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.

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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Kitten pics

Bobs kittens are growing fast, a lovely contented litter. Bob is a really chilled mum, still wanting to spend most of her time cuddled up with her babies but enjoying her periods of time away from them too. Although I haven't posted any pics of them on here for a little while, I have been updating my Flickr account, so feel free to take a look at more pictures there.

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All about the cats

Firstly a bit of a brag, Fawlty went to his 2nd show and for the 2nd time he won his class and got best of breed, as he is now classed as an adult this also gave his his 1st CC, he needs 3 to become a champion. Showing is not and never will be my thing, but my friend enjoys it so she takes Fawlty.

Bobs kittens are now starting to take an interest in the world around them, won't be long before they are causing mayhem :-)

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They're on the way!

It's 10pm on Sat evening, Audrey has been panting on and off for most of the day and her temperature has now dropped from 101.9 to 98, the panting is increasing and I suspect that the pups will be starting to make an appearance within the next 24hrs. Web cam has been tested earlier this evening and seems to be working well, it will be turned on once she starts to look serious about labour

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Not long now :-)

With just 5 days until her due date, Audrey has had a bath and clip in preparation for the whelping. Up until today she has been having her normal walks, but she has started to struggle to keep up now, so, combined with the awful wet weather, I have made the decision to let her stay home now.

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I'm not sure if it's because Audrey is getting rather uncomfortable or if it's because she knows she is due a bath and tidy up, but it is quite hard to just get a simple side on shot of her standing, so with that in mind, please don't judge these pics too harshly, lol.

With another 11/12 days to go she is looking like there is a good sized litter in there. The plus side for me is that I don't have to watch her like a hawk on our walks, as the likelihood of her going off on a deer hunt is pretty remote at the moment :-)
Graham and I will be having our customary bet, on how many pups she is going to have, next Friday.

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Bobbabies :-)

Bob has done a super job, not only has she produced 5, yes 5 healthy babies, she had them in the space of 2 hours in the afternoon, so no staying up all night waiting for me :-)

Will take some pics tomorrow once they are dry and relaxed, but these were taken as they arrived today. At 1st glance we have a black, a blue, a cream and 2 reds, I haven't looked to see what sex they are yet (and I often get the initial look wrong!)

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Not long now

Bob is looking a bit of a porker now, kittens are due at the beginning of next week, I'm just praying she doesn't hold on to them for too long as I am planning on spending a couple of days at Crufts at the end of next week as a couple of poodles with Itzapromise breeding are entered this year. Good luck to Shelly with Margo, a Dime/Cash pup and to Sharon with Delta, who is out of Sharon's own line but sired by Morse.

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Male v female?

When I get enquiries about puppies about 80% of those enquiring, specifically want a female pup. When I question this the vast majority have no actual reason for their choice, some feel a bitch is easier and some are under the impression that they are more affectionate than male pups. There are of course those who absolutely need a pup of a certain sex due to personal circumstances, ie an existing dog that wouldn't accept a puppy of a certain sex.

Whilst I try to dispel some of the myths about male dogs, such as inappropriate lifting of the leg (I have 3 entire males, none of whom would ever dream of lifting their leg indoors, even when the girls are in season), or dog to dog aggression, again I refer to my 3 boys who live in harmony with each other and are walked amongst strange dogs on a daily basis without issue,  I am aware that some people will think I am telling them this in order to place my male pups regardless of behaviour traits, nothing could be further from the truth as I take great care in placing my pups and won't hesitate to turn down applications from those who I feel are not suitable for my pups. I have recently stumbled across an article that pretty much says...

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They don't sleep all of the time :-)

Those who have been following the webcam may be starting to wonder if the pups are ever awake, I know that they spend nearly all of the time snoozing, so I though I would pop a little bit of video on here, taken this morning, just to prove they are not only mobile but are also finding their lungs. Fun times are just around the corner

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Proper puppies

Pups are really starting to become proper puppies now, we are seeing signs of play and interaction and we have had the 1st escapes from the whelping box! Here are a few of todays pics, lots more on flickr :-)

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We are family.

A number of people have asked if there are any pics of the pups father, Dexter, so her he is

And this is his father, so grandsire to the pups
And here is Rhonda, Audreys mum, taken when she was 11 years old, still very much a true apricot.

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10 Days old and growing well

As the title suggests, everyone is thriving. Phoenix and the other tiddler (known as Dangermouse) are holding their own now, they are only getting a bit of top up 3 x daily now.
Their eyes are very near to opening, I suspect the 1st ones will be open in the next 48hrs and once that happens they start to show a little more activity within the box.

Audrey is now tolerating the cats around the pups, though she keeps a very strict eye on them, Fawlty is desperate to play with them, which makes doing the individual pictures very interesting. As yet we have kept the rest of the girls out of the lounge, but hope to start letting them back in within the next couple of days.

Hopefully you are able to see the pups on webcam, I tried putting collars on the pups a couple of days ago, but they were a little large and I was worried about them getting their legs stuck in them etc, they have now grown a little more and the collars are a pretty good fit on the larger pups, the medium pups are still a little loose on them, so may come off again for 24hrs or so and Phoenix and Dangermouse are still far too small and will remain collar free for now. I should mention that we have had tiny pups at...

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We have our 1st nickname for this litter. Introducing Phoenix, the smallest pup of the litter. Yesterday morning I cam down to find him cold and unresponsive, making long and pitiful whining noises, I truly thought we were going to loose him, but we spent the next couple of hours warming him up and eventually he started moving around. At this point we offered him some bottle milk and thankfully he took it. The rest of the day was spent ensuring he was kept warm, plugging him onto Audrey numerous times and offering the bottle every 2/3 hours. We have continued this through the night and I am very pleased to report that this morning he is holding his own with his litter mates, even managing to lay claim to, and hang on to, one of Audreys mutant nipples (I think that was half the problem to start with, he was simply too small to cope with her nipples). So although we are not completely out of the woods, I feel pretty confident about his chances now, even though being poorly for a day means he is now about half the size of his siblings.

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Here they are

After a long night in labour, Audrey had her 1st pup, a little girl at 5:45am, she was followed by another 2 sisters and 5 brothers by 10:10am, then we had a long break with a 9th pup, male, being born at 1pm, he was followed by another sister about an hour later, but unfortunately she was stillborn and despite my best efforts I couldn't revive her. So we have finished up with 3 girls and 6 boys. All are beautiful, some are darker than others and a couple have quite incredible pigment already. The web cam covered their birth and I believe that it will be possible to see a recording of it on youtube tomorrow, in case you had wanted to see it but missed it.

Audrey coped admirably, but is still straining a bit to clear what we believe is afterbirths (not all came out with the pups) so if she is still showing signs of discomfort tomorrow morning, we will take a quick trip to the vets, just to make sure. On the whole the pups are doing really well, lovely and strong, even though they are all on the small side (well they were 4 days early), we just have one boy who is needing a little more tlc than his siblings, he hasn't really warmed up since he was born, so as I type he is stuffed...

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I'm back from a lovely couple of days at Crufts, very tired and completely broke but had a wonderful time. Obviously the highlight for me was seeing the two dogs with an Itzapromise connection strutting their stuff on the green carpet. Delta, owned and bred by Sharon was sired by Morse, she is such a beautiful and well proportioned girl with a lovely outgoing personality. Although she moved beautifully and was perfectly behaved in the ring she wasn't placed on this occasion (the judge was obviously blind, lol)

Margo is a homebred silver, out of Dime and sired by Cash. She is owned and handled by Shelly, and is one of the prettiest poodles out there (Yes, once again I may be slightly biased). She was a little star in the ring and was placed in her class. Just when you think your week can't get any better you go to the newsagents the following day and are greeted by Margo gracing the front page of The Guardian :-). I will take this opportunity to remind everyone that I hope to be repeating this mating in a couple of months.

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All clean and dry

Bob is being a fab Mum, all 5 kittens are thriving, in fact their suck reflex is so good it presented us with a bit of a problem last night - when Bob got out of the nest to have a bite to eat, all the kittens just held on only plopping to the floor of the pen 30 seconds later, whilst this was very amusing to watch it could easily be a disaster as the kittens would chill and die very quickly if left there. We popped the kittens back and introduced a bed with slightly higher sides in the hope that it would scrape the kittens off the nipples as she left the box. This worked pretty well and only one super determined kitten managed to exit the nest with Mum, it duly plopped on the floor but as there was only one Bob was able to cope and promptly picked it up and popped it back with his siblings :-)

Here are some pics taken today, as you can see one is already opening it's eyes at less than 24hrs old!!

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Purrfect Promotions: Raising Funds And Awareness For Cat Houses

Furry friends need help year-round — not just during special seasons. One no-kill shelter for cats, Colorado Cat Care Society in Lakewood, takes fundraising to a high art with appeals that win throughout the year. This no-kill shelter's fine example of community support and overall success serves as a blueprint for other local groups to...

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A Broken Leg Doesn’t Need To End In Death For Equine Animals Anymore

After suffering frostbite, a miniature donkey named Bella was rescued from a negligent breeder and veterinarians advised she be put to sleep. Her new owners refused, however, and after an amputation, Bella received an artificial limb from Wyoming's Hanger clinic and is doing just fine.The days of putting equine animals down due to leg injuries...

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Hound Dog Accidentally Finishes Half-Marathon In Seventh Place

April Hamlin woke up one Saturday morning in the tiny town of Elkmont, Alabama, and as she usually does, let her hound dog Ludavine out to relieve herself. The next thing she knew, her dog was being honored for finishing the town's half-marathon in seventh place. Ludavine lives on a 40-acre farm with April. Being...

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