How to choose the best mulch for your backyard?

best-mulchSpring is approaching and it’s time and energy to start considering mulching your flower beds for the summertime. Natural mulch is beneficial for a garden extremely. It traps dampness in the soil and that means you don’t need to water as frequently, and it acts being an insulator so your vegetation’ roots don’t get as well hot. (It gets the same impact in the wintertime, keeping vegetation from getting too chilly.) Also it suppresses weeds, and that means you don’t need to weed as often!
What is the very best Natural Mulch?
There are a true number of natural mulches on the market, with hardwood bark mulch, pine straw and old hay hottest. Which is the best mulch for the garden?
Using pine straw mulch
Pine straw is wonderful for suppressing weeds. A tendency is had by it to form a thick mat, and woe to the weed that attempts to come up during that! But pine straw isn't for every garden. As time passes it can change your soil acidic and ensure it is difficult to cultivate anything there. Some vegetation love acid soil. If your flower mattress is primarily comprised of these acid-loving plants, pine straw isn't just okay then, it’s perfect.
Using hardwood bark mulch
Many people’s gardens grow vegetation that choose their soil neutral to nice (alkaline). Hardwood bark mulch is the greatest for those vegetation. It decomposes into a wealthy, sweet-smelling black dirt, also it looks extremely tidy while carrying it out. Plus, hardwood bark mulch is the greatest for amending your soil. The nagging problem is, it’s costly, especially when you’re purchasing it from a nursery at a dollar seventeen a handbag (and they’re not large bags, either).
Using hay as an all natural mulch
Old hay, however, is dirt inexpensive. If hay will get wet and spoils, farmers can’t utilize it to anymore feed their creatures; it may kill them. For a gardener, however, that spoiled hay is exactly what your backyard needs just. In fact, your backyard will most likely like it much better than the fresh, unspoiled stuff as well as your vegetable garden will most likely like it much better than the hardwood bark mulch, and you may often get a whole bale of spoiled hay for a few bucks.
The nagging problem with old hay, needless to say, is that hay is manufactured out of grass (or grains). Grass in a backyard are called weeds, and that hay is merely chock filled with the seeds of its type, and several other weeds that could 've got bundled up with it. What’s a gardener to accomplish?
So then, what's the very best natural mulch choice?
What’s the best answer for the gardener? Generally, for the flower beds, opt for a straightforward bark mulch. It isn’t as effective as hardwood bark mulch, nonetheless it isn’t as costly either. Spread it four to six 6 inches solid around your plants, making certain to cover the complete bed.
For the trunk garden and the veggie garden, go look for a farmer and purchase up just as much of his old, spoiled hay as possible afford. Spread it 8 to 10 inches initially; boost it to a feet if some intrepid weeds begin poking their heads away (but make sure to draw the weeds away, or they’ll just continue just like the proverbial beanstalk).
Ideally, gardens ought to be mulched a year-once in the spring and once in the fall twice. It’s not an precise science: when it begins to feel comfortable, mulch your backyard; when it begins to feel awesome, mulch your garden.

Meet the Odd Couple: Boxer Rex and Guinea Pig Smores

When it comes to unexpected animal friendships, it doesn’t get much cuter than Rex and Smores. Rex is a 10-year-old boxer rescue who walks using a wheelchair. Smores is an adorable guinea pig who rides around with him as a copilot. Together, they give each other the friendship that both animals wanted. According to The...

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Vivian the Dog Enjoys Living Large

Don’t tell Vivian she’s old and small, because this miniature dachshund lives in a big place. Since moving to Brooklyn, Vivian and her owner, Mitch Boyer, have taken Instagram by storm. Boyer is a professional photographer who featured his beloved pooch in a children’s book entitled “Vivian the Dog Moves to Brooklyn.” Because of the...

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Maryland Horse Missing for 14 Days Is Found Safe

Susan Crawford said it felt like being trapped in a nightmare. Her beloved horse, Playdoh, had disappeared, and despite her best efforts to find him, it seemed like the odds were getting slimmer and slimmer. Luckily, her hard work to find Playdoh ended up paying off, as three hikers found the horse and reunited him...

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This Horse Breed Is So Cute, Who Knew?

By all accounts, horses are majestic animals, and there is one type of horse that trumps them all for attractiveness, intelligence and resiliency. Curly horses come in all sizes and colors, but they all have one thing in common: they carry a dominant gene that makes the hair of their coats curly.The origins of curly...

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Three Years Versus One Year: How Often Should You Vaccinate Your Pet?

Rabies is a frightening disease with no cure, so rabies vaccines are essential to keeping your pet healthy. For a long time, pets had to be vaccinated every year. However, new technologies and guidelines mean that some pets may only need vaccination every three years.In 2011, the American Animal Hospital Association changed its guidelines for...

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New Camera :)

I have now had my new camera for just over a week and am gradually starting to work out some of the settings, thanks to my bestest friend, Rosie, giving me a few pointers when she visited this weekend. There is still a huge amount for me to start to understand and to this end I have put my name down for a one day photography course,then we shall see if I can get my head around a camera that needs me to adjust settings rather than just using the preset programmes. Anyway, I am really pleased with my beach shots (and the dogs appeared to be quite happy to be my guinea pigs) but not quite so pleased with my shots of the pups that were taken on a very dull day, but it's a start :) As always, loads more pics will be loaded on my flickr account.

These are the puppy pictures, as I say, not so happy with these but they are still ok.

Last but not least are Mowgli and Baloo, being black, indoors, super duper fast and a dull day I thought a bit of video would be easier than trying for action shots. These lucky girls have got a home where they will be staying together, which I am thrilled about.

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K-9 Dies After Two and a Half Hours in Locked Squad Car

A Pennsylvania Department of Corrections drug-detecting dog died after being left alone in a squad car for two and a half hours on July 7. The dog's handler put some training materials in the car during a training exercise and forgot that Totti, a 2-tear-old yellow lab, was also inside.

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3 weeks old today

As the title suggests, pups are 3 weeks old today. They will shortly have their first introduction to meat, which marks the start of the transition of Dime doing everything for them to me doing everything as once they start on solids she will stop cleaning up after them and gradually she will spend less and less time with them.
The pups are starting to interact with me now, approaching with wagging tails and play growling as I play with them, though at the moment they still only have about 10 minutes of play followed by several hours sleep. I absolutely love this stage. Won't be long before they will want to start to explore further than their pen, this is when the fun really starts, I am really hoping for a run of dry weather so that we can get them outside in a couple of weeks.

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Growing up

Firstly, I am very pleased to say that Wasabi has gone to join her brother, Nutmeg, though I was also a bit sad as I was VERY tempted to keep her.

Bagheera and Baloo are coming on in leaps and bounds now, this makes it doubly difficult to get a good pic as they are both black and superfast! But these are my efforts from today.

Their Mum, Mrs Miggins, is apparently finding all this a bit of a bore 

Dime is also starting to find she has her paws full with her 7, though she is coping admirably

They have also started a bit of play fighting, all be it in slow motion!

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Just a bit more video and a few more pics

This week saw a disaster for me, after a wonderful time on the beach, with some pretty good pictures, the following day my camera developed a serious fault. This felt like I had lost an arm!! I can only assume that there is sand in the mechanism so it needs to be sent off for repair. But, looking on the bright side, I have been wanting to upgrade my camera for a while, so this was the perfect excuse :-) So, I now have a very flash camera, but no idea how to use it properly, lol, the next few weeks will involve a lot of trial and error shots, so I apologise in advance if pictures are not great. Having said that, I have managed a few shots, which as usual are on

The pups are pretty agile now, and seem to have their main playtime at about 4:30am, loving that - not! They were meant to be in their pen last night, but 3 managed to break out, this was their 1st meeting with Eliza, who was fabulous with them.

The big dogs have not been forgotten, Dime is now back out with the rest of the gang on our walks. All enjoy the rare dry days that we have had recently.

Last but not least, Baloo and Bagheera have now had their 1st vaccination. After a lot of soul searching I have...

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Not long now

Just a quick note to say that Dime is in labour, webcam will go on once she starts pushing, so please keep checking back if you are wanting to see the birth :)

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I need a home of my own

A couple of video clips of Nutmeg, showing both his affectionate side and his complete nutter side. He really would love to be centre of attention in a home of his own. Please contact me if you think you could offer him that.

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Here they come

After 2 sleepless nights for both of us, the puppies have started arriving. Click the webcam link on the right if you want to follow their progress.

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Just pics

I am pleased to report that Nutmeg has found a fabulous new home :-)

The puppies are now 7 days old and are sporting I.D collars, the two boys are, rather predictably, wearing the blue collars.

Baloo and Mowgli are now well and truly up and running, but as they are black they are incredibly hard to photograph on the move, so today I had to settle for stationary poses :)

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Available kiten

Our fabulously naughty but very affectionate cream and white kitten really needs a home of his own, unfortunately he was let down by the family who had booked him, so, he is 15 weeks old, fully vaccinated, microchipped, wormed, registered and insured, he has his bags packed and is just waiting for the right family to realise he is just what they need.

Dime and her family are just so incredibly chilled, all the pups are thriving, she has ample milk so what could be better. All the pups are currently reserved. The web cam is on from approx 9am to 10pm everyday, just click on the link if you want to see how they are doing.

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The Magnificent 7

After keeping everyone waiting for 36 hours after the start of labour (that's 2 nights I haven't seen my bed!) Dime has had her babies. She has 7 perfect pups, all of which will be silver. There are 5 girls and 2 boys, which is a 1st for Itzapromise as we always have more boys than girls. Here they are :)

Once Dime had finished giving birth, I popped the pups in a box whilst I cleaned their bed, Dime decided she could fit in the box too!

I am now having to admit to my lack of organisation, I had a couple visit the dogs recently, who were hoping to find a slightly older poodle to train as an assistance dog. I have details of a dog that may suit you but have lost your details, please give me a shout if you see this.

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Very sadly 

this little angel/devil has had to be returned to me, really hoping to find her the perfect home very quickly as I would desperately love to keep her but fear that I could end up single if I do  .Not only is she playful, super friendly and beautiful she also chats away to you. She is 16 weeks old so still very much a kitten. The family who have returned her did not take the decision to do so lightly, please contact me if you would like details.

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Who needs expensive toys?

There are never any pens on the coffee table when you want one, despite the fact you know you left one there, I think the video shows why. This adorable boy is currently available.

Getting close to puppies arriving now, Graham and I have had our customary bet on numbers, I have gone for 8, he has gone for 7. The pics were taken yesterday and she has approx a week to go.

The black girls are coming on well and starting to explore more. They are so tiny compared to Nutmeg, who is just 9 weeks older.

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Possibly re available

Nutmeg should have been collected last weekend, but unfortunately, despite repeated attempts to contact his new family, they have failed to get back to me about his collection. I am now in the unenviable position of having to make a decision about finding another home for him. I will hold him until tomorrow evening (Friday 10th) but after that he will be looking for a new home.

He is an absolute sweetie, purrs as soon as you touch him, loves a cuddle and is mad as a hatter, top that off with being a handsome devil, how can anyone resist him? Should you be interested, please contact me asap.

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One of the families having an Audrey puppy has very kindly used some of my pictures of my pets to make fabulous A3 sized top quality calendars for me. There are too many for my family and friends so I am selling the remainder, with all proceeds going to a poodle charity. If you would like one please get in contact, they are priced at £12.50 each plus £2.80 P&P

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A tough week

The observant amongst you may have noticed that I have not put an update on Mrs Miggins recent litter. Mrs Miggins did have a litter of 3, but unfortunately the tabby boy started to fall behind the others about a week ago and sadly, despite the best efforts of both myself and the vets, we lost him last night. Whilst the remaining two black girls appear to be thriving, I can't, in good conscience, let anyone to reserve them until I am confident all is well. The tabby kitten has gone for post mortem and I hope that will give me some answers and reassurance that I can start to think about homing the black girls. 

The older kittens are with me for just one more week, the people having these babies are getting just the best kittens, fabulous characters each and every one of them, but a quick warning, they only have 2 speeds, flat out and sleeping - pictures are much easier when they are sleeping :-)

Those of you who are friends with me on facebook will already have heard about Audrey's adventure last week. Audrey is a deer hunter and on Tuesday she picked up the scent of a deer and disappeared, she was missing for nearly 10 hours. During this time I was absolutely frantic and walked...

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Going to miss these babies

Once again time has flown, the pups are now 7 weeks old and will start to leave for their new lives at the weekend. After much deliberation I have decided that Elmo will be the pup that stays with us, she will be called Eliza from the Audrey Hepburn film My Fair Lady.
They are off to the vets for a quick health check and to be chipped tomorrow afternoon, so that will be their 1st car journey.
They will all be bathed and clipped before they leave here, so if the weather is kind I hope to get a few shots of them looking clean and fluffy before they go, but for now here are a few pics from this afternoon (we got rained on, hence the soggy look!)

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A busy week for the pups

What can I say, this litter are just little crackers, they are now becoming fun as they play and explore and start to interact with people and anything else they come into contact with, although their stamina is still very limited at the moment, they have about 15 minutes of activity followed by several hours of napping. Taking pics is a bit of a challenge now as every time I get down to their level I get mobbed!

This week they have had their 1st outdoors adventures, ideally I would have liked to get them out more frequently and for longer periods, but it just hasn't stopped raining :-( and they are just a bit too young to be able to cope with getting wet.

They have also had their 1st date at the hairdressers and now look like proper poodles, this went very smoothly with only Jerry making a proper fuss about it, typical girl! They have also had a chew on some raw bones, I think they really appreciated these as they are teething and want to chew.

I have started to allow them to interact with a couple of my puppy friendly adult dogs, I do this gradually and am careful about which dogs they meet and where as not all of my adult dogs tolerate the pups trying to suckle from them or...

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Last night saw the arrival of 3 new kittens, Mum is Mrs Miggins and Dad is Fawlty, this is a first litter for both.
As seems to be usual for my lot, labour started early in the evening, the first kitten arrived at around 3:30am and the last around 5am, so I am writing this with very bleary eyes, lol.
We have 2 blacks and a tabby, I'm not even going to attempt to see what sex they are until my eyes are able to focus!

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Beach day

Well, with the weather being so fabulous a beach day was called for, no need to say how are day went, the pictures do the talking :-)

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Buns in the oven!

Dime was scanned today to confirm that she is pregnant, so all being well we should have silver pups born on or around the 17th/18th June (timing is a bit of a guess as she stood for Cash over an 8 day period so I am not sure when she actually ovulated).

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No sexy girls

The girls are still very sexy, so are still confined to barracks! So today myself and a friend took the opportunity to explore a new walk with just Eliza, the boys and my friends puppy and toy poodle (I never take the full group on a new walk on new walks as I wouldn't be able to put them all on a lead should the need arise). We visited a lovely beach with a coastal path, these are just a few pictures from the day.

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Unfortunately re available

The family who had booked the little blue girl are, unfortunately, not in a position to have her, and both the people who were on the reserve list have sourced kittens from elsewhere whilst I was waiting on confirmation of the 1st home, so she is now looking for a place of her own to call home.

She is a fab little kitten, a great explorer already and has the prettiest face, she also has a wonderful curly coat. Please ring me if you would like further details on her.

The rest of the kittens are also coming along beautifully, they will be having a socialisation overload this weekend as we have 4 visitors staying from tonight until Sunday. All are cute as buttons and it's not going to be long before they hit the lunatic phase :-)

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A borrowed from the internet comparison of standard poodles and border collies - all so true!

Standard Poodle
Pfetchette the Standard Poodle is an original piece of work by Canadian cartoonist Ron Leishman.

Order a Standard Poodle t-shirt with Pfetchette in full color on the back. Check it out.
America is falling in love with extreme sports. The higher athletes jump, the more times they somersault in the air, the faster they go, the happier the crowd. Motocross, Incline Vertical Skating, and Speed Climbing make traditional sports like sprinting or triple jumping seem one dimensional and stogy.
In the same vein, it is appropriate and timely that one breed is selected for the title Most Extreme Breed. When one considers this possibility, there are clearly two competitors - the Standard Poodle and the Border Collie. In this article, Laughing Dog will review these two breeds for those characteristics that "push the envelope" and name the official winner based on audience input. The way you may vote will be detailed at the end of this article.
Since this article will focus on details about the Standard Poodle, it is essential that everyone who wants a vote on this prestigious award should also read The Truth About Dog Breeds - The Border Collie. Laughing Dog is...

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The mating game.

When ever possible I prefer my dogs to be able to have a courtship prior to mating, as I feel it is more natural and the bitch should be more comfortable about the whole affair. Most dogs don't muck about with courtship for too long but Cash takes it to a whole new level, his courtship is frequently up to 1/2 an hour long and he spends most of it jumping around in front of the girl saying "look at me, aren't I fabulous?" The deed was done but not on camera, got to leave them some dignity, lol.

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A bit earlier than expected

Dime has come into season, a few weeks earlier than expected, so the plan remains that she will be mated to Cash once she is ready, with a bit of luck this should mean we have a litter of silver pups beginning to middle of June.

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Pups had their 1st introduction to bones tonight, they are teething and seemed very glad of a cold bone to gum on. My friend Amy is staying tonight and she took some pics of me taking pics, which gives you an idea of some of the difficulties involved when taking pics of pups who see you and your camera as some sort of interactive toy/climbing frame

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1st bath and blow dry

Pups were getting a bit greasy, due to wading through their food instead of simply eating it! so they had a very quick bath today. Can't say they were terribly impressed and when I went to take pics, before they got grubby again, they were tired and perhaps a little shell shocked :-) Maybe they will stay clean enough for another attempt at pics tomorrow, but here are some to be getting on with for now.

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