Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Free Bushes

So this past week I learned that one of the plants in Thane's fenced yard is highly toxic.

This photo is Very Old...this whole area is now fenced, and the plants are all a lot bigger (and there's a foot of snow on the ground...).  See those dark green bushes, though?  Those are Japanese Yew, a popular landscaping shrub...which also happens to be deadly if you eat the needles, branches or seeds.  Apparently some strains of Whitetail deer can eat it, but it kills pretty much anything else.  (I read that in most acute cases, the animal will appear fine - then suddenly give a couple gasps and die.)

Maybe not the greatest thing to have in one's yard when one has a puppy (and small nieces!!).

In fact, this site calls it the "tree of death."

So I'll probably be digging these up this spring.

Anyone want some bushes?

They're free!!  :P

Monday, January 30, 2017


I spent another few hours working on the rug today, and I finally feel like I'm getting somewhere.  Here's a picture from when I started today:

And then, approximately 3 hours later (give or take):

Mind you, I only braided today...I didn't sew the braid to the rest of the rug, just looped it around so I could see how the pattern looked.  Sewing the braid on will be a project for another day.

I like to watch it take shape...and I get VERY excited whenever it's time to change to a different color.  :)

Thane doesn't share my excitement.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

There's a Story Here...

Went on a walk in the woods after church today...it's advisable to stay on the beaten/groomed paths, because if you step off to the side, you may sink in two inches...or you may fall in all the way up to your knee.  I saw plenty of places where people had broken through the crust, and at first I thought this one was like the others, but then something caught my eye...

See it?  Here, look a little closer:

Wait a second...it gets even better.  I almost didn't see this next bit...look in the branches over the hole, near the top of the photo:

A little hard to see?  Allow me to zoom in:

I enjoyed observing the aftermath of this little story...and I hope you did too.  :)

Friday, January 27, 2017

In the Woods Again

I went on a hike in the woods again with Thane today.  I grew up walking in those woods frequently, but haven't made the time for hiking much in recent years.  It's refreshing to get out there...and nice to have a hiking buddy.  

I was thinking today that I hope I have some forest on the property when I'm finally able to buy my own place...and then it occurred to me that this is NH - it'll be challenging to find a property that isn't ALL forest!

Ideally, I'd like to have a nice mix of fields and forest.  Hey, I can dream, right?

Worst case scenario if I don't have a decent chunk of forest on my property, though, there are plenty of trails in the area...it'd be just a short drive to find somewhere to hike.  :)  

Thane and I met a small pack of dogs today (accompanied by their people), and I was pleased to see that while he immediately leapt in to play with the biggest of the three dogs, he was gentle/ignored the two small dogs.  He ran up to them a couple times, but didn't bowl them over or try to engage them in play.  That was encouraging.

I was also glad that they were understanding that he's still a puppy as he roughhoused with their biggest dog!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Beautiful Day

I was sick last week and didn't give Thane as much exercise as he needs...I've been trying to remedy that this week by taking him on a couple fairly long walks in the woods.  So far it's working - he's much less restless in his crate at night when he gets 30-60 minutes of good exercise during the day.

He was quite fascinated by the cross-country skiiers.  The first couple he was quite nervous about, but then by the third one he was getting excited and got the zoomies after she went past.  Thankfully he doesn't show any inclination to chase them.

He gets REALLY bratty sometimes when he's on leash - jumping around like a lunatic and going after my ankles/the leash/my sleeves.  I'll have to check with my dog trainer to see how I'm supposed to respond to that, lol.  Crazy puppy!!

I love the little twist at the end of his tail.  :)  

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Fluffy Puppy

I succumbed to a coupon from a local groomer, and Thane had his first official grooming yesterday.  He was very soft and fluffy afterward.  :)

I signed him up for his second round of obedience classes, starting this Tuesday.  I'm hopeful that this will go a long way toward continuing to polish his (gradually improving) behavior.  

I've got a bit of a cold today...and, as with many other situations (bad weather, etc.), the thought crossed my mind that in a couple years, I may have an assortment of animals that will want their dinner whether I'm sick or not!

But I'm not a farmer yet, so I rested most of the day and only did a half-shift at work.  :P

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

I've Got a Lot of Reading to Do

A couple weeks ago I asked the people in a Homesteading group on Facebook what books they'd recommend, and they suggested Storey's books on livestock.  I had received a couple Amazon.com gift cards for my birthday and for Christmas, so I went on a little shopping spree!  The last of the books finally arrived this past week, and I'm very excited to have a big stack of brand new books to look through!

I'm not sure which book I'm the most excited about.

Aw, so cute!!
 I never used to want goats...but my mind has officially been changed!

Eek!  So fluffy!!

Um...so...so beefy!!

I decided to pick this farmsteading book as my first read, so as to gain a broad overview before moving on to the more species-specific books.

The Farm Dogs book is just for fun.  My Scotch Collies will be my general farm dogs, and I'd be surprised if I ever had enough livestock to justify getting a Livestock Guardian Dog.  But if I did...this stunning breed would doubtless be toward the top of my list...  

In unrelated news, I also ordered some ingredients tonight for my first attempt at making my own lotion.  I have no idea what I'm doing...but I'll be sure to blog about my attempts!!  :P

Thursday, January 5, 2017

A Project and a Pupdate

So this past week, I learned that Mom has a deep desire to burn the rug under our kitchen table...and that it is largely Thane's fault.  

"Who, me?"

Well, it's really my fault too.  I decided to feed Thane a raw diet, and his pen area includes the kitchen table, which makes a nice, comfortable "cave" for enjoying his meat.  So, yeah.  I'm either going to be buying him a crate for the kitchen, or I'm going to be working hard to teach him to only eat his meat in one place - on the hard, easy-to-sanitize kitchen floor!

So the rug will need to be replaced.  (It's getting old anyway, and is showing the wear and tear of a busy household...)  I thought about it a bit a few days ago, and then I suddenly got An Idea.  With typical Sarah-ish impulsiveness, I quickly googled some ideas, grabbed some scissors and an old pair of jeans and did this:

Quite thrilled with my success, I went to the thrift store and bought a bunch more old jeans, then came home and started really working.  About seven hours later, I had this:

Urg.  I had kind of hoped that it might be at least the size of a throw rug by the end of a long day cutting, braiding and stitching.  BUT I was pleased with how it looked.

Thane kept me company while I worked.  He likes having me around the house.  :)

"Are you done yet?"

"Nope?  Okay, guess I'll shut my eyes for a few seconds..."

I had to work yesterday, so I only got a few minutes in the evening to continue stitching the braid around the oval, but I did make a bit more progress.  One blessing - my amazing sister-in-law cut up all the rest of the pairs of jeans for me (picking away at the task while keeping an eye on her two toddlers)!!  Here's what the rug looks like as of today:

So now it could maybe pass for a small throw rug...or more likely, a table runner.  :P  

I'm curious how many pairs of jeans it will take to complete...I started out with nine pairs of jeans and two shirts (for different color and texture).  Right now the rug has parts of three pairs of jeans and both shirts in it, but it looks like I have a fair bit more fabric.  I may see if I can mooch old jeans off people at work and church when my pile of fabric starts getting low...

Anyway, so that's what I've been up to the past couple of days.  

Oh!  I promised a pupdate too...

Someone turned 6 months old today!

Thane's temperament continues to even out, although I still ought to take him for another round of obedience classes for more polishing.  I think that as an adult, he'll have a pretty chill nature - but with a definite spark of mischief!  I trust him more around my little nieces now - he'll sniff them, but unless he's really wound up, he doesn't try to jump on them or nibble at them.

He hangs out nearby on leash while we eat supper, and is pretty good about lying down and being calm.

He's still trying to make friends with the cat...and it's still not going all that great.  :P  

It's hard to believe he's been in my life almost four months!  (It feels like way longer, lol!)  It's exciting to watch him grow up and change...I think he's going to be a really good dog.  :)

Happy Thane's Birthday!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year!

It's hard to believe that it's already 2017!

I haven't written out an actual goals sheet for 2017 yet, but here are a couple highlights I've thought a bit about:

1. I hope to have a significant chunk of money saved toward the purchase of a property by the end of 2017.  This will be quite the feat, because I am an impulse buyer.  :P

2. I hope to collect a lot of "hope chest" items in preparation for living on my own eventually.

3. I hope to devote a lot more time to maintaining my current property, as "practice" for someday being in charge of my own place.

4. I hope to learn how to start a business, as well as learn how to make the soaps and lotions that will be the business.

5. I hope to do lots of research on the ins and outs of running a small farm and owning livestock.

I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to what the new year will bring...and trusting that God has great things planned.

P.S. - Thane has a goal too...

He wants to figure out how to get to the peanut butter that's all the way at the bottom of the jar.  ;P

Happy New Year!!