I got seven more containers of tomatoes out this morning. Seeds have been planted for Maglia Rosa, Rozovyi Flamingo, Purple Yellow Light Bulb (assumed to be a mislabeled Bosque Bumblebee), Tiny Tim, Giraffe, Snow White, and Black Zebra.
The kittens are nine weeks old today. Still nursing. This morning at breakfast they were all curled up together.
I now have 12 of the winter sown containers open to the elements. Still mostly mustard, but there's some kale, spinach, and cabbage too. I did plant the aronia plant today in the far back corner of the tulip garden where it will get full sun and have lots of space to grow. It looks a little sad right now, but hopefully a few days in the sun will perk it up.
Three more containers came up today - Nicholaevna is the first of the tomatoes; Lemon Thyme and Golden Bush Zucchini are also up. I left the three mustard and kale plant open again tonight. They didn't seem bothered by the cool temperatures last night, and the low tonight is supposed to be 37.
I really need to work on finishing up my winter sowing - which is more like mini-greenhouse gardening now that it's warming up.
Today I also moved the Green Star lettuce plant outside. Both had started to grow flower stalks. One Henry broke off, and the other was starting to grow into the plant light. Lettuce is supposed to be alright in cool temperatures, so hopefully it will survive tonight and find some pollinators when it finally flowers. Perhaps we'll have seeds to save!
The kittens seem to be doing well. They'll be nine weeks old tomorrow. They're eating soft food, and still nursing with Mabel. Hard food is available to them, but they don't seem very interested. Floki has used the litter box a few times, but usually only when redirected to do so when she finds an inappropriate place and gets caught in the act. Can hardly wait until they use the litter box exclusively! Lagertha does have a goopy eye, but they go to the vet next week so we'll get that fixed up.
I'm planning to go meet someone locally on Sunday who is going to trade some of my beet seeds for two iris plants. Then I can bury Ragnar and Rollo and use them as markers.
I've been putting off planting the aronia (chokeberry) bush due to the nightly low temps, but after tonight it looks like they're set to stay 40 and above, so I'm going to go ahead and plant it tomorrow and hope for the best.
Tony and I got the back border on the tulip garden in place. When we moved in there was a wooden fence along the back edge there, but after several years it started to fall over, so we pulled it out. The pieces have been sitting beside the garage for several years now. We were clearing the space out for the big garden and Tony asked what to do with a particularly long board from the old fence. I suggested we dig a trench and bury it half deep along the back edge so when he mows he won't accidentally mow the edge of the garden. Done!
The Piatta d'Italia (flat of Italy) onions look to be coming up. I expect a lot more to pop up this week with the warm weather.
Today I opened three containers of Mustard greens and one Kale container. They were getting cramped in their little hot greenhouses. I stuck my finger in the top hole to pick one up and they aren't kidding when they say it's much hotter in the bottle!! I set them up on top of Bennett's cage to keep them away from the wild bunny. I'm hoping they don't tip over for him to munch, and that the birds and squirrels will leave them alone.
I made an appointment for the Vikings to get their first vet check and vaccines next week. The receptionist asked if we would be keeping them. I'm still thinking about it. I adore Floki and do want to keep her, but the kids seem to prefer Lagertha.
Tony was able to clear out the raspberry bushes today. They've been long overlooked, and aside from cutting out some brush last year and the year before, we've really just left them to grow for the last 10+ years. It looks so naked with all the brown dead branches removed! Hopefully it will give the bushes more space to grow this year, and make it easier to pick berries.
We spent some time in the tulip garden and clearing out space for the big garden. Tony was able to remove the bush in the back corner, which will be replaced with a chokeberry bush that I just got in the mail. I'm still considering locations for my now-overgrown goji berry cutting, and my three blackberry varieties (which I intend to keep separate for identification purposes).
I have to remember to call the vet tomorrow to see about making an appointment for the Vikings to get in for their first exam and vaccinations. Depending on if they have an opening this week or next will possibly change some of the gardening plans. We are really hoping to get the whole thing cleared out and tilled up by the end of next weekend. it's supposed to be beautiful and warm this week.
I got a sunburn today. A sunburn, in April. This is unheard of! It does however confirm my diagnosis... I officially have Garden Fever... Symptoms include an overwhelming need to spend time outside with plants and dirt, excessive collecting of seeds, and, apparently, an April sunburn.
Today I started some more rhubarb seeds. This time from a trade source (unknown variety). I also planted seven of each of my onion sets (Stuttgarter Riesen, White Ebenezer, and Red Comred). The soil is weird in this bag and doesn't seem to drain as well, so I hope they don't rot.
While out and about I also saw a beautiful bouquet of yellow roses, snapped this photo, and added it to my RedBubble Shop.
We also picked up a pick axe looking tool that Tony will use tomorrow to pull up the grass in the back yard to prepare it to be a garden. We bought a hand tiller tool as well but it was missing a piece and fell apart as soon as I tried to use it. We will be returning it tomorrow and double checking the replacement to assure it has all the right pieces this time.
It's been a rough day for me. It's been one week since Nadia died, and I'm still feeling really lost. The panic and anxiety attacks are coming back again, and sometimes I have moments of desperation where I don't know how I'm going to function without her. I guess the simple answer is to say "well, it's a scary world out there" and tell myself to buck up and deal with it. But I'm torn. I'm not ready for another dog yet, but I know it's going to take time to train in a new service dog, and the sooner I start looking, the sooner I can find and start training one. But I'm not ready for that yet. I'm not ready to bring home another animal when I'm still struggling to get through the day without crying. Yes, a new dog would bring me great comfort, but I think I need to wait. The right dog will come along. Hopefully I realize it's the right dog and the right time.
Good news today! The seed trade from last month that was lost... well, he sent a second package, this time with delivery confirmation so we could track it. Turns out the whole mess was completely my fault. When typing my address I had transposed numbers in my zip code, so the package went "out for delivery" in Wisconsin! After a few hours on the phone trying to get a hold of someone from the Wisconsin post office, and eventually just calling the national number - a wonderful woman on the other end of the line fixed it. Within 24 hours, the package was where it was supposed to be. I waited until after school because #4 was very excited that it was coming today and wanted to be here when it was opened.
Well, the second package arrived (torn open, but doesn't appear to be missing anything), but the first one is still mysteriously missing in transit - possibly in Wisconsin. I want to give a huge thank you to Gary and Mia. They clearly spent a lot of time and energy making this package special for us, complete with beautiful cards and well labeled seeds. Each of the kids got their own personalized seed selection. Purple coneflowers for #4, meticulously glued to paper so she wouldn't drop them when she goes to plant them. Bird's Foot Trefoil for #3, which she excitedly asked if we could plant before school gets out so she can tell her friends about it. Butternut squash seeds for #2, which is great because he traded for some a while ago, but they came smushed and we weren't sure they'd actually germinate - so now he has some better seeds! Boston Pickling Cucumber for #1 to help her grow her pickle addiction. And not to be forgotten, they sent the zinnia seeds we sent them back, as a gift for little #5 with the suggestion we plant them in a circle to make a flower house for him. What a neat idea!! Almost immediately #4 asked for paper and a pen to write a thank you letter. Too cute!
I have updated the Seed Stash list.
Sorry, I missed my daily blog yesterday. The link to my RedBubble Shop is HERE, and I'd love if you could check it out! I'm still in the (continuous) process of adding more designs, both photographic images, and written words.
A couple days ago, Mr. Cellophane died. He was the betta that lived in the natural 30-gallon tank. Today I found a new betta, I've named him Pompeii. I'm not sure if he's sick or just very uniquely colored. His eyes are white. We'll see how he does. He will be joining his new companions Spiderman (the pleco) and Cory (the cory cat). They produce the natural fertilizer for the aquaponic Tiny Tim tomato plant that I'm growing.
The Mountain Mint is sprouting (sorry, no photo). I'm hoping to get some more dirt to put out a few more last minute Winter Sown containers. I still have plans for more tomatoes, peppers, and other stuff. I better get on it before it gets too warm!
I've been working on getting more of my photography listed in my RedBubble shop. I'm up to just over 200 designs now. I still have a lot of photography to go through and loads more ideas that I could create. I'll add a link to the shop in tomorrow's blog posting.
Change of plans for today. No trailer full of dirt. It's just too cold to be working outside, and with recent rain (and now it's snowing), there is some concern over the weight of the dirt being too much for the small trailer. Maybe next week when it warms up again we can try to schedule the dirt purchase again. No rush, since it's way too cold still to be planting anything in the garden anyway. Though this cold week gives me more time to winter sow.
Three new seedlings popped up in the containers today. Walla Walla Onion, Sage, and Catnip.
Some of the winter sown containers are already looking pretty full. Check out some of the bigger seedlings!
In other news, Tony bought our very first wheelbarrow. Well, technically it's some kind of tote or something. It's plastic, but we'll be using it as a wheelbarrow to haul dirt and rabbit poop.
The kittens are now taking an interest in hard food, and are eating it without softening it sometimes. They'll be eight weeks old in two days. About time the little Vikings started acting like big kittens.
Not much to say today. I've been really down and out all day. It's getting cold again, expecting highs in the 40's and 50's all week with lows below freezing again. I really just want to stay in bed and mope all day, but I still have kids to wrangle and chores to do. It seems like even the bare basics are exhausting me. I don't deal well with change, especially loss. It's going to take a while for me to process it all.
I'm still planning to set up at least one of the raised garden beds tomorrow. Originally we'd planned to do two, but the trailer I'm borrowing can only carry one cubic yard at a time, so we'll just be doing one for now. I'll try to take photos for tomorrow's blog post... if I don't freeze my fingers working outside (high of 44* (F) with 20-30 mph wind).
In an attempt to keep myself busy today, I spent some time on the computer this morning, this afternoon Tony brought me to Menards so we could buy the bricks I need for the raised garden bed project, and this evening the kids and I had a short fire (in the fire pit of course) to burn off the dead grass I raked out of the tulip garden. It's supposed to rain tonight and tomorrow, and I wanted to burn it before it got soggy and hard to rake.
I've made arrangements to pick up a couple yards of black dirt from Hengel on Monday so I can get this project rolling. I also mailed off my thank you letter to them today.
I still feel like I'm stuck in a fog. Everything is dull and I feel like everything is in slow motion. I don't want to do much, and I'm having trouble deciding what else to do.
I need a project, so I'm putting together a plan for what to grow in the new raised bed. The smaller one will be for the onion sets Tony got on sale (100 for 99-cents, three different kinds). I'm not sure what we will do in the bigger one yet. I'm trying to combine square foot and companion gardening.
My dear sweet Nadia is gone. Her collar is here on my desk, her body has been laid to rest in my parents' yard. I lied to her in the end. She was so upset that we were all crying. She didn't understand what was wrong, or why we were upset, and that made her upset. So in the end, I stood her up, and I told her we were going home. I told her to go to the car for a car ride. She wagged her tail and hobbled (almost ran) to the car, and voluntarily tried to climb in. She was so happy to go home. The vet did the injections in the car (after we had sat with her in the sun and grass for a long while). I took her paw print, and I believe I will get it tattooed, but I'm not sure where just yet.
On the way home from the vet (with Nadia's body in the back seat), we stopped by Hengel (a local construction company). They have all kinds of rocks (and dirt and sand and concrete), and I thought that we might be able to pick out a nice headstone for Nadia. The guy at the front counter was nice and when we explained that we just wanted one rock, for a headstone, he told us we could drive to the rock piles and pick one out. I found a very unique rock that looks almost as though there are fossils in it, and it has a chunk of quartz on one end. It really was unique, just like Nadia, so we loaded it up in the car and drove back to the office to pay for it. The man came out and told us we could have it for free. I will be sending a thank you note; and when it comes time to buy dirt to fill my raised beds, I will be using Hengel. A huge thank you for their kindness on a day that was otherwise very difficult for me.
While Tony and my brother dug a hole, #3 and #4 set to scrubbing the stone clean with old tooth brushes and soapy water. It really looks even better cleaned up.
My parents have a patch of lilies growing wild in the woods just off the edge of their side yard, so I dug up a couple and planted them on either side of Nadia's head stone. It looks pretty nice.
It's been a rough day. My eyes hurt from crying so much, and I'm sure there's going to be plenty more tears to come. I'm really not sure what to do now. I've had Nadia longer than three of my kids, so I'm feeling really empty and lost, but mostly lonely.
Tony asked if I would start looking for a new dog to train in to be my service dog over the summer. My first thought is to immediately rush out and get a new dog to fill the void, but I know that's a bad idea. I don't want to compare a new dog to Nadia, because they'd never be able to match up. I need a dog that suits my needs, not just to fill a space. I don't know that I will ever find a perfect match like Nadia. Maybe an ideal candidate will come along, but I'm not going to be actively looking. Nadia was truly one of a kind, and I don't know that I'll ever find one even remotely like her if I searched the world over for the rest of my life.
Instead of focusing on what a great loss this is, I've decided to thank God for the decade (technically 11 years) Nadia and I spent together. For the beautiful friendship, fond memories, happy times (and some sad), and the support she gave me. The confidence we fostered in each other as we both grew and matured, for her everlasting patience with me, and I with her. For her unbelievable transition from terrified and abandoned, to confident family member. I am so thankful that I was blessed with caring for this amazing dog. At first I told people that I nursed her through the first couple years when she was so afraid of men and loud noises that she'd drop to the ground and urinate all over herself. That I cared for her through not one but two rounds of heartworm treatment because she was so infested when she was abandoned. That I diligently worked with her through obedience class to complete her CGC (Canine Good Citizen). But that was wrong. All along, she was the one saving me. She gave me purpose, she saw me though good and bad times, she taught me patience (I'm still learning), and reinforced putting other peoples' needs before my own. She gave me the confidence to go out in public, to speak to people, even to make eye contact with strangers. She gave me hope that I could regain some semblance of a normal social life with her by my side. At the risk of sounding cliche - I didn't rescue her, she rescued me.
I hope some day I can be rescued once again by a soul as magnificent as Nadia's was. See you again one day at Rainbow Bridge my precious girl. I love you Nadia. Good girl. Good girl.
Today was a bad day. Tomorrow will be worse.
Last night at about 1:30am, my mom called me. She was going to bed and realized Nadia hadn't come in. Nadia has separation anxiety and this was very much not like her. My mom found Nadia in the dog house, but Nadia wouldn't come when called (also out of character). When my Mom went to try to coax Nadia out of the dog house, she found her paralyzed. Nadia wasn't moving anything below her neck. She carried Nadia into the house. This is a feat unto itself as Nadia is 60 pounds and my mom isn't very big. She called me asking what to do, since Nadia is my dog, but lives with my mom temporarily.
She ended up calling two emergency vets, both suggested making her comfortable and coming in the next morning. So she did.
Today I went over and Nadia was laying on her bed, where my Mom had put her the night before. I could tell she was in immense pain. She kept licking her lips. She hadn't been out to go potty since the night before. Mom had gotten her to eat and drink some. I picked her up and carried her outside. I got her up on three legs and she did hop forward several paces over several minutes before becoming exhausted and falling over.
I did a full physical exam and concluded it was an issue with her back right leg. She wouldn't put weight on it and it was definitely painful.
Off to the vet where a professional physical exam confirmed a leg and possible neurological problem. Three X-rays revealed more. Her right hip is out of joint. But not like a normal dislocated hip. No, Nadia has always been a little different, and here she excelled. Instead of dislocating up and over the pelvic bone, her hip was under and twisted at an odd angle. The vet said he'd heard of this, but in all his years had never actually seen it before.
Options were scant. We could sedate her and he could try to manually replace the hip, but it wasn't likely to work, and the sedation alone could kill her (she is 11-12 years old now). We could get a referral to St Cloud to see a specialist, which would come with specialist pricing and no guarantees. Being older, she isn't likely to "bounce back" from a surgery and definitely wouldn't be able to adjust to being three legged if surgical repair failed. She is in too much pain and cannot bear weight which means she would be suffering if nothing was done. The last option was euthanasia.
Of course we agreed to sedate her and try to replace the hip. We were told she'd have to stay overnight and that they'd call to let us know how it went.
We stopped by DQ for lunch and then headed home (30-45 minute drive). I got the call just as we pulled up to my house. They couldn't get the hip back in, even after 13 more X-rays. There was significant damage to her muscles and tissues in that area, indicating she had some major trauma (still not sure what happened). The two veterinarians disagreed on if her pelvis was also broken.
After a lot if tears (which are still coming), a ton or prayers, and a couple conversations, I know that Nadia needs to be put to sleep. She's my service dog, my companion, but most of all, she's family. I can't let her suffer, and I don't think it's fair to put her through more surgeries that are not likely to fix her. It's not a matter of money. This is purely about quality of life and being humane.
I'm beside myself with grief and heartache. Nadia came to me (abandoned on my doorstep) abused, terrified, and sick with heart worms and Lyme disease at 9-12 months old. Within the first year I'd already spent $1200 in vet bills to get her well. It took years of reassurance and training to overcome her overwhelming fear of men. I brought her through obedience class, she got her CGC (Canine Good Citizen), and would accompany me to work at the local pet store on occasion. Just last year she became my service dog. And tomorrow I will sit with her for the last time as she is put to sleep. I am truly devastated right now.
We weren't home much today, but this evening I was able to rake out and start weeding in the tulip garden. I can confirm that there are tulips starting to come up, and it looks like all three of the iris plants made it and are starting to poke up as well. Hopefully they will flower this year (they didn't last year). I also found two red thorny branches that look like raspberry plants - though neither is the one I planted last year (which appears to have died). I'm not sure if I should tear them out or leave them. The original plan was to have a berry bush along the back edge to grow as a natural fence/border.
I have also decided that I want to rip out the bushes (or small trees?) in the far back corner. This will eliminate the need to keep pruning them back, and allow me to put something more useful there. Perhaps a goji berry plant, or other berry bush. I'm not sure yet. Perhaps rhubarb would enjoy that spot. More research and thought is needed.
I'm looking forward to Tony's first paycheck this Friday (new job - yay!). I have plans to buy some construction bricks and a cubic yard of black dirt to set up an 8-foot by 5-foot raised garden in the front yard. This will give me the chance to play in dirt while I anxiously await the larger (and more expensive) project that is our in-ground garden in back.
I planted some sprouting garlic cloves into the black raspberry patch. There are five of them in a circle right in the center of the berry patch. Thanks to #2 who raked out a nice spot for them so I wouldn't have to get all scratched up trying to do it by hand. I have no idea if they'll survive the upcoming freezing temperatures (yeah, that's in the forecast again).
I had planned to get the last of my tomato seeds wintersown, but ended up with just one container - Snowball X Cauliflower.
Those mystery flowers are starting to bloom. They're so dainty, it doesn't surprise me that they went unnoticed for so long.
People on Facebook have been trying to identify these. I've heard crocus, bluebells, and Scilla, though Scilla Siberica seems to be what this is (assuming via Google image search).
Amanda's blog about everything, important and trivial.