Friday, April 20, 2018

Old Man Winter


Hi Everyone :)

There was no Scribble Picnic this past Wednesday, but I thought I'd do my own solo-picnic anyway. I decided to choose the very timely theme of "Old Man Winter". The above is a watercolour.


Here is a very tired Old Man Winter done with Prismacolor pencils. I think he needs a long nap!


And just for fun, my Snowman Scream in pastels. :) I was looking through my old photos, I used to take lots of photos of trees, I thought this one kind of looked like Edvard Munch's The Scream:


Can you see it? Kind of cool huh? For many years, I walked the woods, looking for trees that were expressive, taking photos and writing little stories about them. I'd love to start doing that again!


This is one of the many snowmobile trails nearby. I started to walk through, but I couldn't get very far. Despite the frosty look, it's "sinky" snow and it was quite a struggle pulling out of knee deep snow every step!


The lake is still covered with ice. I saw that temperatures will be above zero from now on during the days, hooray! I just hope we don't have a May snowstorm like last year!!


Mr. Jack. :) Like new. One week to go before he can run around freely again. We should be finding out on Sunday when Stella and Pavlov's owner is coming to pick them up. I got another vague email last night, Alex wrote back that we are not interested in any more delays and that Sunday he must give us a precise plan. We have no leverage over this guy, we can only hope he does the right thing. 

By the way...I looked it up, as long as the dogs have their bill of health, updated vaccinations and complete paperwork, there is no quarantine in Morocco for cats and dogs. That is a wee bit of good news...Anyway, wish us luck!

Monday, April 16, 2018

New Recipes, Dog Stuff and Knitting! :)


Hound Dog Jack burrowing. Eleven days until Jack's "incarceration" is over! We've been a wee bit lenient though. He's been allowed to roam my office with the gates on the doorways. No stairs yet...but guess what I did?


I went all "Hollywood Starlet" on myself and bought Jack a carrier bag! Now he's a pocket dog lol...well, not quite, he can't really fit in the biggest of bags they make...as long as his head sticks out he can sit comfortably and I can carry him up to the bedroom. :)


Now he can sleep quietly while Alex and I watch movies in bed again! Life seems to be returning to normal. :)


PS: The Stella and Pavlov saga might be coming to an end in as little as three weeks. We had to send an "enough is enough" email to their owner and he is coming to bring them back to Morocco where he is staying with his mother. FINALLY...seven months of babysitting these dogs with what was supposed to have been only one week...so much drama...so much stalling and lip service...we will miss them - they are sweeties, but I felt so close to burning out lately with all the dog stress. I just want my routine and my life back! Why do people burn bridges? <-- Rhetorical question I guess.  I have to say, I really lament my life before 5 dogs. Three is enough. I can't wait to walk my three again...I feel slightly guilty because S&P are such sweet little furballs...I hope this guy provides them with a PERMANENTLY stable home from now on. One can only hope. We did our best though. :)


We are currently in the middle of an ice storm, if we lose power, it's Blueberry Muffins and ice cream for dinner!


I usually do a post on Sundays with a new recipe I tried the week before. Life has been too stressful lately and I haven't found the energy to blog too much. But I think my energy is coming back! :) I tried three new recipes last week. The first was for Pulled Pork and it was REALLY good! Just my kind of meal, into the slow cooker for the day and dinner is ready! :)


The second new recipe was for Chocolate Pudding...I can't tell you how heavenly this is...and SO easy and quick to make!


The third new recipe I tried was kind of my own concoction...it was based on a Quizno's sub that Alex kind of remembered having ages ago. We had some submarine rolls left and I wanted to use them while they were still kind of fresh. I put together a grilled chicken, bacon and Alfredo Sauce sub. It was pretty darn good! A little side salad of my own homegrown lettuce with some tomatoes made it really nice!


Between the snow, rain and ice...I've not ventured outside despite the need to do the monthly shopping! We are existing on freezer food for the next week until the weather cooperates.  But...I did manage to make my first ever pair of knitted slippers!! How exciting. I've wanted to try this for ages, and I did it. Knock that one off the list! They are a simple Garter Stitch Slipper (free pattern on Ravelry) and were very easy to make...They are warm too! I'm pretty pleased! Next time I may venture into something more complicated, but I learned an SSK stitch and a three needle bind-off. The pattern called for a crochet seam binding...but I didn't have the right sized crochet needle, so I improvised! I'm so happy to have learned a few new things though.

So...how's by you? ;) 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Scribble Picnic, The Apple Orchard


Good morning everyone! :)

Are you up and at 'em? Bugs can barely keep his eyes open before his morning carrot juice. Today's theme for the Scribble Picnic is Pajamas. I could have just posted a photo of myself for this theme because I basically spend my days in my pj's. Alex and I call our lifestyle the "pajama life" :) 

For my watercolour today I thought I'd share one of my creepy experiences, that became one of my nightmares. At least ten years ago, I visited an apple orchard to pick apples. I went a little late, got a little lost and ended up in a slight panic at dusk, trying to find my way out of the deadly silent and creepy orchard. I kept hearing things and seeing glimpses of things that were likely not there. I scared myself silly though! It could only happen to me right? Lol...

Of course, that night I dreamt that I was in my nightgown, barefoot and shivering, in that same orchard, running for my life from the apple trees. I wrote a poem about it and I'd like to share that with you today! :) 


The Apple Orchard
(A Rain Frances Nightmare)

In the orchard, dark as night, 
I wander blind, despite my fright.
The wind is still but whispers stir,
A monster lurks, of that I’m sure.

I scan the rows of apple trees,
One by one, then twos and threes,
My footsteps snap the frozen grass,
I’ve reached the edge, the dark impasse.

Shivering from cold and fright,
My breath is taken by the night,
A lonely apple hangs up high,
A creak, a hush, a laboured sigh.

I peer into the hollow blue,
“My dear it’s time to bid adieu”.
Eyes ablaze, the demon grins,
Its prickly skin as sharp as pins.

Its evil voice revives my fear,
Its nasty smile grins ear to ear,
Its fiery eyes seem to ignite,
I cower at its ghastly sight.

“In this orchard you will stay,
And join the rest who came this way.”
It points to rows of lifeless trees,
Imploring branches, silent pleas.

I run, I run, I cannot flee,
The demon catches up to me,
A crash, a screech, its cry of glee.
The last I see, the apple tree.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Homemade Croissants and Delicious Food!


Good news continues...Jack looks and acts like a normal sneaky hound dog again...but he's still cage-bound for another 18 days. Thanks again for everyone's care, love and support! He knows he's a star. :) (He's pretending not to notice me with the camera!)


How was your weekend? Ours was cold and snowy, yeesh...check this out. This is Alex taking Jack out on a snowy Saturday. April? Besides complaining about the snow, I baked like a champion this past weekend!


I challenge myself weekly to try something new and yesterday it was Homemade Croissants. My Sunday food post is one day late...so much going on lately! These turned out so delicious!!! They are easy to make, but you need an entire day for them...from start to finish, these took 11 hours - not CONSTANTLY lol...there is just a lot of rolling, chilling and resting time in between each step!


The first step is prepping the dough, then rolling it out and chilling it for 40 minutes.


As your dough is chilling, you roll out your butter and chill that. Then you plop your butter on top of the dough. This next step is called the "lamination" step. 


Once you "envelope" your dough around the butter, you roll it out, then fold it up and chill for 45 minutes. You repeat this lamination step a total of 4 times, then chill the dough another 4 hours. See the masking tape? I use this as a guide for rolling out the size of my dough.


After the 4 hours is up, you roll out your dough and cut it into triangles, make a little slit at the straight edge then roll your croissants. At this point they rest about 90 minutes before you bake them. (I have the full instructions on the link at the top).


What a nice treat to have croissants with some cheese and my homemade Root Vegetable Potage. Lovely dinner! :) Lots of leftovers for tonight's dinner too (except the cheese, which was a store bought Brie...I need to get back to making my Camemberts!!!)


Some other dinners the last week were Chicken Piccata on a bed of Parm pasta; and Pizza Night with a ham and cheese pizza and a Bianca pizza (lovely pizza with a garlic-flavoured olive oil, a wee bit of Parm and Mozza, and some basil). The Bianca pizza is especially good using my thin crust Pizza Dough.


I also made Crepes and served some more of my homegrown window lettuce as a side! The dressing is just Balsamic vinegar with olive oil, some crushed garlic and S&P. You can't see it, but there is asparagus and some Swiss cheese in those crepes, they were delicious!


Sweets! When you have lots of carrots, why not make a Carrot Cake? :) I did! :) But I usually just make half the recipe, a double layer cake is a bit much, even for foodies like Alex and me! The frosting is a Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting and it's so delicious! I also made some Blueberry Muffins. I'm continuing to try to do some painting, pastels and drawing every day. If you want to take a peak, you can check it out on my Instagram Page. No need for an account, but feel free to be a voyeur lol! ;)

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Scribble Picnic: Watering Cans...Old Man Winter...Jack Is Better! 🐢🐢


Today's theme for Michael's Scribble Picnic is Watering Cans. My watercolour today is the result of water coming out of the can and splashing down! :) This was very therapeutic to paint! :) (Follow the link to see more beautiful art, or to join in!!)


I took a more realistic approach for my drawings! Bugs is at it again, poor Daffy! :) I want a gardening hat just like the one Bugs is wearing!


Just for fun :) I had to work in some kind of creepiness, I've been lacking on the creepy-scale lately...😱


I saw this image online...ain't it the truth? ;)


I woke up to knee-deep snow this morning...sigh...I had to shovel some paths before I could take Jack out or he would have sunk!


"The Big House"...this is where Jack is living for the next 3 weeks! He's doing so much better...very eager to jump around though he's not allowed to anymore. Marlene sleeps right in front of the cage to protect her big brother.

Guess what? That vet who caused all of our stress doesn't work at the vet clinic anymore. I'll leave you to your own opinions about that.


We had our first fresh lettuce last night on chicken burgers...it's been since September since we had some! It was so delicious, I can't wait to eat some more. I planted four more pots with hope that they will continue to grow well. As soon as the weather is warm, end of May, I'll plant even more outside and hopefully they'll grow nice and big!


Our Easter dinner was nice and easy. Easy is what I need these days. Crepe Roll-Ups with smoked salmon, ham and cilantro cream cheese with home grown cilantro! I also made a Blue Cheese Dip, which was heavy on the Blue, but missing some chives for flavour. I just can't bring myself to picking the ONE chive that is growing in the pot!


Dessert was Italian Cheesecake made with my Ricotta. This dessert is so light, we could eat this every week!


You know how I know that Jack is better? He's "eating" his ears again. I took a 30 second video last night of him doing that. I love this hound so much!

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Jack Update and Some Food Stuff


Happy Easter to those who celebrate! :) I'm not a religious person, but I do love to celebrate holidays for the fun and the food. I made some construction paper Easter baskets this morning to hold our chocolate Kisses. :)


Jack is doing so much better today. He hasn't howled in pain once, his panting and trembling stopped too. He's eating well. But he's not out of the woods yet, he must stay in his cage for another 28 days, only coming out to pee and poop. Alex built a ramp for Jack so he could manage the 4 steps down to the yard. It's on hinges so we can lift it up and secure it if it rains or snows. Here is a little animation I took of him climbing it:


You can see that his tail is very low between his legs, this could be due to a herniated disc. I have something to report about the medication he was taking. It's a bit of a rant but also a warning.


I will try to make this brief. These are the two pain killers prescribed to Jack...on two different visits by two different vets. I know they can't work miracles...but they did NOT tell us everything about side effects. Both of these medications are known to cause trembling and panting in dogs. The one on the right, Tramadol, is worse. We stopped giving Jack the Tramadol this past Wednesday but the symptoms continued...actually got worse with him howling even more and "crying" in pain. On Thursday, his panting, trembling and howling lasted SIXTEEN hours straight before he passed out. The vet INSISTED that the Gabapentin wasn't the cause of this and that taking him off it would be bad for him. She also said that he needs to keep taking it for the full  month. 

We decided to cut his dose by a third on Thursday night. thinking that maybe it was too much for him; but his pain continued. At that point we stopped the Gabapentin completely and guess what miraculously happened? No panting, no trembling, no more howling, no more "crying" in pain.


I was reading cookbooks to Jack all day Friday. We both decided on onion soup for dinner. :)

Since it's a long weekend, I have not informed the vet yet that she was wrong about the Gabapentin. We have a 24 hour emergency clinic here, near Montreal. I decided to call to speak to one of their technicians who confirmed my suspicions. She also gave me much more information on the anti-biotic he's taking in the case that he has a stomach infection. I am not sure I can step foot into that local vet clinic ever again...the trust is gone. Why don't they listen with an open mind? We observe Jack 24 hours a day...no, we didn't go to vet school, but I'm just shocked by all of this. If we had followed her instructions, Jack would have been in constant pain for a month. The tech at the emergency clinic said we did the best thing because all the pain that the Gabapentin was causing, also caused him anxiety and he couldn't rest properly which would have made his healing time worse. We are considering a holistic vet from now on, despite the cost. I've had such trouble with vets...and btw, I know some of my Blogger friends are in the field, or were...this is not a slight on you, I am just reporting my own experience.

I'm devastated that I was giving Jack medication that was making him hurt so much that I can barely handle it. He needed me to help him take the pain away and I was making it worse by believing what the vet was saying without doubting her. My instincts were right. I'm so sorry my little Jack. :(


I spent yesterday drawing while watching over him. Please always ask questions, YOU usually know best about your own pet's behaviour and comfort. Not to say that you should abandon veterinary medicine altogether or be distrustful at the get-go, but do some research and get a second opinion if you can! 


Not only are the Zinnias blooming, my Nasturtium decided to bloom just in time for Easter. :) Now let's talk about food real quick!


Jack's Onion Soup (formerly French Onion Soup)!! :) Alex is still sleeping as I type this, we've been on shifts watching over Jack and Alex has only been to bed around 5am for the last week. But last night I can say I got the best sleep of my life! :)


For the first time in a very long time, I made some cheese! Just a Quick Mozzarella for our pizza - notice the bite marks? I HAD to test it!! ;) It felt good to be at the cheese making again. I stopped for a while due to Cheddar fails and then with doggie issues. I hope to get back to it soon and re-ignite my cheese making blog!


For my weekly food challenge, I tried a new recipe. Cinnamon Crunch Knots.


I made 12 yesterday, there is ONE left lol...they are SO good!! These are actually made with pizza dough and it works wonderfully, they remind me of donuts a little bit. I may try to add some apple next time too. Very easy recipe, you should try it! :) 


Jack asked me to thank all of my friends for their love, support and care over the last week. He feels the love and he promises to rest up and get better soon! :)