Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Sonya saves Lili's life: A heartwarming tale of courage and love for the holidays.

Sonya stands guard on a mountain top.
There’s a lot to celebrate this Holiday at our Homestead as we enter our 3rd year of operation of Petaluma Pie Company. We are (knock on wood) healthy and our cholesterol count in check despite our daily dose of pie we subject ourselves to for the purposes of quality control.

Lili (Left: Liliuokalani) and Sonya (Right: Sonya Sotomayor) sport the latest fashion sweater.

Above all, we are happy because Lili, our Chihuahua pictured above is still alive, thanks to Sonya, the other Chihuahua pictured above, who saved Lili’s life.

This all started with Lili’s favorite pastime of chewing on walnuts she finds in the garden.  Almost every home in our neighborhood has one walnut tree, a reminder of the fact that the area was once a walnut orchard. As you can imagine, walnuts are scattered everywhere in this neighborhood.

One day, while we were toiling away at the pie shop, trouble was brewing at home.

We got a phone call from our neighbor/dog walker, Chris saying Sonya had managed dig her way out of our heavily fortified fenced back yard and then break into Chris’s heavily fortified fenced backyard; A mind-boggling act for a little 8 pound Chihuahua.

Thanks to Chris’s dogs barking at the unexpected intrusion, Chris found Sonya sitting patiently in her backyard, waiting to be discovered. Like any good neighbor, Chris immediately brought our dog back to our house. (Chris, being our dog-walker, has our keys.)

It was then that Chris noticed that Lili, who normally barks joyfully anytime Chris approaches our house (usually with promise of outdoor fun and treats), was silent. Thanks to Chris’s hunch that something was wrong. Chris went looking and found Lili  laying on the ground in our backyard, shaking violently as though the dog was having an epileptic seizure. At that point, Chris called us at the store again, this time in panic, and asked that one of us come home immediately. Meanwhile, after getting off the phone, Chris rushed Lili to the nearby veterinarian. After a series of emergency treatments, the veterinarian informed us that Lili was likely poisoned from eating a moldy walnut hull which is very toxic and even deadly to dogs. She was hospitalized that night and closely monitored because her life was in danger.

Lili back to her usual self.
Two days and $1000 in vet bills later, Lili is back to being her vacuum cleaning self, sucking up everything that looks remotely like food (even walnuts!?)... But at least, we the humans learned to be vigilant now. We now take away walnuts as soon as we see one and we even cut down the tree for the safety of our dogs. (The tree was in the way of our gardening project anyway.) Sadly, it appears that Lili has not learned a thing from this harrowing episode... but still, we are grateful that she is back to her normal health.

Well, that is our heartwarming holiday story for you. We now have a renewed respect for Sonya. She is much wiser and resourceful than she puts on.

Keep walnuts (and moldy grapes!) away from dogs.  Happy Holidays everybody!

Lina and Angelo

Thursday, January 27, 2011

What Ever Happened to the Another (Sub)Urban Homestead Blog?

The homestead is still in progress, but we have since opened the Petaluma Pie Company across town. We use some of our homestead produce as well as organic and local whenever possible. Check out our website and blog to see what is going on.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Figs Finally

We have three fig trees. One was bought last year and is a Conadria Fig, which is green with pink flesh and very sweet and delicious. We have been getting one at a time until the other day when we got a whole handful! Last year we also planted one of many cuttings I made. This was the only one that lived and I thought it came from a tree we found in our house hunting, but now that it has fruit, I think it might be from a dwarf black mission fig we grew in a pot at our old place. The figs were always dry and pithy with no flavor, but this is in the ground with plenty of water and is a vigorous grower. The figs are sweet and juicy, but still have a hint of green. Still not sure the exact type, but maybe we will find out one day. Meanwhile, Desert King, which we bought and planted this year has figs, but they are far from ripe. Hopefully the nice weather will continue long enough to ripen them.

In a couple of years, we should get more figs than we can eat, but right now, I can't get quite enough.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Autumn is here?

Another month or more has lapsed since I last posted anything. I have been busy. I have taken a bunch of pictures of garden activities, though and will quickly update the progress here. After a very cold summer, it got very warm a couple of weeks ago. All of the tomatoes (early or not) ripened at the same time. They were covered with Agribon, as was the okra and kiwano melon. We also got eggplant, peppers, corn, strawberries, summer squash and winter squash. This picture shows just a small portion of our harvest.

I removed a lot of the tomato plants last week to make room for more garden boxes and now I am kicking myself because the temperature is in the 90s again and will be for most of the week. I still have some other tomatoes in the ground so they can take advantage of the heat. And the okra and kiwano melon are still growing under Agribon. I harvested some okra and it was really good, but did not get very much. The kiwano made a couple of fruits and I couldn't resist picking one before it was ripe, so the flavor was disappointing. I am hoping  the heat will turn some fruits the proper orange color soon.

Here is an okra flower. The okra is related to hibiscus.

Here is the harvest. Okra, kiwano and asian pear.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Fourth and Sea Produce Swap

I finally made it to the 4th and C produce swap, which happens outside the very good fish and chips place called "Fourth and Sea". I brought some of my volunteer spaghetti squash and armenian cucumbers which grew to enormous sizes overnight.

Here is Ann Heatly, who started the swap. Find them on the facebook or at swapproduce.com

Thursday, July 29, 2010

And then

I keep trying to grow okra, which is challenging here because it is not hot and humid and it is almost always in the 50s at night. Lately it has been cold during the day as well. I am trying to help the okra along with agribon fabric.

Also under the fabric is kiwano or horned melon. The melon has not made a single flower, though our crane melon and cucumbers have been flowering and fruiting. August is just around the corner. It could get to be over 100 degrees or it could stay chilly. The okra is about to flower.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

So C-C-Cold-d-d-d!

It is easy to blog when you are blogging all the time, but I fell out of the habit and no longer feel like a blogger.

So much food has grown and it was even warm before, but now it is so cold. It is the end of July and as I write it is evening and 54 degrees. It got into the mid-70s today. I have tomatoes trying to get ripe and okra and melons trying to grow. I heard we are on target to have the warmest July on record and people are roasting all over but it is so chilly here.

Anyhow, to recap the past while, I had some volunteer squash come up very early. It looks like spaghetti squash but it tastes much sweeter. That's right, I already have winter squash. I have a bunch of strange squashes that must have come out of the compost. I took some pictures, but can't find them, but that is ok, because we also had:
potatoes and beets and carrots and onions and garlic and basil and greens and stuff, some of which can be seen here.

And then after that we had basil and made pesto. Some pesto went on pasta salad and some went in the freezer for later.

and so on.