Veg Day

Tuesday May 15, 2018 2:17 pm (To be posted on Wednesday, May 16)

It occurred to me that when I post these blogs about snap shots of memories I will likely be writing them about something that happened the day before. Or writing them the day of, but posting them the day after because I already posted once for the day. Did that make sense? Anyway, I will now list the actual day and time that the piece was written along with the day it will be published.

Today’s snapshot is an easy one. And rather than being a specific moment, it’s the entire day. An unexpected, unplanned day of freedom and creativity.

Although I don’t presently have a job, I do keep a schedule to my days. I’m that kind of a person where I like to have a daily goal that I work toward before I have “free” time. Sometimes the goal is just to finish a load a laundry, other times it’s a whole list of chores and errands I feel need to be done. Today was supposed to be one of those days. The laundry-list type of day, complete with laundry and errands and my most hated task of all – dog food prep.

My mom’s dog, Charlie, has special dietary needs. Many special dietary needs. He’s allergic to chicken and turkey, has mixed reactions to beef and can’t tolerate much wheat at all. This means no store-bought dog food works. My mom devised a recipe that he tolerated well, made of ground lamb, mashed canned green beans and carrots and smashed baked sweet potato. She cooked two pounds of meat for him for about two weeks worth of meals. She didn’t like doing it either.

charlie by addy

Charlie. He’s a pretty happy guy these days. 

Since coming to live with us, Charlie has more than doubled his food intake. I think it’s all the exercise he gets playing with Sammy and the walks. He used to pick at his food and he now steadily eats (I don’t think he’ll ever be a gobbler, like Sammy). In any case, that amounts to a minimum of four pounds of ground lamb (or ground pork – we’ve branched out), four cans of vegetables and two sweet potatoes a week just to cover his day to day needs without having any extra saved up in the freezer.

It took a lot of time to cook enough food for him every week so as the months went by, I devised easier ways of quickly prepping his food. One of those way is to prepare a large volume of what I call Veg – the mashed canned veggies and sweet potatoes. I make ten packages at once (that’s 20 cans of vegetables and 5 super huge baked sweet potatoes) and freeze them in individual packages. It’s much easier to only haul out the food processor to grind the canned veggies once a month than several times a week. Then throughout the month, I can pull out two pounds of frozen meat, fry it and add the add the defrosted veg. Takes all of 20 minutes. Much less painful than prior dog food cooking sessions.

However, this means that once a month Veg must be prepared all at once and I hate – make that HATE – prepping Veg. It’s messy. There are bits of carrot and green bean on every towel and in the crannies of my counter top, no matter how much I clean up. It’s also time consuming. Twenty cans of carrots and green beans have to opened, drained, rinsed with water, drained again and then pulverized in batches of two cans each in my food processor. Even with microwaving the sweet potatoes, Veg still takes me at least 2.5 hours to prep and clean up. There is no way to fill a freezer bag with Veg and seal it without Veg creeping out and getting all over my hands and the counter. Every dish rag and towel I use during this chore has to be washed after Veg is prepped. Did I mention it’s messy?

frozen veg

Veg in it’s frozen state

Veg with meat

Veg being cooked with meat.

Today was supposed to be a Veg prep day. And a laundry day. And an errand day to run to the store to get more ground lamb so I could make another batch of dog food tomorrow. Not a day I was looking forward to.

However, when my alarm went off this morning at 7:15, Frankie, one of our cats, was snuggled next to me purring. This is a rare event not to taken likely. Our cats are playful, but there’s not much cuddling allowed so I felt I had to take advantage of the opportunity and stay in bed and soak up all the cat love I could until Frankie left on his own. Of course, I fell back asleep and didn’t get up until 9. Already behind schedule.

Frankie

Who could say no to this guy? Not me!

Then I opened the blinds and discovered it was a marvelous, sunny, warm with a nice cool breeze sort of morning. The Orioles were singing on the deck and the spring peepers were chirping in the swamp. This kind of a day cannot be taken for granted in Wisconsin where it feels like it’s winter for 8 months year. I felt the same way about the gorgeous morning as I did about the affectionate cat. It was a rare gift not to be wasted.

Oriole

This is a picture from last year taken on our deck. The Orioles love the grape jelly.

So no Veg prep happened today. Most of the chores have been deferred until later in the week (although I did manage to do a couple loads of laundry today). I am enjoying sitting outside writing which is exactly what I want to be doing now. It’s a true gift and a blessing to able to do exactly what you want, when you want, and I’m extremely grateful to have it.

This kind of fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of day reminds me of when I did work. Whenever there was one of the first really nice spring days like this one, I would use a vacation day and drive to Devil’s Lake State Park by myself to soak in the wonderful weather, the gorgeous scenery (which is especially pretty at Devil’s Lake during spring when the dark green of the pines contrasts with the pale spring green of the new shoots), and to just hang out and veg with myself. My way of re-calibrating my brain cells after shaking off the doldrums of winter. I’d always bring a notebook and pencil and get some writing done, too.

So that’s what today turned out to be. My re-calibration day. It’s still a Veg day, but a different kind of veg than I expected. I like this kind much better.

devil's lake

Devil’s Lake last fall. It’s even prettier in the spring.

side yard pic

This is the view I enjoyed for most of the day. I opted to stay inside the fence instead of going on the deck so the dogs could hang with me.

May 15, 2018 2:44 pm

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