Friday, October 19, 2012

2012 Holiday Collection

I'm happy to give my readers here the very first glimpse of this year's Holiday Collection. There are lots of flower options this year and three bowties for the handsome gentleman in your life.

I'm most excited about the two velvet collar options I have in the shop this year! Pecan Pie Puppies hasn't ever done velvet before so I spent a year testing out the durability of the velvet ribbon by using test doggies, and I was very pleased with the result. I love them so much... my gals Mona Mae and Penny Sue will be sporting these very soon.

You can find all the collars you see here plus several more in the shop or you can click right here!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

South Carolina State Fair

I have a confession to make. I've never been to the fair. It's just not really my cup of tea. I think I was born old, and I've never really been into the whole "stand in line for 30 minutes to enjoy a 60 second ride that makes me want to puke." And I'm no fan of crowds of people pushing and shoving either. So cut to the fact that I've gone 32 years of my life with no fair experience. But a friend of mine had encouraged me to at least go see the animals on display at this year's state fair, and so the two of us along with her little boy set out on my very first fair adventure at the South Carolina State Fair.

We went early in the day in order to avoid the crowds, and that turned out to be a genius move. The weather was beautiful, and I didn't get shoved even once. First, we visited these gals:

LOVE. Now I need a cow. And please do notice the orange and purple flags flying proudly in the bottom photo. Oh yes... those are Clemson cows. My alma mater has fantastic agriculture and animal science programs so it was fun to see our colors flying high.

We then wandered around a few more buildings to see the chickens, ducks, geese, rabbits and pigs.

Clockwise from top left: Pilgrim Geese, Buff Laced Crested Polish, a sleepy Pig, and a  Jersey Wooly Rabbit
And then we came upon this poor girl...

Keep in mind that we were visiting her a couple of days after her due date. Bless her heart... on display for the world to see... very preggers... and faced with the certainty that she would be giving birth to an audience. I felt so bad for her. 

Once we finished up the animal viewing, we went over to check out the rose show. There were tons and tons of beautiful flowers, and we wandered about for quite a while. I love to garden, but I'm not patient enough to grow roses. I planted a rose last spring... a supposedly low-maintenance variety called Julia Child (I swear that's the name... it's the reason I bought it because I adore her)... and I have battled the forces of nature conspiring against it ever since. So I was in awe of all the beautiful roses at the show: 

So for my first fair experience, it went pretty well! I enjoyed spending time with people I love, I got to see lots of wonderful animals and livestock, and had my first taste of classic fair food! I'm a vegetarian, so I wasn't walking around with a giant turkey leg or anything. Nor did I partake of what they were touting as this year's newest food creation: the Elvis Presley Burger (apparently a burger with peanut butter and bananas... gross). But I did try fried Oreos for the first time, and although I was seriously skeptical at first, I quickly overcame my opposition because they were YUM. But don't worry... I drew the line at fried butter. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dog Toy Round-Up

With five dogs in the house, we go through our fair share of toys. But through the years, I've fine-tuned the collection down to the best of the best. Of course, I always buy new things as they come on the market, and every so often, the pups are so impressed with a new toy that it gets added into the top tier.

So I thought I'd share the standouts from my crew's toy box. Please keep in mind that this list is not comprehensive, and of course, every dog's personal preferences should come into play. What makes my dogs happy might not make your dog happy, but I can highly recommend all of these based our OUR experience. Oh, and one other thing to note - you'll probably notice the marked absence of anything stuffed or fluffy on this list. I'm sure there are many great options out there that fall into that category (and please feel free to share them in the comments), but I have very little experience with them since anything soft and cuddly in my house meets a swift and violent end.

Kong Tug: Not every dog likes to play tug, but my Pit Bull Quincy sure does! And after destroying eleventy-jillion other tug toys, I discovered Kong's version. It takes regular abuse from our tug sessions at least a couple times a week, and it has remained intact and useable for over a year now. I appreciate the rubber-coated handle, and Quincy appreciates well... all of it. There are important rules to follow if you play tug with your pooch, and I recommend this article from Whole Dog Journal if you want to find out what they are. 

Chuck It: I've owned a Chuck-It for years now, and it's a life-saver. Well... that's a little dramatic. Let's call it a "clean hands saver." My fetching dogs will slime up a ball in no time at all, and that makes for a less than pleasant play session on my end. With this toy, you never have to actually touch that foamy, goopy mess that was once a tennis ball. Chuck-It now comes in a compact size, and in my opinion, it makes a good product even better. The shorter length still gives you plenty of distance on throws, but it actually fits in your bag when you head to the beach or park. 

Chase It!: This toy is FUN. You know those cat toys that everyone has that basically is a long stick with a long string with feather or jangly thingamajig on the end? Well, they make them for dogs now and it's awesome. When I first bought it, I had no idea how each of my dogs would react to it. But every single one of them (and I have a relatively large sample size) loves it. My original one broke about a year after I purchased it, but luckily, they've since improved the toy to prevent the problems that caused the original issue. And my new version is still alive and kickin' after quite a bit of use. Oh, and bonus feature - the toy on the end is removeable and replaceable should the poor creature meet an untimely death. LOVE this toy!

Nina Ottosson Puzzle Toys: Pups don't just need physical exercise... they need a mental workout too. And these toys are perfect for that. She has several different versions, and while we haven't tried them all, the three different types I have at my house have been a big hit. Most of them require a dog to remove certain pieces or move different parts of the toy around in order to access a treat. But they all definitely require the dog to use their brain. They're not inexpensive, but I think they're worth it. And I have a feeling that if you give one a try, you'll want to continue adding to the collection. 

Kong Wobbler: This is my dog Oliver's toy of choice (although he's not the only one that likes it). Ollie usually isn't big on most toys, but when he sees this, he dances a jig on his tiny tippie-toes. It's basically a big giant version of the Kong that most folks are familiar with, but it has a weighted bottom so instead of falling over, it just rocks back and forth when a dog nudges it. Your pup will soon discover that if they nudge it hard enough, delicious treats fall out. I actually just use Ollie's regular kibble, and sometimes will even feed him his meal in this so he has to work for it. It keeps him occupied, and he loves it! It's also dishwasher safe in case you want to fill it with messier treats. 

Hyperflite Jawz Frisbee: All frisbees are not created equal, and the Jawz Frisbee proves my point. I originally read a review for it in the Whole Dog Journal and decided to give it a try. You see... the regular frisbees you buy from Target are made for humans. They fly well because they're rigid plastic, but when your dog leaps up and bites down to grab it out of the air, they quickly puncture and become sharp objects of death that rip your dog's gums to shreds. But a lot of the frisbees made for dogs are floppy and soft, and while they don't harm your dog, they don't fly very well either. But the Jawz Frisbee is both safe for your dog and it flies like a dream. While you probably won't find it at your local pet store, it's worth paying for shipping to order it online. I already have plans to order another so I have a spare. 

Kong Frisbee: This was my go-to dog frisbee before finding the Jawz. While it falls into the "floppy" category, it's a little firmer than most others, and it flies pretty well. I still use it on occasion, and it's convenient because it does fold up so it fits in a small bag or pocket. It's also usually easy to find at your local pet store. 

Katie's Bumpers: There's nothing super fancy about these bumpers, but I really like the size and shape. And they are very well-made. The two I purchased years ago still look as good as new. These are just a good, basic and high-quality retrieve toy that I very much recommend.

Kong Water Wubba: This is another great water retrieval toy. It's not quite as indestructible as the ones from Katie's Bumpers, but my dogs really like the shape and style of the Water Wubba. And while I don't have any scientific evidence to back me up, I think my pups can see it in the water a little better than other water toys I've used.

Original Kong: It doesn't get any better than this people. This is my stand-by, go-to, never-had-a-dog-that-doesn't-dig-it toy. I have a friend that calls it a "puppy pacifier" and that's really what it is. I have five or six of these in my house, and I fill them up with all kinds of things. Sometimes I put their regular kibble in there and feed them their meal in it. Sometimes I stuff carrot chips or peanut butter in there. Most of my dogs have gotten really good at cleaning the Kong out in record time, so now I fill a few at a time with layers of greek yogurt, veggies, peanut butter, cheese, etc. and pop them in the freezer. And then I give them to my dogs frozen and it takes them LOTS longer to empty out the Kong. I did have to upgrade to the black Kong for Quincy because he is able to destroy the red ones, so if you have a power chewer, I do recommend the black version instead.

Galileo Bone: This bone is for power chewers (and don't be fooled... tiny dogs can qualify as power chewers too). The Galileo bone is similar to Nylabones in that it's man-made, but it lasts SO much longer. There's no way I could give my Quincy a regular Nylabone because he'd destroy it in no time, but the Galileo bone lasts for months. Two words of warning on this one... 1) Once your dog chews it down small enough to fit in his or her mouth, that means it's small enough for them to swallow it whole so throw it out and get a new one (this holds true for any chew toy) and 2) Don't let your dog drop this on your foot or you will say a bad word... trust me.

Elk & Deer Antlers: Love, love, love these and so do my dogs. They're all-natural, and no animals are harmed in order to harvest these because the elk or deer shed the antlers naturally. They don't splinter and crack the way bones do so that makes them a much safer choice for your dog (and rawhide is super dangerous people... Just Say No!). They also don't slime up your carpet they way bones sometimes can. And they last a really long time... even with my power chewers. They're still sort of hard to find in your neighborhood pet shop, but I highly recommend the ones from Best Bully Sticks. And make sure to sign up for their mailing list because they send out good coupons!

Monday, October 8, 2012


It was an egg-citing weekend around here (oh, yes I did go there... I love cheesy puns). I got my very first egg from Pearl, my Australorp, about a week and a half ago. They're lovely brown eggs, and even though I was so excited to get my first egg, I've been dying to see an egg from my Easter Egger Georgina. I've had high hopes that she'd bless me with some blue or green eggs.

Well, Mabel the Salmon Faverolles started a few days ago (pretty off-white/pinkish eggs BTW), but still nothing from Georgie.

So when I visited the coop on Saturday afternoon and found the prettiest sage green egg sitting there, I squealed. Yes, that's right... squealed. Like a five year old. And then proceeded to text a picture of it to everyone I know. I'm going to have a high energy bill this month because every time I open the fridge to grab something, I just stand there and stare at my pretty collection of eggs.

The girls' eggs, from L to R: Pearl, Mabel and Georgina
But Pearl, not to be outdone, gave me a double-yolker later that day:

Both are Pearl's eggs... one from Friday and one from Saturday
I feel like I should write my girls a thank you note! I do tell them thank you every time I collect their eggs... they deserve it. And somehow, amidst all the excitement of the weekend, I did manage to get my fall garden planted:

I'm keeping it small scale since this is my first attempt at a fall/winter garden so I only planted one bed. I've got four different veggies seeded in there so here's hoping I'll see some green popping up soon.

And since the second bed was empty, I threw out a package of Chicken Salad Seed Mix from My Pet Chicken so the girls will have their own supply of green goodies as we head into Fall. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Friday Morning Farming...

Mornings are always a little hectic for me while I feed and care for five dogs, a cat, and six chickens. And run around and try to make myself presentable for work. And it doesn't help that I almost always oversleep. But I always try to take a few minutes to enjoy the morning and the animals as they start their day.

I've pulled out the tomato, eggplant, okra and bell peppers from summer and the raised beds are empty. Well, sort of. Right now, this is happening:

Apparently, I'm sprouting dogs. And yes, those are some pink plastic flamingos in the background because I'm cheeky like that.

I'm going to plant some cool weather crops this weekend, but I'm afraid I've waited a little too late. I've had a summer garden the last two years, but this will be my first attempt at a fall garden so there's definitely a learning curve. We'll see how it goes. But obviously I can't have spinach and lettuce sharing space with those two up there (or being munched on by the rabbits that wander by), so this will also be happening:

We've had some wonderful rain the past few days, but unfortunately, the Silkie girls don't fair so well when it's wet. See how tiny she is? This is Eloise, and she's full-grown. She may be small, but she has a BIG voice. And this is her rocker chick look from this morning:

Tallulah, my other Silkie was already in the nesting box when I opened the coop up for the girls at dawn. She left me an early morning gift. She lays very pretty, off-white but very pointy eggs.  

And this guy helped supervise the collection process:

The weather is starting to get cool around these parts, and all the creatures in my household (including me) are very happy about that. So Happy Friday everyone... hope you all have a great weekend and Go Tigers!

Monday, October 1, 2012

A New Beginning

I began my original blog - Pecan Pie Puppies - as an ode to all things dog. And that worked out well for quite a while since I have lots of dogs and had no shortage of material. But I had a great deal of other things on my mind that I wanted to share, and so the gang and I have moved here to Five Dog Farm permanently.

My hope is to share not only my dogs and our adventures, but also my new foray into chicken-keeping, my passion for gardening and homekeeping, and whatever else tickles my fancy.

For those of you that have followed us from Pecan Pie Puppies (I hope there are some of you out there), I promise there will be many new posts about all things dog (and all of our old posts have moved here as well). But you'll have to put up with a little chicken in between. I look forward to sharing my adventures and stories with y'all, and hopefully some of what I offer will be helpful in some way. So onward we go... you can learn more about all my furry and winged beasts by clicking on the tabs up top. Thanks for reading!