Category Archives: Pets


DSC_5172 (1600x1060)We had this bout of freezing rain and snow a couple of weeks ago, the ice is pretty much off the trees now but the snow lingers.  I have nearly this same photo in several iterations over the years.  There’s something about the solitary bit of color in an otherwise black and white rendering that draws the eye and invites reflection.DSC_9976 (1600x1060)This is the last of the first batch of big buns I baked from the King Arthur recipe a while back.  I froze all but two of them as soon as they cooled down enough to bag in plastic.  What I really wanted to mention is the horseradish cream sauce in the little bowl.  It’s simple to make and very tasty – add some prepared horseradish to a slug of sour cream, squeeze in a dollop of Dijon mustard, and season with salt and pepper.  I never have fresh horseradish so I use the prepared kind but if you make it with fresh you might want to add a splash of vinegar.DSC01611 (1600x1200)A puppeh!  This fine boy is a border collie mix.  He was found wandering about near some heavy machinery at a coal mine.  The miners thought it too dangerous for him so they brought him by the shelter.  The groomer cleaned him up and he was adopted soon afterwards.  He was a staff favorite and a real good boy.DSC_9986 (1600x1060)I saw this recipe for rosemary Parmesan cornbread a while back and filed it away.  I finally remembered to grab a can of creamed corn and the Jiffy mix and here is my result.  Six eggs and a lot of sour cream!DSC_9991 (1600x1060)I made some green beans with smoked turkey just to have something to serve alongside the cornbread.  Mine has a looser crumb than the one photographed for the recipe page.  I could taste the sour cream over the rosemary – not a bad thing but I may cut back on it if I make this again.DSC_9915 (1600x1060)You can make burritos out of anything.  I made these to use up the last little bit of chili I had in the fridge.DSC01764 (1600x1060)Here’s Katie!  DSC_9985 (1600x1060)Moar buns!  I have yet to learn the secret to forming dough into nice buns but I keep at it.  I bet Youtube has someone with good advice…

Quick Bixby Update

Bixby and the dragon1

Things are very busy here. Bixby is now 117 lbs, he’s slowed down to about 2.5 lbs each week. He stands a full head taller than me when he’s up on my shoulders. He has been a pill/beast/troublemaker all week and we are working diligently to correct some difficult and persistent problems. Running away being the most urgent.

He broke away from me three times/days in a row this week and refused to come back, putting himself in some dangerous situations.  The breaking away is very deliberate and his little mind works very hard at devising an escape strategy. So we are doing some serious re-training. After I finished yelling (yelling btw, very ineffective for training, but needed to be done so I could stop freaking out and then focus on the problem).

The dragon was a gift from his most recent playdate…he adores it.

Paw print


DSC_9925 (1600x1060)Mrs J saw my breakfast pr0n photo and said she’ll be having that for dinner.  Not a problem!  I have plenty of Andouille after my last order from the Cajun Grocer.DSC_9882 (1600x1060)Here are a pair of breakfast burritos – sausage and egg with cheese and grilled chilies.  Sometimes I don’t bother to fold the ends in, I hope that they are still called burritos.  I suppose they could easily pass for tacos.  I dunno, I think if a fellow was raised in the tradition he’d know.  It’s hard to break away from what you were raised with, I’m a meatloaf and mashed potatoes guy.DSC_9906 (1600x1060)The center of influence on my chili recipes is moving pretty fast towards the South West and away from the blander Mid West styles I grew up with.  Going to grade school, Friday was chili day – and always there was sliced cheese and also peanut butter sandwiches as a part of the lunch.  Someone started asking the cook for a spoonful of vinegar in their chili and and lot of us followed along.  Pickled jalapenos add some of the same flavor.DSC_9909 (1600x1060)Chili cheese fries follow as a matter of course these days, or maybe chili cheese dogs.  There’s always someone complaining that real chili doesn’t have beans or tomatoes in it.  Echoing a response to the claim that “real men don’t eat quiche”  (Google it) – real men eat their chili however they want.DSC01759 (1600x1060)Post needs moar puppeh!  Here’s Annie, in glorious Black & White, snoozing on the couch after a business run in the snow.DSC_9889 (1600x1060)Chicken parm sammich.  Plenty of mozzarella and provolone along with the Parmesan and Awesome Sauce on one of those King Arthur recipe buns.DSC_9904 (1600x1060)I don’t think I’ve posted this, a stir fry dish with chicken, shrimp, and assorted veggies in an oyster sauce flavored gravy.  The pot stickers are from frozen and are actually pretty good.  I made a dipping sauce of sweet soy and oyster sauces with a splash of Chinese wine and a spoonful of chili garlic paste.DSC01768 (1600x1200)I’ll leave you with “Crossie” a four month old female that’s all fixed up with shots and etc and is ready to go.

St Francis Open House

DSC_5051 (1600x1060)Last Friday the staff at the shelter hosted an open house to celebrate their new building.  Most of the staff and several volunteers were posing for an official photo when I walked in so I managed this picture.DSC_5059 (1600x1060)New momma dog!  I have no info on the breeds that went into this happy mix but the momma has some terrier in her and maybe a smidgen of bird dog?DSC_5072 (1600x1060)A kitten room with a view of the woods in back of the site.  This is a Siamese mix female that has been adopted since this picture was taken.DSC_5087 (1600x1060)Here are a couple of kittens that are new arrivals.  We are in pre-op here, they are slated for their surgery later in the week.DSC_5095 (1600x1060)Here’s a real cutie.  He’s a shepherd mix, one of a litter of four.DSC_5101 (1600x1060)Another from the same bunch.  Mrs J says they are four weeks old as of this photo.DSC01749 (1600x1200)This is “Snickers”, a male cat that’s one of Mrs J’s favorites.  She says she has mixed feelings about the cats that cycle through the shelter – she misses the ones that are adopted out but happy that they have a new family.  I guess that’s only natural.DSC01758 (1600x1200)They’ve named this one “Suzy”.  I put the scare quotes around the names that staff give the residents when I think about it because their new families can, and usually do, rename them upon adoption.

Bixby Diaries: 8 Months Old

Bixby and the Girls1

Bixby is 8 months old today and he’s been here for six months. He’s about 110 lbs, stands about 31.5″ at his shoulders and when he puts his paws on my shoulders, he can put his head on top of my head. I’m 5′ 6″. He’s become a charming young pup. He has his commands down pat, he walks well on his leash – stops at corners and waits for my command to cross the street – heels well, sits for bicycles, runners and most walkers.

Big Boy 8 months

We are still working on NOT dragging me when he wants to meet someone or another dog. He’s good about 50% of the time, the remainder I’m wrestling him to the ground. He’ll get, I have no doubt. It’s all about making new friends, not aggression. But he has definite ideas, he’s very smart and not sure he is all that impressed with my intelligence. ;-)

Big Boy 8 months 2

He is maturing so quickly, his “puppy moments” take me by surprise. You know, those moments when he can’t help himself, he has to misbehave or run around in fast and furious circles with abandon. So he still has to be crated when I’m not around to circumvent puppy bad behavior.

He’s doing the cutest thing these days, which makes me feel both proud and a little guilty. He crates himself when he does something bad. It started with my stuffed flamingo – he has one of his own, but he can’t help himself, he has to steal mine (and it’s up pretty high, so he has to make an effort). He steals it, must feel guilty, brings it to me and then puts himself in his crate. He’s also been crating himself when I use “that” voice – a sharp, deep, Bixby! – when I catch him doing something he shouldn’t.  I always have to try not to laugh.

Bixby Bench1He’s standing a park bench here. If you remember, when he was little, I’d stand him on park benches (aawww, this was his first week) and picnic tables so I could get a good photo. Now, whenever he sees a park bench  or picnic table, he has to climb it, then looks at me like, “hey, where’s the camera?” Today I remembered to bring the camera.

Bixby and the Girls 2

There are a lot of sculptures around town. I have to convince him they are not real people. 

Somewhere in the last month, Bixby and I have clicked. Don’t get me wrong, I was in love the moment I met him, but there have been times over the last 6 months when I wondered what the heck I was doing with a puppy. Adult dogs are so much easier, and all four of my other Danes and my Greyhound came to me pretty much full grown. I didn’t really know what to expect with a puppy and it has been a ton of work. But there came a moment last month when it all clicked, we get each other’s body language, there’s an understanding, a sense of connection – it’s still a lot of work, but it’s different. I can see the dog he is going to be and it’s pretty amazing. I’m seriously thinking of certifying him as a therapy dog for a kid’s reading program or nursing home residents. He just has a sense about people. He has an ease around wheelchairs, canes and kids.


This is what it looks like when the cats fight at my house. Emma, being a Calico, makes an ear-piercing sound when cornered (usually by Jake). This morning it totally freaked Bixby out. I had to peel him off me. Life with a Great Dane – world’s biggest scaredy-pup.

That’s the latest update on raising a Great Dane. Adorable, exhausting, well worth it. – TaMara

Paw print

Better Burger Buns

DSC_9870 (1600x1060)The last buns I made didn’t turn out very well so I went looking for another recipe.  Google returned a recipe from the folks at King Arthur Flour that promised beautiful buns.  I’m not going to argue that they’re the bestest evah! but they are very good.DSC_9875 (1600x1060)The recipe made 8 jumbo buns but could easily make 12 regular sized ones.  My oven is still running hot, these were in my oven, set for 375 degrees, for only 12 minutes or so.  I think if you go by the color you will be alright.  You’ll want to set a timer for half what you think is long enough so you can rotate the tray and that will give you a good idea of where you are.DSC_9877 (1600x1060)I made cheeseburgers to give them a real world try out and they did very well.  If they had been officers in the Great War they would have been mentioned in dispatches.DSC_5044 (1600x1060)Bonus photo!  Homer wants very much to be a dog.  He gets along much better with the dogs than he does the other cats.

New Building for St Francis Animal Shelter

P1020023 (1600x1060)I apologize for the photo quality in this series, Mrs J swung by to deliver some t-shirts she had washed for them without telling me in advance or I would have grabbed a better camera than the one we keep in the glove box.  It’s barely better than my phone camera.  The building is 3000 square feet laid out in a simple rectangle.P1020024 (1600x1060)There is a regular reception area with a desk manned by a helpful volunteer.  This display just inside the entry caught my eye.  These are part of a money raising venture that offers for sale various wines.  The labels are all cats and dogs that have come through the facility.P1020032 (1600x1060)A huge part of the services St Francis offers the community are low cost neutering, vaccinations, and chipping.  This is the new surgery – a vast improvement over the old one.  There are pre and post op rooms on either side, and a separate room for meds and supplies.  The vet does surgeries four days a week, mostly neutering and spaying animals that come through the shelter although she never turns away folks who bring in a hurt pet.P1020035 (1600x1060)The shelter has a groomer who volunteers some time, that’s her table in the back.  The green tub looking thing is a dog washing station.P1020036 (1600x1060)In the same room is a nice big triple sink that sees lots of work washing out food bowls and doubles as a puppeh and kitteh wash.  What’s that big, square, toilet looking thing?  Just that – poop soiled bedding can be scraped off into it before it’s washed in the machines behind it.  Those machines are going all day long.P1020037 (1600x1060)There is also a kitten/cat room.  I took a few pictures of the pets but they are none of them as nice as what Mrs J comes home with.  I’ll just end it with this one of Mrs J holding the door open for the shot.


DSC_9801 (1600x1060)Mmm… rib eye steak with rosemary potatoes fried in duck fat, and stir fried asparagus.  This is about the fifth best photo of this platter but all of the better angles revealed a (gasp!) hair.  It’s still there in this one but the light doesn’t catch it in quite the same manner and it’s not something you would find without some advance notice and some scrutiny at a higher magnification.  Of the three entrees the potatoes took the longest to cook.  Some recipes call for them to be par-boiled but I went with a straight up skillet fry.DSC_9809 (1600x1060)The asparagus we had with the steak came in a sizable bunch so I kept some back and used it this morning in a frittata/omelet with a sliced onion and a bit of ham.  Mrs J took a portion of orange chicken and rice to work with her the other day but brought it back because they had a spread laid out for lunch.DSC_9811 (1600x1060)The leftovers were perfect for a nice fried rice dish – this one has bacon, peas, green onions, and an egg added to the plain rice with a splash of oyster sauce and soy.DSC01684 (1600x1200)St Francis is in the middle of moving out of the old house that the shelter was established in and into their new building.  They’ve been saving up for a while and doing sales and auctions and hitting up local animal lovers for cash, the new headquarters is nearly half paid for already but they could always use more help.DSC01676 (1600x1200)Mrs J says they aren’t quite done with the finish work in the kitteh section of the new digs but these may be the last pictures taken of cats in the old house.  They are taking bids for the demolition.  It really was falling down around them.DSC01692 (1600x1060)We’ll have photos of the new place soon-ish.

Bixby Diaries: Too Big

Wanna play tug1

Wanna play tug?

I know it’s been a while since I’ve written, but it takes a lot of energy to grow. And there is so much to learn. Like this week, I learned how to unscrew my food “dish” and get the food out faster. My person doesn’t seem as excited about this as I am.


She’s been muttering about having to find some other way to feed me. I don’t know why, this is working for me. (TaMara’s note: Little beast. Now instead of taking 15 minutes to eat, he gobbles it all down. I’m heading to the farm store today to see if I can find something, probably horse related)

Office mate

My office mate.

My days are pretty routine: get up, jump on my person and wake her up, carry the cat litter to the trash, wait for the cats to eat so I can have my breakfast, good game of tug, nap, bug my person while she works, lunch, nice long walk, nap some more, then it’s time for dinner. By 8 pm, I’m pretty much done.

Action Shot1

Action shot!

My only complaint these days is that all I ever hear is, “Bixby, you’re too big…” usually followed by something I used to be able to do. Sit in laps, take naps with my person on the couch, sit with company on the couch, jump around and tackle my person, run full out when I’m on my leash. Even last week, I found a new friend, a puppy like me, and we were playing and having a great time, then her person said, “I think he’s too big for her” and she left with her. I was a little sad, but then my person threw a stick for me to chase and the world was sunny again.

We did have some excitement last week. Men did the weirdest thing, they climbed up on TOP of the house. People are not suppose to be on top of a house. I was freaked at first, but then my person took me in the bathroom while she showered and I totally forgot about the men on the roof. Because, did you know that water comes out of the wall?? I climbed in the tub with my person (she yelled, but I just ignored her) and put my head under the water. It was the funnest thing ever.

How do I turn this on

How do you turn this thing on?

And then after that, my person said, “well you’re all wet, might as well give you a bath.” Which was even more fun. Then we went outside and all the roofers came down and petted me, so I was fine with them being on the roof. Them being new friends and all. (TaMara’s note: nicest guys and so grateful they took time to meet Bixby, because after that he was completely fine with the whole process, except he was afraid to go outside  when the compressor was running, so potty breaks were a challenge)

Where's my tug toy lady

TaMara’s Note: Above is the face he makes when I take away his tug ball and say “wait” while I snap a photo. He is NOT amused.


Missy would prefer he not get so close

That’s pretty much my life to date. It’s pretty ok, even Emma seems to like me more, but I still can’t win over Missy. I try every morning, though. I don’t give up easily. See you next time. – Bixby

Paw print


B7wWYKwIAAAxe7F.jpg largeI saw this photo at another site and thought right away of TaMara’s new pup.  I have no idea who this is or where it was taken but the scant info that accompanied the picture says that he is a wolf hybrid.  DSC01674This started out as an underexposed picture of a black kitty with interesting eyes.  I played around in a photo editor until there was little left except for the eyes.  I am easily amused.DSC_9759 (1600x1060)I had all those baked chicken thighs left over and a new-to-me pasta shape to try out so this dish made a lot of sense.  The sauce is the chicken in a cheese sauce made with muenster and Parmesan.  The broccoli works well in there, I think.  The pasta is trottole, which means top – the spinning toy, not this side up.  Feel free to correct me if that’s wrong in some way.DSC_5019 (1600x1060)Toby rests up atop the sofa in the front room.  That spot is a fave of all our kittehs, especially when Kitteh Momma (Mrs J) is on it.  There’s room for three or four up there but the practical limit seems to be two.DSC_5012 (1600x1060)Ginger takes his turn.


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