In the Garden :: January

Raspberries Before

Raspberries Before

Our raspberry patch was one of the many reasons we knew this place the THE place. But we’ve never had berries before, so before doing any pruning, Tripp and I started with a Google search… Here’s where we started:

  1. Remove last year’s canes,
  2. Narrow the row,
  3. Cut out the weaklings,
  4. Attach the canes to a trellis.

Then, in the garden, just like I often do, we watched this:

Our biggest question, after narrowing, and cutting, was what to do with the tops of the canes. The Fine Gardening article mentions cutting out the canes with gray, dry bark – but there were none like that in our patch. Nearly every cane had a dry bunch of leaves and dead berries – but all the pictures I’ve seen show NO fruity tops, so we were unsure. We went ahead and whacked them off – I just hope we made the right call!

Raspberries After

Raspberries After

Next, we need to build a trellis to support the canes. A good friend in Doylestown has a sweet little berry patch and I’ve always admired their trellis, so when we moved here I asked for some photos.
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Germination Test 2015

After putting together the garden plan, and our 2015 seed order, I looked through our seed box and found nearly every seed we wanted already on-hand! Some of the seeds were a few years old, so I decided to do a germination test. Plus, it was a great chance for the kids to see some seeds sprouting indoors!

We placed 10 seeds of most varieties (we didn’t have quite enough for 10 of all varieties) in a wet paper towel, and placed those paper towels into two Ziploc bags. I put the bags on the mantel above the wood stove and checked them occasionally to make sure there was condensation in the bags. We checked them all after 3 days, and again after a week.

Germination Test Kentucky Wonder Bean

Kentucky Wonder Bean – 100% germination!

About a third of the seeds sprouted in 3 days, and most were sprouted within a week.

Germination Test Garden Journal 2015

Germination Test Results (Thanks C & O!)

In the end, we ordered Sungold Cherry Tomatoes from Johnny’s Seeds and Scarlet Nantes Carrots, Old Virginia Tomato and Tennessee Red Cob Corn from Southern Exposure. Now we just can’t wait to get started!

Puppy Update :: 6 Months!

The puppies are 6 months old! They are just about as tall as our Golden Retriever and definitely bigger than our 30-pound hound mix, much to his dismay. They play with both older dogs, and seem to be much more gentle with the Golden {she’s going to be 13 in April and can be a little grouchy}. She doesn’t chase them around, but they jump around her, nipping at her while she “barks” at them. I’ve tried to catch it on video but haven’t gotten it yet. The hound {he’s 12 this spring} seems to like being with them, but he still enjoys his solo “hunting trips” and lounging around in the warm house. They play a similar game with him, but more aggressively, and sometimes I’m not sure if the old guy really likes it, or is just a good sport.

They have learned to “back up” so I can open the door and “wait” when I open the door so they don’t go rushing in ahead of me, knocking me down. They sit for a treat. They do not come reliably when called {especially if they’re after something}, or stay for that matter, but they definitely know “leave it” which I use for just about anything I want them to leave alone. Chicken scrap bowl, on the ground outside the pen? They’ll just sit and look at it. Toys, indoor cats, shoes – they’re generally really good about leaving what we ask them to leave. But the outside cats? Not so much. Plus, Kep is a counter surfer and Finn likes to run upstairs when {he thinks} no one’s looking and eat the cat food. The kids say both dogs have a bad habit, but they’re not bad dogs. I totally agree, I just wish I could get them to quit!

Mountain Wave McCaulay "Kep" :: 6 Months

Mountain Wave McCaulay “Kep” :: 6 Months

We got our sheep last month and the pups were CRAZY for a few hours, barking and carrying on, but gradually they got used to having the girls around and now they walk down with me every morning and even to check on them. We haven’t let them in the paddock yet and don’t intend to until they’ve started some training at around 10 months. I’m still looking for somewhere local to get them started if you know of anyone…

My biggest question right now is – what next? I used to bring them in at dinner-time and keep them in their kennels for the night, but I have been letting them back out at night for the past few weeks, to get them used to being outside at night. Not overnight, but just till I go to bed. Generally, they bark and bark and bark off an on until about 10:30 when they relax and usually sleep on the front porch {which is off the living room, where I usually hang out in the evening}. We lost our only remaining original hen last week {the one that hatched the eggs!}, and another one today, and both times the pups were inside. SO – when do I leave them out for good? I fed them on the porch today, so I wouldn’t be tempted to kennel them for too long, but they don’t have a dog house yet, so they’ve been doing their regular snooze/play/chase thing all day without a solid nap. They seem tired. I left them in the fenced front yard when we headed to town for an hour today. {They often chase me or Tripp down the driveway when we leave, so I figured leaving them in the yard would help get them used to “staying” without the risk}. The pups and our hound mix were in the yard when we got back and seemed totally fine {and thrilled to see us}.

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Mountain Wave Findlay “Finn” :: 6 Months

I am really looking forward to working these dogs this summer. We still talk about whether or not one {or both?} will ever be an “inside dog.” They are just so nice and loving and sweet – it’s hard to imagine them living outside 100% of the time! We spend a lot of time outside, so we get to be with them often but it’s just not the same. When they are inside separately, they will often lie down in whatever room I’m in and just hang out – it’s so dang sweet! When they are inside together they rarely sit still… Findlay seems to be a little more high strung and paces. But, I used to think Kep was the more active one, so who knows what personality will ultimately stick!

Either way, we are all so in love with these dogs. I’ve always thought I’d have a Golden forever and ever, but these boys are so darn smart, and they barely shed… I may be rethinking my earlier promise…especially once we start breeding… {OvO}