Monday, June 22, 2009

the beast is caged...hopefully

My list took a detour last weekend. Yes, I'm still working on said list from the previous post. I did make more soap, cookies, and wall art and started the Heritage Makers book though. I intended to work on the rest... until we had a slight issue with our big dog, Bosco.

My James has switched jobs so now BD can't go to work with him, nor do we reap the benefits dropping him off at a kennel when we need to run errands or have a night out. For the past year we've not found a good solution to keep him from getting loose while we are gone from the house. Example: The first week we had him, we ran an errand and locked him in the bathroom. We were gone for about an hour or so. When we returned home, he greeted us outside at the back gate. Yes, this monkey dog somehow hoisted himself up through the bathroom window and jumped out. It's a good 8 foot drop. He was unharmed, but the bathroom floor and door were not. It looked like a grizzly tried to scratch his way through. Since that day we have not left him alone.

Just leave him in the backyard you say...remember my lovely backyard? No way. Besides we've caught him above the waterfall standing on his hind legs peering over the fence several times. He could easily jump over and for all we know, he'd be happily on his way to find us (or anyone that would give him some lovin') and end up in the hole at the copper mine.

How bout a dog run/kennel? OK, tried it. He has escaped several's the proof. Notice the snack he had out of the 1/2 inch particle board? We are in shock that his big head and chest fit through his tiny escape routes without a scratch on him! (These badly angled pictures are after multiple repairs so it's really hard to see how truly barbaric this is.)

For those who haven't met the Boss, he really is an amazing gentle giant and he's pretty well behaved considering his size and age. Great with kids. But due to most of his days filled with constant people, puppies, and other dogs, he just cannot handle being alone. And his alone time is usually brief! 8 hrs at the most once or twice a week. Why have a dog if you have to coop him up for 8-10 hours a day 5 days a week while you're at work?? (my opinion, I'm not judging you if you do this)

So for those brief hours of what BD must think are sheer torture, my dear husband built a fortress. Yes, it looks a little dark and sad and muddy at the moment, but we must remember he is a dog and loves being dirty and like I said, is briefly in it.

I sacrificed our charming area by our garage for this monstrosity:

I may have also sacrificed my beloved hollyhock and butterfly bush. The irises will be fine. They desperately needed to be divided anyway. The bleeding heart is hearty and moved to the front yard. The clematis (or whatever it is - may just be a vine-y weed for all I know) has been moved to the other side of the yard. This is probably the worst time to transplant, but it was either that or have Bosco dig them up out of spite.

Sigh. The things we do for our beloved animals... but really how could you deny this big hunk of pure mush and love anything?

PS We did provide shade for him by setting up the kennel in there with the shade screen on it. Eventually James will build a dog house and before it gets too hot we plan to string the drip system back there and hook up some misters...for the brief, but torturous moments he is actually in there.

Friday, June 12, 2009

a list I'll soon tackle...yeah, right

Maybe if I publish this list, I'll actually get it done? OK maybe I'm just avoiding them by making this list...
The following items are projects I have either started or need to get started and done (in no particular order):

1. Make soap - I'm almost out
2. Finish baby items for born or soon to be born babies
3. Make cookies for dear husband and some for Rebecca, too
4. Finish wall art projects for my craft room
5. Take pictures of said craft room because everyone needs to see how awesome it is
6. Make more shrinky-dink jewelry
7. Start knitting again - yes, I have not knitted for months. The green monkeys are still not finished.
8. Make tea wallet
9. Finish my Heritage Makers book that I purchased over a year ago and have yet to finish

It has been raining all week so you think I would have started on some of these... nope. Today is sunny and no rain so maybe I'll go play and when the rain comes back tomorrow, I'll tackle this list...we shall see.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

backyard tour (warning: it's a long tour, you may want to bring snacks)

Since we've been back from Lake Powell, we've been working like crazy to get the backyard in shape. And it's paid off, because now all we have to do is put gravel down (free! thanks to a neighbor) in the garden walkway, build a gate into the garden because Big D keeps getting in there and digging (insert a spewing of cussing here), get and keep the grass in shape, and my james needs to finish the big get-electricity-to-the-pond project. But other than that, we have made some good progress.

This is looking from our back porch. Next year's project is to do something with that unsightly cinder block wall. Ideas would be much appreciated. No more Virgina Creeper though--she is way too invasive. James wants to paint it, but really, what color do you paint it and it not be competing with the rest of the backyard for a focal point? I say big grasses, some wall art, and maybe a hammock over there. Other idea? Move the dog kennel to that area. I say no way. You can see we've gone the rounds on this issue.

My parents painstakingly made that cute little birdhouse that I have yet to find a spot for. I say painstakingly because it was suppose to be a simple project with leftovers from some shelves they made us (more on those below), but it ended up quite the project due to lack of materials, or so I'm told.

And big news in the SFG...Thanks to my dad and to the Riverton irrigation water, we now have a very efficient drip system for our garden and front yard planter boxes. How did this come about you ask? Well, my parents live in Riverton and after setting up a very elaborate maze of miles and miles of tubing and nozzles around their yard and deck, my dad noticed he couldn't keep the thing working to it's potential due to their debris-and-mineral-filled irrigation water. Thus, we became the grateful recipients of a fancy drip system for all our dripping needs! This, I know, will be the savior of my veggies and flowers. They too are grateful.

Here's the garden area on the south side of the house. Hard to see, but we have modified the trellis on the first box. It wasn't tall enough and we added nylon netting which is much stronger than twine.The two empty boxes are for next year. I don't think I can keep up with 4 boxes yet.

The upper left box is the new home for basil, my infant cucumbers (hardening off as I type), more bush beans and carrots, a Sugar Baby watermelon, Patty Pan squash and maybe I'll try some more lettuces and onions, kind of late I know. The trellis was made from conduit from my brother-in-law who is an electrician. Re-purposing is awesome. We'll see how that box fairs though. Bosco has dug it up twice already after I had just planted it (insert more cussing here)!

The bark/mulch covering all the unsightly weeds, is from the dump. Yep, the dump sells compost, small bark chips, and large bark chips. $15 for a truckload. Beautiful. Unfortunately, it comes with the smell of the dump. But for that price we can deal with it as we did last year. Actually it's not that bad and it fades after a while.

And yes, hanging on the fence back there is the famous Topsy Turvy as-seen-on-t.v. tomato planter. And yes, from my mom (As you can see, my amazing parents have contributed a lot to this backyard. I should make a plaque at the entrance saying, "Special thanks to the founding sponsors of our backyard oasis - mom & dad"). I have a Better Boy tomato plant planted in it. I'll keep you posted as to his progress.

Below is a Beefmaster tomato in planter. Obviously, I did not start him from seed. But he is loved the same.

My mom helped me with this section of the yard. She bought us two bushes and the flowers and helped me dig out all the weeds and such. The Clematis was from a planter the previous owners had left. The makeshift fence is, again, to keep Big D out of it until we can get some real fencing (no cussing here because he has yet to get into this one). Dad made 2 shelves out of some old barn wood to hang on each side of the Clematis. Haven't hung those yet though. We're still trying it figure out a way to do so without having screws poke through on the neighbors side.

So, now we can relax and I'll have some time to play with soap and yarn and fabric and of course my dear friend, Aida. Oh and I'll probably need to give the house a good cleaning. It's pretty bad when your yard is cleaner than your house. Good thing we live and entertain outside during the Summer.

If you aren't bored by now and still have some snacks, here are more randoms and close-ups of our backyard beauties.

Not sure what this bush is. We lost the tag. Please do tell if you happen to know.

Pincushions in the upper planter box above the pond.

I believe this is some sort of succulent, also by the pond.

One of my favorite spots in the yard, again thanks to mom. This is a pot of succulents planted the first Summer we were here. That little egg is a robin's egg. I found it behind the pot with a little opening it's previous inhabitant crawled out of.

Geranium. Also near the pond.

The ever popular petunia. Reminds me of the song..."I'm a lonely little petunia in an onion patch, an onion patch..."- the Imogen Heap version. I should have planted her amongst my onions.

Some weird sprinkler alarm that was found under all that bothersome Virgina Creeper (Can you tell I'm not too fond of the V.C.?). The oil can is from my grandpa's "collection".

Thanks for touring with me. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.
Mom and dad, I'll see what I can do about getting the plaque made--oh and it's not a hint for you to actually show up on our doorstep with one.
Readers, I wouldn't be surprised if they actually did.