Tag Archives: Brian

Saying goodbye to a long-time member of the homestead family

Hi Everyone, this is one of the hardest blog posts I’ve had to write. This week on Friday, April 6th 2018 we had to take our Labrador Retriever “PJ” to the veterinarians office to have him put down. I want to make sure I communicate this isn’t a sad post, but one of expressing the joy our family has had with our beloved friend over the past 15 and a half years we shared together.

Over the last year-and-a-half PJ has been enduring ever increasing difficulties. From urinary incontinence (which he’s worn a belly band diaper) all the way up to the current situation today where he’s become increasingly unstable walking (not able to get up without assistance). Lately he’s been falling down in the house and defecating where he cannot get up (and ends up covered in feces). This was of little consequence (or bother) to Paula and I as this is part of what a responsible pet owner takes on when they welcome an animal into their home. What finally brought us to the current reality that’s it’s time to put Pj down is that he’s been expressing ever increasing (in the last month) levels/symptoms of pain with whines and yelps when walking, sitting, or even just laying in his bed.

So, after some long-night discussions Paula and I decided that it would be unfair to drug Pj (on ever increasingly higher doses of pain medication) just to spare ourselves the emotional burden of dealing with his eventual demise. We’ve always treated our pets as family members and this is the best way we know how to show him the respect he all deserves for all his years of uncompromising loyalty to our family and allow him to die with dignity.

Now that PJ has passed there is a overwhelming feeling of calm within Paula and I knowing as our last act of kindness our best friend is no longer suffering through any pain just to please us (as we all know Labrador retrievers will do for their owners). But now it’s time to share with all of you the joy we had for 15 and a half years with PJ. Below is a link to the remembrance video I’ve put together, don’t worry this isn’t a sad tribute, but one with appropriate music expressing the fun loving dog we’ve had the pleasure of sharing our family with.

We know that wherever your indelible spirit resides Pj you’re chasing squirrels and having the best walks, so until we meet again mom and I just wanted to say “we love you”.

Cover crops and hog fuel, 2018 garden seedlings progress, backyard panorama

Hi Everyone, it’s been a busy few weeks since my last blog post, so lets get to it and talk about what we’ve been working on…

This weekend I spread 8 yards of hogfuel mulch around our urban homestead. Paula was working on our Easter dinner plans, so I was told to vacate the house. When I get told by Mrs Mann to “go outside” I take full advantage of my dirt-time. 🙂
We use hodfuel as mulch on our backyard trails for the dogs and people to walk on. The advantage of this “hard wood” mulch is that it takes years to breakdown; the last time we mulched was 4 years ago when we really started converting our backyard into an urban homestead food production system. You’ll see what this mulch looks like in the photos at the end of this blog post.

Pj guarding the cover crops in our garden boxes

Pj guarding the cover crops in our garden boxes

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The first 2018 garden seedling has sprouted in the large indoor grow tent!

Hey everyone, well we’ve got our first seedling of the 2018 garden sprouted in the large indoor grow tent. It’s one of the Michal F1 eggplants and right now it’s about an inch tall. Here’s a photo:

First seedling for the 2018 garden

First seedling for the 2018 garden

As you can see in the photo I’ve covered the containers with some green house plastic scrap to give it a sprouting thermal barrier to the rest of the tent until they’ve all germinated. Then we’ll remove this and just let them acclimate to the fluctuations in the tent so they grow and harden off to the internal thermals (lights on/off and a little supplemental heat). The rest should be popping up in the next few weeks and we’ll be on our way sprouting our garden veggies for this years outdoor gardens. 🙂

This coming weekend is time to plant the tomato seeds…it’s so exciting seeing my little minions coming to life and knowing by summer I’ll be eating their bounty.

Time to head back into the battle of the weekly grind…I’ll take a light-roast with a mild grind please! Oh…get back to work Mr. Mann! See you guys next weekend. 🙂

Wake up…wake up!! It’s time to start the 2018 garden seedlings!

Hi Everyone, it’s that time of year to start the first seedling for the 2018 Pacific NW gardens! I absolutely love this time of year, don’t get me wrong, but just knowing in a few month’s I’ll be outside digging in the soil makes me just a little giddy (that sounded weird…coming from you Mr. Sasquatch). 🙂

This weekend I transitioned the lower half of our large led grow tent from lettuce greens over to the new plant propagation/seed starting area. Here’s a list of the components introduced for the 2018 season (some of which were re-purposed)

  • 1 – 48″x20″ Heat mat with digital thermostat controller (with probe)
  • 1 – 48″L x 30″W x 1″H Dog Crate Replacement Pans (used as the drip pan for seedling trays/containers)
  • 2 – T8 LED 5000k light fixtures (2 T8 bulbs in each fixture)
  • 2 – 300w LED Roleadro Grow Light Full Spectrum 2nd Generation Plant Light (these were already hanging here for the Asian greens previously growing under the bench)

Here’s a photo of the entire seed starting/grow area setup in the large grow tent. The first seedlings in the photo are eggplants:

Seedling growing area inside large grow tent

Seedling growing area inside large grow tent

Close-up of new seedling growing area in the large grow tent

Close-up of new seedling growing area in the large grow tent

We’ll it’s time to get back to work! On the urban homestead as well as my day job. 🙂

See y’all again next week, be safe and keep on growing.