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!!!

Day In, Day Out…

Every so often my routine begins to blur together and days become months and months become years. I usually try to stay positive and cheerful most of the time, but I am deathly allergic to routine. I don’t think that we as a species are hardwired for this type of life. We long for ways to escape its stagnant grasp in any form we can.

I recently installed a few motion cameras in the backyard just in case that racoon shows up again to dine upon my precious flock of hens. Better to be safe than sorry and these little cameras are relatively cheap and simple to install. No predators yet, but I’m watching.

What I didn’t expect them to capture was my sad sorry self heading off to work every morning. When I began to look at the images all together, it made me a little depressed. Maybe after a month or so I can make a nice little flip-book of the mundane. Something to enjoy after retirement.

I do enjoy my job, don’t get me wrong. Handling art and antiquities is a particularly amazing honor and I do it with great reverence and pride. There have been more than a few times when I’ve held in my hand a painting or sculpture that I wrote a paper on in college. The trust that my, and other, institutions place upon my shoulders to be a caretaker for these objects does not go unnoticed by this gentle writer.


I feel like I need some sort of It’s a Wonderful Life type lesson to refresh my outlook on work in general. Perhaps a visit from three ghosts? Or a near death experience to get a new perspective.  I used to consider myself to be always in high spirits but lately these doldrums have been slowly scratching away at me.

That said, can someone facilitate a near death experience on my behalf without my knowledge? Perhaps an angry grizzly released into my backyard? I guess it’s all about perspective.

What do you do to break up the routine? I’m open to suggestions! My usual distraction is gardening of course but this years continued drought and the recent long lasting heatwave have stifled that. On top of that, my hard work of doing a winter cover crop has failed miserably with the discovery of root nematodes in my veggie garden!!

I’m not sure if you noticed or not, but I haven’t posted much on my veggie garden this season. On account of not really having one. It’s truly a sad and anticlimactic end to a long, hot and dry growing season.

I’ve ordered some predatory nematodes to have an epic hidden battle beneath my brown and wilted vegetables. There can be only one in the end but I fear it’s too late for this season for me to reap any rewards.

But all is not lost. And I refuse to leave this post on a sad note, so here are some highlights of the past week.

I spent all weekend in a 100°+ garage working away at Piper’s new mini coop. I’m almost finished and will keep you posted on those efforts in due time. Here it is as of this morning…

Piper's New Coop Pt II_Nearing CompletionI know she’s gonna love it! And she’ll finally get some peace and regrow all her fluffy feathers.

There was also an amazing change in the status quo regarding the chemical warfare against the bees!! A federal court overturned the EPA’s approval of sulfoxaflor, a pesticide linked to the mass die-off of honeybees that pollinate a third of the world’s food supply. Do I sense a change in the tide? Read more on that here!

Maybe things are looking up! Stay positive y’all and break up that routine!