Thursday, March 23, 2017

I Like #8

Please hop on over to the lovely host of this I Like Thursday blog hop Not Afraid of Color. 

Meanwhile, welcome! It's Thursday once more. I haven't had much spare time to write a non-Thursday blog post, but thanks for coming back anyway to see what our I Like post includes this week. 

Let's start with skunk cabbage. I like it! Wikipedia describes skunk cabbage as a "foul-smelling plant", which I quite resent! It's not foul smelling. I think it is better described as the smell you would expect if a well manicured skunk were to buy an expensive floral perfume from Macy's and spray it all over her fluffy tail. Not bad, right?! 

Skunk cabbage is in full bloom around here. Here are a couple of photos taken via cell phone on my morning walk with the poodles. Look how bright and alive that yellow punch of color is amidst the gloomy bog! What's not to like?!

When I get back from a nice walk with the poodles, having smelled the skunk cabbage, I like to do yoga. Yoga has been a part of my life for 17 years now. I don't do it every day. Sometimes I go for weeks without so much as a down-dog, but when I do it feels very right. The combination of intentional breathing mixed with stretching is very soothing. 

The problem with doing yoga at home is that it generates a lot of interest from the locals.

So I guess one could say that I actually do doga, not yoga. (apparently "doga" is a thing, but I've never actually taken a class.)

If you're interested in incorporating yoga into your life and don't want to go to a group session, I highly recommend the "Namaste" series by Kate Potter  (click link for demo video). Her videos are 20 minutes long and she has a very calm voice that is easy to follow.

Poodle Pick of the Week

This week the poodles picked bones - raw, juicy bones! 

I don't feed a raw diet, but for the last two years we have purchased 1/4 of a grass fed cow from a local farm (for human consumption) and with said cow came some bones. These bones are butchered with dogs in mind, the right size to be safely enjoyed. They are frozen up until the poodles get them, so they don't develop any bad bacteria. The poodles get to enjoy gnawing on them in the sunshine and when they day is up, the bones are too. (I take them away or they quickly get gross, but by this time they are mostly spent anyway.) 

It's a rare treat, but one they both LOVE!

And, it's good for their teeth too.

Happy Thursday! The poodles and I hope you treat yourself to something special this week.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

I Like #7

Happy Thursday everyone! Let's join Not Afraid of Color in celebrating the things we like this week.

Starting with, hellebores! The hellbore blooms opened their pretty, droopy heads this week. Depsite being known as a Christmas Rose, they aren't related to roses at all and mine never bloom near Christmas! I have two varieties, but there are apparently 18 more so I better start collecting them don't you think!? There is something extra special about seeing such a dramatic bloom, so early in the gardening season.

These Eggplant Hellebores flank either side of my front entryway and were planted by the previous owner.

This one (the variety name escapes me for the moment) was newly added last year. I still clearly need all of these though. 

Moving on now, out of the garden and into the grocery store...

I like bulk food! Our local food cop-op has a wonderful bulk food section. This photo represents one half of the bulk teas and spices. All the other bulk goodies (rice, cereals, etc.) take up another huge part of the store. 

The pros of bulk food include: less packing, lower cost, more variety and control over quantity. This week I treated myself to three new loose leaf teas. I purchased a few cups worth of each tea, making my adventures into tea tasting affordable. If I like what I try I can always go back and buy a larger quantity. From these lovely jars came this Lemon Ginger tea and believe you me it smells amazing! A lively lemon scent! I was excited to try it, based on how it smells, but alas it tastes...terrible! The chicory ruins it for me, too bitter. Nevermind, it doesn't matter! I only wasted a couple of dollars and I'm keen to head back to the bulk section to try something else.

Poodle Pick of the Week

 The poodles chose something you can't buy, but they value over almost everything else (except maybe treats). The poodle pick of the week is being outside! Teddy wants to be outside every hour that it isn't raining. Luna wants to be outside if her people are, but she'd far prefer her people were outside all the time. They love the smells and the area to run and play. Despite the stereotype of a poodle being a snooty, posh city-slicker dog (think Paris glam), these poodles are true outdoor country dogs at heart.

Poodles in their natural habitat.

They make good gardening buddies too!

Have a wonderful rest of your week!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Walk the Walk

It's amazing how long you can deny addressing a problem head-on. For me, that number is four years!

Teddy is a dream dog in many ways. He's smart, affectionate, does what is asked of him and is well bonded with his humans. His Achilles heel is...heeling (pun intended)! On walks, he prefers to bound ahead of everyone. He's a born tour guide if you ask me. He knows what the command 'heel' means, but he only holds a heel for a second and he's ready to blaze the trail once more! This is a problem when on-leash, as it means he is always pulling! It's gotten to the point where walking him is not fun.

Well folks, the clock has struck twelve and I can no longer ignore the pumpkin in the room! So, for the last week, I have been working with Teddy to heel for the entire walk using the clicker and treats....lots of treats. He may need to join Jenny Craig after this! I'm seeing improvement already! We have a ways to go before he walks nicely without reminders, but I know this is just down to me being consistent with him. Consistency is the key. He can learn things quickly, but the moment I let something slide is the moment I tell him not to take me seriously.

This week, we are also going to start practicing how to see other dogs on leash without having to bark and run towards them. The plan is to go somewhere where can be around other dogs from a distance (a large park for instance). Teddy is rewarded for seeing the other dogs without getting 'excited brain'. When he graduates from distance viewing, we'll allow ourselves to get a little closer, but I don't expect that to happen right away. These things take time.

A recent walk near the river on a beautiful day.
He's very good with other dogs, not aggressive at all, but his level of excitement is such that he stops listening to commands and that can be stressful. So, that's another pumpkin elephant in the room, so to speak. 

Earlier this week a loose dog ran up behind us on the road, taking us completely unawares. Thankfully, that dog wasn't aggressive either and Teddy and the visitor sniffed each other and then Teddy wanted to play with him. He's just on the lookout for new friends, but he needs to learn how to be quiet and calm when meeting new friends!
Happy walking!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

I Like #6

Happy Thursday! When you work Monday-Friday, Thursday is a good day no matter what because it means tomorrow is Friday and the weekend is not far away! Thanks to my friend over at Not Afraid of Color for starting the I Like Thursday blog hop, and for letting me join in.

Writing these I Like posts has been eye opening to some extent. It's made me face facts about myself that I wouldn't have admitted, or even known, before. So here it confession...I'm a bird nerd! I realized it this week while I spent ages waiting for the hummingbird to reappear at our feeder, also enlisting the watchful eye of my husband, just so I could include it in this post. Every week seems to have some sort of bird in it! I astonish myself, but there you have it. Here's our current customer at the feeder. Later in the spring when the Rufous hummingbirds return from their winter vacay in Mexico, there will be a few mating pairs hanging out around our watering hole. It is my belief that they nest over in the cedar tree that you can vaguely see in the background of this photo. Such beautiful and amazing birds. Did you know they need to eat every 30 minutes? Yup, I'm a bird nerd.

I like aprons. Pinnies as my mum calls them. I can never have too many. I love the feminine aspect of them and all the pretty fabrics they come in (although my husband has one too, so they aren't just for women!) They are useful for many things. I have a practical one that I use for harvesting cherries, as it has a big pocket that I can fill with fruit, leaving my hands free for picking. The poodles graciously agreed to model these four favorite aprons for you, in exchange for a few treats. They are easy to please and make very good clothing models!

I took a few other photos in which Teddy looked very bored, but overall they were very patient!

Speaking of poodles. I like poodles in swings. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, then I urge you to click that link and watch the short video! It is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. Only a poodle! 

Poodle Pick of the Week

That just leaves the Poodle Pick of the Week, which is.....eating snow! Our week has consisted of snow showers and sun breaks, rinse and repeat. It is gorgeous when the sun comes out. The snow and sun combined makes everything especially bright! Anyway, while taking the poodles outside and pondering what their pick should be this week, I look over to see this (snow mustached poodle)...

And then I look over and see this girl licking her lips....

..and the answer is clear! Eating snow for the win this week!

Happy Thursday everyone!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

I Like #5

I can't believe February has already come and gone! I know it's a short month, but gosh it flew by! Today is I Like Thursday once again and thanks, as always, to Not Afraid of Color for including me in the blog hop.

1. First up, I like newly sprouted seedlings. We started our tomatoes seeds this week and they quickly sprouted to display gangly stems with delicate cotyledon. It's remarkable, if you think about it, how much a plant changes over its short life. From such tiny, fragile beginnings we'll hopefully be harvesting lush, juicy tomatoes in mere months.

2. I like it when people don't sit next to me on a plane, train or bus. I know that sounds very grinch-like, but when I'm stuck on some form of transportation I have no desire to chat the entire time with a stranger. I want to zone out and think about all the things I don't have time to think about during my usual day. Last time I took a plane, the fellow nearest me bought his seat and the one in-between us. Obviously a like-minded person...just with more spare cash! Thank you, unknown fellow traveler!

3. I like having the poodles' grooming session over and done with. It always feels like a feat to have groomed two poodles in a day. This time was especially significant as I was removing their thick, winter coats. They like the sensation of newly shortened hair and always commence running around playfully when the whole thing is over. We call this silliness, "having beans" (e.g. "Teddy has beans"). I've heard other people refer to it as "the zoomies".

Poodle Pick of the Week

Once again, the choice for the poodles this week was an easy one - jackets! I groomed them and then it snowed! They've been wearing their jackets inside and out. Without the added warmth of jackets, they curl up into small balls of cold, sad poodle. With their jackets on they continue being happy and at ease! Despite liking the short hair, they weren't such fans of the cold, so the jackets saved the day!

 How was your week? Have you started any seedlings for your garden?