Spring has sprung at my house, and I couldn’t be happier. My human mommy and I have spent our ninth year together in the garden . . . weeding, trimming, digging, planting, and enjoying the fruits of our labor.
I’ve been Mommy’s Golden green thumb in the garden since I was just a tiny puppy. Before we moved to New Orleans, we had a really big garden. It took days and days and days and days to get it into shape.
Our garden is smaller now–just a few pots and a little groundcover and mulching. In many ways, it’s a much simpler task . . .
. . . and in other ways, it’s more of a challenge. But I’ve been working closely with Tallulah to teach her the ropes and I think she has a bright and sunny future as a Golden gardening assistant.
What’s better than one Golden in the garden? Two Goldens in the garden! Tallulah and I wish you a very happy spring, filled with warm breezes and vibrant blooms. And we wish our human mommy a lifetime of Golden green thumbs in her spring garden. Happy spring!
I’m serious about WEATHER. Can you tell? You would be too if you wore a fur coat year-round and had to go to the bathroom outside. Lately I’ve had some harsh criticism for Mother Nature. She let summer’s heat and humidity linger way too long. And then she aimed Hurricane Nate in our direction. Today I have a different message for Mother Nature: All is forgiven. She came through earlier this week with the most beautiful weather imaginable. I’ve enjoyed cool morning walks and evenings in the courtyard with Tallulah and my humans. Temperatures will creep up tomorrow, and then we’ll have a rainy weekend, but next week promises to bring more delightful days. To Mother Nature I say, “Well done. Keep this gorgeous weather coming!”
So now I’m going to channel my inner Al Roker. What’s the weather like in your neck of the woods?
There are a lot of fun things about sharing your life with a dog–long walks in beautiful places, road trips to meet fun friends, kitchen time to whip up some yummy treats. There are even glamorous occasions, like attending a black-tie fundraiser to help other animals find loving homes. And then there’s the Poo Patrol. The Poo Patrol is neither fun nor glamorous, bit it is necessary. So every couple of days, my human mommy pulls out her rubber boots, her trusty little shovel, and what we call a poo poo bag (it’s actually a plastic grocery bag), and she hits the back yard in search of poo.
I like to maintain a safe distance as she meticulously walks the yard in a grid searching for her treasure. To me the Poo Patrol is part spectator sport, part supervisory opportunity. Sometimes, as Mommy crosses from one end of the yard to the other, she’ll say to me, “Where’s the poo, Miss Lee?” From my distant perch, I answer her with complete silence. She’s a big girl. She can find it on her own.
Generally, after just a few minutes, the Poo Patrol is complete, the bag is tied, and it’s ready for the garbage can. You might notice something slightly orange in the bag. No, friends, I do not poo orange. This time of year, our orange tree starts to drop its fruit, so Mommy combines the Poo Patrol with the Discarded Orange Pickup. She’s efficient that way. You might also notice that the grass is still a little brown and there are leaves on the ground. That can add a bit of a challenge to the poo search, if you know what I mean. So during the winter months I eat the rabbit flavor of my food . . . which is a deep, rich color and produces an easy-to-spot equally deep, rich-colored poo. Oh dear, I think that just might have been too much information, as the humans like to say.
And do you want to know the most fun thing about the Poo Patrol? The minute that my mommy has completed the pickup, tied that little bag with a big knot, and dropped it into the trash can, I like to walk out into my newly pristine yard and drop a little something special for her. Just think of it as job security for the human in charge of the Poo Patrol.
My human daddy had a snow day yesterday. I know what you’re thinking: “Miss Harper Lee, you live in South Louisiana. How in the world did your daddy have a snow day?” Well, friends, Daddy was supposed to fly into Philadelphia Monday afternoon so he could work to earn money to maintain my fabulous lifestyle. But the airline people decided to cancel his flight, so Mommy and I got to enjoy his company for an extra 24 hours. What to do on a beautiful day at home? Harvest oranges from our big backyard orange tree, of course. Mommy’s already plucked the low-hanging fruit, and we’ve shared lots and lots and lots of oranges with our friends and neighbors, but we still have a whole lot of oranges on our tree. So Daddy climbed to the top of a ladder and started picking oranges . . . while I supervised. I’m an excellent supervisor.
At this point, you know what my mommy started thinking: I wonder if I can find a recipe for dog treats with oranges as an ingredient? Off to the internet she went, and in just a few minutes she discovered Doggy Dessert Chef and a simple recipe for Lemon and Orange Rounds. We even had all the ingredients in the refrigerator and pantry:
- 1 lemon (juiced and zested)
- 1 medium orange (juiced and zested)
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup oatmeal
- 1/4 cup wheat germ
Mommy preheated the oven to 375 F while I supervised Daddy as he combined the whole wheat flour, oatmeal, and wheat germ in a large bowl.
Then it was time for Mommy to zest and juice the lemon and orange and combine the juice and zest, honey, and milk in another bowl.
Mmm mmm mmm . . . so far so good. I was definitely looking forward to the finished product.
Mommy added the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixed until the dough formed a ball (she had to add a tiny bit of water), and then rolled the dough out to 1/4 inch. We cut our treats into bone and football shapes–perfect for a Superbowl pup party–and then baked the treats on a parchment-lined cookie sheet for 15 to 20 minutes (17 minutes in our oven).
You probably won’t be super surprised to learn that at some point during the preparation I snuck off for a little nap. Boy was I ever excited when Mommy tiptoed to my bed and held a yummy Lemon and Orange Treat under my nose. It quickly disappeared.
Today we shared some of the oranges from our tree with the people who lived in our house before us. They’re the ones who planted our beautiful and bountiful orange tree, and now they live right around the corner. They have a super sweet six-month-old Goldendoodle named Ronald, so we made an extra special bag of treats for him. I’m pretty sure Ronald will have a big smile on his face when he tastes these yummy, yummy treats.
Mommy is overjoyed to have discovered Doggy Dessert Chef, which of course makes me a very, very happy girl. If you don’t already know Doggy Dessert Chef, click here to connect with the site. The recipes are very easy with simple ingredients. I’m looking forward to many more homemade treats from this site!
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I spent the morning cheering for all the humans running the Louisiana Marathon.
Good job, runners!
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Welcome back, Mr. Sun. I have absolutely no idea where you’ve been hiding, but I was so very happy to see you this morning.
And today was trash day, so I got to stop and sniff almost every single trashcan along my route. Bonus! (I would have stopped and sniffed every single trashcan, but my human mommy had other plans.)
It’s been so long since she’s seen you, Mr. Sun, that Mommy completely forgot to grab her sunglasses as we set out on our walk. But that’s alright. She didn’t mind squinting one little bit. (This is sort of what she looked like.)
I plan on spending a lot of this day outside with you and my sticks, Mr. Sun, and for that I am overjoyed.
And speaking of joy, today starts Week 3 of The Lazy Pitbull’s 52 Snapshots of Life photo challenge. This week’s theme is JOYFUL. You can click here to link to The Lazy Pitbull for details. I hope you’ll join the fun, and I can’t wait for you to see my entry tomorrow!
My human mommy and I spent most of this day wrapping up our holiday treat baking for my canine friends. You might recall that we made yummy little gingerbread men last week. This week, we tackled canine candy canes.
Mommy found the canine candy cane recipe at DogTreatKitchen.com, the same place where she found the recipe for the little gingerbread men. Once again, the ingredients were simple and healthy:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup nonfat powdered milk
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 chicken bouillon cube
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons red food coloring
- 1/2 teaspoon peppermint oil flavoring (optional)
- 1 large egg (for an egg wash)
While I supervised, Mommy whisked the flour, powdered milk, and baking powder together in a large bowl. Then, in a smaller bowl, she poured the warm water over the bouillon cube and stirred until it dissolved. (Mommy feels the need to start adding some helpful hints now. If she ever made this recipe again–and she says she probably won’t–she would dissolve the bouillon cube in a cup and then pour the liquid into the bowl.) Then Mommy whisked the eggs into the chicken liquid. She made a well in the dry ingredients, poured the wet ingredients into the well, and stirred thoroughly to combine.
At this point, things started the get a little tricky, so we don’t have any photos to share with you. If we did have photos, they might have been of Mommy pulling her hair out.
The recipe says to knead the dough for about two minutes, adding more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. (Mommy definitely added more flour.) Then separate the dough in half. Form a well in one of the balls of dough and add the red food coloring and peppermint flavoring into the well. (Just another quick note: Best of luck trying to find peppermint oil flavoring in your grocery store the week before Christmas. Mommy went to three different stores, and they were all completely sold out. So we used mint extract. It’s close.) Wearing food-safe gloves, knead the coloring and flavoring throughout the dough.
The recipe says to wear the food-safe gloves for this step because the food coloring will stain your hands red. Mommy’s gloved hands and a small section of the kitchen looked like a murder scene during this step . . . and even with the gloves protecting her hands, they ended up being slightly stained. Also, adding the extract and food coloring made the dough sticky, so Mommy added a bit more flour to the now red dough ball.
Mommy wrapped the dough balls in plastic wrap and popped them into the freezer for 30 minutes. (There is also an option to chill the dough balls in the refrigerator for two hours, but at this point Mommy just wanted to finish this little nightmare as quickly as possible, so she went with the freezer option.)
While the dough balls chilled, Mommy and I spent some much-needed chill time outside collecting oranges from our backyard orange tree to share with our human friends and neighbors. Mother Nature makes the very best treats!
Back inside, Mommy preheated the oven to 350 F and divided each ball of dough into tablespoon-sized balls. She then rolled each ball into a worm shape about five inches long, twisted one plain strip with one red strip, curled the end to shape a candy cane, and placed the candy cane on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. (This all sounds pretty simple, but it was actually quite a challenge . . . so much so that Mommy only used about two-thirds of the dough and then tossed the rest into the trash. And by the way, Mommy donned another pair or food-safe gloves to do all of this. The red-stained gloves proved that this had been a good decision on her part.)
After the candy canes were on the baking sheet, Mommy whisked an egg in a small bowl and used a pastry brush to thoroughly coat each candy cane with the egg wash. (Finally, an easy step.) Then into the preheated oven those candy canes went. The recipe says to cook for 10 minutes, but we let our treats stay in for 12 minutes.
Voila! Canine candy canes. Mommy said to take a very, very good look because it is highly unlikely that we will ever, ever make these treats again.
Too bad, because I can tell you that the canine candy canes are quite tasty . . . but, based on Mommy’s comments throughout the day, probably not worth the trouble.
At the end of the day, we bagged the candy canes with those yummy little gingerbread men to give to all or my doggy friends. Then we put the oranges from our tree into pretty bags to share with our human friends. Tomorrow, on Christmas Eve, we’ll take a nice morning walk around the neighborhood delivering tasty treats and spreading holiday cheer.
But first, after a day spent tackling the challenging canine candy canes, Mommy needs a little cheer of her own!
Last evening, my humans and I enjoyed our first fire pit blaze of the fall. It was magical . . . at first. Flames flickered through the air as we sat beside the warm glow of embers. Burning wood popped and cracked as we sniffed the autumnal air (well, I did most of the sniffing).
And then the most horrifying realization came to me: Those were my sticks burning in that fire pit. My humans had sacrificed my beautiful and oh-so-tasty sticks to their fire pit god. Just two days earlier, I had walked around my yard supervising my humans as they carefully collected a wheelbarrow full of sticks and then placed them in a nice little pile . . . just for me . . . I mean specifically for my chewing pleasure. Right? Apparently, I was wrong.
Well as fast as my humans could toss my sticks into that burning pit, I started pulling them from the stick pile and carrying them to safety.
I am pleased to report that I managed to sneak at least a few of my sticks from the pile . . . saving them from an almost certain fiery death at the hands of my humans. We won’t discuss the fate that those same sticks met between my jaws.
I am also pleased to report that my humans and I have reached an understanding. No more sacrificing my sticks to their fire pit god. That’s good news to me, because I rather enjoy our fall fires.
Footnote: I know it appears in the photo above that our scarecrow has been sacrificed to the fire pit god. I can assure you that this is not the case. He was at a very safe distance and is currently keeping the crows away. Thankfully, he has no power to repel squirrels.
Also, my human mommy/blogging assistant “got a little off track” with my blogging. (Those are her sugar-coated words. Just between us, she has been completely dreadful at updating you on my adventures and keeping me up-to-date on yours.) She promises that with this post she is now “back on the rails.” I plan to hold her feet to the fire . . . a fire built without any of my precious sticks.
At long last, my humans have returned to me. That’s right. We are together again. Home, sweet home.
Now don’t feel too sorry for me. While my humans were off trotting the globe, I was spending two glorious weeks with my friends The Big Dogs–Sunshine, Maggie, and Kenai. This is a picture that Miss Gaye sent to my human mommy while she and my human daddy were who knows where doing who knows what. That’s Sunshine at the top and Maggie at the bottom with me in the middle. Kenai was off doing whatever it is that boy dogs do when they leave the girl dogs behind. It is quite possible that seeing this picture of me convinced Mommy to get on the plane and head for home.
Meanwhile, my humans were off seeing things like this . . .
. . . and this . . .
. . . and this. But enough about my humans and their gallivanting. The important thing is that we are all back home and back together. And things are getting back to normal.
That means early morning walks in my neighborhood. So many smells that I missed.
And offering my expert assistance as Mommy putters in the garden. So many weeds to pull.
And of course, catching up with all of you, my friends. But first, I think I’ll just put my head down on this shelf and take a little nap. It’s good to be home.
Where I live, we’re preparing for our fifth season. We have spring and summer and fall and winter just like the rest of you. But here in South Louisiana, we also have a “bonus” season. It’s called Hurricane Season. It started June 1, and we don’t like it one little bit.
A hurricane named Gustav did this to my back yard in 2008. Fortunately, that was before my time, but my humans still talk about (or should I say complain about) clearing this 75-foot pine tree and living without electricity in stifling heat for two weeks. I was around in 2012 for another storm named Isaac. By the time Isaac knocked on our door, he was just a strong tropical storm, but we still lost power for almost a week. Let me tell you, being a Golden Retriever in hot and humid South Louisiana without air conditioning is not fun.
That’s why I’m so happy that my humans found this battery-operated fan for me. Of all the hurricane supplies we have in our hurricane-supply storage bin, I think this is the single most important.
It’s crucial for humans living in areas affected by hurricanes to plan and prepare. You can click here for some valuable tips from the National Hurricane Center. And please don’t forget about your pets. Click here for disaster preparation plans from my friends at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine. As for me, I have my plan all set. I’m keeping my paws crossed that we make it through November 30–the final day of the fifth season–without having to pull out my battery-operated fan. But if the fan does have to come out, I plan on plopping myself right in front of it, enjoying the refreshing breeze, and channeling my inner Beyoncé.