Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Fish Recipe

Mark took this shot last night as we had just begun to eat our dinner, before the carnage that left no prisoners or evidence. He should have taken the "after" photo, spotless plates. There was an afternoon storm in the area and the wind was blowing a nice cool breeze so we were enjoying being able to sit on the front porch to eat without the bugs and heat. Plus I had spent the afternoon with a hose washing down the porch and it was clean and all of the cobwebs were gone. There was a mist falling and the light in the trees around us was glowing. Nice afternoon meal on the farm.

Since I posted the photo I have had many requests for how to, and info on the shredder for the veggies. At your requests, here is the basic: I am not a measuring kind so these are approximations.

The Marinade: Equal parts soy sauce mixed with maple syrup ( I usually mix 1/2 cup of each    depending on how many servings you are doing)
                         Sesame oil...1tbs or so
                         Ginger....fresh grated is good but smoked powder is good too, to taste
                         Garlic.....fresh chopped, or whatever you have again to taste.
                         Black Sesame seeds optional, but pretty
                         Mix all together.

Two nice pieces of sushi grade tuna
                         Put into bowl with marinade, coat well and let it sit and come to room temp.

Shredded Zucchini, Carrot, and Onion Saute
                         I used a Mandolin Slicer, a cool gadget that shreds, slices, and does all kinds of fun
                         with your food to make it interesting. USE THE GUARD, open blades are very sharp!
                         I used the smallest shredding blade for this. Might want to hold off on the wine until
                         this part is done. Don't ask me how I know.

                         Zucchini.....2 average sized cut in half length wise then shredded
                         Carrot....I used one but more would have been pretty too, and good
                         Onion....1/2 white onion, cause that was what was left in the fridge
                         Toss to mix and set aside. Heat a saute pan or wok with 1tbs olive oil and 1 tbs coconut
                         oil, put on low and just keep it warm for now.  

Rice....I cooked one cup of long grain with two cups water, cooking method up to you.

Cooking the fish:  Heat saute pan with 1tbs or so of olive oil til shimmering. For sesame crust, sprinkle top side with seeds and put that piece in the pan seed side down, repeat with other piece. Depending on preference of rareness, saute to desired doneness on seeded side, sprinkle more seeds on the new top side, and then flip fish making sure you swirl the pan to redistribute the oil so it won't stick. Take sip of wine... when done, remove to serving plate. Pour marinade into saute pan to deglaze and allow to boil to reduce to a glaze. Scraped up the burned bits, that's where all of the flavor is...well, alot of it.

While the fish are doing there thing sauteing, heat up the other pan for the veggies and toss in the veggies coating well and keep tossing until the zucchini begins to clear and get slightly limp. Serve immediately, you don't want to cook til mush.

Arrange all on the plate, then drizzle the glaze on the fish and rice. I served it with sliced heirloom tomatoes from the garden topped with mayo, but that's optional of course. Enjoy the heck out it.  We did.

Bon Appetit!                

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Yeeaaaahhhhh!!! Stella has been found!

Day four of the mysterious case of the missing Stella began with me trying to figure out how to get my computer to talk to my printer again. They had been estranged for some time and I really needed them to reconcile so I could print some more pictures of Stella to spread around the area. Just as I sat to begin, the phone rang. "Are you missing a dog?" was the first thing I heard from the voice on the other end. "Yes" I was and described the pooch to the lady on the other end. "Well I have your dog at my house". Glory be and thanks to all the powers that led to that line!!! Stella had been removed from the lost category to the found status.

The lady, Janet, said that she found Stella wandering beside the road  a ways past Mosely's store and the ball park at the school, about a mile from the interstate. She said she picked her up because she had terriers and felt like this dog belonged to someone even though Stella wasn't wearing a collar and tags. She also said her husband told her she absolutely could not keep another dog but she wanted to take it home to try to find the owner, and so she did. Janet said Stella was very hungry, duh, and she fed her. This morning her husband made a stop at Mosely's Store and saw the poster I had put up there several days ago, next to the other missing pups and ponies, called her and she called me. Relief does not adequately cover it all, nor is thank you enough to say to this nice person who cared enough about a dog to pick it up before it got run over wandering in a place it was unfamiliar with.

From where she said she picked the hitch hiker up, Stella had to have covered serious distance to get there. Mud is crusted on her belly from an obvious creek crossing or two, and was muddy last night so the creek crossing was late yesterday sometime. We are talking about several miles of very rugged  swamp land and creek crossings with steep banks and cypress knees that she covered on those short little legs and to get there she had to cross a very large field of very tall grass, thick, and stringy, not a terrier favorite thing to do. She was limping a bit when I went to the lady's house to get her, most likely an aggravation of her old ligament issue on a hind, but she was happy to see me and happy to climb in the truck. Right now she is waddling around the kitchen looking for more scraps of food that Gracie has missed. She is also quite thirsty. She does not look to have lost any of her circumference so she either found some food to snack on or lived on her ample reserves and just isn't showing the effects.  But she is back, and that is what matters in a all's well that ends well scenario. I think I can breathe again.

Stella will get her bath in a bit, but  this will happen down in the wash rack in the barn cause she surely will clog up the sink with the load of dirt she is carrying. Then later I will take her into town to her yard where she can go hide in her garage, in her lounge chair, and dream about her big walkabout.

It does restore my faith that there are folks out there who make a difference and pay attention to the animals in the world and notice when something is wrong and do something about it. Stella is a lucky dog to have been found by such a caring person, and I am lucky on this one to be able to return her to her home. Hopefully she will live out her days from here on out with a bit less drama and live to a comfortable old age.

Welcome home the wanderer. Stella is back!!!


Monday, July 7, 2014

Lost Dog

There are moments when you realize that something is wrong, very wrong, and the decisions that are made next may, or may not, be able to correct what has happened. Then comes the second guessing on the decisions that were made that led up to this present moment, which could have contributed, or be totally unrelated to it and have had nothing to do with it. It is a heart pounding, uncertain which way to move feeling of denial, panic, maybe I am over reacting and maybe not, and comes with an enormous  need to do something, anything to try to fix it now. I have moved in this mode for the past days and so far have failed miserably to right the situation. It is not a pleasant thing to have to tell anyone that you have lost anything of theirs, but telling our daughter that I had lost her sweet dog, Stella, was one of the worst things ever.

Stella is, or was, (at this point we don’t know and are keeping hopeful), a nine year or so old Australian Terrier with some family relationship to our former terrier Jack. Female, of course, she is/was a beautiful, coarse coated, short legged/long bodied, circumferentially enhanced, broad headed dog with enormous dark eyes that peer out from under long  bushy eye brows. Fondly referred to as “Pig”, due to her ample belly and amusing waddle, Stella had mellowed in recent years from an exuberant young puppy, into a older dog that quietly took on her new role to guard our granddaughter when the baby arrived almost three years ago. She would lay near the crib for hours, dozing and watching. As the baby grew into a toddler she learned just how far to stay out of reach of little hands who reached for her fur. Once this baby started to go to school during the day Stella was off duty and took retreat into the dark recesses of the garage in the back yard. For hours on end she slept until her family came home, then she would howl and talk in high shrill screams, spin in circles, and be animated for a while. Then after being fed, it was back to sleeping guard duty. Her life was good.

Over the past years Stella has come out to our farm many times, when taking her with them on a trip wasn’t the best option for my daughter and her husband. Playing farm has been such fun for Pig and she has always stayed out of harms way by being very careful and unadventurous. It was always good to be able to hand back over a happy but filthy Pig to them when they got back. While here her patterns were always the same, and her territory never grew. She was happy to stay with the program and always got along with whatever dogs were in the pack at the moment. When I was asked if it would once again be okay for Stella to come out for another weekend visit I said of course. 

The 4th of July weekend was shaping up nicely going into it. The weather had cooled a bit, some friends were coming from out of town to stay, we had plans for eating many barbecued things off the grill, and there was going to be a rotation of friends and family through out the weekend. Stella was dropped off, to her absolute delight,  to which she sang loudly and twirled like a dervish. She fell in with the pack and together we went to the barn for afternoon feeding and to her favorite place here, my tack room.

The tack room is/was her sanctuary here like her garage at home, her go to place when activity elsewhere was boring or if it was too hot to hang on the porch with the other dogs. She loved to sit in my wicker chair down there in the darkened room with the whirling fan overhead and the air conditioner making white noise and cold air behind her. Here she could meditate on her coming next meal with solitude and reverence. It was here that we last saw her heading to on Friday night before we went into fireworks mode.

We have learned that it is a good idea to send off a warning, desensitizing, and relatively quiet fire cracker like a bottle rocket before doing any further pyrotechnics, and so we did. The horses have learned to appreciate this and moved to the far end of the field, nonplussed but avoiding the issue. Stella took our warning shot the same way and made a slow waddling amble towards her place of quiet. We took that as a good plan so she wouldn’t be frightened. (We were told later that Stella tolerated loud sounds well and was used to them, which blows a few theories of the mystery.)  We had a short burst of fireworks and the night was over. 

Saturday morning, there was no Stella. When I opened the front door to feed the dogs, she was not among them. Nor, was she in the tack room. These are the two basic places she had ever ventured to and she was in neither. Figuring a possibility of her being bothered by the noise badly enough to move further away, I called my neighbor who lives across the fence and who has a pack of friendly pups to see if Stella had gone over to visit. No again and still no Stella. Panic hit pretty quickly, but was tempered by the fact that she was a known hide and seeker, often playing hide until she was well ready to come out to play, and might well be doing that now. We channeled our Marlon Brando voices and called her name "STEELLLAAA" and checked every hiding place we could think of, but no signs anywhere of anything, and no dog. I put up lost dog posters on the road, went to neighbors’ houses and asked if they had seen her, combed our farm and the neighboring farms over and over by golf cart, on foot, and by horse.

I put up another poster at Mosely’s Store, the information hub of our community, and source for fuel, wine, jewelry, and chainsaws. There were other lost dogs posted there and even a lost pony sign up, each indicating the sadness of the loss and the not knowing of their lost pet’s whereabouts and condition. I taped mine up next to them, and felt further guilt of my inability to find her and make it all better. 

I have gone to the shelter and left a photo there. I walked through row after row of the sad faced, incarcerated dogs, mostly of pit bull breeding, to see if she was there. I have posted everywhere that I could that on social networking, but  somehow I don’t hold much hope for finding her there.

Today is her third day of being gone and in each day of continued searching, all of the possible scenarios of her disappearance have run in a loop through my head. There are so many dangers out here, snakes, coyotes, bobcats and who knows what else that could have taken her. I try to put the thought of her coming to a bad end far away, but have to acknowledge it as possible. Another possibility is that someone has picked her up thinking she was a stray, hasn’t seen the signs I posted, and once they do they will return the little Pig to her home peeps. So far nothing is making sense. There just aren’t enough clues that fit, and yet Stella remains missing. Hope is fading for her return, but, in the absence of an answer, that, is what is left for now.