Category Archives: Pets


DSC_1384 (1600x1060)We buy whole, boneless, smoked hams when they go on sale during and after the Holidays.  I usually slice them thin and freeze the slices in a vacuum bag but I cut a few slices thick just for this classic meal.  At least its classic for me!DSC02963 (1600x1200)Good spot for a kitteh.  This is Clarabell, she was left on the shelter’s front porch in a box marked stray.  She had some issues with her skin and coat but they are all now remedied.  Clarabell looks to have some Maine Coon in her background.  She’s shy but coming around.DSC_1398 (1600x1060)I bought a bag of frozen, shredded, potatoes that are marketed as hash browns.  I’ve never made these from frozen and wanted to give them a try.  They worked very well!  I am not at all disappointed.  The hot dog looking things are a cheap store branded bratwurst and were tastier than they look.DSC_1393 (1600x1060)Tacos!  I’m not from anywhere near where authentic Tex-Mex cuisine is prominent but my understanding is that this sort of taco is what happens when northern influences creep in.  I’m far from being a food snob so I’m not ashamed to say I love these things.DSC02999 (1600x1060)Moar kittehs!  I don’t know much about these other than they are quite young, Mrs J says they were from a neighboring, county run shelter that didn’t have room for them.  St Francis took them in.DSC_1392 (1600x1060)We’ve been using these mini-buns a lot.  This King Arthur recipe, divided into twenty pieces, produces buns 2-1/2 to 3 inches across.  Shape the dough from the same recipe into 6 or 8 logs for nice hoagie rolls.DSC03021 (1600x1200)One moar kitteh!  Norie is part of a litter of four.  She’s been chipped and her shots are current and she’s ready to go!

Bella and George: A Love Story


Bella and her service dog George.

About twenty years ago, I started to hear about rescued Great Danes being used as service dogs for people with mobility and balance issues. It made perfect sense to me, my Danes were always strong, sturdy and mellow. An adult leaning their weight on them is no big deal. A few years ago, I learned about the Service Dog Project in Massachusetts, which breeds Danes especially for service. And now because of Bella and George, everyone is learning about them. Their story is inspiring and for this Great Dane lover, it tugs on the heartstrings.

Here’s an article on how the Great Dane Service Dog Project came into being and more about Bella and George. An excerpt:

Meeting new people was a skill Bella had not yet acquired.  She has been disabled and different since she was 2 ½.   Sadly, the general public doesn’t know how to react to a little girl bound to a wheelchair.  Many avoid eye contact and limit interactions, which leads disabled people to feel isolated.   It’s not that people don’t care or feel empathetic, they just don’t know how to care and don’t know what to say.  George helps people know what to say; mostly they say “Beautiful Dog” followed by humor “You should just ride that dog!” to which Bella usually replies “Sometime I do!” And instead of a random stranger feeling heavy-hearted as they pass a disabled child in a wheelchair, and Bella feeling isolated; both smile and usually George gets a pat from a complete stranger. 

George makes life better for Bella and anyone he meets along the way.

And one more video, because I cannot get enough of Bella, she is a terrific person:

Paw print



Bixby Diaries: Fall Leaves and First Snow

Bixby This Walk Interupted

This is mostly photo updates today. Bixby loves his walks and this fall he discovered leaf piles. I think last year we were so busy just growing up and exploring the world, he missed the whole idea of jumping around in a big pile of them. Our walks are often interrupted by a random pile of leaves he must jump in and dig through. My neighbor thinks it’s so cute, he makes a pile for him every day or so.

Sick Puppy 2

I had to run some errands this week that took us near the vet’s office, so we popped in for a weigh-in. The big guy is 153 lbs and so skinny I’m thinking I’ll be adding a cup of food to his day. But today, he is not himself. He’s got Great Dane Tummy – something he got into has upset his digestion and he was up all night last night going in and outside. No food today and rice tomorrow should clear it up.

Sick puppy

Poor baby. He’s been in that spot all afternoon. That’s the one thing about Danes, they have the digestive system of a nervous Chihuahua. It doesn’t take much to mess them up.


I finally got him to take another paw-in-my-hand shot. He rarely holds still long enough for me to get one, but in the bunch I took this time, there was one that wasn’t a blur. For comparison, here is the first time I did it, and here is the second.

Bixby Nov 2015 Paw

We had our first snow yesterday and as you can imagine, he was completely excited by it. He spent a good ten minutes racing in circles and nosing through it. As last winter came to an end, he would find the few snow drifts left and plop himself down in them, clearly disappointed there were so few left. So I knew he would be very happy when we went outside yesterday morning.

That’s it for this quick update. He’s doing great and maturing quickly. He’s a joy to take on walks now. The concept that if he is gentle and calm he receives lots of love and attention has taken hold, thanks in part to the many strangers who want to stop, talk with me and give his ears a scritch. The scritch soon turns into a full body snuggle, as the Beast is like all Danes, show him some attention and he quickly uses you as a leaning post. No one seems to mind.

Sleepy Puppy 11 10 15

Paw print

Puppy Loves Leaves

Bixby This Walk Interupted

There will be an actual update later, but had to share this. Our walks are often interrupted for a romp in the leaves break.



Sammich Pr0n – Cheeseburgers

DSC_1320 (1600x1060)Now with added kitteh!DSC02982 (1600x1200)

Sammich Pr0n – Chili Dog

DSC_1312 (1600x1060)Now with Moar Kitteh!DSC02984 (1600x1200)

Bixby, Year One

My cousin just got himself onto Facebook, so I put this together for him since he hadn’t seen Bixby yet:

Bixby Year 1

It happens so fast. LOL

Paw print


DSC_1277 (1600x1060)Mmm… chili!  I’m convinced this is the only way to prepare chili: Chop up a beef roast, add pork, onions, chili powder, garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar, onion powder, garlic powder, chili sauce, brown sugar, black pepper, anchovy paste, fish sauce, salt, and whatever else that looks appropriate because I’m sure my list isn’t exhaustive.  Let all that marinate over night and cook it with more onions and chopped peppers before adding beans and more of whatever it needs in the way of chili powders and garlic.  This batch has minced bell peppers and a couple of jalapenos and is relatively mild.  Serranos or habaneros will up the heat to suit a more jaded palate.DSC_1264 (1600x1060)It’s hard to beat a decent ribeye.  Easy to cook and easy to eat.  We’ve taken to roasting potato halves cut side down with olive oil and kosher salt.20151030_082843[1] (1600x1060)Here’s Homer! He thinks he’s a dog.  Yet to catch a mole but not for lack of effort.  I have to say, we have plenty of moles for everyone to chase.  Jack is a champion mole catcher and Annie lends a hand.  I just wish they would fill the holes back up.DSC_1279 (1600x1060)Usually I make chili mac with plain boiled pasta but this time I ladled the chili over mac ‘n cheese.  I like these new dishes.PICT2464 (1600x1060)Mrs J has just organized a dog walk and the crew charges out into the yard, eager to see what’s new.  First stop is always the spot where she dumps corn and sunflower seeds – there are always new scents to savor.PICT1433 (1600x1060)I’m going to throw this up again, just because.  The shutter has tripped for some reason during that period where the light is low enough that the camera sensor has switched to night IR mode but there is still plenty to illuminate the whole scene.DSC_1268 (1600x1060)Burritos!  These are filled with roast pork, refried beans, and cheddar cheese.  We like burritos, they make an easy meal out of leftovers of all kinds – just about anything you can wrap a tortilla around.DSC_1281 (1600x1060)

Bixby Diaries: A Stick Is A Stick, Unless It’s A Tree

Bixby 10 29

Bixby is settling into being a charming, sweet boy. Our walks are filled with lots of petting and leaning (if you’ve ever had a big dog, you’ll understand that). A few days ago we were at the ponds and he was swarmed by small children who were all petting him at once. At one point he looked over at me with a look that clearly said, “this is how it should always be” before flopping on the ground, rolling over and letting the kids pile on him. I held my breath (and his leash) worried the puppy would make an appearance, but he was a perfect gentleman. He made a bunch of new friends.

Our neighbors cut down a tree and had a nice pile of wood ready for disposal. On the way home from a walk, I picked out a nice sized one for Bixby:

Action shot small stick

And then Bixby picked out one:

But wait, there’s more! Click to see


DSC02956 (1600x1200)The in-laws gifted us these two fig tree cuttings and sent over a small bowl of figs from the tree they were cut from.  Tasty!  I hadn’t ever eaten a fresh fig before, my only exposure to figs of any sort was by way of those Newton cookies and the occasional holiday candied treat.  They didn’t provide too much info on them except to say they were Italian fig trees.  They say they will grow to six feet and bear fruit in the second year.  Any luck and we won’t kill them before that. DSC_1242 (1600x1060)This is my second try at baking slider buns and I think I’m on the right path.  Those black specks are bits of garlic that I flavored the melted butter with for the pre-bake brushing.  I didn’t worry about them when it went on but I should have known they were going to char in the oven.  It looks like one KA recipe will make 20 appropriately sized buns – 2-1/2 to 3 inches each.DSC_5429 (1600x1060)Bea was in the pot with the jalapenos when I looked out the window but by the time I had my camera in hand she was out of it and back into her usual spot.DSC_1245 (1600x1060)We had chicken enchiladas for dinner today, nothing special – tomatillo sauce, roasted poblanos, and Monterey jack.  I made the corn/black bean salad I’ve done before but new to the table is the hominy/sweet corn/red bean salad.  Both salads have onions and green peppers in a rice vinegar dressing.DSC_5424 (1600x1060)Bitsy is taking her turn in the catnip pot.  They are all just crazy for that stuff.


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