Our weather has not been warm enough for me to even think about going for a swim yet. In fact it will take a few consecutive days with temperatures in the 80’s Fahrenheit to warm the water to my liking.
Trooper on the other hand found the water most refreshing. Every year he is the first one in.
He also enjoyed some time laying in the shade.
I did get some yard work done this week while soaking up some vitamin D (sunshine) and starting on my tan. 🙂
For the second year in a row we decided to cut our own Christmas tree. Last year, and again this year, we cut spruce trees from the farm. When we purchased the farm in 2011 there were many deciduous trees growing on the property but there were absolutely no evergreens. The following spring we placed an order with our local conservation district spring tree sale and amongst the things we ordered were 50 spruce trees, 25 Blue Spruce and 25 Norway Spruce. When the 12-15 inch seedlings arrived we had no idea where we were going to plant them, so we made a nursery area for them within our fenced garden area where they were well tended through the summer. It was a hot and dry summer, and the garden required much watering. It was the summer before we had the pond or the windmill so we carted many barrels of water in the back of the truck, from our house to the farm, in order to keep our garden alive. Having these seedlings in the garden area, where it was convenient to water them, proved to be a blessing and allowed them to flourish. By the fall of that year we were ready to plant them in their permanent places. We decided to line the North and East sides of the back field with some of them, as they would eventually provide privacy and wind breaks.
Over the last five years these trees have received much TLC, they have been fenced during the winters to protect them from the deer, they have been weeded and mulched, and during the droughts of summer we have driven the truck around the outskirts of the field delivering water to each of these trees in attempts to keep them alive. Not all of the trees have survived, but most have with some doing better than others.
We have continued to order Norway Spruce and Blue Spruce seedlings each spring and place them in a temporary nursery area until we decided where we want to plant them. Some of them have replaced spruce trees that we lost, we use some to replace dead Ash and Elm trees that we cut down, and we will also replace the trees that we cut for Christmas trees.
It was about 10 days before Christmas, and we had gotten our first decent snow fall, when we went out to cut our tree. My husband and I walked the path along the East and North of the property and examined each tree before we decided which one to cut.
Scout and Trooper were happy to be with us.
We selected this Norway Spruce. We didn’t measure it but I’m sure it was close to 5 feet tall. It took my husband less than a minute to saw through the trunk.
As we walked back from the field we spotted this hen who had made her way through the snow out to the field. We were really surprised to see her there because chickens do not like to walk in snow. My husband picked her up and we gave her a lift back to the coop.
We opted not to trim the longer, upper branches to achieve the “prefect” Christmas Tree shape, but left the tree in it’s natural God-given shape. The short needles and less than crowded branches made adding lights and hanging ornaments easy. And we have been enjoying the simplicity and beauty of our homegrown Christmas tree.
On Christmas Day we added one final ornament after opening the gift from Tina and Ken. We hung the new “Ciani Family” ornament next to the “God Bless the Farmer” ornament they gifted to us last year. I think I am seeing a theme here to complement our new tradition. 🙂
One 90 lb. Scout + one 120 lb. Trooper on bath day = one big job. What makes it somewhat easier is the fact that they are well behaved when they get their bath. Yesterday when I announced to the Boys that they were going to get a bath they both came into the bathroom and looked at the tub. I still needed to get things set up for them, so I told Scout he had to wait a few minutes. He laid down to wait.
We used to give them both their bath’s in our garden tub. My husband hooked a shower hose to the tub faucet and this works well.
We usually bathe them one at a time, but one time my husband actually had them both in the tub together.
Trooper still gets his bath in the tub, but Scout’s advanced age prevents him from jumping into the tub like he used to. Nowadays I remove our glass shower doors so that Scout can just step into the shower. I kneel on the floor beside the shower and wash him up. He loves the attention and he loves it when we tell him he is a “clean puppy”.
A few years back, after I began using my homemade soap for washing my own hair, I decided to try using it on the boys. Buying dog shampoo can be expensive, the highly perfumed fragrance of these often has adverse effects on my sinuses, and getting these shampoos completely rinsed out of the boys coats was a nightmare. Using the soap, on the other hand, there are no added fragrance. It provides a lather that penetrates even Trooper’s extremely thick coat and under coat yet it rinses out nicely. Yesterday I used Aloe Soap but I sometimes use my Hair Care Soap that I use on my own hair.
After their bath my husband had them lay on the blanket to dry and he gave them a nail trim.
Last night as I petting each one and saying good night I noticed how exceptionally soft Troopers coat was and even Scout’s wirey hair had a softer feel. Indeed, Don’t Eat It! Handcrafted Soaps are good for the whole family, including the dog.