Category Archives: Farm in the Backyard

Another one for the farm

My husband’s been muttering about coming home with a rooster lately. I told him if he did, I’d immediately bring home a dog. The other weekend, he went up to Richmond to supplement our flock and came home with three more chickens and Docker. Did he just do an end run around me?!

Hello Docker!

A week or so later, the kiddo asked me, “Is Docker a boy or a girl?” In case you couldn’t tell from the above, you should be able to see here. And look at those muscles! Oh, my gatos! We own a muscle dog!
Docker is a boy

Getting a good rub from Mama (that would be me), but still not quite sure what the heck is going on.
worried Docker, but happy

All photos from the first day. He’s used to it all now. In fact, just the other day he chewed the hose in half.  And my husband can’t say much, because guess whose dog he is?  Oh, how he loves that man!  It’s a pleasure to see my husband’s alpha tendencies gratified and put to good use.

(About 18 months, pit mix, definitely not neutered but that may still happen, shots up-to-date, very patient for baths)

Muscle Dog!

We fit right in the neighborhood.

(photos by the kiddo)



Filed under Farm in the Backyard, Uncategorized

If I wait to add the photos…

I’ll never post a thing.  Which is pretty much what I’ve been doing.  Never not posting nothing at all.

I should tell a story, a sappy story, a tearjerker.  (But I don’t have one of those.)

Light’s changing.  I can’t count on light creeping in the window to remind me my alarm already went off.  I hope we’re not so hot.  Yesterday:  Hot.  Today:  Cold Winds Blowing.  Husband curled up on the couch in his cave, huddled under a blanket, with a big grin. Saturday we collected different tree seed pods.  Chestnut. Prickly Gum. Magnolia.  The back of the car is always full of interesting botanica.  Months ago, he threw in an armful of magenta bougainvillea blossoms picked up off the sidewalk.  (They’re still there, softly crunching under the backpack.)

We had the last apple off my little tree.  I think it had about 5 or 6 total, and my husband likes unripe fruit, so only two made it anywhere near maturity.  This last one he picked and ate (I finagled a bite).  He was in raptures over the flavor.  Maybe he’ll leave them longer next  year.  And maybe he won’t.  We’re feeding the local wildlife raisins.  I never managed to do anything with the grapes again this year, but they’re not going to waste.  Squirrels ate the peaches.  Something ate a possum outside the bedroom window.   Lovely thing to find in the morning.

Knitting news of note:  I put a zipper in the Orange Snakes (at the gates of hell)!  Left the buttons up the side, because he likes them like that.  And I cast on for a vest he can wear in school.  Am I nuts?  Do I not realize the poor chances he’ll wear it more than twice?  I already threatened I’d have to give the vest away if he doesn’t wear it.  Needs to be knit first.  And I finished the baby blanket!  It’s lovely, and I’d like it larger, but the baby was born the day I decided to bind off so I could finish it before the baby was born.  Too late.  But ends are in, it’s been washed, and the kid wants his own, just like it.  So do I.  I have yearnings to knit me a sweater.  But I should knit up a little alpaca something for Ham (the kiddo’s first best friend) cause he loves to hold alpaca garter stitch.  And his birthday’s this month.  But there’s the vest (sock yarn of course!  Cause it will be so Fast!).  And wool cashmere (nylon too) Cleo socks for the kiddo.  Sounds like I’m in desperate need of something on the needles for me!  That’s because I don’t tell the full story at once.  (Dogi vest, Noro triangle, blue socks)

Clothes to hang up in the cave. (yarn to ply, vest to knit, dishes to leave dirty)  Better a little post than no post at all.


Filed under Farm in the Backyard, Knitting and more knitting

Lost Habit

(If I ever had the habit…)

I’ve got a memory card full of photos to sort through.

I’ve got a backlog of this and that in my head. Rapidly dissipating into the realm of lost ideas.

I’m playing with the spindle. Addictive little thing. I’ve got one or two or three somewhat active knitting projects.  Very slowly active.

I’ve got the work stress hamster wheel brain thing. Such fun!  Especially before the alarm goes off in the morning.  (I’m stealing an idea from one of the Tour de Fleece teams – Suck Less!  My goal is to suck less at work.  Not that I’m bad, but some things I’m terrible at doing, and they contribute mightily to the hamster wheel brain.)  I have a new patient in Albany.  Do you realize how much traffic is between me and Albany?  Grumble.  There ought to be an easy way to get over there, but there isn’t.  It’s not even far.  (Two nice yarn stores in Albany, but I swear I’m not thinking of them.  Really.)

The tomato plants are big! And only one tomato has set. Something is eating the few strawberries before they’re ready for us. I picked a good handful of green beans last week or so, and my husband cooked them all up for his own dinner. Sniff!

The apples are growing heavier. We now have a fig tree and a peach tree and arguments about which tree is whose. The patio ceiling is loaded with grapes. I’m optimistically planning a grape jelly making session sometime in August, preferably with friends. Who wants to join in?

Sunday, driving away from the house, we saw a chicken crossing the road.  Really!  She was going to the grass on the next parking strip.  Looked just like ours, so I had to stop and call my husband to make sure Coco (or is it Shakira?) was still home.  How many chickens live in Oakland?  More than we suspect!  By the way, our hen is teaching herself to crow like a rooster.  A hoarse rooster.  We may end up with a real rooster,  despite my adamant refusal to have such a noisy creature in our backyard.  (We’re noisy too, but not at 5:30 am.)

The kiddo is finishing up his month of Oakland Fine Arts Summer School this week.  Two performances on Thursday!  (Of course I’m taking the day off.)  As far as I can tell, he has loads of fun.  But he doesn’t tell me about it.  Ah well, separation anxiety goes both ways.

The kiddo’s first and very best friend moved back from Boston!  We are so happy.  We spent Fourth of July with them in Sonoma.  The fireworks were great!  Loved being able to walk to them.  Loved that they were professional fireworks.  Loved that there was no music, just oohs and aahs.  The neighborhood fireworks were still going when we got home after midnight.

Last night was hot.  Today is hot.  Where is the fog?!


Filed under Excursions, Farm in the Backyard, Uncategorized

Not just microscopic wisteria

We also have one sunflower that survived the snails! (Must remember to buy diatomaceous earth and I’m not checking the spelling on that.)
one sunflower left

Oh, all right. That’s not the whole story.

tomatoes strawberries
Tomatoes and strawberries in the earth boxes (in front of the lonely sunflower). So far, so good.

patio cave outside
The patio. The rose is getting so big, you can’t see the grape covering everything thickly. A veritable green cave inside. The microscopic wisteria is over to the left. What? You can’t see it? Neither can I.

spotty rose
Pretty, isn’t it? This gets huge clumps of flowers, each flower lasting only a day or so once open. It’s like a bride’s bouquet on one stem. Husband swears up and down it has a scent. I smell it faintly.

little apples
My mothers’ day present from last year (my choice!). Bloomed so beautifully. And look! Tiny apples!

Ah, I feel better just looking at it all again.


Filed under Farm in the Backyard

Snapshot of a good day

Time to take down the Easter eggs hanging around the house.  We celebrate Spring, and spring means painted eggs brought by fertile rabbits.  Very confusing thing, Spring.  But it was more like Summer early this week, and nobody could move or think.  Now we’re back to normal weather, of a sort.  Much more pleasant.  We have no heat tolerance.  I don’t want to go to the beach in hot weather and walk on hot sand and get burned by the hot sun.  I like foggy mornings.

Today we have a tower of empty berry baskets on the dining room table.  I made biscuits this morning to eat with strawberries and goat milk crema from the farmers market.  Only half a batch, because my unnatural child doesn’t like biscuits.  Truth be told, I made half a batch, except when I added the milk.  Then I had biscuit batter.  Cooked up just fine as little flat cakes, but not the fluffy biscuits I meant.  It’s all my brother’s fault.  Somehow.

Very low energy for a couple of days, even with cooler weather.  I’m aimlessly swatching for a sweater (for me!) with beautiful eggplant (almost black) Malabrigo sock yarn.  A little knit purl texture.  Nah.  Stockinette.  Okay.  How about a cable edge?  That’s nice, but can I figure out a decent button band with it?  Lace.  This one’s too open.  About three rows of another lace.  Can’t keep my mind on it.  A couple rows of garter.  But I’d rather have stockinette.  And so on.

I have a few things around to mend for my brother’s girlfriend.  I fixed the hat already.  I’m taking apart the mitten.  I’m not ready for the scarf yet.  I pulled out a lovely yarn from Black Mountain Artisans in Pt Reyes Station.  Autumn red orange all together.  Worked nicely to fix the hat, but I don’t want to use it all up on the other stuff.  So I started another set of easy mitts.  Now this is what I feel like working on!  Very little thinking and practically no decision making.  Fast.  I’ll probably finish the first one tonight – the 2 day mitt.  And shows off the yarn beautifully.  Instead of having everything else mended, I’ll get these done for her maybe even before they leave.  Is it still snowing in Telluride?  (Yes, so I should get going on the mending!)  She’s one of those supposedly rare people – the perfect recipient of handknits.  If we make something for my brother, she claims it.  I have no doubt that if I ever finish my brother’s mittens, she will be the one to wear them.  She wears things out, and wants to keep using them.  So we mend for her.  And make her more.  It’s so satisfying.

The chicken is out, scratching for bugs.  The dog-in-law is curled up downstairs, healing his injured pad.  My boys are watching NASCAR and Mexican soccer (in empty stadiums).  My brother and girlfriend are off to Tomales Bay with friends.  Maybe they’ll bring  back oysters.  I hung up laundry.  The bathroom is clean, even the wastebasket.  I watered the plants.  Dishes to do.  Chile for enchiladas to make.  Self to bathe.  Groceries to buy, but I don’t want to leave the house.  Hard to settle back into doing things once I leave.  But I need chiles and avocados and probably tortillas too.  Definitely some chicken.  I haven’t cooked dinner in several weeks, and we ate prawn curry last night.  Made with the family curry powder brought back from South Africa.  (See why they get handknits?)
Dishes next.  I wish you could hear the birds outside.  And eat enchiladas with us.  (I don’t mind if you offer to help clean up the kitchen afterwards.)  I’m storing up good day for the workweek ahead.


Filed under Family Stories, Farm in the Backyard, Food, Knitting and more knitting

Beware of Rabbit

The other weekend, we put the rabbit out (into a temporary pen on the grass) to clean her hutch and give her a change of scenery. We need a sign. Beware of Rabbit. My husband tried to pick her up to return her to the hutch. He was attacked by angry, growling, teeth and claws extended attack rabbit. He gave up immediately and came protesting to me, Expert that I am in attack rabbits (ha!). I got her in though, without damage to myself or the rabbit. Don’t think she’ll be coming out for a while.

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Filed under Farm in the Backyard, Uncategorized

a lazy brain

I’m not sure I’d call it writer’s block, more of a lazy brain. I think of things to share, to pontificate, to celebrate. And then I’m in front of the computer and it all drifts into the further recesses of my brain. Which isn’t willing to do the work to dig it all out. Coherence may not be a happening thing.

But! I finished my jury duty scarf – two skeins of Noro Kureyon in the Tilted Blocks pattern. Didn’t quite finish off the last block, but I’m not going to rip out and redo anything. Looks good. Pretty much like the almost finished photo you’ve already seen. I might keep it here, I might send it to friends in Boston. You know, a place with actual below-freezing weather for several months of winter.

The other night was a spectacular sunset. I saw it because I almost forgot to bring in the clothes off the line until late. Rose gold. Layers of clouds, thinned to almost blue in spots. One spot looked like combed top. So much sky! So much gold air! From inside, we don’t see much. From the front, not so much either. But the sky opens up above the backyard. I missed the sky in Alabama. The trees are lovely, but they really shrink the sky. In Wisconsin, we lived in the rolling hills and had sky all around. Far horizons. I know, not far like the Plains, but plenty far enough. The storm clouds were always amazing.

I finally realized I was spelling Tomten Jacket wrong. I’m on a slow search to change from Tomtem (which I like better, dammit!) to Tomten. Still love knitting the forest Tomten with Colinette Jitterbug. I wonder if I can finish it by this Sunday? Probably not – body’s not even done yet.

My son must be an Oakland boy. All of five years old (5 1/2, I mean) and it’s “hecka this” and “hecka that.” “Daaaang! That’s hecka fast!” “It’s hecka clean.” He’s got a bit of that Oakland youth accent going on, too. It comes and goes. Reminds me of my brother, always picking up accents wherever we went. He’s having fun in summer day camp (through Oakland Parks and Recreation – I’m impressed with the quantity and quality of programs they have). Usually comes home filthy, and more often than not, with wet feet because he was playing in the creek again. Yes!

I read a pile of Loretta Chase books recently. Great fun and nice for a lazy brain. I even reread one this week.

I’ve decided the dermatologist’s office I went to last week may be worth sticking with. I was disturbed and annoyed and uncomfortable with ads all over, even a constant infomercial in the waiting shoebox, for ‘aesthetic’ medicine – various injections and therapies to ‘treat’ those wrinkles. Ah, aging, the disease no one of us escapes, unless we’re struck with the glory of early death. But! The PA working with me has been making all sorts of telephone calls to figure out which doctor I see next, all based on my insurance of course. Classic example of how health insurance impedes access to care. (Imagine rant here about Sacramento’s great idea to require every resident of CA to have health insurance because that will take care of our health care problems. Gah!) I’m impressed. And thankful I’m not making the calls myself.

Yesterday, Shakira and Coco did not lay any eggs. Either that, or our guard rabbit failed to scare off an egg thief. But they’re back today. I figure they’re about to go on strike, so I’m not counting on anything tomorrow.

The End.


Filed under Farm in the Backyard, Kid Stories, Knitting and more knitting, Oakland, Reading, Uncategorized