Thursday, November 28, 2013

Nature's Bounty!

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!  This is an extra special Thanksgiving for us because we have been fortunate to have quite the backyard bounty.  In the North, we gather apples, but in the South, we collect... pecans! 

When I first noticed Jeff picking up these peculiar brown nuts from our deck, driveway, and yard, I thought... why?  Certainly they are just dried up nuggets that will lie around our house until I, inevitably, toss them out.  Little did I know, that we had been blessed with something akin to gold!  Yes, I am quite serious when I say this -- gold.  When you rip these little shells open, there is an actual pecan inside, just like you would pay a pretty penny for in the grocery store.  Since I am quite cheap (I can say this because I am speaking about myself!), I was overjoyed at our special little crop. 

The main trade off, however, is our ancient pecan tree overshadows our entire backyard, which stunts any sort of grass growth and produces an absolute ton of leaves.

Milt Dog likes to be in the thick of things when we work with the leaves outside.  Note his winter coat is growing in...

With a tree, like this, we stay awfully busy during the fall...

The branches are actually a highway for squirrels and a constant source of amusement for the Milt Dog.
Just a weekend's work...
Jeff likes to pick up the nuts, but once I found out what was inside, I run out in the morning and the evening, like it is a veritable Easter egg hunt.  The nuts like to hide, so you need to have a sharp eye and kick at the leaves.  I equate it to spelunking, of course, with Milton by my side.


Milton likes to help too.  If we are rooting around looking for things on the ground, goodness knows his snout is right there in the midst of things!  Milt actually is not the best of help because he likes to nibble, gnaw, and eventually swallow our pecans, which wreak havoc on his little tummy.  The other evening, actually, Milt fell asleep on our bed, and he threw up in the middle of the night.  Did he get sick in our bed?  Why no, he leaned over the side and puked on the floor.  My mom deemed that considerate, and we agreed.  We prefer that Milt sticks to ball playing in the backyard rather than snacking.

Ball in mouth

What in the world do we plan to do with all these pecans?  I, and I am taking Jeff down this rabbit hole with me, plan to gift these little beauties away for Christmas in the form of pies and candy!  We actually kicked it off at Thanksgiving baking a pie for Jeff's parents and aunt and uncle.  I used Grandmother's authentic Southern recipe, so one can only imagine how tasty these must have been.  In case you are wondering, I haven't even tried a bite yet!

My handiwork

Jeff and I are certainly not done yet.  We have about four containers, very similar to this one, still waiting for us to crack.

I try to make the pecans look aesthetically pleasing on our counter...!

Here is our cracking device; it is called a "rocket."  Pretty cool, huh?

Well, if you are friends or family, expect to receive a homemade AND homegrown gift this year from Milt Dog and family.  Happy Thanksgiving, everyone -- gobble until you wobble!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Snow Day in the South!

Yippppeee -- I'm staying warm and safe at home all day today!  Growing up in Upstate New York, a snow day meant freezing temperatures and at least a foot of snow.  Here in Texas, a snow day is usually called the day before due to extreme anxiety over the possibility of inclement weather.  It may seem ridiculous, but, regardless, I will partake in this silliness, even if it is not a Winter Wonderland outside...!

On that note, it has been incredibly cold here recently, with temperatures in the low 30s, which makes our morning runs and afternoon walks just a tad bit, let's say, uncomfortable.  This weather has us all shivering, so Jeff and I decided that Milt Dog could also use a little extra warmth.

Sitting pretty

Of course, we thought it would be cute if Milt wore a t-shirt from our joint alma mater.  We know it is short-sleeved, but Milt does have all that thick fur to keep him warm as well.  Although, I do not think he was too fond of his little outfit.

Attempting to see what's on his back

Toasty warm but uncomfortable

As much as we like seeing Milt Dog in a shirt, he was not quite as enthused to be the one wearing it.  I guess he thinks shirts are just "human stuff."  Well, Milt better get used to it because if this cold weather keeps up, he is going to be wearing sweaters pretty soon...

Enjoy your day and stay warm, everyone!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

I am sitting here, in my fleece pajamas, typing this post very early on a Saturday morning.  Truth be told, I have missed blogging.  The opening months of school are always extraordinarily busy as I attempt to balance lesson planning and grading with my yoga, friends, and, of course, Jeff and Milt Dog!  Blogging makes me happy though, and after a monthlong hiatus and a bit of prompting from my biggest fan, Mom, I am back at it.  Let's see how it goes!

The very best news I have to share is Milton made the Doodle Kisses calendar for the second year in the row!  When I first heard the news, I was a bit disappointed because Milton qualified for the Lotsa Doodles calendar again, rather than the strictly Goldendoodles calendar.  This means that he received a quarter of a page, not a full spread.  I was really looking forward to seeing Milt Dog full-size but oh, well.

I cannot complain too much though; we did not put an awful lot of effort into the two photos that we submitted.  Last year, we had our good friend, Alicia, at Alicia Skinner Photography (She is absolutely marvelous if you live in the Dallas area!) take countless beauty shots, and this year we basically went rogue with two backyard shots, and goodness knows, we don't live in the majestic forests of British Columbia or beachside in Los Angeles.  We made do here in Dallas, Texas.

Here is our winning picture, which I am certain, many of you have seen before:

Mr. March!

Yes, Milton, just like last year, is Mr. March.  If you interested in purchasing a calendar (Don't if you are our parents!), please see the link below:

I like to buy one for home and a second for school, so I can be surrounded by the doodle love.  Well, I suppose, one doodle in particular...!

Happy Monday!