chester pulley

It’s been a rather sad/happy time in our little animal kingdom. I’ll start with the happy.

A few weeks ago, on a Friday, I came home from work and found an extra dog in our yard. A little, anxious pug stood just inside the gate, wagging his little corkscrew tail. Our neighbors up the street have a pug, and she had been to visit before when the gate was open, so I just thought it was her and went to get a leash to take our visitor home. I came inside and told Mr. HeyLucy about the dog and he volunteered to walk up the street. He soon returned, with the dog in his arms. Apparently pugs are not fans of long walks.

pulley

It turned out that all nearby pugs were present and accounted for, and he had even gone as far as the sheriff’s station to see if anyone had reported a missing dog. At this point, we started to realize just how puzzling the situation was. The little guy (it turns out he was a boy, not a girl) had a collar and the ring where a tag must have once hung was empty, but undamaged. Our property is completely fenced, and every little gap is sealed so Pixel can’t get out, so there was no place where a dog weighing twice as much could have squeezed through. Our fence along the front is only four feet, and faces the main road through town, so someone could have easily lifted him over and left him. Our neighbors on either side have taller fences, so our yard is obviously the best option if you were to need to lift an animal over a fence.

Of course we had to bring him in and feed him, and determined that we’d take him to our vet to be scanned for a microchip, since the nearest animal shelter is at least 30 miles away. Also, he was so sweet, we just couldn’t imagine putting him through the trauma of a shelter stay. Surely someone was looking for him and we’d see a Lost Dog sign on one of the bulletin boards around town.

pulley

The next morning I took him to the vet, and they found no sign of a microchip. Our town is small, and there are several notice boards where people post Lost Pet flyers. We checked every single one, and no one had put up any signs, desperately looking for a pug. I went to the diner and told all the regulars about him, which is a good way to get word out in a small town. We checked craigslist and fidofinders, and there were no lost pugs anywhere in the entire county. We kept checking for the next ten days or so, and even now, no one is looking for a pug. By about day three we figured we needed to call him something besides “hey dog,” and after extensive name testing, we settled on Pulley (Chester Pulley, to be exact, but we mostly just say Pulley).

pulley

So now, a month later, he’s microchipped and tagged and neutered, and this is his home. He defends the yard ferociously, just like the other dogs. He and Pixel have become fast friends, and wrestle and tumble all around the house. He’s somewhere between a year and 18 months old. The best we can figure, someone brought their dog out to the country to get rid of it. I can’t imagine willingly giving up any of my pets, so I think that they must have been pretty desperate to leave him behind. I hope they know that he has a good home now, and that we will take good care of him. I hope they don’t mind that I will be dressing him up and taking pictures. There’s something about a pug, I just think he needs a dapper wardrobe, and he’s so photogenic. I’m starting off small, with just a bow tie I made the other night. I never thought I was a pug person, but his aggressively happy nature and smooshy face have won me over.

pulley

Now the sad news, which I will be brief with, because it’s been pretty tough. Our beloved Bear, who was nearly twelve years old, became very sick last week. By Monday, we knew this wasn’t just a stomach bug, or something he ate (and he ate all sorts of disgusting things on a regular basis, usually small critters which he pretty much swallowed whole), and we took him to the vet. He had cancer. It was everywhere and he was suffering, so we knew we had to say good-bye.

bear & the chickens

We both held on to him, and told him what a good dog he’s been, our gentle giant, and the alpha dog of our little pack. We told him to go find Reggie, and I hope they are back together again, running and playing like they used to. He taught Winston everything he knew, and while it took him awhile to warm up to Pixel, he learned to tolerate that little puppy who adored him. Every morning, first thing, Pixel would run to find Bear in the living room, and just lick and lick his nose, wagging his whole body with joy at his big Bear.

bear & pixel

Bear was camera-shy, and always acted so goofy when I pointed the camera at him, so I don’t have tons of photos of him. He was beautiful, he was my blonde twin and I loved his velvet face. He will be missed.

bearIt’s so funny that Pulley appeared just before we had to lose Bear. He is pretty much the polar opposite, but it has helped so much to have him here. It feels a little empty when I pull up to our gate at night when I get home from work, and there is only Winston to greet me, but then I go in the house and am mauled by this funny little smooshed face, and that empty space doesn’t hurt quite as much.

 

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plum upside-down cake

I made up a cake recipe. Well, I started with a recipe and tweaked it so that it now bears little resemblance to the original. I have a fruit dessert thing going on this summer, I think I'm on dessert four for four consecutive weekends. 

Plumcake
This week at the grocery store the plums looked especially nice. I love upside-down cakes. You don't have to frost them, and I love the caramel-ly, fruity goodness on top. I had some almond meal that needed using, and I figured that this is the kind of cake that could benefit from the dense, moist texture. I made two cakes, one for Independence Day and the second for a potluck at work. The first one (above) I made in a springform pan, which resulted in a big, sticky mess on the bottom of my oven despite the fact that I wrapped foil around the bottom and outside. Oops. The second time I made it in my cast iron skillet, and it was a tight fit, there was still a little bit of overflow. Luckily, I put a big roasting pan underneath to catch any drips. 

Plum Upside-down Cake

12 T. Butter (a stick and a half)

1 c. packed brown sugar

5 plums, cut in half, pit removed, and each half cut into wedges

1/2 c. all purpose flour

1/2 c. white whole wheat flour

1/2 c. almond flour

2 t. baking soda

1/2 t. cinnamon

1/4 t. salt

1 c. sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 t. vanilla extract

1/2 c. cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a 9" cast iron skillet. Add the brown sugar, and stir until sugar is melted and syrupy. Arrange the plum wedges in concentric circles in the bottom of the pan (or transfer the butter/sugar mixture to a 9" cake pan). Set aside. 

In a large mixing bowl, beat the remaining 6 tablespoon butter with the sugar, until fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat until smooth and fluffy. In a smaller bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Whisk to combine. 

Add the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar/egg mixture, alternating with the cream. Stir just to combine after each addition. Spread batter over plums, and bake for 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. 

Cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes or so, then place an inverted plate on top and quickly flip it over. It should come out nice and cleanly. It's good slightly warm or at room temperature. Top with dollop of whipped cream, if you like, although we had it plain, and it was delicious!

Let me know if you try it, and what you think! 

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lovely snow

It snowed yesterday, and I knitted and baked and watched Love, Actually. It was just perfect.

The video features a brief cameo appearance from Winston and Bear.

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now featuring home videos

I am experimenting with the power of video. Here's one for all the Winston fans.

What I really want to do now is learn to edit and add music and other fun effects.

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a better weekend

Laundry1
I have stuff to post about, but I think I’m going to go to bed early tonight, for once in my life. I just really liked the picture above that I took of my laundry drying in the sun this weekend, so I had to pop in and quickly post it. It was perfectly beautiful, and it’s always a good weekend when you can get a nice tan while doing your chores, isn’t it? Bear was also quite pleased with the laundry on the line, and spent quite awhile under there, checking it all out. And yes, Mr. HeyLucy has snowmen on his pajamas.

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