Friday, May 29, 2015

5 Tips for Running with your Dog

Hey folks, Haddie here!  For the last few months, Bella, Myla and I have been going out in the mornings and running to get our exercise.  Before I came to live with Matt and Myla, I didn't get to do anything like that!  Initially, I was a little anxious about the whole idea, but now I LOVE to go!  In the mornings, I stalk Myla to be sure she's not leaving without me...

Running with dogs.

One day last week, Bella and I got to talking and we came up with five tips that will help all pet owners who want to, but don't regularly run with their dogs! 

Tips for running with your dog.

One: Run facing oncoming traffic with your dog on your left side.
We run down a country road that typically doesn't have a lot of cars, but it's important for you and us to run against traffic.  This way, you see the cars coming at us and are on the opposite side of the road if a car is coming from the other direction.  Myla is also really a stickler about Bella and I being on her left side.  I think she would throw herself in front of a car rather than risk us getting hurt!

Two: For our safety and yours, no earbuds or headphones.
When the three of us go running Myla never listens to music!  Ever.  This way she can hear if a car, or even a tractor, is coming up behind us long before we ever see it!

Running with your dog.

Three: Build our stamina.
Please, please don't take off with us and run for miles and miles if we aren't use to it.  Bella was use to running with Myla (she's been going since she was a puppy), but I had to start with shorter distances.  Now that we've been at it for a while, I can hang with the two of them and our long runs are about 4 miles.

Four: A good leash.
The leashes that Myla has for us are called British-style slip leads.  You can buy the exact ones we use here!  Bella's is 'Camo' and mine is 'Purple Confetti'... You're not surprised, right?  Anyway, these leads are good for taking your dog running because they provide a gentle reminder to keep up (if we think it's necessary to stop and sniff) or slow down (if we see a rabbit) while we are out and about.

Five: Make it fun!
Usually just being out with Myla is enough 'fun' for us, but there are special days when we run to the creek and GET TO SWIM!  Initially, I wasn't even sure if I could swim?  Myla was skeptical too because I heard her say to Matt "I untied my shoes in case she sank like a rock and I had to go in after her!"  I'm not the water dog that Bella is, but we both take full advantage of our time by crashing through the tall grass and tackling each other to jumping off the bank and into the water!

Are you and your human running partners?  Do they insist that you follow any specific rules?

Linking up with Amanda, Christina and Karli.  

Monday, May 18, 2015

Force Blooming Peonies

For my sister-in-law's baby shower I knew that I wanted to have fresh flowers on the table and thought the timing would be just about right to use the pink peonies from our yard.  I was wrong. 

In the days leading up to the shower, I was diligently checking the blooms and about 3 days before I knew having my peonies wasn't going to be a reality.  So I started scouring the countryside looking for homes with blooming peonies and without risking being arrested for trespassing or vandalism or both, I knew I had to go another route!

My next thought was to issue a plea via facebook to see if anyone local had peonies that I could cut?  Initially, I was having no luck.  Everyone was in the same boat I was; their plants were loaded with blooms, but none had started to break open!  Then my friend Tracey posted a picture that gave me hope...

Thursday night I stopped at Tracey's and cut bunch of the most far along blooms with hopes of 'force blooming' them in time for the shower on Saturday!  And it totally worked!!

If you need peonies now, like I did, follow these steps to force bloom your flowers:

Cut blooms from your peony bush that have already "broken" or give to pressure when you pinch the bud between your fingers.  Be sure to cut, at a 45 degree angle, stems longer than you think you need!  

Check over all the buds, leaves and stems for critters that you don't want to bring inside your house.  Peonies are notorious for having lots of ants climbing in and around them.

Fill a vase full of very warm water and set aside.  

Run warm water in your sink and once it's pretty full you'll cut the stems, again at a 45 degree angle, under water using a pair of scissors or kitchen shears.

Place each flower in the vase of very warm water and set in a warm place.  The first night I set mine in Matt's bathroom.  Friday morning we were blessed with sun and warm temps so I put the vase outside on our porch.  Friday night they slept on top of the stove.

Change the water two or three times/day, because you want to keep them in warm-ish water, until they bloom!

Saturday morning I had six blooms open and ready to be put in the arrangements for the baby shower.  The exact number I needed for table decorations!  And this morning, they're still looking and smelling fantastic!