Bzzzz November 20th, 2009

I recently ordered a copy of Ken Druse’s Making More Plants. I wasn’t 10 pages into reading this beautiful book when I experienced serious pains. It was gardener’s guilt.

How many years have I gardened and failed to over-winter plants, start new plants from the ones I have, save seeds or pass along plant cuttings to my gardening friends? Druse makes it all seem so…so…natural. And worthwhile. And beautiful.

scarlet runner beans and pods

So this week during my fall garden cleanup, I made a particular effort to make a deposit into my ever-growing seed vault.

This is a scarlet runner bean, beautiful as much for its lovely vines and flowers as for its long bean pods. In fact, truth be told, I never ate the first bean because they became intricately intertwined with the malabar spinach that re-seeded itself and grows like kudzu in my garden.

But I did save the pods and now have seeds for next year. I easily have four times as many seeds as there were in the stingy seed packed I purchased last year. My plan is to try growing the vines up the clothesline poles and perhaps on a section of my white picket garden fence.

Scarlet-runner-beans-2

With all the news stories on Americans saving more, I must ask: Are you saving your seeds?

Posted In: Gardening

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Bzzzz November 14th, 2009

When I brought home my first Papillon, Sophie, she was so small she could fit into the palm of my hand.

What she lacked in size she made up for in attitude. She would play dash-and-hide with our 55 pound Belgian Malinois, Winifred. She quickly discovered her voice—and has been using it liberally ever since. And she refused to sleep alone. After two sleepless weeks, Harry and I finally caved in and let her sleep with us.

Sophie-on-Red-Chair

Sophie

One of the biggest challenges of raising a small dog is house training.  Little dogs just don’t want to brave the wind, rain, cold weather, tall grass or bugs when there’s a perfectly good floor inside.

I’ve always been a carrot rather than the stick kind of gal, so I figured I would liberally reward Sophie when she did her business outside. “Good peepee!” “Good poopoo!” “Nice potty.”

And she would get a treat.

Sophie was so thrilled with this arrangement that she could muster up five, six, seven bits of business in a single outing, locking eyes with me the whole time to make sure I acknowledged her accomplishments.

This house training system worked so well that we also used it on our second Papillon, Sarah.

Of course, with all this handing-out-of-treats business, we must keep a jar stocked with treats in the house at all times. I certainly buy treats in bulk. But the best treats—the ones the little dogs love above anything else—are the ones Mom makes with simple ingredients and her own two hands.

dog treats 2

These are their favorite biscuits. They don’t have the multi-syllabic ingredients of the store-bought treats.  They are filled with wheat flour, cheddar cheese and oats. And I enjoy making little shapes, such as hearts and fish. I need to find a tiny cat-shaped cookie cutter too.

Sarah on Pillows 02

Sarah

ARF!

Here’s where I found their favorite dog biscuit recipe.

Posted In: Dogs and Cats

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