A few notes about being “green”, naturally

Being environmentally sensitive in our practices at Dog Bark Park has always been our practice  for both the bed & breakfast and the chainsaw art components of our business at Dog Bark Park.

This article will cover some of the ways we endeavor to be earth-friendly at the big dog bed & breakfast

1.  We use as earth friendly cleaning products as much as possible.  We wash windows, mirrors & other surfaces with vinegar solutions using reusable cotton cloths, for instance. 

2.  We do not use disposable dishes, preferring instead china dishes.  Drink glasses & serving dishes are clear glass and our cutlery is heavy shiny stainless. 

3.  Whenever possible we hang dry the laundry.  We do this not only to return precious moisture to the atmosphere & avoid unnecessary electric consumption, but because we enjoy the task.  What better way to spend a few moments than being under the fragrant boughs of a giant spruce tree that partially shades our clothes line.  When the breezes float through it is delicious evergreen music!   Additionally, we’ve found our guests enjoy the natural fragrance of sun-dried sheets.

Clematis flowers at clothesline

Clematis flowers at clothesline

  This week  we are also enjoying the pretty blossoms of a clematis vine that winds its way through the outer ends of our clothes lines.  The humidity in Idaho during summer is very low.  Most laundry items are dry in less than an hour’s time!

4.  We use very little pre-packaged food items, preferring instead to do the baking & cooking ourselves.  For instance, our Prairie’s Best Fruited Granola is made from bulk-food ingredients purchased from the local health food store. 

5.  Whenever possible we use locally grown foods to serve fresh or to bake into muffins & coffee breads.  Some summers we pick wild blackberries from along the banks of the Clearwater River. 

Picking Blackberries for Dog Bark Park pastries

Picking Blackberries for Dog Bark Park pastries

Sometimes we’re fortunate to find & pick precious Idaho mountain huckleberries to share them with our guests by baking them into our pastries.

Idaho Rhubarb Brown Sugar Muffins - a Guest Favorite

Idaho Rhubarb Brown Sugar Muffins - a Guest Favorite

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

6.  Exterior lights are on automatic dawn/dusk switches to avoid unnecessary usage.   Heating/cooling equipment is set to PowerSave until guests arrive.  We encourage natural cooling & warming  by opening/closing windows and window coverings, etc.

7.  Except for a small grassy area beneath the big beagle & a few selected plants, we do no outside watering at Dog Bark Park.   Most of our landscaping is natural field grasses, plus plantings of pines, maples, poplars & drought resistant shrubs & bulbs that must survive on Mother Nature’s weather & precipation. 

Blooming Sage & Honeysuckle Shrub
Blooming Sage & Honeysuckle Shrub

This sage, for instance, has grown from a tiny cutting to a lovely plant that now overflows its container.  We’re glad to share a cutting with any visitors that would like an easy, attractive plant.  The hummingbirds heavily visited the sage a few weeks ago when the blooms were prime.

We hardly could imagine the dry root honeysuckle sprig could grow nearly 10-feet tall as the planting instructions suggested.  After a decade, we are trimming these bushes to keep them managable!
Their berries are turning red right now adding color once again as the green leaves fade with summer’s heat.
Each year we see more bird life at Dog Bark Park as our grounds mature providing a variety of cover for them.  Yesterday we watched a family of California Quail traverse from our log yard along the perimeter tall grasses to the lower portion of our property below the big beagle where they pecked about in the mowed field grass until disappearing into tall rushes.  We see bluebirds, waxwings, finches, hawks, flickers, tree swallows, meadowlarks, owls,  and all the usual town birds.    Feels good to know Dog Bark Park is providing for the birds.  And, they in turn, are providing natural pest control along with the pleasures of their song and beauty.

Thoughts on an Idaho Summer

What’s great about Summer in Idaho?   Abundant sunshine.  Blue skies.  The slow turn of prairie & canyon lands from green to amber.  Short mosquito season.  Warm breezes, open windows.  Visitors arriving from all over.  Fresh local fruits & vegetables.  Hanging laundry outdoors in the fragant dry air.  A full palette of outdoor activity options.  Catching the stillness of the very moment when the summer sun sets.  These are just a few reasons to celebrate summer in Idaho!

Enjoy summer with us through this sampling of images.  Better yet; come visit & experience Idaho yourself!

Flag Face

Flag Face

Sprocket, our golden retriever pup, walks with us every morning to put out this flag.  When younger than his now rather grown-up age of six months, he used to bark at the face .  This photo was taken shortly before the 4th of July.

Bicycle Boy Rodney

Bicycle Boy RodneyMeet Rodney, our perpetual wooden biker kid! He rides out every morning to the grassy bank near the road. There, in his own innocent way, he reminds speedy drivers to slow down as they enter town. Then, at day's end he rests in our studio/giftshop until we arrive next day. Sage plant in bloom

 We were given a small sprig of sage a few years ago & now it has taken over the rock birdbath sharing space with it on a log pedestal.  Hummingbirds even found the lush blooms attractive this summer.  Visitors to Dog Bark Park are welcome to take a clipping  home for their gardens as a remembrance of Idaho.

 

August Rainbow over Dog Bark Park
August Rainbow over Dog Bark Park

And on a warm dusty dog day in late August, a special rainbow may just about take your breath away!  The magic of the moment.  It’s Idaho.

More Music in the Park near Dog Bark Park

July 14 & Sept 12th are the music dates.  And we have openings for staying in the dog either night.  Both performances are at the lovely Grangeville City Park.  Free, unless you want VIP seating; otherwise bring a lawn chair or blanket to enjoy the concerts under the shade of giant elm trees.

Tuesday July 14th it’s the popular family band Barewires from Moscow Idaho playing blues as the thread that holds it all together, seasoned with rock and who knows what else sprinkled in.

Saturday Sept 12th it’s the Big Red Barn band from Spokane, WA playing a funky blend of bluegrass, blues, country, jazz & other string-band music.

Big Red Barn Band plays Sept 12, 2009 near Dog Bark Park

Big Red Barn Band plays Sept 12, 2009 near Dog Bark Park

Both performances start at 6 pm.  Check-in at the big dog can be as early as 3:30 pm giving plenty of time to dine before the concert or gather together a picnic to take with you.