Welcome to the Family Pup

A house without a dog is lacking – it’s hard to explain the type of void that exists after your dog dies, but you know that it’s there everytime you walk through the front door, accidentally drop food on the floor, or come across an old toy. It’s been a rough few months of transition in our house after losing Greta, and we were very hesitant about bringing a new dog into the family until just the right now.

Apparently, that time is now.

We just completed the adoption paperwork on the newest, and youngest member of The Elliott House – Phoebe!

Puppy smiles are the best smiles!

Phoebe’s story  didn’t start out as the happiest. She came into an Austin shelter as a tiny puppy with a wounded front leg, Demodex mange, and Hookworms. The wound on her leg was caused by some sort of bite, which became infected and spread to her bone. For a while, it looked like she may lose the leg entirely, but after months of antibiotics and a few weeks of physical therapy, she’s made a lot of progess. The infection has been cleared up and she’s beginning to put some weight on her leg. She still limps and forgets to use the leg at times, but it’s progress!

Phoebe is 5 months old and about 45 pounds. The shelter thinks she’s an Anatolian Shepherd mix and will eventually be 60-70 pounds when full grown.

Despite everything she’s been through – you couldn’t ask for a sweeter, or happier puppy. The downside – she’s still a puppy and because of her health problems is a little behind in obediance training. She can sit and she’s crate-trained and almost housebroken, but that’s where the training stops. We now have to work on the chewing problems, mouthing, barking, chasing the cats…and the chickens, etc.

Any helpful puppy training tips out there? The cats/chickens are not enjoying the constant games of chase…



Growing Peppers as Perennials

I’ve tried to grow peppers twice before – big beautiful bell peppers. I dreamed of eating fajitas, fresh salads, maybe even some stuffed peppers, but it was not to be…both attempts resulted in failure. The plants themselves do okay – they get tall and grow leaves. Sometimes they even bloom and the flowers appear to get pollinated. Then, disaster inevitably strikes. The peppers that do grow are small and spindly. Or they fall off the plant before maturity. Or they get devoured by bugs/birds/squirrels/insert critter. Either way – it leads to disappointment all around. All those fajitas that could have been enjoyed… I usually have to console myself with margaritas.

Earlier this spring as we were discussing our garden plans, my husband pointed out that while our pepper plants had survived winter, they weren’t looking great and he mentioned that he wanted to pull them up. My response was a very whiny and resounding “Nooooooooooooo!”. I wanted to give them one more chance. You see – winters here in Austin are notoriously mild. And my theory was that pepper plants that make it through the few cold spells we have exhibit stronger stems & deeper roots and are much more likely to thrive in the harsh Austin summer than a newly planted young pepper.

California Wonder Bell Pepper – a little over a year old and almost 3 feet tall.

I’m half afraid that writing this post will doom my pepper plants to failure, but so far so good! I’m holding my breath as I write this, but it seems for once that our pepper plants are producing like crazy. We have 3 bell pepper plants and one Serrano pepper plant. I use the Serranos in my salsa recipes – I just need some ripe tomatoes and a few onions. Delicious!

Purple Beauty Peppers – gorgeous color right?
California Wonder Bell Peppers
Serrano Peppers are fairly spicy and turn red when they ripen.

Crazy Texas weather is finally good for something! Any other pepper tips out there?