In this short video interview produced by Washington State University journalism students, Dennis & Frances discuss a little of how Dog Bark Park came to be and what they think about their business in Cottonwood Idaho which was established in 1997. Dog Bark Park comprises two business arms: bed & breakfast-style lodging in
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Roamer, Dog Bark Park’s travelling pup, ran but a few hundred feet from home base to get his picture taken with the travelling Big Idaho Potato. For 7 years the beloved potato has been travelling the country promoting Idaho potatoes at planned and impromptu stops from coast to coast.
We met Ron, the Tater Driver, and the Tater Twins Kaylee & Jessica who shepherd the 4-ton potato on its 72-ft long trailer. While parked on the side of the road cars coming or leaving town slowed down or even stopped to take photos. One lady from Helena, Montana remarked her day’s drive was made complete upon seeing the big Tater. The Idaho County Sheriff made a stop to see if everything was OK. Seeing our thumbs up he smilingly nodded as if to say of course, “only in Idaho” would a big potato draw such attention & drove off!
Upcoming events for the Big Idaho Potato include a stop tomorrow in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Then on Oct 18th it will be in Pocatello at the Pocatello Community Charter School from 12:30-2:30 PM. Next it will make an appearance at the Idaho Falls Ag Fest. Then on to San Diego, California for the San Diego Fleet Week celebration October 26-28.
On next to Los Angeles where it hopes to meet some Hollywood celebrities for a few days beginning October 29th.
By November 7th the big potato will be at Orange Beach Alabama attending the World Food Championships where some of the international competition will include dishes made with Idaho potatoes.
We were thrilled to be included in this Our Americana podcast. We’ve conducted many interviews over the phone and in person before film and camera crews but this was our first via Skype phone. The interviewer, Josh Hallmark, skillfully organized my rambling dialogue into a story worth sharing. It was delightful to talk about the broader aspects of being a modern-day roadside attraction with connections to those of yesteryear. We also discuss why we think our giant dog in Idaho is appealing to visitors, and, as creators of Dog Bark Park, what Dennis & I find appealing about our visitors and guests. To access the podcast click here.
Last week Roamer didn’t have to travel to see a spectacular sight; pink cotton-candy clouds. June sunsets can be quite special and this one did not disappoint. From his parking pad at Dog Bark Park Roamer was treated to big fluffy white cumulus clouds to the east colored pink by the setting sun.
Did you know the name cumulus comes from Latin, meaning to pile up? This is exactly the action of cumulus clouds, which typically form at altitudes between 8000 and 20,000 feet depending on the moisture content in rising air. Their upper parts continually grow or mushroom with rounded parts piling one atop the other forming what some describe as looking like cauliflower heads.
Cumulus clouds are also noteworthy in that they typically have flat bottoms. When the head of the cloud becomes anvil shaped it is often an indicator of potential thunderstorms. When the anvil and cloud bottoms become dark grey instead of white it is even more likely a storm will happen.
Happy summer and good cloud-watching!
In this episode Roamer enjoys making stops near home to see the prairie in bloom up close. These huge fields carpeted in the most brilliant yellow imaginable are canola flowers (rape seed). That’s right, the plant that produces seeds from which canola oil is extracted. As canola is often a rotation crop for wheat these massive blankets of yellow rarely appear in the same location every year. On a warm sunny day the air for miles around the fields is scented with a heavy perfume from the flowers.
Often the plants reach close to 5-ft tall. After flowering they gradually dry up losing their height & fading to floppy weedy looking masses of amber. Harvest is typically in mid-August.
For a few miles along US Hwy 95 towards Grangeville, old wild apple trees erupt into bloom. The trees are along the old railroad bed just out of reach of the tractors and combines that ply the grain & canola fields lining the track bed. We think perhaps the trees sprouted from apple cores disposed of by passengers & train crew as they approached or left the train depot in Fenn. Most years in late summer people harvest the apples which typically are quite small but especially good for making sauce. One year we picked apples from one tree that had reddish flesh which cooked into surprisingly pretty pinkish purple applesauce! In winter the trees act like snow fences forming blowing snow into deep drifts on the leeward side providing plenty of spring moisture to nourish the untended trees.
While exploring along the railroad bed Sprocket found a pocket of wild Camas flowers. Later wild onion and lupine bloom in the grass at track’s edge as well. Whizzing by on the main highway one has little opportunity to realize this pretty oasis of nature exists but a few feet away.
Sometimes even a dog needs to head to town on a little business. Here’s a glimpse of places we frequent in the commercial hub of Grangeville, Idaho which is a quick 14-mile 15-minute drive from Cottonwood. Grangeville is the county seat of Idaho County meaning there’s a court house, jail, lawyer & licensing offices, title companies and more. Most of these places are situated on Main Street which is also the shopping & restaurant hub of town.
We visit the Health Food Store often for granola ingredients. Our Prairie’s Best Fruited Granola is a favorite main breakfast feature for our Dog Bark Park Inn guests. The original recipe came from Frances’ sister in North Carolina in the 1970’s & has been modified over time as new healthful ingredients such as flax meal & canola oil have become readily available. Dried fruits such as pineapple & papaya are added for extra deliciousness.
We’re happy to share our easy to make Prairie’s Best Fruited Granola recipe. Just send us a message & we’ll get it to you.
Next, Roamer delivered some outgoing parcels containing dog carvings to the UPS shipping center for sending completed carvings to eager customers awaiting their new pets.
And lastly, since it’s spring a stop at LeAnne’s Garden Center is a must for picking up more lovely flowering plants for Dog Bark Park.