Sigh

Posted April 22, 2018 By Ruth

Yesterday morning, getting ready for work, making coffee, feeding cats…….reached across the kitchen counter to where Trouble’s food bowl sits on top of Apollo’s crate (yes, his crate is actually taller than the kitchen counters, a side effect of owning a really big dog)…….and slammed the side of my  head into the corner of the upper kitchen cabinet door that had been left open a couple inches.

Now, this was not, by any stretch, the first time I’ve done that.  I’m short enough that the cabinet doors are just above eye level on me, perfectly placed to catch me in the forehead if they get left open.  I’d actually pulled down a different upper cabinet door several months ago after I hit my head on it for the umpteenth time.  But this door was one that I didn’t usually catch, so I’d left it.

I didn’t initially think it was that bad of a hit.  Went into work like normal.  Except that by the time I got to work the side of my head was pretty sore.  By the time I’d been at work for a couple hours the whole left side of my face felt funny, and while my balance wasn’t ACTUALLY being affected it felt like it SHOULD be affected.  So I ended up leaving work early.  Get home, and it occured to me that I hadn’t put ice on the bump, and it was a definite goose egg at that point, so I dug out the ice pack, and after an hour of 15 minutes on, 15 off, the swelling had gone down some, and the side of my face felt much more normal.  In retrospect I suspect the swelling was pulling on the side of my face, and ear, resulting in the weird feelings.

Once I felt more stable I got out the step ladder and screwdriver, and pulled down the upper cabinet door that I’d hit:

These cabinets aren’t right next to the stove, so there shouldn’t be much  grease residue to cause problems, and I can live without cabinet doors.  Especially if it gives me fewer things to slam my head into.

Since I was feeling better at that point I decided I was going to take advantage of the sun making everything feel awesome warm (it was technically barely in the 40’s, with enough breeze to be chilly, but the SUN!  It was awesome, I felt bad for leaving work at that point, cause I’m sure they were slammed all afternoon), and went out to rearrange the greenhouse.  Partially so I could make space for the tomato seedlings and partially to actually check the pepper plants over.  And found that apparently I forgot to tell the peppers that we’re having a delayed spring this year:

That is a Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper, and a Cayenne Pepper, with good sized peppers on each plant!  Oh well, at least I know the greenhouse has been doing its job at keeping the plants warm!

The biggest tomato seedlings are now out in the greenhouse, some of them are over a foot tall already!  Average last frost for me is mid May, here’s hoping I can plant out not TO much later than that, or the greenhouse is going to be crazy.

Also, SPRING!!!!  While making my coffee yesterday not only did I see the Bluebird pair again, but I saw Tree Swallows!  Tree Swallows are straight up flying insect eaters, if they’re in town then it means they think it’s going to stay warm enough to have plenty for them to eat.  So cross your fingers!

Weather

Posted April 20, 2018 By Ruth

The weather forecasters are holding firm in their prediction that next week we’re supposed to get a warm up:

 

So of course I woke up this morning to this:

 

While I’m aware that folks at various points west of me have quite a bit more snow on the ground that doesn’t make me any happier to wake up to a white yard.  I guess Father Winter is trying for one last gasp?  Or else every single weather forecaster is wrong and we’re all screwed…..

I started my tomatoes over the last couple weeks.  A few here and a few there.  Apparently the tomatoes really like the grow lights in my little grow tent:

 

I plan to move them out to the greenhouse this coming week, assuming the weather holds anyway.

All I wanted was a hot shower……

Posted April 9, 2018 By Ruth

The new water heater install worked perfectly for a load of laundry, hand washing of a variety of dishes, and Husband’s shower.

I decide I desperately want a hot shower before bed, because sponge baths just don’t cut it, and the cold water intake pipe pops off the water heater.

I’m not sure who sent a curse my way, but you can stop now……

General update

Posted April 9, 2018 By Ruth

I can’t decide if Mother Nature is a little moody or just outright batshit.  But I’m really looking forward to actual spring weather.  To be fair, this isn’t the first year we’ve had extreme cold and snow in April, just a couple years ago we got over 6″ of snow the first week of April, and my first spring living in this area we had snow in Mothers Day (though it didn’t stick thankfully).  But that doesn’t make me any happier about it.  I want spring.  The ground was white with snow Saturday morning when I got up.  *sigh*

Had a huge windstorm go through this past week, trees down everywhere, resulting in us losing power for almost 24hrs.  Not the end of the world, the wood burning stove kept us warm, but not fun.  I had to bring all the pepper plants in from the greenhouse because without power it wouldn’t stay warm enough overnight.  But I left the flower seedlings I started, and amazingly enough all the flower seedlings survived it.

Tomato seedlings have been started.

I have been delighted to see a pair of Bluebirds guarding a nesting box for the last couple weeks.  I spent last fall trapping as many House Sparrows as I could, and even managed to catch a few this spring, so hopefully the Bluebirds will have a fighting chance this year.

The weather has resulted in poor sales at work.  This weekend is “Spring Black Friday”, big huge sales to start off the spring season.  And it snowed off and on all weekend.  Needless to say management isn’t happy.  But such is life in Upstate NY!

I’m starting to wonder if there was a power spike when the power went out.  At some point after about noon on Friday the water heater electrocuted itself.  Originally it was just another burst pipe thanks to the recalled water pipe thats all over the house, I found it Saturday morning, and everything around it was saturated with water, but after fixing the pipe, and turning the water heater back on, the water it was putting out was scalding.  We turned it back off till we could look at it closer, and by Sunday morning it had stopped heating completely.  A closer inspection showed that the upper heating element control knob had melted.  That explained that weird smell we’d both been noticing.  We took a deep breath, put it down to life beating us over the head, and bought a new water heater.  My FIL will be installing it later this morning.  But then, while cooking supper Sunday night, my Instant Pot just quit right in the middle of cooking.  And nothing I’ve done has made it turn back on.  Checked the plug, checked the breaker, checked to be sure the outlet had power…..nothing.  And the Pot was plugged in when the power went out.  *sigh* I put in a service ticket with the IP folks, but I fully expect to be told that its out of warranty so there’s nothing to be done.

April Fools

Posted April 1, 2018 By Ruth

I’m not much for the standard pranking that happens on April 1st.  As a kid the occasional harmless prank was fun (I managed to sneak a baggy of ice cubes into the toe of one of my mom’s shoes one year, she screamed when her toes found it), but these days it seems that the pranking just gets wilder and wilder, and more likely to get someone hurt.

However King Arthur Flour has been doing a yearly blog on April 1st that I enjoy quite a bit.  It’s easy to think of a professional kitchen as a place where everything goes right.  But sometimes things go wrong!  Click the link at the bottom of the post to see the previous years posts!

Well “hoped” is probably the wrong term.  I LIKE cats, and I’m sure those two cats are perfectly sweet family pets.

But their life expectancy as outdoor cats is really short, and the sooner they’re gone the less I have to deal with them.  After my last post I got confirmation that not only are they intact, but someone in the neighborhood is having kittens in a couple months.  I also got confirmation that they’re spraying in/around our carport.

Then yesterday I pulled the trail camera memory cards, which I haven’t done in a couple months.

Several photos of at least one of the cats:

Which is proof of how far they’re wandering from home, since both cameras are on my back line, over 100 yards from my house.

But then I got to this video:

Now thats a fox, not a coyote, and no, that cat isn’t as big as he looks.  But really?  There are also several photos and videos of coyotes on both cameras.  How have they not taken care of this for me yet??

Life with a Tibetan Mastiff

Posted March 17, 2018 By Ruth

I get occasionally asked what it’s like to live with “those dogs”.  My responses vary, depending on the situation, the person asking, my mood….everything from highly insulting (towards my dog!), to amusing, to deadly serious.  But sometimes the anecdotes just write themselves.

A note, when I refer to Apollo barking in “full voice”: legend says that a TM’s voice could be heard from mountain to mountain, and while that might be exaggeration they do have one hell of a bark when they get pissed off.  In close quarters its deafening.  It makes your average GSD’s bark sound high pitched and wimpy.

 

So, the other day…….

Apollo is sound asleep in the kitchen, the room furthest from the road.

Wakes from a sound sleep POSITIVE that the invading hordes are about to break down the door. Charges the front window in full on guard mode, complete with aggressive posture and full voice:

BARK BARK BARK

Bounces off the window, still in full voice:

BARK BARK BARK BARK

Actually stops barking long enough to look out the window. THERE MUST HAVE BEEN SOMETHING OUT THERE CAUSE I HEARD IT!!!!!!

BARK BARK BARK BARK

Stops and looks out the window again. Dammit. I know I heard something!

BARK

Looks out window.

Chuff Chuff Chuff

Sigh Must have scared it off.

Chuff

Sigh Flops down in front of the window for the rest of his nap.

Snore

Speaking of cats…..

Posted February 28, 2018 By Ruth

So, those if you who’ve been reading here for a while probably remember that I’ve had issues previously with the folks in the house across the street, mostly due to their habit of letting their dog(s) roam (“but she’s a GOOD DOG, she knows to stay in the yard!”).

A couple years ago those folks moved out (I can’t remember if I ever posted that), and a new family moved in.  I was frustrated when I first spotted their dogs, but it didn’t talk long to realize this was a different breed of dog owner.  They don’t just allow their dogs to roam.  Its awesome.

Then, this past fall, they got two cats.  At first I wasn’t sure that they weren’t just feeding a couple strays.  But rather quickly realized that the cats were indoor/outdoor cats, so regardless of how it started, they are now definitely owned by those folks.

The cats, of course, roam.  And while the help at rodent control is nice, both of my dogs would be delighted to remove those two cats from existence.  Apollo because they trespass in his yard.  Arty because PREY!!!  Needless to say this has complicated taking the dogs outside, much to our frustration.  In addition there are absolutely coyotes here.  Quite a few coyotes, of the North Eastern variety, which are bigger, and wolfier, than the western coyotes that many folks are familiar with.  Few outdoor cats last very long here.  Especially ones who are outside after dark.  And these two are, in fact our confirmation that they were coming across the street came when I got ready to take the dogs out at about 10pm, and glanced out my front door window…..to find two cats peering under my front steps.

About a month ago, while clearing the recorded videos from the cheap security camera I have watching the driveway, I noticed a clip (taken only a couple hours earlier) of one of the cats coming across the front of the house, and down the driveway.  A check out the window confirmed a lovely set of kitty tracks  in the snow where he’d passed.  Following them back around the house I confirmed that the cat in question had been hunting in my garden.

Now, like I said above, the additional rodent control is nice.

But cats have a tendency of using garden beds as litter boxes, it’s a fairly common complaint in fact.  And even if these cats don’t do that, I don’t want them digging up plants in my garden, even if they are going after rodents.

While the deer/rabbit repellent is pretty darn effective against prey animals, my dogs think it smells awesome and want to roll in it when I first apply it.  I have a sneaking suspicion that the cats won’t be much deterred by it.

After looking at a few different options I think I’m going to buy a pair of motion activated sprinklers and (once things thaw enough) set one on either long side of the garden.  In theory one would cover the garden, but once the tomatoes get tall enough one won’t be enough, so I’ll just start with two.  Maybe it’ll help deter the deer too……

For Rain

Posted February 24, 2018 By Ruth

 

Mind, this is the same dog who does NOT want a bed in his crate.  Every time I’ve attempted to put a bed, or blanket or SOMETHING in his crate he drags it out and sleeps on the bare bottom.  Maybe I need to buy some extra couch cushions and try those…..

This and That

Posted February 21, 2018 By Ruth

I’m hoping to return to work next week (Tuesday will be 6 weeks), I likely won’t be able to do my normal lifting, but I should be good otherwise.

We moved the automated cat feeder, again, and this time start feeding Trouble her canned food out of it.  This has significantly reduced Shadow’s interest in it, and has gotten her comfortable eating out of it again.  We’ll go like this for at least a month, and then look at switching back to kibble in it.

We had a huge February thaw this past weekend.  Temps in the 60’s, and it was 72 outside this morning!  Course, as I type this a front is sweeping through and temps are crashing hard.  Most of the snow melted, resulting in flood warnings everywhere.  We took advantage of it to set up my new greenhouse:

Husband did all the heavy lifting for me.  But now that it’s setup I can get my christmas lights strung in it and start monitoring temps.  I’m a little concerned about the bigger/taller space being harder to keep warm enough.  I guess we’ll see.  Average last frost isn’t till mid-May, so no matter how tempting it is  I really don’t dare plant out before then.

Pepper seedlings are coming along nicely:

I’ve re-seeded the ones that didn’t sprout, and rearranged so that the plants that were along the edges are now in the middle.  The soda cans are part of an online contest for a Facebook group I’m in.  To see who can grow the best pepper plant in a can.  It sounded like fun, and I had the seeds, so might as well!

Update: 4 strings of C9 christmas lights are holding it 30+ degrees over air temps.  I’ll take it.