Heirloom Seeds for Sale

Ostergruss Rosa Winter Radish seeds Organic Austrian Heirloom

Ostergruss Rosa Winter Radish seeds Organic Austrian Heirloom

Just in time for your 2015 garden!  This year we are offering organically grown Ostergruss Rosa Winter Radish seeds which is an Organic Austrian Heirloom.  Be sure to check out our new Botanical’s Page throughout the year to see what we have available!

The Rosa Winter Radish is also known as Winter Rose.  This is a delicious large radish great freshly sliced, or cooked.  Many people do not realize how wonderful radishes are as a cooked food.  We cook these radishes for breakfast with Rutabagas, and they are also good in soups, or cooked with other vegetables for dinner.

Easy to grow, and one of our family favorites.

All GSD Puppies have been sold (2014 litter)

If you are looking to have one of our GSD puppies we are planning a 2015 litter.  If you would like to be on the wait list please let us know.

Brigitta

Brigitta

And fingers crossed, we should have an Anatolian/White German Shepherd litter this spring.

Gypsy Adelaide

Gypsy Adelaide

Loca

Loca

Luna

Luna

Available German Shepherd Puppies

We have two female puppies left for sale.  One looks to be black & tan or black & red, and the other potentially a dark sable.  Both are as sweet as can be.

Female.  Available

Female. Available

Female.  Available

Female. Available

Guest Blogger: Owner of One of Our Puppies Gives Review and Advice!

Gypsy Adelaide

Gypsy Adelaide

A really huge thank you to Jennifer for providing this excellent commentary on her puppy, Gypsy Adelaide, from our 2013 Anatolian/White GSD litter.  She has been the most perfect owner, and we love her.  Gypsy could not have a better home.


Gypsy is an amazing puppy. Her personality is amazing. When my husband and I decided to take the plunge and get a GSD and Anatolian Shepherd we knew this would be different than training our older girl.

Gypsy is a smart dog there is no doubt about that. Having a dog like her has so many positives and some negatives. She is very intuitive and you can see that she learns at everything she chooses to do.

The challenges of having a pup liker her are:
Size
Commands are an option
Yard ownership
lap dog
Challenges rules

She is a BIG puppy! Like most puppies they go through awkward stages and have to learn to be graceful. While she has come a long way she bumps things over. She does not realize her size and if she “shakes” your hand prepare yourself to really feel a high five. She moves furniture when she lays down and will lay/lean against you and she feels like a rock. I mostly use patience with her size. Although, I make sure that if she is an obstacle that I make her move. After all, I am not trying to give her alpha status.

As is common with Anatolian Shepherds she picks and chooses when she wants to listen to a command. A LOT of patience is needed in issuing a command. Gypsy will not do a command if she feel it is not necessary. You can see the look in her eye she tilts her head to the side and you can see that she is not going to follow the command. I use my “mom” voice with her quite often. I also use her middle name. I have to be firm when I am giving her a command that she does not want to follow. I also do not give her an option. I have had to make her submit a couple of times. Now I just make sure every now and again I make her submit. When I make her submit I make her lay down and then I dominate her. I lean on her and put my face in her face and growl at her. I also stare her down from time to time and I will not move until she looks away or down. While all this may sound odd or unconventional it works!

Gypsy owns our yard and everything in it. She digs dens all over the yard. All her dens are in places where she has the advantage to see everyone coming or going. Every plastic planter is her personal toy including small landscaping lights. To be honest I am working on a plan of attack to keep her out of my raised beds and flower gardens. I don’t mind that she digs holes so much, because that keeps her working and makes her happy. Any tips would be appreciated for the gardens.

As I stated earlier she does not realize her size. She thinks she is a lap dog. I just reinforce the command “down” and I  am firm. She will now put her head on the laps of the visitors she likes and sit in front of them on the floor. Only when it comes to me does she try to get on my lap or if I am giving her sister love.

Perhaps rules and commands are in the same group. As is with everything if she doesn’t find it agreeable she will try not to listen. I should add that she loves our whole family but her and I share a special link. I am her momma. Our older dog bonded with my husband but Gypsy has bonded with me. As a result she challenges my husband on everything he says. When I reinforce a rule or command she will listen to me the first or second time. When my husband tries to correct her she will make him tell her 3-5 times. I believe this is because he has never dominated her the way I have. I truly believe the domination technique I use has helped immensely. Ask yourself this, what would she have to do if she were in a pack of dogs?

Positive Characteristics:
Smart
Loyal
size
independence
Great with Children and pups
calm

I taught her in five seconds where her toy bin is and I am currently working on showing her how to put them away. When confronted with any new situation she tilts her head and just observes. She figures it out. You can literally see the wheels in her head turning and she is forming an opinion. When she was a tiny puppy she figured out if she stepped on the storage chest at the foot of my bed that she could get on the bed. She potty trained quickly and only pooped in our house two or three times. I can honestly admit that the times she pooped it was our fault not hers. She learns all commands within minutes as long as we lock up our older dog. If the older one is out she will not focus on us. She also has trouble focusing if food is involved. She loves eating!

Gypsy is one of the most loyal dogs! She does checks to find out where everyone dog and human are in the house. If someone is not home she will go to the front window and stay there until that person is home. When the person that is home moves she will come and check on them and then go back to the window. This is instinctual. We have not had to teach her this. She will also not leave our side when we are outside. She is not a runner and lord knows we appreciate this trait. I do not have to use leashes if I do not want to. Again we have not taught her this, this is instinctual.

Her size is an asset. As she is becoming more graceful you can see the agility and her speed. We plan on using her size to our advantage and will take time this summer putting her to “work.” We are planning on training her to pull a cart so she can help us garden. I think putting her to more productive work will help with keeping her out of our gardens. I am curious to hear your thoughts.

While it is frustrating when she does not listen to a command it is also nice. Her independence is fantastic because unlike most dogs we do not have to entertain her. She is content playing by herself and keeping herself busy. We just have to make sure that what she has chosen to do isn’t naughty. We do this by keeping toys available to her at all times. She also checks on the chickens quite a bit. However, I think she is more interested in eating the chicken poop.

Gypsy is fantastic with all children and puppies. This is instinctual also. When my niece comes to visit Gypsy is so easy with her. My niece can hit her, crawl on her, and do whatever she wants and Gypsy will let her. We have to discourage my niece from hitting but never have to worry about the puppy nipping. Gypsy has pulled my niece by her pants  and moved her where she felt  my niece should be (away from the stairs.) She loves to give my niece kisses. We have another friend that just got an English bulldog mix. The puppy is super small. Somehow Gypsy just knows that babies are delicate. When our friend came to our house with his pup she laid down on the floor to play with the puppy. She knew that she had to get as small as possible. It is safe to say that she is a gentle giant when it comes to puppies and children.

She is the calmest puppy I have ever had the pleasure of raising. Due to this and her size I often forget she is still a puppy. What she has managed to do in the few months of her life took my older dog 3 years. It is nice to come home and see an excited puppy that is happy to see me but know she will calm down within a few minutes.

Training Gypsy is both a joy and a frustration. Watching her grow is amazing. Every time she learns something new I feel so proud. My older dog is smart but Gypsy has the most amazing problem solving skills. This is not a dog for a first time dog owner but for a more seasoned dog owner. An owner that gets an Ophidian Pup should understand the intricacies of what it means to own a determined dog. I do not regret getting her and in the future I hope to get another dog just like her.

**These were my suggestions regarding the questions Jennifer asked in the post:

1)  Try outlining the area you want her out of with your urine.  This way she can get a good idea of the boundary.  Then, if she goes in there, growl at her and put her on her side.  The idea is that this is your area, and she can’t go there.

2)  Make sure she has a spot where she can dig–I would bury some raw bones there for her, so that maybe she won’t even care about anywhere else.  Even better if there is meat on them.

3)  Put up a visual boundary–you can start with stakes and string, but quite frankly if she gets fixated on going in a certain area and she will not listen you may have to put up a hard boundary that she cannot easily get into, like a fence.  Boundary issues is one thing that is VERY difficult with LGD breeds.

I am thinking if she is just digging, that the buried bone idea in her dig area may do the trick.  Let me know if any of those things work!!!

 

The Ethics of Breeding Dogs, Part II

When I was a child, I wanted nothing more than a dog.  I wanted a

I love dogs

I love dogs

dog so badly!  I had a room full of stuffed animals because I loved animals so very much.  One of my favorite stuffed animals was a stuffed dog—it was a German Shepherd Dog—it was grey, and it had a vinyl face that I thought looked so very real.  I was very proud of that dog—it was about the size of a three month old puppy.  I took it everywhere with me.  I would talk to it and try to make dog sounds out the side of my mouth so that people would think that the dog was real.  I was sure that when they looked at me that they thought it was, and I was very proud to have my very own German Shepherd under my arm.  I would walk up and down the dog food isle when my mother shopped for groceries, talking to the dog and trying to decide which kind of dog food to buy.  I saved up my allowance and bought a leash and collar for my dog, which I held onto dearly while walking in the store.

 

Whenever I would go to the library, I would check out books on dogs and animals:  stories, non-fiction, anything I could get my hands on.  In time, I discovered the American Kennel Club, or AKC, and checked out a book from the organization listing all the purebred dogs that were accepted at that time.  I poured over every class, every breed, dreaming of which dogs I would own, and wanting to learn about this thing called showing.  I sent away for information about dog showing, and obedience trials.  And I bought a copy of the AKC book of breeds for my very own.

 

Finally, when I was about twelve or thirteen years old, my parents decided to let me get a puppy.  I don’t think I had ever been so excited.  What kind of dog?  At the time I was partial to Golden Retrievers, Brittany Spaniels, and Shetland Sheepdogs.  I finally decided upon getting a Sheltie, and I bought a book specifically about Shelties, and I named her before I ever found her:  Elsa.

 

Being thirteen years old, I didn’t know anything about breeding dogs, or how to find a breeder, and my parents didn’t either.  I poured through the classified ads, calling every ad for a Sheltie I could find.  My parents took me to look at the puppies.  The people had the dogs in their home.  The first place was a nice house.  A woman there had both Shelties and Afghan Hounds.  She brought out a puppy for me to see, and it looked ill.  My parents insisted on seeing the other dogs, and she reluctantly led us to a large room with cages on the wall.  In a bottom cage lay an Afghan hound that looked like she was whelping.  It was an ugly site—clean, but not a loving home.  I suppose, in some ways, it was reminiscent of a puppy mill—there were not even any nice large kennels—just strange cages, and a shifty woman.  Nothing like the puppy mill I helped to bust years later, which was horrifying, but not a loving breeder, loving home, either.

 

The next place had a nice mother dog that we could meet, and a litter of adorable Sheltie puppies.  I picked out my little girl and Elsa became my first dog.  She was covered in fleas when we got her home, but we fixed that up quickly.  As she grew, her elbows turned outward, and she would have been disqualified from a breed ring because she grew too large for the standard.  She was my dog, though, and I loved her dearly.  Both sets of puppies, by the way, were AKC.  My Elsa was registered AKC as well, even though she was oversized, even though she had dysplasia.  The AKC label meant nothing as far as a guarantee for a healthy, sound dog.  Nothing at all.

 

I showed Elsa in a few obedience shows after taking classes with her.  It was a wonderful experience that I really enjoyed.  After going a way to college, Elsa passed on, and I had different dogs over the years as I raised my children—all mixed breeds.  It wasn’t until six years ago that I reunited with my love and adoration for the German Shepherd Dog.  In my opinion, GSD’s are one of the most intelligent and versatile breed of dog that exists today, and I will never be without at least one until the day I die.

 

White German Shepherd Puppy

White German Shepherd Puppy

I recently have found some forums online that are dedicated to the GSD—either breeding, training, or just for the love of them.  Some of them are very enjoyable and I am learning some very interesting things there, from some very dedicated and lovely people.   Then there are the other groups, and I am very sorry and disappointed to say that the majority of these groups are run by and championed by people who are currently involved with the AKC.

 

Any fondness I had left for the AKC from my childhood has been destroyed by these people.  I tend to feel that, even though I rapidly approach the age of fifty, and even if I make it to one hundred, there will always be more for me to learn about any given subject.  If for no other reason than other people have other experiences that I have not had, and therefore insight that I may not have had or considered.  There are always going to be other perspectives out there, and I don’t have to agree with them, but I do stand a possibility of learning something from them.   I guess the term that people used to use for such a philosophy was “humility.”

 

These people, however; these AKC breeders and trainers, know it all.  They know the one right way to do things, and they know the one right way to think, and to breed, and to sell dogs—they apparently do not have to live another day because they have nothing left to learn.  They do, however, enjoy reinforcing this mindset in each other on a continual basis, and usually at the expense or sacrifice of anyone who wanders into their midst who is in any way not exactly like them.  Well let me tell you, I am nothing like them, so I am really good fodder for them, and they enjoy trying to tear me down with relish.  It is amusing.  And more importantly, it is sad.

 

Jaz4I find I suffer from a rare condition that makes me think that there are people in the world who are basically good:  decent, moral, honest…people who, like me, realize there is another human being on the other end of the line, and that if a person reaches out to me in earnest, and with good intent, then it is decent of me to do the same.  I realize that if someone comes to me as a breeder, then it is my duty to be respectful and treat them as they deserve to be treated—honestly, and with integrity.  So is in this regard that I joined these forums, because it is my belief that if a person has more experience at something that I am interested in, even if I do not share all of the same philosophies, then I stand to learn something.  So, I came to these people to see if they had anything to teach me about GSD’s and about raising and training dogs, because like I said, I will never know everything there is to know, and I will never stop learning.

 

Well, what I did learn is that many of the people in the show dog business, and in the dog training business, are horrible, cruel, and belligerent people that lack humanity, decency, and consideration of others.  And that is sad.  And that gives dog breeders and trainers a bad name.  And that, given that they stand up as AKC people, really gives the AKC a bad name.  I have read copies of forums where AKC and show breeders attacked a woman who was earnestly seeking advice in their forum with disgusting racist and demeaning remarks.  They seem to want to do anything to drive anyone away who is not exactly like themselves.  And what they do not seem to understand is that the only people left to sell dogs to is each other, and a few people out there who believe that the more expensive something is, the better something is.  And, that is just not the case.

 

Now I know there are many AKC registered dog breeders out there who I am sure are honest, good people with integrity, and at this point, if you are reading this, please contact me and let me know who you are and what you are about.  As I have written before, if someone comes to me and wants a show dog, or a dog to work in areas that mine are not suited for, I would love to have a list of reputable breeders who are decent, honest people that I can refer my customers to.  I will not sell a dog to someone if it is not a good fit for what they are looking for.  And to me, reputable breeder does not mean what it means to show breeders.  It means someone who loves their dogs, takes excellent care of their dogs, and who cares about where their puppies end up.  It also means that they take responsibility for every life they help to bring into this world, until that life is ended.

I will follow this article up with my position on such health testing as genetic tests and OFA certification, why I do not think that it will guarantee you a healthy dog, and why I do not do it.  I will support my opinions with what research I can provide, and I have always been up front about my philosophies as a breeder, and as a guardian and caretaker of the animals and land to which I have been entrusted.

 

I will also try to maintain a list of people who are not decent as dog or animal people, so if you wonder about who you are dealing with, feel free to ask, and if I know of them, I will tell you what I know.  All we can do as people in a community of dog lovers is look out for one another, and be honest, and forthright about what we do and why we do it.  There is a habit amongst the not-so-decent folks of labeling breeders like me, much in the same way that people are labled as ni**ers, fa**ots, jezebel’s, witches…you get the idea…labels intended to dismiss, diminish, and degrade anyone who is not like them.  These terms in the dog world are byb, or back yard breeder, and pm, or puppy mill.  There are people out there who could be called both:  people who basically factory farm dogs in cruel conditions totally for money, and people who have a dog or two staked out behind their homes for the sole purpose of breeding for cash.  They do not invest any time, love, or energy in their dogs, and these dogs are not part of their families.

 

Lucious waiting for Mom to finish feeding the goats

Lucious waiting for Mom to finish feeding the goats

With our dogs this is not the case.  Our dogs are our partners on our farm.  They are family, they are friends, and they are loved ones.   What we have we give to them, and in return we have the privilege of sharing our lives with some truly wonderful and amazing individuals.  In this way we are truly blessed, and I am sorry for the people who are so embittered by life that the best way they can think to represent the dog world to the public is through cruelty, condemnation, and competitive jealousy that drives them to try to steer people away from any breeders that have a different philosophy than their own.

 

I am sure some of these people breed amazing dogs, and that some of them are amazing trainers.  It is just a shame that they are not able to be amazing people as well.

Parade of Shepherds

Parade of Shepherds

 

 

What Should I Feed My Dog?

Lucious waiting for Mommy to get done with the goats.

Lucious waiting for Mommy to get done with the goats.

As I have written many times, the most important thing for our puppies’ and dog’s development, health, and well-being is diet.  That, and a loving, nurturing environment that provides boundaries and guidance through training and teaching is all that a dog needs to have a wonderful life.  The more that I have researched optimum canine diet, the more I am certain that the best diet for a dog is raw diet.  Raw diet can come in multiple forms, and dependent on the age, health condition, and breed of dog, there is no one right answer on exactly what should be included in raw diet.  That depends on your dog.

To start with, dogs need a certain ratio of muscle, bone, and organ meat to be healthy and get the nutrients they need.  Some people supplement this base diet with tripe, vegetables, raw eggs, raw milk, yogurt…things of this nature.  Very few people add some grains, but that is usually based upon certain breed types.

I have been wanting to transition to a complete raw diet for a while now.  Our dogs have been fed a combination of organic, high quality dry food, and raw meat, organ meat, bones, eggs, raw goat’s milk, raw goat’s milk yogurt, and some veg.  They also get some cooked meats and bone broth.  I am now in the final stages of converting to raw diet, and I am very excited, and so are they.  What stopped me thus far had been affording raw diet, and finding enough sources for the meats, bones, and organs.

This past trip to town I picked up 50 pounds of beef heart, 20 pounds of beef liver, 20 pounds of pork neck bones, and 30 pounds of ground chicken and turkey chubs with bone and some veg.  That will not get me through three weeks.  But, we are getting closer!

Maia at 10 weeks

Maia at 10 weeks

Part of what I am learning is how to source for raw diet as inexpensively as possible.  I was already spending a LOT of money on dog food, so right now I am trying to keep that the same, or reduce cost.  Since we have large dogs, we need a lot of food.  Our dogs average 85 pounds each.  Dogs need to eat approximately 2-3% of their body weight daily, depending upon their work load.  Lucious, our male White GSD is an athlete who is agile, and very high energy.  He looks like he does not have an ounce of fat on his body, so he will need a minimum of 3%, if not a bit more.  The nice thing about Lucious is that he seems to regulate his food intake.  He gets full, and will not over eat.  In fact, if he has meat and he gets full he will bury it for later.  He likes to age his meat, and he likes to hide it so that the chickens don’t steal it, or the coyotes, either.

Jasmine is a bit older, and trends towards a little heavier at times.  I will base her at 2-2.5% of her ideal body weight.  Keep in mind when converting to raw that you can adjust quantities as you observe how they are doing on the diet, and increase or decrease according to your specific dog.  There may be times of year that they need more or less food, too, such as more in the winter as it gets cold, and less in the heat of the summer, when no one wants to eat too much.

Chelsea, since she is still building back from her litter for winter cold will get at least 3%.  And Maia, who is now just 3 months old and growing (fast) will be based at 3% of current weight.  The Ophidian Cats are also converting to 100% raw, too, and have had partial raw from kittendom and birth, respectively, with our older cat doing amazingly well with the transition, though he used to have mostly dry food.  He is looking svelte and is acting very young at 14+ years of age!  The same ratios apply to the cats, though they only eat what they need.  It is amazing to see raw raised felines—the musculature on them is impressive, and they are very large, healthy cats!

I am still working on sourcing for raw, but will share what I have thus far learned, in hopes that readers will transition to raw as well, for the health of the beloved carnivores in their lives!  The most direct way to source for raw is by raising the animals oneself.  We are doing this on the farm, but there are times when there are no animals to butcher and nothing left in the freezer.  (Hopefully someday that will not be the case.)  So, in the meantime, while waiting for pigs to grow, etc., we look outside to source.  The first, and my favorite source, because it is free, and often the healthiest, is deer.  Healthiest because deer are also raised on a natural diet without chemicals, hormones, or antibiotics.  Deer get hit by cars every day, and what better use for a deer that lost its life then as food for someone else?  Many counties have sheriff departments that are responsible for road kill deer.  They often have lists one can get on to get a call when a deer is hit and then go collect it immediately from the deputy on site of the accident.  Now I am on a list for my county, but unfortunately do not have access to a vehicle but twice per month, so that has not worked out too well, though I could have gotten two deer this past week, and my dogs, cats, and freezer would have been nicely full.  Darn.

Ophidian German Shepherds

Ophidian German Shepherds

Many people source meat from conventional groceries—sale items, etc.  I do not do this because I do not and will not buy factory farm meat.  It is full of toxins, antibiotics, growth hormones, and in factory farm chicken meat, we find arsenic—from the chicken’s feed.

There are raw meat coops in many cities, and many people work with local butchers for obtaining meats at discounted prices.  It takes a bit of homework and leg work, but it is So worth it!  What you get in return is a healthy dog with shining white teeth, regardless of age, no body odor, shiny eyes, shiny coat, and good energy.  And let’s not forget few if any health problems.  When we invest in good diet, we save at the veterinarian’s office!

I will keep posting updates on this topic, including more ideas for sources for raw!  In the meantime, there are pet food stores that carry raw products under brand names such as Bravo, Primal, and many others.  Here is a great site to read reviews of all types of pet foods, including packaged raw products for pets.  If you do need to feed dry food due to budget or availability, you can check on different brands here to try to find the best quality option for your pet!

And here is an excellent forum for discussing and learning about raw diet.  Check it out!