Category Archives: Pets


DSC_0892 (1600x1060)I’ve mentioned the turkey we cooked the other day.  We really didn’t have any particular aim for the meat so I had a big ziplock bag full in the fridge waiting for me to do something.  Turkey salad sounded like a good way to move some of that along.  I have fun putting these salads together, chicken and turkey are pretty much interchangeable.  This one has a dressing of sour cream and mayo, in a 1:1 ratio.  I like to add cheese to mine and I usually have partial bags of shredded cheese laying about.  This one got a little cheddar and Monterey jack, and a substantial amount of Parmesan.  I can recommend Parmesan as being a particularly good addition after tasting this batch.  Also mixed in – pickle relish, chopped celery, a smallish Vidalia onion, a half cup or so of red bell pepper, a few minced cloves of garlic, and a tablespoon of well chopped fresh parsley.PICT1237 (1600x1060)More wildlife!  Not all that random, Mrs J adds corn and sunflower seeds to that pile daily and the local deer know to stop by.IMG_20150901_113041165 (1600x1200)Mrs J discovered a coupon app from her favorite store, she exercises it weekly.  DSC_0889 (1600x1060)Pork chops cooked in mushroom soup for a fantastic gravy and one of my all time favorite comfort foods.  I nearly ruined the box mix rice, it was all set to go in the rice cooker when I grabbed the rice vinegar bottle instead of the olive oil and gave it a good dose.  I dumped it out through a sieve and added it back to the cooker with fresh water.  It came out fine!arrgh!...I can't look (3) (1600x1060)Here’s an oldie but goody of Toby. Caption contest!DSC_0846 (1600x1060)I’m getting better at shaping the buns.  I’ve standardized on 8 buns per recipe, they make fair sized buns, not too big or too small.DSC02803 (1600x1200)I had to ask Mrs J how this momma-to-be cat got so dirty but she assures me that it’s natural coloration.DSC02796 (1600x1200)Here’s a handsome boy!  Ringo has some pretty blue eyes, he’s five months old and is ready to go out the door.  Hurry, he won’t be waiting long!

Seen on the Internets

The New Motorized Desk Fascinates Bixby

It wasn’t suppose to be a video of Bixby, but the new Ergo Motorized Standing Desk fascinates him, so he makes an appearance. I love it myself, it has a beautiful solid bamboo top and four settings for different heights. It only took me about thirty minutes to put together (minus all the interruptions) and it’s quiet and sturdy.

I’ve been using a modified standing configuration off and on for a while now, but always ran into the same problem, not enough space. My computer was at a good height, but everything else was too low and out of reach. It’s so nice to have everything where I need it and enough room to spread out while standing. I really like standing when I work, I’m so much more energized and I’m hardly ever standing still. A girl has got to dance.

This was my third crowdfunded acquisition and am very pleased.


For Bixby, EVERY DAY is National Dog Day

No, I didn’t forget that yesterday was national dog day, but let’s face it for the Beast, every day is national dog day. Instead, I’ll share this photo my cousin put together for me and posted to the book of faces.


Paw print


via20150821_133622 (1600x1060)My brother-in-law and his wife pulled their new RV/camper rig down to Mrs J’s old home town and spotted it in a campground right next to the river.  It’s a pretty fancy rig, nicely appointed.  It’s not Trump level gold plated fancy but it is comfortable.  I took a picture through one of the camper’s windows of a tow heading downriver.  That’s the Mighty Mississippi, from the Illinois side, that’s Missouri over there.  When the river gets high, like it was this spring, this spot is underwater.  Plays hell on the landscaping.DSC_5411 (1600x1060)We see wasps of various types, along with the occasional honeybee at the hummingbird feeders, but this is the first time I’ve seen one of these bald faced hornets.  I leave it be in the hope that it will reciprocate.DSC_0797 (1600x1060)Mmm… burritos!  These are beef and bean, with cheddar and pico de gallo, rolled up and grilled in a little oil.  Zap them in the microwave for a minute before you brown them – saves time and assures that the cheese melts.DSC_0685 (1600x1060)Buffalo wings!  I usually make more but I had some vacuum sealed and frozen and there weren’t as many as came in the fresh package – I divided that in two and froze them separately to cut down on leftovers.  Most of the time I bread the wings before frying them but these went straight into the hot oil after drying them with paper towels.DSC02784 (1600x1200)Kittehs!  The black cat is Frank, he came in feral and was a wild thing at first but he’s been slowly coming around.  He’s been at St Francis for about three years and gets along well with other cats.  Mrs J says he won’t let her pet him but the lady they call The Cat Whisperer is able to.  The dilute calico is Daisy, a five month old kitteh that is chipped and vaccinated and is ready for adoption.DSC_5406 (1600x1060)Bea expresses an interest in the catnip Mrs J has growing in a pot.  I was fully expecting her to climb right in but she held off.DSC_0817 (1600x1060)My basil is still doing well, I’ve been clipping the blooms off as they appear, that seems to keep it vigorous.  I guess I need to think about what to do with all those delicious leaves.  I suppose I could dry a lot of them and process them to use in recipes.  I’m not a big fan of pesto but I may make up a batch or two and freeze it in an ice cube tray like all the other folks on Google advise.

Bixby Diaries: What I Did On My Summer Vacation

Tired BixbyTired puppy. He’s spent most of this week sleeping. There was a time when I never allowed my Great Danes on the furniture, much less sleep in my bed. Not sure how the Beast convinced me otherwise. You know that rainbow bridge? There will be 4 Danes giving me the “eye” when we meet, wondering what the hell. BTW, thank goodness for couch covers.


My person says I have to take a break from popping the air pillows in the Amazon box and tell you about my summer vacation.


As you probably already know, my person and I had a fun week earlier in the month, then a few days later, we packed up the car and drove…and drove…and drove. It was sooo boring. When I get restless, I sneak my head into the front seat and lay it on the center console until I fall asleep.

At least there were a lot of walks in very interesting places along the way.

Bixby and Little D

Impossible tasks: Trying to get an 8-year-old and puppy to stand still long enough for a photo

When we finally stopped driving, one of my favorite people was waiting for me. I love her and she’s so much fun to play with…she’s great with tug. But I accidentally made her cry and it really was upsetting, for both of us. Even though she’s grown, I have too and sometimes I forget how big I am. But she’s so cool, she came back and gave me a big hug and all was sunshine again.

I met two of the most unsettling creatures while we were there. My person called them babies and she was all cooing and ahhh-ing over them. I have to tell you they smell funny and make the weirdest sounds. I tried to warn my person by barking my concern and to protect her from them, but she insisted on snuggling them anyway. I finally gave up and went to play with smarter people who weren’t holding these suspicious creatures.


“Scottie, don’t wrestle with the dog, it won’t end well.” No one listens to me.

Despite that experience, I had a lot of fun. So much in fact, all I want to do is sleep now. Maybe by the weekend I’ll be ready for more play. Bring on the kids. Well, except for those little things.

TaMara’s notes: I’m sorry to say we had so much fun while we were away, I took all of three photos. So I had to hold this post until I could take a couple of shots today.

Funniest thing to happen on the trip – we arrived at my brother’s house and everyone was at soccer practice, so we let ourselves in. My brother’s cat, Gus, was not having it. He was on his chair, took one look at Bixby (who he has hated since day one) went into full-on hiss mode. I managed to get Bixby past him and into the bedroom, only to find Gus had followed us down the hall and was not going to let me out of the room, hissing and jumping at me. I texted my brother that we were being held hostage by his attack cat. Luckily, without Bixby in sight, Gus remembered he still loved me. Their other cat, Jasmine, not so much, every time she saw me she went full on hiss/attack mode. As far as she’s concerned I’m in league with the beast.

In the picture at the top of the post, you might notice a couple of things – Bixby has blown his baby coat and is actually bald in several places. And he’s covered in bug bites because of it. I was surprised they were so big they showed up in the photo.

My cats all survived having us away, probably happy for the quiet. It’s not easy having a rambunctious puppy around. Although I think Z-Man really missed him, he’s been hanging around him more than usual.

Paw print


Bixby Diaries: Mountain Adventures

Fire Effects

Fire damage from a few years ago.

LFern and family own property up from a canyon that was hit hard by the 2013 floods and the 2012 fires that turned their property into a moonscape. I used to go up there for some peace and fresh air, but hadn’t made the trip since the fires. I was glad when we went up this past week it was showing signs of recovery.

My birthday was last week and because I have amazing friends, I was besieged with requests to go have some fun. My only desire was that we did something that would give Bixby an adventure. I’ve been feeling that my schedule has left him bored of late. Everyone was happy to oblige.

Where is the puppy

Let’s play find the puppy.

Adventures we had. First we went to visit his buddy Kodiak, then grabbed a picnic lunch and headed up to the canyon for some mountain time. This was Bixby’s first foray into the woods and he left no doubt this was an amazing exploit. Four hours later we took an exhausted dog back down the mountain and he slept most of the next day.

Beautiful boy

“Is that a bear I smell?”

We hiked a bit and then picnicked by the stream. As anyone who has followed Bixby’s diaries knows he loves water and his very own creek was pretty much heaven for him.  He also got to see his very first cows, as they were Angus, fairly certain he thought they were related. He of course then got to snack on cow snacks. Sigh.

Bixby's Big Stick

There were really big sticks to try and fetch. Almost impaling us in the process.Fire RenewalI loved this view, the wildflowers looking like an avalanche of snow.

Here is a video of his adventures – it’s a little long, because to be honest, it’s really for me. I love this dog. He was so good and never once tried to run off. He was content to play within sight of us.

Later in the week, friend Larilyn and I went up to Estes Park where Bixby walked around the big park and played in the reservoir. We may do that more often, since it’s not that far from here. The rest of the week was filled with company coming over. He had a great time. I’m sure he now thinks every week should be like this.

He did two things this week that remind me of how awesome he is and reaffirmed what was clear when I first met him. He is very intuitive and adjusts his behavior accordingly. My neighbor is rather frail but likes to give Bixby a scritch when he sees him and Bixby sits and gently leans on him as he scritches. This is not the case if he thinks you are in fine health, besides trying to just bowl you over with his size and enthusiasm, he still wants to jump up on you. We’re working on it.

Tired puppy

Exhausted puppy sleeping next to my desk at the moment

The other event was as we were walking the other day, we came upon his “girlfriend” a beautiful yellow tabby that loves him as much as he loves her. She comes running whenever she sees Bixby walking down her sidewalk. You can hear all the neighbors on the block do a collective “awwwww”. We met up with a woman and her ten year old son, who had stopped to scritch the kitteh. Her son had some physical disabilities and was unable to speak, but his eyes got really big when he saw Bixby and he got the biggest smile.

He wanted to pet Bixby and I reluctantly agreed, worried that Bixby would be over-enthusiastic and knock him down. I shouldn’t have been worried, Bixby sat nicely, let his new friend feed him a cookie, hug him and love on him. He didn’t budge, didn’t wiggle, just became this young boy’s sturdy friend.

All and all, except for the interruption of a migraine, it was a terrific birthday.



DSC_0734 (1600x1060)I’ve been on a fruit salad kick.  Lots of fresh fruit at the market this time of year.  Grapes are a mainstay, I use both red and green grapes and I like to cut them in half unless they are really tiny.  Seedless grapes are easier but I have spent a lot of time scraping seeds away when those aren’t available.  Also in this one are pears, peaches, kiwis, pineapple, oranges, and bananas.DSC02695 (1600x1200)

Kitteh!  Here’s a 3 month old male.  Mrs J says they named him Diti but she will not swear to the spelling.  D. T.?  DeeTee? Ditty?DSC_0723 (1600x1060)Mmm… cheeseburger.  This one has Swiss cheese and a pile of pickled peppers.DSC_0718 (1600x1060)More of those roasted rosemary Parmesan potatoes.  These are Yukon Golds and they are plated with sesame green beans and a piece of roasted chicken.DSC02699 (1600x1200)Moar Kitteh!  This is Kaitlyn, an 8 week old female with interesting coloration, a tabby/calico look.IMG_20150806_113021225 (1600x1200)That’s Kaitlyn there – right up against the blue watchband on this kitten house staffer.  They call that staffer “the cat whisperer” because she can really get a feral cat calmed down and purring.DSC_0728 (1600x1060)Country ribs and fries.  I have my best luck with these pork “logs” when I braise them, covered, in a low oven, say 225 to 250.  I use broth as the braising liquid, adding bbq sauce at the end and uncovering them to help reduce the sauce.  These were finished on the outside grill but they can be done under a broiler – watch them close so they don’t char.DSC_0653 [1600x1060]Here’s another cheeseburger, this one is garnished with some of those refrigerator pickles.  On the side is one of my favorite summer salads of tomatoes and cucumbers with onions in a vinaigrette.  It’s better the next day but isn’t bad when freshly made like this one.

Best Birthday Gift – Twelve Years and Counting

Emma August 2003 2

Twelve years ago today, I went to the local shelter and found this little ball of fire. Since I had a house full of Great Danes, I needed someone who could stand her ground, even though she weighed all of a pound and could fit in the toe of my shoe. She was eight weeks old.Emma August 2003 1Emma never let size get in her way. And you know she’s lives to boss Bixby around, just like she bossed her other Danes around. Here she let’s Shelby know who is boss.

Shelby & Emma


Emma Pumpkin

This year the most I’ll probably get is a new pair of boots. LOL.




DSC_0679 (1600x1060)We’ve tapped the jar of refrigerator pickles that we put up a few weeks ago.  They are pretty good but Mrs J thinks they are a tad too spicy.  She has a very low threshold.DSC_0576 (1600x1060)Those red pepper flakes are from last year’s crop of cayennes and are definitely hotter than the generic pepper flakes sold at the local food mart.  I think Mrs J’s first sample included a flake that spent a second too long on her tongue.DSC02662 (1600x1200)This is Henrietta, she was brought in as a feral kitty a few weeks ago but has settled into the shelter routine and is friendly enough.  She’s been fixed and vaccinated and is ready for adoption.DSC_0665 (1600x1060)This looks like chicken fried steak but it’s with pork tenderloin instead of cubed beefsteak.  The potatoes were brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with kosher salt and then roasted.  I zap the potatoes in the microwave for a few minutes to speed things up.DSC02684 (1600x1200)Moar kitteh!  This is Elizabeth, she was one of a litter of five that had been born feral and then captured and brought in to be fixed.  Shelter staff really fell for her and persuaded the Good Samaritan to leave her with them rather than be returned to barn.DSC_0663 (1600x1060)Mmm… meatloaf!  No particular recipe for this one but I did use several fresh herbs from the patio garden – oregano and sage and parsley.  I will comment on the sauce, it’s equal parts ketchup and bbq sauce with a dollop of my pepper jelly mixed in.  Very good on this!  The potato got the same treatment as described above:  Zapped in the microwave, then oiled, salted, and roasted cut side down until browned.  We are getting enough tomatoes and cucumbers to keep a container of the summer-y salad going.  It gets a vinaigrette of vinegar and canola oil with oregano and thyme and is always better after being in the fridge overnight.DSC02646 (1600x1200)One last kitteh!  This is Ida, she’s been at the shelter a while.  Staff estimate her age to be a year and a half.  They comment that she was a little withdrawn when she came to the shelter three or four months ago but that she has warmed up to everyone now.  Such a pretty kitty!  Mrs J fed her a bit of chicken from her lunch the other day and says Ida now greets her with head bumps and purrs.


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