Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Teal weighted 15.1 pounds on Feb 23 2009.

Just keeping track of how much she is growing.
She weighed 11.4 pounds on Jan 24 2009.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Celebrating the Season with Snowshoeing and Gumbo

My ability to blog has been hampered by my recent sickness, which may or may not have been pneumonia. Either way I feel like last week was a complete blur. I was so tired and unable to sleep because laying down made me cough incessantly. The last two nights were great; I slept through the night and into the next day. I finally feel like I can function again.

An interesting treatment I tried is called "wet sock therapy". It involves putting damp socks in the freezer to get them nice and cold. Right before bed take a hot shower and then put the cold, wet socks on with another dry warm pair of socks on top of those. Sleep though the night like this and by morning the socks should be dry. This may sound like torture, but it really does work. It increases blood flow and immune function.


My inspiration for making gumbo was originally because I have sausage in my freezer that needs to be used. The fact that its Mardi Gras season and a recent episode of Top Chef, sealed the deal. I was a little bit nervous about making the roux. My patience only lasted until it looked like coffee with cream. My only issue in the end was that I didnt make enough roux, so it was not as thick as I would have liked. The combination of chicken broth, cayenne pepper and garlic was great for my sore throat, making this a good thing to make for sick people. I am pleased with how it came out and will definitely make it again.

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

2 tablespoons + 1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup flour

2 lbs raw chicken cut into small piece or thighs on the bone, skin removed

1/2-1 pound smoked sausage, such as andouille , cut crosswise 1/2-inch thick pieces

1 onions, chopped

6 cloves garlic, minced

2-3 celery ribs, chopped

1 large bell pepper, chopped

About 10 crimini mushrooms, chopped

salt and pepper

1 quart chicken stock, low sodium

1 tablespoon Creole seasoning

3 bay leaves

2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves

Hot sauce

Cover chicken with 1/4 cup flour. In a large enameled cast iron Dutch oven , heat 2 tablespoon of the butter. When melted add chicken and allow to brown for about 3 minutes on each sides. Set chicken aside. Add the sausage and cook until browned. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Set aside.

Add remaining butter to pot and when melted add 1/4 cup flour, making a roux. Stir constantly until mixture turns dark brown.

Add onion, garlic, celery, bell peppers and mushrooms, salt and pepper. Allow to cook until wilted about 5 minutes. Slowly add broth until you reach desired thickness. Add creole seasoning and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Add reserved chicken, sausage and parsley and cook for 1-1 1/2 hrs.

If using chicken on the bone remove pieces and allow chicken to fall off bone back into gumbo. Serve over rice with hot sauce on the side.

Last weekend as I was starting to get sick, I thought it would be a good idea to go snowshoeing. I actually didnt feel that bad at that point and Rachel and I had been planning this weekend together for awhile. It was great exercise and wonderful to get out into the woods. The weather was perfect - sunny and clear with plenty of fresh snow on the ground. We went to Adams, MA and snowshoed near Greylock Mountain/Thunderbolt.

Indy probably did not need a coat, but its so cute and I enjoy making her look silly.

This photo would have been so much better if she was not wearing the coat.

Along our hike there were some interesting remnants of a ski area. This area was in its peak in the 1930s and 1940s. Now it is used for cross country skiing, backcountry skiing, and snow mobiling in the winter.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Ben Jr. was born on Sunday

On Sunday I went to our friend and herding instructor's, Diane, house for some herding with her sweet old dog Tess. You may remember that we were in a trial at Diane's house the weekend before last. Teal is not ready for lessons so I was practicing with Tess. Teal and Tess and I were having a great time moving the sheep around when I heard Diane yelling for me. I snatched up Teal and called Tess and we ran into the barn. I could hear the urgency in Diane's voice but had no idea what the problem might be. Well it is lambing season and little Ben Jr was stuck on his way out. Diane needed me to hold the mommy while she reached in and got Ben Jr out.
When he came out we could tell he has been there for a little while because he had pooped in the placenta and broken the blood vessels in his eyelids from straining to get out. For a second there I thought he was dead, which would have been pretty traumatic. Well he wasn't dead, but he was very weak. We had to rub him all over with towels to dry him off and get his blood flowing and his muscles working. After rubbing him for a while and ruining a few towels he started kicking his legs and making little lamb noises. It was pretty clear that he was going to pull through but he was still to weak to stand and suckle the teat. So again I got the mom in a headlock and Diane held Ben Jr so he could get a lock on the teat. Once he got a little milk in his belly and some more rubs he was able to stand up and inch his was around the barn stall. He was still a little shaky when I left, but he looks like he is going to be a big strong boy when he grows up. When he does get big he probably wont remember me and I will have to beat him on the head with a crook until he realizes who is boss.
I had to do this once before because the ram could smell my manliness and was feeling inadequate so he decided to charge me- over and over again. The whole thing must have seemed pretty funny except that I was getting scared. I couldn't go anywhere because he kept charging me and Deborah could not hear me yelling to let Tess through the gate. The whole thing must have been a riot for Tess and Deborah. Finally Diane came down to the pasture and let Tess in who promptly ran that stupid ram off. I thought I was done at that point, but Diane gave me a crook and told me I had to go after the ram and beat him on the head. Well that was a riot too apparently. Between laughing hysterically Diane and Deborah were yelling at me to hit him harder and that I hit like a sissy and that I have a limp wrist until I had enough rage that I beat him into submission. I felt a little bad, but also a strange sense of pleasure in taking revenge on that stupid ram. He never messed with me again after that. Hopefully Ben Jr doesn't try to pull any of that crap with me, but if he does you can bet I will beat him silly- namesake or no namesake he will have to learn who is boss.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Pictures of Teal

Here are some generally cute puppy pictures. They are posted in reverse chronological order.

Teal on 02/25/09

Teal on 02/20/09 This is my idea for how to keep a log of how fast she is growing. Eating is the only time she is still long enough for me to take a picture.

Teal is trying her best to make friends

Blurry puppy!!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Grass Fed Steak - Argentinian Style

aGrass Fed Rib Eye Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

Chimichurri Sauce
Adapted from recipes by Emeril and Cooks Illustrated.
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup sherry/red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves (optional)
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons shallots
  • 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons water

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, herbs, garlic and shallots. Pulse until well blended, scraping down sides. Add salt, crushed red pepper and water if needed. Remove 1 cup of the chimichurri sauce from the processor and transfer to a non-reactive bowl, and reserve at room temperature for up to 6 hours.

With Grass Fed Rib Eye Steak......

This recipe is designed for the winter. In the summer grilling would be the preferred cooking method.

Season the steak salt and pepper on both sides. Marinate with remaining chimichurri sauce and refrigerate the steak for 2 to 4 hours.

Once the steak has finished marinating, remove it from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature for 30 minutes. Brush the excess chimichurri sauce off the steak.

Heat a heavy bottomed pan and sear the steaks for about 4 to 5 minutes on each side for medium rare to medium. Once cooked, lay the steak on a clean cutting board, and allow it to rest for 5 to 7 minutes before slicing across the grain into 2-inch wide strips.

Serve with remaining sauce and sauteed vegetables on the side. I used kale and mushrooms.

About Chimichurri (according to wikipedia)

Chimichurri originated is a popular sauce used with grilled meat and bread in Argentina and throughout South American. One story recalls that the name comes from 'Jimmy McCurry' from Ireland, who is said to have first prepared the sauce. He was marching with the troops of General Jasson Ospina in the 19th century, sympathetic to the cause of Argentine independence . The sauce was popular and the recipe was passed on. However, 'Jimmy McCurry' was difficult for the native people to say. Some sources claim Jimmy's sauce's name was corrupted to 'chimichurri', while others say it was changed in his honor.

The preparation is likely a mixture of Spanish and Italian methods, a general reflection of Argentine society as a whole. The essential elements of chimichurri are common to both Spain and Italy. The overall compositions, taste and preparation are clearly derived from Genovese pesto, and is also similar to French persillade.


This is the best way to store fresh herbs. It looks nice, especially if you have a variety to display.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Internship Update & Flyball Close to Home

Before I left for Seattle I finished my food service management rotation for my internship. I actually loved my food service rotation, which is very suprising. I didn't love it as a career choice, but I loved being there and learning from my amazing preceptor. Now I just have to finish clinical and I will be finished! I am now a little more than 1/2 way done. This week I start a class on clinical nutrition before we go to the hospital for the real thing. I will be at Baystate Hospital in Springfield, MA for the majority of my time until June. At which point, we still have no idea where we will be going.

My desk at Noble

They brought me this cake for my surprise going away party, which left me speechless


Friday was a crazy day. My flight out of Seattle was delayed 2 hours. Then after waiting and sitting on the plane for 5 hours I drove from Newark, NJ to Central Mass, four hours......for a flyball tournament. I would have driven back to Mass anyway, but Friday was followed by two very long days of flyball. It is a lot of fun, but it is not the least bit relaxing. Its loud and non-stop. It is always difficult to sleep too. I was so tired, I was tempted to crawl into one of the big dog crates with thick cushions and take a nap. I wonder if other people find flyball tournaments as exhausting as I do?

Kerry & Joe

Our crating area

Chase and Hunter dressed up for Mardi Gras

Indy's team mate Slingshot getting wrapped

Our sad Mardi Gras decorating attempt

The winning Mardi Gras set-up. They won a free entry to next years tournament
adorable parson jack russell puppies

Sue and Joe's crew of dogs

Indy raced with the same team as usual. We came in last place of division 1, but we had fun and the dogs were happy and tired. Indy very much enjoyed the intense competition and ran several times below 4 seconds with a passand got her FM title. We are going to put her in start position at the next tournament for a few heats to see if she can break 3.9 seconds.
She either decided that she would prefer lower jumps or that she hates waiting after a false start, so she busted through 3 inches of jump slats. Our other mishap involved me putting her leg wraps (protects her legs) on too tight...ooops. She decided to sit out the last race because her legs felt too tingly.
Indy busted through a 1" and a 2" slat


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Week in Seattle - Part II

Ari did not have the TPLO surgery. We knew this was a possibility since there were no xrays taken until the morning before the surgery. We were still shocked when the vet tech called at 3 pm to tell us Ari was doing well and the surgeon decided to not do the TPLO "at this time". Another 2 hours went by before we heard from the doctor. That was hard because we had a million questions. Why didnt they do the surgery? Would they need to do it at another time?

It turns out that the xray and examination showed the doctor that he is not a current candidate for the TPLO because there were no signs that he had a tear. This is good news, however he did have some fluid build up in his knee. His diagnosis will be more clear after the pathologist looks at this fluid and a radieologist sees the xrays. The worst case would be that he has a very minor tear that will eventually tear all the way depending on how hard he plays. We are also hoping that he does not need NSAIDS for the rest of his life to feel good enough to play.

I am in the process of looking into how to heal him with crate rest, or to find out if that is an option. To speed Ari's healing Ben will be giving him a few supplements that help with different things. He is getting: fish oil, arnica, glucosamine, probiotics, and dog gone pain (Feverfew, Celery Seed, Wheatgrass, Boswelia, Bromelain, Papain, Corydalis Root, Cayenne, Turmeric, Shark Cartilage).

We decided to spoil him and get this lovely very thick and comfortable new bed


Today we went over to Diane's farm, our friend and herding trainer (the best trainer in my opinion). I have not seen her since I left in August, so it was nice to visit. We also want to introduce Teal to the farm and to Diane. I had fun taking lots of pictures of all the border collies and farm animals.

Teal's first sheep exposure. Good thing Tess has them under control!

The house dogs - Tess, Rainy and Nan

Teal didn't seem to notice the sheep at first, so we helped her out.

We need to get our border collies some Jolly Balls- they love it!

One of the reasons that Diane is the best- she let our puppy herd her chickens!

Another reason - she gives us eggs!

Teal in her first crouch, watching movement

Ducks are the cutest

Diane cleaned the kennels and let everyone out to play

Tess working hard for Ben - practicing for next weeks trial

You can sort of see Ben trying to close the pen and one sheep getting between his legs.

Frank is watching out for his sheep

Kuro is all grown up now, we watched him when he was a pup.

Crazy muddy baby border collie

Anson is my favorite. He is a handsome boy and Tess's puppy.

Tess is the oldest and most treasured dog on the farm and will be Ben's partner in the trial on Sunday.