Puppy: What Lies Ahead (Wordless Wednesday)

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Warm winter day, Charleston. Puppy time.

Biscuit Festival, 2013

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I’m overdue on a post about the 2013 Biscuit Festival in Knoxville. The event was several weeks ago and I’m still sorting through photos. Every image reminds me of intoxicating tastes and smells. I keep thinking I need a snack, when really I just need to get back to the blog.

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The second day of the Festival was rainy, but thousands of people ignored the weather and came downtown anyway. Some spilled onto adjacent Krutch Park.

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The idea was to get in line and buy a general ticket which would be shown to each of the twenty or so participating vendors. Then, you’d get a sample  of the vendor’s interpretation of biscuit goodness. We didn’t want to wait in line, then stand in the middle of the street and eat biscuits for several hours, so we ducked into Tupelo Honey Cafe for brunch. After that, we did some people-watching on the festival end of the street, and shopped for herbs and vegetables on the farmers market end.

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These biscuits, from the innovative and enduring Tomato Head Restaurant, were made with smoked cheddar and onion. They made me wish I had bought a ticket after all; maybe TH will publish their recipe someday!

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Tupelo Honey, which originated in my hometown of Asheville, opened a Knoxville branch in 2012.

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There were plenty of things to buy (or sample) besides biscuits.  Moonshine cake was an example. Eat responsibly!

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Vendors on the farmer’s market side of the mall had vibrant displays of vegetables. The grower of these luscious-looking radishes told me he likes the D’avignon variety (third from the left). He recommends slicing them thin (oblong side) and putting them on a buttered baguette. Real butter — not margarine, mind you.

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Could you stop by this booth and not feel a surge of health and domesticity coming on?

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I liked these t-shirts and graphics, displayed at the farmers market booth. If there was a sales/information booth dedicated to the Biscuit Festival organization, we didn’t see it.

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These young women were happy to smile for a photograph and answer questions about Napping Cat Flower Farm, source for the gorgeous array of cut blossoms all around them. I bought a sweet mixed bouquet that was arranged in a simple tin can. Napping Cat has one of the prettiest Facebook sites I’ve seen. It’s full of flowers and nature photographs and, of course, cats. The owners say they’ve adopted a lot of cats over the years, but always spay or neuter them. In their words, they don’t grow kittens. Only flowers.

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I think herbs are essential in a garden, even if you live in an apartment and have a tiny patio and a few pots. They’re great hosts and pollinators for butterflies and bees, they smell good, and — oh my — what they can do to jazz up a biscuit!

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Dogs of every breed, mix, and size were at the festival. I loved seeing them, but don’t know how they withstood the olfactory overload from food in various stages of preparation: bacon and ham frying, cheese bubbling, biscuits baking, onions sizzling, and more — it must have set their canine mouths to frothing!

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The biscuit festival has ended, and I’ve decided to try my hand at making biscuits again. I’ve never been much good at it — mine always have that hockey puck quality. You have to make them regularly to get  those light and fluffy ones, I think. At any rate, I’m dragging out my tattered recipes, with an eye to jazzing them up with some fancy, special ingredient. We’ll see how it goes. Old dogs can learn new tricks, right?

Kittens and Greenery: Irresistible!

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Home

Dear people in my family have just adopted this fuzzy girl with the big ears and eyes. Her name is Sophie. When Sophie crossed the threshold and began adjusting to all the sights, sounds, and smells of her new home, she quickly discovered all kinds of low-hanging leaves in the jungle of houseplants on the floor. None were poisonous to her, but many were appealing for their grassiness, or lushness, or who-knows-what. At least the Christmas tree had already been taken down.

Years ago, I had a sitter come in several times a day to take care of my two cats while I attended an out-of-town conference. The Christmas tree – a fresh spruce about seven feet tall – was resplendent in all its holiday finery (mainly lights and bird ornaments, if I recall) and was tucked away in the corner as far I could place it.

When I returned from my meeting, I found the tree lying on its side, with most of its ornaments spread out on the floor. Fortunately, there was no broken glass, or any evidence of feline distress or damage. The cats were very nonchalant and evasive about the entire episode. The note from the sitter said how sorry she was, but never mentioned why she just left the tree lying in the floor.

This Could Happen

This Could Happen

It’s been a while since I’ve had any pets. Over the years, they all succumbed to illness or old age.  One cat, Katie, was almost twenty when she died. I found her in the woods when she was young and very ill. I was on my way to the Humane Society with her, when I turned my car around and drove her home.  I was with most of my pets when they were euthanized and, for a long time, felt I couldn’t go through that again. But maybe it’s time to welcome another dog or cat to our home. I think Sophie has definitely stirred the old longings. Besides, what’s a home without pets and plants?

Kubi and the Golden Larch

Kubi the Nursery Cat

Kubi, a very laid-back, handsome cat, lives at Camellia Forest Nursery in Chapel Hill. He was named for his habit of crawling into the bucket of the nursery’s Kubota tractor when naptime was imminent.

When I saw Kubi (pronounced “Cubby”), he was lounging under a golden larch (pseudolarix amabilis) in a large container near the nursery office. His more-timid predecessor (below) left the plant life a year ago, when she was adopted by a a local family.

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Kittens: Talk Amongst Yourselves

Every blog gets to have at least one “aw…how sweet” kitten video.