Winter Activities at Dog Bark Park, a blog by Frances Conklin

Dennis & I are often asked what occupies our time at Dog Bark Park during the winter when our bed & breakfast inn is closed from November through March.

Hibernating beagles

Hibernating beagles

While the big dog is in hibernation & traffic is light out on the highway during winter, as much as we might wish to join the big dog for a long sleep, we instead focus on activities that can only be accomplished during this slower season.

During November, December & into January we’re kept busy in the carving studio making dog sculptures ordered as special holiday gifts. By the end of the holidays we’re typically depleted of inventory for our gift shop.

Dennis, Frances and Sprocket

In the studio, photo by David C.

After a short break in January, we take up the saws & paintbrushes again to begin rebuilding inventory of dog carvings in preparation for the busy summer season ahead.

Creating a dog carving

Creating a dog carving

Last week we increased our supply of carvings from 24 pieces on the shelves in our gift shop to 64 pieces completed & ready for sale.

Dog carvings on shelves

Dog carvings on shelves

We didn’t make such rapid progress this week preparing & packing some wholesale orders for shipping & doing other tasks in and away from the studio instead.
However, by the time April arrives we should have nearly 200 pieces  stocked for shipping to customers or selling directly from the shelves.

After the holidays, while our bodies continue resting from the long days of activity during the previous months, we  kick our mental energies into high gear creating new ideas for our art, business marketing & such. This is when we develop new postcard & other product designs, clean up the shop & store, order in new supplies for the inn, establish goals & objectives for the new year and the like.

We also allow ourselves more flexible work hours at the studio; sometimes not opening when the weather is too inclement.

Winter at Dog Bark Park, photo by Wild Web West

Winter at Dog Bark Park, photo by Wild Web West

We enjoy a bit more time at home reading, watching television & spending creative time in the kitchen & on the computer; all leisure luxuries mostly unavailable to us during our vibrant high season.

By mid-March we eagerly await the return of  spring’s beauty &  the opportunity to welcome visitors & guests to our wonderful part of Idaho.

Who comes to see the World’s Biggest Beagle?

That is a question often asked of us during media interviews or by drop-in visitors to Dog Bark Park.  Our reply is usually short but true, “The world, & people just like you.” 

Guest dog Miffy the beagle from Chicago

 

Today our visitors included two gents from Scotland on a whirlwind drive across America, a car full of young folks from Pocatello, a couple from California, a truck driver & his wife on vacation from Nampa, a guy from Nevada returning home after attending a Univ. of Idaho Vandals football game (UofI won!), a geocacher, and pug owners from California.  Some came because seeing the World’s Two Biggest Beagles was on their agenda; others were drive-by drop-ins.  
Miffy came from Chicago recently with his human parents, Nisha & Sascha, who have been teaching in America for about five years.  After reading an article about Dog Bark Park in the Chicago Tribune they planned a vacation to Idaho to include a two-night stay in the big beagle.  Miffy and Sprocket, our resident golden retriever and ambassador-in-training at Dog Bark Park, enjoyed some spirited play together.

Guests Vikram & his parents from India w/Dennis

Our first guests from India also visited recently.  Vikram & his parents were travelling around western US & he went to great lengths for the visit to Dog Bark Park to be a total surprise for his folks.  Dennis & I enjoy helping to plan surprise or special occassion visits for our guests.
Recently an Austrian magazine published an article about architectural wonders around the world. Included was a photo of Dog Bark Park sandwiched between images of Pisa, the Eiffel Tower & the Roman Coliseum.  Never would we have imagined to be in such esteemed company! 

Boxer and Beagle lovers last minute gift ideas

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas & we have three unadopted large-size dog carvings available for very special gifts. 

Large standing Brindle Boxer ready to gift wrap & send

Call for availability of small-size carvings.

Large-size ones in stock for immediate shipping are:

Brindle Boxer standing pose, w/cropped ears. One only. Ships via UPS.

Beagle – standing pose.  One only. Ships via UPS. Small standing beagles also available.

Large-size Standing Beagle ready to Giftwrap & Send

                       

Large & small-size Howling Beagles

Beagle – Howling pose. One only. Ships via UPS.  Small-size beagles also available, shipping Priority Mail.

Spring 2008 Newsletter

New Puppy WalterStay & LearnUno the Beagle

Recipe

Tidbits

walterWalter

Last fall we sadly reported our golden retriever Luther had died. We now have Walter, our new ambassador-in-training golden puppy. He’s quickly learning ambassador duties and eagerly welcomes your visits. Walter has enjoyed romping in the deep snows this winter and equally loves to rest near the studio woodstove.

 

Stay and Learn Spring Weekend Packages

We’ve teamed with Lewis-Clark State College (LCSC) to offer four Stay and Learn excursions. Stay one or more nights at our famous big dog & take a one-day personal enrichment class offered by LCSC community programs instructors. Check your calendar and then treat yourself to one of these weekend getaways of discovery, relaxation & enrichment. Class sizes are limited – book early!

Package 1Illuminate Your Life – A Candle Making Primer …………………………. Sat. 4/5/08

Candles brighten any space & make wonderful gifts. In this hands-on class
you’ll be guided step-by-step in the process of blending & crafting a candle.
By the end of this enjoyable class, you will take home your own specially

scented, colored, and molded candle, along with a mold and extra wax.
No minors please.

Location: St. Gertrude’s Monastery – Cottonwood, 3 miles from Dog Bark Park

Time: 9:30 am – 3:00 pm (lunch provided) Class Fee including supplies $ 45

Package 2Dutch Oven Cooking ………………………………………………………………….. Sat. 4/19/08

During this hands-on class, learn the basics of Dutch Oven cooking, from buying
and seasoning the ovens, through cooking. Bread, a main dish, and a dessert will
be prepared, with lunch to follow for participants! Minors are welcome.

Location: Pioneer Park – Grangeville, 15 miles south of Dog Bark Park

Time: 10:00 am – 1:00 pm (includes lunch) Class Fee including supplies $ 35

SoapmakingPackage 3Heavenly Scent – A Soap Making Primer Sat. 5/24/08

Create beautiful cold-process soap the way Grandma made it. Use updated
methods & ingredients, learn safety tips and how to compose your soap. Learn
how to mix, stir, fragrance, mold, and trim the finished product. Bring a towel,
long sleeve shirt, wooden spoon, candy thermometer & rubber gloves.

No minors please.
Location: St. Gertrude’s Monastery – Cottonwood, 3 miles from Dog Bark Park

Time: 9:00 am – 2:00 pm (lunch provided)

Class Fee including supplies $ 54

Package 4 Herbal Salves & Tonics ……………………………………………………………… Sat. 6/7/08

Local herbs can enhance your health and well-being. In this hands-on class
learn how you can benefit from their use in a setting where herbs & fruits of
the earth are revered and honored for their gifts to us. Students will make their

own salves and taste tonics. Field trip if weather allows. Minors are welcome.

Location: St. Gertrude’s Monastery – Cottonwood, 3 miles from Dog Bark Park

Time: 9:00 am – 2:30 pm (lunch provided) Class Fee including supplies $ 35

Reserve early – class sizes are limited. For booking or more information: phone Dog Bark Park, 208 962-3647 or e-mail us at dogbark@camasnet.com. Regular rates at Dog Bark Park apply, www.dogbarkparkinn.com/lodging.htm. We hope to hear from you soon! The dog, and enjoyable learning, await your discovery.

Uno

Uno the Beagle

Sweet Willy (that’s the pet name of the bed & breakfast beagle at Dog Bark Park) is proud to welcome another beagle to join him in worldwide fame. In February, Uno won the Best of Show at the annual Westminster Kennel Club AKC Dog Show in New York City. Sweet WillyHe made history by being the first beagle in the 132-year history of the prestigious show to win the top prize.

Sweet Willy has also enjoyed more fame – having been on AOL.com in November & featured in an award-winning documentary that recently aired on London’s Avalon TV. He’s been included in numerous travel publications & books, often making the cover shot; guess he’s just a pretty boy – or pretty unusual!

Recipe

Some of you will remember the Dog Bark Park Recipe Contest held almost two years ago. Here’s another winning recipe, filling & warm from Tanny of Deary, Idaho. Because it uses lentils (they are grown on the Palouse Prairie not far from Dog Bark Park) she calls this recipe Lentili rather than Chili.

SpoonLENTILI3 cups water or chicken broth2 cups dried lentils

½ cup sliced/diced celery

1 cup sliced/diced carrots

1 medium-size can diced tomatoes

½ tsp powdered chicken bullion (or 2 cubes)

½ tsp black pepper

¼ cup chopped jalapeno pepper, optional (adds heat)

¼ cup white wine, optional

Put all in a big pot. After bringing to a boil turn down to simmer, cooking until lentils are soft (about 1 hour). Stir occasionally. Serve with crispy bread & a salad. Sipping a little more white wine or ginger ale with your Lentili is good too!

Tidbits

Recent Bark news:

Our UK friends may have seen us on More 4 TV airing of the award-winningAmerica Unchained documentary film. The film chronicles one man’s car
trip from coast to coast to see whether it is still possible to patronize only
independently owned gas stations, restaurants, motels & one beagle inn!

For more information visit www.DaveGorman.com. Hopefully the film will
soon show in America. A book by the same title releases in April.

A best-worst media occurrence hit in late November. Without any advance
notice an article about Dog Bark Park appeared on a front page of AOL.com.
A blizzard of holiday orders came in & miraculously we managed to get all
promised carvings off on time!

Tails are also wagging around here since the big dog is included in a coffee table book, Extreme Hotels, published in a tri-lingual edition by Tectum Publishers
of Belgium. The book is a journey to some of the world’s most unusual hotels and bed & breakfast inns.

Let us know if you run across news articles of Dog Bark Park. We’re keeping a giant scrap book!

The big dog opens for guests in April. We welcome your visit. Walter will be ready to greet you with tail wags! Enjoy the last days of winter as it transitions to spring.