Nick Part II

After spending about two months here at the ranch, our nephew Nick has headed south for his job as a seasonal fireman.  With the already dry conditions in California it looks like he may have a very busy summer.

We really enjoyed having him here, and he was a lot of help.  Here he is building the doghouse with Rick.

building doghouse

Mixing cement for the fence posts in the new dog run.

mixing cement

Clearing some of the rocks out of the orchard.

nick w rock 2

We really didn’t make him work all the time.  We did some fun stuff too.  Here he is cooking breakfast on the woodstove.  He got really good on that thing while Grandpa was here visiting.  I told him I was going to make a sign for him: “Nick’s Diner.”

nick cooking bacon

He had the fire built and the coffee perking every morning and served breakfast for the guys.

wood stove w percolater

Nick and Grandpa cleaning out the asparagus bed.

working in orchard

Cooking dinner on the grill.

nick and grandpa at grill

The dogs are really going to miss him.

nick and grizzly 1

Grizzly thinks he has the touch.

petting grizzly 2

Before he left, he and Rick burned the big brush pile.

burning pile

nick burning pile

Of course, he didn’t pass up the opportunity to make lunch over the fire.

lunch on forks

His fiancee Riah flew up for a couple of days before they made the long drive back to California.  Nick took her for a ride in the Scout.

nick and riah in scout

 Then one last cookout before they left.  I’m beginning to notice a pattern here . . . lots of fires and cooking.  Here he and Riah are trying a new (to us anyway) campfire dessert called doughboys,  Riah’s was cooked perfectly!

nick and riah at campfire

 And then they were off on the long drive home.  They did get to break up the drive and stop by The Ranch on Salmon Creek to visit Mark and Tammie, Rick’s cousin.  A fine young man and a great couple.  If will be fun to watch them begin their lives together.   And he is still my favorite nephew who used to work for us 😉

Dogs & Chickens

The dogs are settling in and are very comfortable here.  It seems like we have had them for a long time, but it has only been a few weeks.  We were not sure if it was wise to get two at once, but it has worked out very well.

   napping together

They sleep together.

pups wrestling

They play together.

napping again

And generally just keep each other company.

dogs sleeping

They did have a little issue with their new house and pen.


No, that is not late snowstorm.  The dogs got bored in their pen – though they are only in it at night – and decided to shred their new bed which was inside their house.  I guess they will be sleeping on the hard floor instead of the soft, cozy bed.

dogs and chicks

We were not sure what to expect with the dogs being around the chickens. They really don’t seem too interested most of the time.  And, speaking of the chickens, they are doing well and getting very big.

Bernadette, the “exotic” chick (not the ugly one as Nick calls her) is even looking better with feathers on now.

Bernadette chick

She did go through a bit of an awkward phase as her feathers were coming in.

 Bernadette some feathers

Kind of reminds you of a teen going through puberty doesn’t it?  Poor Bernadette, she is a bit of a late bloomer compared to the others.

bernadette better feathers

Now that she has feathers she looks much better.  As far as we can tell, she is Bernadette not Bernard – but time will tell.

chickens out

With the nice warm weather, we have let the chickens out into their yard.  The dogs watch them for a while, then go take a nap.

Dog Run

We got a little ahead of ourselves getting the dogs before the dog run and house was finished.  Our cute new puppies need a secure home so Rick and Nick are working on digging holes for the fence posts.

rick and nick w auger

 The auger looks like it will dig a post hole in no time at all.

auger broken

 Unfortunately, it doesn’t do so well with rocks.  Another broken bolt.

nick digging

 And Nick is back to digging holes by hand with the rock pick.

 molly w string

The dogs are very helpful during this construction process – always in the way.  Here Molly is tangled in the string we pulled to mark the post locations.

pawprints in cement

After we got all the posts dug and cemented in, I went back to check and see that they were all still square and level.  One – or maybe both – of the dogs had already “autographed” it for us.  I guess that is appropriate since it is their new home.

New Additions

Here are the newest additions to the animal population here at the ranch.


Molly and Grizzly tug-o-war.

Our friend John has a blue heeler named Brodie who is one of our favorite dogs.  It seemed a natural for us to get one when we decided to get a dog for ourselves.  We hadn’t really planned to get two dogs at once, but when we went to look at the pups there was Molly.  She and Grizzly are adopted litter mates and get along really well.


Molly is 3/4 Blue Heeler and 1/4 Black Lab.


Grizzly is a Blue Heeler.


We have been enjoying watching their puppy antics. So far they have chewed up a plastic milk jug, dug holes in the garden and made off with one of my gloves.  Standard puppy behavior I suppose.  We are going downriver tomorrow so we will get some chew toys that hopefully will help with that.

They are doing well staying near and being on the lookout for intruders (which to them are birds, deer, squirrels, etc. as well as the human ones).  Molly had the census man backing up the second evening she was here, so they are doing their jobs very well!

Tulip Festival

We have finally finished moving and arrived back at the ranch.  Russell and Mary Lou (Rick’s parents) flew up with us for a visit.  We went to the annual Tulip Festival in Mount Vernon (about 45 minutes down river) and toured the tulip fields.


They grow tulips here as a crop.  I must say it is a lot prettier than seeing cotton in the fields.


The whole gang at one of the tulip displays. People come from all over – some as far away as Europe – to see the tulips.


Masses of tulips.  The Skagit Valley is the largest grower of tulips in North America.


This scene reminds me of a postcard.  It was a beautiful sunny day and we enjoyed the festival.  The guys were not real enthusiastic about it all, but they did attend.