Saturday, October 9, 2010

Too Nice For Blogging

The tomatoes are ripening quickly.

"No time for blogging," I said, but I DID post a book review to the raw foods blog and added pictures to yesterday's block.  Weather is so lovely, this will be a work in the yard day.  Tomorrow we are picking up my mother and driving out to Jess & Don's for a picnic, most likely the last one of the year.  The weather continues to be sensational.

Last night I froze tomatoes for winter use,  They will be a nice addition to chili or hotdish.  Tonight I may just try the Fried Green Tomato recipe sent in response to my posting on green tomatoes.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Something's Fishy

Drat, the blog is done but no time to add the pictures.  Guess that can wait 'til this evening, along with the links.

What a “Fishy” week! Seems as if “all things fishy” have kept me busy. I guess it’s really about time to concentrate a bit more on the fish anyway, as I would like to achieve my goal of reaching the next level of Fish Breeder in the Minnesota Aquarium Society’s “Bap Program”.

Breeder Award Program Introduction, via The Minnesota Aquarium Society website.

Breeder’s Award Program exists to encourage members of the aquarium society to breed fish and share knowledge concerning the spawning and rearing of fish. Additionally, it provides the means to recognize the achievements of society members concerning the breeding of fish, to promote an interest in and make available a wider variety of fish. Finally, BAP seeks to make more members active participants in the society.

The BAP Committee consists of the BAP Chairman, the BAP Data Keeper and additional club members as designated by the Board of Directors.

Everything is back to normal now.

The week did not get off to a very good start when I was doing water changes on Monday and got distracted by a phone call. At the time I was pumping water from a 34 gallon aging barrel into a 20 gallon tank (from which I had siphoned out about 5 gallons of water), a chore that normally takes a few minutes. It was not the first time I’ve forgotten to watch the water level, but it WAS the first time I ran one of the aging barrels dry. Ugh. The shop vac, mop and emergency towels got quite a work out, but the fishroom floor was very clean by the time I was done! Because the tank I was filling was on the 3rd shelf, water ran into tanks on the 2nd and 1st shelves as well, causing them ALL to overflow. Fortunately the fish stayed away from the overflow and none of them ended up on the floor. The water ran out the fishroom door and across the basement toward the floor drain, but most of it just puddled up along the way. That is precisely the reason I built a fishroom in my basement. The tanks were originally in an upstairs bedroom – where inattention would have caused a much larger problem.

Two of the new Bettas are sparing with one another..

Two weeks earlier, I had purchased 5 new Bettas from a breeder in Thailand. They were purchased through Aquabid, and paid for with my PayPal account. The fish were shipped the next day to a transhipper in Colorado whose job it was to clear the fish (and many others) through customs, repackage the fish (fresh bags, clean water), and send them on to the buyers. I contacted the transhipper immediately to check on costs, but never heard back from her. I’ve had previous dealing with her in the past and knew that she was not real prompt in her response to emails, but 10 days later I had still not heard from her despite 4 emails inquiring about my fish. The seller in Thailand also tried to contact her, with no response.

Suddenly on Wednesday I got a phone call from her, with some excuses about “sending out an invoice” that I must not have gotten. Nope, I didn’t get it, nor did I get any response to my emails . . . I bit my tongue, she promised to ship my fish out that day, and agreed to send her the payment that evening. The fish arrived safely the following day, in good condition, and are now living in boxes on the top of one of the fishroom shelves. I’ll move the females to a tank later, but the males may stay in boxes. Because Bettas breathe air, they do not necessarily need cycled tanks. Remember the Beanie Baby boxes? Small acrylic display cases, perfect for keeping Bettas as long as the water gets changed often enough, at least 2 or 3 times a week.

Thanks Tiffany, I love the castle.

And last night there was a fish club meeting. Minnesota Aquarium Society is a very active club with many members. Our meeting are well attended and we host excellent speakers from all over the country and beyond. Just recently we hosted Neale Monks from Great Britain, who spoke on Puffers and Oddballs, real favorites of mine. Last night’s speaker spoke on West African fish & aquarium plants, which was also quite interesting. I also picked up a very cool castle to put in one of my tanks. One of our club members is very talented and creates all manner of items to put in aquariums, some that are useful such as spawning caves and others just for fun.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Such pretty babies!  This is the 3+-week old Argus/Sugar litter enjoying real food.  It looks as though they will wear as much as they ingest, but no doubt Sugar will be more than happy to clean up afterwards.  Such a cute age!  Sorry I am missing these pups, but I hope to fly down and see them in a couple of weeks.  There are several nice girls in the batch for me to pick from if I decide to take a pup.  Of course I'd rather have another Dal boy, but when I do it has to be liver.

Paula said last week that Watson's daughter Tess was acting pregnant, so there may be more pups on the way.  This is a breeding I really wanted to do, and I purchased Argus with the idea that he might work well bred to Watson descendants.  New Champion "Echo" is from just such a breeding (see below).

And to make things even more exciting, "the other Tess" mother of beautiful "Tia" will be bred to Argus again.  Her owner just called last night to tell me that Tess was in season and she'd decided to repeat the breeding.  It will be chilled semen again, since that was quite satisfactory last time.  The possibility of another stud fee pup, so I may go from being "pup-less" to having a houseful.

Argus & I paid a visit to Mary-with-the-magic-fingers yesterday and he made a donation to our frozen semen "bank".  The storage fee is the same no matter how many "breeding units" are stored, so we decided to add to our stockpile.  Because my beloved Rob was sterile shortly after he turned 6 years of age (and still managed to sire 60 champions), I'm taking no chances with Argus.   Argus thoroughly enjoys the "procedure" and Mary always jokes that she will add him to the book she writes some day.  He does not need a bitch in season to tempt him - looking at some accommodating canine through he doorway is enough    Last time it was a neutered male Tibetan Terrier, this time it was a recently spayed Golden cross.  Oddly, he is not at all horny otherwise, just knows why he is at the clinic.  Saves a lot of time!

Argus's 12th Champion finished last weekend.  "Echo" also sports a CD in obedience, a NA in Rally, and a TD for completing her tracking title, definitely a multi-talented girl!  Congrats to owner-trainer-handler Carol Wells!

Received the following question on my blog, and it's a good one.  Out of time now, but this will be a great topic for tomorrow's blog.

Silly question for you. I was reading an earlier post about eye color and it brought a question to mind. Are green eyes acceptable in Dals? I have a liver pup and her eyes were bright blue two weeks ago when I brought her home but it appears as though they are now taking on a greenish tint. The standard says brown or blue eyes so if they turn green, will she be disqualified from showing? Thanks so much!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fried Green Tomatoes?

Not something I have ever eaten, or wanted to eat, but I think Fried Green Tomatoes may be on our menu this week!  This pile is just part of the green tomatoes that are sitting on a table in the basement.  Some will ripen and be frozen for chili or hot dish this winter, but some will have to be eaten green (if at all).

Ron took down the volunteer tomatoes in the dog yard so the dogs are pleased to have their yard back.  Josie and Watson could not be left out unsupervised as they enjoyed hunting mice (or chipmunks) in the tomato patch.  Argus & Coral were more inclined to respect the fence I put up around the plants.

Fried Green Tomatoes don't sound very healthy, but they are said to be tasty.  I found some recipes on the Internet so may have to give them a try.  Bet they'd go well as a side with Chili.

Such a nice weekend!  Ron & I went antiquing and had a blast.  Before I started campaigning Argus we did a lot of antique shows and shops.  Guess we'll be able to do more of them again next year.   We don't buy a lot but love looking at "pieces of history" and particularly enjoy chatting with dealers who know their stock and have a passion for it, especially for old household gadgets.  We actually purchased a lamp this time, a charming brass lamp by the Rembrandt Company.  It will work perfectly in the corner on the "fish table" where I display fish collectibles - no I do not buy them, but get them as gifts and some are pretty cool. 

I love the old 50s Formica and chrome dinettes.  Wish I'd had a place (and the money) for this table!  It was in amazingly good condition and the chairs were lovely.  These tables take me back to my childhood, and the story of how I took one of my figure skates and used the front of it to punch small holes in one of the brand new plastic chairs.  Guess the Devil made me do it!  The family that owned this table must have had better behaved children - or none at all!

On a different note, it is amazing how much better a Dalmatian can do in the show ring once its nose & tail are "fixed".   What a shame.  Think we can blame the handler in most cases.  These things happen in other breeds, but it REALLY bothers me when it happens in MY breed.