Musing with Max

Musing with Max

May 29, 2013

The Second Coming

Or maybe the third, I can't keep track. I'm talking about Winter, of course. It took forever to get here, sometime in late January if I remember right and then it just plain refused to leave. It lingered way into April which made the blooming season that much shorter and thwarted my usual joy in bringing in all the flowers for a good month and a half. Heck the lilacs barely lasted a week and I was only able to bring them in once before they started to vanish under the next wave of cold and rain. Then we had a respite and the first week of May brought warmth and we thought we were finally there. And the dogwoods bloomed. My favorite! (this year).

and in they came

so we could admire their beauty

and display them

but the warmth came so quickly that they immediately disappeared. And then it rained for two weekends which really put a crimp in my gardening, hence no tomatoes this year. And the following week the temperatures and humidity soared, the heat went off and air conditioner on if we were going to be able to sleep at all. Then last Friday, 50F and rain, heat back on. There goes the grilling plans for Memorial Day weekend. Winter stews instead.

Gypsy Goulash adapted from Back to Square One by Joyce Goldstein

Serves 6 to 8

1 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp finely minced garlic
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 lbs boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2 inch cubes
2 1/2 lbs. veal cut into 2 inch cubes
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup diced pancetta or bacon
4 cups diced onions
2 cups diced green bell peppers
2 tbsp paprika
1/ 1/2 cups diced fresh or canned plum tomatoes
2 cups veal or chicken stock
Salt & freshly ground pepper

Mix together the paprika, 1 tbsp of the garlic, and the pepper and rub over the pork and veal. Cover and refrigerate over night.

Heat 3 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add as many meat cubes as will fit without crowding and brown on all sides.

Transfer to a casserole, brown all the remaining meat. Then add the pancetta and onions and cook over low heat in the remaining fat until the onions are translucent, about 15 minutes. Add the diced pepper, remaining garlic and paprika and cook 10 minutes longer.

Transfer to the casserole with the meat. Add the tomatoes and stock to cover. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer covered over low heat until the meat is tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Serve with buttered noodles or over toasted bread for lunch the next day.

and patiently wait to see if Sunday is more seasonable.

No? Maybe another stew.

Or maybe we'll just look out the window and wish for a better day, we've got herbs to plant!

May 19, 2013

My Life in Dog Years - part 4


This is a tough one. I guess that's why it took me so long to continue this little series. About 6 months after Obi moved on to doggy heaven Frank and I decided that we needed another little being around the house and since we hadn't gotten or fill of Chows, cause we're clearly masochists, we decided to get another one. This time we signed up with an organization we found in the paper called "The Chow Welfare League" which was a Chow rescue organization. We filled out an application and they did an extensive background check on us to see if we would qualify as adoptive parents. We did. Then they would call us every time they rescued a Chow who they thought we would be interested in. We had a few wish list items of our own so the first few times we declined. Then one day the woman called and said they had a seven month old they had rescued along with his sister from a high kill shelter and he was a "kissy poo". We had wanted a puppy but since they were hard to come by and this guy was under a year old and the foster home was about ten minutes from our house we decided to go take a look. Love at first sight.

We took him home. He was terrified. Sat up against the back seat of the car with a look of complete terror on his face. When we came into the house he sat up against the back door with that same look the entire rest of the day. His story was this; he belonged to a couple who were Chow breeders, they had divorced with the husband keeping the business, the wife had kept two pups, TJ (pretentiously spelled Tee Ja) and his sister, the woman was diagnosed with inoperable cancer and her sister had taken the pups promising to keep them and proceeded to immediately put them in a shelter. They had been there for two weeks when they were rescued. Quite the start of a life. No wonder he was scared. Since he had been in a shelter he had lost some of his housebreaking so Frank went out to get a crate for training, it was the size of a house and we built it in our bedroom, 2 months later we finally dismantled it since I was sick of looking at it. He never really needed it as a training crate but it was his little house. TJ was the complete opposite of Obi, he was a baby, needy, clingy, afraid of everything, ate anything you gave him except lasagna, always wanting to please, and the best thing of all...he thought the sun rose and set with me. He followed me around everywhere, my little furry shadow. Sat by my feet, laid by my side of the bed, stood there staring at me as I left for work every morning and waited by the door as I opened it on my way in. Now you see why this one is so tough? He loved to sit in the flower beds, I guess because it was cool, all that fur you know.

Hated going for walks, would look at you as if saying what is this all about. He was perfectly happy to be in his backyard doing absolutely nothing other than looking incredibly gorgeous.
As he got older, he developed some arthritis which was pretty much under control with medication. One day I came home from work and he hadn't made it to the door yet and just stood there staring at me panting ferociously, he could barely move. We rushed him to the doggy hospital and they told us his stomach had flipped and his windpipe was strangling him, this is not uncommon in barrel chested dogs, he needed immediate surgery to reverse it and staple it back. He spent a week at the hospital and we visited every day. He healed quickly but his arthritis was getting worse. He found it hard to go up the stairs but it was worse coming down and he would cry sometimes just looking down. Frank would carry him up so he could sleep next to me and then carry him down. Eventually he understood and gave in and wouldn't even try to climb the stairs. Sometimes he would wake up in the middle of the night and start whimpering, I would come down and lay on the rug next to him until he fell asleep and sometimes fell asleep myself staying with him the rest of the night,

then one day it was time. The hardest decision I've ever had to make. He was 14, which is very old for a Chow but not old enough for me. It was Christmas Day. My heart broke in a million pieces.