Sunday, June 30, 2013

Heat Wave and Nose Work 2

As of Friday, we moved into a heat wave, and definitely no rain.

Emile got started early Friday morning airing out his budda in preparation for a hot weekend. And by the way, he is watching hummingbirds while laying there, and occasionally chattering.

Nim dug himself a trough and rolled in it.

Saturday morning Nim and I went to watch Gypsy and my mom compete in their first Nose Work 2 trial.

Gypsy wasn't in any mood for Nim's antics on Saturday morning.

Nim needed to stay in the car anyway.

Long story short, they didn't "title" on Saturday. But this is not to say it wasn't a very worthwhile experience. I couldn't photograph any of the actual searches, and one I couldn't even watch but I can still give a general breakdown of events.

Hide 1 (exterior) - This hide was in an "area." The area was basically grass and concrete bound by two walls and then cones telling you how far out to go. For this search they ran out of time. 30 seconds was called and I think the head-whip I saw about 15 seconds after that was probably Gypsy getting into odor, but the clock beat her.

Hide 2 (cars) - This hide is again outside and around a cluster of cars. The sources need to be 10 feet apart and somehow on the vehicle. There were 2 hides. The first one Gypsy nailed fast, and the second she definitely narrowed the area and probably actually had the odor only her human attempted to do the thinking for her and didn't believe Gypsy. :) All of us, professional handlers or sport handlers have done this. Repeatedly.

Hide 3 (container) - This hide was done in an open room and there were "containers" scattered all over on the floor. A container example might be a suitcase. Gypsy nailed it.

Hide 4 (interior) - I didn't get to see this one, but apparently it was a very tiny room (think utility closet) and a larger room. I looked at the clock when they went in, and when they came out 3 minutes max later I knew they had done well. And yes, Gypsy nailed that one too. :)

So to "title" in this specific event (they are getting into adding legs, and other things that will provide other options) Gypsy would have had to make all the finds, all within time, no false alerts, peeing in the search area, etc. Crazy huh?

Very well worth the training and the experience and everything I saw her work she did really well. Lots of hot dogs that day so considering the weather and stress of a trial they did well!

I drove home that evening to these crazy clouds. It is even warmer today and we are keeping nice and lazy.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Soi Dog and Old Dog Haven Walk

Good rainy Thursday morning! Yes, it is raining. Again. Supposedly we will see summer this weekend.

On Saturday I will be with my mom and her mini-Aussie Gypsy for her Nose Work II trial. Gypsy is trying to recover from crashing into her mini-Aussie housemate Maggie. The ran at each other head first, top speed and collided. These are herding dogs mind you. I don't think that is how "pressure" is supposed to work, but they are minis after all. And apparently neither of them was giving up to the other.
Buckle up for a longish post!

Before I get down to school projects, Soi Dog, and the upcoming Old Dog Haven walk I would like to feature my newly trimmed white Begonia (can you see the naked stalks?):

Yup. That would be the pot in the elk "flower throwing" zone. I have included the "before" photo in case you forgot which one:

At least the petunias were spared and nothing was taken out of the pot like years past. They always manage to eat the entire flower leaving not a shred of petal evidence.

Summer quarter has started this week and it hasn't been one of my more pretty starts. In fairness, both classes had some disorganization as well.

In one of my classes I have a hypothetical $50,000 to start my own Not For Profit. As you can imagine I now don't want to do my homework or quizzes due this weekend because I would rather dive into the project.

Part of my project planning includes spending endless time reviewing my current favorite Not For Profits and getting a quick idea on their operating costs. One of them is Soi Dog and I just got a shirt from them a couple of weeks ago.

Let's just say if I didn't have cats, a chinchilla, and a dog I would be in Thailand right now. If you have time you might want to watch their documentary. I DID NOT watch the "Shadow Trade" trailer about the illegal dog meat trade on their front page. I actually cannot even get through the articles with the extreme abuse and cruelty associated with that situation.

The actual Soi Dog documentary doesn't explicitly feature any of the dog meat trade/cruelty issues going on right now, and considering I tend to be a VERY sensitive viewer I got through it OK. They are fighting a battle I can't even fully comprehend.

I also went over to Old Dog Haven to try and get a sense of their costs which is currently hitting $40,000 A MONTH in vet bills. Unbelievable. It did remind me to register for the Old Dog Haven walk coming July 21st. I even made a page about myself with Rusty. :)

So I am still researching. I tend to stick around the social causes which hit me the hardest: neglected kids, neglected elderly, and neglected animals. I was leaning towards animal rescue, but still working out the particulars on to make it financially viable. It is amazing how fast the costs get excessive, even in the best run organizations.

Have a good Thursday. I know I will be able to think clearer when it finally gets sunny.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Kale Cake and Garden Updates

Last night Nim settled the snuggle territory dispute.

Meanwhile I made the Kale Cake I was thinking about doing all quarter long. As you can see I actually made baby loaves.

The kale cake is actually pretty darn good. I omitted the cream cheese frosting because I have never liked it, vegan or not, and I omitted the sweet potato filling because it just sounded too weird which I realize doesn't make a lot of sense considering I made a kale cake.

It actually would probably be very good with a white frosting and if I wasn't so anti-dishes right now I probably would have made it. It hints more towards carrot cake than zucchini bread.

My modifications to the cake recipe:
  • Three EnerG eggs rather than the 6 tablespoons of flax seed meal (adjusted water to 1/2 cup)
  • 50/50 whole wheat and all-purpose flour
  • Omitted 1/2c oil, subbed with 1/2c applesauce
  • Stayed on the low side of the sugar - 1 cup
I did puree the blanched/shocked kale with all the wet ingredients before combining with the dry. I did it in a Cuisinart and it made every thing a nice green color. If you read the comments on the recipe page it sounds like if you don't puree you end up with a white cake with green leaves and I bet people really don't want to eat it then. 

If you are feeding people that would eat carrot cake they will enjoy this cake, if you are feeding people that wouldn't touch carrot cake they REALLY won't touch kale cake. I bet if you frosted it, kids would totally eat it.

This cake also has held up well for storage unlike the "green monster" style baked goods I have attempted (spinach).

On to garden updates...

The above photo is my Brussels Spouts. They don't look right at all. I finally looked up how they grow and apparently this is a normal stage. So I will be patient.

As you can see I have finally grown something edible! My first peas.

I have decided that the above box will here forward be known as "Nim's Garden." I thought as things started growing he might be less inclined to rearrange it. I thought wrong. At least things are still growing.

Today I had a special coupon for flowers I just couldn't let go to waste so I did three more flower pots.

Nim helped, I think he is actually licking that one.

Mostly these are begonias, dahlias, and those purple ones are some sort of hybrid petunia. That pot is in the elk "flower throwing" zone as years previous have demonstrated so I am curious to see how they hold out.

I finally took pity on Nim and let him in the house to sleep. He just won't quite settle enough in the yard and he gets so tired his eyes can hardly stay open.

As you can tell, we have some sunshine today!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Quilting Decisions

I continued to be completely unable to make a decision yesterday about my quilt layout. Nothing like being stuck in your house due to pouring rain to finally force a decision. I made two quilts.

By the way, although I did a "square on point" layout, you can see in the below photo the proposed layout I found online. If you really look you can see that the corners of 4 blocks build swirls as well.

It was while messing with the below layout that I realized I was also supposed to do another layer on all the blocks that would have made them bigger and more pronounced swirling, but didn't have enough "lights" to do so. I was a bit grouchy about this, but I decided to let it go and get sewing because I had already totally wound myself up earlier in the day over job seeking stress and it was time to just sew!

Finished top for little quilt:

Finished top for bigger quilt:

I now have 3 or 4 finished tops at this point and a pile in my sewing area so it is time to start assembling quilts. Maybe this weekend.

In completely unrelated news, and much to Emile's dismay, Leela claimed the snuggle this morning.

And she defended it.

And she gave him the top quarter as long as he didn't move or touch her.

Where did this week go?!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Quilts, Cats, Elk, and Dog Friends

What a weird week. This post will be some of the highlights.

I finished all my swirl blocks and decided that they can probably be alternated without issue. I actually think they work together just fine. Leela approves.

The elk have been very active this week and they like to stare at Nim through the front window. I have a mama in the area too with her little spotted baby, but she is staying pretty hidden right now.

I finally reclaimed my Mad Lunch Lady project from Gossypium Quilt shop and realized two things: 1. cats love it, and 2. it isn't getting donated.

There has been some rainy times during the week, but still some dry hiking.

Nim and his friend Jack hiked up to Stan's Overlook today.

Enjoy a couple of the outtakes:

Have a good night.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Baking and Quilting

My original plan for today was to head out to Vantage, WA (about a 2 hour drive for me) and explore the Wild Horse Wind and Solar Facility. When I saw the forecast this morning in Vantage called for thundershowers I dropped the idea. Maybe next week. Vantage, WA is more or less a desert and is probably one of the last places I want to be hiking during a thunder and potential lightning storm.

So instead I tried two recipes that have been on my list all quarter long. One was a Roasted Cauliflower Tart with Walnut Crust and Creamy Lemon Filling.

The walnut crust really makes this dish:

Can I still call it a tart if I make it in a pie dish? Probably not.

I ended up having to strain the filling before I put it in because it was soupy rather than creamy. I am not sure what happened, but maybe I didn't caramelize the onions enough? The good news is, it still taste good.

This is a very good dish with a fairly simple ingredient list. I would probably personally go stronger on the lemon, although that would not help my liquid problem. If you don't like onion you probably aren't going to like this dish, but I would definitely make it again.

In the dessert category I have had my eye on a kale cake recipe (oh yes) and this Zucchini Brownies recipes. I had zucchinis in the house, so that made the choice for me.

It is a very strange recipe. I think it depends on your opinion of coconut flour which I am still on the fence about. I find that it does better mixed with something like almond flour. But in the case of these brownies with the coconut flour and possibly the coconut oil you have something that actually suggests more of a German Chocolate Cake. Anyway, they are chocolatey and I have been eating them to keep up my energy for my sewing.

I am on the last "level" of these Snail's Trail blocks and it has taken me this long to realize I have some swirling one way and some swirling the other way. You can't even imagine how much this frustrates me, especially since I already did a fair amount of seam ripping of the second level for a different mistake and so I am not particularly willing to take apart roughly 1/2 the blocks.

At this point I am going to wait and see how many blocks I end up with of each swirl and create from there. Who knows, maybe they will be two quilts in the end. I do like the layout better with them up on point.

My school books arrived today for summer quarter. I immediately banished them to an upper shelf so I don't have to look at them again until later next week.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


I saw Emile bring the toy up on the bed while taking my final exam, but when I finished it wasn't with Emile anymore.

Somehow I suspect this toy trade wasn't a mutual agreement.

What a weird weather day today, we had sun, rain, and wind. I buckled down and finished my last final of the quarter today. It feels good to have the quarter done!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Garden Sunday

Good Sunday evening...are you ready to start a new week tomorrow?

Today I got some bean starts from a friend for the other end of my garden:

You will notice that all four of my tomato plants are actually thriving, despite the weather:

I also got some cucumber starts (which I put around the tomatoes) and this zucchini start:

It got a little roughed up by Nim, but I have high hopes for it once it recovers.

It is hard work being Nim.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

No Rain

I didn't get a lot of sleep last night so after my exam today I did some house cleaning, some yard work, but then really just sat outside and read. It was actually much nicer outside today than it was supposed to be and I am so grateful.

This bunny was grateful too. Despite looking possibly sickly he is just fine. After I disrupted his siesta he got up and started doing some eating.

I put a couple more peppers into the ground today. I am nervously waiting for things to start to grow. The last couple of weeks have been pretty cold and pretty rainy.

I am knitting right now. I will start working on the final stretch of homework tomorrow hopefully.