Introducing Addie

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When I lost my 14-year-old hound, Rusty, a few weeks ago, I thought I would have to wait awhile before I could even consider another dog.  But my daughter and I were lonesome, it was much too quiet in the house and we agreed it might be well to think about getting another pet.  We support a rescue group in Cincinnati, Recycled Doggies, which takes dogs from rural shelters with a high kill rate, places them in foster homes and makes sure they are healthy and ready to go into a new home before they are offered for adoption.  Through Facebook, I watch the dogs come and go and when I saw a beagle/dachsund mix, female, 1-2 years old, arrive in town, I kept an eye on her and saw that she would be up for adoption at a big Furry Valentine event in our area this past weekend.  We were there when they opened the doors and I knew immediately, she was the dog for me.

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She’s very shy and doesn’t seem to know any commands or even how to walk on a leash, but she’s eager to please and I know my daughter and I are going to enjoy having her share our home and our life.

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We named her Addie (thinking of the little girl in House Without a Christmas Tree and also in the movie, Paper Moon).   She enjoyed meeting the grandchildren on Sunday.

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Although she doesn’t bark, it’s not nearly as quiet in the house now.

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Some Goodies for the Animal Shelter

Each year, I make some small items to be donated to one of the no-kill shelters I support (League for Animal Welfare).  These go on a craft table to be sold at their annual Christmas party.

Helen, my blogger friend in Australia, has sent me gifts on two different occasions and each time thoughtfully included the link for making the items.  One is a small notebook cover with a tutorial by Lara Cameron. For a 3×5 spiral notebook, I cut the cover and lining pieces 3-¾ x 11-½ inches.  For the pockets, I cut 3-¾ x 5-¾ inches.

Another really nice gift is a List-Taker from a pattern for sale by Jennifer Casa.

This cover includes space for a 5×8 inch pad and pen and has a large pocket for carrying fabric swatches, patterns, notes, etc.

My daughter donated some pretty cat and dog charms for the ties and assembled them for me.

I hope these cute covers in animal prints make a little bit of money for the shelter.

12 Days of Christmas

For over 40 years, my oldest daughter and I have exchanged gifts for the 12 Days of Christmas.  For us, the 12 days are from December 12 through December 23 – sort of a Christmas countdown.  The idea originally was to have a small gift (around $1.00) to unwrap each morning.  Even 40 years ago, it wasn’t easy to find things for a dollar and our exchanges have always included handmade gifts, depending on what our interests are at the time – crocheting, embroidery, lacemaking, sewing, quilting, decorative painting, jewelry making, homemade cookies/candy, etc.

Currently, our gifts average around $2.00 and my daughter has a special talent for finding unusual, inexpensive items at thrift stores and antique shops.  She shops all year long and has a dazzling array of small gifts for our exchange.  This is what I received this year.

Handmade items:  Two crocheted Christmas mini-doilies, three pair of earrings and a felted credit card holder

Thrift shop and antique store finds:  A 1970s child’s Scottie teapot and plate, a tiny covered dish with violets, two candle holder plates with a blue design, a lighthouse candle holder (I display lighthouse and beach items every August), a vintage cooking notebook with some handwritten recipes, a vintage Scottie greeting card (love Scottie designs), and probably the best buy at $2.00, a 100-year-old 1911 calendar plate.

My daughter lives with me and it’s such fun to get up each morning for these 12 days to open our gifts.  We also wrap up a little dog treat so our 13-year-old hound, Rusty, can share in the celebration.

Blackberry Cobbler and a Berry-Loving Dog

Rusty likes blackberries.  It came as quite a surprise to me.  We had gotten Rusty from the shelter in 1999 when he was four months old.


At the time, we lived on two acres in a rural area on the Ohio/Indiana border called Blue Jay.  One day, I was preparing blackberries and looked down to see Rusty staring expectantly at me or rather, at the plump blackberry in my hand.  I had never given a tart, wild blackberry to a dog before, but that’s what he seemed to want.  He loved it.  Luckily, I had buckets of berries picked from our wild thicket in the backyard, so he got a fair share of our bounty.

I took Rusty with me when I went out to pick berries – not always a good thing for me.  I had taken off my straw hat for a minute and looked around to see this.


I wasn’t happy that my hat was all gnawed around the edges.

I scolded him a little, but not enough to warrant this sad reaction.

A year later, I wrote a piece for a web site about Rusty and his favorite fruit.

BLACKBERRY TIME IN BLUE JAY –  Rusty, our year-old hound, seems to know when the blackberries are ready for picking.  He takes off toward the back yard on a brisk trot, straining at his leash  – past the asparagus bed and rhubarb, along the border of the vegetable garden, down to the very edge of the property where the wild blackberries grow.  Rusty plucks off all the berries he can reach, always choosing the choice center berry, ignoring the thorns that prickle his nose.  We still have plenty of dark, lustrous berries to carry back to the house in our graniteware bucket to cook up into summertime treats such as Blackberry Cobbler.

That was the last summer I could put on my tattered straw hat and take Rusty down to the blackberry patch.  My husband’s condition worsened and we had to move to a property I could manage alone.   David has been gone for over 7 years, but Rusty is still with me, an elderly 12-year-old, and I still get some blackberries at the farm market and make that good Blackberry Cobbler from a recipe found in an old Farm Journal Pie cookbook.

BLACKBERRY COBBLER

¾ cup granulated sugar
1 Tblsp. cornstarch
1 cup boiling water
4 cups blackberries
1 T butter
½ tsp cinnamon or ¼ tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

In a medium saucepan, mix the sugar, cornstarch, and water.  Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat and continue to boil for one minute, whisking constantly.   Remove from heat and gently stir in the blackberries.

Pour this mixture into an ungreased 10” x 6 x 2 inch baking dish or a 1-½ qt casserole.

Dot with butter and sprinkle with spices.

DOUGH:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tblsp. granulated sugar
1-½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
¼ cup shortening
½ cup milk

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.

Stir in the milk.

Drop spoonsful of dough over the hot fruit filling.

Bake in a 400 F degree oven about 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown and fruit is bubbling.  Cool slightly on a wire rack.

Serve in bowls with cobbler juices.  Best when served warm.

6 servings 

Rusty still gets an occasional ripe blackberry tossed his way.