Question: What do I do when my husband is Out of Town?

Answer: Secret Stuff

Well, not secret, really.

* I sleep in and make the dogs do the same. AtH has let the dogs (every last one of them, new puppy included) train him to get up and let them out in the wee morning hours. They absolutely don’t try that nonsense with the mom-unit. We sleep until 8 or 9, get up, pee, then go back to bed. None of this 4 in the morning crap.
* I take up the whole bed, until the dogs take up the whole bed. Then we sprawl, as one fuzzy-dog-girl unit, all over the place.
* I get projects done. Don’t ask me why I do this better with AtH gone, I just do. This weekends projects:
Cleaning my desk and the surrounding acreage. (no pictures)
Cleaning out the garden beds and getting the winter garden put in:
winter2009planting
Dogs were being complete zipperheads, so they got to cool their heels in the outdoor kennel. It was boring and cold, so that only lasted a little while before they got put in the house, where they continued to be unruly. So Darb and Q got banished to the crate to take a nap, and Dee/Dretti stayed out, confined to the guest side of the house.
kenneltimeboring
The crate is big enough for a number of our dogs, they share space pretty willingly (this photo was not staged: I found them in the kennel like that).
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Although we never lock more than one dog in together (that would be sheer stupidity) today was an exception. Today it was just Q and Darby . Q is more of an accessory than a crate-mate. And Darby is too puppy to be space aggressive with Q, for now. Besides, Q would whoop his ass if he tried.
Anyways….
* We play the music loud and dance around wearing things that do not flatter our outlines. Well, mostly that would be me. Anything the dogs wear flatters their outlines. They’re greyhounds, duh.
Picture 106
* I watch hockey, a lot of hockey. I do NOT watch: the history channel, the discovery channel, the military channel, the science channel, the do it yourself network, the extreme truck channel. I do not watch anything that has a ‘theme’: war, off-road, tools, do it yourself projects, anything make-over, ufos, unexplained mysteries, reality shows, bigfoot, etc. It’s not that I don’t like any or all of those subjects, it’s just that AtH watches that stuff so obsessively, it’s taken the fun out of watching it for me. So while he is away, I tune it to hockey and let it play, no matter what I’m doing. Hockey is good that way, you can listen to the play-calling and know what’s going on, or you can plunk your ass down on the couch and watch it in high-definition. Beauty.
* We work in the garden.
* We nap, whenever we feel like it.
* I cook and go to bed at night secure in the knowledge that what I left in the fridge will be there for breakfast, or lunch tomorrow.
* I restock the toilet paper holders in the bathrooms. I throw away the used cardboard center-rolls.
* I sweep the barn once a day.
* I don’t always wipe the dog’s feet (or their butts) every time they come in the house. Mostly, but not religiously. Don’t tell Art.
* I clean things. Obsessively.
* We go out for the day. Sometimes we just run errands. Sometimes we go to Downtown Anywhere (San Francisco, Los Gatos, San Jose, Berkeley, Pleasanton, Livermore, Walnut Creek, whatever.), sit at outdoor cafes, drink coffee and watch the Californians be Very Californian. The dogs socialize with passersby (I usually bring one or two of them, we rotate who gets to go) and practice their real-time obedience skills and generally soak up being fawned over by strangers. I get lots of practice saying “No, they’re not rescues, they’re show dogs” Sometimes we go shopping, but only the stores that allow dogs (more real-time obedience practice with lots of sit-stays and down-stays and heel-close. We get lots of compliments on how very well behaved they are, including the puppy, Darby). Smith and Hawkins is going out of business and liquidating everything, down to the store fixtures, so we’ve been spending a fair bit of time there lately. Art will be SO happy to hear that they are officially closing their doors this weekend. I picked this up for $20 yesterday.
whattheheckisit
It’s missing the glass shelves, but I didn’t buy it as a plant stand, I bought it for the summer garden to grow vines up and hang oak branch bird feeders on. It’s really solid, and originally sold for $125. Good deal for me.

Mostly this weekend is gardening. I ordered a bunch of plants from High Country Gardens in New Mexico.
http://www.highcountrygardens.com/

They specialize in drought resistant plants, xeriscaping. The plants arrived looking very good, they will go in tomorrow. I’ve had some pretty bad luck ordering online, and haven’t done it for a couple of years as a result. This place came with a lot of good reviews. After unpacking this order, I will add my kudos. I didn’t save any money ordering online, but I was able to order exactly what I wanted, in the varieties I wanted, all at the same time. And they showed up in fantastic condition with better than expected growth. The grasses are dormant, but I expected that.
hcgpacking
hcgpackedplants
hcgplants
hcgorder

Today was the veggie garden. This is the last weekend I’ll have for a long long while to get the winter garden planted (more about that later), and I really want to make an effort at a winter garden this year. I planted lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, more parsley and cilantro, arugula, leeks and onions. I seeded carrots, radishes and broccoli raab. I ripped out the last of the summer squash, cucumbers, melons and seeding basil. The artichokes are staging a coup….I’ll be whacking the summer growth tomorrow, I’ll leave the new growth…but they’ve seeded themselves EVERYWHERE. I amended all the beds with compost, the minivan is good for hauling dirt. It smells really interesting right now.
myvansmellslikecompost

In other news, the chicks we got as little fluffballs in May have grown into Chickens-for-Real and someone has started laying eggs, although nobody is claiming credit for it. It’s pretty obvious though even if the responsible party isn’t talkin’, one of the new girls has come of age:
chickensjustgettingstarted
Jack has almost completely healed, just a small scablette left. It was way too cold out today to let them out of the barn without blankets. I doubt it reached 50 degrees today, and then there was the wind. I spent a lot of time wiping my nose on my sleeve and running back into the house to warm up. Classy. When I went down the hill to pick up a package, it was about 10 degrees warmer down there. Fabulous. It rained last night, I wonder about tonight. But I refuse to watch the weather channel, so I guess I’ll find out in the morning. So until then; a couple of movies, a round or two in the hot tub and a good curl up with my new down comforter and a book. AtH should be home on Tuesay. I’ll be missing him by then. Where did he go? Ummmmm, well he and Paul took the jeeps out to the desert (yes, gasp…..I let Fraley take my jeep. I offered it up, and he accepted). Where?? Ummmmm, somewhere in the Panamint area, something about 3 days of off-roading with a group of people who off-road a lot. Wherever, whatever, I’m sure he’s having a blast. So are we.
Picture 105

He’s soooooo pretty, he’s so….big….

Yeah, Darby Crash is most def. a pretty boy. Even at 11 months old, he is extremely handsome.
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He’s a fantastic dog. We’ve had him since July, and everyday with him has been wonderful. He fits in with the family perfectly, he keeps D-Square and Dretti moving and active. He gives Q someone to push around. He runs like a wild boy, outrunning both D and Drett. He’s won both of his major point wins in the show ring. He has 7 points towards his 15 point requirement for his AKC Championship. He is such an easy dog to show. He is just beautiful, so easy to look at.
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10monthDarby
And a complete character, with a sense of humor.
hawhawDarbyCrash_NEW
Is he a little big? Yeah, bigger than I’m used to, but beautiful, and boy can he move. He’s liquid smooth, so beautiful. You should see him run the hills. Very fleet of foot, even for a big clumsy puppy.

Jack is recovering

Jack is doing pretty well after his mishap with the fence. Even tho he cut himself up pretty bad, he’s healed up pretty quickly and Lisa took him out to the round pen this evening to trot around and get the stress of being cooped up for 2 weeks out of his system. After 5-10 mins of bucking, running and rolling, he’s all chill now and munching on some hay. Izzy got her turn in the round pen (by herself) and got her zoomies out too. We’re really happy he’s recovering so well. It was pretty scary.

Next up: installing electric rope fencing in their pasture so they can’t / won’t get their hooves near the other fencing again and removing the various barbed wire.

Building stuff

Whilest cutting/splitting the firewood last weekend, Lisa asked me to make a proper woodrack rather than cobbling up something lame out of some old wood pallets and T-posts. So, with the help of some pressure treated lumber (courtesy of Home Depot and the discount rack from Golden State lumber), lots of screws and some power tools, I came up with an acceptable design that is exactly 1 cord in size. Took a bit longer to assemble than I planned, but its done and getting filled with wood. Glad I picked up a bunch of extra lumber, as it looks like I’m going to have to toss together a 2nd rack at the rate its filling up.

Prepping a place for the rack

The dogs helped to move some dirt from the area I cleared out to put the rack:


Almost finished assembly
All done, racking up the wood