To Know her is to Love her

I know, I know, this blog is supposed to be about farm life, but it’s so darn cold lately that I haven’t gotten much else done.  I’ll start with the contraption that my husband made for the fireplace, and we’ll end up with Frannie talk.

So, Jason (Mr. Bob Vila) decided that we needed to upgrade our fireplace cooking, so he made this awesome lil’ contraption that he welded in:


This is our 12″ Dutch oven hanging on our nice, new swing-arm doohickey :0)  Also note that it has a little thumbscrew that allows you to raise and lower the hook for temperature control.  As hot as the fire gets, you really never put the pot directly over the fire, but swing it more towards you and trust me: it gets plenty hot!  The other side is not yet completed.  It will have a grill surface that will swing in and out.  I think it’s sweet!  In this pot, Jason made some good thick chili, with cubed round steak, chickpeas, and great northern beans and of course, lots of chili powder and tomato sauce among other things. 

Speaking of cooking, yesterday I spent several hours making some DEEEEElicous tamales.  I found this recipe in Southern Living a couple of years ago and I made them last year and this year.  They are EXCELLENT.  You know how some tamales taste really, really bland?  And how some are just so hot, they aren’t enjoyable?  Well, these have barbeque sauce in the meat filling, and I promise you that you won’t be disappointed!  Here’s the recipe.  Note also that you have to get the recipes for the meat filling and for the cornmeal dough.  I finally figured out how to flatten out the dough while prepping it for filling.  I used the heel and side of my hand and rolled it from left to right really quickly and the dough did not stick all over me and it flattened out and spread very well.  Also, you know that the cornmeal dough is ready to use when you drop a ball of it in a glass of water and it floats.  This means that you have gotten it nice and fluffy (read: full of air, almost whipped, really).  I ate 4 tamales after they came out of the pot, several for supper, about 5 for a late night snack, 3 for breakfast this morning and 5 for lunch.  I’m not kidding!!!  I LOVE these tamales!  Lots of work, but it is so worth it.

Now for the Frannie report: We did get to pick up Frannie at 2:45 last Friday.  She looked so pathetic! Her surgery was not over until about noon, so she did not have very much in house recovery time, although I kept her with me for the rest of the day.  She had a bit of a runny nose, but I didn’t think very much of it.  Saturday, I fed her 6 small meals to try and keep her energy up.  Naturally, after her spay, she wasn’t terribly energetic anyway so she did sleep a lot and when I did go outside, she stayed in her little kennel.  Yesterday she woke up OK and we seemed to be having a pretty good day:

franniedec08-011As you can see, she’s a very, very unique and special little dog!  Everyone fawns over her. Here she is Sunday, playing with her little squeaky squirrel. She was tossing and throwing that little squirrel all over the place and trying to pull its fur out with her teeth. 

franniedec08-007So now you see why I just couldn’t leave her at the shelter! Here she is in a ‘play bow’ position. 

Anyway, then yesterday afternoon, her nasal discharge was growing in volume and by about 3pm, I could tell she didn’t feel good at all.  Very lethargic and didn’t want to eat anymore, where before, she had wolfed down her kibble.  I even soaked some kibble in beef broth and she looked at it like it was poison.  Anyway, I left her crated last night while we went to eat, and by the time I got back, she did eat all of that food. 

Well, this morning I got up and she had an accident (whoops!!!) on our bedspread as in, doggie raisins (!!).  Jason was none too pleased about picking up and squooshing in his bare fingers what he thought was a real raisin.  Lol.  Gross.  Anyway, so I made a vet appointment first thing, because I was worried about the discharge, lethargy, and now she was having some bloody poo’s.  We got there at 2:45pm and anyway it boiled down to that she has an upper respiratory infection, and probably stress-related diarrhea.  No intestinal parasites, I am happy to report. Maybe canine influenza or something along the lines of Bordetella (kennel cough), although thankfully she has NOT began to cough, and I hope she doesn’t.  She’s on Zithromax orally and I am feeding her a really stinky dog food to get her to eat (she wolfed down 1/4 of a can when we got home). 

So there it is.  Say a little prayer for a little brown dog for me, will you?  She’s resting right now by the fireplace and I’m going to go check on her. I wonder what would have happened to her if we hadn’t some along?

Stay warm!

10pm update:

I let Jason take Fran out to potty.  He came back about 1 minute later, tearing through the door, “She’s run off! Hurry!”.  I stepped outside and called her and she immediately came up to the porch, stumpy tail wagging.  Apparently, as it is pitch black out here, Jason lost sight of her when she took off like a racetrack rabbit down the hill.  Anyway, I think that was probably the last time she goes out with him!