Chilling Out with Chickens and Dogs, and Other Thanksgiving Adventures

Yet another Ocean Beach Orphan Thanksgiving has come and gone. This year we had about thirteen people, so a “small” gathering indeed. I did a 22 pound turkey just in case though. Guess what I’m eating for lunch this week! That’s right, ham!! I managed to get both the house and the backyard in order before the quests arrived and I even had a moment to relax in front of the roaring fire with my Cousin Eddie traditional holiday shoes. Nothing says the holidays like some sweet patent leather white loafing shoes!

Thanksgiving 2015_02_The quiet before the storm


Once guests arrived, it was a flurry of activity and binge eating. Not a lot of photos to be had, except of course for my old dog Hunter who’s new owner brought along so that he and Sasha could chew on one another for countless hours. That, and to receive cuddles from yours truly. Here he is asking for love…

Thanksgiving 2015_04_Hunter wanting Love

And here he is receiving it!

Thanksgiving 2015_03_Cuddling with Hunter

The next few days I had the pleasure of relaxing and catching up on yard chores. Such as finally planting my Winter garden. I had one major issue to deal with first however. Deadly and destructive secretive little bastards called nematodes!

Thanksgiving 2015_04b_Nematode and Egg


Hideous little bastards aren’t they? Well, these guys completely wiped out my summer crops which is why I haven’t boasted them on here this year. It’s hard to know when you have them unless you pull the plants out and examine the roots. Little nodes appear on the roots that are a tell-tale sign. Above the surface, all you’ll see are wilted and meager crops and sad farmers.

The best way (I hope) to deal with them is to introduce predatory nematodes. Fight fire with fire. They’ll seek out and eat all the harmful ones with great fervor! As this is a new trick for me, I’m wondering if any of my readers have experienced this or have any tips or advice. I’m all ears and will keep you posted on the results.

The good news is that I did some soil sampling and I finally have my pH completely neutral!! Take that San Diego alkaline soil! Here I am planting cabbage, broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts in the freshly treated soil with a little help from Piper and Sasha. A very little help.

Thanksgiving 2015_01_Feature Image_Planting the winter crops with chicken and dog

I was also afforded some time to just chill out and enjoy the warm sunny day in the yard. Some much needed cuddle time with all my girls.

Thanksgiving 2015_06_Sasha and Me

Thanksgiving 2015_010_Me and Piper

And of course, the girls also hung out with each other.

Thanksgiving 2015_05_Sasha and Piper

And lastly, a small harvest of a large pomegranate from my first year tree. Nury wanted me to grow them for her to consume, so all the crops go directly to her as I’m not a huge fan. I was, however, very impressed with the size and yield of the tree after only one growing season. Just look at this guy!

Thanksgiving 2015_07_Harvesting Giant Pomegranates

And my lady seems pleased and satiated. One must keep their loved ones satiated y’all!

Thanksgiving 2015_08_Nury with Giant Pomegranate

Well, that’s it for now. More to come soon. How was your Thanksgiving? Any good stories to share? Also, anyone experience nematodes before? I’d love to get some feedback!!!

A Weekend Getaway in Cleveland National Forest and Mount Laguna

We took a much needed break from all things work related this weekend up at mount Laguna nestled in the Cleveland National Forest. It was brisk and windy and absolutely gorgeous. The trails that wound around completely dried up lakes looked like grizzly country and it was exactly what the doctor ordered.

Mount Laguna_Cleveland National Forest_01
Trail map of Cleveland National Forest

I had an extremely rough week at work. Very bad, yet expected, news that had left me in a tail spin. I’ll spare you the details as there are many things in the works now as a result that I am not ready to announce publicly. I’ll just say that the winds of change are blowing at my back.

I found myself feeling melancholy and stoic and pooped and demoralized the last few days. But as fate would have it, arrangements had already been made to get the hell out of Dodge. So off we went. Just a simple two day car camping trip that proved to be exactly what I needed.

I’m keeping this post brief as I am breaking the rules right now of doing nothing constructive this weekend. I just wanted to share some of the photos with you wonderful people as I could use all the love and support I can gather right now and you guys are just so damn groovy and always cheer me up. So here’s a grip of photos…

That’s it folks. Apparently I thought it best to not take any photos of the first day/night and opted instead on imbibing in libations of the whisky and scotch variety. So even if I had taken photos, I’m sure they would not be appropriate here. I will say this though, having six inches of down and wool blankets in the tent during last nights chilly weather made for a cozy way to sleep off any chance of a hangover so I rose early this morning to fry bacon and ply myself with coffee.

These are all from todays hike. It was a wintery day that I don’t get much of here in SoCal. I found it suit my mood perfectly and took as many chances as I could to sneak off to sit and think and then not think at all. Just watch the trees sway in cool winds and the stretches of grasslands to whip and swirl as cheeks grew rosy and heavy hearts were lifted to matters beyond timeclockery and meetings and parking and traffic and shitty news.

Now I find myself warm and cozy with only the slightest hint of dread. Seeing the late Sunday clock move ever forward, marching towards my inevitable Monday doom. Much love, dear reader, for all your support and kind words. You bolster my sorrows and keep me chugging along. When this all blows over, we should all go camping together.

The True Evil Empire is Monsanto and They are Trying to Kill the World. Join the Rebel Alliance!

Dear reader. Kind reader. Gentle reader. I am so sorry to do this to you, but I am about to go off the rails from my normal posts. I adamantly try to avoid politics or anything too controversial on Mind Your Dirt. I usually try to be approachable in order to reach the widest audience. My goals have always been three-fold: to learn/teach, to inspire and to amuse.

Today, I will be abandoning this goal. I’m throwing it all out the window and I hope that you can bear with me and perhaps even, one day, forgive me. Afterwards I will return to our normal programming. And as a sign of good will, I made certain to make the feature image above hilariously entertaining. At least it is to me. The entire time I created it, I was laughing maniacally. I really crack me up. I sooo get me. When this all blows over, I and I should move in together and make out a bunch. Replacing Darth Vader’s head with that of Monsanto’s CEO, Hugh Grant, tickled me tremendously. But nothing cracked me up as much as sticking Piper’s head on Princess Leia. I digress.

That said, I am about to go on a rant the likes of which you have not seen from me. There might even be a curse word or two! I have always been angry with Monsanto and companies of its ilk (like Dow Chemicals), but I saw something recently that really pushed me too far. I’ll explain below what that something is, but first let’s all get acquainted with Monsanto, shall we? I know that by now, you have all heard something about this company. I know that you know about GMOs and pesticides. You’ve formed your opinions already. But if you’re here, or are one of my regular readers (wassup guys), then chances are your opinions and mine are very similar.

I want to go a little deeper than that however. For herein lies well over a century of the purest evil, manipulation and widespread global murder the likes of which is seldom seen.

Like all great stories, it’s best to start in the beginning…

Mind Your Dirt is Mad at Monsanto 04_James as Lord Vader

Part One: The Dark Lord Emerges:

The company was founded in 1901 by John Francis Queeny, a member of the Knights of Malta and the original Grumpy Cat. He was a thirty-year pharmaceutical veteran. Below is a photo of Queeny at the age of twelve with his pet kitty, Darth Mittens. The powers of The Dark Side had aged him well beyond his years.

Mind Your Dirt is Mad at Monsanto 02_John Francis Queeny the Grumpy Cat
John Francis Queeny, the original grumpy cat.

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