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archive for May 2015

best-laid plans

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

Recipe: grand marnier soufflé

Several weeks before Neva came home with us, we began getting the whole house in order, reading our puppy and dog training books (different methods than when we trained Kaweah), and trying to get a jump on our workloads. Let me tell you – since she came home: the entire house looks like a giant puppy playpen, we feel as if we’ve forgotten everything we read in the training books, and it seems that we are already falling well behind in work. It’s no doubt that part of the existence of Puppy Vortex is because I’m still sick – with bronchitis and no voice. Clearly, recovery is but a pipe dream on four hours of sleep a night.

Neva was getting plenty of sleep and plenty of playtime. However, Wednesday morning she had an episode of trembling and lethargy that was sudden and extremely uncharacteristic. Even worse? She refused food. My stomach dropped. There was only one time ever that Kaweah refused food, and that was the morning we said good-bye to her. I fought back tears and asked Jeremy to call the vet for an appointment. Neva was running a low fever and our vet prescribed some meds and asked us to call him in the morning for a status report. Almost as quickly as she had gone downhill, she bounced back within hours to her normal puppy self – biting everything in sight, romping around clumsily, and wanting to explore the whole world.

Despite the setback, we’ve been introducing Neva to new things. She loves the vet’s office as well as my neighbor’s daughter. She completely goes bananas for plain yogurt and peanut butter. And she loves snow. Since we still have lots of snow in the high country, we took her for her first introduction this week.

sitting for her treat from jeremy

happily munching on said treat

fearless bounding across the slushy slopes

having a blast digging pits in the snow

my sweet baby girl

Despite feeling truly crappy right now, I don’t want to get into the habit of punting each post by tossing up a bunch of puppy pics and calling it good. You good people deserve a recipe, and this one is awesome. It comes from my friend, John of Food Wishes, and I was inspired to make it after ordering a Grand Marnier soufflé at a French restaurant in Williamsburg, Virginia. I served mine with a Grand Marnier crème anglaise (also from John’s site). I just don’t see how it can get any better! If you decide to serve the soufflés with a side of crème anglaise sauce, you should start the sauce a few hours earlier than the soufflés to give it time to cool.

the crème anglaise: cream, vanilla extract, grand marnier, sugar, salt, eggs (yolks)

heat the cream, sugar, and salt

whisk some of the hot cream into the egg yolks

cook and then strain the custard

stir in the grand marnier and vanilla extract

**Jump for more butter**

meet neva

Monday, May 25th, 2015

Hey, everyone! I’d like you to meet our new pup, Neva (NEE-vah). We brought all twelve pounds of her home on Saturday and have been sleep-deprived ever since.

finally home

This will be a short post because I began to develop a cold/flu thing of sorts on our long drive to get the pup. Also, puppy training is a lot of work for both humans and puppies! We named Neva after Mount Neva, a mountain in our local Indian Peaks Wilderness (Kaweah was named for Mount Kaweah in the Sierra Nevada of California). Neva also means snow. In the short 48 hours we’ve had her home, she has learned a lot of things! She is now sitting when she wants something (her way of saying “please”), going into her crate on her own, learning to be quiet in her crate, lying down, walking on the leash (she’s getting better about not biting the leash), going up and down stairs, and being ridiculously cute. I have to give major kudos to Jeremy who took over the majority of the training and cared for me when I got sick. He has been incredibly patient, gentle, and kind with Neva.

settling into her crate

leash work with jeremy in the yard

puppies need a lot of chew toys

her crate is her happy place

we love it when she sleeps

Over the weekend, Neva jump-started her social life when my aunt and uncle (visiting Colorado from out of town) came up for dinner and puppy time. The next day, Neva met my friends Erin, Erica (Erin’s sister), and Banjo. She takes to people right away, but she wasn’t so sure about Banjo for the first few minutes – I mean, he’s a big fluffy white dog! The great thing about Banjo is that he is super sweet with Neva (and in general). He would corner like a race car when she clumsily chased him (the back half always seems to have a different agenda from the front half), or nimbly jump over her so he wouldn’t step on her. But when she wanted him to chase her, he slowed way down and was careful not to scare or hurt the puppy. After Neva and Banjo got acquainted, we all went for a short (a really short) local hike to introduce the pup to the life of a Colorado mountain dog.

not so sure about this big white dog

warming up to banjo

super fun puppy playtime!

puppy’s first hike

when puppies are tired, they just flop down wherever they are – like between erin’s boots

It’s a big transition period for Neva and for us, but she is quite attached to both Jeremy and me. As I said above, it is hard work. Even with all of our experience with Kaweah and preparation for this pup, it can be challenging. However, Neva has made such progress already with positive reinforcement training and we are so in love with her – it is worth it. I look forward to watching her discover all of the joys of being a dog in this beautiful world we call home. Welcome to your life, puppy girl.

pup prep

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

Recipe: gin oysters

“We need to get a puppy collar and a puppy leash,” I informed Jeremy.
“What happened to Kaweah’s old puppy collar?” he asked sifting through the pile of dog towels.
“She ate it.”
“What happened to her old leash?”
“Um, she ate that, too.”

Even though Kaweah was not a large dog as labs go, all of her beds and toys and blankets look huge compared to the little puppy we visited two weeks ago. We don’t want to buy too many puppy-sized things because they won’t be needed after a month or two. So we’ve been re-engineering the crates and beds to create nice and cozy smaller spaces for puppy. I sifted through our basket of Kaweah’s toys this week and pulled out three plush fish – a pink one, a blue one, and a green one. They were otherwise identical in every way including the hole at the top of each of their heads where Kaweah had systematically pulled out the squeakers and chewed them to bits.

“Do you think puppy will be a destructo-dog like Kaweah?” I wondered aloud while sorting the salvageable toys from the heavily loved ones. To be fair, Kaweah only destroyed her toys and left everything else in the house alone. She was a good bad dog. I’m in the process of sewing up the old plushies for puppy’s crate so she can hopefully feel comforted by the smell of Kaweah and the contact with other soft bodies to mimic her littermates. But we still picked up some new puppy-appropriate toys.

for play, for teething, for mental stimulation

It looks as if this cold weather pattern will hold for another week or two. I’m ecstatic! Not just for the skiing, but because we’ll be able to introduce the pup to skis. One might think it’s no big deal, but most of the dogs I know have interesting reactions to skis. Back in the day, Kaweah didn’t realize that they were attached to our feet, and thought it was a really fun game to pounce on the tips as they protruded through the snow. Other dogs think ski poles are totally awesome “sticks” to grab hold of. When the snow is deep, Banjo likes to walk on the back ends of Erin’s skis for extra floatation and to stay close. Thankfully, most dogs figure it out eventually. Of course, puppy won’t be able to travel far at the start, so we got out into the backcountry to get our pre-puppy ski fix.

cloudy, foggy, sunny, snowy – we got it all in one afternoon

jeremy does a quick rip of the skins

getting a few laps in before heading out

But not everything around here is all puppy all the time. Not yet, anyway! Jeremy finally kicked his Man Cold this week. I decided we should celebrate with some appetizers and dinner while watching the season finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I made the appetizers for Jeremy more than for myself, because they were made of a few of his favorite things.

barcat oysters, wasabi tobiko (flying fish roe), a local gin, and lime

**Jump for more butter**