– It’s that time of year when the sun can’t get its act together to rise before I wake up. Having the icicle lights on the deck help make it feel like less of a black void outside (since there aren’t any streetlights in the country), but mostly I just have to sit around and wait for the sky to get brighter. It’s amazing how the clouds can light up like this for a few minutes, and then a few minutes later, they’re completely dull and boring again.
– I keep meaning to share my ‘new’ (not-so-new-anymore) spinach trick. It feels wrong to eat lunch or dinner without a green vegetable component, but sometimes I don’t feel like eating broccoli or kale, etc. So my stand-by in such situations has been to blend spinach up into apple juice (it doesn’t taste of spinach; it’s better than it sounds). And I’d started putting a couple of ice cubes in the blender, too, to make it a little bit slushy. Then I realized I could skip that step AND never have to worry about a bag of spinach going slimy in the fridge. I blend and freeze the spinach instead! I’ve been using my blender (but a food processor might work even better), and I start with a big handful of spinach and only just enough water to get things blending. Obviously, you don’t want to burn out the motor, but you want as little additional water as possible, or it’ll just get icy in the freezer. Once you’ve liquified the first batch of spinach, you can keep adding more (by the large handful) and liquifying — it’ll get much easier once you get it going. Once I’ve blended an entire bag of spinach into so much green liquid (no leaf pieces left), I pour it into ice cube trays, freeze, and then store them in a container in the freezer. I chuck a few straight into apple juice or a smoothie, blend it up, et voilà!
– I taught Nova to lie down on command the other day. She’d picked up on ‘sit’ pretty quickly, but she doesn’t naturally lie down attentively. Henny does, so it was pretty easy to teach her to do so on command, but I wasn’t sure how to start with Nova. I find it hilarious that so many people think you can manually put a pet into the desired position — Henny has always locked up all her joints if I tried that, and Nova goes bananas with all the perceived affection. I kept telling Nova ‘down’ and tapping on the ground, but she had no clue what I wanted. Henny was all, ‘I’ve got this one!’, so I had her lie down several times on command, giving her a treat every time. Nova was watching and getting more and more frustrated (that Henny was getting treats) until she finally shook her head, did an annoyed bark, and threw herself to the ground, lying down just like Henny had been. That was all it took — she’s solid on what ‘down’ means now. So when in doubt, use dog-sibling rivalry, I guess.