Journal

You can’t succeed if you don’t try…

Well I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while, but I’m not going to lie, my personal fears have held me back. Will I be good enough, will people want to read what I write, what will I talk about, and the list goes on and on. But today I decided to say “screw it”. How will I know if I never try. If I fail, I fail, but at least it won’t be because I didn’t even try.

First a little about myself. I’m in my early forties and happily married to my highschool sweatheart.  I work full time, struggle with the normal day to day stresses in life, but overall we have a pretty good life. We don’t have any children, but we do have 2 furbabies. A mixed breed dog named Rosco and a Dogue de Bordeaux named Brogan.

I love to cook, struggle with cleaning (it’s not my favourite thing to do), love photography, paddle boarding (or really anything involving water), animals (especially my dogs), reading, and most recently learning about essential oils and incorporating them into our day to day life.

My goal is to share some of my interests and ideas with all of you. Maybe some of my ideas, recipes or hints and tips will help someone else out. Or if nothing else give you a little escape from your reality.

dogs · Journal

Kane Chronicles – 10 months

I haven’t been doing weekly updates because he hasn’t been changing that much lately. I do still take a weekly picture, but I honestly don’t see much different from week to week now.

He is being a typical teenager now and is definitely testing some boundaries, but I’m happy to report that his recall is back to almost 100%. Unless he is in our backyard and doesn’t want to come in. Then he has very selective hearing. However, it is back where it is important, so we can deal with selective hearing in the backyard.

I have started a bit more treadmill training with him and have done a few couch to 5k runs with him (a mixture of running and walking), he needs some extra energy outlets and I think he will be a great running partner if we put in the work now. Because he is still growing (even if it’s slower) I am very cautious about activity that he doesn’t get to chose pace or duration. He has been fantastic, but I don’t want to overdo it and cause any issues.

He LOVES all things water…And mud. The swimming this winter at the pool definitely paid off. I’m so happy he enjoys the water so much. The lake has been really busy, so he hasn’t gotten a chance to practice his swimming, but I’m sure when we are on holidays we will find a spot to get him swimming.

We still walk using a gentle leader. He walks like a dream with it. The one thing we are working on is “barrier frustration”. If we are on leash and he thinks he needs to meet someone (person or dog) he will scream and freak out trying to get to them. So we are working on sitting and focus. It’s coming along, but I’m sure it will be something we have to work on for a while. Because he is doing much better with people, but still struggles with dogs. He LOVES all dogs a little too much. We don’t go to the dog park that often, but when we does he couldn’t be happier.

dogs · Journal

Brogan – 1 year without you

The last couple of weeks you have really been on my mind…you always are, but lately I think of you and reminisce about all your unique personality traits that I miss so much.

You were always a happy guy, although you often looked like Eyore 🙄. You greeted the people you loved with your winey bark and then demanded that they pet you, or massage you, or give you the attention you deserved. You always communicated better than any other dog. You let people know exactly what you were thinking. I’ll always remember you banging your empty food dish around to let me know it needed to be filled immediately… even if the dish beside it was still full. You also knew how to ask for your bones back (The ones that were taken away for whatever reason and put on top of the fridge), you made it VERY clear what you wanted.

I was also always amazed at how you knew based on what I was wearing if you were coming or had to wait for an invite. Dress clothes meant we were going to work and you got to spend the day in the truck, casual clothes you waited for an invite. Me getting “organized” for our walks at the lake led to the most excitement. You LOVED everything about walking at the lake. You were never great at swimming, but loved to play in every puddle, slough, mud hole and of course the lake.

You were never much for mornings and I often had to go get you a few times if we needed to leave early, you would eventually slide off the bed, back feet still in and head and upper body on the floor and then you would finally get up and get going.

I also laugh at how you loved frisbee, you were never any good at it, but you played, and were so proud of yourself. Rosco would catch the frisbee, you just fetched it, but you had fun and thought you were doing everything exactly the way it was meant to be.

You were always a picky eater. Refusing treats if they weren’t your favorite… but if we gave you something you liked you would pick up the dish and carry it to your bed. Such a character. You also made training a challenge, because really nothing I had was worth doing something you didn’t feel like doing… even simple things like “sit” were often ignored by you. You were probably one of our smartest dogs, but definitely not the most obedient.

You were always a gentle giant, didn’t matter the size of dog you met you always tolerated and played with them. Sometimes you would get frustrated because Rosco and Crash were too fast for you and you would grab Crash and pin him down. But never hurt him, just held him until I made you let him go. You were also the most gentle guy with kids. Occasionally got excited and knocked them over, but other than that you watched your size and just sat beside them for all the pets.

You picked your favorite toys and never wrecked them. Played with them endlessly, but never destroyed one.

You were one of a kind (as all dogs are) and I still miss you so much. Writing this is making me cry…

I hope you are happy enjoying everything you love in doggy heaven. I miss you more than words can explain.

Rest Easy Brogan ❤️

main dishes · recipes

Fish Taco’s

My hubby and I both enjoy fish and shrimp taco’s but have never found a recipe that we love…until now.

https://natashaskitchen.com/fish-tacos-recipe/

This is by far the best recipe we have tried. We did both fish and shrimp so that we could try both.

I am feeling a little lazy…So I’m not typing it out…but definitely check them out.

Only thing we didn’t bake the fish or shrimp, we pan fried them.

dogs · Journal

Kane chronicles – 31 weeks

Kane is continuing to grow although it’s not as noticeable week to week now. He is also getting more confident, but how he shows that isn’t the best, he barks at people and dogs that he wants attention from. Which isn’t going to get him many friends. So now we have to work on correcting that without causing him to become fearful. Might be a little bit tricky.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts Rosco isn’t great on leash, he thinks pulling is the only answer. Because he is 10 I’ve kinda conceded defeat with winning the battle of leash walking with him. That being said Kane was starting to be a bit of a pain when walking on leash. He wants to be close to his brother, which meant I was correcting and redirecting more than I wanted to, and it was making walking them on leash together less enjoyable. In comes the head halter (we use the gentle leader ones because they were what we used on Kira, Gunner and Sloan). I figured if I tried it early enough with Kane it may be the answer. We did a few days of training in the house and then 1 day in the backyard. I would put it on click and treat, then take it off and repeat. Then we moved up to putting it on and leaving it alone for a few seconds, then minutes, and then finally moved to walking with it on with a leash attached in the backyard. We have since taken it out on our walks, and he walks like a saint with it. Doesn’t even seem to notice it is there. Just walks with a loose leash and doesn’t worry about keeping up with Rosco.

Walking with his head halter

Kane isn’t a fan of the cold water at the lake, but he absolutely loves playing in it. We haven’t gotten him to swim in it yet, partly because he can still “bounce” when Rosco is swimming and partly because I’m not going in to encourage him to try swimming. He is fearless though, puts his head under water to grab things and runs after Rosco without any hesitation. He also continues to love his pool. I’m sure that will only get more use as we start getting warmer weather.

Fetch still isn’t his favorite thing to do, but he does do it now…cause it’s Rosco’s favorite, and he does like to do things his older brother does.

Our trick training is going fairly well, although I have to admit I haven’t been working on that as much as I should be in the last couple of weeks.

dogs · Journal

Kane chronicles – 29 & 30 weeks

Kane has a perfect recall…until his nose catches a good smell…then his ears turn off. I managed to catch him twice when he was ignoring me, and correct instead of rewarding. When he does it right he gets a big reward, but ignoring me is not a safe option. And if he doesn’t catch on to that it may limit his off leash excursions. I saw a post about a training game. Essentially you drop a treat, call them and start running away. When they catch you give them a big treat, then drop another and do it again. I will definitely be giving that a try.

His swimming “lessons” have definitely paid off. He LOVES the water and is definitely capable in the water. He runs out of the lakes and soughs like a crazy dog though. I’m sure he’s thinking “man that’s cold, what happened to the pool water”. We all laugh at him, but I’m just happy he goes in and can swim.

We have also set up Brogan’s pool. He absolutely loves it. Tonight while it was getting filled he would pick up the hose and get squirted in the face. Another good laugh. He is absolutely the best for comic relief.

He will also stick his head under the water to get the ball out of the pool.

Tip over is slowing getting changed to “bang” for play dead. He can do it perfectly in a calm environment, but as soon as it’s busy or exciting he can’t. So we will continue to work on that for a while. He is definitely learning, but I won’t add another in until he has that one perfected.

All in all he is turning into a pretty great guy. Doesn’t have any mastiff look to him yet, but we are still hopeful it will come…And no matter what he grows up to look like I think he is pretty darn handsome.

dogs · Journal

Kane chronicles – 25-28 weeks

We are definitely in the teenage “years” with him now. Haven’t introduced any new tricks because some days it’s like he can’t remember how to do the basic commands. So we just continue to reinforce all the things he does know how to do. I know we just need to be patient and consistent while he figures out boundaries and what he can and can’t get away with, but some days it’s really frustrating.

His recall is still so good if we are off leash and he isn’t 100% confident about where he is or where we are going. But in the yard and house he has very selective hearing, unless you have treats, then he has the best hearing in the world. I guess we should be thankful that he is food motivated. Brogan never was, so it made him harder to work with.

He has one more week in his 6 pack of “introductory swims” and since he is continuing to improve and absolutely loves it we are going to get him another 6 pack. He is so funny, when I make the appropriate turns to get to the pool he starts to cry, and he can’t get in the building fast enough. Getting in the pool takes a little coaxing, but once he is in he seems to love it. He has more confidence than skill, so I’d like to make sure that matches before he is swimming at the lake. He thinks he can just jump in, then gets sidetracked from swimming to try to shake the water out of his ears. That doesn’t go well when you are over your head 🤪

Kane’s latest swim

I have continued to do weekly pictures of him and Rosco so that we can document his growth. He is still getting taller each week, and is perhaps starting to fill out a bit, but definitely doesn’t have much “mastiff” look him yet. Perhaps in time we will see more width and less height, and a little bigger head, but if not, that’s okay. We absolutely love him. He is so affectionate and cuddly, and goofy with people he knows. His confidence is getting better with new people, but I think that will be a work in progress for a very long time.

One of our walks this past weekend

He has become a real “road runner” and as soon as you grab keys for anything he races to the door so he can come. He is a great traveler, so I’m happy that when my job goes back to normal and I’m on the road more we won’t have to worry about him. We have also stopped kenneling him when we leave. He has been a great little guys with that. Nothing has been destroyed or stolen, I’m sure he spends a lot of time crying, but he cries about everything that doesn’t go exactly his way, so I don’t judge that for success or failure.

main dishes · recipes

Beef Roll Cordon Bleu

This is a recipe I found in a community cookbook and have tweaked it to our liking and now I’m sharing it with you.

Ingredients:

1 lb lean ground beef
2 eggs
1/4 cup rolled oats
3 Tbsp onion soup mix
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp butter
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
ham
Swiss, ,Gruyère cheese, emmental or mozza
bread crumbs

Directions:

mix beef, 1 egg, rolled oats, onion soup mix,  and salt. shape into thin patties about 3″ in diameter. place ham and cheese in each. roll up jelly roll style covering ham and cheese. beat egg, dip in egg, then bread crumbs. fry in butter. brown on all sides.

transfer to over and bake at 350 for 25 min.

meanwhile mix mushroom soup and milk and heat on the stove.

Serve beef roll ups with the mushroom soup mixture like a gravy.

main dishes · recipes

Pork ribs on the smoker

We have tried a lot of different ways to make pork ribs and I’m pretty sure this makes the best fall off the bone ribs.

Start by removing the membrane off the back of the ribs if your butcher hasn’t already done that for you. It really makes a huge difference in how tender your ribs are.

Next season with your favorite spices. We like blackened Saskatchewan, cayenne pepper, black pepper, steak spice and a little chilli powder.

Start your smoker and leave it on smoke. Once it has fired and is ready to go place your ribs curved side down (meaty side up) on the smoker and leave smoke for 3 hours.

Pull the ribs off and set your smoker to 200-225. Wrap your ribs in tinfoil with beer and seal. I usually do 2 racks, so I use 1/2 a beer in each and wrap them tightly and then put them back on the smoker for 2 hours.

Take the ribs out of the tinfoil (be careful the steam from the beer will be hot) and place them back on the smoker. They will be easy to break apart at this point so be very careful when moving them.

Now the easy part…baste repeatedly for an hour with your favorite barbeque sauce. We generally use our homemade bbq sauce, but whatever you like works perfectly.

After an hour they should be ready to take off the smoker and enjoy.

dogs · Journal

Kane Chronicles – 23 & 24 weeks

Kane is officially 6 months old.  He has suddenly decided that he is brave and independent, which means he doesn’t always have the best recall…

I expected that, so we just continue to work on it.  He is still pretty good, but went from 100% to 90%.  We will get back the missing 10%, we will just have to work hard with him. Teenage years are tough with puppies. And it’s easy to get frustrated and angry, but we are working on making it a big deal when he does it right…And correcting him when he doesn’t.

We have also continued with his swimming.  He is learning to love it. He cried and almost dragged me into the building when we got there this past week. I hope that by the end of classes he loves swimming and is capable enough that we don’t have to worry about him at the lake.

Waiting to go in for swimming
Swimming like a champion

We are continuing with daily training sessions. Tip over is coming along nicely, so we may add something new in the week. He will be a little trickster soon.

Kane also had a play date last weekend with a boxer puppy. He had so much fun, but it definitely showed that although he has a lot of energy he is no where near where a boxer is. He was exhausted in 1/2 hour and his friend Jax still had energy to spare.

Jax and Kane

We have also been working with normal grooming things, he loves his baths, tolerates ear cleans and nail trims and teeth brushing. With practice and consistency I’m sure he will love them all.

dogs · Journal

Kane chronicles – 22 weeks

We had a long weekend and the cabin this last week, which meant a lot of extra walks with the dogs. The weather was beautiful so Kane loved ever minute of it. My husband likes ice fishing so we walked out to where they were fishing and hung out there. 4km of walking in the snow and Kane still had energy to burn. I was really impressed with how close to us he stayed. I very rarely had to call him back, he would explore for a bit then come back to us.

Taking a break from exploring

His recall is still so good. I will make sure we keep rewarding that so that it stays consistent. He is getting more adventurous on our walks, so I need to be confident that he will always come back when he is called.

I also finally made time to take him for his first introductory swim. He is a terrible swimmer, and was very nervous at first, but in no time at all, with a lot of treats, he was going in the pool and the instructor was working on correcting his form so that he does become a good swimmer. I have scheduled him in for 5 classes so that hopefully by the time we have summer weather he is a confident swimmer and we don’t have to worry about him in the at the lake.

I also said we would add in a new trick every couple of weeks. This week we are working on tip over (where he goes from lying down on his chest to laying on his side). He caught on very quickly and we are practicing a couple times a day…some days more. I find that I use tip over all the time with my dogs. It’s handy for nail trims, and to let kids that are nervous meet them, not to mention vet exams. We tried sit pretty last week, but his balance isn’t very good yet and he spent more time falling over. We will let him grow up a bit more before we start that one.