Category Archives: The Farmhouse Menagerie
I cannot believe this little lunatic is a year old! And in true Farmhouse38 fashion, we couldn’t let this moment slip by without a little party. So Phoebe donned her finest tutu and tiara, and I whipped up a really simple and adorable layered pupcake. And before anyone freaks out, the flame on the candle in the above photo is photoshopped in…a tutu on a tasmanian devil next to an open flame: how’s about NOPE.
After a successful photo shoot, it was time for cake:
-1 can of wet dog food of your choice that keeps its ‘can’ shape (I use Blue Buffalo brand and it really doesn’t keep its shape too well, so you gotta sorta improvise)
-3 slices of whole grain organic wheat bread
-Approx. half cup of organic, no salt creamy peanut butter
-a thin sheet of cardboard or cardstock
-some cute, heart-shaped training treats or kibble as decoration
This cake was super simple to make. I started with a can of wet dog food: the gross, meatloaf-y kind that sorta keeps it’s shape when you shake it out of the can. Before I removed said gross dog food from the can, I actually used it to trace a circle on a thin sheet of cardboard (I stole a piece from the back of a notepad…none of my notepads have cardboard backing anymore-I always steal them for random projects like these). Cut out this circle and build your cake on it–this makes it easier to slip a spatula under it and move the cake around when you are done (you know…in case you are doing a long, drawn-out photo shoot with it).
Open your dog food and shake it out onto a plate so that it preserves its ‘can’ shape (Thanksgiving cranberry dressing-style). If it doesn’t keep its can shape, you can still kind of cut a piece and smush it together. Now use the opening of the can as a cookie-cutter to cut three crustless circles of bread.
Place your first bread circle directly on top of the cardboard piece and center. Now, using a sharp knife, carefully cut a slice of wet dog food (I cut mine approx. a half inch thick) and gently set it on top of the first bread circle. Follow that with another bread circle and press the layers together gently. Add another layer of dog food and top with the final piece of bread. Again, press all the layers gently together.
Now, ‘ice’ your cake with the peanut butter. It may help to heat the peanut butter to a consistency that allows you to easily spread it without mauling the cake structure. Once you have it iced, top it with a few kibble or treat ‘sprinkles’.
Each of my dogs was only allowed one slice of cake–I think it goes without saying that this is a once-in-a-blue-moon treat and not something they should be fed frequently (and I don’t recommend that anyone feed this whole cake to one dog). Bread isn’t that good for dogs. In small doses, it can actually be a good source of fiber–but please don’t make it a habit to feed your dogs this on a regular basis. Most bread has added sugar and salt and all sorts of stuff that is just not good for doggie tummies. Raw, unsalted peanut butter is considered by most to be a healthy treat, but also proceed with caution. Just like people, some dogs can be deathly allergic to it. But…ya know…sometimes even doggies gotta treat yoself!
I realized that with the timing of the arrival of these three, they got a little over-shadowed by Easter and all associated busy-ness and festivities. I feel like I didn’t give them a proper welcome. And that’s not how we roll.
Afterall, these babies were a long-time planned and waited-for. We live on a small (7500 sq ft!), suburban lot, and we already have our three grown hens, so I agonized for quite awhile over whether adding more was the right thing to do. But, at the end of the day, we just weren’t getting quite enough eggs, and we felt like six hens would be perfect (and be the absolute maximum that was even remotely sane for us to have on this property). Here’s hoping (crossing fingers and toes while knocking on wood) for all hens, because we can’t keep roosters here. Here’s also hoping for a couple of blue or green egg-layers!
So…without further ado:
I would be remiss if I didn’t give out a shout-out to Dare 2 Dream Farms for these pretty babies. This is a gorgeous farm located about 3 hours north of Los Angeles in the Santa Barbara wine country. You just must take a look (follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!) and see their beautiful farm, upcoming CSA, as well as, all their stunning, lovingly-raised chicken breeds.
And now…what you have all been waiting for…I give you…The Peeps Show!
Of course, a few weeks back, my milkweed plants were teaming with monarch larvae:
Eventually, they got big and fat:
And then they proceeded to trek away from the milkweed to find a place to pupate (build their chrysalis). We found them cruising in the very far reaches of our yard. Incredible.
But I was especially astounded when I went to give my Lady Scarecrow a spring makeover (her clothes are so Spring 2013), and as I was stripping her down, I found this!:
I proceeded to check on it everyday. For about a week, it looked just the same, and then suddenly, one day, it looked like this:
I knew it must be close, so I started checking on it about once an hour, like a maniac. When it didn’t hatch that day, I knew that probably as soon as it was warm the next morning, the game was on.
The next morning, it looked very similar, but those pretty golden accents had all but disappeared, and the shell of the chrysalis was so very transparent, it was crazy!
And lo and behold, we missed it emerging! 😦
I was so upset that I missed it, that I swore I was going to sit there and watch it until it took its first flight. So I sat and watched.
Until finally…it really began to stretch its wings in the sunshine.
They say that it takes about an hour before a monarch is ready to take flight, but the white dog and I waited two and a half hours for this little guy.
And then–just like that–he was off!
And then we were super tired so we had to rest on a nearby rose bush:
After a bit of a rest, he flitted to a few different resting spots in the yard, and then he was off, tumbling and flying with the other monarchs that had been playing in the garden that day.
Magic. Complete and utter magic.
Today’s looking up for Phoebe. Yesterday wasn’t so fun:
But today, her face has returned to it’s normal level of goofy, and she is feeling quite fantastic. So we decided to celebrate with a puppy flower collar.
This tutorial harkens back to my floral design days when we’d do floral collars for dogs who got to be in the wedding party (which is pretty much my favorite thing ever). They’re so simple to make, and as long as you have a tolerant dog, they’re pretty easy to wear (I should note here that not all dogs will be a fan of this, so proceed with caution. Also, be sure to select flowers that are non-toxic–I cannot stress this enough. Roses, marigolds, daisies, snapdragons, small sunflowers, coneflowers, etc. are all choices that are non-toxic and also hold up well in this sort of application-ie, won’t get too floppy too soon. Also herbs–herbs are great for this).
Start off by measuring your pet’s neck, and then add about two inches to that measurement. Now cut that amount of thin craft wire, and twist a small loop at one end:
Select your flowers and cut them right at the top of the stem so that the blossom has zero stem.
Now, carefully poke the wire through the base of the bud and out the other side. Sometimes it’s helpful to use a pin to sort of ‘pre-drill’ through the flower before poking the wire through.
Slide the blossom on down, and repeat until you have filled the length with about an inch to spare.
Now, place the collar on your victim and feed the loose wire end through the looped wire end and secure.
I should also note that an optional and very pretty way to attach the collar is to start with a slightly shorter wire length, put a wire loop at each end of the wire, and then attach short lengths of ribbon to each end. These can then easily be tied together to secure around your pet’s neck:
This was, incidentally, the method I used to make Millie’s pretty little necklace last spring (some of you might remember):
But the Feebster didn’t seem to mind her collar too much. She knows it goes well with her non-swollen face.