Thursday, June 27, 2013

Video: Look who's walking!

Norris has a pending adoption, Nabb's home is on the horizon, and I have my work cut out for me!  Norris leaves me tomorrow, and that will leave me some more time to sculpt Nabb a bit before he leaves.  Norris is leaving as a dog who can now walk on a leash, has been crate trained, and has been groomed.  

I must now start crate training Nabb, and I am going to turn up his obedience training until he finds his forever home.  I love these boys very much, and their "forever" families are lucky people!   

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Norris & Nabb with video!

Currently the world of doggie fosters here, On the Urban Farm, has been a whirlwind!  Meet Norris and Nabb.  They came to us from Tri State Collie Rescue and are currently available for adoption through them. (Norris has a pending adoption!)  They came into rescue due to a change in living situation for their previous family, and have been here for a week.

What a week it has been!  They arrived last Wednesday with no knowledge about how to walk on a leash, or how to function socially.  (The good news is that they are super sweet and fast learners.)  We have been working nightly on visiting the outside world, and have been taking in the sights of the city.  I am so proud of them and the progress that they have made.

I posted a video of our socialization session from tonight.  Enjoy!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

I'm different, Aisle 2!

Julie is quite the big saver, and has a coupon system that would make most women jealous!  I know I  learned a  lot!

I was over at my friend Julie's house the other night and ended up accompanying her on her weekly grocery shopping trip.  It seemed so normal and initially it was no big deal to go to the grocery.   But, as soon as I stepped through the sliding glass doors, I was reminded just how much my life has changed in the last 2 years.  The grocery store was almost like a foreign land to me and I suddenly realized it was really no longer a place I depended on.

As we were wheeling through, I realized just how much I make/grow here at home:

All of our cleaning products
Laundry detergent
Fabric softener
Bell peppers
Portobello mushrooms
Peanut Butter

Urban homesteading is something I started doing, sort of as a joke, but what I realized is that it's no joke.  What I am able to create here in just a backyard is amazing. Look at that above list?!  I would have never in a million years thought that it possible to make all of this stuff at home.  And truthfully, this is only half of it!  The above mentioned items were only what was on Julie's list.

I also grow here:

Green beans
Sweet corn
10 different types of tomatoes
Hot peppers

I won't lie, for a minute I sort of missed the grocery store and the ease of going into a place to buy whatever I wanted.  I love the guaranteed success of having what you want available to you.  It's not always like that here, if what I am growing doesn't produce I am out a lot of time, money, and possibly hungry.

Where I acknowledge it would be a lot simpler for me to go back to grocery shopping, I think for right now this homesteading thing is exactly where I am supposed to be.  It challenges, amazes, and nourishes me everyday.  It also reminds me to be humble, patient, and allows me to bear witness to the surrounding miracles I would otherwise miss, and that is just something you won't be able to find in Aisle 2!


Oh hell, no! He has to go!

That is NOT my hand, that is the Reluctant Farmer's hand.  I would never hold that thing!

I can deal with a lot of things....  Spiders, lice, fleas, flies, mosquitoes, fine...  Ticks?!  Hell no!  I was petting one of the new foster collies and found a lump on his neck.  Upon closer inspection I realized it was a tick.  A big, ugly, blood sucking beast that just looked evil.  I did what any logical "pet mommy" would do, jumped up screamed like I was being stabbed in my kidney and ran like crazy.  Lucky for me (and Norris the collie) the Reluctant Farmer is braver and more "woodsy" than I am.  She quickly, with a ninja like skill, pulled the embedded tick out and saved our family from the drama and mass destruction that only a tick can cause.

Now, because some of you folks may not have your own Reluctant Farmer to do your dirty, tick removal, I am going to share with you a few things that have been working on our dogs for tick control.  (The collies just got here...)

1)  Ticks LOVE tall grass.  Keep your yard mowed and free of overgrown grass and vegetation, and if you are going to be hiking or hanging out in grassy areas be sure to inspect your pet thoroughly so you can remove any ticks before they attach to your pet.

2)  One of the natural repellents that we use with great success is rose geranium oil which we apply to our dog's collars before taking them out into the woods.  Remember, NEVER apply essential oils to your cat, that can have bad reactions to essential oils.....

3)  Daily our dogs are given a product called Bug Off Garlic by Springtime.  We give this product year round, and I have to say that our chemical flea and tick product usage has been lessened by over 90 %.  (And this year, I haven't seen a single flea or tick on any of our dogs!)  Remember garlic is poisonous to cats...

I hope this gives you a few ideas to help combat the ticks this season, and that your dogs will remain bug free so the only thing you have to worry about is having fun this summer!

Please remember, I am not a veterinarian and in no way am I giving medical advice.  I am only telling you what has been working on our group of dogs.  And as always, please research different products, form your own opinions and consult your veterinarian to find the product and methods that work best for you and your pets....

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Endwell?! Yes, it did....

There are sometimes in dog rescue when you just know it's right and there had to be some sort of divine intervention because really there can be no other explanation.  Get this....

I was contacted by a woman on my blog Friday night, stating that she was interested in adopting Blue and had sent an adoption application in for him.  I was excited by this, and I immediately called TSCR and let them know to be on the look out for her application.  They assured me that they had already received the application and that it looked great, and it was just pending a veterinary reference.  The woman was from upstate New York, and I kicked myself.  (We were just there 2  weekends ago, and could have transported Blue to his new home!)  I figured this would not work out for quite awhile, because we would have to wait for his new owner to pick him up, etc...  

The potential adopter and I spoke, and she said to me:  "I truly think Blue is meant for me.  My beloved Logan passed away several months ago, and I had been looking for a dog for quite awhile but had given up.  Then I was looking at Tri State Collie Rescue's website and came across Blue and it made me stop.  There was just something about his face that spoke to me.  I thought he might be the dog for me, but still I waited.  I debated back and forth on whether I should fill out the application to adopt him, and that is when I stumbled across your blog on accident while researching gardening and realized that the dog named Blue that you were writing about, and the dog named Blue that had captured my heart on the rescue website were the same dog!  And I knew he was meant to be mine!  And do you want to hear something even more weird?!  I used to live in Troy, Ohio (Which is my hometown and one town over from where I live now...) and I know where Tipp City is!"    I had goosebumps.  What is the probability that this woman would fall in love with a dog off a website and then find my blog out of the millions of blogs that are out there and the same dog be living with me?!  Divine intervention that's all I can say....

It turns out that the woman was visiting her son for the weekend, and he lives only 30 minutes away from me, and she really wanted to meet Blue.  Luckily for her, I was able to contact the rescue director and we were able to complete the vet reference (which came back glowing!), and when she came to meet Blue, she was actually able to take him home!  This process was so smooth, it was just meant to be.  And the final sign?  She was taking Blue home to:  Endwell, New York. 

Who doesn't love a story that "Ends Well".... 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Charitable Weekend

Saturday was full of charitable events around here.  Our local humane society was having a fundraiser to help raise much needed funds for several great projects they have going on right now, and On the Urban Farm was asked to donate a basket for them to raffle off.  We donated a gardening basket full of fun gardening supplies and such.  Sadly we couldn't make their event in person because we were also helping with our local American Cancer Society's Bark for Life even that was also taking place at the same time.

Regardless, we were grateful that we were able help both charities, and will do it again next year, preferably on separate weekends or I am going to need to clone myself!

The basket we donated.
Katzya and Blue strutting their stuff at the walk.
Leading us along the way.
My mom and Amos came out to walk also!
Rest time after the walk.
Blue was just enjoying himself and all of the attention that he was getting.
Water break for the Chai and Blue.
Blue and his ice cube
Blue loved this block of ice.  He kept batting it with his feet, licking it, and chomping off pieces.  Too cute!
Tired puppy! 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Old dogs make the best new friends!

And if you like the man that I describe below?  Fear not ladies, he is single and available for adoption through Tri State Collie Rescue!  Let them know you are interested in Blue or check out any of their other available seniors at:

As I write this article, he is stretched out on the couch next to me with his head on my lap.   I wistfully look down at him and our eyes meet.  There is no relationship that is as solid as ours and no eyes that capture my heart like his do.  He is the man that every woman dreams of!  He loves long walks at leisure, doesn't mind watching chick-flicks, and never complains about my cooking.  In fact, he just about sounds too good to be true, but he's not.  And the good news is that there are thousands more where he comes from.  For a man this perfect look no further than your local shelter or rescue.  

You aren't going to find this type of guy in the puppy room though.  This is a type of love and calm devotion that only a senior dog can bring you.  Sadly many people over look these wonderful gems though when searching for their perfect companion, and what a misfortune that is.  Senior dogs make great companions for a number of reasons.

1)  Senior dogs are calmer and less energetic than younger dogs.  They don't require the constant attention and redirection that puppies and younger dogs demand.  In fact they are often just content being in your presence doing whatever it is that you're doing.

2)  They usually come with some amount of basic training such as house training skills and simple obedience commands.  And if they don't?  Never mind that old adage:  You can't teach an old dog new tricks.  In fact seniors are easier to train that younger dogs because their attention span, focus, and impulse control is greater than that of a puppy.  

3)  Older dogs often settle into a household quicker than a puppy because they already know how to get along in a family unit and relish the comfort of routine.

4)  From the first moment you spend with a senior dog you will have a fairly good idea of what type of companion you are getting .  He won't get any larger than he is at your initial meeting and his developed temperament will give you an immediate glimpse as to how he will fit into you household.

5)  Many fear adopting an older dog because they don't want their relationship to end before they are ready. If this is the case, consider opening your home to an adult dog and a senior dog.  Then you will never be completely without a "best friend".  

6)  At shelters and rescues, older dogs are most often the last to be adopted and the first to be euthanized.  So remember, by adopting a senior dog, you aren't just gaining a friend.  You're saving a life!

So please consider adopting a senior dog the next time you adopt, and spread the word about these wonderful treasures.  Remember that adopting a senior dog will be a wonderful adventure for you and your new companion.  Simply because, old dogs really do make the best new friends!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Brushing off my ol' parachute

Photo credit: via Google images

This week I was presented with a big opportunity to do something I would really love to do, but am afraid to try.  I am afraid to commit myself to this project not because of time constraints or any of those things, but simply because I am afraid of failing.  All week I have ruminated over if I could be good enough, successful enough, and wondered how I would even start.  It was today that I remembered I wasn't always this person.  There was a time when I had no fear, just desire, faith, and a willingness to fail.

Once as a child I vividly remember climbing a tree in our front yard with a "parachute" (A modified table cloth in a back pack...) attached to my back, intent on jumping out of the tree just to see if my homemade "parachute" would catch me.  I studied that tree, the distance to the ground and just jumped.  There was no hesitation, no fear, only the wind underneath my body as I plummeted to the ground, arms out-stretched.

I learned a few things that day:

      1) The ground approaches quickly.
      2) Never jump out of a tree with shorts on.
      3) Unzip your backpack before you jump.  Your parachute will not work if it can't be released!  ( I'm sure this is the primary reason the experiment went wrong....)

Today when I looked back at the tree jumping episode I originally thought it was one of my more stupid childhood stunts.  It took me a moment to realize that the person I was back then and the person that I am now are two different people and where I do recognize that in some ways this is a good thing, in some ways it's also a bad thing.  I want to be the person that has no fear.  That lives in the now, and is not afraid to "jump".  I want to show failure my backside, make the jump, and know that I will hit solid ground if purely by desire alone.

So, it's time for me to find my "parachute", dust it off, strap it to my back and jump.  Success isn't measured by what you achieve.  It's measured by how many times you try and what you learn along the way.  I learned this when I was 8 years old.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Visit to the Beekman Masion

Today we took a tour of the Beekman Farm, and it was absolutely beautiful! 

 Here are some of the highlights of the day.

The outside of the Beekman Family crypt.

Inside the crypt were headstones of some of the people buried  on the property.

Peeking out of the crypt.  It was so peaceful inside there....

Yes, those are bones inside the crypt...

Farmer John and The Reluctant Farmer

Farmer John and myself

The ever so regal, Polka Spot

I want a goat now more than ever....

Sweetest goat face ever.

Farmer John's sheep, named after Josh and Brent.  Josh is the one with white on  his face....

The gardens

Love these raised beds!

Onder the dog

The Reluctant Farmer lent a hand and planted some sunflower seeds at the Beekman

 Additional pictures available on our Facebook page:

Garden Party: Meeting the boys....

One of the main reasons for coming to the Garden Party in Sharon Springs, NY was of course to meet Josh and Brent.  With that though came some fear.  Not fear of meeting them because of fame, but a fear that they wouldn't be as genuine as they seemed.  These are guys who have inspired me and many others to live their dreams and reassured us all that with desire and hard work, anything is possible.  

I have been a huge fan of the Beekman Boys, watching their show, reading their books and blogs, and cheering them on while they ran the Amazing Race.  They seemed so witty and good-hearted in my mind that I was afraid that they would not be in real life.  Within the first 3 seconds of meeting these guys it was easy to see that they are as real and gracious as they come.  No amount of fame has changed them, and it was truly a pleasure to meet them.  I was a huge fan before, and somehow if it is even possible, I am a bigger fan tonight.  

Sharon Springs: The Pregnant Roller Skate

The Reluctant Farmer and I usually rent a car for vacations in order to keep extra miles off of our everyday vehicles.  However in order to stay within our budget this trip we had decided that we would just drive my SUV to Sharon Springs.  Or so I thought we had agreed....

The Reluctant Farmer called me at work on Thursday and let me know that she got a rental car for a steal, and when we picked it up I thought she had lost her mind.  The Reluctant Farmer didn't rent us a car, she rented us a pregnant roller skate!  We drove this bright red beast for 12 hours, all the way from Ohio and I can tell you that I have never ridden in a car like this!  I felt every bump, rumble strip (Which I swear she hit on purpose just to scare me...), and bug that hit our windshield, but it is safe to say that I have never traveled that far on $48.00 either!