Thursday, March 31, 2011

I Am A Bad Dog Mommy

The above title says it all.

Bad, bad, bad that is me.

I might have mentioned before that Max hasn’t been his usual bubbly doggie self. He has had the sniffles.

Hmmmm, that might not be quite the right way to describe it come to think of it.

Along around the middle of March this is what first started to appear on my Twitter feed…
Tweet Yes, Max the Wonder Dog seemed to have a cold. It came on slowly. I think I might not have noticed it right at first. But when he started to sneeze a bit and had a runny nose then I knew.

A cold. Great. He had one of these in November and at that time I took him to see Dr. Jerry who, along with Dr. Jeff are his favorite veterinary people. Both of those guys look like they  are about 12 years old but hey, they seem to know what they doing. I love the vets and all the people at Twinsburg Veterinary Hospital for so many reasons not all of which can be written here. But let me just say that they are awesome. 

At any rate, Dr. Jerry listened to his hairy chest, looked in his runny, snocky nose and said,

He has a cold. He should get better fairly quickly. It’s good to see you. That will be $125.

A very expensive way to find out that it is just a head cold thankyouverymuch.

And so, when he started with the sneezing and runny nose etc. I just figured another cold. It is winter after all.

But let me tell you, that tweet above has it right. LOTS of snot. LOTS of heavy breathing and wheezing. LOTS of sneezing. Sneezing on the floor. Sneezing on the walls. Sneezing on the carpet.

And lots of time spent cleaning my floor of all the absolutely disgusting stuff he was snocking out. You would think he was full of Bubotuber puss. Sorry, Harry Potter dominates at the moment.

But this time he didn’t get better after 10 days or so. Oh no. The basic runny nose seemed to morph into other things and then he started having this amazing barky cough in which he would do a pretty good imitation of someone trying to hack up a lung.

And to add insult to injury he would definitely hack stuff up and then, before I could get there with paper towel to clean it up….

He had taken care of it himself.

You know, I feel a bit queasy at the moment for some reason.

IMG_9070AI don’t feel very good oh Alpha Male.

And then, over the weekend, he seemed to perk up a bit. And I thought we had finally turned the corner on this thing. He was still coughing and sneezing and wheezing but he seemed to be doing that a bit less.

Maybe it was just the fact that he had discovered his Mini Me and was busy courtesy sniffing every chance that he got.

But then we arrived home and…..not so good.

So finally, this morning, I realized that I had to take him back to see Dr. Jerry. Darn it! Just what I wanted to do, on a morning when I woke up to 4 inches of snow on the ground, was to go to the vet and have them tell me that it was just a cold. Rats. But I called, they said come it at 9:30a and so we went.

Dr. Jerry: So Max hasn’t been feeling well?

Me: No he hasn’t. This has been hanging on, um, for a while and I thought I should bring him in

insert nervous laughter and fast talking here to cover me actually having to tell him how long Max has been sick.

Smiling. Looking in ears. Looking in snocky nose. Listening to hairy dog chest.

Me: So Dr. Jerry, how long do you think that this cold is going to last?

Dr. Jerry: You know, I hear some crackling in his chest. I would like to do an xray.

Me: Do you think this is going to…..did you say chest xray?

And so they took Max back into the inner sanctum and I went out to sit in the lobby and try to avoid being thoroughly sniffed by a VERY large Doberman. Very. Large.

Finally I got the call to come back and talk to the doc.

Dr. Jerry: Well, he has bronchitis. And I feel confident that there is a bacterial component to it.

“Bacterial component” is, I believe, vet speak for “you are an idiot dog owner and you should have brought him in at the first sniffle so we could have treated it right away. Now it is going to cost you SO much more. And thank you, in advance, for putting my oldest child through college and medical school.”

Dr. Jerry: Max will need to take a steroid for three weeks and I would like to put him on an antibiotic for four weeks. It has been very nice to see you and that will be $250 please.

And so, for the next month or so this will be our life…

IMG_1530That is A LOT of pills there. Three antibiotic pills twice a day plus half a steroid pill twice a day at the moment. I went and bought the dog his own loaf of bread to get through all those pills.

Of course Max thinks that he has landed in doggy heaven cuz he gets to have bread and peanut butter twice a day.

And I am relegated to being a bad, bad dog mommy.

I hang my head in shame.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Kale Chips

Otherwise known around here as Green Crack Chips.

A while ago a friend of mine, Heather K., mentioned on Facebook that she was eating Kale Chips.

Kale Chips?

Was that some new bagged chip, filled with fat and salt and other unmentionable additives that did you harm and not good?

No, she said, Kale Chips, like made from Kale leaves.

Ummmm, no thanks then I think my brain, and perhaps my fingers, replied. I am so not into Kale.

For you see, when I thought of Kale all I could think of was cooked Kale. Stuff that cooked forever and was bitter and gross. My Uncle Hank, T3’s dad, always eats Kale mixed with his mashed potatoes. I stopped dead in my tracks the first time I saw that.

And don’t get me wrong, I love my green veggies. Broccoli and I would run away together if I didn’t think I would miss HHBL too much. And lettuce and I are tight, real tight. Especially with tomato season fast approaching and the thought of BLTs.

And just as an aside, I really want to learn to smoke my own bacon. If Michael Ruhlman can do it then so can I!

OK, back to the Kale Chips.

But I kept hearing people expound about Kale Chips. Kale chips here, Kale chips there.

Fine!!! I will try them. I happened to be shopping at Wally Mart and they had loads of Kale and the stuff is disgustingly cheap so I bought some, came home, made the chips.

And my life was never be the same. The angels sang. I did a happy dance. And since I love all of you so much, and Bonnie and Larissa demand to know how to make them. And I never want to cross any of my Knit Sibs cuz we all play with really pointy sticks… is how you make them. This is so stinkin’ easy that it should be illegal. Thank goodness that it isn’t.

IMG_1520 These are all the things that you need. I threw the salad spinner in the picture because it is an essential ingredient.

While you are admiring the greenness of the Kale walk over to the oven and preheat it to 300F.

IMG_1524Meet the main ingredient. And please ignore the open cabinet door. I didn’t realize it was in the background until later. Sigh.

IMG_1522Oh so beautiful and leafy and green. I can just feel the healthful properties.

OK, so I forgot to take a picture of the first two steps but they aren’t rocket science. Unless of course you work at Nasa.

You just remove the tough center stem from the kale leaves and throw the leaves, gently, into a sink full of cold water and give them a thorough swishing about. I said that last phrase in my best Nigella Lawson voice cuz I love her

Then you rip the leaves up into smaller, but not too small, pieces. They should be about half the size of the average hand. Or however big you want them. Remember that they are going to shrink down so you don’t want them too small.

Then you put them, in batches, into the salad spinner and spin the heck out of them. Give them their very own Tilt-a-Whirl ride. Only without all the dizziness and up chucking at the end.

When you have them spun very dry you…

IMG_1525 Put all the leaves in a very large bowl and pour two tablespoons of very good olive oil, or not so good if that is what you have (cough, cough), over the leaves and mix it all around with your hands.

The good Lord gave you digits for a reason so use them. You really need to make sure that all the leaves have some oil on them and it is best don’t with your hands and the fingers that are attached to them to accomplish this. And your hands will be lovely and smooth afterwards.

IMG_1528Then spray baking sheets (I use 4) with a light spray of non-stick stuff and lay the leaves out in a single layer. If you crowd the leaves then they will more likely steam and not dry. Better to do more pans with single layers.

Sprinkle the leaves with Kosher salt. Also, you can add whatever other seasoning your little heart desires. Garlic powder, season salt, cayenne pepper. Whatever. Be bold. Be daring.

Then bake one pan at a time. Better drying control that way. If you have two ovens, like moi, use both of them but still only put one pan in at a time. Set the timer for 20 minutes and leave the leaves alone.

When the timer dings you check. The leaves may be slightly brown on the edges which is fine. They will make a rustling noise when you gently shake the baking sheet. Loosen any leaves that are stuck to the sheet and then let them cool down right on the sheet. They will crisp up even more as they dry 

IMG_1526Oh come to Momma.

These will keep, in an airtight container, for up to a week.

But they will not last that long. And if you have that much will power that they last longer than that.

Then there is something wrong with you.


Kale Chips 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Max And His Mini Me.

So, over the past weekend we were out visiting the Parental Units, TMO, TSiL and Shoe Queen. It is nice to be able to do all of that at one time. And we also threw in cousin Too Tall Tim(T3) and his lovely wife Ardith Series (private joke there sorry).

And of course we had to take Max with us. He of the still snotty nose. I love all of you too much to describe what that stuff looks like that he is still producing, although he is slowly getting better.

I love visiting with cousins. I am the oldest of the bunch and therefore obviously the wisest. But I occasionally feel my age when T3 tells me that he is a mere 33 years of age and I am reminded of the fact that I remember when he was born. I remember LONG before he was born.


Just as an aside (not that I EVER rabbit trail or anything). When T3 was growing up I thought perhaps that he might have stunted growth because all I ever remember him eating was carrots, celery and hotdogs.

Deb Tim 1 Deb Tim 2 Deb Tim 3I did not need to worry about his height evidently.

And now back to the actual purpose of this rather rambling post.

SO. We were there. T3 and AS were there. Max was there. And T3/AS had brought their dog, Cinder. We had never met Cinder before but we had heard all about her.

When she arrived it was all Max chasing her around the house with his nose glued to her behind just trying to get in one really good sniff.

Come ON! I just want one sniff. That way I can catalog you and when we meet again I will know who you are. Come on, just one. PLEASE?? And then you can sniff my butt right? Just one courtesy sniff is all I am asking.

And Cinder was all.

I. Don’t. Think. So. Get away from me!

And so they went around and around and around for what seemed like hours before they finally settled down to some quiet time. I don’t know if Cinder finally consented to the courtesy sniff of if Max just gave up. It could be either one.

But the really odd thing.

The dogs look almost exactly alike….

IMG_1515A  IMG_1513A IMG_1519A

Max has found his Mini Me!

And soon they will be plotting to take over the world, one kibble at a time.

Friday, March 25, 2011

7 Quick Takes (Vol 110)


The end of the week is upon us and even though the calendar says that it is now Spring we still had snow fall this week. Just a little bit but it was still snow. And the daytime temperature has been in the 30’s. That just isn’t friendly. Oh well such is Spring in the Frozen Northeast Ohio. Remember, after reading the sunshine and roses blathering you will find here, click on the picture above to be whisked, at the speed of my rapidly graying hair, over to Conversion Diary.

And now on with the blathering.

This fellow eats nuts on my deck just about every morning.

IMG_1456A IMG_1459A

And makes a mess.

You know, come to think of it. I have absolutely no idea if it is a “fellow” or a “lady”. And I am not going out there to lift it’s little squirrely behind to get the definitive on that.

We will all just have to wonder.

Max the Wonder Dog is still struggling with his cold. He has now “lost his voice” so sometimes I don’t hear him when he barks to come in. Poor baby.

And the snoring noises that he is producing when he is sleeping are something that is not known in the civilized world. We have had to have him sleep in the laundry room at night. That is where his “crate” is anyways and that is often where he sleeps. But when he is a bit “under the weather” he likes to sleep on the stair landing….which is right below our bedroom door…..and that means that we can hear him sneeze (wetly) and snore and shake and mutter all night long.

We just couldn’t take it any more.

I am, more and more, experimenting with pictures taken with the ipod.

Can I just tell you I love that little device.


And I have discovered Instagram.

I don’t remember where I actually heard about it, somewhere on Twitter I would think. Oh my word this little app is just too much fun.


Take the picture. Select what you want to do with it. Send it to Twitter or Facebook if you choose. Just another reason to take pictures.

As if I needed a reason.

I have a new phrase to describe myself…

At age 51 I am like room temperature butter…..I am spreading.

Sorry, I just had to share cuz I share everything with you.

HHBL and I went out to brunch on Sunday. If you are ever in Hudson, Ohio you need to go to Tomato Grill.

I love this place. I had eaten there numerous times for lunch but never for Sunday brunch. And since it was to celebrate the old natal day I splurged and had Eggs Benedict which is such a guilty pleasure for me. Poached eggs! Hollandaise Sauce!! And then they also topped it with prosciutto and this tangy salsa that had capers in it. I adore capers. And instead of putting all of that on English muffins they put it on top of Chiabbata bread. Oh be still my beating heart. And just to top off the whole experience….

I also ordered bacon.

I am a wild woman.

But I really need to learn to make better poached eggs. Mine always seem to turn out wrong. How hard can this be for the love of Pete!

I look outside of my house these days and I get a bit overwhelmed thinking about all the things that I need to do outside when it finally warms up…..about July I think.

No, I have to get out there MUCH sooner than that. I am going to be doing some major rehab of the front landscaping. You can also read that as I am pulling out most of the bushes. I don’t know what is going to be going in but I do know what is going to be coming out.

And I am also going to be doing a major cleaning out of all the flower beds.

We have been in Chez Knit for 10 years and things just need to be dug up, divided, rearranged and rehabbed.

And so I am going to be putting in a lot of sweat equity this summer. And perhaps hiring a young college student to do some of the heavier lifting.

I am quaking at all the work. And also itching to get started.

HHBL and I looked out the kitchen windows on Wednesday to see the orange feral kitty standing in the back garden.

Hey look, there is that orange cat! (me)

Hey there is another one! (HHBL)

And LOOK, there are two more, the tiger and the calico!! (me)

I have seen all of these cats (I think they are about 2 years old) at various times but never all together. I am guessing that they are a litter from “momma cat” who I would see occasionally. Also, they all seemed to appear out from under my deck which makes me think that is where they bedded down for the night. They all made a bee line for the barn and were looking for a way to get it, I am assuming because they could hear the mice that are always in there.

Good. Go and eat the mice but stay the heck away from my birds.

And someone asked me later in the day if I was going to put out food for the kitties.

My response was….NO! Then they become my kitties and I don’t want that to happen.

I just hope that they make it in the woods, which they seem to have done so far. There are lots of things in the trees that would love to much on a smallish cat.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring Come Quickly

It is still March.

It is still cold.

It is raining and they are saying snow for tonight and possibly tomorrow.

So lets talk GARDEN!

LookLeap and I took a trip out to the old homestead garden plot today. We hadn’t been out there since the last halcyon days of late Summer/early Fall when all the clean out was done. When the last of the tomatoes were harvested and we were reflecting on……IMG_7397 IMG_2069the good……
 IMG_8821A IMG_8310A and the bad that had happened in our first year of garden. The garden was still where we left it last Fall. That isn’t a surprise considering it is a community garden and those are really hard to move just for the heck of it.

We have been talking about the garden for several months weeks now. LookLeap has been going to some garden classes. I seem always to have plans on those nights. REALLY I do.

Stop laughing right now!

And we have a Master Gardener that lives just down the street from us and who also happens to have garden plots about 10 feet down the row from us. We are going to take her to lunch and suck all the information out of her brain.

And also, we have been able to switch our garden plots from ones that are smack in the middle of the every year flood plane

01A Is that the Mississippi River running through our lower 40?

To ones that have a bit better drainage thank the good Lord
The new plotA This is the garden plot as of this morning. We have had A LOT of rain lately. And there is only one little corner that has standing water. That is good. If you look up at the top of the picture to all that area where there is standing water and rivers. That is where we were last year.

Not good.

We have much better hopes for this year if it would ever get warm. Well, we are planning to get some cold weather stuff in the ground ASAP. Lettuce, peas, spinach. They are all calling our names.

I will just have to remember to put on my parka cuz it was C.O.L.D. out there this morning.

The Garden HoesA We are The Garden Hoes (NOT ‘ho’s thankyouverymuch) and the dirt, it calls us.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pita Bread

Because Jen has been asking and asking. And remember, the recipe link is at the BOTTOM of the post.

I love pita bread, or flat bread if you want to be really specific about it. Little pillows of goodness onto which you can put things like hummus, or tomatoes, or gyros, or tzatziki sauce or all of the above at the same time. But the foundation must be pita.

And so I think you need to make these. And let me tell you. This recipe is


is so stinkin’ easy that if you don’t make them you are even more of a Lazy McLazypants than I am. And that is saying something. You can’t see what I have on right now but it might consist of things like flannel pajama pants, a Baylor Bears tee shirt and a sweat shirt.

But we won’t talk about that at the moment. We are here to bake.

I must give credit where credit is do. This recipe came from Farmgirl Fare. I have done a bit of “tweeking” but the recipe is hers. I love her site. It almost makes me want to raise sheep and donkeys.


IMG_1461A These are the cast of characters. 6 little ingredients that come together to make magic.

IMG_1462If you have a stand mixer then get it out. I use this baby for all my bread baking. She is over 20 years old and still going strong all though I hear a groan from her now and then. It happens to all of us. You are going to want to use both the paddle attachment and the dough hook. HHBL gave me Grizzelda for Christmas one year. He always gives good Christmas gifts.

That sounded slightly dirty. Sorry.

If you don’t have a stand mixer you can obviously do this recipe by hand. I am just a Lazy McLazypants remember.

If you have a pizza stone put it in your oven and pre-heat the oven to 450F. Then go ahead and start the dough.

First you put the bread flour in the bowl of the mixer. I forgot to take a picture in all the excitement.

IMG_1463A Then you add the salt
IMG_1466A And the sugar
IMG_1468And the yeast. I don’t proof yeast. I tend to kill it that way. So I just add instant yeast. Comes out every time.

Lazy McLazypants.

Take a minute to just mix the dry ingredients around a bit. Get an even distribution.

IMG_1471 Then add the olive oil. You know it is going to be good if it has olive oil in it.
IMG_1475Then add the warm water. WARM people NOT hot. If it is hotter than water that you would use to bath the baby then it is too hot for the bread. Think of the bread as your baby….only without all the poop and expensive college education (sorry, I said poop).

Then when the oil and the water are added turn the mixer on to briefly mix all the ingredients until everything is a shaggy mess.

IMG_1476See, a shaggy mess. Not too wet. If you think it is too wet then sprinkle on just a little bit of flour.

IMG_1479Then attach the dough hook. Bless the person who invented this little attachment. I would kiss them and invite them to dinner if I knew who they were.

IMG_1480AAnd then let the mixer do all the work for 6-8 minutes. You can step away and fold laundry or do some vacuuming or…

IMG_1482 IMG_1481Eat some black olives.

Hey back off! I was hungry and these things are like crack to me.  

When the dough is done kneading in the machine dump it out on the counter and knead it for about a minute more. The dough should not be sticky and you shouldn’t need to add any flour to the counter.

IMG_1483Smooth as a baby’s bottom.

IMG_1484 Then divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, form them into small balls, cover them with plastic wrap and let them rest for 10 minutes.

IMG_1488 IMG_1491A Then roll them out on the counter until they are about 1/16 of an inch thick. You can see my hand through the dough but it isn’t so thin that it rips when you take it off the counter.

And now comes the time where you must proceed with some caution if you are using a pizza stone. If you don’t have a pizza stone just put the dough rounds on lightly greased pieces of foil and put them in the oven on the rack. If you are using a pizza stone, as I do, then you take the dough round and carefully place it directly on the pizza stone.

Do not use any oil.

Do not use any corn meal.

Right on the pizza stone. But BE CAREFUL and watch out for the heating coils at the top of the oven.

Not that I would know or anything. But BE CAREFUL.

IMG_1490They may puff up like this, they may not. It is fine either way. When they are slightly browned on the underside take some tongs and flip them over and let them bake on the other side. Don’t let them overbake or they get a bit crunchy. They are still good just not as good.

IMG_1492 IMG_1493A As they come out of the oven stack the rounds between two pieces of foil and cover them up. It keeps the steam in and the pitas moist. When they are all cooked then let them sit, covered, for 20 minutes or so. You will be glad that you did.

IMG_1489  Just as an aside, you can also cook these in a hot, well seasoned, ungreased cast iron skillet, either in the oven or on the stop top. Be aware though that they may not puff up at all when on the stove top. They still taste great though.

IMG_1420Oh yeah baby. These are getting a topping of hummus, tomato and tzatziki sauce for lunch.

Come to momma.   

Pita Bread 

Friday, March 18, 2011

7 Quick Takes (Vol 109)


Well hello there. You know what time it is. It is Quick Takes time!

YEAAAAAAAAAAH! And the crowd goes wild!

My weekly blathering about things that I can’t seem to make into an entire post. Although that might not be true about #2. I could definitely write reams and reams about Max and the Nose of Snot. But I won’t because I like all of you.

And now on to the blathering.

Well, the totally home brined corned beef turned out pretty good. HHBL liked it and so I know it wasn’t chuck worthy at least. He takes his corned beef very seriously. I do think that it needs to sit in the brine longer than 4 days and I think that with the next testing I will cook it in the crock pot rather than the oven and for a longer period of time. I didn’t get it into the oven until about 2p yesterday as I was gone all morning taking a friend to her chemo treatment and then having lunch with her. Late cooking start means that the meat wasn’t as tender as I would like to see it. Or eat it for that matter.

I will give the recipe another run through in a couple of weeks and if it turns out even half way good then I will post it.

Max the wonder dog has another cold. For those of you who aren’t Facebook friends or don’t follow me on Twitter (where this appeared earlier in the week) this pretty much sums the whole situation up.

Max=large dog. Large dog=long nose. Add dog head cold. Long nose=much dog snot. What a lovely day.

I will not be taking him to the vet at the moment as the last two times that I have done this the antibiotics that I have had to pay for have done nothing to the length or severity of the snot issue. I do however have him on Benadryl. He knows the word “medicine” means that he gets bread and peanut butter. He is most eager to comply.

I cast on my next sweater on Wednesday. It will, hopefully, be a basic top down raglan cardigan. For those who are not knitters then just google that and you will come up with a picture or thousand that will show you what it is. I am too lazy to explain it.

I have decided that in some ways knitting is all about breaking rules and doing as you choose. So that is what I am doing with this sweater. I am just casting on and going with some basic rules and seeing what I get. I am using the alpaca yarn that I bought the last time that I was in Lima (Peru not Ohio) which will, if all works out, make it an extra special thing that I will take with me the next time I am in Lima (early next year I think).

I did manage to make myself swatch, which is something that I hate but is necessary when doing a sweater. And the choice of a top down raglan was purposeful because I am not sure exactly how much yardage I have. The yarn is up on Ravelry but there are disagreements about the yardage and the skein wrappers are unhelpful. So I figure I can shorten the sleeves if need be. I like them shorter anyways.

And lest you worry that I am using ALPACA on a sweater that might turn out to be a real turd (sorry, I said turd) know this. I didn’t pay all that much for the ten skeins. I believe that I paid approximately 10 dollars.


So I feel like I can experiment a bit. And besides. If it doesn’t work it can go back to the frog pond.

You know…..

Rip it, Rip it, Rip it.

I just love “knit speak”.

It is almost time to put out the humming bird feeders! Yeah!!

I look forward to this time of year. I love those vicious little birdies. I am obsessed for some reason. Perhaps it is because it took so long to lure them here, almost three years of putting out feeders all summer and seeing nothing.

And also the fact that I am just obsessed with them.

Knitting update for the first three months of the year. Because I am running out of things to say this week and because people (and you know who you are) complain about Quick Takes with no pictures. So here is my first quarter knitting output. I think I am missing  pictures of the socks that I knit for LookLeap and the scarf that I finished for TSiL but other than that I think this is about right.

IMG_1447 IMG_1165A IMG_1243 IMG_1319A IMG_1403 IMG_1422 IMG_1426 IMG_1440 IMG_1446 And I will admit that I currently have three pair of socks and a sweater on the needles. So much for the knitting monogamy that I swore I would practice.

And in that last picture? Please ignore my eyebrows that I don’t seem to have plucked in about 5 years.

I have decided that I am going to go without the little “spam filtering” crazy word that you have to type in when you comment. Blogger now has a spam filter and I just think I don’t want that darn word when you comment. I hate those things. We will see how it goes.

Tomorrow is my birthday.

I just thought you should know.

I will be 51 years old.

And you can still have my gray hair when you can pry it from my cold, dead fingers.