Look how good Nova’s being! Something she picked up fairly quickly was the meaning of ‘This is for Henny!’ when I put something on the ground. Usually it’s an empty yogurt pot, because that’s Henny’s favorite ‘treat’. Sometimes Nova has a harder time controlling herself, such as when she’s already overexcited or if the treat is really special, but if Henny gets to something first, she pretty good at defending it (a curled lip or tiny growl — Nova gets the message). I thought it was pretty good that Nova let Beany clean out this bowl — and that Beany didn’t mind the dog sitting right next to her. The pets don’t all love each other (ie, there’s no interspecies cuddling), but they get along fairly well.
My two cucumber plants (started from seed in early February) are flowering and looking for something to grab! I have a zucchini plant that’s been flowering, too. I guess they don’t mind that they live indoors, in pots, and mostly have to rely on the grow lights during this gloomy April. I took everybody down in a cardboard box when I went to Minneapolis, since I knew I was going to be away for a while. Now that I’m back in Hinckley, I planted some of my seedlings (growing in little starter pellet things) into bigger pots.
Isn’t that the cutest kale you’ve ever seen? And my lone marigold is growing behind it. I planted a bunch of (oldish) seeds, and this is the only one that came up. It kills me how small it is, yet it’s just about ready to bloom! I want to plant lots of marigolds around my garden this year as an additional pest-prevention measure (I’ve got a fence to keep out the deer), but I’ll either have to start more seeds or buy some from the nursery. I know they usually grow well when you scatter seeds on the ground, but the weeds are pushier out in the country.
This is my little growing table with the fancy light set up. Except that it’s two workshop lamps clamped onto a portable clothes rack. I’m down to four tomato plants, which have been the most finicky of the bunch. They constantly have curled leaves (too much iron in the water? — it’s already heavily filtered for our use) and look not-quite-thrilled, even though everything else around them is thriving. I’m not too committed to babying them, though; the nursery up in Askov sells some excellent heirloom tomato varieties, and I wouldn’t mind having a few different kinds in the garden.
All my pets are shaped like baguettes with ears. This was actually a bed raft situation, as Beany and Nova were off to the right of the photo.
I’ll apologize for being so quiet lately, but there’s not been much to report. I’ve been in Minneapolis, throwing things into boxes (and into the trash and onto the garage sale pile), which is the definition of boring. And unlike last Sunday, when the weather was so nice for dog walking, it’s been cold and snowy and sleety ever since. Dull.
After yesterday’s tragic events in Boston, I hope everybody is safe and sound. Cuddle up with a baguette pet and stay out of the Minnesota snow.
The chihuahua in its natural habitat. I took Nova T. Princess-Dog to the dog park this afternoon — it’s about half a mile away, so we walked (Henny had to stay at home because I only have one leash with me). When we walk around the Hinckley property, Nova is always on a lead, but there’s no real path to follow, so she kind of goes everywhere. Henny learned to walk in Minneapolis, so she’s much more particular about not crossing in front of me and watching for my cues. Nova did a really good job on the walking path — I think it helped that there was a line of dog smells going along in the direction we were headed.
The dog park was fairly busy, with lots of big dogs, so I kept Nova on her leash for our first lap around the park. I wasn’t sure how she was going to react to so many dogs she didn’t know, and you never know if a big dog will see a chihuahua and think it’s a bunny or something. After we scoped the place out, I let Nova off her leash, and she was about as well behaved as Henny for the first time in her life. Since she was nervous, she stuck by me, still going a little a further to sniff things every now and then but always checking to make sure she knew where I was. Sometimes, as we were walking, I couldn’t see her right away because she was right on my heel (and tiny).
She was intimidated by the big, friendly dogs, but not too scared — when over she got overwhelmed, she would jump up on my leg so I could pick her up. Then she’d climb to my shoulder, so she could see all the dogs without their being able to get to her. During our last lap of the park, she suddenly made friends with a vizsla-type dog. It ran to greet Nova, and Nova turned into the goof she is with Henny. The big dog let Nova chase her all around the park, and they checked out some smells together. I was happy to end our visit on a happy note like that — and happy that Nova should sleep well the rest of the day!
Hey, everybody, it’s Rob’s birthday! He asked for a chocolate cake with white frosting, and I used some of the leftover letters from the Hinckley house cake for decoration. I didn’t have an S for it’s, and you can hardly see it, but there’s an apostrophe made out of a sprinkle. I thought it would be funny to have plastic animals on the cake (little polar bears, ideally), but the shop in town didn’t have any — they did have miniature pinwheels, though, and I suppose those are more celebratory.
It’s a nice day for a birthday. We went out for breakfast this morning and then ran a few errands, and I took the pets out for a short walk this afternoon. Henny and Nova and I went first — Nova was much more on board with the whole idea this time, and Henny seemed really excited to trot from place to place, too. Then Beany wanted to go out really badly, so I put her in Nova’s harness. I figured we’d stand out on the front step for a few minutes, but she did a lap around the house! It was slow going, although she was actually much better than Nova at listening to me when I wanted to get moving again.
Anyway, I’m hoping Rob chooses birthday pizza for dinner, as our pizza discussion to pizza eating ratio is very disappointing. Happy birthday, Rob!
Do you ever lie down to take a nap and find yourself surrounded by dogs? I spent the night at my parents’ house after Easter and didn’t sleep well, so I thought I’d rest for a while the next day, before I headed back to Hinckley. Suddenly, both my parents’ dogs, Minnie and Sasha (you can only see Sasha’s butt here, but she’s as big as Minnie), were up on the bed, so I lifted Henny up too, and Nova jumped up to join in on the fun. Amazingly, everybody was really quiet, and I did actually fall asleep.
Today, I had to take my dogs to the vet for their spring heartworm/lyme tests and lepto vaccines (this is something I’d never heard of until last year, but lepto is usually spread by wildlife and farm animals, which the dogs are frequently around up here). Henny is so brave and stoic — they had to poke her several time to get a vein for the blood draw, and it didn’t even register in her expression/behavior. Nova is the opposite, because apparently animals that have led pampered, cushy lives from the get-go are extreme drama queens and afraid of everything (see also: Birdy). She did well with the blood draw but screamed when they gave her the vaccine. And then I couldn’t put her down while I did all the paperwork, because she was so, so sad. Silly dog. I might have to send her to puppy bootcamp to toughen her up.
It was a year ago today that we closed on the Hinckley house and I zoomed up to start painting stuff. I spent just about zero time outside for the first several weeks because I was so busy with stuff in the house. But I don’t remember there being much or any snow on the ground, whereas there was quite a bit yesterday. There’s still a fair amount today, but this morning’s rain and the warm temperatures of the last couple days (well, above 40F) made enough room on the ground that the dogs and I could go out.
Henny was really excited to sniff around, but Nova actually hid under the sofa and couldn’t be convinced that I wasn’t trying to trick her into some sort of punishment. So Henny and I went out on our own at first. She’s heftier than Nova but more prone to seeming chilled, plus she also likes me to lift her over any snowy/slushy areas. Quiet sensible when your legs are only a few inches long, I suppose. I saw some deer tracks (in the third photo) from the SIX deer that ambled through the yard this morning — this after having seen no sign of them out in the open all winter long.
When I brought Henny in, Nova was too interested in the way she smelled to notice that I’d captured her and put on a harness. She wouldn’t walk on the driveway, as she’d been reminded how I’m always doing horrible things, and this was obviously another, but she was fine once I carried her to the grassy area. After she started sniffing, she gained a lot of confidence, and soon she didn’t mind where she was walking or on what.
You probably know this, because I complain about it every time I try to take a photo of a bathroom, but I really hate taking photos of bathrooms! Well, the ones in the Hinckley house, anyway. None of them has a window — I keep thinking about adding a transom window above the door to my bathroom, but it wouldn’t make any difference for the guest bath, as the hallway is dim as well.
Anyway, I’ve been making some improvements to the guest (upstairs hallway) bathroom. This is the less-than-gorgeous before shot; we had the mauve toilet/bath replaced last summer after I painted, and then it looked like this. The vanity is cheap, and some of the wood-grain paper was flaking off on the side, so I went ahead and painted the whole thing white a little while ago. I also replaced the drawer/door pulls with brushed nickle ones, and now it’s not too shabby. It also goes a long way towards brightening the room (I really like the dark purple on the walls, but the old vanity color wasn’t doing it any favors).
Then I hung some stuff on the wall:
These are four photos I took on our property last year. My mom had a bunch of frames leftover from a project, and they were perfect for these 8×10″ prints. I wish they didn’t have to be quite so close to the shower, but hopefully all our guests know how to properly close the curtain.
I’d still like to do quite a bit to this room. I want to replace the vanity light fixture with something a bit classier that has glass shades instead of bare bulbs, and it would be great if I could build a frame for the mirror. Both this bathroom and mine have outlets over the vanity, about a foot away from the wall, so it’s impossible to center a mirror. So that’s weird to start with, and the bare edges don’t help. Unfortunately, the side of this mirror is butted up against the outlet, so any frame I built would have to have a little hole to access it. Everything used to be purple and white in this room, but I replaced the towels with dark teal ones, and I think a ‘Crayola Bold’ color scheme would be really great. A little bit of goldenrod, orange-y red, etc. I guess there’s no rush for all that stuff, though!
(Don’t get me started on the tile. It’s actually pinkish in person. Sigh.)
Hey there, folks. We just had our second house guest in as many weeks, which goes part of the way towards explaining why I’ve been quieter than usual. Pro-tip: Get a house in the country, so that when people visit, they’re doing so hoping to relax and enjoy the peace and quiet. It makes entertaining super easy! The only real reason we left the house when our second guest was here was to get lunch/brunch (yesterday, we went to the lunch buffet at the casino, which was a big win for me, as Rob always seems to think I’m joking when I suggest it). I grabbed this lemon bismark after today’s lunch at Tobies; I wanted a decadent afternoon treat.
Followed by a nap. Nova and Birdy are my nap buddies (Birdy was on the opposite corner, purring loudly). I always wind up with a puppy under the covers, but she soaked up the sun for a few minutes first, today.
Another reason I haven’t been posting as often is that I’m feeling low on inspiration. My real life is a little busier than usual right now, in a non-blog-fodder sort of way, but I also can’t help feeling like I post the same stuff all the time. When it’s winter, I just don’t do much, which doesn’t really bother me, but it makes for a boring blog. So I’d like to know if there’s anything specific you’d like to hear more about. I’ve always just written about whatever catches my interest — for the past 12+ years — and somehow that interests at least a few of you enough to stick around. So what could you stand to hear more about, and are there more details you’d like? (I’ll eventually write about my house in Minneapolis, but not right now, so consider that topic tabled for the moment.)
Happy Hinckley house! Our one-year houseiversary isn’t until March 30th, but Rob’s got a friend flying in to visit today, so I figure it’s okay to celebrate a few days early, just so there’s an extra cake-eating person around. Plus, I just finished playing Portal (Rob got an Xbox recently, and I’m not a first-person shooter kind of person, but Portal is fun), so there’s a particular need for cake that is not a lie.
Usually I’d look forward to the opportunity to try out an interesting cake/frosting recipe, but I actually went entirely store-bought this time. I voted for yellow cake, and Rob picked out the can of frosting that came with sprinkles. Box cake is so fluffy, and canned frosting is so gloopy — I just about lost my mind (and big pieces of the cake) when I was trying to do the crumb coat. So I went with stars for the whole thing. I kind of love it. It’s a small cake — a 9×13″ cut in half to make two layers, so it’s also quite tall for its size, which makes it look particularly house-y. Success.
We’ve done soooo much to the house over the past year, and I can only hope we will do less than half as much in the coming year!