Monday, August 30, 2010

I love Lucy!

I have to admit, I am pretty bummed that the gardening season is winding down. I learned a lot about our garden in the last two years. First and foremost I learned that our garden is very shaded, much more than we thought, and therefore it takes weeks longer for us to get fruit or to ripen than the average NH garden. We are dangerously close to being too late and yet our first beefsteak is ripening on the vine as I speak. That's right, I said FIRST beefsteak. The unripened fruit is plentiful but we just don't have the sunshine to back it up!
Summer Crookneck Squash - 150 Seeds
Powdery mildew, a Biotrophic FungusImage via Wikipedia

Yesterday I cleared out several beds. I pulled the old bean plants as well as the snap peas. I also ended up with a pretty darn good case of powdery mildew that got to my squash and zucchini as well as my pumpkin plant so I pulled them as well. Looking out over the garden and seeing these bare spots really brings home the season's end.  Now poor Harry has to put up with my winter blues and hair brained schemes that keep me (and my brain and eventually him) busy. Think of it a little like an older, more modern I love Lucy episode.

Shmoopywood is good, we have not been working on it. Life has just taken us away from preparing our home in the north. Instead, we have been focusing on preparing our southern home. This is not a negative thing, its a very good thing. We have taken several large steps in getting to where we need to be!! I am sure Dave will be happy to help me with the "milling your own wheat" post I have swirling in my head too! Which is one of the winter ideas. Until then... hasta la bye bye ;)
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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Blue Angels


airshow 259 The family, including our kids, hopped in our truck and headed about 45 minutes east of us to go to the Blue Angels air show.  I had never been to an air show before so I really didn’t know what to expect. I knew the weather would be really nice and I also know that Hubby LOVES the Blue Angels so we packed up our crap and headed out. I made sure I grabbed my camera. We got there around 11:30 and stayed at the actual show until right before the blue angels started, then we headed out to the parking lot with the idea that we would be able to beat some of the traffic. These are the pictures I got from the parking lot!




This picture they were turning and went right over our heads.

airshow 360 We were really lucky that we decided to handle things that way because the news said this morning that some people were sitting 100 feet from their parking space three hours later! I have to say that the show was lovely and the kids flying the planes were incredibly friendly and kind. I also have to say that the planning for this event was VERY poor. They didn’t let people bring coolers and ice (not sure why not but ok) and this prevented most people from bringing their own food. Then they only figured 70,000 people for the entire weekend. Yesterday alone was more than 70,000 people and by about 2pm they had completely run out of water. The food was 1hour wait in line! It was really bad.



I zoomed in on this here at home and you can see the pilots heads :)


Because we left a bit early we were fully able to enjoy the show (90%) and the whole ride home only took 45 minutes. It was incredible! what did you do this weekend?airshow 131












This is an idea of how many people were there.

airshow 384

When we left people were pulled over on the side of highway 95S because the Blue Angels were passing over the road.

airshow dave 200

me and the rug rats

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Ark -

And now, I present to you, my better half and his spy truck!
This post is for the boyz :) 
And Chris

The Ark, You could call this a number of things, the ultimate in recycling, weird, cool, whatever. We’ve named it the ark.

Most common question we get? What is it?

This is a 1973 Steyr-Puch Pinzgauer 710K…. Like that clears anything up. Ok, its an Austrian Military vehicle that was developed back in the 70’s, this one spent some time as a Swiss Radio truck (which makes it the 710K) version. Most notable for this version is the hard top, AC and the three across seating in the back with a table. The table was meant as a platform for Radio/command gear and the AC is to keep of that cool in the summer. The very back has a custom jump seat installed and the interior (although the proper layout for a Radio/command vehicle) is heavily customized as well as being dotted with Civilian creature comforts.

Its an absolute blast to drive and has become a daily driver for me around town. Although capable of 65mph, its more comfortable at 55 so its not really suited for long stretches of highway travel.

You can see by this view… the rather interesting layout of the Dash. Bottom left behind the driver seat is the gas heater (not functional currently due to a missing part) but its meant to run directly off the unleaded fuel tank. No Power steering, vacuum assisted drum brakes, 5 speed with two speed transfer case, the three levers on the center console are hydraulic’s to control the use of 4x4, locking the rear and locking the front axels. To the right of that we have a glove compartment (not exciting) window fluid washer and the passenger seat. Moving up top we’ve got a newly installed radio with MP3 and a CB. The observation/gunners hatch is FULLY functional.

While still in the front of the vehicle, you can see the power plant (with doghouse and front seats removed for maintenance. What you see is a Steyr Engine, Inline 4 cylinder, Air Cooled, Unleaded Gas. 89 Horse power. Yep, even though this was designed in the 70’s they installed gas engine, the diesels didn’t come out until later. Because of the military design and engineering, you’ll notice that everything is accessible very easily so that things can be repaired in the field.


Moving out back, we see the table which was designed for radio gear/maps or whatever the 3 passengers in the back wanted. I’ve installed OEM weapons mounts and have begun the process of installing VHF, CB, Scanning, HDTV, Weather Alert, and Shortwave receive gear.  Everything is powered by a 420 amp hour battery bank made up of deep cycles. Very hush hush, spy stuff 



Anyway… This is our latest addition and should serve us well during any emergency or off-road travels. Should probably also mention the other unique feature of this marvel of engineering…. Portal Axels and some massive interco swampers… In theory this should keep us from getting stuck provided we don’t go over the capabilities of the truck. Other common questions:

Is that A Volkswagen: NO!
Where can I get one: Ebay or Craigslist
How Much: Depends on condition, Average 11K but can be as high as 40K depending on modifications
How do you fix it: Just like any other truck
Is that 4 wheel drive: Yes, And then some!
How about parts: well they are still made and almost identical so there are plenty of parts available
Does it float: Only for a second
Is it top heavy: No actually is got a VERY low center of gravity and can do 45 degrees on a side slope yikes.
Why did you get it: Zombies

Check them out on youtube… they can do some pretty amazing things, just search for pinzgauer. This is one of my favorites….

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What, its what's for dinner!

Last night we went shopping online for a grain mill and for grain. This is something the husband has wanted to do for a long time and much research was completed to get us to this spot. We got the Country Living one (pictured left) and 45lbs of wheat to start. I guess this is going to be another one of our interesting adventures! Part of what prompted us to do this was the seriously rising costs of wheat. 

I don't know if you are watching it or if you care to go there and that is totally cool but if you are concerned about economy and shortages, you should have a look at what is going on with wheat by just googling it. Maybe you will finish reading it and think that I have finally lost my coconuts or maybe it will stir something within you that makes you want to find out more information. Either way I am cool with it. I have not lost my mind (yet) but I am interested in the whole wheat milling process. I think it would be incredibly neat to mill wheat and then further process that into bread. Also, if you were with me last winter, you should know that bread has been one of my main focuses during the winter months because I would love to be able to create that perfect loaf!

What are you doing today to help make your family more self sustained? What have you done in the last week to help spare our environment? Do you have any long term plans for your family in these ways or do you think people who make these types of plans are cuckoo? lol
It wouldn't suck to hear from you!

p.s. Chris, the zombie spy truck post is coming!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Fall is Coming!

Our garden is winding down, the beans and snap peas are spent, the squash is slowing. Yes, i still have some watermelon ripening as well as my peppers and potatoes. Sadly, I see evidence of the fall creeping up on us. The kids are headed back to school Wednesday, Tarynn to begin her Senior year in high school and Andrew to start his Freshman year. We are taking time to enjoy each other as we all know, our time together will change soon as they fly away from the nest. We are planning our next hatch which will be in the winter, and we are also planning next year’s garden. We have learned that our garden is a bit shadier than others so our garden is slightly behind and slower to ripen. Not sure what the ramifications of this are, I guess we run the risk of losing our tomatoes or harvest to weather. We like our wooded yard though so I am not sure we are willing to change that, but we can plant more creatively to make it work for us.

Yesterday I got to have a play date with my friend’s puppy Nycon. Nycon’s family was going to be away from home all day and since he is just a small puppy (7.5 months old and 100+ pounds) he needed someone to watch him. Originally his family was just wondering if I could come and take him for a walk or something but this morphed into a fun play date for Noah and then into Day of the danes. I will leave you with pictures of our youngest Dane and his best bud having a day together.

Enjoy your last days of warmth.

Trip1 001

Noah and Nycon 3 months ago

daneday 034

Nycon and Noah today


playing puppies.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

And Now for something completely different – Video Blog #1

I have been basically sitting on my hind end all day feeling sorry for myself that my vacation is over. I hate that I have to wait another 6 months or so until I get to do the things that I love to do… you know, sleeping in etc. SO in protest of Monday, I have done nothing all day long. Then I decided that I wanted to blog. I love blogging but sometimes I just have trouble with content.

I headed outside with my camera and hoped for inspiration. Then, suddenly, it came to me! A video blog! Well, I guess I thought that maybe trying something different around here would be kind of fun? I dont know how many people are really reading me anyway so I am not shy or embarrassed about having my voice heard. Its actually what I do for a living! lol  So I thought I would start off with a tour of the chicken area. In this tour you get to meet all the girls (and the rooster) plus you meet Frankenstein and Noah. Django could not be reached for comment (he is napping).

There are 10, but they are 10-20 seconds each. The first video, the one that showed the front of the chicken yard was corrupt so we start off with “this is the rest of the chicken yard” lol sorry.

The New pen

The old pen

Inside the coop






So that our backyard chicken habitat and 2 of 3 Great Danes. Feel free to post comments or whatever if you think that this post sucks or if you loved it :)



Thursday, August 12, 2010

I made squash!

I feel like I have accomplished something when something “unusual” comes out of my garden. Nevermind the fact that everwhere I look it says that Yellow Squash is the easiest to grow. I am happy to have one come out of my garden successfully! I also had to hand pollinate my squashONE lone female pumpkin flower. All the flowers all summer have been male. When the female budded, I just couldn't leave that to chance! Strange because the same thing is happening with my zucchini. All the flowers have been male.

Anyway, behold in all its glory… my squash!


(there is another one coming in to be picked in a few days too!)

In other news, we have been really busy going from amusment to amusement and seeing all the sites. Today we were in Faneuil hall and the New England Aquarium. It was nice!!!

When we got home, it was discovered that Frank pooped on the rug and then walked through it and got it on the couch, the wall, the rug and on the pillows (about 9 of them) so off I went to Target to get new pillows lol. You really do have to have a good sense of humor with Great Danes!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A little bit of this and that

Every year we take a nice long vacation with our cousin from Florida. She is 14 this year and has been raised the majority of her life in Florida so you can imagine that New Hampshire is definitely a change for her when she gets here. We aren't doing anything special really, just the touristy things that the residents of this area do not usually get the opportunity to attend. Either because when we see the beauty every day we tend to not really “SEE” the beauty any more. We will be taking a trek to VT to see the Ben and Jerry’s factory, maybe go to Boston for a day, climb a mountain, and we will also be headed to the cabin for a day as well. We have a week to accomplish all this and the weather looks really hot too.

Map picture

The garden is doing great, we have started to harvest the cherry tomatoes from the garden as well as cucumbers. I have quite a few yellow squash growing as well. The beans are fairly well spent as well as the sugar snap peas. I will see if I can find a few minutes to snap pictures of the garden. I do have to say on the negative side though, I have had to hand pollinate most of my squash. I cannot for the life of me get the bees into my garden!

The critters in my household have not faired as well. I am not sure if I told you but the little stinky puppy brought home kennel cough. That chain reactioned through the entire house of dogs. One of our guys is an older dude so we were really concerned about him getting it so they all ended up going on Docycycline to prevent the secondary infections which could be deadly to him. Danes are sensitive and sometimes when they get sick, it can cause them to break out with other problems as well. My guys all started with Acne, or Staph. Apparently the Doxy wiped out their ability to fight the staph. Django got it in his eyes as well as his chest and belly. Frank got it between his toes (see picture). So now those two are on more antibiotics to prevent more problems.

cam 007

Django also has other issues. It seems like he is losing his back end. We aren't really sure what the issue is. I could go into the whole sordid detail of what each vet thinks it is but what it all comes down to in the end is the treatments are the same…There is no treatment. So we have started acupuncture and chiro with him. It was really pretty cool! I am not sure today if what I see is really an improvement or if it is just me wanting it to have worked but he seems like he is walking way less stiffly.

So that is us and the state of our little homestead. I feel like this summer is zooming by us without any chance and hope to slow it down.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Dog Post!

Side note: I recently decided in my small little brain that if I were to get a laptop, I then would have more time, magically, to blog. I have had the laptop since Monday. It is now Thursday and I have only just now had a chance to blog. Having the new laptop does not give me something to blog about though so I will have to stick with whats going on around here.

Noah graduated from Puppy Star Kindergarten and because he is such a wonder and a marvel, they have accelerated his learning and he skipped a grade.  I wandered around proudly for a week, and then gathered my pride and a bag full of treats and took the little wonder dog to his first LEVEL TWO obedience class.  We introduced ourselves and the teacher set the stage and we began to run through our tricks. It didnt take long for me to figure out that although Noah is an extremely smart boy (and rather cute I might add), his owner, is just an owner. His owner is not a marvel, wonder owner or any great amazing "natural" obedience trainer. No, sadly, Noah's owner is just a dog owner and at best, mediocre. 

IN case I had not really grasped this, I spent the entire evening sweating, hollering commands and chasing the little IMP around the arena. I think I may have even seen one of the other owners stifle a laugh!  Thankfully though, Noah really is a genius and he was able to guide me and we got through the day.

Oh and our homework is... teach your dog to spin, no direction, no cheating and looking it up but we must teach that dog to spin on command. I don't know about you, but I go to these things because I do not posess the ability to teach a dog to spin on command, without direction. That is the whole point after all.
Thanks lady. Thanks for making me feel confident and secure. I am sure that attitude will rub off on the dog and he will remain well rounded.