Wednesday, October 28, 2015

just an ordinary, work-filled but beautiful day!

we have had a few more gorgeous days...getting lots done and enjoying ourselves.

this is the only maple on our property. it's some beautiful!

there are maples dotted here and there around the Framboise area, but mostly we have birch and evergreens in our area. there are other areas of cape breton island that are green, red, yellow and orange right now...driving in to town or to our small city at this time of year is beautiful. we have an appointment in our small city tomorrow and the only thing that will make the trip worthwhile is the beautiful autumn colours!

more beautiful? how about cabbage rolls with sauerkraut - yummeh!

we are on round five of lettuces this year - woohoo! the greenhouse will enable us to grow our own lettuce from april to end december. this is tatsoi lettuce and we love it! this weekend i will plant 2 more trays of mesclun.

it's october 28th and i cannot believe that the tomatoes in the greenhouse are still flowering?!?!? that's just crazy! we have a bunch of fresh tomatoes in the fridge and there are a good 15-20 tomatoes still on the plants turning colour. this greenhouse is working out big time!

here's some queen thai basil going to seed. seeds for next year!

and here's some regular basil going to flower. we will let it go to seed and collect seeds for next year as well. 2 more types of seeds that we will never have to buy again! (these seeds were planted from last year's seeds - we are at a point where we buy very little seed over the last few years. it feels awesome!)

jambaloney's latest, greatest, bestest garbage find!

a steel shelving stand with 6 shelves in perfect condition!

i cooked and cleaned all day taking breaks to go out and spend some time in the yard with the cats and jambaloney and to get my vitamin D. jambaloney built the floor of our new storage shed. not too shabby!

we had a roasted, stuffed chicken with roasted root vegetables for supper - it was some good!

tomorrow we are off to our appointment and then we'll probably flump for the rest of the afternoon after we get home. we are expecting high winds and rain tomorrow. then on friday, jam will do more work on the shed and i will make a wicked raspberry-chocolate-coconut bar dessert to bring over to our friends' c&g's house for supper. we will be having supper with c&g and s&h. it should be a really nice evening!

saturday is the halloween dance in fourchu! people here are crazy for dressing up and the like - we dressed up 4 years in a row and have decided to be grinches and say the heck with dressing up this year. it's just not our thing. but we will enjoy the dance and get to see our friends - that's what we really care about.

not sure what any of your halloween plans are but whatever they are - i hope that you enjoy yourselves!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

the great cranberry fail of 2015!!!

when we checked the weather forecast a few days ago, it was forecasted that today was going to be warm, with clear skies and no wind. and since we have had a few overnight frosts in the last 2 weeks, we knew that today would be the perfect day to go cranberry picking down at the river. even though today is our community potluck dinner - we cancelled. jambaloney brought our contributions down to our besties c &b's house yesterday evening and we paid for our tickets but we just knew that today would be cranberry picking day - woohoo!

we allowed ourselves to sleep in this morning, got our jars and lids ready for canning homemade stock tomorrow, played some cards, ran around the yard with the cats, collected anise and dill seeds, as well as grapes - more on the grapes later - and then made a snack and headed for the river!!!

i always take this pic for my friend C!

in the boat and heading out for a wonderful boat ride - it was an incredibly magic day!

taking our spin around the river with the wind blowing in our faces! i kept looking back at jambaloney and we would smile at each other.

the clouds even seemed to be smiling!

we love being out on the water! the sun made us a path to follow to get home.

while jambaloney put away the boat and the motor this beautiful red dragonfly kept me company.

after spending time out on the water it was time to pick cranberries - woohoo!

so on to the great catastrophe of a cranberry fail done Framboise Manor style.

that's how many cranberries we picked! and our land is usually covered in cranberries!!! every year we get a ton of cranberries!!! what the heck?!?!?!?!? not a single cranberry to be found?!?!?!? so we have to do some research and see if cranberries work in some kind of cycle, not producing fruit some years or something. we saw many trails and paths through the cranberries so jambaloney thinks that either the deer ate them all or it was the coyotes that we have been hearing. either something ate EVERY SINGLE CRANBERRY or they just didn't produce fruit this year. i need to do some research. and we need to go to a few other boggy places around here and see if we can get cranberries. we LOOOOVE cranberries!!!!

anyway - here's our fancy dinner down at the river - bahahahah!

some water, some beans, shrimp, and then carrots, cucumber and tomatoe from our garden/greenhouse - deelish!

well now kids - we know that the Framboise Manor Winery won't be open for a few more years - but check this out - we actually grew some grapes!!!

the previous owner planted them and much to our friend W's consternation - we haven't done anything with the grape vines since we got here - too much other stuff on the go! but this is the first year that we actually grew grapes that ripened AND taste like grapes. these are concord grapes so they are small and tart as can be - too tart for me but jambaloney loves them!

me? i love shellfish and seafood! i can eat platefulls of these babies everyday! we get them fresh from the beach and they are sooooo deelish!

and of course - shrimp and vegetable tempura!

even better than from a japanese restaurant!

well - we had a fantastic morning and afternoon! jambaloney is putting our windbreak/plastic contraption on the front of the kitchen floor - it really helps with heating the kitchen and the floor over the winter. then he's off to re-tarp our tool shed. i'm off to make cabbage rolls that we will scarf on all night. then it's our warm blankets, a cup of tea and sitting out front in our rockers watching the sun go down.

and thanking the Lord for such an amazing and wonderful day! we hope that you all had a beautiful day too!

Monday, October 19, 2015

a sad story...with a very happy ending!!!

thank goodness this very sad story has a happy ending!

our 3 cats were not integrating with katiyja at all...after 6 weeks and us doing everything we could to make a smooth transition. we took her outside and played with her 5-6 times a day and made sure one of us was playing with her while the other person ran into the house to do normal things like put away the dishes, quickly make food, sweep or other normal chores. then we'd swap off and the other one would run in the house until she tired herself out playing (about 2 hours) and then she would come in to the blocked off living room, lay on her pillow and chew her cow foot or lick her peanut butter toy. one of us would stay with her in the living room while the other would go and continue doing daily chores and then we'd swap off again. at night she slept in the blocked off bathroom and for the last few weeks was actually sleeping for 5-6 hours at a time.

hopwever, this little man didn't come into the house for the entire 6 weeks.

he stayed outside all day and night and with the colder weather coming, we started to get worried. we were feeding him outside and giving him treats outside but he is an indoor cat who normally sleeps in bed with us and watches a movie with us every evening. it wasn't good.

this little man would come into the kitchen in the morning and evening to be fed...but after 2 weeks he stopped coming in the house, too.

he loves being outdoors during the day but normally would come into the house several times a day for "kitchen dances" (i pick him up, sing silly made up songs and dance him all around the kitchen), for "taxi" (i pick him up and carry him around the house and show him different things) and for his regular afternoon nap. but, as i said, he stopped coming in the house.

my littlest guy noodie-nu - he made a few attempts to try and meet katiyja but she lunged at him and jumped at him and scared him. she didn't do it in a mean way - she was just so excited to try and meet the cats. but it simply just wasn't working. the 3 cats normally watch a movie with us at night - all 3 of them on the couch or spread out in the living room but that stopped the day we katiyja. we felt terrible and just kept hoping that "maybe tomorrow".....but tomorrow never came.

at this point we felt horrible for the cats, horrible for katiyja and we weren't sure what to do. she was very good staying at jamie's heel when he took her for walks around the house on her leash. and we hated having to tether her all of the time so we thought maybe we could try taking her off the tether and giving her more area and freedom to run around. we tried that 4 or 5 times and each time she went straight after a cat. it was awful. and then 2 times she went after our little noodie-nu - the first time she almost got him in her mouth, the second time she actually bit his back leg. she didn't break skin but he did walk a little funny for a day. he was fine the second day.

however, we felt that by bringing her into our household we had totally messed up the cat's routine. we did not want to keep her on a tether for 8-10 hours a day as she grew older and then lock her in the bathroom every night. our big cat mobey-moe could not be sleeping outside as we are getting colder and colder nights and winter is coming. something had to give.

we agonized for days, we spoke to the people at the animal hospital, the shelter, the cats' vet and a really helpful lady from the pet store. they all gave us the same advice - that the cat's were not going to integrate, katiyja needed a "pack" as she is a pack dog, and that we needed to find a new home for her. again we agonized - we had tried our best and are not good with failure.

we contacted our neighbour's kids who have the mother and father and told them of the situation. they were very understanding and agreed to take her back, as well as contact the owner of katiyja's 2 brothers and see if he would want katiyja. and he said that he did! OMG - i had already been crying for days thinking about having to send her away - but now i was crying with joy - katiyja would be with her brothers!!!

we gathered up and washed all of her toys, gathered up all of her dog food and took her next door in her little carrier. j took her into the house and we stayed outside with h as their 3 dogs were running around the yard. then j opened the door and let katiyja out into the yard. OMG - i am crying as i type this. when i saw the look of joy on katiyja's face as she went running to her father and jumped at him and nipped at him and he did the same back to her - OMG - i burst out bawling right in front of everyone. i couldn't believe how happy she looked. the other dogs came over and they all played with her. i cried all night because she really is a pack dog - she needed a pack and we did not provide her with that. we felt terrible for that but we are both soooooo relieved that she will be with other dogs from now on.

as j was babysitting katiyja and her 2 brothers over the weekend, katiyja was able to bond with them and soon they will all 3 be going to their owner's house. she will be able to learn and grow with her 2 brothers - i don't think the story could have a better ending!

we had our VFD meeting that evening and when we returned, we were just worn out but in a good way. so we cleaned up the bathroom and were able to use the bathroom at night for the first time in 6 weeks - bahahahahah! the next day jamie took down the contraption in the living room and then we went and got all 3 cats and brought them through the house so that they could see that things had gone back to normal. 2 of them stayed outside for another 2 days and nights and then finally started coming into the house again - thank goodness! as of saturday night, after we came home from our friend's birthday dance - all 3 of them were on the couch sleeping together when we came in the door!

yesterday they came in and out of the house in normal fashion, moby-moe is sleeping with us at night, Frankie Blue-Eyes is back to sleeping on his little mat in front of the stove and noodie-nu has made himself a new bed in our bedroom closet. they all came and watched a movie with us last evening and things seem to be back to normal - big sigh of relief!!!

i have been emailing j and she has said that katiyja is doing well and will be going with her brothers to their owner's house in a day or two. we will of course be keeping in touch with regular emails and picture updates.

it still hurts because she was the most affectionate dog i have ever met and we really and truly loved her. but in trying to do the best thing for our cats, we ended up doing the best thing for our cats AND katiyja. and that is the best ending to this kind of story - ever!

Friday, October 9, 2015

ominous-looking skies and peanut butter for dogs!

we're in for some heavy wind and rain this evening and all day tomorrow...

it was quite a nice morning though...pretty blue skies...and sunny...

but this afternoon these ominous-looking clouds rolled in...

no worries. we've got everything we need to hunker down and we treat rainy/windy days as days to relax and unwind.

did any of you know that dogs love peanut butter? jambaloney was in town the other day and spoke to a pet specialist and he was told that dogs love toys with peanut butter in them??? who knew??? so he picked up a few hollow chew toys and we give one filled with 100% organic peanut butter to katiyja and she lays on the floor in front of the tv, on her little pillow and licks the peanut butter from the chew toy. she loves it! and is so very well-behaved - not chewing on furniture or any of the other horror stories we have read about puppies.

so if you have a puppy or a dog - get them a hollow chew toy and as a treat - put some peanut butter in there for them - it works like a charm!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

tomatoes 2015

we were expecting our first solid overnight frost the other night and so we went and cleaned our tomatoe plants. this is our last haul of fresh tomatoes for 2015.

here is a big giant bag of frozen tomatoes that we harvested over the past 2 months.

even though we love eating tomatoes, you can only eat so many tomatoes a day. so we ate them fresh and then froze the ones we were unable to eat. those tomatoes were picked and frozen at their peak ripeness and will be cooked into a sauce and then canned for near-fresh tomatoe sauce over the winter.

here are some tomatoes that aren't quite ripe yet so i am ripening them in the greenhouse. it looks like we'll still be eating fresh tomatoes until the end of october at least - not too shabby!

we also picked all of the green tomatoes - these will be turned into chow-chow and then canned.

chow-chow has a very interesting history. i grew up eating chow-chow but jambaloney is only familiar with indian-style chutney. according to wikipedia:

"Chow-chow has become regionally associated with the southern United StatesPennsylvaniaNew Mexico, the Appalachian Mountains, and the Maritime provinces of Canada."

which totally makes sense as chow-chow is said to have been brought through the united states by the Acadians, during the expulsion of the Acadians from Nova Scotia and other maritime provinces.

i have always found the history of the expulsion of the Acadians to be very interesting. lots of people don't know that the Acadians eventually found their way down to Louisiana and created the "Cajun" culture!

anyway - that's a lot of history to explain that the Acadians took green tomatoes, onions, cabbage and garlic and pickled it to make the version of chow-chow that i know. it is a great side dish/condiment with just about anything and if it is made with tomatoes that you grew yourself - it means that in the middle of february, you can still be serving tomatoes that you grew yourself.

jambaloney is in town, 3 cats and 1 dog are sleeping, and based on her sleeping patterns, i expect the dog to be up in an hour or so. we had her out in the yard yesterday afternoon for about 4 straight hours - it was a beautiful day and she laid in the shade, watched the cats, watched the birds (i swear she is part bird-dog!), sniffed the air, walked her perimeter, learned a bunch of new stuff - and didn't bark or yip when dogs further down are road were barking! what a relief! she's a very quiet and well-mannered dog already and she is still just a baby!!!

it's a good thing that she is such a quiet dog...this year is the first year that we have been consistently hearing coyotes yipping...and not just at night but during the day too! we have never heard them this loud or this close. it's a smidge frightening i must add...just another good reason to have a serious-sized dog on the property!

hope you are all well!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

crazy update!

after 4 straight days of rain - i know that a lot of you have been dealing with much more - like hurricanes and tropical storms - but after 4 days of rain and a wet dog that smelled like a wet dog - it was really nice to have this, this afternoon!

we have been taking katiyja out 6-7 times a day/night - even in the middle of the night because she makes a certain yip and then always does her business. she has learned to let us know when she needs to do her business and that is amazing for a very big dog that is still a little baby - she hasn't done her business in the house for about 3 weeks now!!!

she learns more every single day. she has completely bonded with us and us with her but the cats still can't stand her. she is 3 times their size and lunges at them every time she sees them. but she really wants to be friends. she is with us for most of the day/evening and then she sleeps in her little crate in the bathroom. we can't let her have the run of this tiny house because the cats' routine has been blown to smithereens and we don't want to put them off of their routines more than we have to. when she is let loose in the house she jumps on everything, tries to destroy everything and scares the cats! hence, why we put her in the bathroom at night.

have you ever not had proper access to your bathroom? it's good practice for SHTF let me tell you! we have our composting toilet set up in the shed...and during rainy nights it is NO fun having to go out to the shed to do your business!

but the cats are getting used to her. they keep going up to her, very cautiously, and if she gets too jumpy they swat and hiss at her. it breaks my heart, it breaks her heart - she just wants to love them. even if her kind of love is 60lbs of husky trying to jump right on top of you, lick you and treat you like a chew toy!

so we came up with this idea to slowly socialize her with the cats. we have blocked off an area of the living room for her. all of the cats like to come in the living room in the evening and watch a movie with us. we have a crate for katiyja but she hates it - she prefers her bathroom. so we have blocked off this area of the living room for her so that she can get in her crate, or go under the couch or lay in the middle of the floor - and the cats can still get on the couch, or the table, or the hutch, or the shelf and be able to watch her and socialize with her.

here it is with the door closed.

we can be on the couch - she can't jump up on things yet - she's smart but not that smart - bahahahah! we have done more research than you can imagine, we have spoken to our vet several times (she'll be getting spayed at 6 months old which should help calm her down) - we love advice and will sincerely take everyone's advice into consideration but we have learned that what works for one dog doesn't work for all - and our vet has told us to just do what our guts tell us.

our plan is to take her out and run her around with all of her balls and toys (don't forget tug-of-war between her, jambaloney and the jeans!) - and then we are going to take her into the new living room. we will sleep with her in there tonight and for the next several nights but only if she, and the cats, seem ok with this new set-up. otherwise we are going to be doing our business in the shed for the next few months.

here's nudie-noo - he doesn't wear pants and he always goes up high if the dog is in the house.

he also shows off every chance he gets to katiyja because he knows she watches intently! she loves those idiot cats but so far....they are having nothing to do with her!

sorry if i haven't been getting to your blogs - we're up to our eyeballs in harvest and trying to train and socialize this puppy...and the cats. we know a lot of people would chuck the puppy in a crate and leave her there crying for hours, or chuck her on a chain tied to a tree - but that's not how we do things. she is a new and very important member to our family...and we are really trying our best!