About Me

My photo
Blogging about gardening in zone 4, marriage, our golden retriever and life in general.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Scratch Scratch Scratch

Pupster had a rough night last night. She woke up yelping every two hours. Our rule is to take her outside every time she yelps, assuming it's a bladder thing. But we'd cut off water at 7 pm to help her (and us) sleep through the night. It'd worked previously too... she's slept through the night probably five times.

So waking up every two hours was pretty weird. She's also been really really itchy; scratching herself all the time. Initially the breeder said it was just scabs from wrestling with her littermates. At her first appointment, the vet said she'd probably had a parasite earlier, and though he could find no live fleas, etc., on her, she had a lot of scabs and welts. The welts have (mostly) gone down, as have the scabs, but she's still scratching herself all the time.

I know she's a dog, but she gets distracted from going after a toy, a treat, and now even sleep because she needs to scratch. And then last night was pretty rough on all of us. Poor pupster. She's got a vet appointment today for another round of vaccinations, so we'll bring up the scratchiness with the vet today.

My suspicion is that it's either the food she's been eating, or the laundry detergent used in her bedding. Anyone else have an itchy golden retriever?

Friday, March 26, 2010

March 26 Friday Farming Update

Man, I neglected this blog this week! It's been one of those weeks, where work is all I can seem to do, think about and dream about. Yuck.

I'm planning on doing some farming prep this weekend. We're in that almost spring phase of weather in Montana. Rain fell as I drove home last night at 9:15 pm from a meeting, but this morning a skiff od crunchy snow sits on the ground.

As proof that being a farmer in Montana takes resolve:




We have no firm plans for the weekend, so I plan to work around the house. There is the usual "clean the bathrooms" and "file paperwork" list, but I've also added "farming prep" to the list! This weekend I want to:

Swing by a local nursery on the way home and check:
  • the price of asparagus and onion sets
  • the price of bare root plants (trees, shrubs, raspberry bush)
  • the price of soil pep, which is a kind of bark I plan to use in the flower beds (see all of the little green sprouts in the photos? WEEDS)
  • what they reccomend adding to the gardening patch to amend the soil. Peat moss? a 10-10-10 fertilizer
  • start some vegetables indoors (corn, zucchini, summer squash, winter squash, sweet peas, snap peas)
  • (depending on snow/ weather the night before) amend garden soil as needed, rake out, and seed spinach, carrots and shallots
  • fertilize bulbs
  • firm up plans for bushes, trees, and remaining landscaping
I also sent in the paperwork this morning to participate in the City of Bozeman's tree cost share program for trees. For $50, the Forestry Department subsidizes tree planting in the boulevards (City property), as long as the homeowner agrees to care for and maintain the tree. The best part? They even plant it for you!

Since we don't have enough distance separation between our sewer lines and the other utilities, we can only fit one boulevard tree in (boo). I chose a Brandon Elm tree because of it's yellow leaves in the fall, and it's mature height of 85 feet. I'd like the trees in the front (southern) yard to eventually shade the house, and the Brandon Elm will grow high enough to do this well.
Brandon Elm in the summer.
Brandon Elm in the fall.

Happy Friday!

Friday, March 19, 2010

March 19 Friday Farming Update

Through this growing season I plan to document my back yard farming attempts on Fridays.

Remember how a few months ago I pulled too far into the garage and broke a flower pot?

Well, when I embarked on seed starting in February, I also cleaned up my mess. Uncertain of what to do with the potting soil, I trudged through the snow and dumped it in the future garden area.

And a funny thing happened. All that black dirt sitting on the white snow soaked up the sun's rays and accelerated the snow melt in the area.

Crazy, huh? So yesterday Harlow and I spent some time in the back yard spreading the potting soil around on the rest of the snow. It's an experiment to see if I can get the garden area to melt faster than the remaining lawn.

I haven't pulled out black plastic garbage bags, yet. But I might....

In  other news, I have a bunch of bulbs starting to pop up! Crocus, Muscari, and some other mystery bulbs. Spring!

And finally, a girl desperate for spring and her dog.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Get it!

I promise this won't become an all "puppy", all the time blog. But I'm taking a lot of photos of her right now, and she's pretty entertaining to be around.

Dusty came home one day with a rope chew, and it's become a favorite toy. We play fetch with it, and she'll often grab it and take it back to her kennel. Or growl at it and bat it around. Like this:
I got you now rope!

You are mine!

How dare you try and escape!

I pinned you!

Now you must be punished!

Woah! I lost my balance.

I've taken you to my lair den. You are mine.

Mmmmm.... the heck with you rope, this metal is pretty tasty.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


When you wake up at 3:30  AM, 4:00 AM and 6:15 AM, ready to romp and play, and it takes you an hour to fall back asleep, it's so hard to make it through the day without a nap.

And isn't it the worst when you find a comfy spot...

But just can't quite seem to stay there? Especially if you have soft fur and slide off of your pillow easily!

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Today was puppy day. Pupppeeeeee!!!!!

We picked her up at about 1pm, and she snoozed in my lap the whole way home, and then for the next two hours at home.

Neither food or water interested her.

But everybody's gotta wake up sometime and enjoy the day. And try to scratch the new collar off.

And find a new favorite toy.

Before falling back asleep squished between the dog bed and the wall. She likes small spaces, which I totally loved as a kid!

Cross your fingers for us; hopefully we all get enough sleep tonight!

Moonlight Weekend

We spent Friday night in Moonlight Basin with three other couples. I know all of the girls through AOII, and all of them have married great guys.

We scored this awesome rental house, that sleeps 12. It'd be an awesome place to spend extended time in both the winter and the fall.

I'm not a fan of "rustic" decor, but this place did have a nice warm, stury feel to it. Couches and chairs to sink into. Fireplaces to light. Amazing views to watch.

All of those things, combined with great friends and random word association games, make for a really fun time.

Especially at 2 am, after a long round of beverages.

It's awesome to have friends with whom you can so easily fall right back into the groove with, even if you don't see each other often (yet live in the same town).

And Kelly and Ryan brought the entertainment. A gets cuter, funnier, and cooler to be around every time I see him.

Especially if there is a hot tub, rubber duckies and Mark to hang out around.

Kel thanks for setting the Moonlight weekend up! Sorry we had to bail early; I hope you had a great time snowshoeing!

Friday, March 12, 2010


I have a hard time restraining myself from getting too excited about spring around here. Despite the high 40's, beautifully sunny days, and total melt of snow in our front yard, you and I both know we're still in for a couple of spring snowstorms. The kind that bring heavy, wet snow. Take, for example, this exerpt from a conversation I had last week with one of the engineers I work with:

Me: "It's been beautiful weather out lately!"

B: "Yeah, but you know winter is just waiting to bitch-slap us in the face again."

That B., he's got a way with words.

The nice weather, however, made me wonder if the 250 bulbs I planted last October had survived. So I've been checking the bulbs near our front steps obsessively every day. There's no denying it; I jumped up and down last night when I saw this:

Here, let me zoom that in for you:

Crocus! Often the first sign of spring. I know they'll be buried in snow a time or two, but eventually they'll look like this:

But I'm not counting down the days or anything :)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010



That's how Gretchen always refers to our puppy Harlow. Pupeeeeee puppppeeeee puppeeee!

I think its fun to look at the (newest) photos of her, and wonder what her personality is like. I've decided she seems shy. A little reserved and timid maybe?

I just want to cuddle her and tell her it will be all right, we'll have fun together. There will be toys to chew, two people to play with, someone to go on long walks, a nice crate and a nice dog bed. And about a day after you come home with us, Gretchen will be here to roll around on the floor and take naps with you.

Gretchen is a champion nap-taker.

I mean, sheesh, look at those little paws! And the pointy ears! And the whiskers!

Is it Sunday yet?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Puppy Prep

So I’ve mentioned before that I can be crafty when I want to be. And cheap. Have I mentioned that I can be cheap?

I like to bake and sew, but baking too much means eating too many baked goods. And that ain’t good. For my cheap ass. It gets bigger.

This ties into our dog, I swear.

Golden Retrievers are a long-haired dog breed. Let’s face it; I’ll probably never wear black again without Harlow-hair being a unique accessory. Something about the dogs long hair, and the oils that make their coat shiny, can stain carpet if the dog lays in the same spot over a long period of time. So a dog bed was in order.

I’ve mentioned the idea for the dog bed. Molly’s Mutts dog bed duvets. The stuff sacks were $15, and the duvets $50. Yesh! I can spring for a $15 stuff sack, but 50 bucks for two yards of fabric? Hmm… I mentioned I can (kinda) sew.

Sew (ha!) I ordered a stuff sack, and bought two yards of fabric in a “terrarium” print (yeah I have no idea what that is), and went to work. And voila! A doggy duvet, that is lined (I had extra liner fabric from the curtains project, and totally washable!

As a side note, I couldn’t figure out how to use my sewing machine to properly attach buttons. I even dragged out the manual (which I’ve never read through, after 5+ years of machine ownership). I only had two buttons, and they didn’t come out terribly, so I’ll take it, but I should figure that out.

See the little brown dot of excess string in the middle? That's the back of the button. How do I make it less... stringy?
In reading the manual, I did find out how to sew a buttonhole with my machine. Imagine that, learning from the manual… what what?

The buttons were sewn on to button to the inside, so that little Harlow has less of a temptation to chew on them. When the whole thing is closed up, you don’t see the buttons at all. Sleek, trim, and puppy proof (?)

The buttons can be un-done, and the stuff sack slides out. Everything in the dog-bed is washable, so when she inevitably pees on it, into the wash it goes!

We’ve been rounding up other puppy supplies too. DJ opened a checking account, and apparently qualified for the free “gift” of a stuffed pony. Creepier yet is that it came in a vacuum-sealed plastic bag! DJ also purchased squeaky toys and balls, as well as a KONG chew toy that you hide a treat in for the puppy to get out.

And, the crate came. DJ’s immediate reaction? “Court, she better not outgrow this thing!”

It has a divider in the middle; to make sure she doesn’t feel overwhelmed in it, and to aid in crate-training/ housebreaking (pups don’t like to soil their living spaces). I also bought some fabric to make a cover for it, as some dogs don’t like to sleep with their back “exposed.” The crate won’t stay in this location forever; but it’s a good place for now since it’s close to the front door, yet in an area we’re in much of the time so she can see us.

What’s left to procure for puppy? Probably more stuffed animals, more toys, food and water bowls, actual food and treats… and that’s all I can think of right now! Any other suggestions?

PS: We'll be taking the area rugs up this weekend. No need to tempt her to pee on them when we can store them in the garage for a while :)

Edited to add my dog bed cost break down

$15 for the stuff sack
$5 shipping
$13.98 for the fabric
$2.49 for the thread
$1.60 for the buttons
$0 for the liner since I already had it

Total: $38.07; not bad since it would have cost me $65+ shipping to order the whole setup online!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Harlow- 4 weeks

Hi, my name is Courtney and I’m annoying everyone with my incessant chatter about the puppy we’re getting in 12 days.

But I have photos to show too!

Harlow, are you shy? Do you not like having your picture taken (because that could be a bone of contention)?
OMG look at those ears!
I started working on the dog bed duvet last night. I perused JoAnne Fabric looking for a material that wasn’t terribly ugly, would look good in our house, wasn’t too girly (sorry Gretch, no pink glitter), was washable and preferably on sale.
It took a bit to steer away from the dry clean only, $24.99/ yard, or flammable (WTF? I didn’t know they still made flammable!), but I found some material, and started sewing away. I’ll post more about it when I’m done. But man, this dog bed will be HUGE for her for a while!
Channeling my inner Martha Stewart.