Category Archives: Pets

Rustic Hollow Cat Shelter

C&W Rustic Hollow is a shelter in Nashua, Iowa that provides a forever home to cats infected with FIV/FeLV.  St Francis had a few cats that were infected that required them to be quarantined from the rest of the cats.  A local donor ponied up the $1000 per cat that Rustic Hollow asks to accept them into their operation so Mrs J volunteered her time and drove all four of them up there, along with a friend.

There are six buildings in their complex that are set up as if they were actual homes that people live in:  Couches, tables, and chairs, kitchens and living rooms, porches and basements.  Rugs and pillows and cat trees are everywhere, and, of course, lots of cat beds.  The cats are turned loose and have a free run of the houses but they are permanent inside cats – never allowed outside.DSC02137 (1600x1060)

DSC02136 (1600x1060)This is as close to outside as they will ever get, there are several screened porches that are called “catios”.DSC02112 (1600x1060)

DSC02059 (1600x1060)This is where new arrivals are evaluated and held for a time before they are released into the shelter proper.  I understand the FIV and FeLV cats are segregated into their own groups.DSC02061 (1600x1060)

DSC02060 (1600x1060)The FIV cats are said to lead fairly normal lives if they are cared for but the FeLV is usually a death sentence – the shelter acts as a hospice for those poor kittehs.  The Cornell link above mentions that some cats can come to terms with the virus – “… some FeLV-infected cats develop an effective immune response, which controls the viral infection and results in a transient viremia instead of a persistent viremia. In these cats, subsequent FeLV tests will show that the cat no longer has virus in its blood.”DSC02072 (1600x1060)Mrs J reports that they have about 400 cats at present.  They don’t take walk-ins but if you have an infected cat your local shelter may be able to help you arrange an accommodation.

Missy 2003-2015

Missy 9101

After initially being fine, I’m very sad to say that Missy did not make it through surgery. We don’t know why. She recovered enough to come home, but passed about an hour after. I was able to hold her for about a half hour and snuggle with her. I’m sure Harley was there to greet her, he was always taking care of us.

I love this picture of her, because that was her attitude, always just a bit judgmental of me and my pet skills. RIP

Paw print


Random Wildlife

DSC_5200These two diving ducks showed up on the front pond yesterday, I didn’t know what they were but went online and a nice fellow told me they were both female Common Goldeneye ducks.  Thanks, Mike!DSC_5209 (1600x1060)Mrs J maintains a suet feeder that woodpeckers like a lot.  This one is a Red Bellied Woodpecker.DSC_5211 (1600x1060)These are a pair of Downy Woodpeckers.  The male has the red patch.  Downys are our smallest woodpeckers.P1000260 (1600x1060)Canada Geese are frequent visitors and can really honk up a racket when the dogs show themselves.  I took this one through the window of the truck as we returned from an expedition.DSC_5210 (1600x1060)Spring is turtle roaming season.  Homer is keeping a wary eye on this one as he heads back towards the pond.PICT4485 (1600x1060)I include this one of a deer, taken by an automatic camera that overlooks the spot where Mrs J scatters corn and other seeds, because of the groomed look of her hair.  I’m guessing it results from walking through thick vegetation – maybe that’s why they call it brush.

Bixby Diaries: 9 Months Old Today

You suck 2

Bixby is 9 months old today. I was going to have him write a diary entry, but I was afraid it would be filled with profanity, drinking, smoking and graffiti. In other words, we’ve hit the terrible teen weeks.

The photo above is him basically telling me I suck because I have banned him from the couch. Why you ask? Is it because dogs shouldn’t be on the couch (true, but no), because he’s too big (almost true, but still no) or because I just washed the cover, blankets and pillow (again, true, but nope)?

No, he’s banned from the couch because no matter how many times I correct him, he thinks it’s a playground. Digs, scratches, rolls around, tries to take the cushions off, and brings all his toys up on the couch. He’s allowed to nap on the couch, nothing else. So no more couch.

You still suck

He’s 120.5 lbs, still only 32 inches at his shoulders, but much longer now – it’s hard to measure a moving target – but he towers over me when standing up on my shoulders. His neck is 24″ around  and he’s almost out of the largest collar I can find. That’s larger than the Great Dane next door. And while our neighbor is much taller and much heavier (he comes in at a hefty 210 lbs and is svelte, so you can imagine how tall he is), Bixby’s neck is bigger, he definitely has his dad’s build there, a more European style. I may have to buy his collars in the men’s belt section.

That dog is still here

That dog is still here?

He is generally a good dog, but the last three weeks have been challenging. And I am being kind here. This morning he started his ninth month out by refusing to get out of bed, chasing Zander, challenging Emma – who never backs down, the only reason Bixby’s nose doesn’t look like coleslaw is that Emma is secure in her alpha, queen of the house, status – so she just hisses at him and stands her ground –  and refusing to sit and hold while I opened the door for him to go outside. Basically he bowled me over like the ten pin.  And that was all before breakfast. More importantly, that was before my first cup of coffee.

What ya got1

He continued his misbehavior on our walk by throwing his weight around. When he doesn’t want to stop sniffing something he crouches down and digs his feet in. If he doesn’t come when I request it, he has to walk at heel, no sniffing, no stopping. We spent most of the walk at heel.

Dinner time

But the good news is, he has stopped grabbing the leash from my hand and running away. It took him a bit of detective work to figure out that it was this behavior that was getting him in big trouble. It was fun watching him work it out. He has three or four behaviors lately on leash that I’ve been discouraging, but only the grabbing the leash and running away got him in big trouble. He didn’t quite get it at first, so he would test out each behavior and watch and listen. It only took him twice grabbing the leash before he got it. He’s pretty much over that now, though every once in a while, he turns, starts to grab it, looks at me, and decides it’s not worth it.

That face

I am confident we’ll work the rest out. A lot of it is challenging me, to see if he can get away with something. He’s learning that if he wants to get scritches from other people he meets, sitting gets him the attention he is seeking, instead of charging at them, jumping on them or generally cornering them at the door. I get all the “make me” behaviors. Some days he’s a perfect gentleman, others he just wants to do it his way and I’m an obstacle.

Suddenly I have an understanding why two of my four Danes came to me at just under a year. I can see how people not familiar with how sweet these dogs are as adults would be overwhelmed by the power of their rebellion. I am confident Bixby will be a charming adult dog. Even if at the moment he is completely exhausting me. Luckily, he’s cute and gives great hugs.

Paw print


Most Photogenic Cat Ever (Don’t Tell The Others)

Most Photogenic cat ever


DSC_0067 (1600x1060)Mmm… slaw dogs!  The slaw has a mayo based dressing that works well with the squeeze of hot mustard.  We’ll be eating beans until we run out.  I make them up in a 10″ cast iron skillet and we get several day’s worth of sides out of them.DSC_5192 (1600x1060)Here’s Homer!  He really, really loves to play chase the laser dot and every now and then he comes to the little side table next to my chair to remind me that that is where it’s kept.  It’s the little red cylinder under his nose, there.  He does it often enough that I was able to set up for a quick photo, this is my best one so far.  He usually has both feet up there, too.DSC01917 (1600x1200)This is Bella.  The staff at a local nursing home asked if St Francis could provide them with a dog to replace one that passed.  I’ve heard of organizations that took pets around for visits but they apparently wanted one to stay right there permanently. They took Bella over to see if she would work out and so far it looks like she has found a new home and many new doting parents.DSC01922 (1600x1200)Mrs J says it seemed that Bella wanted to say hello to everyone!  Looks like she will fit right into her role.DSC01923 (1600x1200)They took a dog bed and toys and some food over with her but they said they wouldn’t need anything because they had bought all that already, in anticipation.DSC_0073 (1600x1060)Roasted Brussels sprouts with a chicken fried pork tenderloin and a baked potato.  Sprouts are fabulous roasted like this, trim the ends and halve them and toss with olive oil and kosher salt and roast them in a 400 oven, cut side down, until they look like this.  The cut sides are browned and the outer leaf may look burnt but they taste great.DSC_0040 (1600x1060)Spaghetti is always a favorite.  This one has a sausage and tomato sauce and was sprinkled with the remainder of a bag of Italian blend cheeses I had leftover from something else (pizza? I forget).  I had plenty of sauce leftover so I made some bruschetta:DSC_0062 (1600x1060)


DSC_5177 (1600x1060)Katie was enjoying the first snow free day a little too much.  It’s a good thing she got her ya yas out because we got more snow:DSC_5186 (1600x1060)It started out with a little sleet but that turned to snow and that fell all day and didn’t taper off till after dark.DSC01872 (1600x1060)

Not quite six inches.  I got out on the tractor today and bladed the drive.DSC_0034 (1600x1060)One of Mrs J’s fortified carrot cakes was reward for my labors.  It’s a box mix with extra shredded carrot, raisins, and crushed pineapple.  Mmm… moist and sweet, especially with the toasted coconut on the cream cheese icing.  There’s a little orange zest sprinkled on there, too.  Smelled great!DSC_0028 (1600x1060)Quesadillas with egg, roasted pork, and cheddar garnished with sour cream and a nice hot sauce.DSC_5175 (1600x1060)Ginger Boy oversees doggie dinner prep.  Mrs J buys dry kibble and leavens it with her own blend of goodies.  She adds cooked chicken, rice, cottage cheese, green beans, sweet potatoes, liver, and ground beef in varying proportion, cooking it up in big pots and freezing it in plastic containers.  The pups love it so she must be doing it right.DSC_0039 (1600x1060)A stir fry with chicken and various veggies over yellow rice.  Not bad but far from my best effort.


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.


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