Hooch celebrated his first New Years Eve! Since we did not have Hooch in our family until after July 4, we were unsure of how he would handle fireworks. Well, he takes after his big sister Cello – and doesn’t like them ONE bit! We were very glad we were home to be with our two fur-kids, so we could make them feel safe during all the “booms!”
Although this is both Cello and Hooch’s first visit to Batsto Village, this historic site holds a very special place in our hearts. If you’ve been following this blog, you know the story of how we discovered the German Shorthaired Pointer, and why we knew we would eventually forever have GSPs as family members. If you don’t know the story, click HERE . Six months after we bought our dream home, Brian and I went to the Country Living Fair, an event held annually on the third Sunday in October at Batsto Village, in hopes to find some historic items related to our area to decorate our home. While walking through the Village, we saw (for the very first time) a couple with a German Shorthaired Pointer. We approached the couple to pet the dog, and to ask some questions about the breed, since at the time we knew nothing about GSPs, other than what we had researched online. When Brian asked what the man thought of the breed, the man’s exact words were, “These dogs are the biggest pain in the A_ _.”
I often think of this, with three things that come to mind:
1) I can only feel sorry for that man who didn’t understand just how wonderful GSPs are
2) I pray that the man was joking, and that the beautiful dog we saw that day is leading a family-life full of love and care
3) I thank God we didn’t let the man’s opinionated statement divert us from our desire to have GSPs in our family.
At this exact spot, approximately 5 years ago, we saw and petted a German Shorthaired Pointer for the very first time! Today, Brian and Cello stood in that same spot:
Batsto Village dates back to 1776, and is located in Southern New Jersey in the Wharton State Forrest, New Jersey’s largest state forest, located in the heart of the Pinelands (home of New Jersey’s cultural icon, The Jersey Devil!) Archeologists have found evidence of Prehistoric life in the Batsto area as well…the history dates back several thousand years!
Batsto Iron Works was built along the Batsto River in 1766. Batsto had all the natural resources necessary for making iron: bog ore from the banks of the streams and rivers, wood for fuel, and water for power. The Batsto Iron Works produced household items such as cooking pots and kettles. During the Revolutionary War, Batsto also manufactured supplies for the Continental Army. By the mid 1800’s, iron production was down, and Batsto re-invented itself as a glass-making community, specializing in window glass.
Today Batsto Village is a New Jersey Historic site, and is also listed on the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places.
The Batsto area also has numerous hiking trails, some of which connect with the 50-mile long Batona Trail (whose name derives from the words BAck TO NAture).
We decided on the orange-blazed Tom’s Pond Trail.
To get to this trail, park in the Visitor Center parking lot. Walk past the Visitor Center, toward the Village and turn right to go past the Mansion, a 32-room home that served as the former residence of generations of ironmasters. Fourteen rooms, (including the parlors, dining room, library and bedrooms), are open to view for people visiting Batsto.
The Gristmill below was powered by Batsto Lake and processed the wheat, corn, other grains sold in the Village’s General Store:
The picture below is the Piggery. This structure was used to slaughter hogs to provide food for the Village. The tall stone and brick tower on the left provided water from a large tank, which flowed into a large processing tub where the animal parts were further processed. The cast iron tub is thought to have been manufactured by the iron workers in the village.
Other Farm structures to check out before continuing on the hike are:
Wood House: where wood for the Mansion’s cook stoves was stored here
Carriage House: used to house various horse drawn vehicles
Horse Stable: ten stalls, where riding horses and carriage horses were kept
Threshing Barn: contained a threshing machine which separated the grain from the straw and chaff
Range Barn: where the cattle were kept
Mule Barn: constructed of Jersey ironstone, it served as a team stable, hay storeroom, and an 8-stall mule barn
Continue across Batsto Lake on a plank bridge, where you will also see (and hear!) the dam. Just across the dam is the Sawmill, which was powered by Batsto Lake. The mill cut lumber and shingles that were transported by train all over the east coast, providing additional profit for Batsto.
Just over the bridge is a great place to sit and take in the views of Batsto Lake. Batsto Lake and River were the major reasons for the location of the Village and its Iron Furnace. The river provided bog ore, and the lake was produced by the dam which allowed boats to move the bog ore from the river to the Iron Furnace.
The lake also provided water power for both the Sawmill and the Gristmill.
The sandy trail then leads through a row of homes once inhabited by the employees of Batsto.
The state of New Jersey purchased the Batsto area in the mid 1950’s. At this time, there were still a few people living in the Village houses, and they were told that they were allowed to remain living there for as long as they wanted. It wasn’t until 1989 that the last house was vacated!
People emplyed at Batsto lived in cottages consisting of 2- 3 rooms downstairs, and 2-3 rooms upstairs. Each house had an attic, fireplace, and an outhouse.
Several homes are open for visitors to walk through.
Once past the cottage-style homes, a path leading to the orange-blazed Tom’s Pond Trail and the yellow-blazed Mullica River Trail is set diagonally off to the right.
You can pick up the yellow-blazed Mullica River Trail along the way, but we decided to stick with just the orange-blazed Tom’s Pond Trail.
Although there were many Pine and Oak trees, we also went through a White Cedar bog, located along the Mullica River. Here is a picture of Hooch and Jenny just before we went through the bog:
There were several foot bridges we crossed along the way.
Hooch did a great job keeping up!
The orange-blazed trail is very well marked. The path follows along the Sleeper Branch of the Mullica River, then loops around for your return trip to the starting point.
Not bad for Hooch’s first hike!
In addition to the historic buildings and hiking paths, Batsto hosts many events and tours. Camping and Canoeing are also popular at this historic site. Other amenities include a park office, restrooms, telephone, water, and picnic area.
Remember “Bella,” the adorable 16 week old GSP puppy we fostered?
Click HERE to read the original post about this adorable puppy!
Well, Pepper (Bella’s new name) is doing GREAT and is as happy as can be in her new home with her 4-legged sister, Mocha, a Vizsla/Weimaraner mix, and her two human sisters who give her lots of exercise!
We were lucky enough to get invited over for a play date, and boy, did we have a BLAST!!
All 4 dogs had an absolute blast running in Pepper and Mocha’s huge yard!
Here they are in action!
We very much enjoyed seeing how happy Pepper is with her forever family! We plan to get all the dogs together for play dates often in the future!
Hooch had never been to a dog park yet, so we took Cello and Hooch to John Connolly Memorial Park, in Voorhees, NJ.
Hooch was having a blast chasing Cello and the Chuck-It ball – UNTIL a huge male Great Dane puppy decided Hooch looked like a cool dude to play with. The Great Dane wanted nothing but to run with and chase Hooch – but the size of this immense pup scared poor Hooch to death! He ran away barking like mad, and ended up running to his mommy for safety! The poor Great Dane had no idea why Hooch did not want to play with him! Hooch was pretty spooked at that point, so we left the dog park.
Hopefully visit #2 will go a bit smoother for the Hoochie Coochie Man!
Hooch and Cello in action:
Of course Cello wanted nothing but to chase her ball, so nothing or no one phased our ball-crazy gal!
He was a good sport as we dressed him up with Christmas props!
Cello wasn’t left out of the Christmas madness:
“Christmas, Christmas time is near
Time for toys, and time for cheer
We’ve been good, but we can’t last
Hurry Christmas, Hurry Fast…
…We can hardly stand the wait
Please Christmas don’t be late!”
~Alvin and the Chipmunks
Christmas morning proved that Santa Paws had Cello and Hooch on his “Nice List!”
This year we ordered German Shorthaired Pointer stockings from Pawsome Donations – each purchase helps out dogs in need, as 25% of all profits will go to rescue organizations, including the GSP Rescue of NJ. Check out the Pawsome Donations Facebook page HERE.
Merry Christmas, cabin style, from Cello and Hooch!
The hotel upgraded us to a bi-level suite at no charge!!
This suite had a king bed, three entrance/exit doors (one of which opened out immediately to the outside, which was great for letting the dogs out!) two floors, 1.5 baths, a wet bar, and two sitting areas!
Cello and Hooch liked that they could keep an eye on their Pop when he went outside to smoke.
Spiral staircase leading up to the second floor:
Cello and Hooch took turns sitting on the ottoman:
The hotel was clean, and the staff could not have been nicer!
Hooch graduated from his “Terrible Teens” class at WonderDogs! This class revolved around basic obedience, with a primary focus on how to apply these exercises to produce a well-mannered pup. Discussions on dogs’ behaviors, and solutions to common puppy problems at this stage of the dogs’ lives took place at the beginning of each class.
What’s next for Hoochie?? …Hooch will be enrolling in “Finishing School” at Wonderdogs to continue his obedience training! This next-level class will work on fine-tuning Hooch’s understanding of basic obedience exercises, and help increase his focus during distractions. “Finishing School” is also a preparatory course for passing the AKC’s Canine Good Citizenship certification test.
Congratulations, Hooch! We are very proud of you!
Both Cello and Hooch graduated from WonderDogs Puppy Head Start Class. Check out their Graduation pictures:
CLICK HERE for Cello’s Puppy Head Start Graduation
CLICK HERE for Hooch’s Puppy Head Start Graduation
If you haven’t already, check out The Returns book series! Both books (“Showstoppers”, as well as “The Returns”) have just been selected finalists in the AUTHORSdb (data bank) 2014 Book Cover Contest ! Please CLICK HERE to vote for both books!
This hotel is conveniently located, and is dog friendly. Dogs stay with an added nightly fee. We requested a first floor room located near an exit, since Hooch is still not “100%” at potty training. We were given a room with a perfect location – right near side-exit door, which had a nice grassy area, doggy waste bags, and a trashcan. We were also able to park right at this door, which was very convenient.
The hotel room was clean, smelled nicely, and had extremely friendly staff, who called our room after our arrival to check to make sure we were satisfied.
Once the Eagles picked up Michael Vick, we boycotted the team all together. Being life-long fans of the Philadelphia Eagles, we were not at all happy to say the least. Jerseys were donated, and no Eagles games were watched. Now that Michael Vick is gone, we have lifted the Eagles “ban” from our house, and have enjoyed cheering for our team once again. Hooch got his first Eagles Jersey, and enjoys hanging out with his daddy watching the games!
We tried very hard to get Santa Photos that would benefit a local shelter. We have always done this with Cello in the past. However, this year, we just couldn’t find any that would work with our schedule. I began to search online – and found that the Moorestown Mall in Moorestown, NJ, allows dogs in the mall for Santa photos on Monday nights!
When we got to the entrance of the mall, there was a red carpet leading all the way to Santa in his chair! Boy was it crowded!
Cello waiting patiently:
Cello and Hooch waited in line on the red carpet waiting to see Santa and made friends along the way!
This Santa was GREAT! He was patient, and extremely good with the all of the dogs! He even stayed past 9pm (closing time) in order for all dogs to be seen!
In searching for an indoor swimming facility for Cello and Hooch to use during the cold months, I found The Green Leaf Pet Resort and Hotel through a Google Search. It is about a 40 minute drive from our house. We decided to give it a try in hopes that we can bring Cello and Hooch here throughout the winter to keep up on their swimming, and to practice for dock diving. We are very glad we took the drive – we have never seen anything like this place…
The Green Leaf Pet Resort is AMAZING!
The entry way was so inviting, and very festive!
When I walked inside to the front desk, I was thinking how much it looked like an upscale hotel!
They even have a boutique for your pooch:
The Green Leaf does grooming, boarding, training, swim lessons, fitness training, specialized training, and day care!
The pool room is just awesome. The pool area can be rented by the 1/2 hour or the hour. It costs $35 per half-hour, and they have package rates available. When you rent the pool area, you and your dog(s) are the only ones in the room – no others are allowed in, unless they are a part of your group.
There is a ramp into/out of the pool so dogs can easily enter and exit without having to jump in or climb out.
The facility provides pool toys, towels, life vests, and water-resistant leashes for use during your dog’s swim.
Hooch was a little hesitant at first, and just stood at the ramp, and watched Cello for a while!
Don’t mess with THIS guard!
Cello had an absolute blast!
Hooch started diving in and having a ball also!
Here they are in action!
The facility is spotless, the staff is friendly, and the amenities are endless here for your pup!
Your pup will enjoy these grain-free peanut butter- carob “mock-choc” treats! These treats are made with buckwheat flour, which is surprisingly grain free! Of course dogs can not have chocolate, since it’s on the list of poisonous food to dogs, but your pup can enjoy the natural sweetness of the carob in this homemade dog cookie recipe. I chose Santa, Snowman, and Christmas tree cookie cutters since we are just days away from Christmas, but you can choose any cookie cutter you like for this recipe!
2 3/4 cups organic buckwheat flour
4 tsp carob powder
1 cup of organic, unsweetened/no salt added peanut butter
(NOTE: Be sure the peanut butter you use doesn’t contain xylitol !!)
1 cup of organic low fat or fat free milk (you can substitute almond milk or goats milk if your pup cannot have milk)
1/4 cup carob chips
Preheat oven to 350°
In a large bowl, whisk together the buckwheat flour and carob powder.
In a microwave safe bowl, warm the peanut butter for approximately 30 seconds.
In a small bowl, whisk the warmed peanut butter and milk (or water) together with a fork until thoroughly combined.
Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the peanut butter mixture.
Stir until combined – add water if necessary to get dough to a consistency you are comfortable working with
Fold in the carob chips.
Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet.
Using cookie cutters of your choice, cut our shapes in the dough.
Bake for 15-18 minutes on a parchment paper-lined cookie tray. Cool completely on a wire rack. Or, for crunchier treats, leave in the oven, once turned off, to cool and harden for 2 hours.
These treats will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or freeze for longer duration.
Cello is on page 53 (right hand side) for an ad and story on the Inaugural NADD / AKC Diving Dog Championship, hosted by AKC and Eukanubaon December 13 and 14 in Orlando, FL. Unfortunately we will not be in FL for this event!