Monday, September 28, 2009

Woah! When did you guys get so big?

Yesterday, during the end of the Packer game, I made my way out to the pond and attempted to catch my goldfish.
Their pond was not looking good. The leaves are beginning to fall, and the algae was becoming an issue. Also, this week is supposed to be quite cold. I decided it would be best for them to just come in.

Boy, oh, boy did they get big! I can't believe these great big fish were just little $.45 goldfish at the beginning of this summer. And I actually put the pond in quite late. (and then there was the hole-in-the-liner issue that stunted them a bit as well)


Ack! Look how dirty the water is! I'll keep changing water and eventually it will clear up. Also, adding the hydroponic plants to the system will help. I'm trying not to think about that part, though... it's gonna be a lot of work.


That guy on the left looks a little annoyed with me.
I'd like to point out I caught all 8 of them all by myself. It only took about half an hour, and I only threw something once. They're fast little buggers... but I'm just a little bit smarter. It takes years of practice, but once you get good at catching fish it's not too bad. Patience. It's all about patience.

You can't tell because of the gross water, but they really are very pretty.

But not this pretty...


Beautiful, beautiful tank... oh, how I miss you.
Someday I'd really like to have a tank like that again. It's a lot of work, but it's better than tv.

I shouldn't complain... I do kinda have a pretty tank right now.


It's just not the same.  Being downsized really sucks.


Sunday, September 27, 2009


Memories are often good. It's nice to remember events we've shared with people we have loved throughout our lives.

Sometimes, memories are sneaky... sneaky and mean. Sometimes memories hurt.

Today, this made me cry.


The last time I ate these, I was here...



Sneaky, sly, mean little memories.

Well, time for bed. Bed and a good book.


The new Dan Brown book is out, and my mom finished reading it. Now, as long as I don't 'muss it up' I get to read it. So far, it's really good!


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Pet Photography

I actually do have a more useful subject to post today, but I'm just not feeling it right now.
So, instead, I'm going to post some of my favorite pictures that I have taken, and tell you what I have learned about pet photography over 10 years of loving to take pictures of my pets. (If you've ever been in my house, you are very aware of this fact.)

I have learned over the years, that pictures of pets are pretty much run-of-the-mill unless you're up close. There are very few exceptions (see 'prancing' Lilly in the Machickanee post) to this.

happy bail
See? It's nice, but it's doesn't make me gasp or anything.
I like this one mostly because it shows some of King Bailey's attitude - all regal and stuff.

So, without further adieu, here is what I have taught myself over the last number of years.

It all started here. My brother got me an excellent camera for Christmas, and my boss gave me a gift certificate with which I bought a tripod at Best Buy. I was set. Now I just had to learn how to take good pictures.

Something struck me when I saw both Bailey and Tigger sleeping on their respective pieces of furniture. I got my camera and tripod. I had read some tips on taking photos of babies in a magazine, and it suggested getting close to your subject and not taking traditional 'protrait-type' shots. I decided to try it out. It was the first time I had actually gotten down and crawled around on the floor to get what seemed like strange perspectives to me at the time.

For Bailey and Tigger, my climbing around on the floor was not particularly alarming. They were well aware I am weird, and they just kept laying there half asleep as I snapped shot after shot. I'm sure there were close to 50 pictures on my camera by the time I was done. I kept maybe 8 of them. Here are my two favorites.



And with that, I've been hooked on up-close ever since. For me, being able to actually see the texture of their fur will be the greatest gift when they are gone.

I don't really think I realized how much I loved these pictures until I loaded them on the computer and really got to see them in all their glory. I gave a set to my Mom, Dad, and Brother the following Christmas.

Before I got that camera, I occasionally just got lucky. Key word: occasionally.
This picture was actually taken with a super cheap film camera. I had no idea what I'd done until I got them developed. I just thought the idea for the shot would be cool since the canoe happened to be there. This picture is actually published somewhere... but I couldn't afford the book at the time, and now I can't find a copy.

This is Blue. I took care of him a lot when I worked at Field of Dreams.
He was a favorite of mine. I mean, really, just look at the head on him.

There were other times I was NOT so lucky. This picture is officially the worst picture I own that I still love. I have no idea what on earth I was thinking when I stuck Cain in front of an open closet full of clothes to take his picture. But, I knew it would soon be time to put him down, and I was desperate to get some pictures.

I still hate the day I had to let him go. He would have been a truly beautiful dog.
I have known very few dogs as sweet as Cain was.

Years ago, a lovely online friend took that lame picture and made this for me with it. I would someday like to learn to do things like that.


Tigger is extremely photogenic. I think this is partly because he has a bit of a fat head. Also, the color in his coat catches the light in a magical way.

on deck edited


Leo is also photogenic. Only in a different way. That boy can pull off pure evil in a photograph. And I kinda love it.
I have found with cats, it's not entirely necessary to get super close all the time, but it's best to at least nearly fill the frame with their bodies.

Just look at that! Pure evil!

Don't worry, Leo can do 'cute', too.

Again, poor choice of background, but this is uncropped. Sometimes, if the cat is being cute on your bed, and the camera is within reach - you just have to take what you can get.

Now, as I was saying, get up close. For really good pictures, climbing on the floor will likely be required.

beautiful bail



Sometimes, bad pictures are still good. Technically, this picture is not very good. Too dark, you can barely see Bailey... but I still like it. If for nothing other than the fact they are all sleeping on one piece of furniture together.


If you came to my house and looked at my walls, you would very quickly see the last discovery I have made when photographing animals. You don't always have to take a picture of their faces.
See, dogs and cats have paws. Beautiful paws. Oh, how I love the paws. Please, please, never forget the paws!

This is uncropped here, but on my wall it is cropped so the paw fills the print.


My paw, not nearly as cute. Saddly.


Love ya,

Sunday, September 20, 2009

It's begining to look a lot like fall...

Ok, so, the weather is not fall-ish yet. It was actually about 70 today. But, the activities certainly are. The Packers are back in action, and that means a whole lot of unproductive Sundays.

I've found the best way to avoid being completely useless during football is by pealing something. Apples, potatoes, whatever I can come up with for cooking once the game is done. This week it was apples.

Yesterday, Deanne and I stopped at The Apple Store. I got a big bag of Paula Red 2nds. I like Paula Reds. These were so nice and ripe some were even a little hard to peal. I pealed, and pealed, and pealed... and the Packers lost. But, at least I still had my apples.


My first cooking adventure was a recipe from Pioneer Woman's site. I will not be providing a link to the recipe, because then you will see just how badly I messed it up. :o) I didn't let the butter brown in the skillet with the apples enough before pouring in the batter. Oops.

I attempted to put it in a pan and cook it a little more to brown it. I don't know if I made it better or worse.

This creation contains a total of nearly 3 sticks of butter.

I don't think I'll make that one again, but it was worth trying.

The next attempt was caramel apple bread pudding. I found the recipe on Tasty Kitchen.
The original recipe appears to be an attempt at keeping it as healthy as possible by using low fat milk and egg replacer.
Forget that noise!! I used whole milk, real eggs, and every other delicious alternative I could. Cuz that's the kinda girl I am. It's basically a bread pudding base with diced apples, and caramel poured over the top. I'll make some whipped cream for the top, and sprinkle with pecans, when I eat it. I'm drooling just thinking about it.

I'll pause for a moment so you can take it all in.


Done? Are you sure? You can scroll back up and look again. I won't judge you.
To be honest, I haven't even tasted this yet. I'm just enjoying looking at it so far... and dreaming about it.

Finally, with the left-over apples, I made applesauce.


Mmmm... just look how beautiful and buttery yellow it is. Delicious!

Now, excuse me, while I go gorge myself on apple-y delights.

Love ya,

Thursday, September 17, 2009


The stockpile is dwindling. The freezer landscape is becoming barren.
Let's just keep it real - Lilly is getting concerned about her food resources. What can I say, the girl knows what's important in life... and food is one of those things.

And you know what dwindling food supply means? Time to post an add on 'craplist'.

Wanted: Raw Meat
Cleaning out your freezer? My dogs would be happy to eat any freezer burned raw meat you have so it doesn't go to waste!

I don't think I've ever posted an add without getting at least something out of it. And this time was no exception.
You see, a nice couple in Door County just happened to be cleaning out their freezer because they bought a quarter of beef recently. They didn't even realize THIS was sitting in their freezer:


Now, it's sitting in our freezer... and Lilly is licking her chops.
(The guy works at Georgia Pacific, so I didn't even have to drive to Door County to get it! SWEET!)

When I mention that my dog eats raw meat for dinner, I get lots of different reactions. Most of them include disbelief. Lots of people are of the impression that it is strictly against the 'rules'. By now you should know I don't really believe in 'rules'. I'm a radical like that.

I won't get into all the finer points of raw feeding. But, I will say that if you're really looking to feed your dog a healthy diet - I strongly recommend you look into raw prey model feeding. That's all I'll say about that.

Anyway, a lot of people think feeding raw is 1) expensive 2) labor intensive
Let me first say I put less work into feeding Lilly (my raw-fed dog) than I do into feeding Bailey (my kibble fed old man). I only turn my kitchen into a murder scene about once a month. I really don't find it to be all that bad. And as for the expense, again, Lilly eats cheaper. (and that big box of free steaks is just the beginning of why)

This is what the freezer was looking like this morning - a sure sign it's about that time again.

This is the official 'thaw bowl'. It's a perfect size to fit a bunch of meat for thawing so I can portion it out, and it fits in the fridge. I fill it up with strategic ingredients and let it thaw for 2-3 days in the fridge so I can cut everything up easily. Over half of the stuff in this bowl was free.

Then, the fun starts:

Chopping and hacking and mixing and divvying.

Ever container needs at least some liver, but not too much.

This is how I deal with eggs that are going to go bad before I can use them - just stick em in the freezer. These just go right into the containers and get frozen along with the rest of the portioned out meal. Yummy!

It's hard to get the job done without at least one sad, starving face.
A hunk of meat is usually enough to turn the frown upside-down.

The finished products.
(and a bone for Lilly to chew on tonight so I can go to bed early without protest)

See? Now wasn't that easy? Nothing to it.
Lilly is perfectly happy to eat her dinner frozen solid, and I like it because its great for her teeth and it slows her down a little. So, when I feed her, all I have to do is run water on the outside of the container for a second and it pops right out onto her dinner mat.

I won't show you the lake of blood in the bottom of the thaw bowl. Or my sink.

You can thank me later.

Sometimes, the mixture includes a can of green tripe. Now, THAT takes true love.
I sure hope that little dog realizes how much I love her.

Love ya like a free steak,

Monday, September 7, 2009

Bear Paw with Bobbi Jo

Remember when I said I was going to spend the next three days blogging about fun things I did this summer? And then I didn't do it? Things like A&W Root Beer and greenhouses got in the way.

What can I say, I temporarily lost interest. Sorry. On we go. Here is the second installment.

Bobbi Jo and her little boy, Ethan, were home from Texas in July. On a whim, we decided to spend a Friday night at Bear Paw Lake in Mountain. I love it there. It's quiet, fairly undeveloped as far as camping areas go, and the Lake is small and beautiful. I particularly like to Kayak there.

After we arrived and set up camp, we headed to the lake. Ethan jumped right in.


So did the dogs.




The trip back to camp was not joyous. Foolishly, we walked down to the lake. It was farther than we had estimated. By the time we headed back, Ethan was wet and cold, very cold. We brought no towels, no spare clothes, nothing. So, Ethan (and his sopping wet diaper) rode on my shoulders the whole way back so we could make it back quickly. Unfortunately, Ethan didn't think that was the best way to do things, and he fought me the whole way. There was no other way either of us was strong enough to carry him that far, and if we let him walk he would be a popsicle by the time we got back. Carrying a soaking wet kid on your shoulders a long distance while fighting the whole time to keep him up there is hard work. We walked as fast as we could.

I would officially like to thank my wonderful mutts for their cooperation in this blunder. They marched along with us and didn't give me one ounce of crap about it.

Once we finally made it back, Ethan had fun playing in the dirt.


I hung up my shirt and pants to dry, walking around in shorts and a damp sports bra for a while.


You can thank me later for no pictures of me walking around in my shorts and a sports bra.

Meanwhile, Lilly worked up a monster drool. Lilly never drools. I can only guess this might have been a result of being a little stressed since she has very little experience dealing with toddlers. She did really great, though.


I built a fire so we could eat dinner.
That's right. I am capable of building a fire. ALL by myself.

Wha'da ya mean that log's too big?

It's hard to focus on dinner when there's so much cool stuff to go look at, and so much dirt to play in.


If you're not dirty, you're not camping.


By the time it started to get dark, Lilly was pooped right out.


The next morning, Bobbi Jo and Ethan left early.
Later in the morning it started to sprinkle out so the dogs and I went back in the tent and took a nap. I just love the sound of rain in a tent.

When we were ready to go, it was still sprinkling lightly. I wanted to get going, so I just packed everything up and figured I would just have to set up the tent at home to dry it out. It sprinkled the WHOLE time I packed up.

I was annoyed.

Come on Mom, let's blow this joint already!

We got in the car, pulled out of the campground, and about 100 yards down the road the skies let loose and it down-poured.

I wasn't annoyed anymore.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Seriously? Only 15 bucks?

Did I ever mention how much I love the clearance aisle?
I love it A LOT!

I went to Shopko to look for a hook for my bird feeder, today.
I didn't get a hook for my bird feeder.

Check out what I found on clearance for only $15!


Don't mind the wrinkles. Apparently, I should have washed it to get all the wrinkles out before I put it on the couch. I'll get to it eventually.

This couch is actually very nice looking underneath. But, I want to keep it that way.
This is Bailey's couch and Bailey likes to get dirty. I don't mind if he gets dirty, I just don't want my couch to get permanently dirty. I used to have a blanket on the couch, but it was dark brown and depressing. Also, all the hair would cling to it and looked terrible.

Chalk one up for the clearance aisle!