Sabtu, 23 Januari 2010

In A Fog

Driving along early Saturday a.m., having been to Bloomiongton on an animal transport I realized it is freakin' gloomy around here. See for yourselves, please...this is the Illinoisan view of January, from the curve of my car's dashboard. Lovely, heh? Where's the sun you ask? As if we hadn't thought of that question ourselves! It's on retreat, apparently. We hope to see it back in the area soon.What's to be done but make the most of a traveling adventure such as I took. Sure, it was exciting to have 3 cats and 4 dogs, each in its own crate, sharing the ride with me because I knew they would be going to "forever" homes. And, as I drove I realized how this is one way that Illinois doesn't appear to live as two states. Traditionally Route 80 has been the delimitaor, with Chicago claiming to be separate and north of there and the rest of the state (which did include points west and even north of Chicago, but mostly points south) were considered downstate. When doing transport our mission is to get animals from kill facilities in lower populated areas (south and west) to northern areas and no-kill shelters or actually pre-placed in homes.
Having taken the drive I stopped to visit a familiar cemetery where I thought the weather might at least offer some interesting views. This was one. There are those who will declare "Not another moss covered rock!" Yup. But it's a grave marker so not just any rock. Ponder that, RT.

I call this one 1-2-3. Just found the textures alluring.

Selasa, 19 Januari 2010

Modern Grinch Foiled!

Over the holidays a crime was committed.

You all know the joy of Christmas lights, either in your own yard or in neighborhoods you've enjoyed visiting, maybe even parades or festivals of lights. Lots of people get into it.

Such was the case with a faraway friend who thrilled those around him by putting out a glorious display of Christmas decorations, adorned with lights. Nothing so fancy that it was one of a kind, but clever and familiar and welcoming.

Apparently a little too welcoming in this case as the happy homeowner returned from a day's work to find the front yard devoid of ornamentation. In plain language, stuff was gone. Stolen. Grinched.

What to do? There was no choice but to take a modern day approach to the situation and write to the editor of the local newspaper (still in existence). A promise or threat was made, depending upon how you look at it. The deal was if the theft returned the stolen items then the rightful owner would not post the photos taken of the thieving person on YouTube. A-ha!

The villan called the crafty property owner and confessed.

Items were removed from her front yart and returned to the letterwriter.

A full confession included that the person was more concerned with being seen on YouTube than being caught by or turned in to the police.

Jumat, 15 Januari 2010

Soup's On

OK, one more soup recipe for now...who can resist hearty soup? Where we are it is cold and usually dry inside because of the heat being on and then damp outside because there is snow or slush. We wouldn't have it any other way - we're four season people.

Here's my mom's 1943 cookbook recipe for Cream of Potato Soup, adapted for 2010.

Cream of Potato

5 c thinly sliced potatoes (I used red and left the skins on)
1 medium onion, sliced
2 t. salt (really use to taste)
3 T. butter
1 2/3 c. evaporated milk
1 c. water (or to taste)
1 T. finely chopped parsley*

Put potatoes and onion into large saucepan and barely cover with cold water. Add salt, cover tightly, and bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until potatoes are perfectly tender. Mash potatoes** in their liquid. Add butter and evaporated milk, and enough water to give the desired thickness. Reheat to scalding, remove from heat, add chopped parsley. Serve immediately. 5 serviings.

* We didn't have any parsley so I used a pinch of mixed herbs and then 2 pinches of rosemary.
** I did not mash to the point of what mashed potatoes are like but just smooshed them. That left them still in water so I did not add water.  Before serving I added a sprinkle of crumbled bacon. I think it would be great with a touch of blue cheese on it. Or add your favorite toppings and croutons!

How is this Paws to Love related? Aw, come on - when did you ever know a dog who didn't hang out optimistically in a kitchen when given the chance? The smells, the possibility of droppings - what greater joy can they have when they are asked to be in a passive state?

Kamis, 14 Januari 2010

Brew really likes the Bike Tow Leash, Abba & Bob are not sure yet

Brew at full speed. He loves to run.

Bob was ok until turning at which point he pull backwards and got out of the harness. So now to find a harness that won't slip off.

Here's Abba learning how to walk along side the bike. She doesn't like turning either.

Selasa, 12 Januari 2010

My Commitment to Soup

Soup is such a fun food to fix. Not the canned kind but what is made from scratch - that's what I'm talkin' about, people! Last year I challenged myself to find some good soup recipes. I went to the bookstore. Some in big cookbooks looked interesting but not $75 or even $39.95 interesting and I didn't want all the other recipes. I went to the library. I love the library. I checked out soup cookbooks. My favorite was the soup and break one because it had great photos and lots of ingredients that I could never find here in the midwest.

I did find a few recipes that were do-able and got those developed to meet our taste preferences. But I still wanted more. I lacked the uncomplicated but hearty soups.

Little did I know because little did I think...I have my mom's 1943 cookbook. There are soups - plain, soups - creamy, chowders, broths, and stews. Sure, we had to figure out what a #1 tin can equates to (11 oz.) and I made a couple of small adjustments but WOW. We hit the jackpot!

Tonight we had Tomato Cabbage Soup. Doesn't that sound terrible? Ha! Not so! Before I give you the recipe though, let me tell you that there are menus for every day, all three meals, based on nutritional needs and balanced diets. I know now why I have a "few" too many pounds on my frame. It's been a long time since "sensible eating" was in fashion. This not only makes for good reading, but who knows, there can be side benefits!

So here it is....Tomato Cabbage Soup from The Modern Family Cook Book by Meta Given (that's what it says).

1/4 c butter
1/3 c flour
1 no# 1 tin tomato juice*
1/2 bay leaf
1 slice onion
1 t salt
1 T sugar
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk*
2 1/4 c finely chopped cabbage, cooked
1 c water

I substituted the juice with a 14 oz can of garlic/herb diced tomatoes and use a full can of evaporated milk.

Melt butter and blend in flour (use a wisk); add tomato juice and stir over low heat until mixture boils and thickens. Add bay leaf, onion, salt and sugar to evaporated milk, and heat separately in top of double boiler over hot water. Just before serving, strain out the bay leaf and onion (we left the onion in as we like it) and add cabbage and water. Use water from cooking the cabbage. Slowly stir the tomato mixture into the milk and cabbage. Serve immediately. 5 servings.

I'll be back. I'm not going to follow the menus - gotta admit tripe or raspberries with cottage cheese don't draw my vote. Maybe the berries/cottage cheese, someday.

Brew learns to use the Bike tow leash

That's Abba in the background barking saying "ME NEXT, I WANT TO TRY IT!"

Minggu, 10 Januari 2010

Come see Jack-A-Roo start his show career

Jack (Abba & Jazz puppy formerly known as Roo) will be starting his show career next weekend at the Western Washington Cluster (Puyallup Fairgrounds). Come cheer him on!
Show times are:
Jan 16, Saturday 1 pm (Ring 9)
Jan 17, Sunday 8 am (Ring 14)
Jan 18, Monday 8 am (Ring 8)

Links to show programs:
Premium List
Judging Program

Sabtu, 09 Januari 2010

Some times ... have to work hard to get a great shot;
this was not one of those times.
I was darned lucky. The dogs were barking at the front window. I pulled the shades which shut them up and allowed me to open the font door and snap this photo. It may be our 2010 Christmas card. Let me be the first to wish you all a Merry Christmas!

Kamis, 07 Januari 2010

Walked out early this a.m. to a lot of snow and this shot called out - I titled it Morning Glory as it is, in fact, seed pods of morning glories.
Tripp deserved as much time outside as he wanted - on his own, able to explore and frollick in the snow. He's a big, serious boy who loves his time to survey the property.
The two young trees I call Dressed to Dance for they look as they were intended to be draped in the elegance of snow.

Not the best - w/o makeup and very early plus a FLASH. What was I thinking? Oh, maybe I wasn't. Brain Freeze.

The house from near the road. Nothing could be finer. There remain a few of the tall grasses which now mark the creek's path.

Harmony and Baxter bolt out of the door and don't stop running until they are wiped out. Even in the coldness and snow they romp, play tag, and tear around the yard. We're so glad they do; cabin fever is a dangerous condition!

I can't get photos of deer because of screens and fences but the birds know I'm shooting only with a camera. In the past I've captured cardinals but this week I find myself drawn to the Flicker.

The charmingly sly fox can't hide well at a friend's house. Nancy took this terrific photo in her country yard.

Senin, 04 Januari 2010

Highway Girl

Over 1560 dogs and cats were transported from kill facilities to no-kill shelters, adoptive homes, or temporary foster homes by the 100% volunteer group dedicated to making certain they each have a ride from the far southwest edge of Illinois to the Chicago suburbs, city, and on into Wisconsin. Once at their final destination they often having loving and anxious people waiting to cuddle them and give them their forever homes.

When you think you can't do something, you can. If all you can do is donate old bedding - that's enough. If all you can do is give the gift of a gas card to help with transporting, thank you. If all you can do is tell someone you appreciate what they are doing, it is inspiring.

Maybe the day will come when you adopt, or drive, or tell someone else about the programs that save lives. After all, we know we're not just saving the dogs and cats. We're saving the humans too.


Today was "Buy Yourself Flowers" day here. The cold weather yielded enough that we hit the double digits and that is cause enough to celebrate. While at the library signing up for the adult winter reading program, Cabin Fever - it struck me that a stop at the small town florist would be perfect. After all, it's a whole three blocks from the library which sets at the edge of town. WOW! Did that brighten the day, pick up the spirits, get the creative juices flowing. "White On White" - the photo in the banner was my next time investment. I love this horse and am lucky enough to have him as a neighbor. We don't see people outside in this weather but this big guy greets me regularly.

Just wanted to share him with the world.

January, Ode to the Scale

Twas the month after Christmas; I showed up in the kitchen
Declaring a war but found no one would listen.
The candy is gone, the cookies all eaten.
The treats and snacks, my life, they did sweeten.

But now tis the time to awake and start fresh
If ever the day comes when I hope to weigh less.
It means putting the fork down and hitting the trail
I must walk much farther than just out to get mail.
Heaving and ho’ing I swing, sway and trundle.
It’s not just a coat that creates quite a bundle.

The fridge is all packed with carrots and berries
Brought in by the elves and good Christmas fairies.
Little did I know that eating blue cheese
Would widen horizons from neck to knees.

So, away with the licking of frosting and dips.
There must be a plan for locating my hips.
The crumbs? Let ‘em fall where they may
Shout to the pounds – get away, get away!
Bring for me a small plate and a tinier spoon
And pass the cucumbers and spinach real soon.

So, January is what it is, once again, in twenty-ten
I’ll dream night after night about being thin,
Get out the loose sweater and create quite a riot,
Shouting Happy New Year to all, let’s get on with the diet!