Actually, they’re BOTH wrong April 11, 2013Posted by Toy Lady in Big Lug, random stuff.
Tags: adventures on the morning walk
Well, I’m here to tell you – it’s neither duck nor rabbit season.
It’s squirrel season.
Apparently the little buggers are getting frisky lately – they must’ve run out of acorns to cover or something.
One thing I’ve noticed on our morning walks of late is that there are MILLIONS of the little vermin dashing up and down trees, swishing their little tails at us, and, in general, making themselves thoroughly obnoxious to the Big Lug. Then there are the squirrels that presumably lost their game of chicken with a car.
Anyway, we frequently get quite the workout in the mornings – he sees a squirrel taunting him, or a rabbit daring him to come after it, and I tell him to “leave it” and, after the occasional back talk, he does. But BOY do I have be alert!
See, if I see it first – whatever “it” may be (swishy squirrels, dumb bunnies, fast food wrappers on the ground, whatever) - then I can tell him to Leave It, and, the great majority of the time, he does. And he’s rewarded for it, fear not.
See, that Advanced Obedience Class is already paying off – for everyone!
If he sees “it” before I do, and he manages to get “it” in his mouth, well, all bets are off. He sees, he snatches, and it’s his. There’s no “leaving” it, apparently, because he’s already “got” it.
This can be a problem. Sometimes, the “it” he finds is something even more inappropriate (not to mention disgusting) than, say, a Taco Bell wrapper.
I am convinced that there are certain segments of the population who hang around their neighborhoods eating chicken bones or pork chops, and they just toss the bones over their shoulder as they’re walking along. And frequently, I don’t even know he’s found something until he suddenly lunges, snatches, and crunches whatever-it-is.
I call that his bullfrog move – he is FAST!
However, when it comes to things like squirrel jerky, you’ll be happy to know that I have learned my lesson about trying to take his prizes away from him, to wit: don’t try to play tug with a dead squirrel.
So. . . we’ve spent the last several months working on a new game – Drop It – to be played when it’s too late to Leave It.
To date, the game works best when I’ve got something awesomer to give him than what he’s already got. Maybe he’s got a tennis ball and I’ve got a piece of cheese. Obviously.
Me (smily and happy): Jar, Drop it!
Jar (sniffing cheese): Okay!
We’re even getting pretty good at playing Drop It when I’ve got lesser treats (bits of kibble, say, or a piece of plain bread), and he’s got something a little higher value – like an already-chewed bone or his beloved baseball.
So this morning, we put the “Drop It” cue to the test – Jar utilized his Bullfrog Move and snatched himself a nice, juicy . . . squirrel carcass from the edge of someone’s front yard.
By the way, neighbor guy, YOU’RE WELCOME for the squirrel disposal.
So there’s Jar with a nice, stinky, going-rancid squirrel hanging out of his mouth.
And me with . . . half a pocket of Cheerios and a pizza crust.
Squirrel burger . . . Cheerios.
I’ll admit – it took a few tries, and I did grab hold of the squirrel tail (with gloves on!), but eventually, he did actually drop it!
And I threw him a party, let me tell you! (After I FLUNG that bugger as far away as I could, of course!)
So we continued our walk, and DARNED if he didn’t find ANOTHER dead squirrel and try to pull the same stunt!
But this time, he dropped it on the FIRST command – you could have knocked me down with a feather (or a squirrel’s tail) – I fed him the rest of the treats I had, we beat it for home before another one fell out of the sky!
Monday Musings: 04.08.2013 Edition April 8, 2013Posted by Toy Lady in random stuff.
This week was a fairly quick trip to the Public Market – just a few necessities – coffee, eggs, garlic . . . some broccoli and spinach.
And I saw the bread guy, too, and I picked up some tortillas and English muffins. There’s nothing like a quick ham-egg-and-cheese sandwich to start the day, right? And as for the tortillas, well. . . I think I see a batch of burritos in my future.
Oh, and did I mention that I picked up a bag of bones at the market?
Yeah, Jar followed me into the house and across the dining room just like that, too – nose planted firmly to the bag I was carrying.
I wonder if I could bring that big old bag of dog bones to obedience class to use during heeling training? Huh.
Oh, but fear not – the kitty was not left out!
I had to stop at the supermarket, too, and while I was there, I thought it was the perfect time to stock up on kitty treats – she loves the soft treats, and the crunchy filled ones, too.
Then I saw the LAST box of the “catnip-flavored” “liver treats.” She’s going to be SUCH a happy kitty when I break those out!
Boy, I’ve really got nothing this week, do I?
It’s been such a gorgeous weekend – Wendy the Weather Wizard has even shed her winter coat and scarf and is, presumably, down to her shirt sleeves! You know, if it gets much warmer, she’ll be in her underwear. . .
I did get the rest of my seeds ordered from the seed library – I don’t need too many, but I do like to buy my seeds from this place – they’re reasonably priced, great to deal with, and I love what they do.
So the kitty let herself be persuaded to come out and join the land of the living – while the dog was outside baking on the deck.
I lured her out into the dining room, and it was happy times for all – while the dog was outside on the deck, snoozing in the sun.
And then – she saw him.
She stopped, gave a HISSSSS, and turned around and left.
This is exactly what she took issue with:
All that drama from her, and he had no idea. . .
And once again, it’s time for the weekly menu plan. The weather forecast calls for fairly warm (yay!) but kind of rainy all week. But it should be remembered what they say about April showers, right?
So while things at work seem to be settling down for the time being, for now, I’m playing catch-up – closing files and getting stuff off to storage – it’s great fun! And in the meantime, we’re using this opportunity to – you guessed it – clear some stuff out of the freezer.
Will it never end?
Monday - Found a quart of green enchilada sauce in the freezer, which, along with a quart of smoked pork and the rest of the corn tortillas, will make a respectable Monday night dinner.
Tuesday - Lest it get lost in the freezer, we used the bone from last weekend’s ham, along with some diced ham, for a nice pea soup. I do like a nice pea soup!
Wednesday - The one evening this week that it’s supposed to be warm AND not raining – we’re grilling some chicken breasts. Nothing fancy – just a bit of chicken, on the grill. Probably with some broccoli. Or salad. Something green, anyway.
Thursday - We made a small-ish batch of sauce (“Sunday Gravy” for our Italian friends) and froze a quart – which is coming out for pasta this week. That will definitely need salad to go with it, huh?
Friday - Which brings us back to pizza night - do you know that those rats at the supermarket have hard salami on sale again? And do you know how much I LOVE salami and provolone on my pizza? Yeah, I love it a lot.
Be sure to click on over to The Organizing Junkie’s Monday Menu Plan post for loads and loads of other ideas.
Monday Musings: 04 01 2013 Edition April 1, 2013Posted by Toy Lady in random stuff.
Here it is, another Monday! Where does the time go?
I trust everyone enjoyed the holiday weekend – Easter is one of my favorite holidays!
We very much enjoyed last week’s butternut canneloni – we ended up with enough for two meals, though, so half of it’s in the freezer. Expect that to make another appearance on the menu soon (before I forget it’s there!).
Peeps ended up throwing some barley into the turkey soup, and it was fantastic – we enjoyed it for dinner, a couple of lunches, and I think there’s about one more lunch left. There is very little that can beat a good homemade soup, is there?
Regular readers may have noticed, well, not much going on here lately. Long-term regular readers may recall that I’m starting to head into my busy season at work about now. Things have been just nuts!
I’m working late almost every day, and, to be honest, by the time I get home, all I really have energy for is to have dinner and sit on the couch for a bit, before heading for bed, to start it all over the next day!
I took a day of “vacation” last week – I took advantage of the already long weekend and added an extra day.
I spent much of the time paining. Painting walls, painting trim, painting baseboards. I do need to mention that for the first time EVER, I was able to paint a room, and the Big Lug does NOT have a tinted tail, butt, or any other body part. He stayed completely OUT of my way for two days. (While I was painting, anyway.)
I still need to remove the gosh-awful tiles and clean up the stickiness from those. I also need to do something about the front window – something a little more than the simple sheers that are there now. I also want to re-paint that WHITE bench and fabricate some new covers for the cushions – something that will coordinate with the valances-to-be.
But I did find the neatest little baskets for the little cubbies in the bench – cool, huh?
We’ve had some almost spring-like weather this weekend, which is a nice change!
Jarly’s taken a definite liking to just hanging out on the deck, baking in the sun – it’s so nice to watch him so relaxed out there, isn’t it?
We finished another session of Advanced Obedience this weekend – and our Jar was an absolute star!
You may recall that he’s developed some, well, some aggression issues with other dogs. He’s not a mean dog, by any means – he’s just nervous around strange dogs, that’s all. And, because he’s so much bigger than most other dogs, well, we just have to be careful.
He made me very proud, though – he sailed through the class like a pro, and he managed any anxiety he may have felt – he actually wanted to play with the others! He’s such a good boy!
And once again, it’s time for the weekly menu plan. It looks like our warm weather isn’t going to stick around quite yet – which gives us another chance to enjoy some of our cold-weather favorites!
Monday - We definitely can’t let winter slip away without another pot of chili! We did a little, well, adapting here, though. I couldn’t find any pork shoulder in the freezer (imagine that!) so it’s just beef this time. Oh, and I accidentally soaked too many beans, so we made a LOT of chili, too!
Tuesday - We made that big pot of sugo last week (finally), and while some ended up in the freezer, we still have enough left out for one more meal. I am TRYING not to keep putting stuff in the freezer! I’ll send a container of the stuff home with The Boy next time he stops by. (In fact, if he plays his cards right, he may even get some of Monday’s chili, too!)
Wednesday - I’ve got a bag of frozen green beans from last summer’s garden (actually two bags) that’s starting to show its age – while freezing fresh veggies does make it possible to store them for a while, they still don’t last forever! So I thought, well, if you can make cream of broccoli soup, and cream of asparagus soup, and, pretty much, cream of whatever vegetable soup you want, why not cream of green bean soup? So, yeah. That. With fresh bread, of course.
Thursday - We dithered most of the week, but we did decide to buy a spiral-sliced ham this weekend. Yes, it’s a lot of ham for the two of us, BUT well worth it. I’m sure we’ll find plenty of ways to re-purpose leftover ham (including using the bone in soup!) – first up is scalloped potatoes with ham. That’ll make a nice comforting meal, won’t it? We’re going to have to find a veggie to go with that, too.
Friday - As it does, Friday brings us back to pizza night. This week, oh, I don’t know, maybe I’ll put some leftover ham on my pie!
Be sure to click on over to The Organizing Junkie’s Monday Menu Plan post for loads and loads of other ideas.
Wait, where was I? March 21, 2013Posted by Toy Lady in random stuff.
So. . . how’s your spring going?
Peeps’s Boss has a terrible case of, as Peeps likes to call it, “the Creeping Awfuls” – he’s been breathing his germy germs all over his employees, specifically MY husband.
We’ve been referring to him, among ourselves, as Typhoid Bill. (Boss, not Peeps.)
And yes, I know it’s probably not “among ourselves” – but it sounds more amusing to me than “between ourselves.” Besides, I’m pretty sure that, if he could talk, Jarly would also make use of Boss’s new nickname anyway. Jar’s good like that – he really is a good dog, you know. He works so hard to be a model dog, most of the time, anyhow. Even around the cat!
So, anyway, after a few days of Boss’s germ warfare, Peeps found himself feeling pretty darned lousy. Go figure.
The poor guy – he’s been drinking enough tea to host his own tea party – we’re now a TWO-teapot household, after all!
Hey, did I mention that I’d picked up a new, bigger teapot at the pottery shop sale this year? I need to stay out of that pottery shop during sales with a credit card.
Plus, have I mentioned that the pottery shop is right upstairs from a new yarn shop? Yeah, like I’m going to go to one place without going to the other. . .
Oh, and speaking of yarn. I’m kind of an idiot. I decided that a nice “cool aunt” sort of thing might be to knit socks for my nieces and nephews for Christmas this year. Sounds like a plan, right?
Yeah, well, first off, there are SEVEN of them. And that’s in addition to my own SIZE THIRTEEN son, and Peeps.
PLUS kids grow, and I’m assuming their feet will, at least the smaller ones. And of course, in order to get their (current) shoe sizes, I had to disclose my plan to the mothers of these kids, so now I’m kind of committed.
I am going to be a SOCK KNITTING FOOL for the next nine months!
And I’ve been so busy at work lately – I don’t even have time to screw around and knit there anymore!
So where was I? I don’t know, I seem to be having a little trouble focusing lately. Huh. Probably coming down with Boss’s Creeping Uglies.
Oh, yeah, happy spring.
Pork under pressure March 14, 2013Posted by Peeps in Cook's Illustrated, Cooking, Food, random stuff.
Everyone who reads our blog knows all too well how much we use and love our pressure cooker. It’s a very rare week that goes by when we don’t use it for something.
Not too long ago, we found out that the good people at Cook’s Illustrated were coming out with yet another cookbook. But not one we could ignore, not this time. It’s their new book of pressure cooker recipes.
Needless to say, we were pretty excited about the idea. They always have solid, reliable recipes that taste really good. The sad part was that it wasn’t going to be coming out until the middle of March. And we didn’t want to wait that long to try it out.
Fortunately, my wife reads a great many food blogs. Apparently one of them, Macheesmo, was contacted by Cook’s Illustrated not long ago and given a free copy of the new book. Along with a brand new pressure cooker. He apparently has a lot more readers than we do.
After we got finished seething with jealousy, we realized that this was our chance to try the recipe that Macheesmo blogged about, Pork Vindaloo. We love Indian food. Particularly when it doesn’t involve going somewhere or taking a long time.
We followed the recipe exactly. While Toys cut the meat into bite sized cubes, I measured and cut up everything else.
The browning of the pork took a while. And a few more batches than two. More like five. But hey, I’m not a professional. Once everything was ready to go, the lid when on and the pressure was on. Thirty minutes under pressure and a natural release, about another fifteen minutes.
We served it over brown basmati rice and with a nice India Pale Ale. It was fantastic! Since it make so much, we had it for lunches for a couple days afterwards, and I think we even had enough left over for one more dinner.
If you own a pressure cooker, at the very least try this recipe. If you regularly use a pressure cooker, you may want to consider getting the book. They have never once let us down.
And thank you to Macheesmo for letting us try something out of a book that we’ll be getting soon.