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

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Puppy check in

Harlow had her 12 week checkup last Friday. She now weighs 16.5 lbs; 8 lbs more than when we got her. She's all legs these days; long, lean and limber.

She's also had the chance to meet Ava, the Bernese Mountain dog of our friends Corey and Shawna. Ava had a back yard, a fence, and a lot of energy. Harlow looks dwarfed next to her! But some puppy socialization is good for both of them.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The perks of having a porch...

I broke out the hammock on Friday night and spent an hour and a half laying there, reading and relaxing. It definately doesn't beat the lake, but I think this might be my favorite place in Bozeman for the summer.

We're in the heartbreaking phase of spring. Beautiful, 60 degree days all week... and it's supposed to be in the mid 40's next week. Montana springs... love them, and sometimes hate them. But they make for pretty sunsets!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Dining Room Curtains

Last weekend we ticked a decorating item off of the to-do list. Seriously, my decorating to-do list gets longer by the day. My budget, and inspiration, sadly, get shorter by the day.

Pretty much nothing has been accomplished since DJ's mom visited in January. In fact, we're negative those items, since the area rugs are hanging in the garage in hopes of avoiding any puppy accidents on them.

When she was here, I mentioned to M that I wanted amber/whiskey colored drapes in our dining room. Admittendly, we don't really need window treatments here. The window faces our driveway/ courtyard, and is under a porch that faces east, so it doesn't get too much light. And the light it does get I love, and don't want to block.

But drapes in the dining room are a good way to add color. And to have an insulating fabric to pull closed in the winter. And I also saw this image on Pottery Barn:

And really, what's not to love? Oh... the price. Even after a 40% off sale, I just couldn't pay that much for window treatments, plus hardware. And M agreed with me.

Luckily, during our hunt, we came across dining table cloths on sale at Target after Christmas. I think they were like $17.99 apiece, and 104" long. Hmm... Have I mentioned that M is an excellent seamstress? That I need a sewing boot camp with her sometime? That she's also the seamstress for my wedding dress?

So M too the tablecloths home in January, and turned them into curtains for me!

I purchased a double rod curtain rod at Lowes, in case I wanted to hang sheers behind them. DJ mounted it, while watching Mariners baseball:

And I immediately hung them! LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE! them! (sorry for the crappy blackberry photos). Sublte stripes, glossy sheen, lined, and on nice hardware!

They're exactly what I wanted. Thanks M! They totally change the feel of the room too; in a good way.

But I'm undecided. Should I install the white sheers, like in the photo above? Or are these substantial enough by themselves? I also bought the "hold back" hardware that matches; should we install that, or let them just hang?

Now the other end, near the bookcase/bar/sideboard looks totally lame. Le sigh. I don't really want to put curtains in that window; it gives great western light in the evening. Maybe smaller framed photos just under the window (poor photo, the window trim is juuuust visible)? Tall lamps to draw attention? A rack to hang wine glasses from?

Advise me peeps!

Saturday, April 24, 2010


Harlow. Harlita. Harlowton. She's already got a little nicknames. Those are only the appropriate ones.

Let me tell you a little about our daily schedule. DJ gets in the shower at 6:42 am, the alarm having gone off at promptly 6:41 am. Harlow hears the shower above and lets you know She! IS! AWAKE!

(Yip! Yip! High squeaky YIP!)

I lie in bed for a little bit, and listen to her YIP! Then she moves to the high pitched whine. eeeeeeeehhhhhhhaaaa. It's a little piercing.

Finally I get out of bed, put on my workout clothes, and trundle downstairs to lift the towel and let her out of her kennel.

She absolutely loses her shit at this point. I like to think we have the following conversation:

Harlow (tail wagging, dancing back and forth): "OhmygoshI'msohappytoseeyou! Wherethehellhaveyoubeen? I'vegottopee! Ohmygoshyoucamedownstairs! OhIjustrememberedthatIhavetopee!"

Courtney (opening the latch to her kennel): "Good morning sunshine!"

Harlow (bolting out of the kennel, headed for the front door): "WowI'moutofthereforthemorning! Yip! Igottapee!"

Courtney (opening front door): "Harlow outside! Go pee!"

Harlow (squats, pees): "OkayI'vepeed, nowwhat? Oooohhhaflower! OooohhhgrassIhaven'tchewed! Ohmygosh, COURTNEY! Letmelickyourlegs!" (Lick lick lick lick lick

Courtney (outside, in her gym shorts): "Oh Harlita, you want some breakfast?"

Harlow (stops licking legs, perks ears, stands up like a gopher): "BREAKFAST?!!!! Iforgotallaboutbreakfast! Quick! Inside! Beforeitgetsaway!" (Sprints up the front steps and into the house).

Courtney (getting food bin out of pantry): "Harlow, SIT!"

Harlow (alternating between the gopher pose, jumping, running around the kitchen island in circles): "Breakfast! Breaaaaakkkkffffaaaaasssstttt! (Bark!) Yumyumyumyuymuyumyumy! Kibble! Whereismykibble!"

Courtney (makes dog sit before putting bowl down): "Harlow, SIT. STAAAAAAYYYY"

Harlow (quivering in anticipation of breakfast, trying so hard to not break her SIT pose): "SayOkay, SayOKAY, SaythewordthatletsmeoutofmySIT!!! I'mHUNGRY! Ican'tholditmuchlonger!"

Courtney (releasing dog from command): "Okay! Go ahead!"

Harlow (jumping towards bowl, gulping down breakfast in less than a minute): "Ohmygoshthiskibbleissogood! BestkibbleI'veeverhad! Delicious! Ican'tstoptobreatheoritwillgetaway! SLURP! CHOMP!"

Courtney (pours coffee, turns around and puppy is done eating breakfast): "Holy moly dog! That was quick!"

Harlow (licks her chops): "Ohmygosh! IjustrealizedIhavetopoop!" (goes running for front door).

Courtney (opens front door): "Outside!"

.... this is pretty much how I've spend every Monday through Friday, 7 am through 7:15 am, Since March 15. Pretty darn entertaining way to start the day!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Farming: April 23

Last Sunday I took advantage of the warm weather and moved my vegetable starts outside into the sunshine on the front porch. I'm pretty certain our neighbors think I'm going to be the crazy yard lady.

I think I already am the crazy yard lady.

Anyway, they went from in here, looking at the sunshine outside...

... to outside in the sunshine.

It's weird, I touch the squash leaves, and they smell like squash leaves. How distinct is that smell? How wierd is it that I haven't grown squash in like 13 years, but know so strongly what they'll smell like?

I transplanted the basil from the starter pallet to a pot:

The hope is one of these plants will survive the summer, and I'll either keep it in this pot through the winter, or transplant again for inside  basil-farming through the winter. YUM!

The cilantro is thriving in it's little pot again. Have I mentioned that I love cilantro? Sweet and delicious!

The shallots are not producing quite as much as I'd like. They're kind of stallled out at this size:

I also transplanted the plants in this strawberry pot into the ground:

And planted Walla Walla sweet onion starts and red onion starts. Sadly, the actual in-ground garden had it's initial growth hampered by snow... I'm ready to start eating home-grown spinach, chives and basil, damnit!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I'm getting the dog!

DJ did a little bit of sleepwalking last night again.

I vaguely remember him standing in the bathroom, without the lights on, doing something wierd. He remembers being by the bedroom door, trying to get the dog to sit on her leash.

The dog, of course was in her kennel.

Bob and Joyce, part II

After the ceremony, grandma Joyce's parents hosted a brunch at their house as a wedding reception.
The bridal party, maybe in the kitchen. A few things jump out as details. The cactus on the middle shelf to the left might be the Christmas cactus that my grandma has, and that I ned to get a start from. The girls kept their fake gloves on, as well as the little caps. Although the table cloth is lace, check out the table leg! 1950's aluminum, maybe? And the chairs to match? I wonder where the set is now? And check out the argyle socks the groomsmen are wearing! And my grandpa Bob, sitting to the left of my grandmother (right in the picture); so damn handsome!

My grandparent's parents are in this photo. The taller lady to the left is my great grandmother Kate Becker Heitstuman. She married a blacksmith in the 19teens, had my grandpa Bob in the 1920's, and was widowed in the 1940's after having 11 (or was it 13) children. Her oldest son Tom was killed in France in 1944, and is buried at the Epinal cemetery. By the time this photo was taken, I suspect she'd been a widow as long as she'd been a wife. My mom remembers her as a classy lady, who spent money very carefully, frugally, and cautiously, but well. She died at 94 years old in 1983.
My grandma's parents are to the right; Gen and Leo Druffel. She loved to swim, although that trait did not get passed along to her daugter. Gen had a stroke in her 50's, and Leo was exceptionally, maybe too, patient in helping her after that. He was a farmer, who was gregarious and gracious, and later in life lost a leg to diabetes. He'd putter around Colton in a golf cart, and my parents lived with him for a bit while dad was going to grad school at Washington State in the late 1970's. One day, as my dad lay under the sink trying to fix a drip, Leo famously told my dad: "Mike, you should quit going to school and get a real job like becoming a plumber!"

The details in the photo: the ladie's corsages, his tie, the pointed arch, the scalloped edges of the plates. What are they eating?  Who did the cooking?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Harrison's campground

A drawback to getting married in Harrison is the lack of hotels. Or hotels, plural. There is one. It has 15 rooms. There are also two fantastic Bed and Breakfast places. And vacation rentals. And a campground.

And since none of our guests are staying at the Hilton, this is obviously a very low-key kind of wedding. Shorts and a polo? Perfectly acceptable! Heels and a cocktail dress? If you want to! Sundress and flip flops? Great! We're just hoping my dad keeps his shirt on.

When I was in Harrison last week I stopped into City Hall to check on a number of things. They also let me glance through the reservation book for the campground. There are a handful of RV camping sites left, and a number of tent sites remaining!

Which is good for my extended family... as my mom put it, they're great in the 4th quarter and overtime. They don't plan ahead, but when they show up you will have a GREAT TIME!

A number of friends have reserved RV sites for camping, and I wanted to let you guys in on what the campground looks like. It ajoins the (closed for 2010, I believe) marina, city park, and has a bathroom with showers. Very basic, buy functional.

This is kind of a dark photo, but, lake to the left, RV camping spaces in the middle, marina at about 2 o'clock.

Each RV space has water and electric, and a picnic bench. They are definately cozy, but I think all of our wedding guests will end up in this line of spaces; we've got great friends so I have no doubt it will be fine!

But if you sleep walk, or have a kid who sleepwalks, you might want to wear a life jacket to bed- the lake is RIGHT THERE!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Lakeside Landscaping

I actually cringed just now when I opened the wedding planning spreadsheet. I also gasped when I counted weeks and realized that we're getting married 11 weeks from Saturday. And that we'll be spending two weekends in Utah hiking. And another weekend in Fort Benton for more Mullan Road stuff (I heard that snicker!). So really... I have 8 weekends to work on wedding stuff.

Does that have your attention? Because it has mine for sure!

The invitations have been ordered, although they'll still need to be perforated, the map printed and insterted, stamped, folded, stuffed into envelopes and mailed. I've got a phone date tonight with the friend who has offered to do our flowers. I've got a phone call into the restaurant where the reception is, and the family is busy working on lanscaping the lake place.

Let's talk about having a portion of your wedding at home... We decided okay I railroaded everyone into agreeding to have the cocktail hour and ceremony at my parents place. I've talked endlessly about how much I love Coeur d'Alene. But mom and dad haven't been exactly master gardners with their landscaping at the lake. It's a vacation house; the last thing they wanted to do was  prune bushes.

Dad's approach is much more tear it out. Mom's is to try to keep Mike from hurting himself/ spending too much money/ coming inside and declaring: "Sandi, you've got yourself a hell of a mess here."

His famous statement when he takes a simple chore too far and makes an expensive mess of it.

Anyway, back on subject. They started working on the landscaping in late February.

The Monday after my shower Mom and I worked on burning brush dad had been cutting down throughout the spring, which included a cherry tree that I tried (unsuccessfully) to get him to keep. Mike would be a good demolition contractor.

At one point I thought I'd hurry the process up and start both piles on fire. All that brush became ash in about two hours.

That did leave a lot to do though, to make a presentable (not gorgeous, lush or impeccable; just presentable) yard for the cocktail hour. This is what we had to work with as of mid-April:

 ... Nary a bloom in sight. Okay, that's not unusual for mid-April, for sure, but we're plannign on spicing it up a little!

Last weekend mom and dad took advantage of the warm weather to spread literally a half ton of dirt around in the yard. They filled in the fish pond mosquito farm, and tried to level out the grass a bit more too. They spread grass seed, and hopefully will be helped by some spring rain to get to a nice lush lawn by July.

(I'm sorry, I just got distracted by the shiny blue water in the upper right corner of this photo!)

I felt bad that I wasn't there helping them spread dirt.

Now that the lawn is sorta even, and will be watered through the beginning of July to stay green and inviting. No more trees will be cut down (right MIKE!?)

Over Memorial Day we'll plant petunias, ornamental grasses, perennials that require very little care, and maybe some daisies. Nothing huge, but enough to lighten up the all square all the time version of landscaping my dad favors. Hopefully by the time our guests see it, the lawn won't look like it's been neglected since they purchased it!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Landscaping day one.

We got a LOT done last weekend. Like seriously, a lot. I left work on Friday evening giddy with excitement over the things on my to-do list. Buy and plant bare root bushes, raspberries, asparagus, and hydrangea. Transplant herbs into pots. Plant sweet peas and sugar snap peas. Buy and plant aspens. Buy curtain rod and hang curtains that DJ's mom sewed for us. Pick paint for the porch chairs I got DJ for his birthday. Get the hammock out and sit. Seriously, I was giddy! It was beautiful out; 65 degrees and sunny. Nothing like delaying a return trip from Coeur d'Alene on Tuesday afternoon due to a snowstorm only to get sunburned on Saturday afternoon.

DJ and I decided we're too mentally burned out to further evolve the landscape plan I drew up over the winter. The sod was in, the bulbs popping up... and a lot left to do. So far, here's about all that was up:

Inviting, yes?

This weekend we took advantage of a local nursery's 15% off bare-root stock sale. Bare root bushes and shrubs are essentially sticks, with bare roots attached instead of root balls. They're cheaper, easier to plant, and generally do better in the long run.

Did I mention they are cheaper?

We put in three bushes in front of the house, all of them dwarf varieties so that they don't overpower the house someday.

A dwarf dogwood, which has red stems for nice color in the winter, on the far west corner. It'll look like this when it branches out:

In the middle, near the stairs, we planted a dwarf spirea, which looks like this in the summer, and whose leaves turn yellow in the fall:

On the right, near the driveway, we planted a burning bush, which turns a bright red in the fall. I'm all about fall color!

Harlow, of course, watched intently between chewing grass and ripping up pieces of sod. Seriously, we're going to need to overseed and fertilize our lawn. No aeration needed, thank you puppy.

I also bought a hydrangea stick. I say stick because, well, right now it really is only a stick. It's planted near the dining room window in the driveway. I'm a little worried that it won't get enough sun, but I can always transplant it later. I think hydrangeas struggle in intense heat? Anyway, you probably know by now that I love Hydrangeas.

The raspberry bush looks similarly like sticks. Four sticks, without any foliage or color, just sticking out of the ground between our driveway and the neighbors. Hopefully something comes up, because I want to be able to run outside for fresh raspberries all summer!

We're also waiting for the City to come out and plant our Branden Elm tree in the boulevard (free!). DJ planted two aspens on Sunday, which we got a screaming deal on. Two for one cupon, and the store scanned the wrong plants... we got $120 worth of aspens for $17!

So here's what we have in the ground now:

And how are some of those plants in the ground doing, you ask? Well... Some are pushing up, like these Irises from the lake:

While other lake-irises have had to survive being pulled out by an inquisitive puppy:

Some of the hyacinths are up, and blooming, to the point of being a nice snack for an interested puppy:

The crocus near the front steps shared the hyacinth's fate.

That damn dog better not eat my tulips! I think they're poisionous to dogs?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday Farming Update: April 16

While in Clarkston last weekend, my mom and I walked through the greenhouses and nurseries looking for landscaping at the lake ideas. Clarkston is in a bit of a micro-climate; a warm, dry, sunny one, with little rain, very much like Harrison's (especially since we don't irrigate the yard) Comparing the five inches of snow we recieved on Tuesday to the blooming bulbs and trees in Clarkston is depressing! Although I wouldn't want to trade Bozeman's temperate summers to their 100+ degree July and Augusts.

But seriously, I could have hung out in these greenhouses all day:
Rows of petunia starts, and sweet potato leaves

The nursery had some great ornamental grasses and low-water requirement plants. Just the ticket for Harrison!


And oh gosh... the flowers. Blooming, no shit actual flowers.

Impatiens and Dahlias

I wonder if I can grow dahlias in Bozeman?

In news related to my own garden in Bozeman, my starts are humming along:
Oregano, basil, cilantro (delicious on my breakfast burrito this morning!), chives, rosemary.
Sweet corn in the foreground
Zinnia, zucchini (bets that I'll regret that?), pumpkin (HUGE leaves!), winter squash.
Sugar snap peas.

Shallots (which I found out a week ago is the fancy word for baby onions).

Sweet peas.

I also have a ton of bulbs sprouting, half up, and in the process of coming up further, but no real blooms yet. Damn winter snow. Hopefully soon!