Karma Acres Farm

Celebrating the Art of Living Well, Country Style!

Slow Down at Intuition Ale

Karma Acres Farm
shows off at The Slow Down

Karma Acres Farm participated in weeklong event celebrating local restaurants, farmers and artisans that take pride in sourcing their produce and ingredients locally.

Intuition Ale Works hosted this very fun and trendy event.  The theme for the week was “Eat Where You Plant Your Feet.”

Slow Down was a food fair of sorts, with locally-crafted brews and delicious appetizers featuring fresh, local ingredients from some of Northeast Florida’s finest small family farms prepared by some of the top chefs in our area.

Karma Acres showed off their new honey of the month: Tulip Poplar/Blackberry.  It is a bold-flavored North Florida honey.  We also found a new application for our mint infused honey.  It is extremely yummy on watermelon slices.

Participating restaurants, farms and artisans include: 29 South Restaurant; Bistro Aix; Black Hog Farm; Black Sheep Restaurant; Bold Bean Coffee Roasters; Eat Your Yard Jax; Grassroots Natural Market; Heritage Hen Farm; Intuition Ale Works; Karma Acres Farm; KYV Farm; Marker 32; Minorcan Datil Pepper Products; The Patio at Pastiche; Restaurant Orsay; The Spice & Tea Exchange; Sweet Grass Dairy; Taverna; Trad’s of Jacksonville Garden Center; The Veggie Bin.

Earlier in the week, Intuition hosted and/or sponsored other events.

Farm-to-Restaurant Symposium at Intuition Ale Works -A networking event for folks in the farm and food industry who are interested in learning about how to develop farm/ restaurant partnership programs.

The Veggie Bin Community Social Supper  – A chance for local food enthusiasts to get together, build community, meet new friends and trade great local food ideas. The Veggie Bin provided one local produce bin per table and Intuition Ale Works provided beer for each guest.

Inaugural Wednesday Food market at Riverside Market Antiques & Interiors

 

King Street Farmers Market Opens

Find Karma Acres Honey at the new King Street Market!

The word is spreading quickly about Karma Acres Honey.  We were invited to be part of the inaugural opening at the King Street Farmers Market.  This market is open on Wednesdays from 11am - 2 pm and is located at 1021 King Street in the Riverside area, between Post and Park Streets -next to Riverside Market Antiques & Interiors.

The market features fresh produce, baked goods, honey, herbs, teas, artisan foods, organic goods and much more.  Lunch is provided by Corner Taco and sponsored by the good folks at Intuition Ale Works.

For the first market, it was busy.  We met some great people (and sold some honey).  If you are in the area come visit us at the market along with some other great vendors like Teagan Farms,  Alex’s Russian Bakery, The Veggie Bin who will be representing several produce farmers, Green Lotus Organics and Teas from Lotus BudTea Co, and the Corner Taco.

Teagan Farms brings fresh produce to the King Street Market

The Veggie Bin brings the Farmer’s Market to your door!

Veronica from Florida Crest Farm brings fresh herbs for you to pick! — at the King Street Farmers Market

Fresh – the name says it all!
at the King Street Farmers Market.

Karma Acres Farm on the Slow Food First Coast’s Tour de Farm

Karma Acres Farm partnered with Conners A-Maize-ing Acres Farm and Sweet Grass Dairy, a 140 –acre family owned and operated farm in southern Georgia, during the Slow Food First Coast’s “Tour de Farm”.

The Tour de Farm was for anyone who wanted to learn about local food production – where the food comes from, and the people who produce it. Families, individuals, groups of friends, cyclists, all were welcome!   Over 12,000 visited over 20 First Coast farms,  attended educational farm workshops, met great chefs, tasted produce right from the field, took walking tours of the farms, and lots more.

Conners A-Maize-ing Acres in Western Nassau county is a 5th & 6th generation working family farm where farm animals are raised as naturally as possible and are treated with love and kindness. The farm is home to over 100 farm animals including cows, calves, goats, ducks, chickens, chicks, rabbits, pigs, our donkey named Jack, peacocks and pea hens. They grow crops in the ground and hydroponically.

 

 

We’ll BEE there!

This Saturday, March 17th, from 9 AM until 1 PM, Karma Acres Farm will be at the Callahan Farmer’s Market for the reopening of the Market!  We have great fresh Orange Blossom, Sweet Gallberry, and Wildflower honey available.  Hope to see you there!

A Good Year

Today marks our one-year anniversary at Karma Acres Farm, and it’s hard to believe the year has passed so quickly!  As I look back on all we have done and all the wonderful people and experiences of the past year, I am overcome with a sense of gratitude.  I am so grateful to the farm for all it has given us this first year.

Who knew there would be a blueberry and pear harvest of the magnitude it was during our first year?  or that the bees would love the flowers available to them so much they would make honey so good it would cause a friend to declare “it tastes like flowers in a jar!” or that we would be eating home-grown lettuce and strawberries in January?

Who knew we would meet such a wonderful group of people in Callahan and help get a new Callahan Farmer’s Market started there? (And most importantly, who knew we would ride on a 4th of July parade float with Miss Delilah Shepperd, the Market’s miniature pot-bellied pig mascot??)  I certainly did not, nor did I know that we would be lucky enough to share all this with each other, nine dogs, and three wee donkeys!

And finally, who knew we would meet all of the wonderful people we have met here (you know who you are!)?  I am so grateful to all of you for your interest and support of our farm adventure.  I have learned so much from all of you, and appreciate reading your posts and ideas so much.  Thank you for being part of our first year at Karma Acres Farm!

“I never had any other desire so strong, and so like to covetousness, as that one which I have had always, that I might be master at last of a small house and large garden…”  – Abraham Cowley, “The Garden,” 1666

Bonnet Comes Home

I hadn’t been “donkey gazing” in a very long time.  Just sitting and watching her eat all the grass she wants is such a treat.  I had missed it much more than I had realized.  I think we are both enjoying our new-found contentment.

Chuy and the Magic Closet

Because of Chuy, we have taken to calling our little pantry room at the Farm the “Magic Closet”.  We keep just about everything in there, and could not imagine life in our little farmhouse without this space.  Canned goods, canning supplies, baskets for berry-picking and veggie-gathering, large pots and bowls, stacks of clean dog towels, rolls of paper towels, are all somewhat neatly arranged on the floor to ceiling shelving, so nice that it caused a friend to declare that she had “pantry envy”.  We go into this room probably fifty times a day for one thing or another.  For Chuy, however, this room means something even more special – this is the room from which his food magically emerges. 

Chuy is very fond of food, and if you think about it from a canine perspective, the fact that his human can supply food on a consistent, and seemingly effortless, basis must seem like magic.  He is not sure of the details, but somehow his human goes into the pantry closet and comes out with kibble – every day, twice a day – this must be a Magic Closet!   For quite some time now, no matter how many times we go into this long, narrow room, Chuy is right behind us.  It must feel to him like entering Narnia.  He occasionally gets closed in for a few minutes, and when we miss him, we know where to look.  It doesn’t matter if his human goes in and comes right back out, Chuy follows.  When the door to the Magic Closet is closed, he often gazes at it longingly, just waiting until the next time it opens. If left open a crack, he has been known to pry open the door.

Chuy loves the Magic Closet, and would probably stay there all day if we let him.  It doesn’t seem to matter that the magic only happens twice a day.  He knows that sometimes we drop a kibble or two, a treasure to be sought whenever the door to the Magic Closet opens.  Chuy is an eternal optimist.  His enthusiasm reminds us every day, that the magic is always there waiting.

Francee

When you live with as many dogs as we do at our farm (a total of nine when all are there), part of the enjoyment is watching not only how they interact with us, but how they interact with each other.  It is absolutely fascinating for us to just sit and watch them.  We talked about that this weekend, and that growing up, we each only had one dog at a time, so we never saw this aspect of living with multiple dogs.  Our dogs are all “rescues” of one sort or another, and range from the very large (two rottweilers) to the very small ( a chiweenie: chihuahua/dachshund mix).  As in all groups, each dog has its place in the scheme of things and its own personality, as well as its own friends and those with whom there are “issues”.  Who really knows how this happens, for humans or for dogs.

You may recall that Jesse is the alpha dog in my five-dog pack, and he is the one to whom the others answer.  He is always on guard and quick to respond to “intruder alert” from Sadie, our most hyper-vigilant girl.  But another equally important roll is played by little Francee, the “omega” dog in our pack.  She is the one who never causes trouble, is quick to try to soothe hurt feelings and disagreements among the others, and the first to make friends with any new-comers.  Every group needs a “love ambassador”, and for us, that is Francee.  Always approachable, she is submissive to any dog that comes her way, quickly wins them over, and gets their love and devotion in return.  Everybody, human and canine, loves Francee.  Her devotion to Chuy when he first came to live with us was so touching.  I knew it would be Francee who would begin to interact with him first, and sure enough, she was the first to make friends with the sad little pug who had lived too long in a cage.  Now, they are best buds, and the last time I took Francee to the vet, he remarked on how squeaky clean her ears were.  I told him that was because Chuy cleans them for her so thoroughly each night, so sweet to watch.

Francee came to us as a foster, and we even placed her in another home for a short time.  She was so miserable by herself without her friends that we all thought it best for her to return to us.  She is just one of those dogs who really seems to need other dogs, and the pack needs her.

First Day at Callahan’s Farmers Market

The Great Okra Project

Things I learned from The Farm this weekend: “Two buckets” of okra is a lot once you start pickling it. Jam can sometimes be finicky about jelling. I have a renewed appreciation for what it takes to do canning…

I do have to give a “shout out” to the farmer who grew our okra. I told him I wanted small okra for pickling, and he gave me just that – it was beautiful and just picked that morning. If you would like some, give Vernon a call at 879-2705 or cell at 509-9436. He is in the Ratliff area of Callahan.

Okra grown in Callahan. Just the right size for pickling.

What is now referred to as "the Great Okra Project" - making pickled okra.

Processing the jars of pickled okra in a water bath.

The finished product - 70 pints of pickled okra. Sure hope it tastes like Marba's...

The Apricot Pug

The apricot pug needed a foster home.  Would I help?

With four small dogs already, Lee had said “no more”, but I convinced him that fostering would be different.  These dogs would only be with us temporarily before going on to their new homes.   Foster homes are greatly needed and we would be doing a good deed.  After all, it would be temporary.  Did I mention temporary?

Chuy and his favorite nylabone chew.

I met Orlando Pug Rescue in the Walmart parking lot and picked up Chuy.   The apricot pug came with a belly band and two small toys.  The belly band was needed, we were told, because he was not completely housebroken.  His former owner said that he could never be trusted in the house.  She kept him in a crate all day, and wondered why he went in the house as soon as he was let out.  In addition, she told us, he suffered from severe separation anxiety whenever he was left alone, which was quite often apparently.  Poor little dignified dog wearing a belly band.  But his former owner said one other thing.  She said he was the gentlest of souls, and did not have a mean bone in his body.  She was right about only that.

Chuy is a beautiful specimen of pug-ness.  In fact, he is a show-quality pug, special because of his more rare and “desirable” apricot color, who had been used as a stud dog.  Being beautiful, however, had not served him well.  Born in Arizona, sold to a breeder in Colorado, he went to pug rescue at least one time before he moved to Florida and ended up with his last owner in Orlando.    At five years old, he had moved around so many times, been used as a commodity, and was the most depressed dog I had ever encountered.  He watched and waited, no doubt waiting to be moved again.

I read later that stud dogs often fare far worse because they are only handled at breeding time.  At least the females have their puppies.   Chuy probably had no one.  People were temporary.  Not particularly unkind perhaps, but definitely temporary.

For the first several months, Chuy sat on the sidelines and did not play with the other dogs.  He stuck to me like glue, and cried, screamed, whenever I left the room, even if just for a minute.  He reminded me of a foster child who is afraid to bond with the family, knowing they will just be moving again.  I had placed his two toys in the basket where I kept the other dog toys.  It was heartbreaking to watch Chuy go over to the huge basket and carefully select only his own toy from among them, never playing with the other dogs or toys.  Clinging to the only familiar things he had.  He was just waiting to be moved again.

It took many months of care and routine for him to even begin to bond with the other dogs and feel at home.  Francee was first, with her magical, Omega-dog routine, and she won him over.  Little by little, he came out of his shell.  For a long time, he preferred his own toys, but eventually, he chose others from the basket.    He started to play chase with the other dogs.  As for the “housebreaking issue” – doggie door, problem solved.

Chuy has learned that he can count on his family routine.  He has become a different dog.  “Choo Choo Pug” now sleeps every night on mom’s right hand side, licks mom’s nose every morning to wake her up, jumps down in the morning and barks for his kibble, and has the funniest “mad dog” run when he is feeling extra exuberant.  He cleans Francee’s ears every night, and submits to Pearl’s face-cleaning, even though he clearly doesn’t like it.  He still hates riding in the car, and I often wonder if it because he is worried that he is being taken away again.  He remains the gentlest of souls, and yes, he is staying.  We could not bear to move Chuy again, so we made him a permanent part of the Karma Acres family.  Watching him play with the other dogs, playing probably for the first time since he was a pup, we know he is joyful .

Pug Licker

It's all about the Tongue!

From the first time I met the little black pug at the pound, she has been a “licker”.  At our first meeting, in the cold, dismal Jacksonville pound on McDuff Avenue, she jumped up in my lap and began to vigorously lick under my chin.  I thought it endearing, and a sign that she was meant to come home with me.  Beautiful little black-eyed pug.    Little did I know then that licking is just what the little black pug does – to everyone and everything…

My friend Karen suggested the name Pearl, as in Pearl-of-a-girl, and that rarity-of- all-rarieties, the black pearl.    She was just a baby (8 months old) when she came to live with us, our first pug.  What could possibly have happened in her short life that no one wanted her?  As popular as pugs are, it was quite a surprise to find her at the pound.  Perhaps it was because she is a black pug, and black dogs of all types are much less likely to be adopted.  But who could resist a face such as hers?

As young as she was, it is safe to say that she probably never suffered abuse, just perhaps neglect.  I seem to recall something about her former owner saying she was “hyper”.  Perhaps she spent all day in a crate waiting for her owner to return – hell on earth for a young dog and especially the people-loving pug.  I am sure she danced around when let out, only to be labeled “hyper” and banished to the pound.

Now Pearl spends her days with her friends.  When I come home, it’s clear that a vigorous game of chase has taken place from the toys scattered all around the yard – outlet for all that “hyper”.  In and out the doggie door, around and around the yard – Yippee!  She is quite the athlete, as pugs go, still small, but strong, a pocket pug, Baby Pearl.   She’s a happy dog that has never experienced bad things at the hands of a human.  Every night she sleeps next to dad, every morning her “sister”, Francee, waits by the bed until Pearl joins her for breakfast.

She still licks faces and chins, dog and human, as well as other parts of her doggie friends that shall not be discussed.  Her friend, the apricot pug, endures having his face licked, but clearly does not enjoy it.  She loves to lick legs, ankles and feet when you take off your shoes.  Knees are her specialty.  She licks the doggie gate.  Sometimes she just licks the air.  We like to say that she has a certain number of “licks” that she must dispense each day.  Perhaps it is because her tongue is really much too long for her mouth, and hangs out, so licking just comes naturally.  With Pearl, it is, indeed, all about the tongue.  I saw a bumper sticker once that said “Caution: Pug cannot hold its licker”, so perhaps it is a trait common among pugs.  There was that famous screen saver of the licking pug…

I love to look at pictures of old pugs, gone gray around the muzzle, and wonder how Baby Pearl will look in old age.    Youthful, perhaps, gray, no doubt, but forever Baby Pearl.

Bird Hour

Our funky little house at Karma Acres Farm sits well off the road, and has a huge thicket of overgrown azaleas , blueberry bushes, vines, and small magnolia, holly, and oak trees in front.  This thicket grows amongst the old, tall pines we have for privacy, and we have left this area pretty much untouched so far.   It is here that Freebird lives (see previous Note) and, because of the dense vegetation, has escaped predation so far.  Even our little hunter dachshund-mix, Maggie, has not been able to find him in the thicket.

The house has a screened porch, overlooking this thicket, which we dearly love.  When we first saw the property, the porch was nearly engulfed by azaleas.  Most people who plant them never think about how large they get in maturity, and often plant them right up next to the house.    One of the first things we did was remove those closest to the porch, and have now created a small yard that we have fenced, and are keeping mowed, surrounding the house.  This gives some open space between the thicket and the porch.   Because I wanted a true, old-fashioned, southern porch,  I have outfitted it with antique wicker furniture that I got at an estate sale many years ago – the old, sturdy kind that weighs a ton, including a sofa long enough to lie down on and, of course, a rocker!  I have been carting this furniture around for years, waiting for the day there would be a Karma Acres Farm.  Now, it is perfect for the little bird-watching porch that overlooks the numerous birdfeeders we have placed in the front yard.  Comfort rules for both pets and people, since the dogs love to hang out with us there as well.

We have been enjoying a parade of birds at our feeders almost from day one.   All during our house rehab, we kept the birdfeeders filled, trying to not be too distracted by all the birds that were stopping by.  Now that the rehab work is mostly finished, we finally moved our birdbaths in this weekend, and are calling this front area the “bird spa”.    There is a nearly constant panorama of bird activity.  I remember reading that birds are as attracted to water as they are to food, and have found this to be the case everywhere I have lived.  With the addition of water,  we get both seed-eaters and non-seed eating birds visiting this area.  In the spring we had, literally, hundreds of gold finch and cedar waxwings migrating through.  Right now, the cardinals, blue jays, titmice, wrens, towhees, mockingbirds and hummingbirds are all coming to visit in droves.   Parents bring their ratty-looking bird-children to the easy pickings of the feeders.  The thicket provides them cover and protection, and they venture into our open area for food, water and baths.  We get the benefit of a constantly changing view of bird activity from the porch.

Early morning and late afternoon are the most active times.  Now that our rehab work is mostly done, we are taking to the porch around 5 PM each afternoon, glass of wine in hand,  to enjoy “Bird Hour”  We start many mornings with coffee on the same porch to watch the sun come up over the big oak tree and blueberry orchard.  This is an epecially busy time for the hummers to tank up after a long night.  Our view is up close and personal, and much better than any television show if you ask me!

Years ago, I visited Birdsong Nature Center in Thomasville, Georgia, and enjoyed their “Bird Window”, and I also loved the bird-watching porch at the Asa Wright Nature Center in Trinidad.   I vowed that someday I would replicate many of the ideas from these fabulous spots, and so far I am pleased with the results of our efforts.  We hope to have Karma Acres Farm become an official Certified Wildlife Habitat through the National Wildlife Federation, and to continue to add plantings for birds, butterflies and bees.   I am excited for the fall bird migration to begin, and look forward to seeing lots of fall warblers…and then painted and indigo bunting in the spring…

Cheers!

(All photos taken from my chair on the porch on Friday afternoon as the sun went down…)

Pug at Bird Hour.

Dogs enjoy birdwatching too.

How We Got Our Name

The road home.

My husband and I had been actively looking for a farm for long time (I had been looking all my life, but that is another story).  Our criteria were that it had to be at least five acres, have a house or mobile home that was rehab-able, and be within driving distance to Jacksonville where my parents/grandmother live, and I grew up.  My husband is a realtor, so he would find and send me the latest listings in the surrounding rural areas, and I would check them out.  Almost a year went by, and I nearly wore out my truck driving miles and miles down dirt roads looking at every property in our price range in multiple counties.  We looked all over Clay County, and put in offers on several properties, but the drive into Jacksonville is just horrendous, and it is probably good that our offers were never accepted.  It was a roller coaster, wondering if we would ever find “The Place”.

We never really looked in Nassau County, thinking that much of the area is low-lying, but since we do have friends and family who live there, we started to consider it.  The drive into town is much better, so we started looking more seriously.  We made offers on a couple of places, but again, none were accepted.

Then we found “The Place”.  The property was just the right size, great location (a little low-lying, but not bad), great price, and best of all, near the Four Creeks State Forest, where I could horseback ride, my heart’s desire.  I fell in love.

Unfortunately, the property was a bank-owned foreclosure, which meant that we would have to put in a bid along with other people and the bank would decide, based on the best offer.   We put in our bid, and I was so excited.  I just loved the place, and most of all the prospect of riding a few blocks into the 10,000 acre State Forest.  I was busy making plans for all the renovations and what we would do first.  I had my heart set on the place, certain that we would get it.

We lost the bid.  I was devastated, inconsolable, distraught in a way that really surprised me.  I had fallen in love and it didn’t work out.  I told my friends and they tried their best to make me feel better.  My friend Pat wrote in an email: “I know it sounds trite, but Karma has something better in store for you”.   Ha – I think not.

But the next day, my dear husband, always the optimist, said “Let’s keep looking, something else will come along”.

“No, I’m tired, I am never going to find it.  There is no farm in the world for me.  Forget it.”

“Let me see if anything else has come on the market in that area,”

“No, there won’t be anything; it took us months to find the one we didn’t get”

He checked anyway.

“There is a brand new listing, just came on the market today, and it is in the same area, more land, high and dry, and even closer to the Forest”.

No way.

It was Sunday night, and we couldn’t go see the property until the next morning.  Instead, we had to be content with doing all our research on-line, looking at aerial photos and maps on the Property Appraiser website.  First we noticed that, in addition to the address on Cook Drive, the property had frontage on two other streets.  It was hard to see the names on the on-line map.

“I think one is Marsh Road” I said, “The other looks like Karmal, but it hard to read.”

“Wait”, my dear husband said, looking more closely, “It’s Karma Lane!”…karma, not karmel.

We just looked at each other and started laughing, knowing wiithout even seeing it, that we had found our farm.

Some things are just meant to be.

Grandmother’s Donkey

When I was seven years old, my grandmother got a donkey that she named Dusty. Dusty was a small Mexican donkey, very sturdy, and sweet. I am not exactly sure why my grandmother decided to get a donkey, except that she had room at her small farm, loved animals, and was somewhat impulsive when it came to her animal acquisitions.  At one time or another, she had cats, dogs, fish, birds, guinea pigs, a mule and a horse that belonged to my mother.  I was her only grandchild at that point, and loved to stay with her and all her animals.  It was during the summer of 1963 that I learned to ride by riding Dusty. She was very tolerant as I learned to ride around and around my grandmother’s house. When Dusty grew tired of me, she would run under a low-hanging branch or bush to scrape me off her back. As I may have mentioned, I mainly learned to duck and dodge, as well as how to fall, from Dusty. My rides with Dusty ended the next spring when I got a horse of my own.

Dusty lived a long time, and my grandmother had her probably twenty-five years or more. My grandmother is 98 years old now, and we still talk about all her animals, and how I must have gotten my love of animals from her, as my parents don’t even have a dog or cat…

Somewhere, there is a photo of me riding Dusty that I haven’t been able to find yet, but here are my mother, my Uncle Dave, and my grandmother each on Dusty, in July 1963.  The other photo is one I took of Dusty with my first camera.  She looks a lot like Bonnet…

The Alpha Dog

Every dog pack has its alpha dog, and our five-dog pack is no exception.  Jesse, named after the outlaw Jesse James, was a shelter stray, captured without a collar or tag, running through a neighborhood.  He had clearly escaped from someone’s yard, and when he was caught and taken indoors, promptly hiked his leg on the nice rescuer-lady’s sofa.  The nice rescuer-lady took him to the pound…

I adopted Jesse the day after he was neutered, and thought that perhaps his urge to run would be lessened without his male hormones.  But, no, Jesse is just a runner.  If he escapes from the yard, which he has only done a few times, he is on the lam until he runs out of steam.  At first, we would chase him, and he would stop and look at us and be off again – what a great game!  Now that he is older and knows where home is, he comes home on his own.  Regular meals and a warm bed are great motivators, it seems.

Jesse with his favorite black plastic bags, for marking, in the background, having spotted a squirrel - in the cross-hairs...

Jesse takes his responsibilities as alpha dog very seriously.  He keeps the other dogs in line with a quick snap if they don’t behave according to pack protocol.  He patrols the yard, and when Sadie sounds her “intruder alert” bark, is the first one out the doggie door to check on things.  He takes on dogs much larger than he when they come on “his turf”.  He is every inch a macho boy-dog, a dog’s dog, even if he is a dachshund.

As a standard dachshund, he is a big boy, with an astonishing amount of prey drive.  Many may know that dachshunds were bred to dig into badger holes and drag them out, no easy task I would imagine.  There are still “ground dog” trials, where dachshunds are timed at how quickly they can find a rat in a cage at the end of a series of tunnels.  Their sense of smell is as remarkable as any hound, and no squirrel or other small prey is safe once Jesse has them in the crosshairs.  He and Mike’s dog Maggie make quite the hunting team.  They keep asking for climbing spikes for Christmas to be able to chase their prey into the trees…

But, like all bad outlaws, Jesse has a tender side.  He gets cold and loves to sleep under his blanket, can only eat special dog food “for sensitive systems”, and screams like a girl when you even get near him with the nail scissors.  He has never been lacking in self-esteem, however, never met a black plastic garbage bag that he didn’t mark, and would be fierce to defend any member of his pack from attack.  He is never needy and is noticeably more independent than the other dogs.  It is quite an honor when he climbs in your lap for love.

I read where dogs can recognize a nickname, in addition to their own name, and somewhere along the line, Jesse got the nickname “Bubba” (which, for those not from the South, is Southern slang for “brother”), which he responds to in addition to “Jesse”.   Bubba is getting older and his muzzle is starting to grey, but as long as his little legs can carry him, I expect he will be a runner and “a bad outlaw”.

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