Tag Archives: German Shepherd

Every garden has a story

Pajamas, tea, camera, and an early garden walk on the final morning of March. I ignored  garden chores last fall while I began  recovering from illness. Even so, gardens in spring remind us that we can count on life’s continuation and renewed beginnings.  Here’s to health and moving forward.

 

Wild onions, Egyptian walking onions, chives, possibly shallots, possibly garlic. Mysteries. Enough plants to divide and sell starts at farmer’s market.

 

Rhubarb, strawberries, currents, Jacob’s Coat for rose jelly and rosehips. Enough strawberries to sell at farmers market and transplant to create the strawberry farm on the new property.

 

Puppy puppy puppy! In the cycle of life old dogs die and new ones emerge. A few weeks ago she could sneak through the fence and get into compost. Times was on my side and she’s too big now. Outside the potage garden Mojo (Mojita), 15 weeks old, believes she has no limit to pruning decorative shells from a flowerbed or sitting on flowers. Yet. I don’t recall how I trained previous German Shepherds to stay out of unprotected beds but I’m sure she will learn. If you have tips for this training, please, please comment below!

 

Comfrey, cat mint, and garden central around the septic tank cover where Bergamot remains mulch out weeds and iris’ emerge. I intended to move them both away from the tank cover last year but health prevented progress. This year, after iris’ bloom, I will design and construct an organized wheel of herbs, vegetables, and flowers in the garden center. We bought adjoining property with a 2500 square foot garden and an orchard, ready to take on more growing responsibility. The little 30X20 garden next to the deck gets a makeover from all purpose food garden to potage garden. I’ll share plans and progress as I go into those projects.

Every garden has a story to tell. It’s a happy place for inspiration no matter what stage it’s in with me.

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Story

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Dear Spinning Planet

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Eastern Tiger Swallow Tail feeding on Comfrey

Dear Spinning Planet,

Thanks for turning me upside down these couple of weeks. All in all, it’s good to go topsy-turvy now and then and look at the  nature of life from the flip side. It gives me an angle to see that I am only a small part of nature. I’m not alone in going upside down to find my provisions. Misery and providence, isn’t that the point Mr. Hugo wanted to make?

So my kid’s in jail and I won’t go her bail and she gets herself out soon enough – yet again. And it’s the blame game – yet again.

So 4 friends die or have memorials in as many days and I can’t get to all of them. I feel like a refugee trying to keep my balance as they all fall down.

So my van gets clobbered by a hit and run driver after one of the memorials.

So my old rescue dog gets attacked by a pack of 3 pit bulls and when I give her permission she clobbers them well enough to give a slight window of time so their owner can pull the lead dog away with many bites to his arms. And the gang follows the leader. We make our get away escaping the unrealized massacre.

So he apologizes lavishly yet denies that more than one dog was attacking and we will let the judge hear us and decide. And that’s a big disruption in my schedule. And it’s what a multitude of residents and dog owners ask me to go through. And I will.

And I discover I belong with a local, national, and international community  that supports me in more abundance than I would have felt had I not tumbled over in this short avalanche of unfortunate events.

Now, tell me, Spinning Planet, that you will relax for a while and steady the current just for me so I can regain my harmony and shift my attention to the butterflies who have arrived in my gardens and the mule deer in my back yard who gave birth to twins just here and now. I still have strength to peer through disorder and flow with nature. And I remember that I am only a small thing, all in all.

Very sincerely yours,

me

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Central Bumble Bee on Comfrey
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Mama mule deer with twins to the right of the pine trees

 

About Eastern Tiger Swallow Tail

About comfrey here and here

About bumble bees and other pollinators here and  here 

About mule deer

 

 

 

 

Seeking Elusive Morels

peeking 2

I can’t think of a more fun wild food to harvest than morel mushrooms. The spring hunt gets me into forests early and, though unproductive until the right sustained temperatures range between 40 and 65 degrees, searching for the elusive fungus is a great way to break in new hiking boots and strengthen muscles for more vigorous summer trekking. In the Payette National Forest the morels are ON now.

peek a boo

No doubt I walk past more than I find, like this one I spied playing peek-a-boo with me. Look again at the first photo and you’ll see that its companion was hiding next to it, just out of sight. These two photos are of the same finding, different perspectives. It’s all how you look at it. No, really. Sometimes turn around and look where you just came from. Just by looking back I’ve found deer and whales following me.  (Whales follow my boat, of course; they don’t visit the forest.)

emerging morel

I discovered some just pushing forth through the forest floor, showing that they can grow to full size below warming moist duff as they emerge. This one was larger than a golf ball.

dig in morel

Another much larger one was trying its darndest to force its way through the floor on its side. I helped it, of course. You can see only about a third of it in this photo.

knife for morels

According to Mother Earth News it’s not necessary to cut mushrooms off at their ground level. Pulling up the whole thing has no effect on it growing back next year because mushrooms grow by spore dispersion. I cut them off in the field so they are easier to clean when I get home and to leave a little more nourishment in nature. I carry a soft mesh shopping bag to transport my fine little friends so their spores can fall out to reproduce, assuring more gathering opportunities in the future.

bear

My family taught me to be wary of bears any time I’m in their habitats, especially when gathering mushrooms and huckleberries. This is one of two bears that crossed my acres at dusk several days ago. Neighbors found 2 more, so we had four that we know of in our little area that evening.

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That same day a rancher drove cattle across our pasture and up our creek to the range land above us.

This is probably why so many bears came down at once. Even they don’t want to camp with bovine.

two tired dogs

I take one or two German Shepherds with me when I hunt mushrooms but that doesn’t assure protection. A bear might chase your dog who will run right to you, or run away and leave you with the beast. Mom’s German Shepherd was so brave and persistent getting after a bear in her brush near her pond that it got its tail bitten off. We called her Bob after that. I wear a whistle around my neck but I’ve never had to use it in a bear encounter. If I remember, I sing or hum a little song, or recite poems so the bears hear me and they stay clear before I ever see them. Sea chanties work nicely. My friend, Nancy, bells her dog and it makes enough noise running around to let bears know they’re not alone. My girls are worn out after leaping every fallen tree they could find.

bear tree

With little training I recognize a bear wallow, though an elk had marked it overnight with scat so maybe it was an elk wallow. Uh . . . but it was awfully close to this tree where a bear had dug after insects.

Fresh bear scat

Another clue is fresh scat. VERY fresh! See how wet it is?

bear scat 2

And some  more scat nearby, a little older.

morels

At home, I carefully rinse the catch and then give them a 30 minute soak in heavily salted cool water to dislodge tiny critters that inhabit the fungus. Then I rinse them again, gently squeeze out the water and lay them on towels to dry a little. Mother Earth News says not to clean them and I agree they would feel firmer that way. But I disagree about their bugs and worms leaving with less encouragement.

sourdough and morels

Meantime, I tend to the sourdough sponge so I’ll have fresh bread to dip in the morel drippings later. If I’m going to eat them soon I store them in a paper bag or wrapped in paper towls in a bowl in my fridge. To preserve them for later, I dry the mushrooms by running a long thread through them with a small needle and then hanging them in a sunny window if it’s a sunny day. But it’s raining here a lot now so I filled 2 dehydraters with them and dried them in the kitchen. Fillet large morels lengthwise so they dry quicker.  Mother Earth News has a different method, still without cleaning them first. After drying them I package them in freezer bags or glass jars and put them in the freezer for a couple of weeks to kill any more enzymes that could cause trouble in storage. Then I store them in glass jars or crocks with lids. To rehydrate for use, I put them in a cereal bowl with just enough water to cover them for about 20 minutes. Mother Earth News wants to soak them for 2 hours but that seems way too long. Either way, save the liquid to use in morel sauce and gravy.

saute morels

Skip the onions and garlic. Morels are so flavorful why distract the taste with anything added? I put just enough olive oil in the bottom of a frying pan to coat it, and add a small slice of butter for flavor. No salt or pepper even. Saute on medium heat gently for only about 5 minutes. Don’t overcook or they get tough. The best of the best recipes is to fry a steak in a cast iron skillet first, then remove it and stir up the brownings. Add olive oil if needed, butter if you like. Saute the morels and then remove them from the pan. Stir up the drippings again, and then stir in flour before adding the reserved liquid (above) or some water a little at a time. Keep stirring gently to prevent lumps until you get the thickness you want. Adjust the amount of liquid as you like. Another way is to skip the flour and instead shake a small jar that has a little corn starch and liquid in it, then add it all at once to the pan and stir, stir, stir.

Trilium parasol

I’ve spent valuable hunting and gathering time creating this post so it’s back to the forest I go now. Mother Earth News has more information about morels, though I disagree with some of it. And at the end of their discussion they post more sites about the fungus.

Search and rescue practice

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Ozette loves search and rescue missions. She’s not formally trained for the task but her tracking skills are incredible! Her favorite search and rescue activity is finding logs, huge branches, or even small sticks under water and bringing them ashore where she lines them up and goes back for more. It’s in her instinct tool kit, her default. I read a book about why some dogs exhibit certain behaviors, possibly in their genes from the job an ancestor performed, some where back in its lineage. I’m pretty sure if I researched I’d find this dog had an ancestor that worked at logging at a river or stream. If I could teach her to catch fish, sweet. We had been picking huckleberries at a high elevation in August 2012 near Cuprum, Idaho. To cool off, we stopped at a cold high mountain stream  near Landore in the Seven Devils Mountains over Hells Canyon.

I’m showing these photos for Photography 101, an assignment to make photos with blur and capture the moment, action shots. These show the process Ozette uses to find and retrieve sticks in a stream, caught in the moment. Here is a link to the commons where participants can share daily assignments (challenges). https://photo101march2015.wordpress.com/

Stream stroll and scale

I saw frog eggs in our creek about 10 – 14 days ago but doubted my observation. It seemed too early, snow still on the ground. Big rains came and the creek rushed and flooded. Today I took a stream walk to see if I could find those eggs. I guess they’ve washed down stream in the runoff. But look what I found along side the stream! I used my walking poles, old ski poles, to scale the wildlife for you. I wasn’t planning to participate in this week’s photo challenge: scale https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/scale/ but it just became obvious as I walked along.

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I think I saw a toad, but it sort of looks like a frog. What do you think? Anyone know what kind of mold that is growing inside the entrance to a large rodent burrow? It’s about the size of a tennis ball. I think it’s growing on a chunk of scat. I put the small camera inside the hole to make the picture. Click on any picture in the slide show to get a closer look.

Triumph!

Triumph!

Big bright summer sunflowers!
Big bright summer sunflowers!

Triumph is the color of summer sunflowers in river bottom topsoil given me by friendly neighbors.

dog in creek
Sweet Jane wades in our creek her  first week home in March at 93 pounds.

Triumph is Sweet Jane, the German Shepherd we adopted after 15 months in the “no kill’ shelter. She’s getting old, has thyroid issues, skin allergies, and forever ear infections. She lost weight from 140 pounds when her previous owner surrendered her to 71 pounds with good care. That she is alive and in a loving home is triumph for this animal. And she really is sweet!

Dog in river.
Sweet Jane wades in the mouth of the Elwha River.

Triumph is freeing the Elwha River from 2 dams that prevented historic 100 pound salmon from spawning. Sweet Jane romps in the briny water and on the sand spits created by the river.

2 dogs in van
2 dog car alarm – Sweet Jane and Ozette.

Triumph is just getting up in the morning for many people. I like this post about Triumph.

https://thestoryofmylifebyterismile.wordpress.com/2014/11/28/triumph-wordpress-101photo/

Running Wild Dog

Ozette was not wearing her pack when she ran wild.

Ozette disappeared on our evening walk yesterday. She usually runs up the road bank into the thickets and back to the road, yet stays mostly on the road. She did not come back; I called & whistled. I didn’t even hear her running. After a while I felt a little spooked and walked the half mile home without her, still calling and whistling frequently. She brought herself home soon, tongue hanging. Since I did not hear the normal stomping and crashing sounds of a deer or bear, I believe it was likely  a coyote or fox or maybe a neighbor’s adventurous cat that she chased. So here in the woods, next to BLM & National Forest lands, she gets her leash again and we restrain our walks. I hesitate to take her “liver chunks” training-treats where the wild animals are beginning to come down now for water & feed. I used to tie a long thick rope to Echo when she roamed, but seldom. This dog would need a tow chain and maybe even hooked to the tractor.