Saturday, August 2, 2014

How does your Garden GROW?

The best thing about having a garden is being able to step outside and enjoy fresh, free (ish) food!  It's been a busy weekend for Cam and I so we haven't been able to get some of the staples and our cupboards are running a little bare.  All I could muster up for my work lunch was cereal, rice milk, and a banana so I was pretty hungry when it was time to go home!  My friend gave me a ride home and as soon as I stepped out of the car I saw a beautiful radish!  We recently planted peas and radishes in the front of our house trimming the lawn and driveway just to see what would happen.  This was the first radish from that bunch and it was DEElicious.  I got inside, and though I knew what I would find, opened up the fridge and freezer and cupboards again to find nothing.  But as soon as I went out back I had access to a variety of beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, kale, spinach and of course....EGGS!  Since I'm not very creative I went on the internet and found a recipe for Cucumber, Tomato, and Avocado Salad.  It called for dried basil and oregano and I was bummed for a minute because we don't keep dried basil, but then I realized I could just use fresh!  It was such a delightful salad with all of the ingredients besides the avocado being home grown.  I love our herbs and garden and I really look forward to expanding our horizons!  This is our second year "on the farm" and though we learned a LOT in that short time I just know that we are going to continue to expand and learn.

Tomato, Cucumber Salad w/ basil, oregano, sunflower oil & apple cider vinegar

First heirloom tomato!
Homegrown Cukes!

Some of our first progress!

Stan watching me watch Cam garden

When we first planted sunflower seeds
Look at them now!  Towering over my 6'5 father!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon and 10k

Last weekend's race was a success!  What started out as a chilly, rainy, Sunday morning turned into the perfect day for running!  Portland is typically a pretty wet city but it was raining harder than usual which made me a little worried at first.  The race started at Waterfront Park so it looked miserable, but once we got started it felt perfect!
The Rock 'n' Roll was my favorite Half Marathon I've run so far.  Cam had a great time too, and although we didn't run together it was really fun to chat about all the things that went on when we were hanging out afterwards.  The first 4 miles of the course were the same for the 1/2 and the 10k, and went through the streets downtown.  At every mile there was live music ranging from rock n' roll, to jazz bands to banjo drums!  There were a TON of spectators too, cheering everyone on from the sidelines.  The support from the community was great.  Both routes ran across the Williamette over the Hawthorne Bridge, and then the 10k went left and headed back to the finish over the Morrison Bridge, and the 1/2 took a right.  We headed up (and up and up and up!) SE Hawthorne Blvd,  ran across Belmont to Laurelhurst Park, and then back to the finish over the Steel Bridge. My dad met us at the finish line and got to see both of us cross. I'm super proud of us both ~ we did great!
The race was followed by a special performance by G-Love and Special Sauce!  We were really excited and got spots right up front.  G-Love made eye contact with me but Cam thinks he was staring at him : ) We got to hear our 2 favorite songs while "enjoying" a Michelob Ultra (it was the free beer they gave away...gross) and then we made our way back to the MAX station and headed home to clean up and dry off!  Check out our G-Love video here!

The rain really started coming down when we got back to the house, but that didn't stop us from going to the Annual Kenton Neighborhood Street Fair on Denver Street!  There wasn't quite the turnout as the year before because of the weather, but we still managed to buy a few things, reward ourselves with a couple beers, and have a fun afternoon. 

There are more races in our future....Stay Tuned!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Slimmie's 1st (and 2nd) Seizure...

Slim after his follow up appt. today!  What a champ!

After a couple of scary days, Slim is back to his normal self, resting comfortably with me on the bed.  It all started on Saturday when I left work early because I felt under the weather.  I was laying in bed with Slim and Stan when I noticed Slim shake and saw a lot of drool.  I thought it was weird but didn't really think much else of it and dozed off.  A couple hours later as I was sitting up reading in bed when I noticed him drooling again.  I just watched him closely as he started what I thought was trying to get something up, like if he had a popcorn kernel stuck in his throat.  He didn't stop though and he started foaming at the mouth and I knew something was off.  I said "Hey Slim, are you okay?" and when he turned to look at me his body tensed up and he started having a seizure.  I was so scared.  I yelled to Cam and ran from the room...some great motherly instinct I have!  Cam stayed with Slim and made sure he didn't fall off the bed as I fumbled with my phone and tried to call for help.  After about 45 seconds he was done convulsing but still limp and disorientated (post-ictal would be the term I would soon learn) and we took him in the car and drove to Dove Lewis, the 24 hours Emergency Room vet.  I drove as Cam held Slim, and about halfway there Slim snapped back to reality - Cam said he could see the change in his eyes.  I think he thought we were going to the dog park because as we crossed over the Fremont Bridge he started yipping and looking out the window and trying to get on my lap!  By the time we got to the waiting room you would've thought he was entered in the Westminster Dog Show, prancing and high-stepping and looking happy as can be!

The staff at Dove Lewis was great.  They were super busy and we were there for a long time, but they were thorough and kind.  The doctor spent a lot of time with me (in my bright green "Irish" hoodie, purple cow pajama pants (no unders!) and gardening shoes!) and we decided the best thing to do was take bloodwork to make sure his sugar levels were normal.  She suggested I keep him the night, but of course I wanted to take him home and when his bloodwork came back ok we were discharged.  She told us if he had another seizure withing the next 24 hours to bring him back, but that sometimes a dog will have a seizure for no reason. 

Slim was so great on our way home.  He ate a big hearty meal when we got back, and even grabbed his toy and was playing tug-o-war!  I texted my dad and some friends pictures of Slim to let them know that he was home and back to normal.  It was already pretty late so we curled up and turned out the lights.  Not 5 minutes later I knew he was going to have another one.  I called to Cam and he came and turned on the light, but this time I stayed with Slim while he had his seizure.  So sad and scary to watch something you love so much go through such a traumatic event.  It seemed like forever and Cam offered to take over, but it ended and we packed back up to head to the vet again.  I was holding Slim after the seizure but he became squirmy to be let down, so I put him on the ground as I put on some pants.  He ran into the kitchen and hid under the table and didn't even recognize me.  He was afraid of me :( 
Before his 2nd Seizure

This time at the vet we knew that Slim would be spending the night.  He wasn't as alert as he was the time before.  He was still "Slim" but a tired Slim.  The doctor spoke with me and Cam (and Stan) and we decided to start him on an anti-seizure medication called Keppra.  They also placed an IV catheter so they could give him medication quickly in case he had another seizure while he was there. After we signed some paperwork and paid some bills, we were allowed to say goodnight to Slim.  The cutest/saddest part of the whole trip was that he had on his green turtleneck sweater with a little collar with a bell tied to it!  This way if he had a seizure the staff would be sure to notice right away. 

Stan was confused without his brother home :(
We picked Slim up the next day, Easter Sunday, at 4pm after he had had 3 doses of his medication.  He was just as Slim as Slim could be!  I imagined he would be a little wobbly and woozy but he looked great!  We brought the staff an Easter Basket to say "Thank You" for taking such good care of our little man.  What would we have done without them?  He had his first seizure at 6pm on the Saturday night before Easter.  It would've been way scarier if Dove Lewis wasn't there.  Slim had a follow up appointment with our regular vet today and he is due for some bloodwork in a month after he has been on his medication regularly.  One thing that both doctors have made clear is that although the medication reduces the chances of the seizures occurring it doesn't stop them completely.  So we just need to be prepared for more seizures in the future and just make him as safe and comfortable as can be.  You're a trooper little Slim!  You may be tiny but you are a CHAMP!  MY champ!
"Happy Easter!  From Slim & the rest of the little peeps you help today!"

Besties and their Babies :)

This dog mom is worn OUT.  Love you Slim.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Spring Travels!

What a whirlwind the past few days have been!  In a good way : )  A long time friend and coworker of Cameron's got married in Newport Beach, California and asked if Cam could shoot her wedding.  They used to work together at Caesar's Palace in the Wedding Chapel and he couldn't pass up the opportunity to see an old friend and stay at a beach front hotel for a couple of days. I wasn't sure if my work schedule would allow me to tag along or not but when Ellen sent the hotel confirmation and I found out that her husband worked for the airline so the airfare was included I made it work! We flew on standby which was VERY nerve wracking, but luckily we both made it on the same flight.  Cam got on first and I thought I didn't make it on.  Through teary eyes I said goodbye and wished him luck, but fortunately the last passenger on the plane never arrived at the gate and I got on at the very last second!  We checked into our hotel late Friday night and although it was dark we could hear the waves crashing against the sand from our hotel room. We put down our stuff and ran over to the ocean.  I'm not much of a beach bum but I really love the water and the ocean air... it's fascinating.  

The next day we found a little place called The Stand that served all natural vegan food, and then had some coffee and walked the beach.  The wedding was at 3 that afternoon right on the sand, followed by a cocktail hour and reception overlooking the beach.  It was a beautiful afternoon and evening, and I am so happy that I got to attend!

Cam had some business to do back in Las Vegas so we had planned on me going home the next day, and him hitching a ride back to LV with friends of the bride.  Turns out that the flights were pretty full on Sunday because of Spring Break, and it was easiest for me to drive with Cam back to Vegas and catch a flight from there the next day.  We ate at our favorite place again that morning, then played tourist and checked out the city and had a couple of beers.  We hit the road in the afternoon, and got to Vegas around 9pm.  I had to leave for the airport the next morning at 4am, but we still found some time to grab a couple of drinks and walk up and down Fremont Street.  We played a couple of hands of Roulette, then had a nightcap (a 24oz PBR and a shot of jaeger!) at Hogs and Heifers where Cam would be working the next couple of nights. Traveling back to home the next day was a bit hectic, but we're both home now and even though it was a quick trip I'm glad it went down in the books!

It's funny, because when we lived in Vegas I really counted down the days until we were going on a vacation.  I still love traveling and am eager to visit more places, but since we've moved to Portland I don't get as excited when it's time to hit the road.  We're really happy here and I'm glad to call PDX our home. I'm sure it's also a combination of me getting older but as much as I like getting out and seeing new things, I also don't mind when the party's over and it's time to go home. We were only gone 3 full days, but being that it's Spring there were so many changes back on the "farm" in that short period of time.  Even driving down the street you can see new buds on the trees and bushes.  On our walk earlier today you could smell the sweetness in the air.  It's so great!

Speaking of Spring, the Tuesday before we left for California we took at trip to the  Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival!  It was only 45 minutes from here and it was GORGEOUS!  Over 40 acres of beautiful, different varieties of Tulips.  We took the dogs, and my dad, and my dad's dog and had a really nice time. It was surreal!

Me, Dad, Slim, Stan, and Maggie

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Compassionate Eating

For whatever reason and however long, I have loved chickens!  I'm sure it must've started out with something simple, like a kitchen towel or something but I somehow started collecting them.  Long before moving to Portland was even a thought, I had quite the collection of chicken things :)  You could imagine my surprised delight when upon moving here my landlord said we could get a couple of real hens!!

When I started my chicken "craze" I began eating less chicken.  Nothing in particular made me do it, I just thought they were cute creatures and eating them just didn't seem right!  That being said, I still had chicken wings on Super Bowl or on vacation or what not.   After moving to Portland and having hens of my own, I became aware of  how unique and funny chickens are first hand!  After they became my pets with names I stopped eating chicken completely.  If I happened to be at a friends house and they were serving chicken I would eat it (as not to waste it) but I stopped buying it for home consumption and at the store.  But then I realized, why do I protect chickens and not other animals?  Why do I consider Slim and Stan, and LayLay, Martini, and EggBerta my pets, yet I have no problem eating a pig for bacon or a cow for a burger?  After watching many documentaries, and undercover farm factory footage, vegetarianism became the only way.  But wait!  Dairy Cows and Laying Hens (besides mine) aren't treated any better than animals that are raised for meat!  And so emerged my motivation to eat a plant based, vegan diet.

Eating a Vegan diet is fun.  Instead of my husband and I eating "steak and potatoes" for dinner, we explore different recipes and unique foods.  Cooking together in the kitchen is even more enjoyable when trying new things.  Tonight we invited my dad over and made Buffalo Chick"pea" Pitas as an appetizer,  "ChickPea" Cutlets for an entree, and Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies with Almond Dream ice cream.  It blows my mind that we, as a society, eat animals when there are so many healthier plant based options.  I always had this fanciful idea that the meat that I was eating was from a happy farm with tons of space and sun, if I even thought about it at all. There is so much to thing about that it makes my brain hurt, but for now I am completely happy living on a plant based diet.  
Buffalo ChickPea Pita with Ranch

ChickPea Cutlets!

mmmm fruit.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Guess who's back....!

Shamrock Run 2014!!
It's been quite a while since I last posted on this blog...almost a year actually!  Lot's have things have happened over the past year, and let me tell ya ~ Time sure Flies!!

Over the past few months we traveled to Buenos Aires and North Carolina.  My mother passed away in June so I spent a couple of weeks in New York.  That alone is enough material for me to write a few pages of blog, and maybe I should but for right now I won't.  My Poppa Bert moved from Long Island to the great North West last August and is currently living in the 'Couve!  Vancouver, WA is just 2 exits from the "Smith Farm" in Portland, OR so it's nice to have him so close but just far enough : )

Cam and I celebrated our 7 year wedding anniversary last July 2013 on the beach where we got married!  We had a fantastic time hanging out with his mom and sister, and also spent a couple of days at a family reunion for his dads side of the family.  It really was a lovely trip!  Can you believe that we met in 1998!  Wowza we're getting old ;)

We have a couple of trips planned in the next few months!  Cam is photographing a former co-workers wedding in Newport Beach, CA so we're making a mini vaca out of it.  In two weeks we'll be heading to the beach for a couple of days, I can't believe it's so soon!  In June I have a cousin getting married in Georgia so we'll be heading down south for a full week. Cam's sister lives in Atlanta so we are going to spend a few days with my side of the family at the wedding, and then we will be hitting the ATL so spend time with Regan and Cam's mom who will be flying in to meet us all for a few days!  Cam has his annual trip to New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans in July, and in August we're heading to Bethlehem, PA for my cousin Jason's wedding.  He's getting married on an old Christmas Tree farm and rented an old farmhouse that we will be staying at.  It even has a red barn!!

Last summer I enrolled in a Vet Tech program and am currently taking online course to become a CVT (certified vet tech). I love my job at the Oregon Humane Society and it as encouraged me to take my love for animals a step further!  Before my job at OHS I had considered becoming a CVT but didn't know if I would have the "guts" for it.  Working as an Animal Care Technician has exposed me to lot of things that have made me realize that I am up for the challenge :)  I recently got certified as a Euthanasia Technician which is a strange thing to be proud of but I am. 

Ok so now that we're all caught up (not really but good enough) on to the "FARM"!  We have 4 laying hens right now.  Last May we added an additional hen to our flock and she is an Ameracauna named pEGG that lays BLUE eggs!  She is the most petite hen out of them all but she lays big, beautiful eggs.  Our plymouth rock LayLa is the egg laying winner, followed by pEGG, EggBerta, and Martini. 

Last weekend (i have off Tues/Weds so I consider that the weekend) Cameron expanded our garden space by building an additional 12x9 raised garden bed!  He also blocked it off with a gate so now we have open garden beds that the chickens can't access (I'm sure at some point this summer they are gonna sneak in but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it!!).  Slim and Stan are excited because now they have full day access to the deck and outdoor without the chickens coming around and peckin' at them.  And now we can have company over on our back deck without having to worry about bird poop!

It's still pretty early in the growing season but we do have some things in the ground already. We have the two 12x9 beds and a side area that we call Lettuce Lane.  So far it has some spinach and kale started in it (that the chickens got a hold of in 5 seconds but they're doing ok) and in the main bed we have 4 different varieties of radishes and a whole lotta sugar snap peas!  We've also started cilantro, chives, parsley, kale, and basil in pots and I have seedlings of pumpkins, marigolds, tomatoes, and kale started in the house.  I tried Eggplant, Pepperoncinis, and Red Pepper seeds AGAIN this year but they don't appear to be doing so hot.  Which is funny because I'm pretty sure that they just need hotter weather.

As of the New Year Cam has started running and we have been eating mainly a plant based diet.  I wouldn't call us Vegan yet, but Vegan"ish" for sure!  We still eat our chickens eggs and an occasional slice of pizza or chocolate chip cookie.  There are so many delicious, fun to make, healthy recipes out there and Cam and I are really enjoying the new way of eating, thinking, and feeling!  We ran our first race together just last week.  We did the Shamrock Run!  Cam signed up for the 5k (well I signed him up on NYE after a few IPA's lol) and day of the race he went to the registration booth and switched to the 8k...5 miles!!  He did so great.  I did the 15k and being that it was my second time I don't think I'll do it again ~ the hills are SO hard!!  My dad came down and cheered for us at the finish line, and then we went out and had a couple St. Patrick's Day brews.  Next up is the Rock n' Roll Half Marathon and 10k on May 18th.  I'm doing the 1/2 and cam's doing the 10k!  G Love is headlining after the race and there will be music at every mile. 

So that's about it for now.  I'll post more often I hope so I can keep up.  Stay tuned for lots of pictures of veggies and flowers....!  Woo Hoo!

"In Spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like Dirt"

Working Hard : )


Pumpkin Seedlings!

Beet (not meat) Burgers!
Pretty Eggs!

pEGG and LayLa

Tulips I planted on my mom's birthday.