Tuesday, June 30, 2009

June Recap

June can be such a swing month here in coastal Virginia! Although I have only lived here for five Junes now, prior to that, I have vacationed here on Chincoteague Island since 1992. My favorite month to travel here was, guess -- June!

I refer to June as a swing month because one can never tell what the weather will be. Mostly, it's just a gorgeous, gorgeous month to be here. It's warm, but not too warm. The humidity is generally lower than July or August. The breezes off the water make for delightful living.

June seemed have mixed reviews, weather-wise, according to many of my fellow bloggers on the Blotanical site to which I belong. But, I am not complaining...

Actually, let me back up a bit. May was atypical -- very cold and rainy. It was NOT conducive to gardening for the most part. When I WAS out there, I was overly focused on my tomatoes (as anyone who reads my blog knows!), to the detriment of other crops. For instance, while my lettuces were coming along nicely, I wasn't succession sowing more seeds. Then, there was a wonderful vacation to Cape Cod that took me away from the garden. Before I knew it, June had arrived.

June on my little island was the perfect combination of sun and rain that has made my garden thrive. While we've had some torrential storms mid-month that resulted in the demise of my lima bean crop -- save for one lonely seedling -- it mostly rained at night. How cooperative is that? The daytime temperatures ranged from the 70s to the low 80s, with a few hotter days thrown in here and there. Low humidity, ocean breezes...bliss! Nothing like the blistering heatwave of 95+ degree weather that kicked off June, 2008!

So, as such, I was able to finally get more lettuce seeds sown, including a packet of mizuna, which is my favorite salad green. It's all looking good, as are the dandelion greens -- goose food, but I actually like them, too.

As we turn a new calendar page today, my hat's off to a beautiful month of June, now past. Here's to July -- may you be as glorious!

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Anticipation...It's Making Me Wait!

It's keeping me waiting...as the Carly Simon song goes! So far, I have picked five ripe tomatoes, with lots of greenies on the vine.

We have Brandywine....
(top photo)

Black Krim....
(second photo)

Japanese Black Trifele...

And last, but not least, Patio...

One in a series of postings about my greenies! Still working on my skills in posting photos...and getting text to match up!

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Goose Games -- Revisited!

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If you didn't read yesterday's post, Silly Goose Games, read it first! Then, read this...

Here's a better view of the nests, minus the geese. Phoenix's perfect nest is on the right, and Sydney's heap is to the left. Yesterday, it's as if Phoe knew she was the topic of my posting. She fashioned her nest as huge as she could get it and was stealing the straw from around Sydney as Syd sat there, dumbfounded. I ran to get the camera to capture the shot, only to have the "change batteries" light come on...

This shot was taken this morning!

I've decided that I need to take the eggs today. The weather has turned and it's just too hot to leave them in there much longer. The girls will not be happy, as they have stopped laying until the winter...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Silly Goose Games...

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Who hasn't played the childhood party game, Musical Chairs? You know, the game where there is always one less chair than child. When the music stops, you scramble for a seat, or else you are out of the game. We've all been in the situation where we were vying for the last chair with another child and we would BOTH try to squeeze our butts on and squeeze the other butt off.

Well, it appears the girls are playing their own version of this game!

The goose coop pretty much had one nest because the girls had their egg laying so well coordinated that they laid on different days. For the record, geese lay every other day, so it worked out brilliantly. That is, until they both decided they wanted to sit on a nest - sadly, on eggs that will never hatch because there is no male. One nest, two geese...you get the picture.

Solution: Add more straw. They made another nest, and all seemed fine. NOT!

Phoenix, the perfect goose, made the perfect nest. She would greedily reach over and steal straw from Sydney's nest to make hers bigger and better. Poor Syd was left to nest on a pile of straw, but that didn't stop her.

New Problem: When Phoenix gets off the nest, Syd (who apparently covets the perfect nest, too) will get off her meager digs in favor of the other one. Lots of squawking ensues...but they seem to work it out somehow. They either both crowd onto one nest, or Phoenix knocks Syd off her nest -- or, she gives up, lets Syd stay in that spot, but proceeds to steal the straw from the formerly perfect nest and fashions a new perfect one from Syd's straw heap. Back and forth, back and forth...

Other Problem: Not only are they playing musical nests, they are now playing musical eggs, too!

I let them each have an egg, thinking they would share. NOT!

They each would prefer to have both eggs! When I get them off the nests to exercise and eat (if not, they will go lame from sitting too long), whomever goes back to the nest first claims the best nest and will roll the other egg over and sit on both. More squawking ensues when the other goose returns and finds they no longer have an egg.

Solution: Ever the peacemaker between these birds, I must reach under, steal an egg from one girl and give it to the other.

Now, each has their own egg, their own nest...happy geese!

Until tomorrow.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

My Summer's Eve Dinner

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Ordinarily, I don't gravitate toward steaks on the grill, such as this T-Bone. I'm much more inclined to want a juicy London Broil or flank steak. However, I spotted these steaks and they looked so good that I just salivated in anticipation. I just had to have them! Earlier in the afternoon, I made a log of bleu cheese butter and topped the steaks with a hefty dollop. The asparagus, also cooked on the grill, was a gift from my mother. My parents have a vacation home on the island and couldn't use it when they needed to return back home to Pennsylvania. I obliged and took it off their hands. Smile!

It was delicious!

Given that I cook by instinct and don't often follow a recipe, I will give you my best approximations of how to replicate this dinner. However, I encourage people NOT to totally follow a recipe. Cooking should be about what you like to eat, not someone else's idea. I firmly believe recipes are jumping off points for creating something that's your own. So, use this as your guide and change it as you wish!


I marinated the steaks for about two hours in approximately one cup of red wine (always use a wine that you consider good enough to drink!!), about a quarter cup of sherry vinegar (you could substitute red wine vinegar), and a few shakes of Lawry's Season Salt. I have just about every herb and spice under the sun to choose from, but I thought a classic steak just didn't need a lot of fuss. For those who don't have Lawry's, you could reasonably approximate it by adding together sugar, salt, paprika, turmeric, and onion powder. I contemplated adding in a pinch of Hot Spanish Paprika (Pimenton), in addition to the Lawry's, but didn't. In addition, I added about 2 tablespoons of olive oil (not too much, unless you are a closet pyromaniac -- it will flame up when the fire hits the oil!)

Bleu Cheese Butter

Soften one stick of butter (I use unsalted), which is the equivalent of 8 tablespoons, until it is just workable. For this recipe, you should use whatever bleu cheese you prefer. I happened to have gorgonzola crumbles handy, so I blended in about a quarter cup. You really want to incorporate it into the butter well. The idea is to meld the two flavors. Chives (optional) -- 2 T. finely chopped and added in as you are blending in the gorgonzola. Then, I gently incorporated about another quarter cup of some Danish bleu (I ran out of Gorgonzola), crumbled into larger chunks. Even if you are using the same bleu cheese, I would divide it up: one for blending in, one for the chunk factor! You definitely want to have some really nice chunks of cheese in this butter! I then roughly shaped it into a log, wrapped it in plastic wrap to shape it further, and chilled it until ready to use.

Asparagus on the Grill

Toss the fresh asparagus with some olive oil (not too much, but enough to give it a good coating) and the juice of half a lemon. Sprinkle with some coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. You may add some chopped garlic at this point, if you like. Arrange the asparagus in a single layer on the foil (Important because you want it to cook evenly). Thinly slice the remaining lemon and arrange on top of the asparagus, then completely wrap the asparagus with the foil to essentially make a sealed grill packet (don't leave a venting hole). Grill on direct heat for about 25 to 30 minutes, assuming they are of average thickness. This will need to go on the grill before the steaks!

To Serve --

Arrange steak and asparagus on the plate. Top steak with bleu cheese butter. I was lazy and added some commercially prepared steak sauce. However, I often will reduce my marinade down into a sauce. The key is to boil hard (after all, it was exposed to raw meat!), taking care not to burn it, until it reduces and thickens. You may need to help it along by adding in some pan searing flour (I use Wegmans), Wondra flour, or cornstarch. I also like to add in a tablespoon or two of butter at the end, because it gives the sauce such a wonderful texture.


(P.S.: The dogs did -- they split a steak of their own!)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Call Me a Fanatic!

Yes, I am blogging about tomatoes again! I can't help it -- I've already tasted my first fruits of the season and I want more. NOW! Patience is NOT one of my virtues, but I suppose I will need to summon some to wait just a bit longer. There will be plenty more to come, I know it!

Unlike zucchini, no one ever seems to complain when they have a bumper crop of tomatoes! Why is that?

So, on a more exacting note, I went out to the garden with a measuring tape, paper and pad in hand to record tidbits of information about my 15 tomato plants thus far. For the record...

My red Brandywine is the tallest, at 47 inches. This is closely followed by the Pineapple at 46 and the Green Zebra at 45. The Champion, a yard sale purchase, is 40 inches tall, while the Oxheart is 38 inches. Several are 37 inches -- Mr. Stripey, San Marzano, and Big Rainbow.

The Tomato Runt Award goes to the Patio, at 28 inches. But, this little gem has 16 green tomatoes just waiting to ripen and end up on my plate! It is just producing its heart out!

The Sweet 100 cherry tomato is next, with 15. This is followed by 11 greenies on the Champion (one on the verge of ripening!) and 10 each for the San Marzano and Mr. Stripey.

I predict a bumper crop! I can almost taste them...

Nearly Grown -- Duckling Update!

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Tess's remaining six ducklings are nearly full grown. Seriously, they are almost as big as she is!

Baby mallards all look like females for a period of time before the males get their distinctive blue-green head and other markings. At first, three of the ducklings were getting a white edge on their wings, similar to females. I was convinced that meant there were possibly three males and three females. However, a day or two later, I noticed that the remining ducks had the white feathers, too. So, either they all are females, or it's still too soon to tell!

Today, Tess and ducklings showed up with a seventh in tow! It's also a mallard and is a little darker than the others, so it's obvious it's one she picked up along the way and not one of hers. She's been a good mother and apparently has adopted this little "orphan".

Very sweet!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Breakfast is Served!


My morning routine has changed a bit lately...Dallas, my beloved oldest dog has arthritis that has gotten quite severe lately. He is on medication, though, but still requires more help from me than before.

Since he can't go on long walks anymore, I help him outside and we take a short stroll around the front yard. Then, I sit him down on his dog bed that I have brought outside and we enjoy the morning a bit together (weather permitting, of course!). I sip my coffee, he growls at my cats (Lola and Zane), we watch the ducks together -- it's all good!

Last weekend, I decided to have breakfast outside. Of course, Dallas wanted some, too, and I obliged. Unfortunately, the eggs aren't from the geese because they tend to upset my stomach (see earlier posts), but the chives are from my garden!

I love fresh chives mixed with my eggs and a bit of cream cheese! For every three eggs, use about 2 ounces of cream cheese and about 2 tablespoons of chopped chives. I usually allow the eggs to cook and set up a bit before adding in the cheese, but for creamier eggs, add the cheese as soon as you begin cooking the eggs. Add more chopped chives for garnish -- and a side of whatever you like.

Dallas liked the bacon, by the way!

Problems uploading pics -- need help Blotanical friends!

Yesterday, I uploaded a picture to my blog using Picasa, the default vehicle for posting to Blogger, and was leisurely writing my post when suddenly, the picture disappeared and was replaced with an error message. Subsequent attempts at posting photos since then have failed.

I am NOT a computer geek in the least, and have found that Blogger and Picasa are not really that helpful in solving the issue.

So, my questions are:

Has anyone else been experiencing issues similar to this recently, indicating it may be a general Blogger problem?

Does anyone have any idea what may have happened and how to correct it?

How else do people post images to their sites?????


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Red Warty Thing...

Posted by PicasaNo, it's not some symptom of a sexually-transmitted disease (but, I suppose it might be), this is a gardening blog, after all! It's not even Scooby, pictured above, who thinks he is my duck -- although his face certainly has red, warty things all over it. Poor thing!
This post is actually about an heirloom winter squash with the unglamorous name "Red Warty Thing". But, not having worked all of the kinks out of using Picasa to post my photos, it wasn't cooperating with me today to post more than one. I thought Scooby's photo was much more interesting! It's merely one of those strange coincidences that I happened to find the squash at the garden center around the time Scooby decided to "relocate".
First, the squash...Red Warty Thing is described as highly decorative, although to me, it sounds like a teenager with a bad case of acne! However, it is also apparently quite edible with "finely textured, sweet tasting flesh". Each squash may range from 12 to 20 pounds, when mature, which takes about 100 days. It requires consistent moisture so I will need to be diligent about watering because I plan on growing it in a container.
Now, back to Scooby. One of my neighbors (let's call him "Mr. S") bought two Muscovy ducks with the intention of fattening them up and eating them. He kept them in his son's yard, who happens to be my next door neighbor. Easter came and went, and the birds did not become the holiday meal, as intended. It turned out they were molting and the concensus was the resulting pin feathers would render them too difficult to pluck. So, they both lived another day, and another, and another.
Then, Mr. S. had the idea to mate the ducks. He planned on letting the babies hatch out, start his own flock for future consumption, then eat the parents. So, unaware of their impending fate, Scooby and his mate apparently did what ducks do and now she is on a nest. However, she wouldn't tolerate him being around at the moment, and has thrown him out!
Always intrigued by my geese when he lived in the yard next door, with nowhere to go, he ventured back over my way. First, he hung out by the fence, just gazing longingly at the girls. When they wanted nothing to do with him either, he decided to hang out in my front yard, under the shady maple trees. So, there he is, every morning, around 6:00 when I emerge to start my day...
Oh, and by the way, Mr. S. has now grown fond of the ducks and has decided not to eat them!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Carrot Thinnings!!!

A few days ago, I harvested these "Nantes" carrot thinnings from my garden to use in a salad of greens (also from my garden, of course!). Each was the perfect length to use as baby vegetables -- about the length of my index or middle fingers.
I am definitely a fan of the more vibrantly colored carrots such as this for the interest they add to my cooking! While these little carrots would also be great steamed and served either in a ginger or brown sugar glaze, try them my favorite way:

After steaming the carrots, I add butter and whole cumin seeds, then toss them together -- so simple! The problem is that I don't really have a recipe per se. I am one of those people who cook by instinct. Even when I attempt to follow a recipe, I often find myself changing it in some way.

Here's my unsolicited advice:

When you bite into a whole cumin seed, it's such a different taste from the ground version, so substitution is NOT permissible! They are, to me, both sharp and peppery, with a "green" undertone. So, just chew a few seeds to get a feel for it before you add to your carrots. Unless you are a big fan of spice, you might find that adding whole cumin to your carrots is best as a "less is more" experience (as opposed to "the more, the merrier!") because you want the cumin to enhance the taste of the carrots, and not overwhelm.

OK - I could have said this a lot simpler: add a pinch or two!
So, the next time you are tempted to thin your carrots too soon, have patience and wait just a little bit to harvest these little edible gems! However you choose to eat them, I'm sure they'll be great!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Monday Muse - (Five)

Beyond the Garden Gate (first verse only)

Step into my garden
Step in and you'll see

A measure of peace
And tranquility...

Are you kidding me!!!!!

Yes, Sydney and Phoenix looked really calm and composed in this still frame. However, they are anything BUT when it comes to the garden! They couldn't wait to sink their serrated little bills into this romaine that I was tempting them with to get this shot.

In actuality, Phoenix (on the right) has never ventured past the gate into the garden or out of the yard. In fact, she has never even been out of the yard since she came here as a baby last year. She is in some ways the more timid of the two -- although she is the one who will go after someone she doesn't know or doesn't like (she will bite -- not me, of course).

Syd, on the other hand, sees the prize (aka, lettuce) and she will charge her way through the open gate! Before I can grab her (carefully, to avoid those sharp claws of hers that have scratched me to the point where it looks as if I have attempted to slit my wrists!!), she will make mincemeat out of anything green and frilly she can latch her bill onto.

When she was hospitalized last year after swallowing the nail, she learned that her greens were kept in the small refrigerator in the surgery room. I have been told numerous stories of her hanging out (they would let her out to walk around) by it, just so she could make a beeline for those tasty morsels when some unsuspecting vet tech would open it to retrieve their lunch. She had the moves of a pirhanna attacking its prey -- a real feeding frenzy!

It's not that Phoe doesn't enjoy the greens, too...she is just a bit more mannerly!

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Sunday, June 7, 2009

First Tomatoes!

Have you figured out yet that I am crazy for tomatoes!

In my post last Tuesday, I gave an update on their progress and mentioned that I was already fortunate enough to harvest some from my Patio hybrid.

The top picture was taken about a week and a half ago, and the tomatoes are long gone -- and were delicious, I might add. There were three all together. Two were sliced and served with a homemade vinaigrette and feta cheese, then sprinkled with some fresh thyme. The remaining one became part of a BLT sandwich. Yum!

My Patio tomato is typically the first to produce, and it will just keep producing throughout the summer! Currently, there are six green tomatoes on the vine (OK -- this might be stretching it...two are really, really small) and fifteen flowers (I counted, no exaggeration!). I only planted one this year instead of my usual two...I might need to go out and buy another one!
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Friday, June 5, 2009

Assessing My Garden Thus Far...

Today, it is just raining torrentially! It seems to me to be a good day to stay inside while Nature waters the garden for me and take stock of my garden's progress so far...

First, here are some tomato photos that I promised would be forthcoming in Tuesday's post. Without a doubt they are, as usual, the biggest success in my garden. I most definitely have a green thumb as far as raising tomatoes is concerned! The top photo is a long shot of the tomato bed, although it's hard to gauge just how tall they really are from this view! The next photo is my Brandywine and, again, the photo doesn't do it justice in terms of how large it actually is at this early point in the season, topping out at well over three feet tall! The last photo is the Patio tomato, which is not leafing out much and seems to be rather gangly. However, I have already harvested three tomatoes from it.

So, back to the focus of this post -- assessing my garden so far.

The other successes:
1) The leaf lettuces, romaine, and chard grown from seedlings have done very well and have fed me and the geese quite well!

2) The fava beans are a pleasant surprise! Twelve seeds, out of thirteen, sprouted to my delight. Flowering is almoist finished and a few pods are forming. Can't wait to harvest these soon!

3) The carrots seem to be doing well and are ready for thinning.

4) Onions, so easy to grow, are doing nicely!

Mixed Review:

1) Greens planted from seed mixes seem to be heavy on the arugula (which I do like), but lean on other types of greens. An aside -- Phoenix actually likes it, but it's too spicy for Syd!

2) The red lettuces and Swiss chard (Lucullus) planted from seed seem to be rather slow-growing -- but, hey, they ARE growing!

3) I think I will go back to growing beets from seedlings purchased from my local nursery. Germination of the Detroit Dark Red seeds has been marginal at best.

4) Some of my pepper plants appear to be stunted by the cold spell we had shortly after they were planted. Overall, though, I think they will thrive and I will have a good harvest as time goes on.

The disappointments:

1) I love fresh peas and before I left on vacation, they seemed to be progressing nicely and I was looking forward to a good harvest upon my return. However, while I was gone, they just seemed to shrivel up to nothing! I'm not quite sure what happened, but I suppose I will need to get my fill of peas from another source. Actually, I can plant a fall crop, but I think I will try something other than 'Alaska'.

2) Only one edamame seed (out of about 15 planted) has sprouted.

3) The Dandelion Ameliore, planted especially for the geese, has not materialized! I bought four packs of seed from The Cook's Garden last fall and the one pack that I planted last year didn't germinate either. So, I called them and they located my order and shipped more seeds out to me. I will plant these shortly and see if they fare any better. Keep your fingers crossed!

Now, I move on to plans for the "Summer Garden"! But that's a whole other post...
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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Duckling Update...

This is Tess, the mallard, and her six surviving ducklings who were featured in my blogpost dated May 3rd.

The very next morning, she was down six babies. Sad, but it's how nature works...perhaps that why they hatch out so many to start. Shortly after, I noticed that Tess was limping, but still faithfully making the journey from the glade to my front yard to feed her babies. Then, the visits stopped...

I walked down to the glade to investigate and she was there with the remaining ducklings. For about a week, I brought corn to the glade for them to eat. Then, just before I left for vacation, they returned and Tess's leg seemed no worse for wear. My friend, Sharon, reported that she brought them daily while I was gone. My neighbor, Lou, also reported that they were also visiting her new pond and wreaking havoc on her young water plants. I gathered that we did not share the same fondness for Tess and babies!

The ducklings still have much of their fuzzy down but they are starting to get their wing feathers. They are still targets for predators and I will feel much relieved when they can at least fly away from danger. But, Tess has been a good mother to her remaining young and hopefully will keep them safe a bit longer.

As you can see, they all look like they are females...but all mallards do at this age. When they are a bit older, it will be easier to distinguish males from females. By then, they will probably have long departed from my yard -- for this year! Undoubtedly, those that survive the winter (and hunting season) will be back next spring and I will have a bumper crop of ducks who sing for their supper. Better stock up on corn now!

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Tomato Tuesday!!

How does my garden grow? Very well, thank you -- especially my tomatoes!

Shortly before vacation, I planted Mr. Stripey, a tomato near and dear to my culinary heart. With that addition, the count stands at 15 plants, with two new ones to be added shortly -- hybrids Mountain Pride and Bush Goliath. Then, I think I might be finished. However, I admit that this represents a down-sizing from other years when I often have 20-plus plants in the ground!

Early May in coastal Virginia was NOT conducive to tomato growth! While it was warm enough here to plant them, we literally had nine days when the sun did not shine! Although they were well-watered with all of the rain we had, the plants literally showed no visible growth. When I was on vacation, the weather changed for the better and we had the right combination of rain and warm sun that made my plants thrive (plus great care from my friend Sharon, who tended the garden, geese, and cats while I was away).

Since my return on the 24th, I have harvested 3 tomatoes from my Patio plant, with several more green fruits on the vine. My Japanese Black Trifele also has some green babies poking out from spent blossoms! All of my plants have blooms or buds that should bloom shortly. The plants are lush and green and gorgeous! True to form, my Sweet 100, so small when planted, has grown exponentially (with tons of blooms already) along with the Japanese Black Cherry (absolutely puny when transplanted from a styrofoam cup)!

I've had a bit of help, though, from my geese. Confused??...I'll fill you in. The girls are not too particular about where they poop, including in their watering hole (aka, a fairly large kiddie pool). So, I am certainly not going to let that beautiful, wonderful manure tea go to waste and have put it to good use fertilizing my tomatoes with it. Typically, I change the pool water every other day (it will become a daily event shortly when the weather heats up). With this sandy soil here, I water the base of the plants first to saturate the ground. Then I religiously pour a bucket full of manure tea close to the base of the stem of each plant. This way, the tea ponds a bit on the surface, then sinks in slowly for maximum benefit. I should note that when I planted each tomato, I added in a bucket of goose manure into the surrounding soil.

So, now you know the secret to my beautiful tomatoes! Photos in the next few days...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Monday Muse

I wasn't gone from blogging -- just gone on vacation! Now, I feel that I need a vacation from the vacation! I left on May 14th, traveling with my friend Sue -- and three dogs between us! We drove from Virginia to Mystic, Connecticut, which is about an 8 hour trip. Two nights there, then a relatively short drive (about 2 hours) to Cape Cod. We rented a very cute house in Dennis, close to Route 6A, for those who are familiar with that area. After a week on the Cape, we drove back to Mystic overnight, then home on Sunday the 24th. It was a good decision to wait a day and travel when traffic was a bit lighter on the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend.

I envisioned doing some posts during the trip, but it turned out the internet was down at the house we rented, so that thought went out the window! Last week, try as I might, I couldn't seem to get the time to post. I suppose I should back up and say that the trip almost didn't happen. In the picture is my sweet boy, Dallas! We have been a pair for twelve years, having adopted him after my yellow Lab, Muldoone, passed away. About 3 or 4 when I adopted him, he had been at a no-kill shelter for nearly a year and a half! Now, nearly 16, he has become very arthritic. So, I put him on some medication (Metacam) and it helped for a bit. I needed to add a pain pill, and then right before vacation, I added an injectable medication I was taught to administer called Adequan. I was not certain I would be able to take the trip, but because he responded so well to the medication, I decided we could after all. However, I will admit that the long car rides have set Dallas back a bit and he is recuperating. But, his spirits are excellent and he is now allowing me to help him get up and move about -- something he wouldn't do before. I also have arthritis (rheumatoid) and he is a big dog, so by the end of the day, I am worn out from helping him and everything else I do throughout the course of the day. Much of last week was spent just getting him into a comfortable routine, then crashing -- hence, no blogging.

So, to make a long story short, Dallas serves as the inspiration for today's Monday Muse --

I Think I Know No Finer Things Than Dogs

Though prejudice perhaps my mind befogs,
I think I know no finer thing than dogs;
The young ones, they of gay and bounding heart,
Who lure us in their games to take a part,
Who with mock tragedy their antics cloak,
And, from their wild eyes' tail, admit the joke;
The old ones, with their wistful, fading eyes,
They desire no further paradise
Than the warm comfort of our smile and hand,
Who tune their moods to ours and understand
Each word and gesture, they who lie and wait
to welcome us -- with no rebuke, if late.
Sublime the love they bear; but ask to live
Close to our feet, unrecompensed to give;
Beside which many men seem very logs --
I think I know no finer things than dogs.

--Hally Carrington Brent
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