Springtime clean time

You know, with a title like that, you’d think I’m going to be talking about all the spring cleaning we’ve done.  Well, you’d be wrong.  Because I frickin’ hate to clean.  I kid you not, when Jesse is out of school and has some amazing new job, we are going to hire a cleaner to come in at least once a month (if not more frequently) to clean.  Because I hate to clean, if that wasn’t clear.  I don’t mind cleaning up the counters or washing the dishes, but I’m not keen on anything else.

Honestly, though, we do need to do a deep clean on the house.  And Jesse has done a great job weeding the yard but there is still a ton to be done, so provided we have nice weather the next couple days I will be out in the yard with him, cleaning up the rest of the garden area. 

I was excited to see our first rose bloom of the season, as well as the rhododendrons flowering.

first rose of 2014

first rose of 2014

rhododendron

rhododendron

Our columbine flowers add splashes of color around the yard as well.

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We had to put a new dog run together for the puppies.  We were using two small metal dog gates to cordon off their area, but Benny was able to climb the gate like a ladder and escape.  Then Luca would sit there and bark and howl because Benny was out and Luca wanted to be out, too, or at least he just didn’t want to be by himself.  Benny doesn’t seem to mind hanging out on his own but Luca hates it.

We bought some new posts and more fencing and created a taller run.  So far Benny has not even *attempted* to climb it.

new dog run

new dog run

It gives them a good amount of space to hang out in, and Jesse stacked a tree limb hideout for them to crawl under and give them shade. 

We took the boys to their first puppy training class last week.  It was interesting.  Benny was not having any of it, didn’t really want to be around the other dogs, just wanted to hide and watch.  Luca was more outgoing in that he seemed to be more interested in the other pups and his surroundings, but they were both quite a bit smaller than the other puppies there.  Eventually the trainers decided to cordon off our two puppies together with the thought that it would build our pups’ confidence to be around the other dogs but not have to interact with them.

We brought the puppies over to Velvet’s on Saturday so they could hang out with Harold, and man, they did not know what to think of that.  To be fair, the minute they came out of their kennel Harold was trying to hump them.  He is the horniest dog I have ever seen!  I would not have been surprised had he keeled over from a heart attack because he was panting pretty heavily and couldn’t seem to catch his breath.  Both Benny and Luca would run over to me to hide in my lap while I would nudge Harold out of the way, and they they be off exploring again.  By the end of the day they seemed pretty relaxed with Harold.

On Sunday, Jesse brought the puppies over to his folks’ house since he was helping out over there, and his parents currently have three adult dogs in residence.  I was a bit worried because those dogs don’t socialize with other dogs often, but apparently they played very well with the puppies.  No biting or barking or growing or snarling, just playing.  The pups played outside almost all day and seemed pretty tired when they came home last night.  We have puppy class again in a couple days and are going to a playdate-type situation about a half-hour before class starts.  We WILL have these puppies well socialized!

To send you off, here are some pictures of Jesse’s amazing crust-making skills, and Ezra enjoying his breakfast.

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Some crazy happenings around this place

Mom and Jim came to town for a couple days a few weeks ago on their way to bowling nationals in Reno.  It was great to see them both and spend some quality time.  And, I got my hair trimmed for the first time since last July (which was when I saw mom last), so that was good.  We went shopping and ate food and a fun time was had by all.

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In the meantime, Jesse finished his Spring school semester with enough flying colors that he was able to advance to the next set of classes for summer, and really that’s all we’re asking for.

You all know how we’ve been chewing over getting a dog for the past couple months.  We had decided that it wasn’t the right time with Jesse in school and me working all day.  Then Jesse tells me that he was going to get me a puppy for mother’s day but he wanted me to select it.  We went back and forth about it again and decided that this was actually the PERFECT time to get a puppy because Jesse’s classes are all online this summer, and hopefully we could potty train a puppy before Jess had to be back in class this fall.

We started looking immediately and instead of finding one puppy, I ended up coming home with two!  Meet Benny and Luca:

Luca is black and Benny is brown

Luca is black and Benny is brown

They are siblings from the same litter.  They are good pups, but we have a hard road ahead of us. Mister and Jojo are pretty understanding, all things considered.  Nowhere near sleeping with each other yet, but no growling or hissing.

The day after I brought the puppies home Jesse expressed his concern that we have two of them and how I should have just gotten one, but it’s been pretty good so far.  I want to start them in obedience training in a couple weeks, just working out the kinks there.  I don’t want to go crazy training, but I think basic commands are a must.

We have so many eggs right now it’s ridiculous.  I look for recipes that use a lot of eggs but I’m running out of ideas.  We make a lot of quiche.  We typically make more crust than needed, so the other day we decided to make a couple pies.  Jesse made a coconut and I made a banana cream.  My pie was AMAZING!  The pudding was great and it had perfect banana flavor.  The crust Jesse made was awesome as well.

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coconut pie production from scratch

coconut pie production from scratch

banana pie pudding from scratch

banana pie pudding from scratch

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finished coconut pie

finished coconut pie

finished banana pie

finished banana pie

This was the same night we had Velvet and family over for dinner.  What was on the menu that night?  Fried rabbit!  I had never attemped to fry anything prior to that night and I must say that the doneness level was great, but my seasoning left a lot to be desired.  I was afraid of seasoning too much in the flour mix but I could have used a MUCH heavier hand and they would have tasted better.  As it was they didn’t have a lot of flavor, just kind of like bland chicken.  Oh well, I’ll know for next time.  Velvet’s girls didn’t like them, but I think that may have had more to do with the fact that it was rabbit than anything else.

rabbit quarters before they go into the fryer

rabbit quarters before they go into the fryer

frying rabbit quarters

frying rabbit quarters

Because our fermented garlic in a brine turned out so well, I decided to try another ferment, this time in raw honey.  Some people do a mix of garlic, ginger, and honey, and I may try that next time, but I wanted to stick with the basics this first time.  I bought a 5 lb jug of raw honey from Cox Honey (Cache Valley blend which tastes amazing!) and when I received it in the mail I put together the garlic jars that day.

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We have five jars fermenting right now, and it’s a bit messier than the other batches we did.  There is quite a bit of pressure that builds up so you have to “burp” the jars, but in the meantime the pressure builds up and honey gets forced out of the jars from under the lids.  Last night I unscrewed the jars just enough that air can escape and I left it like that, hoping that if the pressure can easily release that I won’t have any more honey leakage.  I think when I make these again I will definitely put the glass weights in earlier and will use less honey; you can see in some of the photos that there is a band of honey at the bottom where it forced the garlic to float.  Eventually the honey will thin out and the garlic will sink again.

Jesse got the chicken expansion put together and moved out the new chicks to the yard.  Usually you’re supposed to keep separate the old flock from the new flock to ease tensions and let them just see each other first before removing whatever divider you used and let them intermingle freely.  We didn’t really have a good setup for that, so we used the chick house box and put a door on it, and placed it on its side.  That way the new chicks have a refuge if the older chickens start beating on them because the old hens cannot fit in the brooder box opening.  It seems to be working so far, and I haven’t seen much aggression to the new chickens.  Of course, a time will come when we will remove the brooder box and force the new chickens to roost in the hen house coop, and I’m sure a new pecking order will have to be established.

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new chicks

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Our cute boy

Our cute boy, loves his granola