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.

Sweet Willy is 10 years old – Specials offered

 This year marks the 10th year that guests have been arriving to stay inside Sweet Willy’s giant dog body. 

Sweet Willy the big dog inn for humans

Over his ten years, he has gained much notoriety and blazed trails for Dog Bark Park around the world.  We think he has easily earned a Perfect 10 for good work!
 
To celebrate, Dog Bark Park is offereing 10th anniversary specials throughout the year.   Look for announcements of the specials here & on our social media channels.
 
Our 1st special is all about another breed of dog – labrador retrievers!
 
Order 2 small-size labrador carvings from our online gallery and receive a $10 rebate.  This offer is valid until March 10, 2012.

Labrador Retriever - Black, Yellow, Chocolate, shown sitting pose

 
 Labs are available in sitting or standing poses.  Each comes with a brass license tag located underneath the red neckerchief & an informational hangtag. 
 
To receive the $10 rebate, both dogs need to be ordered at the same time & shipped to the same address. 
The $10 rebate will be issued as a refund at the same time we email acknowledgement of the order.

Labrador Retriever - Sitting, Standing

 
 
     Please join us in observing Sweet Willy’s 10th birthday.  If labradors aren’t the breed of choice for you or yours, do check back from time to time for other surprise specials.
 
    Sweet Willy thanks everyone for being a part of his first 10 years.  “Keep on barkin’!” is this beagle’s message when asked about his special birthday!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Slideshow images

With assistance from TripAdvisor, we’ve put together this short slideshow with music that gives a taste of Dog Bark Park.  Most of the items we’ve added to our outdoor art garden are included. Enjoy the visit. And let us know your reactions.

To start the slideshow click here.

Idaho & Czech Republic share a Connection

Until January we had not even a thought we would had any connection here in Idaho with the Czech Republic.  Other than our son visited Prague last year for a vacation.  We’re accustomed to receiving media inquiries about Dog Bark Park & that is what happened a few months ago when the editor of Dogs Magazin contacted us for information & images to include in an upcoming issue of the magazine. 

Aktuální číslo

With the central cover photo being a Beagle we knew why Sweet Willy, our big beagle bed & breakfast would be included!  An article with 6 photos of Dog Bark Park are on pages 96 & 97.    And that’s our connection to the Czech Republic.  It is a small world afterall.  It will seem even smaller if anyone from the Czech Republic comes to visit!

Behind the scenes at Dog Bark Park

Running a small mom & pop business means that Mom and Pop are always taking care of much more then tending the shop.  They usually do everything needed to keep the business in operation from maintenance, to marketing, to shoveling snow, mowing the lawn, office work to banking to landscaping; the list goes on and on. 

At Dog Bark Park we (thats Mom & Pop!) enjoy applying our creativity wherever we can to the more rudimentary necessities of our business.  We try to put our personal touch on nearly everything.  That includes outdoor signage and decorations that need refurbishing or replacing from time to time. 

Dog Bark Park Storefront

We’re in the process right now of replacing 3 yellow storefront flags that Frances designs & then stitches on her workhorse Pfaff sewing machine.  Two larger flags flank both sides of the entryway to the parking lot which also need to be replaced this year.  One will be of green nylon & the other yellow fabric this year.  Lacking a table large enough to cut the fabric we make do by rolling 100 inches of fabric out on the living room rug to measure & cut it to size.  Then the flag pieces are taken to the kitchen table which becomes the sewing table.

Sewing a large yellow flag for Dog Bark Park entrance

We’ll be ready for the spring/summer busy season with bright new flags greeting everyone!

Also during the slower winter months we often get to let our creative pulses run free…maybe its called tinkering!  Using scrap pieces of lumber & plywood, voila, a funky yet comfortable map chair naming memorable locations of our lives.

Scrap wood becomes Map Chair

From NYC

   to Rome
      to Northampton
         to Fargo
            to Two Dot
            anyone know where that is?
to Cottonwood, Idaho and……..
the list goes on!

Jack Frost on Thanksgiving Eve

Frosty window

This was our view from our office this afternoon – a beautiful snowflake patterned frosted window.  Jack Frost nipping for certain with afternoon temperatures barely above zero and now tonight at zero or maybe less.

Outlook for tomorrow includes warmer temps than the last few days with more snow probable.  A lovely start to the holiday season.  Many of Idaho’s ski areas are now open or opening this weekend.

At Dog Bark Park the big dog is now closed for the winter & will re-open for overnight visitors next April.  Meanwhile holiday orders for our chainsaw carved wooden canines are keeping us plenty busy in the studio where the wood stove has been working overtime buring our scrap wood keeping us warm & happy these extra-cold days.

We have a good selection of small-size carvings in stock for quick shipping.  Also our Dog Bark Park mugs & selected sizes of t-shirts & ladies polos.  Phone for details/pricing.

We enjoyed making these two custom dogs (Akita & Beagle )that mailed out to the new families this week.   Customers usually send photos of their dogs for us to use as guides in painting the carving to look like their special pet.  And if photos aren’t available we often can work from descriptions of the dog’s markings.

Akita custom painted dog

         

Beagle custom painted

Aren’t these guys cute? 

We hope their new owners are pleased, too.
Enjoy Thanksgiving.  And if Jack Frost decorates your windows, enjoy the magical configurations & think of warmer days ahead!

New item – Dog Bark Park Mugs

Dog Bark Park ceramic mugs

 

By popular request we now offer mugs decorated with our favorite images of Idaho’s famous big beagle bed and breakfast house.

Views of both sides of the big dog circle around the mug with the words Dog Bark Park Cottonwood, Idaho printed across the top.

The mugs are white ceramic with very smooth interior and exterior surfaces.  Our bed & breakfast guests have used the mugs all summer long.   They wash up easily & show no signs of coffee stains.

We have a new shipment coming in any day to have plenty of mugs on hand for the holiday season.  They are available in pairs – 2 mugs, including shipping in the continental US, are $29.50.  To order please send us an e-mail to frances@dogbarkparkinn.com or phone us at 208 962-3647.  Or, if in the area, drop by our studio at Cottonwood, Idaho to view the mugs.

We anticipate offering a series of collectible Dog Bark Park mugs with a new design issuing once a year or so.  This is the first design in the series.