This has been the third hotel we’ve stayed in since we’ve started practicing indoors for Hooch’s sake, and this is the third time we have gotten assigned to room 125 (which is also Brian’s extension at work – crazy, huh?!?!
It was such a great experience, as we had never stayed in a hotel that had a full kitchen, and provided kitchen necessities like plates, glasses, wine bottle opener, pots/pans, and had an eating area. Since it was freezing, and were weren’t going to be doing any sight-seeing, we very much enjoyed having these “extras.”
The hotel room was cleaner than clean!
The hotel offered grocery shopping free of charge, had all local take out menus on hand, and offered an included breakfast that was just as good as home-cookin’!
The staff could not have been more helpful during our stay.
We met several other people, all with four-legged children.
The sink area was separate from the main bathroom area, which made it nice while trying to get ready.
Cello and Hooch were very comfortable!
Overall, this was one of the best hotel experiences we have had, and would highly recommend staying here!
As you know from previous posts, Hooch has practiced his dock diving at both Canine Spaand Mountain Trail Training Center. However, both facilities have docks that are only a few inches off of the water. Hooch had never jumped in from a height of an official DockDogs dock (2 feet). To make sure he was comfortable with this, as soon as we arrived to the Maryland State Fairgrounds, we took Hooch up on the dock for a practice run. As soon as I unleashed Hooch, he ran down the dock stairs into the crowd, and all around the pool (TWICE!!) The third time, he ran and dove in with no problem – so I thought I had this down pat, no problem. I was highly mistaken!
Hooch’s first official recorded dive was amazing! Although we had practiced nothing but the “chase method” (where the dog is placed in a stay or wait position at the starting point on the dock. The handler proceeds to the end of the dock, then releases the dog. The chase object is thrown at just the right moment to keep the toy in front of the dog’s nose all the way into the water. Thus, the dog is chasing the object! The advantage of this method is that the handler can control and optimize the launch angle to increase distance – it avoids the flat jump that is likely with the place and send method). After Hooch had run off the dock during practice, I let it get the best of me, and decided to last-minute change to the “Place and Send” method (the dog walks with the handler to the end of the dock and is held back while the handler tosses the toy. The dog is then returned to the start point and released or sent to retrieve the toy. Dogs that use the place and send method are generally just not trained to wait or stay on the dock themselves). Even with this last-minute change, Hooch jumped big!
Hooch’s first official jump was a whopping 16 feet! I was SO excited! Luckily we had some friends at the event that took a video to capture Hooch’s Debut!
Here’s another video of the same jump, in slow motion that another friend shot for us:
For Hooch’s second jump, I also used the Place and Send method, and he jumped 13 feet, 1 inch – again – a distance I was thrilled with! Hooch wound up earning 2nd Place in the Senior Division!!
After Hooch’s first wave, he decided he was not going to run and jump – but rather run, stop at the edge of the dock, then “POP” into the water. Although this frustrated ME, the crowd LOVED him!
Hooch (AKA “Big POP-pa”) continued to be a crowd pleaser, but jumped in the Junior and Novice Divisions.
Overall, Team Homemade Hooch placed in every wave we were registered in, and won FOUR ribbons in their dock diving debut! WOOT WOOT!
Getting ribbons was fun!
Cello also did very well in her first 2015 event – she won 2nd Place Iron Dog in the Warrior Division!
This was also Cello’s first time trying Speed Retrieve – having never practiced this competition before this event! Her time was 9.85 seconds…not too bad for her first time!
Here’s Cello doing Extreme Vertical:
And here is Cello doing Big Air – although she was still a crowd favorite, she was leaving the dock SUPER early, and did not perform to her usual standards.
Brian also volunteered to announce at this event:
It was an awesome weekend filled with great friends, good conversation, and lots and LOTS of laughs! We want to thank EVERYone for their advice and support during this event. I also want to personally thank everyone who took video and photographs of both Team Cello and Team Homemade Hooch. I was so preoccupied with being a nervous wreck, that I took not ONE picture or video with my own camera or phone!
Team Homemade Hooch also wants to thank Team Cello for celebrating Team Homemade Hooch’s dock diving debut by buying us a Chesapeake DockDogs shirt in our team color!
Our 2015 shirts were a big hit as well!
We had a super-fun weekend, and are very proud of our two dock divers. We are excited to compete in part two of the World of Pets Expo in Virginia in a couple of weeks!
On January 24, Hooch turned 8 months old! I can’t believe how much he’s changed in just 6 months! He’s 49 pounds now, and slightly taller than his sister, Cello. To see just how much he’s changed, click HERE and scroll through the pictures!
Over the past month, Hooch has traveled to Pennsylvania several times to practice his diving, went on a hike, won a contest where his painted picture will be on a greeting card, and has participated in his first official DockDogs dock diving event! Click HERE to see him in action and read the details of his first dock diving adventure!
As posted earlier, Cello is on a month-long wheat and chicken free diet to see if we can get her recurring ear infections under control. I recently found out that buckwheat flour is NOT considered a grain and is wheat and gluten free! It was quite interesting to find out that buckwheat is actually closely related to rhubarb! Cello enjoyed the pumpkin biscotti I had made her, so I decided to try another variety biscotti…
1 pound ground bison (buffalo) (I used Whole Foods Market ground buffalo – their bison meet comes from buffalo who are free range, have no added antibiotics or growth hormones given to them, and have no animal byproducts in their feed)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I used 365 Brand – found at Whole Foods Market – produced with no added hormones and made with milk from cows not treated with rBGH)
1 cup organic milk (I used Organic Valley-from cows not treated with rBGH)
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 cups organic buckwheat flour
3 slices of bacon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Cook ground buffalo completely, set side.
Cook bacon until very well done, crush to bacon-bit size, set aside.
Combine baking powder and buckwheat flour, and stir until thoroughly mixed.
Add buffalo, cheese, and milk to the dry mixture, and knead with hands until all well combined.
Split dough in half, place onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet, and form 2 meat-loaf shaped loaves, about 1 inch high.
Press bacon pieces into the tops of the two loaves (be sure to firmly press them in or they will fall off while you are slicing the loaves).
Bake for 20 minutes…remove loaves from oven and allow to cool for about 10-15 minutes
Cut both loaves into slices.
Place slices cut-side up onto parchment paper lined baking sheet, and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the slices are dry and crunchy. Flip slices over, and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until the slices feel dry and crunchy (SEE NOTE BELOW).
Remove from oven and let slices cool on wire rack.
**NOTE: If your dog prefers softer treats, keep the second baking time around 10 minutes per side. If your dog prefers crunchier biscuits, increase the second baking time to 20-25 minutes per side, depending on how hard you would like the biscotti. You can also let the boscotti cool in the oven once you turn it off for an even harder treat.
YIELD: about 1-2 dozen, depending on how thick you cut your slices.
Store in refrigerator or freezer.
Dough formed into loaves with bacon pressed into top ready for first round of baking:
Loves cut into slices and ready for second bake time
Hooch was the winner of Wagging Tail Portraits’ Facebook That’s Your Petcontest!
His cutie-patootie face will be inspiration for one of Wagging Tail Portraits’ future Wet Nose Greetings Cards! Hooch will also be featured on Wagging Tail Portraits blog, Wagging Tales.” We will also receive 50 complimentary cards and an 11×14 print of the painted illustration.
Hiking with your dog has many benefits – for both you and your pup.
Perks For Your Pooch:
Exercise: Regular exercise for your dog is a necessary daily activity to keep them in-shape and healthy.
Bonding: Dogs love to be with their humans, and hiking together can strengthen the bond between you and your dog. I can think of nothing better than getting outdoors with your best friend(s) to explore the wilderness!
Variety: Walking on a trail provides different smells and surfaces – and to a dog, that’s very stimulating and exciting.
“A tired dog is a good dog:” A good long hike will surely tire your dog out. This can prevent destructive behaviors at home like digging and chewing.
Socializing: Your pup is likely to meet other hikers and dogs along the trail.
Benefits For You:
Exercise: Keeping in-shape and being healthy is just as important for you!When hiking in a beautiful wooded setting, it doesn’t even seem like exercise!
Rewarding: Reaching the top of a peak, or the end of a challenging hike is gratifying, and can produce a great sense of accomplishment! Track your hikes on MapMyFitness, both online and through the app on your phone so you can look back at you and your dog’s accomplishments.
Reduce Stress: Walking gets your endorphins flowing, which will distract you from your daily worries.
Photo Opportunities: Like to take pictures? You will have countless opportunities to take many breathtaking shots!
Solitude or Socializing: Hiking can offer a chance to get away from it all, or can be a good way to spend time with family/friends and their dogs, or a chance to meet new people and dogs. There are also many cubs that offer hiking “meet-ups” so you can hike with others if you choose.
Besides the benefits, as with any sport or activity, there are also preparations, safety precautions, and etiquette to follow. Here are just some of details to consider:
(Keep in mind that everyone has different opinions on some of the points listed. These are just suggestions)
Is your dog physically ready? Make sure your dog is up-to-date on shots and vaccinations.Make an appointment with your vet to be sure your dog is healthy enough to hike. Ease your dog into the routine of hiking. If you want your pet to wear a backpack, have them wear the pack around the house, then on short walks, then longer walks. You should also start with lighter loads. It’s safe to eventually work to up to one-third of your dog’s weight if your dog is in healthy physical condition.
Identification: Be sure your dog is microchipped, or has proper identification tags that are visible, and easily readable.
Find the right trail: Make sure your hike is in an area that allows dogs. Do your research, and familiarize yourself with any restrictions such as which areas of the parks that do not allow dogs, and whether they have to be leashed at all times. Also check hunting rules for the area you chose. You and your pooch may need to wear blaze orange to be safe. Not sure where to start? Click HERE for some dog friendly trails! There are also many books available that offer dog friendly trail suggestions.
Backpacks: Backpacks are a great way for dogs to burn extra energy during a hike and give them a sense of purpose. Younger and healthier working-type dogs can carry up to 25 percent of their body weight. However, for most dogs, 10 to 15 percent is plenty, which is usually enough for them to bring along their own water and snacks. You should always consult your vet before taking your dog on a long hike with a full backpack.
Keep your dog on a leash: Never take your dog off-leash even if it’s allowed, because too many things can go wrong. Even the best-trained dogs can ignore voice commands, or “break through” an electric collar and race after a squirrel or deer through bushes or shrubs, which can be dangerous to the dog, and damaging to sensitive off-trail habitat.
Be aware of wildlife in the area: Coyotes can attempt to lure away small dogs so they can be attacked by the pack. Deer, despite their non-aggressive personalities, can cause serious damage by kicking with their back legs. Snakes are more afraid of us then we are of them, but will strike if they feel threatened. A snake-bite kit is a good thing to add to your hiking first aid pack. If there are bears in your hiking area, you and your pup can were bear bells to keep the bear at a distance, and carry bear mace for extra protection.
First Aid: Bring basic dog and human first aid supplies like gauze pads, bandage tape, topical disinfectant, tweezers (for ticks). Keep your vet or emergency vet’s phone number on speed dial. Foot- pad protectors in the form of boots or protective wax are a good idea for dogs with sensitive feet.
Hydration and Nutrition: Pack a collapsible bowl, or water bottle designed for dogs. Dogs get dehydrated much faster than humans do, and need to have water offered to them frequently during a hike. Dogs like to drink out of creeks and lakes, but they can get a parasite from the water, which can make your dog very sick. Don’t feed your dog a large meal immediately before or after a hike, and be sure to supplement treats throughout the hike.
Poop Bags: Bring PLENTY! Practice “Leave No Trace” ethics, and clean up your dog’s waste. Pack it out with you in plastic bags. Dog waste contains bacteria, which can cause disease and pollution when left behind.
Don’t assume that every hiker and dog you meet on the trail will like your dog. Be sure to keep your dog well controlled so that other hikers and dogs don’t feel frightened or threatened. Also, don’t assume that other dogs you might meet on the trail are friendly, even if they are wagging their tails.
After your hike: Thoroughly check your dog for cuts or injuries as well as ticks, which can carry Lyme disease. Dogs burn energy faster than humans, so keep some healthy treats handy so your dog can have a little snack before you head home.
Keep these important items in mind before and during your hike, and add to this list what you think is important after your first few hikes with your dog.
“One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure.”
…and many Adventures were had! This post is Cello and Hooch’s 2014 Year-In-Review. The bold print links you to the original post for that particular event.
2014 was all about growth. Our friends multiplied, as we met new people while competing with Cello in dock diving. Cello’s titles increased as she continued to achieve and amaze us with her dock diving ability. Our family ballooned as we added our son, Hooch, who also blossomed himself, from a rowdy little pup, into our “Big-Man.” Most of all, our passion for each other and our “unique” and sometimes crazy family increased greatly. Thank you for joining Cello and Hooch on their 2014 adventures!
During the first year on Pinterest, Cello’s Corner acquried 50 followers.
Through the months of the year…
January was extremely rough in the weather department. Cello did not participate in any dock diving events, and we had snow-covered ground for pretty much the entire month. Temperatures the entire month were either freezing, or below freezing, and the lake we live on remained frozen. There were only 2 days in January that were above freezing AND there was no snow on the ground – so we made sure to get Cello to the dog park on those two days, as we had MAJOR cabin fever!
The winter had been brutal (and that’s putting it lightly). We had “HAD IT” at this point! South Jersey had over 18 days of snow, with snowfall totaling over 75 inches by March 9th. If it wasn’t snowing here, or there wasn’t snow and/or ice on the ground, it was uncomfortably cold (got down to -4 degrees one day!). The lake we live on was frozen most of the winter, and the streets were full of BIG potholes and cracks. These types of conditions do NOT make a GSP happy! Cello did not go to the park – or walk – or run WAY too many days this winter. We had to get creative with indoor physical activities like hide-and-seek, our version of the doggie stair-master (throwing a ball up-and-over our balcony so Cello has to run up-the-stairs/down-the-stairs to retrieve her ball)…as well as mentally stimulating indoor activities like practicing basic commands and “tricks.” On a positive note, Cello participated in her first dock diving event of 2014.
October brought on many dock diving events, and Hooch’s first Halloween trick-or-treating adventure! Hooch made his first plunge into a DockDogs pool (just from the exit ramp, of course!) We got a chance at some of these events to solidify friendships with people we had met during the 2014 dock diving season.
This month we went on our annual Thanksgiving camping trip (Hooch’s first Thanksgiving holiday), as dock diving began to wrap up for the year. Although we were disappointed that Cello did not qualify for the World Championships, also held in Nonmember, that did not stop us from having yet another fun, adventure-filled month!
Hooch celebrated his first Christmas and New Year’s Eve this month. December flew by, as we not only hosted the Christmas Holiday, practice began for the 2015 dock diving season, and Hooch started to come into his own as a dock diver.
“Double Trouble,”…What an appropriately named destination for our two Hooligans’ first hike of 2015 !
There are conflicting stories about how this area got its name. The most common legend focuses on the dam at Cedar Creek. Sawmill operator, Thomas Potter, may have “coined” the words “Double Trouble” after heavy Spring rains washed out the dam twice in the 1770’s.
Another myth says that muskrats in the area were relentless at chewing on the dam. When a hole was discovered from the muskrats’ constant gnawing, workmen in the village would say, “Here’s trouble,” and rush to repair the leak. One day, two holes were discovered at once, and a village worker overheard the owner say, “Here’s Double Trouble.”
Welcome to Double Trouble State Park!
Located on the eastern edge of the New Jersey Pine Barrens, and encompassing over 200 acres, Double Trouble State Park provides a fine example of a typical Pine Barrens community centered around the logging industry and cranberry agriculture. Isolated Pine Barrens communities such as this one (and Batsto) were built to be entirely self-sufficient, and their survival depended 100% on the success of the particular industry the community was built around. This area has a natural cedar forest, and stream, which provided both raw materials and water power for a substantial lumber industry from the 1700’s to the 1900’s. As workers cut down the timber, the cleared cedar swamps created a bog environment – perfect for growing cranberries. Cranberry culture began at Double Trouble Village in the 1860’s. By the 20th century, the Double Trouble Company was one of the largest cranberry operations in the state.
Did you know that today, with approximately 3,600 acres of cranberry farms, New Jersey is currently the third largest cranberry producing state in the United States? Cranberries in our parts are known as the “Jewel of the Pine Barrens!!” Interestingly, New Jersey’s leading cranberry farmer, William S. Haines, is located in Cello and Hooch’s birth-town of Chatsworth, NJ! Haines has over 700 acres of cranberries on his Chatsworth Pine Island Company Cranberry Farm, and his family’s history of cranberry cultivation dates back to 1895. Cello and Hooch’s birth-town also is also home to both an Ocean Spray juice company plant (one of the leading cranberry juice companies), and one of New Jersey’s largest festivals… The Cranberry Festival, a celebration of New Jersey’s cranberry harvest, offering a tribute to the Pine Barrens and its local culture. There is a huge, diverse presentation of local artists, craftsmen, and wineries – some offering demonstrations, and all providing items for sale. And of course… there’s “everything cranberry,” including cranberry jam, jelly, chutney, ice cream, cranberry wine!
Ever wonder how Cranberries are harvested? It’s really pretty cool…First, Cranberries grow in the bed of a bog. Cranberries have pockets of air inside them. Because of this, cranberries float in water. When the cranberries are ready for harvesting, the bogs are flooded to dislodge the fruit from the vines. Water reels, nicknamed “egg-beaters” are used to “stir-up” the water in the bogs. When the water is stirred, the cranberries disconnect from the vine, and float to the surface of the water! Wooden or plastic “booms” are used to round-up the berries, which are then lifted by conveyor, or pumped into a truck to be taken to a receiving station to be cleaned and processed. Pretty neat, huh?!
Cranberry cultivation still continues today in several bogs at Double Trouble State Park. Some of the bogs in the park are maintained and harvested sporadically by farmers who lease the bogs, since the purchase of the park by the state in 1964. Here are pictures of cranberries being harvested at Double Trouble State Park
Double Trouble State Park is also listed on Weird NJ for an unusual and explainable event that occurred here! The pictures below captured this “weird” event.
The water in Double Trouble State Park is “tea” colored, and known as “cedar water” – just like the lake Cello and Hooch live on – and most lakes in the Pine Barren area. This coloring is caused by the tannic acids found in the Atlantic White Cedar trees (which is what our log home is made of) — as well as the naturally occurring iron in the water.
Here is a picture of Hooch swimming in our lake this past summer. You can see the color of the “cedar water” in our lake.
Double Trouble Village has a restored sawmill and cranberry sorting / packing house, both containing working operational equipment. These two buildings were the focus of the village, which also includes a late 19th century one room schoolhouse, general store, bunk house, cook house, shower house, maintenance shop, pickers’ cottages and the foreman’s house. Most buildings are not restored, and look to be left “as is” on the inside (peek inside windows of the buildings while you are here!!) and only the sawmill and cranberry packing house are restored, and open to the public, exclusively during guided tours.
Double Trouble Village was purchased by the State of New Jersey in 1964 to help protect the Cedar Creek watershed. Double Trouble was placed on the State Register of Historic Places in 1977, and on the National Register in 1978.
Double Trouble School
Operated from approximately 1893-1915, this one-room school is the oldest remaining structure in the village.
If you peek in the windows, you can see the old school desks inside.
This was the home of the Burke family from 1938 until 1957.
Mr. David Burke was foreman of the cranberry processing operations until 1967.
Cranberry Sorting and Packing House
Built in 1909, This building was filled with workers who hand-scooped cranberries, sorted them according to size and quality,
and then packed the berries to be transported to a market.
(circa 1920) The general store provided the early villagers with staples such as oatmeal, flour, and
sugar. From the 1930’s until it closed, convenience items like candy, cigarettes and gloves were sold here also.
Most buildings also had an outhouse out back:
(circa 1900) Also called the “communal house”, this is where single workers lived during the seasonal
(circa 1906-1909) The sawmill produced lumber, shingles and other products for sale and for use in the village and cranberry operations.
Harvest Foreman’s House
(circa 1900) This was the seasonal home of the migrant workers’ foreman.
There are several different trails you can take in Double Trouble State Park.
Trail Guides are available at the trail heads, so that you have a printed map and description of the trail to carry with you.
After exploring the village, we chose the Nature Trail.
This was not the longest of trails, but considering the weather was pretty chilly, we were content with our choice.
The Nature Trail passes along a couple of cranberry bogs, crosses over Cedar Creek, and passes through a cedar forest, as well as a peat bog.
This is a part of the trail that runs in between two bogs:
Parts of the park are open for hunting, so be sure to check with the park office, and/or NJ’s Division of Fish and Wildlife to educate yourself on any hunting activity before you begin your adventure. In addition to hiking, visitors can canoe or kayak their way through the park, using several access points on Cedar Creek. There are also public bathrooms and an Information Center conveniently located in the Pickers’ Cottage (circa 1940), just beyond the parking lot. Pickers’ cottages in the village housed seasonal workers – including family groups. Every year 30-40 migrant workers arrived on Labor Day weekend, and lived in the cottages until Thanksgiving. These village employees worked solely in the bogs, hand-picking the cranberries.
As you can see, we all very much enjoyed the abundant history and unique sights of Cello and Hooch’s first hike of 2015.
What will be YOUR first hike of the year? Cello and Hooch would love to know…go on, now… TAKE A HIKE!
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