Wow! Here it is nearly a month since our last post, but we haven’t stood still for a minute of it. Neither has the weather, and even though we were in the mid 80’s last week, the rains have finally settled in for the long haul.
Stewart is recovering from his eye surgery; Hildegard graduated from puppy kindergarten (Thinking Dog w/Laura Berger); Fergus is still short and cranky.
Class wasn’t all work though. Part of being a civilized canine is learning how to safely interact with other dogs, so each class started out with a serious puppy pack rampage. We brought in our second crop of carrots. Even though things got too hectic to weed as often as we like, Scarlet Nantes outperformed the hybrid Nelson carrot we planted as a first crop. This year we decided to treat ourselves to some Luscious sweet corn instead of the usual feed/meal/flour corn. Once we figured out that the ring-necked doves were pulling the sprouts out, and replanted, this corn did rather well in our former-rainforest-berryfarm-pasture soil. But the thing about sweet corn is that it starts to decline as soon as it’s picked. And the thing about corn in general is that you have to plant a certain amount to get good pollination. Which adds up to surplus!
So even though we like to maintain a gadget-neutral footprint, it was time for a FoodSaver… Oh wait! Not that kind… After poring over reviews, asking friends & family, and just plain impulse-shopping at Costco, we put this shiny thing on the counter. Certain food just doesn’t can well, corn being a prime example. It’s edible, but 55 minutes per pint in the pressure canner takes away from the fresh-picked, summer vibe. So far it is a solid addition to our appliance line-up. The bags are a recurring expense, but with some thrifty planning and bulk buying, they will pay for themselves in food storage quality. We also used it to freeze the sour cabbage we made (more on that later) for cabbage rolls. Last winter we realized we didn’t have time to press all the cider apples from our trees, so into the freezer they went. Naturally it wasn’t until both freezers were jam packed and we needed more space for the current year’s bounty that we got around to trying out our antique fruit/lard/sausage press. It’s not as efficient as our neighbor’s full-sized set up, but we got about 3 gallons of juice (which is now fermenting in a carboy). The new dog palace is finally under construction. First step was building a raised deck that will soon have a roof for all-weather lounging. The dog house itself will be in one bay of the hay mow, insulated, with heat and light. The door will be just right of center in the wall, and the 12 x 12 kennel will be sited against the north facing wall. This will give the dog pack full view of the house, hen yard, and most access points. Not that they spend much time out in the weather…so spoiled! We also made time for a recreational jaunt, our last one in Big Blue (our 2007 Dodge Ram truck), and Stewart’s first outing since his eye surgery. After pulling up the Google Earth view on the ipad, and some tricky route finding, we drove nearly to the top of 3200 ft. Sumas Mountain, the bit of North Cascades foothills right across the Nooksack river from us. It was a bit hazy from all the recent forest fires, but still amazing to see our little piece of the PNW in panoramic view. Seven Trees Farm is nestled behind a treed area to the far left of this picture. And speaking of forest fires, the constant blanket of smoke has meant some amazing sunsets this summer. Now that the rainy season has started, we probably won’t see many like this for a long time.