Thursday, July 30, 2015

Man the Barricades

Our fence line has recently come under attack, necessitating the creation of barricades.

Along various sections of our fence, sticks have been driven into the ground to keep the intruder at bay.

And who or what might this intruder be? This wily little creature:

It's our next door neighbor's dog. She has been getting out of their yard and coming by to say "Hi!" to our dogs. As she runs around our fence line, she figures out a spot she can dig under the fence to come on in and play. 

It's obvious that she's lonely and wants to be friends, going so far as to immediately fall to the ground with her belly up to show she isn't to be feared.

And while I feel sorry for her, every spot she digs under the fence means an opportunity for our dogs to get out. Hence the barricades.

We've brought the situation to the attention of our neighbors, but results have been rather hit or miss. Some days she stays in their yard, other days, not so much.

One might ask about contacting an agency, such as animal control, to help resolve the problem. The thing is, there are no such agencies like that here. Matter of fact, the overriding attitude toward dogs is pretty abysmal. Not many dogs are considered pets, but rather four-legged alarm systems who live their lives chained up. Most dogs have never been to a vet, had shots, been fixed or even adequate nutrition. Strays roam almost all the streets scrounging for whatever scraps they can find. It's sad, disheartening, and difficult to deal with. 

There are some grass roots efforts taking place to raise awareness about animal welfare and some slow, but steady progress is being made. 

In the meantime, we have sticks at the ready to build more barricades.

Updates to The Wright Table

Even when living in a tropical paradise, there are days/weeks that feel like I've been given a free rail pass for the Crazy Train. To regain some balance, I spend time in the kitchen.

Here are some dishes that soothed my soul and appeared on The Wright Table:

Chicken Tinga

Nicoise Toasts

Slow Cooker Balsamic Pork Tenderloin

Whitefish with Citrus-Olive-Caper Sauce

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Kitchen Fun

We may be in the throes of rainy season, but no matter what the weather, I can always find ways to keep myself occupied in the kitchen.

The last week was no exception and there are new posts on The Wright Table blog chronicling my latest culinary adventures, including:

Roasted Tomato Spread

A cinch to do and great for when tomatoes are out of season.

Having fun with butter molds

Because a bit of whimsy on a plate is a good thing.

Sophisticated Saltines

These are not your mama's crackers.

Garganelli (Homemade Penne)

A great way to get your Zen on while making a delightful pasta.

Friday, July 3, 2015

The New Normal during Rainy Season

Rainy season is upon us. 

Now that we've lived here for three years, we know the drill that becomes our new normal from June through October. Some examples:

  • We realize, but don't always graciously accept that there will be stray storms that occur in the wee hours of morning. These storms will wake us up from a deep sleep and require herding dogs inside and battening down louvers. Sinking back into REM sleep will not happen on those nights.

  • The dust pan, brush, bucket, and mop are on constant standby. This is due to the muddy paw prints that inevitably appear on the porch floor. No matter how fast you try to snag the dogs as they come inside, chances are the one with the most mud on their feet will slip by.

  • Unpaved roads, of which there are many, will become mud slicks hiding pot holes. Part of the challenge and adventure is trying to guess how big and deep the pot holes are.

  • Unexpected rains will almost always occur when (a) laundry is on the line, (b) the pool has just been filled, or (c) the floors are freshly mopped. If all three of these actions happen the same day, you can bet Mother Nature will get even...big time.
  • Power outages will occur, sometimes multiple times a day. This will mean resetting clocks and the pool pump multiple times a day.
  • Sinus medication will be kept in supply for me, especially if there is a slow moving front that comes through. Puffy eyes and congestion are not things of beauty.
  • We will have all three dogs inside the house during the time it is raining, especially if there is thunder involved.

    While Sam and Olivia seem unperturbed by wet weather,

    Lizi is a whole other story.

She can sense thunder when it's miles and miles away. Panic quickly sets in and she needs the safety of being in the house, near one of us, to calm down. 

And the cat?

Oy, the cat! During storms she either is asleep in one of her various nooks (like the top of the kitchen cabinets), tantalizing Olivia, or seeing how far she can push her luck with Lizi. Bronte and Lizi have a begrudging acceptance of one another, but there are days when all of the animals are inside that growls and hisses are overheard.

All in all though, we are fortunate that all the pets do get along for the most part and would make it through a major storm without mishap.

And what about David and me and how we spend rainy days? Well David is usually on his computer, puttering around his shop, or reading books.

I am usually in the kitchen, especially if I know we will be getting hit with wet weather for a couple days running. Matter of fact, I just spent the last two days making two dishes -- Lasagne Bolognese and Sticky Chicken. Take a side trip over The Wright Table to get all the yummy details.