Thursday, March 29, 2012

Tuna Fudge? Oh My!

Although I enjoy cooking, I rarely bake.  We would never finish a cake, but cookies or brownies would disappear quickly, which is not necessarily a good thing.  Because I have little will power when tempted by such delicacies as fudge brownies or chocolate chip cookies, it's better not to have any in the house.  At Christmas several friends always give me batches of cookies, so my baking is usually limited to a loaf or two of a pumpkin chocolate chip bread or cherry nut bread, which I immediately freeze until needed.

Last night I baked for the dogs.  I'd posted to Facebook requesting suggestions for small training treats, to supplement the bits of microwaved turkey hotdogs that Argus likes so well.  The training method we are using for his obedience class includes the use of food rewards, lots of them, and the treats need to be small, neat, and not require any chewing.  Turkey hotdogs quartered lengthwise, sliced crosswise, and microwaved in paper towels for a couple of minutes creates small, tasty snacks, but I wanted other suggestions.  One of them was Tuna Fudge.  Directions follow -


  1. Mix all ingredients with an electric mixer until well blended.
  2. Spread mixture into a greased 9x9 cake pan.
  3. Bake covered at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
  4. Store in refrigerator or freeze.

They went together quickly, and my elderly (25 year old?) portable mixer worked just fine as the batter was not stiff.   The concoctions seemed a bit too moist on top after 20 minutes, so I baked it an additional 15 minutes uncovered at 250 to dry it out a bit more.

Perfect!  Although the house smelled strongly of tuna and garlic (not a bad odor, but I did open the patio door for awhile) the dogs thought the results were justified.  I cooled the stuff, cut it into chunks, froze most of them, and kept some out (in the fridge) for training this week.  Perfect texture, for cutting/breaking into small bits for tiny treats.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


The Red Winged Blackbirds were at the feeder again this morning.  Very cool.  Although they are one of the most common birds in the US, they generally live along ditches and swamps in rural areas, and until last year we had never seen them in the city.  I love their songs, so when Ron mentioned last year that they appeared to be nesting along the pond on the nearby college campus, I went over to see them.  To my delight they started showing up in our neighborhood and would sit on the wires and shrubs to serenade us.  One of the females sits with the sparrows and finches at a feeder now, though the short perches make it a bit hard for her to hang on.  Her mate sits on the wire and sings.  Lovely!

When I came home at noon yesterday, Ron mentioned that a Bald Eagle had flown right down our street that morning as he came back from walking Josie.  Not very high above the ground either, so I suspect it was watching for roadkill squirrels or hopefully a live one.  We could use a few more squirrel catchers/eaters in this neighborhood!  Who would have thought that Bald Eagles and Turkey Vultures would ever be this common in the city? I often see them when walking along the river with Argus. And Red Tailed Hawks sitting on phone poles are an everyday occurrence.  Nice.

We've been relocating squirrels for the past week as the neighborhood and especially my yard are absolutely infested with them.  They drive the dogs crazy by sitting on the privacy fence, eating from the bird feeders (which are NOT squirrel proof), and drinking from the birdbath on the deck.  We've caught five of them now, and will try for a few more.  I know we can't eliminate them (unfortunately) but reduced numbers for awhile will help for awhile, and perhaps keep the dogs from going through the patio door.  I particularly object to them digging little holes all over my yard - looking for last years acorns?  With our boulevard Oaks large enough now to produce bumper crops of acorns now, squirrels are worse than ever.

And rabbits!  But there seems to be no way to catch rabbits.  Where are the coyotes that supposedly live in the city?  One rabbit in particular hangs out in my yard and dashes under the deck when he sees the dogs.  When he sees humans he acts like a pet rabbit and holds his ground until you almost step on him.  Rabbits were a big problem last year and we had record numbers.  The mild winter probably allowed more of them to survive too, so this year may be even worse.  Rabbits are such buggers about damaging plants - but at least we don't have deer!  Yet.

Facebook Friends often post "cute" pictures of deer.  All I can see is roadkill.  They are such pests.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sitting Home

Ain't it the truth?  I just paid $56.00 to fill the tank on my mini van.  The price of gas will definitely affect my dog showing this year, not to mention my errand running.  It's only 7 miles to work, but because I come home at noon most days (aren't I lucky?) the work miles add up.  At least one trip to mom's once a week adds another 25 miles, and obedience classes add another 10, so even if I sit home most of the time I'm going to be driving at least 200 miles a week.  My 5 year old mini van gets reasonable mileage, but is certainly not fuel efficient.

There are plenty of local shows, but no Dalmatian competition around here - the only class dogs are ours, and I can't see paying $25.00+ entry fees to show our pups against one another.  Any show with even a few points will be at least 250 miles away, so we will think twice before sending in any entries.

My property tax notice came yesterday, and it won't belong before I am spending 10% of my GROSS income on property taxes and assessments.  That's not right!  Because we do not tax the wealthy at appropriate levels, and have cut the money that goes back to the cities & schools because of budget shortfalls, the cities raise our taxes to make ends meet.  Yes, I know that's a simplistic view of the universe, but that's how it affects me.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Who Stole Spring?

Spring is gone, winter is back, at least that's how it felt outdoors this morning in the cold rain.  Still above freezing, but just barely.  Temperatures will be "normal" today, but warming up again tomorrow.  The lawn is so green, and the perennials seem to have survived the lack of snow cover over the winter.

Argus & I went down to the river yesterday, exploring Crosby Park.  Had hoped to get some wildflower pictures as I figured that the Marsh Marigolds should be flowing soon (instead of in May, when I normally admire them).  They were just coming out, but as I took shots the battery on my camera died.  Drat, no extra batteries along.  Fortunately I had my phone with me, and got some nice iPhone pictures, including the Bloodroot pictured above.  Argus practiced Sit-stays while I took pictures.  He thought the stays were pretty boring compared to the excitement of the dead Muskrat we found along the river.

Pruned my To Do List down quite a lot over the weekend, although I never did get the porch cleaned or the porch windows washed.  That moves to the top of the list for next weekend.  Hahaha!  I did however get the yard raked and flowerbeds cleaned out, lots of small house chores completed, and yesterday evening I finished my taxes - thank you,Turbo Tax!  Coral got bathed too, so everyone got their "spring cleaning" last week.

Still trying to decide when/how to breed Pauli.  We've discussed and discarded dozens of dogs looking for Mr. Right, and have now come full circle and back to thinking about the dog I was originally going to breed her to.  It all depends on when she comes in season anyway.  Ideally she will wait until after the National in early May, but bitches are rarely that cooperative.  We'd like to show her in Top Twenty at the National, and have her in Stud Dog Class with Argus, but do not want to take her along if she's in season.  If she came in soon we could get her bred and she'd be out of season in time to go along with us, but don't suppose she will make this easy.

Still need to touch base again with the folks who have inquired about Lucy pups.  I haven't forgotten you!