attached to a toy or a long line. Nim. Growing up.

Nim gave a big paw of approval on the free ice cream however.

I was so bummed. Normally I can photograph lots of dogs and watch their antics and just relax. Sadly it was just too hot. I swear I don't know which is worse for the dogs right now: the dead grass or the asphalt.We said our hellos, got our bags, and hit the freeway. Sometimes I just want to drive and drive to have the A/C - or to escape. Both are optimal.

Next year! I need to be there for the entire thing again. And I have to hope it won't be this hot.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

4th of July

The North Bend area loves guns and explosions. We shoot when the Seahawks win, we shoot when they lose. On New Years Eve we mark every hour because you know, somewhere, in another time zone, it is a new year. I was hoping the fire risk would quiet the 4th this year. Nope. 

I am really lucky actually all of my dogs have been fairly tolerant. It is still going to be a long day. It isn't like Nim passively ignores. The only thing that would make it harder is 90+ degree weather...wait a minute. Ha!

So last night, after looking at the next week's forecast I went on a late night shopping spree for more fans and just about anything that can be frozen that the pets might actually use. This was followed by an unceremonious reschedule of the CPA exam into August. August will be better right? Sigh.

(The owl are not fazed by the heat)

Apparently (I interrupt this typing for a bang so loud that the house shook)....anyway...apparently the local owl population have a listserv and my address was featured as a hunting stop. I have never had a night quite like last night.

At 2:30am I was outside trying to get Nim to pee. I am fairly certain it was still in the 80s. The owl were so out of control that he stopped mid-stream and bolted for the house. Sigh. My tough dobie. I counted no less than 4 distinct different screeches going off at once. It was unbelievably loud and unsettling. Plus hunting noises. :( I think my bunny population took a hit last night.

(Quit taking my photo)

And by the way, these photos are from this morning. Two separate owl that I could actually locate. The bird population was freaking out. I have never seen robin hit owl like that. The robins were all on side branches taking turns running at her.

We were ALL up last night. At least in the house the 3 fans I have going drown out a lot of the hunting. I can tell we are moderately adapting to the heat because 80 in the house is no longer an issue.

This morning Nim and I went to the Danville Open Space area in Ravensdale. Because I was so tired and he was too hungry we got a late start. We should have been out there before 6am which was my original plan. It is hard hiking at all right now - I really try to stay pretty flat and not push it.

Have a safe 4th!