Monday, June 27, 2016

Albany Bulb!

For years I have heard of Albany Bulb as the other awesome dog park that is comparable to Point Isabel, where I am a regular for the last seven years.   I didn't really think any other dog park would be as great as Point Isabel, so I never drove the extra two miles to check out Albany Bulb. Since foxtails have been quite a problem at Pt. Isabel this summer, I have not been going there as much. Last Saturday, while 4 other dogs were under my care, I wanted to take the whole pack somewhere fun.  My little helper from next door volunteered to hang out with us for the day, which made it easier to pack up the car with all six dogs for an adventure. 

We arrived Albany Bulb around 10 a.m. on Saturday. We had to park all the way at the end of the trail leading to the beach. It was a little difficult for Kelsey who is now about 14 years old.  For her size, she is equivalent to a person in late 80 to 90 years old. When we finally got to the beach, we were all excited. I had no idea that Albany Bulb is a sandy beach that you can walk into the ocean.  Since it was on a Saturday, it was very crowded. We stayed for only about 45 minutes. 

First trip to Albany Bulb on a crowded Saturday

I took Cracus and Kelsey back to Albany Bulb on Monday morning, and we were able to park very close to the beach entrance. There were only a handful of people and dogs at the beach, so everyone had a lot of room to roam. Kelsey enjoyed dipping her paws in the bay while Cracus ran back and forth near the water. Kelsey even attempted to chase a ball next to a young hound. This time I brought fresh water with me, which proved to be a good idea as both Cracus and Kelsey got really thirsty.

We have found our new favorite dog park!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Roli Roti Delivered!

Momo's first day at Paws Up Dog Care 

In early May, I received a doggie daycare request for a tiny Maltese puppy named Momo.  Momo means peach in Japanese. As soon as I saw the name, I knew there was some kind of Japanese connection. Momo's entire family came to the dog park to meet Cracus and me.  I learned that Cracus behaves better when he meets other dogs on mutual ground first. However, when I saw how small Momo was, I was a bit concerned.  Cracus is usually a bit rough and plays like a boy with whoever plays the same way.  He often plays with dogs who are either a little bigger or much bigger than he is. Momo looked like a little gentle girl. She rolled on her back with her belly exposed as soon as Cracus approached her.  I was worried that Cracus would be too rough. He also tends to grunt a lot when he is excited or just playing. Momo's mom, who is Japanese, didn't seem too concerned. Momo's dad, who has an European accent, was amused with the way Cracus walked on his hind legs. They were excited to talk to me about dogs since Momo is their first dog. Shortly after their visit, they confirmed Momo's daycare for the month of June. To my surprise, Momo plays just as wild as Cracus. Even though she is small, she is fast, fearless, and has even more energy than Cracus! I realized that Cracus has met his match on the first day Momo spent with us. Here is a short video clip of how crazy they played with each other!

Momo's dad has been dropping off and picking up Momo everyday.  One day he mentioned how Off the Grid was holding up the traffic so he couldn't pick up Momo sooner. We started chatting about how expensive food trucks are selling their food. It's almost as much as going to a restaurant. He asked me if I have heard of Roli Roti. Yes, of course!  I used to see Roli Roti all the time at farmers' markets!  He was pleased that I knew of his food truck. It has been a while since I visited a farmers' market but how can anyone forget the sight of a truck full of rotisserie chickens?  I remember how good it smelled. I was stoked to learn that Momo's dad is the owner of Roli Roti! Wow, suddenly I felt that I have met a celebrity!

Needless to say, he is a busy man. Momo ended up staying with us overnight a few times. He was going to pay me extra for all the late pickups and overnight stay, but I was more interested in tasting Roli Roti again after all these years. He brought me a chicken last week.  Tonight he brought me a big chunk of porchetta.  It suddenly felt like Thanksgiving. After taking a few photos, I cut off 1/3 of it to give to my next door neighbors. They have been mowing my front lawn ever since we moved in and helped us with all kinds of repairs. I will be sure to share any goodies with them. Tomorrow I will bring another 1/3 of it to my parents. There is still a lot of porchetta after cutting 2/3 off. I wonder if I could freeze some for later?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Dog Proofing the Fence Again

Cracus likes to explore along the fence looking for any place that he can dig and slip under. He enjoys visiting the neighbors on his terms. One of my constant tasks is to walk along the fence and make sure that all the weak spots are patched up or blocked.  As you can see from the video above, Cracus is vigorously scratching the fence. Luckily I just picked up a few more free bricks on the sidewalk this morning.  I knew exactly what to do with them.

I placed the bricks against the fence, so Cracus can no longer scratch the base of the fence. There are other areas of the fence that are blocked off by various bricks and other objects.  I have a collection of free bricks just for this purpose. Cracus was disappointed after the bricks got in his way, but I am sure he will come up with something else to keep me on my toes.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Tomato Pod and Cracus

We have been having more rain and overcast days than usual this year. It rained yesterday. It is May, and we are still having rain. This morning looked like another hot soup day. It was overcast with the potential to rain any second. Around 1 pm the sun finally came out and the sky became clear. I was so excited to open up both patio umbrellas that I rescued from the curbside. Cracus joined me in the yard as I worked on weed removal.

I wasn't planning on growing any tomato just because tomato isn't something I crave for usually. However, a friend of mine gave me a couple Miracle Gro cherry tomato seed pods a few days ago, so I had been looking forward to planting them. I cleared out all the weeds growing in my planter box before digging two holes for these pods.  To my surprise, I found some mint in the planter box.  I carefully pulled all the weeds around it.  After I was done, I sat down in the shade for a few minutes to pet Kelsey, who always likes to lay in full sun.   I turned around to gather all the garden tools, and that was when I noticed a hole where I just planted the pods. Cracus looked at me from a few steps away. Did he eat it? It had to be him. I ran inside and found dirt all over Kelsey's big bed. Cracus ran after me and lay right next to it proudly. I shook my head and started to clean up. I replanted the "pod" back into the hole but made it deeper. Hopefully he is not going to do it again.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Baking Dog Treats

Cooked kabocha squash

I got some left over kabocha so I decided to bake some kabocha peanut butter treats for the pooches. They love eating kabocha straight, but I don't want them to have diarrhea from eating too much of it. One of my favorite dog treat recipes is peanut butter and pumpkin dog treat.  Today I substituted canned puree pumpkin with cooked kabocha. Dog treats are super easy to bake. Unlike human cookies, you don't add butter or sugar.  Cracus and Kelsey went crazy just from the smell of the ingredients mixing together.

I got some very cute paw shape cookie cutters a while back, but I probably won't be using them anymore unless I was making human cookies. The dogs can careless what the shape of the treats are. If I was going to use the cookie cutters, I would have to get my rolling pin out. I would then have to wash the cutters and the rolling pin. The cutters also make the treats way too big. I just use my hands and roll the dough into small balls and flatten them a little with my hands.  While the treats were baking, Cracus and Kelsey refused to leave the kitchen. As soon as they were done and cooked down, I left them have a few. As you can see from the clip below, I could not get Cracus to sit at all. He was just too excited over the home baked treats and practically bit into my fingers as he took the treat.  I tried a piece of the treats, too. It tasted like a piece of very healthy cracker.