Monday, August 29, 2011

Summer Sunset

Earlier this summer, a friend posted beautiful sunset pics on Facebook. She'd taken them from one of the overlooks on the Blue Ridge Parkway. As I admired her photos, it occurred to me that I have never driven up the parkway just to watch the sun set! I'm lucky to live only 15-20 minutes from the Parkway, however, because it is so close, I think I tend to take it for granted. Perhaps it's human nature to make elaborate plans to visit distant places, while overlooking the wonders in our own backyards.

I decided to rectify this situation, so one evening we all piled into the truck and headed up. Needless to say, the dogs were thrilled. Dogs are always willing to stop whatever they're doing and go on an adventure.

Katie enjoyed this outing too, despite the fact that she's hiding from the camera in the above photo. In fact, she was so seized with joy when we arrived at the overlook, she LEAPED over the tailgate as soon as I opened the hatch. I did not expect that and horrified, attempted to catch her in midair. All this accomplished however, as I "sort of" caught her back legs, was to increase the angle of her landing. It's a miracle she didn't land on the top of her head, and an even greater miracle she didn't break one or both front legs! She's 12 years old! She uses a ramp to get in and out of the truck!

Even now, in my mind's eye I can see her sailing through the air in slow motion (I swear it happened in slow motion). So scary! We had a serious talk afterward about how we don't leap out of the truck under any circumstances, and especially not before being called to do so! Fortunately she seemed none the worse for her spontaneous attempt at flying, and we went on to watch a lovely sunset.
Can you spot the ears?

We need to do this more often.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Puppy Power!

My sister's family rescued an adorable beagle puppy this summer which they named (appropriately enough) "Snoopy!" Just look at his adorable baby face - so cute!

Their boxer, Molly, is looking slimmer and more athletic these days.
Wonder why????

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Committee Decides: You Can Stay

Amused at my plant threats, Heather from Three Dogs and a Couch shared a book title that it brought to mind. It sounds like one I would like, so I plan to look it up at the library. However I had to confess to her that my threats are actually pretty idle. I dig something up intending to discard it, only to decide to give it one more chance - in a less conspicuous part of the garden.

As I've mentioned before, when you have a German Shepherd, you never face any situation alone. Ever. So Lady and I formed a committee this week to decide the fate of a bunch of half-hearted moss rose that were destined for the compost heap.

"Hmmm... let me get a good sniff and see what I can find out about their intent and potential."

"I think they should stay. What do you think?"

"Hmm. Well, they do look like they're willing to try.
Okay, they can stay."

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011: A Milestone!

I've been spammed!! 

I can't believe it!! For years now, I've read other bloggers' tales of woe about the spam comments they receive. From the annoying to the humorous to the utterly ridiculous, spam plagues every blog. Every blog but mine, that is. Sadly, no spammers have ever been interested in me. I got my hopes up last year when informed that Blogger had implemented an extremely effective spam filter, making the extra step of word verification unnecessary. Previously unaware of the existence of a spam folder, I felt certain that's where my spam was going. But when I checked it, nothing.

Well, friends - the day has finally come. My blog has apparently become popular enough to be discovered by the spammers of the world, as evidenced by the helpful advice on countertops that Montanna shared after my last post. Either that, or one of my readers took exception to the photos of my quartz countertops and decided I should have a granite or onyx look instead.

I think it was spam. What do you think? ( :-)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Shoo! Shoo! Everyone Out of the Kitchen!

Well, all the furry ones that is. Time to do some cooking and take advantage of the glorious bounty of ripe tomatoes before they spoil. The days of August dance along accompanied by the cicada chorus, and before I know it tomatoes are piling up on the countertops. Red ones, yellow ones, little ones, fat ones, funny shaped ones, each delightfully fragrant and full of promise. Wasting even one homegrown tomato must surely be one of life's unforgivable sins, so at some point in mid August everything has to come to a halt for some quality time in the kitchen!

(I always make such a grand mess when I cook!)

Last weekend I used the little yellow pear tomatoes to make a batch of Pico de Gallo that turned out as pretty as it was tasty! Just looking at the photo, I can smell the bright aromas of red onion and cilantro. Cilantro grew well in my garden this year for the first time ever! Maybe it sensed that this was its LAST CHANCE. I'd vowed that if it languished and bolted on me again this year, that was it. Next year, its spot in the garden would go to basil, or some other more appreciative and responsive plant.

(Hmm...note to self:  if sweet talking your plants doesn't work, try threats.)

The first photo in this post is Katie sneaking into the kitchen to grab some bits of chopped red onion that fell on the floor. Aside from the fact that onion is toxic for dogs, what dog in their right mind would want to eat red onion?? I told Katie this, but she still gave me a very glum look when I shooed her away.

I also tried a recipe for gazpacho soup from My Carolina Kitchen. For many years I was under the impression that I didn't like gazpacho. However, when I was served chilled gazpacho as an appetizer once, I recall being surprised at how good it was. Even so, it's not a dish I seek out, and I've never made it myself. So this was a bit of a culinary adventure for me, thanks in no small part to the incredible photos on Sam's blog. She could probably photograph and write about Mud Soup with Chickweed Garnish, and I'd be out back with a pail and shovel digging up the ingredients.

It was easy to make - and delicious! 

(Why, even the bowl of compost scraps look pretty. Isn't summer wonderful?)
Happy August everyone!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Lucy! What Are You Doing On The Table??

"Just checking out the day's harvest, that's all!"

Anybody have any good recipes that call for cherry or pear tomatoes?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Unidentified Crawling Object

My niece and I were working on a Jumble puzzle out by the pool one afternoon recently when we noticed something odd. A crumb of debris on the paper was moving...purposefully! Fascinated, we watched as the little object approached the letter g. At first we thought we were seeing things. Was it being blown by a breeze? No, there was no breeze!

I held the paper up for a closer look, and was amazed to discover that the little crumb had legs! Wow. What a fascinating little creature! From the top, it didn't remotely resemble a bug, rather it looked like a little piece of lichen. We hadn't even noticed it until it started walking. With all the hungry birds around here, if I were a bug I would definitely want to look like an unappetizing bit of lichen. Isn't Mother Nature clever?? 

Does anyone know what it is?

If you like our little "lichen-bug," check out this video. It will boggle your mind! Such marvelous wonders of creation inspire, awe, and humble me. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Scavenger Pups

When we rescued Lucky from All Creatures Great and Small back in 2004, the shelter manager told us that Lucky and his sister Katie had been found running along a road as 4 month old pups. Lucky's propensity to eat anything, and his extreme skill in "scavenging," has caused me to wonder about this more than once over the years. How long were they out on their own, foraging for food? A few days? Or was it a couple of months? Who knows, maybe it's just because they're dogs. I'm used to German Shepherds, and they are notoriously finicky eaters.

Like brother, like sister. Katie demonstrates the same razor sharp ability to hone in on a morsel of food from a hundred yards. Last week she found a turkey eggshell in the front yard. Even though it had already been cleaned out by some critter, I didn't particularly want her eating it. So I took it from her and tossed it into an inaccessible location. Or rather, what I perceived as an inaccessible location. No matter where I tossed that eggshell over the next several days, Katie found it. And she's SO sneaky about it. I don't even notice her grab it, I just happen to glance down and notice that her mouth looks strangely full as we head down the sidewalk. "Katie, do you have something in your mouth?"

I'm never quite sure until she gives me that little sideways look, avoiding direct eye contact, mouth puffed out, the picture of guilty innocence.

Last night I was filling Lady and Lucky's food bucket from the 40 lb. bag I'd lugged up from the garage. I use the scoop to save my back, and Katie quickly discovered that this method is a bit messy and imprecise. Ever present to help in such circumstance, she was quick to grab any wayward pieces of kibble that fell or ricocheted down the hall.

That is, until I had the bucket almost full, at which point she discovered it was much easier to simply eat off the top of the heap. I don't know what was funnier, seeing her take advantage of this situation, or witnessing Lady's consternation at the whole improper affair.

I swear, they make me laugh out loud sometimes. As funny as this was, I had to interrupt Katie's scavenging extravaganza before she ate the equivalent of a second dinner. For the sake of fairness, and to ease Lady's crinkled brow, I provided all three dogs with a small handful of kibble bites. Funny dogs!

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Camera Is Our Friend

Hello! Hope everyone is having a great summer. We're back from a few months' vacation from the computer and blogosphere, and eager to "catch up" with all our blogging friends! One of the projects we've been working on this summer is Katie's camera phobia. A dog simply cannot live in a household with me, the Queen of Shutterbugs, and be terrified of cameras. So I launched a rehab program that consisted of pairing the dreaded object, the camera, with a fervently desired object - peanut butter. Slowly but surely it's working. Check it out!

I will stand here and wait for peanut butter,
but I will make myself very, very small.

And I will look away. The camera cannot steal your soul if it can't see your eyes.

Better not take any chances. I'm outta here.

I don't understand why my brother looks so happy.

Okay, I'll stand here for just a few seconds.
This peanut butter is really good.