Tuesday, October 5, 2021

What is wrong with this picture?


If you guessed that the dog bed was not in its usual place, then BINGO, you're correct!  It has been used as transport for a week.  No sooner did I go on and on about the noodle, he came up lame one morning.  The biggest problem with Peanut is that there is so much drama, it is hard to figure out what is hurting and how much.  I had to carry the sack of potatoes to the car (in the above bed so as not to distress him) and then a very nice vet tech toted him into the clinic.  The good news is that it was less (by a whisker or two) than $500 to find out that they did not know for sure what had happened to his back left little ham.  I've been dosing him with two pain killers and an antibiotic for a week, not to mention serving breakfast and dinner in bed.  While he can now get around pretty well, he still cannot bear his weight on the leg.

Upon hearing that room service 
was over, there was a dramatic

You can't make this stuff up.

What have I been doing other than acting has handmaiden to the invalid?

Buying chicken feed from the local grainery.  Enjoying the cooler weather - although I could easily do without the two-day rains.  Coming home from Vermont this past Sunday, I took a quick photo of the clouds that mirrored the mountains.

Marianne gave me these beautiful eggplants, so I have been making baba ganoush every week.

I also finally made ratatouille and polenta, trying to squeeze every ounce of summer goodness into the short time we have before full-on fall.

I do have to admit that the idea of sweater weather coming up is making me giddy with joy.  

Thursday, September 23, 2021

And now he is seven.

(With apologies to Mr. Milne.)

It's hard to believe Peanut has been with us for five years.  It seems like 20.  In honor of his birthday, let me introduce you more thoroughly to the nut.
First, a little background.  Peanut Butter was removed from his original home due to serious neglect.  He and his brother (a Border Collie) were kept 24/7 in their crates.  He was taken in by my favorite rescue and put into their foster program.  His foster mother was very tearful when handing him over.  I believe she must be a saint.

Personality:  Cheerful, manic, loving, stubborn - all traits are exhibited in five second intervals.

Motivation:  Food.  And more food.  His food, Lovey's food, the cat's food, my food.  He could consume his body weight every 15 minutes.
Strengths and Super Powers:  Protector of the house (and yard, street, any street in the area), can turn into a heat-seeking missile when a piece of food hits the floor, even if he is in another room, can completely cover himself with his blankets, world's best cuddler.

Weaknesses:  Selective deafness, tendency to evoke high drama at the drop of a hat

Fears:  Food supply shortages.  Flies.

I adore him.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Super power or albatross? But, first...

 I've got Cooties!

It's officially a relic.

What I actually have is an ancient relic (redundant?) from my childhood.  My sister and I stopped in a local estate sale establishment and found this treasure.  We both yelled, "COOTIE!!!!!" at the same time.  It is a little unnerving to find that your childhood toys can be exhibits in a museum.  We have yet to play this - a simple, thrown-die game in which you try to be the first to build your cootie.  It was an educational game and we may have been the only kids in our neighborhood familiar with the proboscis.  Not that it impressed anyone.

The discovery of the game led to fond reminiscing about other toys and games.  As I waxed eloquent about my much-missed Poor Pitiful Pearl doll, my sister stopped me in my tracks by telling me she had it.  I was thrilled until I realized that she meant to keep it, quoting the "possession is 9/10ths of the law".  I did my best to press for the remaining 1/10th, but she wasn't moved.  Maybe she'll give me visitation rights...


They say that, as you get older, your sense of smell diminishes greatly.  My sense of direction may be skewed and my focus may have gone out the window (along with the fruit flies), but my sense of smell has sharpened to an alarming level.  It is both a blessing and a curse.  I can walk outside and revel in the smell of the pine trees, but I cannot make it down the laundry product aisle in the grocery without gagging.  I love natural smells, but wonder if the people in the lab who concoct scents for candles, dish soaps and laundry detergent have ever made it outside to experience what these scents actually smell like.  I recently got a Mrs. Meyers dish soap (all natural and blah, blah, blah) that was supposed to be mint.  Well, I have a long history with mint, and it doesn't smell like any mint I've met.  Unless, perhaps, there's a jasmint?  Don't even get me started on a simple scent, such as vanilla.  I have yet to meet a vanilla-scented candle that is even close.

Citrus and pine scents seem to be closer to target, but even those tend to go so far awry that one is left with a tang of chemicals in ones nose.

I'm going to go with Super Power, as the alternative would be rather unpleasant.  (Dead bird pendant...)

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Henri Couture

 We've been living the 'too much of a good thing' lifestyle around here.  The dogs are beginning to sound mutinous, the chickens are perpetually damp and are withholding eggs in lieu of sunshine.  The only one to come through this unscathed is Slimmie, who never has to put a paw outside.  I am forced to put on my slicker multiple times a day, which, thanks to the unrelenting 100% humidity, clings to me like a damp sausage casing.

Gearing up

If you biggify, you'll
see the only bright spot(s)
around - my shiny silver toenails
with purple flowers!
I am not going to moan and groan about the weather, as having too much rain is preferable to what a lot of people are going through right now.  It seems as if half the country is on fire and the other half is underwater.  I find myself hesitant to say that "next year is bound to be better".  

On a lighter note, here is my sister's dog (my four-pawed nephew), Jasper.  He's a Golden Doodle the size of a Shetland pony and as sweet as can be.  He had a summer 'do' and his lustrous platinum curls are just starting to grow back.  As you can see, he loves his mother.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Be careful for what you wish.

Not only did I strim my little heart out, I weed-whacked my little back out.  There's nothing like freedom from pain to make you think you're invincible!  Now back (ahem) to good repair, I am delighted to be forced into the house, in close contact with my portable AC.  We seem to be back to summer with a vengance.  Walking outside is like passing through a veil of damp sponges.

Slimmie refuses to look until it's

Droopy cat syndrome

I am looking longingly at next week - because I do not have to leave the house four out of seven days.  Last week was end-to-end appointments, errands, family shenanigans.  Last Friday, my sister's birthday, my mother (bless her heart) decided that we (two nonagenarians, my sister and yours truly) should celebrate at a local dinner club.  I had called in the reservation, asking for a small room to accommodate the Ns and all their paraphernalia, and to keep out of the path of the 30 somethings that frequent the place.  Our two-car caravan pulled up to the place (we were there right when they opened, because....90+ y/os) and in we paraded - wheelchair, walker, oxygen and all.  The 'room' we were assigned was about half the size of a walk-in closet with two sofas and a low coffee table between.  Using tactics a four-star general would have been proud of, we maneuvered my aunt (96) and her oxygen tank onto one sofa ("Table?  I don't see a table?  Did I mention the mood lighting?), then we rolled mom up to the table and shifted the furniture around so that my sister could sidle into the slot for the other sofa.  The owner/manager oversaw the operation with barely a flinch, although I swear I saw beads of sweat break out on his brow.  He was only a little non-plused when I asked him to store the walker until we left.  Bless his heart, he quietly turned up the lighting so that we could see each other.   I got to show off my newly minted bionic hips by bobbing up and down throughout the meal, passing glasses, plates, napkins, etc.  I also left a hefty tip to compensate for all of the triage that would be needed after rearranging the set up and two diners with limited eye-hand coordination.

My neighbor brought over a half-bushel of green beans so I have been freezing them non-stop in the few hours that I am home this week.  I picked up a great tip from an Instagram post that made it bearable in this heat.  You put the beans in a baking dish and cover them with boiling water (electric kettle) and leave them for 5-7 minutes.  Then you drain, rinse in cold water and allow to cool.  It's magic!

I have also made my favorite summer dish - zucchini crust pizza!
Just before putting it in the oven

I swear I could eat it every day.  It's easy-peasy:  grate 2 cups of zucchini, toss with a bit of salt and let sit in a cheesecloth-lined (or whatever similar cloth you may use) sieve for 10 minutes.  Squeeze out as much liquid as possible.  In a bowl, beat two eggs.  Add zucchini, a half-cup of almond flour and a half-cup of grated cheese.  Mix well and spread out on parchment paper on a baking tray.  Bake for 10 minutes in a 400 F oven, take out and add toppings and bake for an additional 10 minutes.  Let cool slightly before cutting.  My favorite base is either sun-dried tomato pesto or garlic scape pesto,

This week has been optomitrist, dog groomer (Peanut was bathed and his nails were clipped - halleluiah!), dinner with a friend who doesn't drive at night.  Tonight is dinner with my neighbor who has to be at the restaurant exactly when the doors are open, tomorrow is a day spent with my sister at the NH Craftsmen show, Saturday I collapse in the sanctity of my own home and I AM NOT LEAVING.  Sunday is dinner with mom and my sister.  This retirement thing is wearing me down to a frazzle.

Here's an interesting sight - spotted during errands in VT.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

I should be strimming my little heart out.

 If I am going to make any inroads into the jungle that is my yard, I have to spend some serious time with my heavy-duty weed strimmer.  Ha.  Because, in order to strim, the jungle needs to be dry(ish).  And when it is dry enough, there should be no other pressing events that need my attention.  So far?  You guessed it!

The first day when there was no rain forecast, I had to be in Vermont in the morning, but figured it would be nice and dry when I got home.  I got in the house, changed clothes and happened to look out the front window.  There was a small herd of beef cattle in my front yard, making a beeline towards the garden.  I'm sure they thought it was a fine place for a rampage.  Peanut caught sight of them at the same time and went ballistic.  Bless his tiny, ferocious self, it was enough to give the cattle pause.  A couple was trying to herd them up the road in their four-wheeler and asked me if I knew who owned them.  After they moved on, I was outside with a shovel, clearing the yard.  By then, all thoughts of strimming had vanished, replaced by thoughts of adult beverages.

The second non-rain day started full of hope, sunbeams and good intentions.  Then there was a hawk attack, followed by a visit from the Corgi-sized raccoon.  Once again - poof!  Strimming evaporated into the horizon.  I contemplated adult beverages for breakfast.

The last day of semi-dryness found me having mis-penned an appointment with a friend, so off I went with a wistful gaze over my shoulder at the strimmer standing like a little soldier by the back door.  I got home in time to get SOME strimming done, but....  monstrous thunderstorm.

I'm starting to suspect a conspiracy.

The thunderstorm was a doozy - high winds ushered it in (many trees down and other random damage), then there was torrential rain, then the power went out.  Perfect.

The wind blew the hops trellis to a 
precarious angle.

Luckily, only one tree fell on
the fence line.  The biggest one.

The snoopervisors are hard at work.

I had to prop up my pepper plant.
It was tossed wiggledy-piggledy.

Some brighter news - my collards
are regrowing!

Purple bean vine was pulled
off the support.  Aren't the flowers

My one and only zuke so far and 
what-ho the blueberries!  I beat the

Next year's nasturtium seeds 
are forming.  This poor, battered basket
was blown off its hook.

I'm thinking of trying a bit of strimming this afternoon but, frankly, I'm a little afraid to chance it.  Plague of locusts next?

Monday, July 12, 2021

It didn't rain Saturday.

Apparently, we now have a monsoon season.  Given our spring and summer have consisted of downpours, interspersed with hellish temperatures, it's now a jungle out there.  Slimmie has been kept on his toes, since the mice apparently have mistaken the house for Noah's Ark and have systematically ignored the 'two' requirement.

The little bit I did get to plant is doing well - and I haven't had to water the plants in days.  Or is it weeks?

On a sad note, my sister's husband passed away, after a long battle with lung cancer.  She had to travel to NH for the wake and funeral, and we (as in me, myself and my friend, Rosie) managed to look after Mom and hold things loosely together while she was away.

Barry and Dad in better

My beautiful sister with her
amazing son.

On a happier note, she and I managed to get to our favorite local museum, the Clark in Williamstown, MA, to see an exhibition of Nikolai Astrop, a Norwegian artist (1880-1928).  It was a lovely respite for both of us.

Portrait of the artist

One of his exceptional and complicated
wood block prints.

I will leave you with this awesome ginkgo leaf bench, part of another exhibit at the Clark (Claude and Francois-Zavier LaLane), while I go looking for my waders...