Monday, November 30, 2009

Our neighbor to the west, Whidbey Island has so many
fascinating people, places and things to offer
that anyone would be hard pressed to pick a favorite.

Even with so much natural beauty to choose from I'd have to say Hummingbird Farm Nursery and Garden would be among the top three on my list. Lori and Lee Spear have dedicated themselves to creating a very special destination and their lovely gardens have been highlighted in Sunset Magazine and Country Living Gardener. They've also been featured on the Discovery Channel and on Northwest plant guru Ed Hume's celebrated program, "Gardening In America". In addition to the beautiful gardens and great selection of unusual plants in their nursery, Lori has a picturesque giftshop filled to the rafters with a collection of diverse, unique gifts, including her beautiful, handmade evergreen wreaths during the holiday season.

Hardly a week goes by that doesn't find The Spear family hosting a community event at the Farm. Fund raisers, food drives, Gardening Forums and Workshops, Arts & Crafts Fairs, the Winter Market; the list goes on and on throughout the year.

Two of their most popular holiday offerings at the giftshop are "Girls Night Out" with games, prizes, and yummies for the ladies and the "Pin This Wish List on My Guy" Night, where mall-hating he-men can munch brownies, complete their shopping lists in one swoop and get free gift wrapping to boot.


MY absolute favorite Hummingbird Farm holiday happening has to be
..............Pets At The Farm with Santa.

Santa, his helper Monika & their pack Cindl & Lola

This popular annual holiday PET PHOTOGRAPHY fundraiser helps benefit WAIF (Whidbey Animal Improvement Foundation). Family members and group gatherings are encouraged to participate, too.

Whidbey folks bring their pets to have their photos taken with Santa by professional photographer Ken White from Ken's Lens who works magic behind the camera. Ken specializes in on site portraits, sports and and custom photography (including moving vehicle photos!). He and his camera will follow you just about anywhere you want to go. We all know there's an art to photographing animals - especially more than one at a time-and Ken has a knack for capturing the pets at their best -and cutest- moments. Some of Ken's Santa and Pet photos can be seen at the Hummingbird Farm site.

On the other hand - these photos are all mine so don't expect any artistry whatsoever. When I wasn't handing out my dog treat samples, I couldn't help but grab my camera to get some candid shots of these cuties while they were waiting their turns with Santa and Ken.

Is it me or does Brett really look like a reindeer?

This little guy was so adorable.

and the gal with the big smile was a WAIF volunteer who snuggled a darling kitty in her coat all afternoon.

If you're local, you'll want to mark the date for this year's event on your calendar.

.......................2319 Zylstra Road in Oak Harbor, WA

Reservations are strongly recommended due to the popularity of this one-day event, and also for your pet's comfort.

Contact: or 360-679-5044. Click here for map and directions. Be sure to sign up for the newletter to keep current on their upcoming events.

In addition to the Santa photos, Lori's gift shop will be open and there will be folks anxious to help you with other pet needs and gifts: Pet grooming and training, Pet Massage and even hand-painted pet photo rocks.

I'll be there with my Blue Collar Dog Treats. Hope you and your pets will join us!

and the WEEK 1 WINNER is...

Your gift was shipped today and Emma Rose, Jasmine and Bailey should be enjoying their treats by the end of the week. We tucked in a little something extra for Emma's birthday on Monday.

Thanks to everyone who entered this week and remember there are four more drawings. A NEW WINNER every Tuesday in December.
WEEK 2 DRAWING BEGINS TOMORROW- DEC 2nd with the winner being announced on Tuesday December 8th.

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Is this great or what?! Barbara Spurll Images

5 AM and everyone's still asleep except me and Gracie. As I groggily stuffed the bird in the oven, she sat over at her kitchen borderline, (no dogs beyond this point- yeah right- hey, we TRY) hoping something would hit the floor so she could manage a quick snatch & grab. It occurred to me it might be a good idea to talk about dogs and turkey day. I'll make it simple.

Listen up! People food is not dog food. They just aren't built like us. No matter how human they seem to us, some of the foods we love are poison to them.

The house smells sooo good today & we're all salivating. Your BFF is aquiver with aromatic shock and it's a real temptation to share the bounty with him. Do your dog- and yourself - a real favor- just say no. Nothing could ruin your holiday -or life- faster than a sick dog so stuff your turkey, not your dog.

I'm not going into the long list of foods that are hazardous to your best friend's health. That's a whole other blog. If you need chapter and verse, go hit the ASPCA site. Just use your head. If your dog eats kibble 364 days a year, what do you think a plate of stuffing and gravy is going to do to him?
There are a few things worth repeating...
The number one no-no is turkey bones- a no brainer. Like any cooked bones, they can splinter & cause serious, possibly irreparable damage to a dog's gut. Make soup with those bones.
Next on the list is turkey skin-(but oh how I love it!) Who knew it can cause acute pancreatis in dogs? It's crispy & buttery and looks like a dogs dream-come-true-treat when it is actually their worst nightmare. Toss it out- in the opposite direction of your dog. The same goes for the gravy. Try a little bit of non-fatty broth instead.
Raw bread dough- I found this out the hard way. DisGrace once snarked some unbaked dog treat dough off the counter & I had visions of the yeast fermenting & exploding inside her. After my frantic call to the vet, I realized she had only gotten a tiny bit of dough so inducing vomiting wasn't necessary. (Thank God- what's worse than a puking dog? Me puking with the dog) According to ASPCA experts, when raw bread dough is ingested, an animal's body heat causes the dough to rise in his stomach. As it expands, the pet may experience vomiting, severe abdominal pain and bloating, which could become a life-threatening emergency, requiring surgery. I guess DisGrace was lucky.
Because she has developed allergies, Grace doesn't eat kibble any more. Her dinner today will be pretty much the same as every day. White meat, green beans, carrots & sweet potato. She has a bit of canned pumpkin (not pie filling) daily (good fiber) so maybe she thinks every day is Thanksgiving Day.
Come to think of it, I guess we all should.

so may you all bask in the warmth of your tryptophan nap and have a happy, thankful day.

Holiday Give Away - Week One

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Welcome to my first week of Christmas Give Aways!
To thank my loyal customers, blog readers, friends and Facebook fans I'm giving away a Blue Collar Dog Treat gift every week in December. To make it a little more fun, I'm going to throw in a little challenge; nothing too tough, just something to make it interesting.

The winner of the weekly gift will be chosen in a random drawing from all the correct answers to the Canine Question of the Week.

Posting a correct answer in a comment at the end of this post will enter you in the random drawing. Being/becoming a blog follower gives you a second entry and being/becoming a Facebook fan gives you a third entry so you have three chances to win.

A lucky winner will be selected & announced EVERY TUESDAY in December so be sure to come back and enter EVERY week.

Just put your Google skills to work, be among the first million (LOL) people posting the correct answer and you're in the drawing.

I'll post the weekly winner's name every Tuesday morning here on my blog and on Facebook. If you're the winner, you'll need to contact me ASAP with a mailing address. I'll ship USPS Priority Mail, three day delivery so if I mail it to you (or for you, as a gift to someone else) on Tuesday or Wednesday, it will arrive by the end of that week. Sorry, but I can only ship to addresses in the U.S. right now. If you're outside the US, I'll ship it to the U.S. friend or family member of your choice with a gift tag explaining it's from you. You don't know anyone here? I'll donate it to our local food bank, in your name. Lots of needy dogs out there. Fair enough?

For this drawing your comment must be entered by midnight Monday 11/29. Good Luck!!

Canine Question of the Week for November 30th Drawing:
What breed of dog was Zip, who co-starred with Tom Berrenger & Barbara Hershey in the 1995 movie, LAST OF THE DOGMEN?


.............................~ CHICKEN TREATS GIFT BOX ~

My all natural Chicken Treats are made from human grade ingredients, have no added salt or sugar and contain no chemicals or preservatives. This gift wrapped box contains 36 Chicken Little Bits, vacuum sealed for freshness so they'll be fine for Christmas. The treats inside are wrapped in white paw-print tissue and sealed with a little label that says "Good Dog". The box is gift wrapped in paw print kraft paper tied with string (brown paper packages tied up with string- these are a few of my favorite things) and a gift tag ready for you to fill out.

If you're not the lucky winner for this week, you can still put this gift box under your favorite furry friend's tree. Just head over to my Etsy shop and place an order using PayPal. 7.99 + 5.00 shipping. Remember I ship USPS flat rate 3 day delivery- it's the cheapest & fastest way to get it there. Shipping 2-6 boxes to one address for 3 day delivery is only $10. Can't beat that.
Are you local? (Anacortes, Burlington, Mt Vernon) No need to order through Etsy. Just give me a call at 360-293-3556 and we'll arrange for a pick up.

So if you're ready to post your answer CLICK BELOW- on the words:
.................................................................................. "xx comments"
to bring up the Comments Page then scroll down to Post a Comment

Yes, We're OPEN

Monday, November 16, 2009

BLACK FRIDAY? Don't get me started. Haven't done one in years. My cranky old aunt had a saying to describe similar situations.

............"It's like being in hell with your back broke."
I've always thought shopping the day after Thanksgiving was a sacrilege... this lazy day reserved for turkey sandwiches and Martinelli's sparkling apple cider & long, sweet, tryptophan-induced naps.

I've been doing my Christmas shopping online since ebay and were pups. If I couldn't find it online, I networked with online friends to find it locally. Dear friend Robin, (God bless her!) made me Best Grandma Of The Year by finding me Tickle Me Elmo in a Michigan K-Mart when there were none to be found any where else. Now that's a good friend.

In those early days of online shopping, I can remember my non- computer friends being horrified because I used a credit card on the computer! Are you crazy? Well, call me an idiot but in over ten years I've never had a problem... Knock wood.

After years of online ordering, my first (and last) Black Friday was five years ago at Best Buy, for a $100 eMachine (a what?) for my oldest grandson. I was quickly reminded why we had never done one before. We got in line at 3 AM for the 6 AM opening and there were already about 20 other suckers-I mean-people in front of us. Within an hour, the parking lot was full and our (chain, chain, chain,) chain of fools snaked around the building and back into the parking lot. It was raining & snowing and about 4:30 the BB staff took mercy on us (I think the collective clatter of thousands of chattering teeth was keeping them awake) and came out to give us numbered coupons for our desired products (only 25 $100 eMachines per store) so we could go sit in the freezing car instead of standing in the freezing wetness. We cranked up the heat and tried to thaw out. I read and Pat muttered (read: swore) quietly as he tried to sleep.

When the store opened, the crush getting through the door was unbelievable... and dangerous.
Surprisingly there was no chance of being trampled but only because there was no way to fall down. It was wall-to-wall shoving, squirming bodies and I vowed never again to put us in harm's way for a Black Friday Sale... or maybe I decided that when Pat finally stopped swearing half-way back to town. Not sure, but things are always better in your memory.

I know you should never say "never again" but, Never, Ever, Again.

So in order to help you folks with Dog Lovers on your list, I'll preview all my Etsy Shop products here. Then you can run your mouse right over there and hit the PayPal button and voila, I'll be taking care of that part of your list for you. Sit right there in your jammies and shop.

....................No shirt, No Shoes, No Problem!

So.... drum roll, please....I'm announcing that my

.......... BLUE COLLAR DOG TREAT Etsy shop is
and I'll be adding a couple of new items in the next few days. Need to get some really good photos of the pet stockings I've been making.

I've put a link at the top of this page, on the right . The slideshow next to the link shows some of the goodies you'll find there. All of my products are homemade & handmade right here in the US of A by me, a sweet little old widow lady, satisfaction guaranteed, yada, yada, yada.

Stay tuned... and remember... Stores have Black Friday Sales online too. If you're going to shop at 3 AM on the 27th, be good to yourself - do it cozily, with a hot chocolate mustache, wearing your robe and bunny slippers. That's where I'll be.