National Dog Day

It’s National Dog Day!  Apparently a day to serve your dog breakfast in bed, or take it on an extra long walk or give it ice cream or something.  And a day to donate to your local animal shelter or rescue organization, many of whom do great work in helping retrieve animals from abusive and unfortunate situations, and then rehabilitating and offering them a new and happy life.  Here’s mine, giving sad eyes that I told her to stay, so I could take a picture of her in a stationary pose, and also watching a cat cross the yard.  A cat she could not race after, since I was standing right there.

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Construction Zone

My nephew turned two today.  His birthday party had a construction theme, complete with many tractor/truck related gifts.  So naturally, the cake needed to reflect the construction theme also.  My sister-in-law found a picture of what she wanted it to look like, and we constructed (see what I did there?) a pretty good replica, made of my very favourite chocolate cake and chocolate frosting.  All Braden wanted to do was play with the tractors on the cake.  After all, why eat cake when you can lie on the ground and drive trucks?Spring 2014 632b

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I haven’t made much jam in my life.  Some raspberry stuff a few years ago, but that’s about it.  However, there is no time like the present to do such things.  Especially when one buys way too much summer fruit, and can’t eat it all before it starts to go bad.  This weekend, I had a whole bunch of cherries and peaches that were both getting a bit on the ripe side.

So I made two different kinds of jam – cherry and peach vanilla bean.  Both are quite good, although I got a little carried away with the vanilla bean in the peach jam because one pod looked a little dry and I scraped out another one just in case, so next time I think I’d only scrape one pod instead.  The cherry is a little more on the syrupy side than the jammy side, since I didn’t have enough pectin, but it tastes good!  So I consider this round a success.

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Before and After

This was at 4:30/5pm on Friday evening.

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This is three hours later at 8pm.

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Due to these.

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And if my garden, inside a semi-protected yard, looks like that, you can imagine what some of the fields look like.  Even though the hail isn’t really that large (some people got really big stuff), it still managed to do quite a bit of damage.  No lightning pictures from this storm, since I was in the basement due to the high probability of a tornado occurring.  Not to mention the sky was a very scary black and green at around 6pm.  Basement seemed safer.

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Thunderstorm Watch

We have spent most of each day in the past week under severe thunderstorm watches and warnings.  Mainly they all have amounted to nothing around here.  That is, except for last Thursday night.  We had our annual community picnic, on a very nice evening.  It had been really hot and humid all day, and there was a cloud that was kind of building over top of us all afternoon, but it moved off to the south.  So we had our picnic and baseball game, when suddenly it seemed the cloud was moving back towards us.  Not too quickly, but it was gaining in strength and in the amount of lightning we could see.

The good thing about the cloud was that it made it darker sooner, so we could set the fireworks off a little earlier than we might have been able to on a clear night.  Then everyone went home.  Good thing, too, because all of a sudden the cloud was upon us.  I, of course, took my camera out to the field to practice shooting lightning.  When it started raining, I headed home, which turned out to be wise, since it suddenly got VERY windy and it poured and hailed a bit.  In some places near us it hailed a lot.  As in, they won’t have to worry about harvesting those fields.  You would think a major storm would change the still, sticky weather we’ve had, but no.  We are still under a thunderstorm watch every day.Spring 2014 485

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It is still ice cream month, and popsicles kind of qualify in my opinion.   Especially since these are more like strawberry frozen yogurt popsicles, than just plain popsicles.  I suppose I could have made ice cream and churned it part way then poured it into the popsicle mold.  Next time.

It is supposed to be hot all week here, so I am very pleased that I have these in the freezer.  I foresee many different uses for my popsicle mold, now that I have figured out how full it can be filled before it overflows while freezing.

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Crop Progress

After a cool and wet June, it suddenly got warmer, though not excessively hot, a couple weeks ago.  You could practically see the crops growing if you stood and watched for a while.  Now the lentils are blooming, the canola is finishing blooming, barley has all headed out, and the wheat is well on its way.  Some is farther along than others, but so long as the storms and hail keep missing us, and everything works out in time before it freezes, it looks like it should be a decent crop.

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