Thursday, November 11, 2010

Death's aftertaste

Looking at my post of October 20th makes me cry. She was such a wonderful dog.
I was out in the yard raking today and continuing my garden clean-up, and sensed a movement out of the corner of my eye. It was Caddy! No, unfortunately, it wasn't. Just a bird flying overhead or the wind lifting a leaf into the air.
Her ashes were mailed to us about a week after her cremation at the Ark Valley Humane Society facility in Buena Vista. Thank god there is such a facility near us here in the hinterlands of the San Luis Valley.
Right now she is placed on a shelf in the kitchen since that was her favorite room in the house. I am still touched by cards that we received from Alpine Vet (Tyler Ratzlaff was the vet who euthanized her), Stephen Myers (a wonderful former co-worker who sent a beautiful card), two children (Sam Clark and Daniel Clark) from the next block who gave a gift of wonderful chocolate and hand-written notes acknowledging the loss of Caddy, and, lastly, the wonderful poem that accompanied Caddy's ashes from the staff at the Ark Valley Humane Society.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Doggie heaven for Caddy the dog

Caddy was euthanized today after a great life that we got to share with her. Born summer 1995 and adopted by us December 5 of the same year, she went to Green Bay Packerland in the sky at 8:30 am today, October 20, 2010.

Never will there be a better dog.

Monday, October 4, 2010

No freeze yet - astounding!

I'm still harvesting tomatoes and zucchini. We have not even come that close to 32 degrees except one morning when I had plants covered. I depart today for two weeks and I CANNOT imagine that we won't freeze during that time. I canned four pints of my tomatoes a few days ago - that may be nearly a first for my time here in CO (hard to get enough tomatoes to can!).
Did a great hike yesterday up on Cumbres Pass and saw what's likely the peak of colors (photo is not great but I only took a couple).
Have planted about 15 perennials (shrubs & flowers) the past few days; that would normally not be happening but the soil is still pretty warm so I think the plants will do OK. Planted fleabane, nanking cherry, three leaf sumac, Mexican hat coneflower, pineleaf penstemon, lamb's ear, hymenoxys, Rocky Mountain orange daisy, basket 'o' gold, potentilla, blue mist spirea, prince's plume, fernbush, desert 4:00. Probably more that I forgot. Hope they all survive the winter (if we have one!).

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Harvest nearly over as is Caddy's long life

Though we haven't had more than a very light frost, harvest of vegetables seems to be nearing the end. I picked the last green beans two nights ago, the last of the Daikon radishes, some swiss chard, tomatoes, and garlic. I still have lots of winter squashes to pick up, but will wait until after we get a REAL frost, which is not yet in the forecast.
As soon as I get some time, I'm going to plant some late season (lettuce, greens, maybe beets & carrots) crops and then cover them with a small hoop house (metal stays and Agribon row cover material). I want to see how late I can feasibly grow food.
Days have been beautiful, clear, sunny & dry, in the 80's. Sandhills were first heard back in the valley two weeks ago today. A few V's of geese have been spotted too.
Caddy the 16-year-old dog is aging rapidly; her mobility is nearly gone, and we frequently have to pick her up after she falls over during her stumbling sojourns around the yard and house. Smooth carpet-less floors are her nemesis, as is the smallest obstacle. We've talked about euthanasia many times over the past few weeks, but the time does not yet seem to be right or necessary.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Eight raspberries harvested !!!

Finally I have some raspberries, though only eight! There are a few more that need more days in the sun. Still not sure that raspberries are worth the water; I'll likely never get enough from my own plants to actually make JAM! A few other raspberry canes are in the vegetable garden but are semi-smothered by all the squash vines.
Today I harvested roughly a two-gallon bucket of green and gold beans, then made about 15 pints of "dilly beans" (pickled beans with dill, garlic cloves,& chile flakes for some zing!). Also made a "chocolate zucchini cake" and two more loaves of zucchini bread, which went to the freezer. Then shredded a bunch of zucchini and stuck that in the freezer too.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The squash is starting to overwhelm

In the past week I've harvested four eight-ball zucchini and a couple costata romanesca. Two of the eight-ball sort of got away from me visually so they're way bigger than eight-balls! The tendrils from all of the winter squash I planted are going nuts and making me reluctant to venture too far into the garden. It's difficult to get to the other end because of all the squash obstacles.

The current crop of spinach is finished, as are the peas. The pole beans are just starting to be pick-able, and I finally found some teeny tomatillos!!! Maybe I'll get some after all this summer. I have lots of tomatoes on the vines, both cherry & others, but all are still green. I used some of my dill, basil, and chives to flavor some homemade salad dressing, and I can still smell the dill on my fingers - love that smell!

The cabbage worms have arrived via their mother the cabbage moth, and are, as usual, voraciously chewing their way through my cabbage plants. They were late this year so may not do as much damage as usual. I've killed about 40 or 50 so far, and have also harvested one head of cabbage that didn't look too heavily chewed on.

I'm going to try some season-extending techniques this fall with row covers and hoops, so I can get some greens (spinach & lettuces) a little later. It'll be an interesting experiment that I hope works. I don't know if I'm quite as ambitious as Eliot Coleman ( to try to grow throughout the winter, but at least will try a few months in the fall & spring. It'd be great if it succeeded as it would mean home-grown salads in November!

Once again this spring I planted some morning glory seeds, and in the image is the resulting lovely flower. They don't like the heat we've gotten this summer, a little more than usual it seems, but appear to getting accustomed to it and are blooming now. Some of the m.glory seeds from two summers ago have germinated also (volunteers), so I have morning glories popping out in lots of places.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Harvesting continues....

This year has been extremely productive for certain vegetables - spinach, lettuce, squash (eight-ball zucchini & costata romanesca), radishes, swiss chard, onions, peas, and probably more that I'm not remembering. It's great having a salad with more than half of the ingredients "locally" picked! I have some small raspberries that I hope will ripen before the first frost. And lots of tomatoes too, plus tomatillos, which I haven't grown before. There are dozens of little blossoms on the tomatillos, but I see any little tomatillos yet. Since I haven't ever seen one growing, I may be missing it due to lack of familiarity....

My cabbage plants aren't being chewed to pieces yet by cabbage worms, and for a while I was noticing that the cabbage butterflies were nowhere to be found. But they have now found the garden, and I expect to start seeing little dastardly caterpillars any day.

I planted about 8-10 squash plants this year which may have been a mistake because now I have squash tendrils winding everywhere in the garden and blocking the sun from other vegetable plants.

My perennials are doing pretty good, depending on which garden they're in. The front garden is still low in nitrogen and is sort of weeny-looking, but everything else looks good.

Caddy, the 16-year-old dog, slows down by the day. Since her mobility has declined we seldom walk beyond the Veteran's Center, which means I haven't been around Home Lake for a few months. Wildlife observations are in decline as a result. When I was at the Rio Grande SWA last week though, I did see a couple hawks and a cow elk - the latter I have NEVER seen at the SWA. It was great to take my first run after the SWA re-opening on July 15; it always feels like I'm seeing the area for the first time.