Planning A Winter Garden

Not to be easily derailed by hungry deer and garden-destroying chickens, I came across some seeds, and then some information on 4 season gardening, and figured that if anyone could do it, I probably can’t, but why not give it a try anyway?

So, pulling my trusty seed packet off the laundry room shelf, and blowing 2 years worth of dust off of it, I opened it up to a variety of things I’d love to have growing in my garden about now.  "Back to Eden Survival Seed Kit #3"I’m thinking I could maybe do the radishes, the spinach and the winter squash.  Not sure about the onions.  I know some are winter-hardy.  Some are not.

I’m thinking of putting a thick layer of composting manure over my beds, and then some dirt, the seeds, and then plastic over that.

I was working on tucking the garden in for the winter….getting it ready for early spring planting.  But, this sounds like so much more fun!

Anyone have any winter gardening experiences they’d like to share?  Especially about getting the seeds to germinate.  I’m thinking of doing that in the house, but worry about shocking them when I put them outside.

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Onyx Had His Leg Removed

labrador retriever has leg amputated due to cancer
This is Onyx this morning. He's had his pain meds and antibiotics already.


Onyx made it through his surgery with flying colors, no complications so far at all.  When I got to the vet’s office last night to get him they had already had him outside to use the bathroom and were feeding him.  He wagged his tail when he saw me and was excited to go get in the car.

I thought I was going to have a hard time getting him in and out of the car, but the technician helped get him in and I used a towel as a sling to help him out when we got home.  His little buddy (the neighbors dog) was so happy to see him and checked out his stitches for him and made sure he was still basically in one piece. 🙂

He had a hard time getting comfortable last night because it was so hot in here.  We’ve been keeping a low fire, even though the temps have been in the sixties during the day because it does get cold at night.

It had gotten up to 100 degrees in the living room, which is normally where he sleeps, so I had to make him another bed in the computer room with a low fan set up.  It started raining really hard last night and the temperature dropped so I’m grateful for that fire this morning.

He got me up about 4 times during the night to go outside and get water and pee.  But he does that every night so that’s not unusual.  It gives me a chance to check on the fire but I’ve never needed to add wood 4 times overnight!  Maybe that will stop now that the painful leg is off and it’s not keeping him awake.

Thank goodness, the rain has stopped.  It watered my newly planted rye grass and garlic so I’m grateful for that, but we’ve had enough now.

The picture below is of the amputation site and the stitches.  It had to be taken off a little higher than normal because of a swollen lymph node in that area and they could not leave as much muscle as they should have because of it so we have to be careful he doesn’t fall on it.

His balance is a lot better than I thought it would be.

"labrador gets leg amputated due to cancer"
This is the amputation site.
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Doomsday Mentalities

Yesterday CG and I were having a conversation about whether this country is really in as bad of a condition as some of those talk radio show hosts tell us it is.

We hear how bad the economy is all the time.  I sometimes have to agree as I see feed prices going up and so many horses going to slaughter….it’s hard to sell a horse anymore for any real money and horse breeding is not the lucarative hobby it may once have been.

But in really thinking about it, maybe the decline in the horse industry is not so much that people can no longer afford their horses as it is that people have gotten in over their heads with an expensive, very expensive, pastime, and then had a shift in priorities and decided that maybe they didn’t really need so many horses after all.  Or any horses.  And, being backyard horses with little professional training and less than steller breeding, their owners soon found they either had to give them away or send them to the auction to get a few bucks on them. Is that predicament really caused by the economy or people’s personal choices?

It’s hard to swallow the doomsday economy mentality when you watch shoppers reaching for the latest expensive gadgets, plunking down a weeks salary for the latest iphone, flat screen tv, ipod, video game, etc.  And how many people during the day do I see wearing holy jeans?  Usually just one, me.

My yearly salalry is probably is very small compared to the average person, and yet I can afford to feed (although not easily) six horses, 15 goats, dogs, cats and chickens, plus two humans and still have money left over for groceries, gas, electricity, internet, occasional splurges on the grandbaby, and vet bills for my dog with cancer.

None of this is easy, but should I blame a failing economy on it, or my own life choices?  Most people I know still have a job.  Many, like myself, have made their own jobs and are their own bosses, and get to spend their companies money any way they want.

If coffee jumps to $75 a can, I’ll quit drinking it.  In fact, I already have.  Cigarettes at $10 a pack?  Well, I’ve never smoked, but maybe more people would have to quit.  Escalating costs for insurance and medical care?  Why do we end up so unhealthy and need so much care? Our government is not going to save us from ourselves.

To me it seems we’ve become so accustomed to luxury items that it’s now hard to afford the weekly grocery bill….and this Christmas we will see people, (including myself) pinching pennies and complaining about the electric bill, while spending dollars they don’t really have on things nobody really needs.

I LOVE Christmas.  I love the spirit of Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Jesus, the angels singing in every store, the lights, the decorations, the goodwill, the warm fires, the hot chocolate, the carolers, the gifts, and glitz, but how many shoppers still have homes, whether rented or owned, how many arrive at the stores decked out in warm clothes and driving late-model cars with heat and air-condtioning?

I would wager that even the worst off of us have a roof to live under, heat most of the time, food on a regular basis, and our children get the best education public school can provide them.  Sure, I can’t go out today and buy the new truck I really want, but instead of wanting a new truck, or a new iphone and feeling deprived and mad at the government, maybe I could lower my expectations, be happy with what I have, and figure out how to make do with the blessings I’ve already been given.

And that’s just my 2 cents for the day.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 01:  Allan Sims, a ...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife
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Blessed With Sunshine!

"truck stuck on a hill, out of gas"
Truck on hill, out of gas. Notice I did chock all the wheels, though....just in case.

It’s hard to believe that after all that rain, cold wind and freezing nights, the next few days we’re going to see nothing but sunshine and mild temperatures.

Yesterday was gorgeous and we got lots of leaves raked, chestnuts piled up and yard work done.  I also finally got my garlic planted, which should have been planted a month ago.  But at least it’s in the ground now.

We also got some wood cut.  Or rather I should say, CG got some wood cut.  My contribution was to pick up the wood and put it in the truck, which I had forgotten to put gas in when we got it out of the shop…thereby running it out of gas in the middle of the pasture on a really steep and muddy hill.  Dang.

Well, it’s hard to find gas on Thanksgiving day so it got to spend the night out there.

After I ran the truck out of gas,  since I’m not too fond of chainsaws in my hands, I decided to do my gardening and CG stayed put cutting more wood, er, trees.  TIMBER!  Two more very tall trees are now laid to rest, waiting to be cut, split, and to fill up our wood stove.

We only have about 300 left to go before we uncover the pasture underneath.

Good thing is we can cut firewood off our property for quite a long time.  Years, I’d say.

Bad thing is, all those trees mean we have very little grass for our horse herd.  And hay is expensive, especially buying it for six horses all year round.

During all the busy days we’ve been having around here, Onyx has managed to adopt a mini-me…the neighbors little dog has decided he likes being here more than at his home and he absolutely adores Onyx and plays with him and kisses him constantly.  They look just alike.  One big black dog.  One little black dog.  Both are invisible here in the dark and feel like tree stumps when you’re tripping over them carrying buckets of milk and grain.  🙂

Well, off to do more yard work while the sun still shines.  Good Black Friday to you all and don’t forget about Small-Buisiness Saturday tomorrow!  Shop small!

"cutting firewood"
Firewood tree
"two black dogs"
Onyx and his Mini-Me. Onyx does not put weight on that left hind and keeps it up in the air almost all of the time.
"little black dog"
Little black dog that comes to visit every day.
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Our Dog Has Cancer

It’s a rather sad time for us right now.  We got the bone biopsy results back for Onyx and it does show it is cancer in his bone.  He still seems to enjoy life, but that leg is very painful for him, so after consulting with three vets and a few friends, we’ve decided to have the leg amputated.  He goes in next Monday morning.  This will not prolong his life, but give the life he has left more quality.

It’s a tough call for me.  I hate having his leg taken off if he’s only got a few more months to live anyway, but I hate seeing him in that pain that it’s causing.  The vets seem to think that with the removal of the leg, he will be in significantly less pain and so enjoy his life more.

I’ve seen so many people go through chemo and radiation and would never wish that on anyone.  Undergoing all that and having the last months of life be horribly miserable just doesn’t sit well with me, although I’m sure if one of my loved ones had cancer I’d be the first in line to sign them up for chemo….anything to extend their life.

It’s harder to lose people.  It’s easier to do the right thing, I think, with a pet.  Although easier, does not mean easy.

While I look at Onyx sleeping, I wish he would just drift off into the permanent sleep of death.  I wish he didn’t have to go through the pain, to  have such a hard time getting around, of having a leg removed, of having me make life or death decisions for him.

When is it ever easy to say to a long-time companion, “okay, today we are taking you to town and they are going to fill your body with poison and there is nothing you can do about it.  You’ll feel the solution go into your veins, your heart will stop, and you there is nothing you can do.”

I’m supposed to be the friend, the protector, the one he can trust now that his own body is failing him.

Did I say letting a pet go is easier?  Maybe it would be easier if I did not have to make the decision of when.  If I could ask him “Onyx, would you like to die today” what kind of answer should I expect? All beings, no matter the species, jealously guard their own lives, no matter if they are sick or hurt….the instinct to survive is stronger than the pain.

That’s what makes it so hard.

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Fall Farm Happenings

It’s been a very, very busy fall, and in lieu of blogging on a regular basis, I’ve taken the Facebook shortcut route for updates, and although I really do love facebook,  it does have it limits, for one, being, it is not as personal as a blog, and not as long-standing as the pages update constantly.

So, I made myself trot on over here and post a little bit about some of the things going on here at this time of the year.

Of course, like everyone else, we are seeing fall colors that are absolutely beautiful!  Fall would be my favorite season if it weren’t for the fact that grasping at fall’s crisp red slippers are the icy fingers of old man winter.

Old man winter and I are not very fond of each other.  Not at all.  But, he comes every year whether we like him or not so I try not to be too miserable.

The goats have mostly all been bred…and are settled now.  We do have 2 young summer-born does that will be bred late this season, so they are still coming into heat every 21 days.  All the for-sale animals have been sold, and we’re getting ready to batten down the hatches.

The one sad spot for us right now is that our beloved Onyx, that crazy labrador affectionately known as “Monster” has not only developed lymes disease, but it also looks like he’s got bone cancer in his left rear leg at the hock joint, as well as in the elbow joint in the front right leg.

They’ve done a jumble of tests that proved inconclusive so did a bone biopsy last week.  We do not have the official result back for that yet, but the vets are not too optimistic.  We compared the x-rays from Sept. to the latest set and the bone degeneration is significant, which I’ve learned is usually the case with fast-growing, aggressively spreading bone cancers.

Onyx has been put on a homemade diet, which is, at best, too little, too late, and he’s also on pain meds and antibiotics.

He’ll be 11 years old on feb. 22.  I bought him as a five week old puppy for CG, and so he’s been a very special dog, always my best friend and confidant even when CG and I were apart for 8 years.

We’ve got the fire going all the time now, and I bought an egg-crate type mattress pad and folded it over to make it three layers thick.  We put some fuzzy blankets over the top of this and it makes a very comfortable dog bed.  All the commercial beds I could find were high loft and fluffy, but add a little weight to them, and the dog sinks right through to the floor.  No support at all.

Well, with the sun high in the sky, I’ve decided that I need to get all the horses feet done today before it turns colder again.  The goats are already done for the month, so at least I don’t have to do quite so many feet in one day!

Would love to hear your comments and happenings at your place this fall.


"black labrador has bone biopsy"
This is Onyx right after his bone biopsy.

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