posts tagged with 'blue'

that answers that question

A couple weeks ago the dogs got sprayed by a skunk. They were sad puppies, and Leah was sad too because she had to be in the car with them for the whole drive home, and then give them a bath (I was no help at all because this was the early morning walk and I was still in bed). As people—including me—heard the story of their adventure, the natural response was, "I wonder if they learned their lesson?" This morning we have the answer, and it's no. At daybreak, back for another walk at the same place they got skunked before, they had another encounter—with the same results. And another stinky trip home, and another bath. In Dog Man: For Whom the Ball Rolls baths are the consequence Lil Petey uses to help Dog Man learn to ignore balls and squirrels, but it takes hundreds, if not thousands, of repetitions; we don't have that kind of shampoo budget.

That's not to say there were no lessons learned: Leah won't be going back to Foss Farm any time soon!

we done berries!

Blueberries, to be precise.

Zion and Elijah eating new-picked blueberries at the picnic table

and now they eat them

We bought two blueberry plants pretty soon after we moved in, and then got four more a couple years later, and yet until this summer we haven't been able to pick more than a handful of blueberries a year. The first two plants were too close to the woods initially, then we moved them to a sunnier spot but had to move them again when we built the deck. The newer four plants were in the sun to begin with but were then overrun by forsythia bushes, to the point that one of them died. Clearly I wasn't taking care of them enough! But it was hard to be attentive, because as soon as the berries reached any size—before they even got ripe!—they were all eaten by birds. But we've now figured all that out, and I'm pleased to present you with the following tips for growing a measurable quantity of blueberries:

1. Put them in a good spot. Lots of sun. Don't let trees or overbearing flowery bushes grow up over them.

2. Mulch and water. Blueberries like acid soil, so put your kids to work gathering pine needles and spreading them around the plants. The mulch will keep the weeds down, and also help with water retention. Then water long and often. Watering makes the berries bigger, and it also encourages the plants to put out new growth that will let them make more berries the following year. Of course, we haven't had to water in a while since it never stops raining, but that just makes the plants even happier!

3. Build a fortification. We had steps one and two under control last year, and I thought I had this one handled as well. But despite the work I put into building a netting frame, there were gaps that let the critters in to eat almost all the berries. This year we made it better, and now we laugh from the back porch as we watch the jays, robins, and squirrels try and fail to get at our precious berries.

Then all we need to do is pick them. We're getting plenty to eat; the next goal is enough to preserve. That'll happen when there's so many the boys start feeling sick before they finish them. Getting close!

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dogs v rhubarb

With all the rhubarb that's growing in the garden the rhubarb patch is a lush and inviting spot. Maybe that's why the dogs chose to wallow in it the other day. Or it could be they were fighting, I'm not sure. All I know it that, in the aftermath, there were lots of smushed leaves and broken stalks. Of course I salvaged what I could, and then I was faced with the question of what to do with it all. Pie is delicious but with only Harvey and I eating them a third in two weeks would maybe be a little excessive. I also thought of rhubarb crisp; but it seemed like that would give rise to the same problem, only more so. So I made a rhubarb cake.

That wasn't a perfect solution. First, I was making up the recipe—adapting it from my favorite cake base—and I didn't make allowances for all the rhubarb when considering the cooking time. So the cake was a little underdone. That, combined with the fact that all the rhubarb sank towards the bottom of the bundt pan and made a solid layer, meant that when I tipped the pan over to get the cake out, all of what was meant to be the top crust stayed in the pan. I scraped it out and blobbed it on top anyway, and then put on the glaze. It almost looks like I did it on purpose...

rhubarb cake, somewhat jumbled on top

looks edible, right?

The second problem is that, still, only Harvey and I were interested. Zion and Elijah are committed to avoiding rhubarb entirely. Their loss! The cake was delicious: basically a brown-sugar cake, with a texture like a pineapple upside-down cake, with hints of rhubarb and ginger. Plus the delicious lemon glaze! We happily ate it for three desserts—dinner, lunch, dinner—but there was still plenty left. Then yesterday evening, after the table was cleared of everything but half the cake, I went back into the dining room and surprised Blue standing up on the bench chowing down on the glazey top. I suppose it's nice to know that someone else appreciated it too!

Wait a second—do you think he planned the whole thing?!

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