Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A New Fable

It's not quite the same as the tortoise and the hare -- but it sure is cute.  And yes, the turtle got a peach. 

I took this picture through the basement window, so that I wouldn't startle the doe.  She got up after a couple shots, anyway, so this isn't the best photo ever.  I had to share anyway, though.  :)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

They're Baaack!

Baloo pointed this colorful fellow out to me as we were returning from our (very leisurely) morning walk.  He is recognizably one of the turtles that frequented my yard last year throughout the drought - I recognized the markings on his shell.  It was fun to see that he has actually grown noticibly since last summer.  

Of course, he was delighted to get half of a fresh peach as a breakfast treat.  There was also a slightly smaller female who came in when she smelled the peach, but she was shy and I didn't want to scare her away with camera work, so I just gave her some peach and that made her very happy.  :)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Coming and Going

There's a beautiful little lighthouse at the end of Old Mission Peninsula.  One year, my sister gave my brother and me each a lighthouse replica birdhouse for Christmas.  There's a delightful family living in one of them this summer. 

While they may not be meeting themselves coming and going, they certainly meet each other from time to time, as they busily feed their brood.  

Here's a picture of that sweet little chickadee emerging and you can see the beacon tower on top of the lighthouse.  Obviously parents with good taste in housing! 

Friday, July 19, 2013


It wasn't even Pi Day!  This is overdue, since I've been living a dog-centered life, but I just had to share the adventure. 

My family and I have a tradition that has developed over the last few years (ever since I discovered the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes tricks) of creating fun, interesting and delectable pizzas.  I make up the dough and have it ready and then we all go into a frenzy, chopping and preparing all the things that will be used for toppings.  We have a few favorites, but we usually try and come up with several new ideas for pizzas we haven't done before. After the flurry of preparation, I'm usually left to decide exactly what goes with what else and assemble things (and occasionally cry for a little more of this or that to go on top).  Then, my brother takes them out to cook on the grill.  This is our crop of artisan pizzas.  

I had heard of making pizza with wild ramps and since we had some growing out in the woods, my sister gathered them and I cleaned them up and sauteed them to use as one of our main focal points. My brother was a little skeptical - he thought we'd be overwhelmed with the flavor of too much onion, but we were all pleasantly surprised with the fresh, delicate flavors. This one has just a brushing of olive oil, ramps, a little tomato, a sprinkling of red pepper flakes and Romano cheese.  It reminded us of leeks and spinach, since we used both the stem and leaf parts of the plant. 

My sister's husband grilled some of his famous wild grouse breasts to use for this one and it has fresh mozzarella, just a touch of tomato sauce, a little Romano on top and a sprinkling of fresh scallions when it came off the grill.  The grouse speaks very well for itself.  Yum! 

 This one was simple and deliciously fresh tasting.  It's an idea I read about this spring.  The asparagus is prepared by using a vegetable peeler to shave thin strips of the stalk and head (you can hold the woody end while you're doing this and not have to worry about breaking that part off). Toss in a sprinkling of kosher salt and let it sit while rolling out the dough.  Then, just use a light brushing of olive oil, some fresh mozzarella and the asparagus. 

Mexican pizza is a longstanding favorite.  It can take a lot of different forms, depending on the ingredients at hand, this one had salsa,  some refried black bean dip we had on hand, onions, jalapeno and poblano peppers, cheddar and jack cheeses.  We top these off with fresh tomatoes, scallions and avocado slices (and sometimes black olives, sour cream and anything else that sounds good) when they come off the grill.  

Here is the final wreckage, after we'd all eaten our fill.  Of course, these are all great as leftovers, too, so it's fun to be extravagant and make a bunch of different varieties, as long as the dough is made and the grill is hot!  

I hope that's an inspiration for a summertime dinner or two.  Leeks or shallots and spinach or kale would work well in place of the wild ramps, and chicken or turkey could be substituted for wild grouse, if you aren't lucky enough to have a game hunter in the family.  There are no wrong answers with artisan pizza!  :)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Have a Heart....

Protect your pets from heartworms.  It's so easy to prevent and so horrible to have or try to cure!  

This sweet guy is Baloo - he's got a bad case of heartworms and the attempt to cure him might actually kill him.  It has been painful, exhausting and debilitating for him (not to mention emotionally painful and exhausting for me).   He's on week two of eight starting today and I thought I might lose him again this morning when he was coughing, gagging and having spasms.  He's well worth fighting for (and he is fighting for his life with every breath), but it's hard to see so much suffering that could quite easily have been prevented by giving him a single, tasty treat of a pill every month (liver flavor, I think!).  So, please protect your animals from this deadly disease.  If you harbor any doubt about the horror, look it up and read about it - it's seriously ugly.  

Speaking of animals that have been fighting for their lives - the chicken made it through her dog attack and is growing new feathers on her back.   Go, Lucky Chicken!!  Er.... Rooken... Chooster?  Long may she crow!   :)