Friday, March 30, 2012

Dr Wendy Makes a House Call

Dr. Wendy, of Helderberg Vet Service, stopped by last weekend to tend to our dogs, Ringo and Moby. Dr. Wendy, aka Wendy Kimmel, is a veterinarian who makes house calls that we were referred to by a friend who has semi feral pet cats. It's not that we can't bring our animals to the vet, it's just that there is so many of them. 

On her last visit to do Moby's puppy shots whe had warned me that the incidence of heartworm in our area is on the rise and the large number of mosquitoes we are expecting due to the mild winter and the flooding from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee was going to make it even worse. We’ve always been lax about heartworm but no more. 

Dr. Wendy brought her daughter along to help restrain the dogs when she drew blood for the heartworm tests, and  her son who distracted the dogs with treats. The family makes quite a team. At first Moby absolutely refused to be restrained and there was quite a rodeo on the living room rug. Once he was subdued he took the needle like a trooper. Ringo, on the other hand, literally screamed when the needle went in. Bloodcurdling!

Ringo was also vaccinated for rabies and Lyme disease (with the onslaught of ticks the Lyme vaccine has also become non-negotiable).  He didn't like that either.

It's great to have a vet who makes house calls. Dr. Wendy travels with her vaccines in a little pink cooler and has a bathroom scale in a tote bag. To figure out a dog’s weight Dr. Wendy, who is petite, simply picks up the dog, stands on the scale, then subtracts her own weight. This was one thing with Moby who weighed 27 pounds and another with Ringo, who weighed in at 56. 

Next month--Ringo’s second lyme vaccine and rabies shots for the barn cats. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ticks, Dinner with Obama, and the End of Days

OK, I am starting to get seriously worried about global warming and climate change. I’ve always been “aware” and “concerned” but now I’m starting to “freak out.” These are the reasons:

It is mid-March and it is hot.

The apple orchard I live on is budding. If it gets below freezing between now and “real spring” (which occurs 2 months from now) the crop will be lost…again (this happened in 2010)

We never put our little tick-removing device away.
We have a lot of mosquitoes in our living room.

We went canoeing on Sunday on the Mohawk and the Erie Canal in the vicinity of Vischer Ferry and the Northway. Everything was brown and gray. There were no ice floes. Though there was not a speck of green to be seen anywhere, (even the water was brown with this funky bumpy algae floating in it) it was hot. The shoreline was choked with garbage and debris from last year’s flooding during Tropical Storms Irene & Lee. We had a great time but it was weird. If it weren’t for the roar of traffic from the Northway, signifying for better or for worse an abundance of human life,
 I would have thought we were paddling in some kind of post-apocalyptic world


I recently got an e mail from Barack Obama. (This is not unusual. Michelle e mails me too.) He was telling me that for a donation of $2 or more I could be entered into a drawing to have dinner with him. I got to thinking about it. If I did have dinner with Barack Obama what would I tell him? After this weekend I think I know. We’ve got to stop climate change. The U.S. has to lead the way because no one else will or can. I understand he has to play his cards right to get re-elected because the alternative would be very bad. But after that---we need to get to work.

A book everyone who lives in the Capital Region should read:
"World Made by Hand"
James Howard Kuntsler (lives in Saratoga County)
It’s a novel that shows what it would be like to live in this region in the future if we don’t do something now. I highly recommend it.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Egg Season

We are right in the middle of egg season. The hens are laying like crazy. Stimulated by the light, hens lay more eggs as the days grow longer. After a dark winter of getting less than 1 dozen eggs a day we are now getting between about 5 dozen eggs a day. Thankfully we have a new customer, Jake Moon Restaurant and Café in Clarksville. Yesterday, when Wolfie got home from school I drove him up there to deliver 15 dozen for weekend breakfasts. Wolfie takes care of the chickens (with help from Dad on school mornings), and washes and packs the eggs and pockets the egg money in lieu of an allowance.

Not only are they more plentiful, the eggs taste better than ever. We had taken the fence down for the winter since the hens don’t range far from the coop that time of year and it isn’t back up yet. With the mild weather we’ve been having the hens are working an enormous range that takes them way out into the fields where they dig up lots of bugs and tasty things that make their eggs delicious and nutritious!

Another consequence of not having a fence around the chickens is that resident dogs, Ringo and Moby, have an all you can eat banquet of chicken feed and chicken poop available to them which they take advantage of as often as possible. This can create some very odiferous evenings as many of the folks who are known to stop by for a drink after hours can tell you. Hopefully this weekend the fence will go up and this dog gluttony will end.

If you want to buy eggs from us (PLEASE!) they cost $4 a dozen. They are in the barn at the end of our driveway. You can park in the clearing right before the barn. Go in the little door on the end of the barn. The eggs are in a small black refrigerator to the left of the door. Take what you need. Put your money in the blue Buddha lunchbox on the table next to the refrigerator. All proceeds go to Wolfie Gehring’s savings to buy a car.

Monday, March 12, 2012

50th Anniversary at the CIA

We traveled to Hyde Park to lunch at the Culinary Institute of America, in late February. It was my in-laws 50th wedding anniversary. Affectionately known as the CIA, it is the world’s premier college for chefs. The CIA has several restaurants staffed from the front to the back of the house by culinary students supervised by their teachers. We ate at the Ristorante Caterina de' Medici, which is Jean and Charly’s favorite. We actually go there every year to celebrate their anniversary but this year was even more special.

We kicked off the meal with glasses of prosecco made a lovely pink with raspberry liquer, with fresh raspberries bobbing in it. In the Italian fashion the menu offered several courses: antipasti (appetizers); primi piatti (first course, traditionally pasta); secondi piatti (main course). I am the only one at the table that actually ate all three courses, although to my credit I did not have dessert.

Our server was a female student—a sophomore. She was lovely. There was a bit of a dust up with the wine. She had been equipped with a diabolical instrument called a double-hinged waiter’s corkscrew and she struggled mightily to get the cork out of our bottle of red wine. At one point both Charly and Dieter were holding the wine bottle, shouting out instructions as she manipulated the instrument. Behind them a severe looking woman stood taking notes. I hope our server was graded mercifully.

I won’t go into all the details of what we ate other than to say the Gnocchi alla Fonduta di Gorgonzola e Noci, (Potato Gnocchi with Gorgonzola Fondue and Toasted Walnuts) which I had for my primi piatti was magnifico!