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December 19, 1999

Frozen Dog and Hot Sauce

Sunday wasn't all that much simpler than Saturday. We had a very quick breakfast and then piled Fezzik into Borax and went to Marshall Mesa to meet up with the usual Pack. Luckily, they were all running a bit late as well, by fifteen minutes, so we coordinated properly and arrived just a minute or two behind everyone else. It's very nice to be sure of them and not have to wait much, simply because everyone was on time.

The day started out crisp and sunny, and I'd worn my sweatshirt underneath my green PVC coat. It's an old J. Peterman's coat, when things were still really well made there. The coat is completely rubber coated so that nothing gets through, neither wet nor wind. That was very important and turned out to be a very good thing indeed. Fezzik had his fun running up the hill with all the other pups and then splashing in the water with the others as we hit the first pond area. He was actually pretty smart along the long horizontal stretch because he didn't go down the bank too many times and when he did it was pretty neat to see that he was having no troubles getting back up again. I really liked seeing that. It helped that Haiku was in her very first heat, and Fezzik stuck really close to her. He's neutered, so was no threat to her, but he was still very attracted and happy to be around her.

By the time we'd hit the end of the horizontal stretch, clouds had rolled in from the West and the wind started to pick up and it started to get very, very cold. Wind-chill factor type cold. I don't think I've felt this kind of cold since I was a kid in Indiana and I remembered what it felt like from this retasting of the bone deep chill that can happen. I tucked my hands in my sleeves, pulled up the hood and felt much better out of the wind. Fezzik, on the other hand, was revelling in it. And the water that he picked up from the second pond froze all over his fur so that he, fairly quickly, had icicles hanging off of him, all around. That was really interesting to see against his black fur. He didn't seem to notice or care.

On the way down, John implemented our plan B. The last few times Fezzik's gone he's groaned for days afterwards, and we just didn't want to have a dog we'd have to pick up. So on the way down, when Fezzik's legs looked like they were starting to get wobbly, we just leashed him and kept him with us when the other dogs were running wild, still. He didn't fight it too hard, and stayed with us pretty well the whole way down. It was also noticable that he was staying high on his rear legs for much further down the hill and by the time we finished, he was still able to balance his weight on his hind legs when John lifted him into the back of Borax. That was quite a difference.

Of course he dripped all over the interior of the truck when he started to melt, but that is another point entirely. When we left the sky had gone all grey and cold.

On the way back we stopped at Safeway to pick up a few things, including some gorgeous looking habaneros. John had gotten a hot sauce kit for his birthday at the end of November and wanted to try out a few of the recipes. They required hot peppers and the local stores have a good selection. So he picked up some of those.

Lunch was some hot wings that I had picked up and a soup I made while we were eating the wings. Safeways's hot wings are actually pretty good. Spicy without killing off my mouth. And when I toasted them in the toaster oven they came out hot and crisp and tender. Yum. The soup was something I'd seen on In Food Today for a New England Fall type food. It was a cheese and ale soup that was made with good, sharp, aged cheddar cheese and ale. John was bottling his ale and needed to take some off of it to do a density test to see how much alcohol there was, so I used the flat beer he used for the test in the soup, along with some celery, carrots, peppers, onions, milk, roux, salt and pepper. I probably should have put corn in there was well, but mustard and Wostershire and some hot sauce added zing to the pot. It was really thick and good for the cold, cold day. While it was in its final simmers, I thawed some chicken breasts and then marinated 'em in buttermilk in the fridge.

After lunch I promptly went to sleep on the couch in front of the TV. Slept so solidly that John was using the electric beaters on egg whites to make beautiful, fluffy meringues with M&Ms in 'em and I didn't need to stay awake. While I was asleep he made a few batches of them, and a batch of hot sauce that was so hot I woke up to the scent of the fumes from the habaneros in hot vinegar. Woah. I heard him yip in delight (or was that yelp in pain?), as well, when he tasted his concoction. My.

After I finally woke up for real, I just went upstairs and dictated a pile of entries, then, when I was hungry, I went down and made fried chicken with the skinless breasts, nuked some French cut green beans and John made a good salad. Dinner was, therefore, quick and very good. The chicken really does well in buttermilk, and comes out tender, juicy and even when it's completely cooked is just melt in the mouth. I really, really liked the results because they were quick and very, very easy.

I then broke out the fruitcake and had a good slice of it for dessert, spritzed the remaining cake with brandy and put it back up on the shelf. I'll probably take it into work tomorrow and make more for after the holidays. It is really, really good. Hic.

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