I am thoroughly enjoying raising a puppy. Oliver is such a character and his daily antics bring joy, laughter and usually a big mess. I just never know what the day will bring.
Oliver is a large German Shepherd puppy of fluff, muscle and mayhem who is now almost seven months old and weighs well over eighty pounds.
Oliver learning to protect the yard with his mentor Truman. Truman’s mentor Walter (deceased) taught Truman to patrol the yard perimeter when he was a pup.
Oliver always wakes up at first light…literally. On week days that is fine as my husband gets up early to go to work, but it would be nice if he would sleep in on weekends. His morning routine usually begins in one of two ways…either sitting quietly beside my side of the bed staring at me until I wake up or trying his best to be good and stay quiet until my husband wakes up.
Oliver’s post-dawn quiet requires an extraordinary effort of puppy self control and usually ends up taking the form of either loud chewing on a bone, digging in his kennel or gently chewing on a shrill squeaky toy.
Trying so very hard to be quiet and good.
As soon as my husband awakes puppy petting commences and Oliver goes over. Belly scratches are his favorite morning, noon and night. I have learned that his need for belly affection is an inherited trait passed from his mother to her offspring. Then, too, belly scratches have be specifically approved by household management as a safe early morning activity for a puppy with a full bladder.
Oliver has been to puppy training classes and has the graduation certificates to prove it. He can sit, stay and come. Oh, he can do a lot of things…when he wants to. There are still times when he forgets how much he has learned. Such as when he tries to chew on his people like they are fellow puppies or chew toys. Out comes the lemon juice and a quick squirt on his tongue immediately reinstates his memory. Getting juiced is something to be avoided by man or beast.
Magic dog words are important for both the owner and puppy to learn. Oliver’s magic words are treats and squirrel! He really loves to chase squirrels, but seems to think they always run to the same tree when they never do. In addition to squirrels, he expends great effort chasing rabbits, birds and butterflies. He scared the heck out of a large ferocious Monarch Butterfly just yesterday. Oliver is a lightening fast chaser who never catches anything…with one exception. Oliver has moved on from his earlier passion for bee chasing.
On occasion Oliver wakes up in a rip and tear mood. The look on his face immediately gives him away and I know that his German Shepherd brain has shut off and the puppy brain has taken control.
German Shepherd brain day. Puppy brain day.
A recent example of puppy brain includes a marigold massacre.
First he brought me the flowers, then he massacred them while Truman was napping and I was doing dishes. Truman barked Oliver out for this display of terrier behavior. Truman continually tries to instill the concept that some German Shepherd decorum must be maintained.
Of course that just makes Truman a target. One of Oliver’s favorite games is to pester that huge 110 pound white German Shepherd while he is napping by purposely sniffing the inside of Truman’s ears, then smacking the old dog on the head with his huge bear-sized puppy paws. Surprisingly, this is not always as well tolerated by Truman. Sometimes its best just to let nature take it course and accept, like with the bees, experience can be a great teacher. Eventually, Truman gives the pup a lesson in respecting one’s betters if not his elders.
Truman the good and gorgeous!
And, then, of course there was yesterday when Oliver confused his green tennis balls with my green tomatoes.
I was rather proud of Oliver’s attention to detail and his work ethic. Must be the German in him. He picked all but two of my green tomatoes.
I must admit to sharing in his disappointment as I watched him test whether his shining green tomatoes would bounce on the patio. Oh, the sadness on that puppy face! However, his melancholy was quickly abated by a new mission. Struck with instant inspiration after the tomato bounce test failed, he carried them off to be buried under the pine tree in the back of the yard. Hole digging is cure all for almost any puppy life disappointment…well, except for neutering.
All that digging in the hard Centerville clay must have worked up quite an appetite for the lad, as he returned to the garden one last time to feast on the remaining ripe cherry tomatoes.
Oliver was tired after his industrious morning and spent the rest of his day napping, eating, drinking, bird watching, squeaking his rubber chicken, squirrel and rabbit chasing, wrestling with Truman, splashing in the big metal water trough, playing fishing for puppies with mom and the garden hose and retrieving Frisbee.
The very last thing Oliver did last night, when I was one the phone with my daughter, was he picked up his entire laundry basket of toys and dumped them out. Finding the toy he wanted, Oliver gently brought it to me. What a thoughtful sweetie! He got lots of petting, a treat, and we played. Oh, how I love my puppy.
He starts obedience classes again next week.
Green tomatoes look a lot like green apples when they are laying in the grass and what would the first day of September be without a great apple recipe. This recipe for apple bars is outstanding for two reasons they taste like apple pie and they keep well.
Whether a great treat option for a school child’s lunchbox or as tasty snack on while working out on a treadmill these bars hold together and do not disappoint.
Frosted Apple Pie Bars
2-1/2 cups flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable shortening (Crisco)
2 egg yolks, plus enough milk to measure 2/3 cup
1 -1/2 cups of crumbled cornflakes cereal
10 medium apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1-1/2 cups of sugar
1-1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
2 egg whites
1 cup of powdered sugar
3-4 teaspoons of water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix flour, 1 Tablespoon of sugar and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Cut in shortening. Stir in egg yolk mixture until dough forms.
Divide the dough into two pieces. On a lightly floured surface roll out one piece of dough. It will be thin. Place into a 15 X 10 X 1-inch jelly roll baking sheet.
Sprinkle cornflakes over the dough. Spread apple slices evenly over the cornflakes.
In a small dish combine sugar and cinnamon. Spread over the apples.
Roll out the other 1/2 of dough and place on top of apples. Pinch edges of the dough together like you would for a pie.
In small mixing bowl, beat egg whites together until frothy. Spread over the crust.
Bake for one hour. Remove from oven.
In small mixing bowl combine powdered sugar and water. Drizzle the glaze over the hot crust.