Morning rituals

Zippy and Karen   

I love our weekend mornings more than anything else. I start looking forward to them on Sundays at noon.

It all starts after we run and feed the dogs.

Rock pigeon   

Karen makes the coffee and bright-eyed and bushy-tailed we make our way out to the barn. Even when the temps were in the high teens and low twenties, we went out to the barn for coffee and conversation and photos.

Rock pigeon   

So maybe we slowly saunter out to the barn, it is before coffee after all.

Anna’s hummingbird   

We take roll call with the bird kingdom. Our little male hummingbird is always the first to arrive. I call him Peter Pan and he nearly always responds with his bright pink face.

Anna’s hummingbird.  

His bride usually checks in as well. She’s a wee bit puffy because the mornings are still a little chilly.

Mourning dove   

We have two dozen or so mourning doves that join us. They line the branches of the trees, the fence and graze in the grasses for some of the perfect morsels other birds have left behind.

American gold finches   

We have a huge variety of small song birds that have their breakfast while we enjoy our coffee. I often wonder if they have the same conversations that we do.

European starlings   

Every once in a while we have a flock of starlings join us. We sort of re-routed them with a different seed because the other birds don’t really like them.

This morning we had a bit of a catastrophe. The starlings were enjoying the suet when out of the clear blue a hawk swooped in and I’m pretty sure he got his breakfast. That was the end of our morning show though. All of the birds scattered to the winds for hours.

Western scrub jay   

Even the jays stayed away all day. We have about four that come through the peanut ring one-by-one to collect a peanut and fly off. I’m not sure who  the recipient of the shells are, but I’m sure they thank us everyday.

Downy woodpecker

 We have a pair of downy’s that visit us regularly. This is the little male and I adore him. The little female usually comes at a separate time.


The flickers are rather shy, but you can see the suet on beak from his breakfast. We probably have four or five flickers that swoop in and swoop out.

Zip and Timber   

These two do their best to lay peacefully on their cushions or stand by our sides for ear scratches, but when they’ve had enough they let us know when coffee and conversation hour is over.

Resident squirrels   

And the squirrels are always much relieved to see us leave the barn.

Raining big dogs


We faithfully went to the barn for our coffee over the weekend, but we had rain, a little more rain and even more rain. Our poor acre has no idea what to do with all of the rain. For now, it’s all just standing water.

The boys laid down on their cushions and just looked longingly out at the yard. They wanted to play, but it was even too wet for them.

The garden rain boots   

We’ve been upgrading our gear for the garden this summer. Doesn’t everybody own a pair a Converse rubber shoes? Mine are almost a neon orange. The puddles see us coming.

Wading juncos.  

Our poor little juncos feed from the seed that has dropped from the feeders. They had a hard time finding their food on Sunday.

House finches   

The house finches on the other hand, really appreciate the umbrellas.

More rain is coming tomorrow.

Rumor has it


The white stuff is coming again late tomorrow night. Really? We’ve had so many winter days like this that I have completely lost count. 

I’ve been watching the weather and I almost don’t believe them.

Time to haul the hummingbird feeders in and out again.

If it’s on Facebook, it’s probably not true.

Spring is just around the corner

borzoi running
borzoi running
Zippy being zippy   

We spent quite a bit of time outside today. The season’s are getting ready to change and it feels so good. The mornings have started out around 34°, but by afternoon, they are lobbying for the high 40s. The daffodils have officially started poking through the dirt. 

Pussy willow buds   

The pussy willow tree, always an early adopter from winter to spring has already begun to bud.

Our greenhouse.  

And most important, our greenhouse is eagerly awaiting it’s transformation into a starter garden for all of our summer veggies.

Our morning coffee view

Zip and Timber   

Sunday morning. Oh how I love my relaxed cup of coffee in the barn with Karen.

I’ve discovered that we get up way earlier than the birds. Pete, our hummingbird, is always up when we go out, but the rest of the birds are a lazy bunch. One by one we watch as they come out of their hidey holes to stretch their wings and grab a few nibbles of seed. Inevitably, once the birds show up, the boys get up off of their cushions in the barn and continually disturb the ground feeders. 

I often threaten Zip and Timber that if they don’t stop it, they don’t get to go to the barn for coffee. I fear they would be highly disappointed and I don’t want to do that to them.

The fenced area behind them is our 30 x 30′ garden area patiently waiting for spring. The wine barrels will be filled with flowers. On the outside we can have dog safe, on the inside we’ll have flowers that the hummingbirds go wild for. I hope. Up and down the fencing we’ll plant runner beans. The hummingbirds loved the runner bean flowers last summer.

Right now the ground is sopping wet. By the time we finished with coffee this morning those eight snowy white paws were blackened up to their hocks with mud.

A better day

Two borzoi
Two borzoi
Zip and Timber.  

Today was much better for Zippy. Thank goodness. That boy had me pretty worried yesterday.

He ate his breakfast, not with a whole lot of enthusiasm, but he at. I told him he was going to have to spend another day at the vet clinic without me if he didn’t turn things around.

He was quite cute at the vet clinic. He was thrilled to get in the car to go somewhere, happy to trot into the clinic. Once the vet came in, he nearly climbed into my skin and there was no way he was going to go anywhere with the vet tech.

I walked him back to the X-ray room, gave him a kiss and told him I would be just outside the room, but instead he made a beeline for the other door to go out. Reluctantly, I left him. If things weren’t moving through his bowel, we had to know.

The vet took a look at his X-rays, said he was doing great and they pulled his catheter. He was ever so happy to see me.

Tonight he was my sous chef as I prepared the meals. It’s difficult around here these days because some want me to hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, extra mustard… Anyway, I fixed his meal to perfection with his coaxing and he ate it all. 

I was one very happy mommy.

Still under the weather


Our boy isn’t feeling too well right now. 

I took him to the emergency clinic on Sunday night around midnight. They did X-rays and blood work and didn’t come back with anything conclusive. I took him back to clinic on Monday for follow up X-rays and everything looked better.

He still didn’t want to eat this morning so it was back to the vet. This time he stayed there with IV fluids.

I’ll take him back in morning. Our poor little boy.

Step one, feed the birds

Two borzoi
Two borzoi
Timber and Zip   

Step two, prevent the borzoi from eating the bird seed the starlings don’t want to eat.

We love watching the birds. They entertain us for hours. We’ve been recently overthrown by the European starling society. They are truly beautiful birds and they are quite entertaining to watch, but when they call them bully birds, they are kinda right. The worst part is the mess they make. They have quite a selective palette. And what they don’t like they pick out and throw to the ground.

And, what they throw to the ground is wonderful for the ground feeders, but we aren’t crazy about the dogs consuming the seeds. 

It seems like we are always evolving our methods. Tonight we have round fire pit grates covering the openings of the wine barrels. Tomorrow we are switching to safflower seed because that is not part of the must-have starling diet.


Longing for hot summer nights


We have had below freezing temps for over a week now. We still have snow on the ground from last weekend. That never ever happens in Oregon. When I went out at noon to refill the bird feeders I realized the ground was rock hard. We live on a bed of clay and expect that in the summer, but frozen clay in the winter? Nearly unheard of.

Bring back the summer nights.

What’s new in the gardens

Four borzoi
Four borzoi
Sage, Glory, Zip and Timber   

So many changes happened around here in the last year, I’m not even sure where to begin. I guess I will start with the happy stories.

We started a garden again. It was, to say the least delightful to watch the plants grow and produce. The tomato bushes went bananas, the pepper plants did really well, the lemon cukes were over the top. The pumpkins were sad, the butternut squash clearly didn’t like where we planted them and the cantelope produced three lovely, very flavorful melons. At least I think all three were flavorful. The grand dogs got into that part of the garden and helped themselves.

We put in a small barn to store some of the garden implements, but I don’t think it will be used for that. Since the end of October when it went in, we have gone out every chance we could get and sat at the little bistro table and enjoyed our coffee. I think we might have to put in a small garden shed. The red barn is now responsible for coffee and photo backdrop.

puppy weimaraner jumping
Holly and Maverick   

We had the good fortune to have multiple visits from our grand dogs this summer. Holly added a long-haired blue Weimaraner to her pack. An eight-week old puppy boy came into their lives in February. He needed the acre to stretch his legs and wear off some of that puppy energy.

Mav also learned where the carrots were planted in the garden. No fence is too tall for this little munchkin and he loves the carrots.

Two weimaraners and a lab
Maverick, Goldee and Autzen   

Just before Christmas this year we got snow. It was magical and despite the cold, I loved every minute. Once again, the barn provided a perfect backdrop for a winter scene with the grand dogs.