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Treat Time: Biscuits, bones and chews reviewed

The three handsome beggars have been well-rewarded lately.

Three handsome beggars

What’s in the jar?

Between new brands discovered in Nebraska, gifts from friends and samples from vendors, the dog cookie jars at Wayward House have been overflowing!

The bounty is almost devoured, now. But I wanted to share with readers what the dogs and I think about all the new brands and recipes we have encountered recently.

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Brand: Nourishing Pets Heart Chewies

How we Got it: Purchased at Old Cheney Road Farmers’ Market in Lincoln, Nebraska, for about $5

First 3 Ingredients: Only 1 – 100% grass-fed beef hearts

Made in: Elmwood, Nebraska, at Chisholm Family Farm

Did the Dogs Like It? They loved these little chunks and shreds of beef hearts. Although the adjective “chewy” only pertained to the treats when given to Scooby the rotten-toothed elderpin. The big dogs wolfed these down.

Would We Buy It Again? Absolutely! I love to support farmers and buy straight from the source.

More information: www.nourishing-pets.com

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Brand: Beyond the Dish Gourmet Bakery Banana Bones

How we Got it: Gift from my cousin Megan

First 3 Ingredients: organic oat flour, organic brown rice flour, organic rolled oats (Banana comes in at #5)

Made in: Lincoln, Nebraska

Did the Dogs Like It? Our dogs ate these bone-shaped biscuits readily. Because Luke has shown signs of wheat allergies in the past, I felt OK feeding these to him because they are wheat and gluten-free. I also gave one of these biscuits each to Jag and Prowler, the german shepherds my dad helps train. They seemed a little confused. But perhaps that’s because they are used to gnawing on fresh buffalo bones they encounter in the field.

Would We Buy It Again? Yes – as a fun treat that through purchase supports a local Nebraska business. However, I do wish banana appeared a little higher on the ingredients list, since it’s in the name of the product.

More information: http://www.beyondthedishbakery.com/

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Brand: Science Diet Ideal Balance Fruity Snacks with Cranberries and Oatmeal

How we Got it: Manufacturer’s sample awarded to me as a perk via Klout.com

First 3 Ingredients: ground wheat, oat flour, dried cranberries

Made in: Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc., in Topeka, KS

Did the Dogs Like It? Yes.

Would We Buy It Again? Probably not. It’s great that a big brand as respected as Science Diet is now making treats that don’t include corn, artificial colors or flavors. I also liked that I could actually see the cranberries in the biscuits. However, I doubt I would pay for these, due to our aforementioned preference to avoid wheat-based treats.

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Brand: Hill’s Science Diet Ideal Balance Veggie Chips with Pumpkin & Yam

How we Got it: Manufacturer’s sample awarded to me as a perk via Klout.com

First 3 Ingredients: ground wheat, oat flour, chicken meal (pumpkin and yams clock in at 4 and 5, respectively)

Made in: Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc., in Topeka, KS

Did the Dogs Like It? Yes.

Would We Buy It Again? Probably not. See above.

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Brand: Hill’s Science Diet Ideal Balance Jerky Strips with Real Beef

How we Got it: Manufacturer’s sample awarded to me as a perk via Klout.com

First 3 Ingredients: Beef, wheat flour, what starch

Made in: Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc., in Topeka, KS

Did the Dogs Like It? Yes.

Would We Buy It Again? Probably not. I joked that these were “wheat jerky.” When it comes to jerky snacks, I’d rather give the dogs something that’s all meat, like the beef heart chewies reviewed above or the emu and heritage chicken jerky they’ve had in the past.

Have your dogs tried any new treats lately? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Disclosure for Hill’s Science Diet products: I was given a free product or sample because I’m a Klout influencer. I was under no obligation to receive the sample or talk about this company. I get no additional benefits for talking about the product or company.

Don’t forget to enter the Baltimore Bumble Crafts shampoo bar giveaway!

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Whirlwind Nebraska weekend

Sometimes getting out of town without the dogs is exactly what I need.

Especially when I know there will be plenty of cute animals and cool people where I’m headed.

Stop 1: Lincoln

Megan and Crystal

Grinning cousins.

That’s Megan, one of my second cousins on the Wiebe side. When I said I was coming to Nebraska for a  recent weekend, she and her partner Claire kindly allowed me to crash at their Lincoln apartment.

I first stopped for a dinner of homemade noodles and sauce with my best friend Kenton at his mom’s house.

The kitten Megan and Claire recently rescued from a tree welcomed Kenton and me when we arrived at their door.

Megan's kitten

“Mew are you?”

Sadly, I captured no photos of my other cousin Kyle – Megan’s brother – slaying the karaoke crowd later that night at the Ding A Ling Bar in Raymond, Nebraska. (He’s a braver soul than me. I stay far away from karaoke mics.)

I did, however, snap a few pictures – and throw down some cash – the next day at the Old Cheney Road Farmers’ Market.

I’ve been meaning to get to Lincoln on a Sunday ever since Megan helped me put together a post about the farmers’ market for this blog.

fresh produce at Old Cheney Road Farmers' Market

A Nebraska harvest.

I picked up some fresh produce for a veggie tray I was tasked with providing for my mom’s birthday party later that day.

I also picked up something for the dogs – chewy beef heart treats from Chisholm Family Farm.

Chisholm Family Farms dog treats

Chisholm Family Farm makes it easy to feed your dog raw, natural food and treats.

The booth next door held exactly the kind of gifts I had in mind to present to my mother on her 58th birthday – all-natural beauty products.

wingsets

Wingsets natural beauty care.

Wingsets is a Lincoln-based business operated by a husband and wife team. In addition to a huge array of bath, skincare and hair products for people, they have developed a robust line of pet products. I look forward to trying some of those on our pack in the future.

Stop 2: Beatrice

My next stop was my hometown for a family portrait. I let the professional photographer take care of those shots.

Before everyone got together, though, I snapped this shot of my Dad’s friend Rosie’s adorable Yorkshire terriers.

yorkies

Ermahgerd! Yorkies!

After the photo session in the park, my dad took me out to the farm where he helps take care of a real menagerie of critters raised for pleasure and food.

Jag and Prowler, the resident German Shepherds he’s been training, greeted us when we rolled up.

skulky german shepherds

“Welcome to the farm!”

Named after the rottweiler I grew up with, Prowler is growing up to be a handsome and mischievous fellow. The advice is to be careful when leaving small items, from caps and t-shirts to plastic bottles, unattended in his presence.

german shepherd dog

“I promise not to steal your water bottle in half an hour.”

Dad loves zooming around the farm on the John Deere Gator. I hopped in the passenger seat, and we said hello to some of his animal friends.

dad on a gator

Just a dad, a gator and a horse.

horse and a John Deere Gator

“Didz u say hai er hay?”

Zipper the horse is a sweet old thing who peacefully resides with a small pack of burros. They have all learned to equate the arrival of the Gator in the pasture with treat time.

burros and baby

“Did someone say treats?”

The bison herd on the other side of the fence knows what the Gator means, too. My dad’s favorite bison is this big-headed bull whose tongue is bigger than my wrist.

buffalo tongue

“Just a little closer.”

Apparently, the resident elk aren’t feeling very friendly this time of year.

But in just a couple hours, on the last stop of my whirlwind Nebraska tour, I would see another hoofed creature.

Stop 3: Peru

From Beatrice, I zoomed to Peru, Nebraska, a very hilly, very small college town where the Rains side of my family has roots.

My grandfather, who is buried in Peru, grew up in the town. He was a hometown football hero there, and it’s where he met my grandmother.

Peru is also where my mother originally met my stepfather in the 1970s. Decades would pass before they came together again and began to build a life together.

We celebrated my mom’s 58th birthday at the gazebo in Neal Park where they were married in 2005.

On this Sunday afternoon, my mother was showered with thoughtful and useful gifts, including a leather jacket, an iPhone and this hoodie I wish I could take credit for:

Walk with a Friend paw print hoodie

Who could say it better?

Of course, there was cake!

Catfish the Boston Terrier resented that no one offered her any.

Boston Terrier peeks onto table

That Boston Terrier needs a booster seat.

After the food was devoured and presents unwrapped, nature treated us all to another gift – a not-so-distant view of a deer.

My mom squealed with delight at the beautiful sight.

deer in the distance

Ermahgerd! Deer!

As you can imagine, by the end of this little roadtrip, I was exhausted. But what a great weekend!

Have you gotten out of town recently? What did you do?

Have you entered the giveaway yet? Don’t miss your chance to win a Lavender Neem Shampoo Bar from Baltimore Bumble Crafts!

The Best Farmers’ Market I’ve Never Been To

Did you know this is National Farmers Market Week?

Well, it is! For two more days!

I don’t know if you shop at farmers’ markets, but they are really awesome. Wayward House is conveniently located directly across the street from a weekly summer market, where we have met a lot of great people and picked up some outstanding food and personal care products. I promise to share more about our favorite vendors in future posts.

Today is all about a market I haven’t been to, but which I would probably attend religiously if I still lived in Lincoln, Nebraska. My super rad cousin Megan Jackson is the Market Manager for the Old Cheney Road Farmers’ Market, and she answered the following questions. Photos used with permission.

Tell us about your farmer’s market.

We are a member controlled, non-profit farmers’ market with over 60 seasonal and weekly vendors. We’re Lincoln’s largest food and produce market, with vendors providing seasonal produce and fruit, pastured and cured meats, artisan cheeses, breads, pasta, pastries, hot food, sweet treats, and much more. [Editor’s note: Megan brought artisan doughnuts from The Doughnut Hole to a recent family event that have effectively ruined me on all other doughnuts for the rest of my life.]

Describe the role you play in the farmer’s market.

As the Market Manager, I oversee the general organization of the Market–placing vendors for the week, organizing events like kids’ activities and cooking demos, promoting the Market, and providing resources to customers. I work with a board of directors, comprised of vendors and friends of the market, on vendor selection, program development, and outreach. One of the programs I’m most proud of implementing this year is our matching incentive project for SNAP benefits. Through the month of September, the market will match dollar-for-dollar every SNAP benefit used at Market. This will increase the purchasing power for low-income residents to purchase locally grown, fresh food, putting more money directly into the hands of our local farmers, and connecting more people to local food.

What’s special about the market?

We do more than set up shop every Sunday. It’s our goal and mission to support our local family farmers through direct-market opportunities–expanding community support for and access to local food. How the Market has structured itself as a member-owned, non-profit speaks to the importance of maintaining our integrity and commitment to small farmers and local food.

Why should people support your farmer’s market and farmer’s markets in general?

So many reasons! Farmers’ markets are the best places to go for the freshest local food. You get to know your farmer and know where your food is coming from and how it’s grown. Plus, farmers’ markets enable farmers to keep 80 to 90 cents of each dollar spent by the consumer.

With this current drought hitting the Midwest, farmers need your support more than ever. They are out in their fields literally watering crops by hand, picking weeds in the wee hours of the morning, and doing everything they can to keep both produce and animals alive. The farm and ranch land that supplies our food is at risk and if we do not support our farmers today we may not have local food for tomorrow.

Old Cheney Road Farmers’ Market happens every Sunday April through October at 56th and Old Cheney Road in Lincoln, Nebraska. It is a dog-friendly market!

For more information about this market, check out the website: www.oldcheneyroadfarmersmarket.com

Do you shop at a local farmers’ market? Say something about it in the comments!

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