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Showing posts from August, 2020

Pointing at Bees

The mornings are arriving crisp and damp as we near September. This morning was no exception. Hershey and I skipped our walk. (I've had about 3 hours of sleep. Stayed up way too late!) He settled on the next best thing - searching for rabbits and finding bees in the yard. The bumble and carpenter bees are usually passive in our yard. When they rise from flower heads, they spook him so badly that he occasionally falls flat on his face while running away.  Anything that flies is dark magic . His favorite game is alerting me to bees perched on flowers. He'll hold a point for several seconds, long tail thrust towards the sky and head level with back. His longest freeze was almost a half minute. Not bad for a mutt fancying himself as a pointer . Hershey points. This pointer points like a boss. Credit: Getty Images. The brown hound did escape the yard today while Better Half was putting out the garbage. Luckily the neighbor's nurse had just parked. She was able

Bunny-Inducing Herp-a-Derp Hound Moments

Hershey and I skipped the walk this morning. We made coffee and retreated to the back porch to await the sun instead. (I was - and still am - feeling horrible. No, it's not COVID. I'm allowing myself a two-day binger, fully breaking from my diet in order to remind myself how shitty I feel when I eat junk and smoke cigarettes. Also, skittles are banned from this household until further notice.) We were out there a while. More than ten minutes. Long enough to convince the local wildlife that we weren't there at all, apparently. I lifted my eyes and spotted a yearling Eastern cottontail rabbit loping up the brick path like a shy solicitor. "Pardon me, madam. Would you like me to trim back those flowers?" This is not that rabbit. I don't have a picture of him. I left my phone upstairs. I am a moron. It's unusual, as the yard is fenced, but not impossible for a bunny that young to squeeze through tiny gaps. We've seen him a few times in the a

LESSONS FROM MY DOG: Overcoming

A reprint from the old blog. ★•☆•☆•☆•☆•☆•★ I'm sitting here watching two dogs share the same Nylabone.  Gus and Hershey have developed a powerful bond, one built on trust and perhaps unspoken empathy. Our environment and experiences guide our actions. This process is hardwired into most animals as a form of preservation. The more potent the lesson, the more likely it is to be remembered.  Gus was found waddling downtown Steubenville with his litter. A young man packed them up in a box and brought them to the humane society.  He couldn't find the mother, and feared he hadn't caught the entire little.  It's possible that the mother was struck by a car. That moment of separation touched Angus' life, a bit of baggage that he still caries with him even if he can't remember the event itself.  To this day, Gus backs away if you reach out to pick him up. He frets if anyone in his environment cries, shouts, or expresses pain. It may also account for his

Scratch, scratch, flee flea.

Behold the miserable dog fresh from the flea bath! Her expression is reflective of our morning so far. In case you're wondering, Piper is a Shih Tzu- Chihuahua mix, aka a ShiChi. She weighs in at 3 pounds. She's also ancient, cranky, prone to barking at nothing, and loves to roll into your face at night, thereby suffocating you. Back to that flea bath. Hershey and I didn't feel like walking this morning. I armed myself with coffee and we pooled onto the back deck to watch the sun rise. Piper's incessant scratching spoiled what would have been a tranquil moment for us, however. A quick exam yielded little black flecks. Yeah, we have fleas. (There weren't any on Angus and Hershey. Whew.) We've had an infestation at this house before. Patient Zero is always my mother's demon dog. Enlisting her help is like pulling teeth. She can't see them ergo they don't exist. It's been a week of Mondays and it's about to get worse. Every inse

RECIPE: Hearty Risotto

HEARTY RISOTTO It's not a perfect autumn evening without a hot, savory dish to warm the soul. Times being what they are - and the price of meat becoming outrageous - inexpensive comfort foods are making a comeback. This recipe uses fresh, inexpensive vegetables and cheap cuts of either pork or chicken meat. I usually get 4-5 servings out of it. It's a labor of love considering all the prep that goes into it. ❤️ THE GRAIN   Rice is a grass seed. Specifically, rice is an edible starchy cereal grain and the grass plant by which it is produced. It's a good source of carbs and fiber, but it's also a high glycemic index food - a quickly digested food that may cause a sudden spike in your blood sugar levels. Order! The variety you use is based on the recipe you're cooking. For the purposes of this recipe, we'll focus on arborio.  Arborio rice is an Italian "superfino" short-grain rice. It's one of the largest among the short It

Walking, Now Fortified with More Rabbits

I really don't know what Hershey thinks of "walkies". He only goes spastic once I pick up the leash. We go along at a brisk pace thanks to his insatiable desire to track everything that moves - or doesn't move, as in the case with garbage day and open cans. Our favorite time is around 6:30 or 7 AM. The world is quiet. The temp and humidity are sort of low. We speed down alleys and around blocks. Every day is a challenge to go a bit further. On days like today, however, we do two short streets and say, "fukkit" before returning home. It's not Hershey's fault. It's entirely on me and whatever my body decides to do. And, usually, when we call it an early morning, something inevitably gets Hershey into dork mode. It was dark when we left this morning. It was also an hour earlier than usual. Our alley path was barely lit from porch lights. Shadows lurked throughout yards, beside garages, over hedges. Things moved along, unseen by us but occa

RECIPE: Sammie Burgers

Sometimes that recipe on the label isn't so bad. Such is the case for Chicken of the Sea's Sammie Burgers . It's a quick and easy alternative to beef burgers, and can be grilled, fried, or baked. What's a Sammie Burger?  Salmon. Not the fresh kind, either. Regular ol' pink salmon in a 14.75 oz can. I champion very few canned goods due to the high salt content. However, according to Consumer Reports , a USDA study found slightly higher levels of two omega-3s in canned pink and red salmon than it found in fresh. It's a trade off. You can use the pouches. Make certain to check measurements. The canned fish recipe uses 1 cup of breadcrumbs but the pouch needs only 1/4 cup, for example. The pouch recipe is available on Chicken of the Sea's website . Gruff's Tips   Brands : There are several brands of canned salmon. I do prefer Chicken of the Sea. Any brand will do provided you have at lease 14 oz. Drain and flake : Nearly all canned salmon so

LIFE HACK: Stairs and shed fur

Shed fur. We learn to live with it. Well, most of us do. We either tolerate the fuzzy tumbleweeds piling into corners, and the occasional strand on a plate, or the layers left on couches - or we clean it weekly, if not more often. The problem is keeping it under control. Groomers are in business for a reason. Or you can save money by grooming at home. Know your breed before you acquire it; if you can't dedicate time for grooming, find a lower maintenance dog. Don't expect your husky or German shepherd to shed just a little. The undercoat comes out in clumps. But a short-haired chihuahua? Less fussing, easier brushing. (Yep, huskies shed like mad. Check out Felisha's upbeat channel on YouTube if you'd like to learn more about the breed: lishieandfamily .) Dust mopping and vacuuming are easy ways to remove hair from floors and furniture. But what about those stairs? Our pommy and GSD were fur explosions twice a year. We removed the carpeting

COMMENTARY: True PATRIOTS Wear Masks

★•☆•☆•☆•☆•☆•★ Wearing a mask does not take away your inalienable rights. It isn't an attempt to silence you. It's not a political statement. Wearing it won't make you look "ugly" or "weak". Now is the time to make a sacrifice for others so we can win; To tolerate discomfort and inconvenience. Do it so we can fully reopen the country, so we can get back to work, so we can thrive again as a nation.  A very wise man said, We, the People, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what's in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense. * Wear the damn mask. Practice social distancing. Do it for America. Do it because you're a true patriot. It's all up to you.   ★•☆•☆•☆•☆•☆•★ _______________________ *Yeah, it w

RECIPE: Beef Barley Soup

Beef barley soup is one of our favorite meals.  Though the price of beef has risen considerably over the last two years, the recipe we use allows for the cheaper, tougher cuts of meat. The recipe originally came from Mr. Food Test Kitchen. "Our recipe for Deli-Style Beef Barley Soup is so authentic-tasting, it'll have you wondering whether someone swapped yours with one from your favorite deli. This nutritious and hearty soup is great for cold winter nights, 'cause it'll warm your heart and your tummy."   mrfood.com Deli Style Beef Barley Soup The simplicity appeals to me.  It takes very little time to prepare, contains only a few ingredients, and isn't weighed down by heavy spices and salt. I've toyed a bit with their recipe, mainly because the menfolk in this family don't know the meaning of "normal portion" when it comes to this meal. I generally get 8 servings out of this recipe, though it's considerably less if my f

RECIPE: Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

Tilapia is my second-favorite fish, with catfish taking priority. Give me fish or give me death - though I suspect these bottom-feeders will be the death of me.   There are a variety of similar cheese-crusted fish recipes online. The closest I've found to my own recipe is from Taste & Tell. " This Parmesan Crusted Tilapia is a simple fish recipe that is done in 20 minutes and will even impress non-fish lovers! "   Taste & Tell Parmesan Crusted Tilapia This tasty dish takes very little time to prepare and bake, and it isn't weighed down by heavy thick batter.  You can substitute another white fish.  I wasn't fond of the seasonings with cod but it's nummy on flounder.  Gruff's Parmesan Crusted Tilapia 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 2 teaspoon s paprika 1 tablespoon chopped parsley or 2 teaspoons dry parsley leaf 1/4 teaspoon salt  1/4 teaspoon onion powder 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 4 tilapia fillet, defr

COMMENTARY: Previously, on Tofu Trek

I discovered an old blog entry from 2010 - more commentary than recipe - and thought it would be nice to tuck it in here. ★•☆•☆•☆•☆•☆•★ Part II: Shaken and Stirred Previously, on Tofu Trek: Lendie, my charming vegan chat companion and record-setting tofu gobbler, was comatose due to a lack of legitimate protein in her diet, and she departed consciousness prior to leaving me a recipe. The recipe was essential, given that I had a bowl filled with cubed, brined tofu in the refrigerator. I really didn’t know what I was going to do with this stuff. It looked respectable enough in its nesting bowl. It even tasted edible. When in doubt, apply heat. I opted to fry a few cubes in a small amount of olive oil. Experiment One: My first observation was that the little white squares could quickly become little stuck-on brown blobs if left unattended. These initial bits were scraped from the pan (and eaten! Quite tasty!) Sadly, I could only fry a precious few at