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Monday Musings: 10.25.2010 Edition October 25, 2010

Posted by Toy Lady in Big Lug, Family, Garden, Information, Musings, random stuff, Stupor Kitty.
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So when Peeps mentioned his birthday last week, what he forgot to mention was the absolutely fabulous chocolate fudge cake I brought home from Jackson’s Bakery.   Surly Boy worked there when he was in high school, so we had plenty of chances to try plenty of their offerings!

Although it’s a tiny shop, there is nothing in that store that I wouldn’t eat again (and again and again and again!) – which is one of the reasons I try to avoid it, except on special occasions!


Kitty’s been feeling mighty brave lately.


The other evening, she was just hanging around upstairs, even though she knew full well the dog was around.  She just didn’t care!



See here’s the thing about the public market.

When produce comes into season, it’s so abundant, and so gorgeous, and so cheap, that, really, it would be a crime to pass it by!

I mean, pie pumpkins were 99 cents each – or 2 for $1!  What would you do?

Acorn squash – 3 for $1, giant head of cauliflower for $2, 2 pounds of dried red beans for $1.50, an entire collard green plant (bush?) for $2, and similar deals on sweet potatoes, spinach, onions. . .



Well, the garden has (mostly) finished for the season.

I never got the fennel to form bulbs (I think I should have NOT let it go to seed. . . next time!), and although we still haven’t had a frost (I KNOW, right?), it’s coming, and the tomatoes were just . . . sad.

We pulled just about everything up, though I did leave the Swiss chard (that’ll be fine for a while yet – probably until December), and we weeded, composted, and raked in preparation for next spring.



Our boy is now officially finished with his drug study, and he’s done very well on the study medication.  (He’s been tearing around like a puppy, that’s what he’s been doing!)

Part of the incentive for his participation was that he’d receive a bottle of the drug in its original form, and the vet would write a prescription for him for more.

That’s all well and good, and the drug was fine and all, but.  BUT.  While I’m sure it’s available in larger bottles, the bottle we received retails for about $42.  Which would still be not so bad, if it lasted more than TEN DAYS.

Yup, big dogs take more medicine, which gets expensive.  We spoke to the vet, and she was willing to prescribe people medicine for him – and the generic equivalent, at that.

So basically, rather than the animal grade liquid, at a cost of $120+ a month, I give him half of a people-grade tablet,at a cost of less than $6 every three months.

I’m pretty sure this is what they call a “win-win,” isn’t it?



One of the last things we did in the garden this weekend was pull up the remainder of the beets.  I’ll be honest – that seed tape we used this year, while very easy, well, I’m not sure if it was worth the extra cost.

But it was really pretty cool.  And easy!

PhotobucketReally, about the only downside to pulling the remainder of two rows of beets was my unwillingness to waste the greens – after all, beet greens aren’t easily available after the snow flies – or at all, really, until late next spring.

So even though we’ve got collard greens and spinach (almost) literally coming out of our ears this week, I cooked up the mess of beet greens, too.  We’ll do something with them!



Every time we believe fall is well and truly upon us (and why wouldn’t we at this point?) we’re surprised with a burst of warm weather – and believe me, temperatures in the 60s, with rain, not snow – it’s positively balmy!



But if we know anything here in upstate New York, we know this nice weather can’t be depended upon, and our menu for the week reflects the calendar as much as, or more than, the forecast.

Monday –  We’ve got a mess of chicken tenders in the freezer from the last time I boned chicken breasts, and it’s about time we started using them!  Since grilling them really isn’t an option, Peeps is going to bread them in bread crumbs and/or cornflake crumbs, and we’ll bake them.  And since I scored some more sweet potatoes, those are going on the menu, along with some the last of the garden beets.  Mmmm. . . healthy!

Tuesday – Since I also indulged in lots of spinach this week, I wanted to do something a little different with it – there was still plenty to saute, but we’re also going to try Cook’s Illustrated’s Lentil Soup with Spinach – it should be good with some freshly baked bread.

Wednesday – Normally, Wednesday is soup night, but this week, it’s chili night!  I came across this Pumpkin Chili recipe which I’ve kind of tweeked a bit – it’s looking mighty good, and I’m very much looking forward to it.

Thursday – Again with the soup!  We’ve been putting off my Asian-style pork and noodle soup for a few weeks now – homemade Chinese stock, with Chinese BBQ’ed pork from the freezer, lots of scallions, and, of course, noodles.  It is SO SIMPLE and SO DELICIOUS!

Friday – And pizza night comes around again!  We so love winding down at the end of the week, us with our pizza and the dog with his Kong toy!  I’d recommend it to anyone.

Be sure to click on over to The Organizing Junkie’s Monday Menu Plan post for loads and loads of other ideas.




The Incredible Mr. Limpers July 28, 2010

Posted by Toy Lady in Big Lug, Home.
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Remember that Don Knotts movie?  Is he even still alive?  (Answer:  No.)

Anyway, this has nothing to do with Don Knotts.

It’s our poor Mr. Limpers.

Long-time readers of this blog are aware of the Big Lug‘s struggles with hip dysplasia.  And you’ll of course remember the great strides he’s taken over the past year – he’s literally gone from walking barely a block to regularly walking a couple of miles in the mornings, then coming home and chasing a tennis ball around for a while.

By spring, we were down to every-other-week swimming – and he’s been great with it.  Nary a trace of a limp – just a happy, frolicking puppy.  So, as things got busier this summer, and since Jarly was going so well, we took a bit of a hiatus from swim class.

Nothing permanent, mind you, and he’s not going swim-less.  It was just one more thing that needed to be attended to, in a season of too much work and not enough, well, not work.

Then it got hot.  I mean really hot – our morning walks were even disgusting.  It’s just not right when it’s 70 degrees – and humid! – at 4 in the morning.  We’d come back with both of our tongues hanging down to our knees!  (I exaggerate, but only barely.)

And afternoon walks – in the blazing sun – were all but out of the question.  Not for a big black dog.

Even the beach – what little corner of the beach we could squeeze him into between the mobs of people and kids and dogs and drunk unemployed people – was HOT.

PhotobucketBy last week, our happy, hearty puppy has started limping occasionally.

Then he was limping more.

I’ve done some research, and, essentially, nothing’s changed since last year.

Basically, from what I can find, hip dysplasia seems to be very similar to (deteriorates into?) osteoarthritis.  The deterioration of the soft tissue, which causes the further deterioration and malformation of the bone – yeah.

And a recent Johns Hopkins study may (or may not) show a connection between high humidity and osteoarthritis pain (the results were kind of conflicting), while another University of Michigan study suggests a link between arthritis pain and low barometric pressure and high humidity – like right before one of our northeast summer thunderstorms.

Ultimately, outside of major surgery, there’s not a lot we can do for him other than what we’ve been doing all along- keep him comfortable, keep his weight down, and keep him exercised.  And that makes a world of difference.  Heck, it’s already made a difference – we’ve seen that!

I’m not going to dope him up unless I absolutely have to – the prescription pain killers are narcotics and, well, the last thing we need is Jarly with a monkey on his back!  However (and we’ve cleared this with the vet), we’re not above a couple of aspirin  tablets covered in peanut butter when the situation warrants it.


His weight is fine, though with the abbreviated walks, we’ve had to be a little more careful about that.

With the more comfortable temperatures the past few days, we’ve been gradually walking him a little farther, being careful, of course, not to overdo it.

And he’s going back to swim class this week.

He’s going to be so happy to hear that!