Tag Archives: dogs

Winter’s Offerings

I read a quote in “Mother Earth News” tonight, and not an hour later it proved true—applicability is a trait this magazine does well in my life.

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks” -John Muir

Tonight I was given the dreaded donkey-feeding task. Whenever my parents dole out this particular responsibility, eyes will inevitably roll. So I rolled mine, a necessary start to the job, put a coat on, and walked to the barn. Our jack, Merlin, has the personality of an over-sized, persnickety dog, and of course, he just wouldn’t be pushed out of the barn without a treat first, the treat being an animal cracker—a cruel, but funny donkey dessert.

When I was finished, the night felt so refreshing that my legs carried me not back to the house, but away. Two of our dogs followed, always eager for an adventure, and I felt my tail was wagging with theirs. Enthusiasm is contagious—even when the source runs on four legs. We ended up walking through the garden, which appears deceivingly barren in winter, and I couldn’t help but imagine the life under my feet. Although it was completely quiet outside, I could sense its energy-not rushed, as life often feels, but slow and steady as a  pulse. And it is a pulse isn’t it? Without the dedicated earthworms, the microbes, the rhizomes and the roots, dirt would be dead. But instead it’s a flurry of never ending activity that almost beats like a pulse, preparing the soil for the energy-sucking plants it’ll have to sustain come spring. The constancy of it calmed me and I felt, not energized, but peaceful, when I crossed the threshold of the door, back into the hustle and bustle of my family’s life inside.

John Muir was right. Nature always provides more than we ask of it, and tonight I felt it was the exact prescription for inner quiet.


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Optimism, where are you?!

ImageCulinarily, today has been both indulgent and disappointing. I woke up with plenty of time, at least for a McKenzie morning, to make a solid breakfast, but I wasn’t horribly enthused about oatmeal (my stand-by).

I decided on a bowl of fruit but I was still hungry afterward so I toasted half a vegan bagel. Now, I was worried because of the listed ingredients that this would taste like bird feed cleverly molded into a bagel shape, but alas! It was fantastic! (P.S. if anyone can tell me what “sprouted whole wheat berries” are, you get a gold star.

Here’s where the indulgent part comes in. I covered it with a big ol’ layer of cherry jelly. *Hand smacks forhead.* Later I had a moment of sheer panic when I realized that jelly is made with pectin, typically a horse product. Thankfully, Smucker’s makes their with fruit pectin! That was close.


Then, I was desperately trying to think of anything I could take for lunch and totally blanked. As delicious as straight up collard green leaves sound, I felt like I had no options…so I packed up a container of Kashi Go Lean Crunch and a water bottle full of almond milk. When lunch (finally) came around after several hours of shakiness that would put Michael J. Fox to shame, I decided to try a veggie sub from Subway instead. Worst mistake I’ve made in the past three days. Whether it was the great volume of mustard the condiment-loving worker put on my sandwich or her equally enthused hatred for spinach (I got three leaves), it was just generally a poopy sub. Wahh. So cereal it was.

ImageThen for dinner I made a chili dog, I was skeptical of the cylindrical molded tofu, but when my dog came over with his tail wagging I thought “hey, maybe if he thinks it’s a real hotdog then I will too”. Nope-he’s just a fatty. I have to give the company kudos for the flavor which was lovely and smoky-It was very similar. But the texture? Not so much.

The saving grace of the day was the soy hot chocolate shown at left. It showed no hint of it’s hidden vegetable roots and damn was it tasty. Next time I’ll change the “pinch” of Cayenne to an omittance of it. Too spicy for my wimpy taste buds, but here’s the link to the recipe.http://allrecipes.com/recipe/delicious-vegan-hot-chocolate/


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