Saturday, October 31, 2015

Abby the Lab with the Paw-rents Howl-0-ween Costume

Yes, Mom and Dad the historical society war re-enactment was a blast. 

So, since Dad has all that genuine antique gear, are you two going as Doughboys to the Halloween party? 

World War I Bacon Ration Tin


Wait - is that Mom's costume on the chair?

What Abby? Well I AM a Doughboy.

Remember everyone - there are TWO blog hops going on this Halloween!

 Bentley & Pierre and Sugar are hosting a Halloween Spooktactular Hop.

Dory is hosting No Tricks Just Treats for Shelters fundraiser hop.  Mom ordered extra bags of food from Chewy and is going to donate it to a pet food fundraiser.  If you ever have extra food or see it on sale consider donating it.  Many shelters and often your local vet or dog groomers office will have info or drop off sites.  Helping an animal get a nourishing meal is a simple thing to do.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Fractured Fryday Hairy Tales - Howl-O-Ween Eve

Welcome to Fractured Fryday Hairy Tales where on the last Friday of the month we dust off our creative writing skills incorporating a special phrase - this month's phrase one related to pumpkins. There's lots of things happening in Blogville this week so check out the community calender on the sidebar.  And don't forgot to stop in at Dory's for a special fundraiser and blog hop.

With that I present this months Fryday Hairy Tail
 - Abby Lab
I love my stuffie toys, all soft and squishy.  Mom got me this one that was a different brand then my usual Kong durable stuffies that I love.  It was a hedgehog.  It's not the little one that's on her shelf that she says is "special" but a dog stuffie.  It doesn't really squeak, it makes a noise that's a cross between an asthmatic huff and a fart, but it is SO fat and squishy I just love to hold it in my mouth.
But first we had to go around the neighborhood to look at pumpkins. I accidentally dropped my stuffie by the neighbors porch.
Their pumpkin will watch over it.  Sad pumpkin  -  he is SO skinny.

We walked up and down the block while I left some pee-mail in the neighbors yards for their dogs. The neighborhood had an eerie feel. It's Halloween Eve and soon the sidewalks will fill with mysterious, shrouded figures, the fierce cries of mytical creams and the gusts of screams. As I approached, some clouds rolled in, trailing last nights cold front like groupies, the sky losing its vivid blueness, taking on a grayish hue, like ancient cotton.

The air stirred little, full of invisible particles of scent, that carried with it no sound, my form underneath the span, little more than a thumbprint of white on cold stone. Trees  stand there as if painted, windless candles that have watched over the dark here for a hundred years.  As a train passes by at the end of the road, the sidewalks and porches shudders with sound, as if alive.

The pumpkin though - suddenly he's all fat. His smile, normally cheery, looks almost evil,  The hairs raised on my back as I urged Mom towards home, but not before she bent down and picked something off the ground, some furred thing with open fixed eyes.

Shudder.  I just want to go home and play with my plump, playful little hedgehog, there inside where it's safe with Mom.
What is it about Halloween that gets people thinking of ghosts and ghoulies? Few people truly believe that headless ghosts haunt Celtic castles, that restless spirits chase the shadows in every abandoned old farmhouse. Most of us go through life, not observing what was not meant to be observed.

But sitting in a darkening room, a candle lit, the taste of smoke and the moors in the air, Mom said she can't help but summon up the genuine wonder for those things that are never truly explained. She believes that despite our outward desire for explanation and logic, most members of the public would rather tell stories of haunted places and mysterious creatures than listen to a litany of logic.
For despite our modern conveniences, our science and technology, Mom feels we should not be surprised that modern man still feels that shadowed belief in spirits, haunting those places in which they were once so affected, when we ourselves scarcely separate ourselves from past lives and past longing, ever hovering over bygone times and all their emotions, in late night, darkened hours, lingering in the past places in which we were loved. Hoping in the dark misty hills of our hearts, we will remember and be remembered.

For despite our technology, we are still dreamers. I know my Mom and I are.

I was dreaming of treats and thoughts not involving monsters and ghosts.  Then Mom laid something next to me on the couch.

Mom, Mom, some vampire pumpkin sucked the stuffing out of my hedgehog.  He's ALL deaded and flat!

Mom says it's a different type of toy, made without stuffing but with fur a similar color to my other toy. Mr. Hedgehog was safely back in the toy bin. Thank goodness, I was afraid I was going to have to take a stake and pie plate and dispatch the vampire pumpkin.  But what if that pumpkin was really a stuffing-hungry ghoul and Mom was just trying to keep from scaring me?

That is why - after that I'll never turn my back on a pumpkin again.

Whether our dreams are that of coherent order and forensic logic or haunting memory of those places we wish we could revisit, we can't help but think just how small our being is. How infinitesimal within the world's workings, the grand chaotic design. As the wind picks up a howl, across open land, Mom lights a small lamp.  For suddenly, I feel very insignificant. Insignificant and small, as moonlight flits amongst the shroud of tree branches, the wind tapping on the window like a ghostly finger, the night but one last lamenting kiss.

Off in the distance, comes a keening howl.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Abby Lab Reporting Live from Washington

It's me, Abby.  Every one's commenting on what seems to be happening in Washington D.C. lately with budgets and elections and all. But Mom tries avoid the subject of politics on this blog because she is as fond of it as I am of some of my old kibble and she doesn't want deal with when she's home. But since she's busy trying to put a biscuit on the table and I'm not so bound, I can offer you a canine exclusive while Mom is at a late meeting. Yes, photos of all the action at Washington D.C.'s Dog Park!

I didn't take the pictures, but I'm happy to pass them along, just to keep you in the know.
He's been a little testy since the  intern "incident" and the subsequent neutering. 
Did I really tell the people the location  of my  top secret dog house?
We're this close to closing the gap.
I said "NO Press!"
No, it's' NOT a comb-over - it always looks like this.
Pork?  I have no idea what you're talking about. 
Don't stare at the bark-o-prompter. . try and look natural.
You know if I hadn't  played with the cell phone camera I wouldn't be in the dog house.
I thought that female Boxer could do a long speech. .

That's all the news here folks.  Mom will be back tomorrow with some more exciting things.
Your rovering correspondent - Abby Lab

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Happy Anniversaries

“I am and always will be the optimist. The hoper of far-flung hopes and the dreamer of improbable dreams.”
— The Doctor, Season 6, Episode 6

CHAPTER 41 – A Wedding (From The Book of Barkley by LB Johnson)

The house was decorated for the reception, a few friends and family gathered.  The dining room held a cake that had on it, not a bride and groom, but a time traveling machine known as the Tardis and a Dr. Who and Amy figure from the BBC Sci -Fi series, Dr. Who.  It is a non-conventional cake topper for a family that will be anything but conventional.
I missed having Barkley here, but the combination of “look! people!" black dog hair and white dresses, and a table full of “treats!” was a viral YouTube video waiting to happen, one I did not want to see.  But we were only going to spend our wedding night at a romantic Bed and Breakfast.  Then we would swing by the Doggie Day Camp, where Barkley would remain tonight and pick up the rest of our family, for what’s a honeymoon without a little dog hair.

One in my bridal party is in a kilt, and I smile, this being a day of many surprises.  I am in a Renaissance style wedding dress, MC is Maid Marion of Honor and Mr. B is the best man. The minister is a personal friend, a retired pastor and author, someone who understands words and emotions and hearts, marrying for himself for the first time in his fifties to a young lady, a pilot friend of mine, in her thirties.

There is no one else we’d rather have marry us.

Our wedding. It was not just a day; it was a decision, one we made together. We could embark on this journey, one that any statistic will tell you is a risk, or we could stay safe, keeping hearts in check, telling ourselves it’s probably for the best.
If I had thought that, ten years ago, I would not be wondering about the best way to get dog hair off a wedding gown. I wouldn’t be here, so very happy.

We wake to the earth’s silent ticking, chasing the time that is still unaccounted for, rushing headlong from nights of God's silence to days of great discovery. We can stay in, intact for one slow, sure, unremarkable day, gathering useless possessions and people around us, as what sparked our dream fades to an almost sleeping ember.  For many people, that is their safety. We can just sit and talk about it, the changes we need to make, the things we wish we could do, but talk is just that, talk - arming ourselves with the satisfaction of courage without the inconvenience of risk. Or we can cast off our fear, gather those things around us that are precious, shedding that which only seeks to hinder us and head out into the world, eyes wide open.

What is ahead is unknown, often coming at us, so towering and fast, one can sense from it neither distance nor time. You can treat it with fear, no different than standing on the edge of a cliff, dreading that feeling as the ground falls away, the tiny rocks clamoring down like the first throw of dirt on a pine box. Or you can treat it as a perceived feast, as a wafer on the tongue, a leap of faith into that place that is devoid of time and regret, while that which held you back runs somewhere far afield, away from soundless guns.

I know where my home is at, and it's not four walls. I know who my friends are and they could care less about the things I own, where I live, or how old I am. As I look at my husband, at a photo of a big black dog in a frame, I know I have the comfort of a life in which, if only for a moment, I meant the absolute world to someone. That is something you can never buy, like the heat of steady flame that warms you from the inside out.
As the vows echoed in a room full of happy toasts, stories were told of Barkley, how he brought all of us together, of those he has healed and bonded.  For we are his pack, as we are each others, love being, not a journey, but something that gently brings us back home.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Flaming Hotcakes - A Country Kitchen With Abby Lab

Abby the Lab here.  Does your Mom or Dad remember the show Green Acres? The premise of the show - a successful New York lawyer and his spoiled society wife move to the small town of Hooterville to live on a small farm. One of the more comical aspects to the show was stunning Lisa Douglas' attempts to cook, especially her specialty Hotscakes!, which could also be used as a replacement head gasket on a farm tractor and were served with Martini shaken coffee. 

Other kitchen specialties of Lisa included:
Fried dry oatmeal
Crepe Suzette (flaming hotscake)
Vaffles (hotscakes pressed in a waffle iron)
Tunafish and jelly sandwiches
Tortillas (actual paper plates)
Hot Kebobs (flaming hotscakes on a skewer)
Chicken Sandwich (a rubber chicken between two slices of white bread)
Polarized Chicken (it beeps when it's ready)
and for dessert  . . .
Fruitcake (which had the entire top of a whole pineapple sticking out of the top)

and the ever popular 20 Pound Pound Cake
I think my Mom has an actual copy of the Green Acres Stove
Our house is sort of like the Green Acres house as we renovate room by room.  An antique farmhouse sink is going here under the "new" stained glass window.
Throw me a hotscake Dad!

Like many modern women, Lisa Douglas sometimes resorted to convenience foods such as Dee Dee's Dehydrated Mason Dixon Fried Chicken Dinner and Dee Dee's Dehydrated  New Orleans Pompano (which included a bottle of dehydrated wine).
Her loving husband took it in stride, however, somehow mustering the energy to spend the day working on the tractor on nothing more than hotscakes sandwiches and hot water soup.

My Mom does a lot better, and every Saturday, she makes Hotscakes.  It's her "splurge meal" of the week if she's watching her calories and she says it's worth it.

Today's Buttermilk Cornbread Hotscakes 
This version  tastes just like cornbread, but lighter, with all the crisp wonderful edges that cornbread gets (as good as pizza bones).

1 and 1/4 cup stone ground cornmeal (get the good stuff, not No Name Brand Cornmeal Dust).
1/2 cup flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
2 dashes salt
1 egg
1 and 1/4 cups buttermilk (or make your own by adding 1 T, lemon juice to milk).
1 Tablespoon melted lard
1 Tablespoon melted butter

Mix, cook on a cast iron griddle.

Served with butter and maple syrup or molasses, they are tasty and filling.

Perfect for a day with the tractor mangler (don't laugh, Mom came home and found this in the garage - a surprise from Dad from an auction somewhere)
Come on Mom - Nothing says "I love you" like your own mangler!   
Or a plate of hotscakes.

Sing along with me -

"Green acres is the place to be.
Farm living is the life for me.
Land spreading out, so far and wide.
Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside".

Friday, October 23, 2015

Mom's Home!

I hope that big old suitcase stays in that spot for a long time.  
 - Abby Lab

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Hugs from Around the World

Butch and Deb -  May this day find Butch on his way to recovery with no further nasty surprises. 
Wags and Hugs from Abby Lab and her family

Thanks to Lee & Phod for their wonderful idea and to Dory for the beautiful badge!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Autumn Walkies

The town gargoyle watches as the trees turn color

 Never leaving his post
 As elsewhere, lions guard an entrance
 So many colorful leaves to romp in.
 I love my walkies around the village in the Fall.
 I'll keep to the path Mom, but it's hard to see with all of the leaves.

The pumpkins show up on porches
 As I snoot out the smallest of things.
 You best hide in the shadows Mr. Pumpkin, as Mom could make a pie out of you.
 The sun's so bright and I forgot my "shades".
 Look - it's OUR House
I'll pour this and maybe Mom will come home early.