Posts Tagged 'rescue dogs'

knock your socks off

Remember Earl? Our foster dog? Well, it’s official. We’ve gone and adopted him for keeps. Earl (like a lot of rescue dogs) arrived at our door with some baggage. Something tells me he still has a bit of unpacking to do, but I’m not too worried. So far we’ve been able to deal with everything he’s pulled out of his case.

Near as I can tell, his main ambition is to sit as close to people as is physically possible while making curious little squeaking noises. It’s become clear to us that Earl is not familiar with the concept of the personal space bubble. Still, it’s sort of endearing. He’s a funny little guy. Baggage and all.

But here’s the thing about Earl. Actually it’s two things.
1. You simply can not, in any way, be in a hurry around Earl. It doesn’t work. He’s nervous enough as it is, but he gets especially anxious when people start rushing around. So it’s best to just move slowly and yawn a lot. And you should sort of plan on things taking a while. It could take 45 seconds to load up in the car, or it may take 17 1/2 minutes (a new personal record). You never can tell.
2. There should always, always be a stash of treats in your pocket. Always. If nothing else, it increases the odds of things going a little quicker. Earl is partial to beef flavored Pup-Peroni sticks. I myself like a nice butterscotch button.
So far these have pretty much been Earl’s only special needs. And really they aren’t such bad rules to live by. Who here couldn’t stand to take it down a notch? Anyone? And keeping a stash of nice little treats on hand? That’s pretty much a no-brainer. So I’m gradually learning to pad my schedule a bit – it’s kind of refreshing to feel a little less rushed. And I really have been eating a lot of butterscotches lately. Which is nice, because I’d sort of forgotten how much I enjoy butterscotch. And it has also reminded me of a delicious cookie combination. Ginger and butterscotch.

I first had this cookie a few years ago at Rabbit’s Bakery – a cozy little shop near my Mom’s in Lake City, MN – and it knocked my socks off. It might not be for everyone, but if you dig these two flavors, I assure you they were meant for one another. It’s a perfect fall weather cookie too.
So yesterday, on our first real cool, rainy day of the season, Earl inspired me to slow down, turn on the oven, and bake. And on our next sunny fall day, I plan to head out to the nearest leaf pile, cookies in one pocket, Pup-Peroni sticks in the other and take in the last rays of fading summer sun with my new friend. Why not?
Ginger-Butterscotch Cookies
(adapted from Nestle Tollhouse)
3 cups flour (I like a combo of white and whole wheat)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1/3 cup full flavored molasses
8 – 11 ounces butterscotch chips
Sift flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt in small bowl.
Beat butter, sugar, egg and molasses in large mixer bowl until creamy. Gradually beat in flour mixture until well blended. Stir in butterscotch chips. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350º F until lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes and remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Makes about 4 dozen

the patience of garlic

I hate it when real life gets in the way of my fantasy life. You know – the one where I make my living as a small scale garlic farmer, maybe opening a donut cart on weekends to make ends meet. A girl can dream, can’t she?
But the reality is that I’ve hit the ground running this fall. My normal design work is kicking back up after a lazy summer lull. I’m taking a couple of online classes at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (let me tell you, it’s been a long time since I’ve had to follow a syllabus, take quizzes, and turn in homework). We’re in the throes of designing a small new house that will hopefully be built on our land this winter. Which means we’re also in the throes of figuring out how to finance a small new house. Oh, and to add a little more chaos, we’re fostering (read: probably adopting) a rescue dog. Somebody pass me a donut, please.

Earl is a great guy. I can tell you that he has completely won my heart. But Earl is nervous. Very nervous. It’s a crazy world out there, riddled with surprises. Earl will be the first to tell you. So we’re working on this, trying to instill as much calm and stability as we can. And really he is making loads of progress.
I am lucky enough to live within a half mile of a splendid view of Lake Superior, Madeline Island, and on clear days – Michigan’s upper peninsula. Earl and I have made a habit of trudging (this happens pre-coffee) up the hill each morning. And when we get to the top of the hill, we check on the lake to make sure it is still there. Sixteen mornings straight now, it has been there for us. It’s nice to have something you can count on. Ask Earl.
Truthfully though, I go check on the lake for my own sanity as much as anything. My days lately have been frantic and overflowing with things to do. Uncomfortably so, at least for my taste. My morning hike to see the lake is a respite. It wakes me up – literally and figuratively. I take a deep breath in, swallow as much of it as I possibly can, and turn back down the hill towards my day.
On the way back inside, I pass by my shed of curing garlic. I look at is wistfully. It needs to be cleaned, trimmed, sorted, inventoried, and stored. But that’s the nice thing about garlic – it’s patient, it’ll wait. I explain to the garlics that maybe some day I really will be a professional small scale garlic farmer. But for now, they’re going to have to put up with my juggling act. At any rate, when I do get to the garlic, and I will, there is bound to be a surplus. I’d love to share it with you. If you’re interested, drop me a note (here) and I’ll keep you posted on what’s available. In the meantime, breathe in and swallow deeply.