October 23, 2011

Need a job for your heart?

Have a little time?  

Need some unconditional love?  

Maybe, just looking to give back a little in this life? 


Then now might be the time to be a Foster Mama (or Papa) to a dog one shot away from nothing.

(Mira, my 6th foster dog and one I should have kept....:)

I got involved in dog rescue and fostering in 2008.  I did it for a couple of reasons.  

One, to be honest, I was looking for someone to love, my kids had grown and I'm a nurturer at heart (even though I had never thought of myself as such) but when the house was empty of demands, schedules, homework, practices, etc. after 20 years, I found I had some extra attention to give and no one to give it to.  
(Here's Trixie, now known as Hailey, who my parents fostered through the summer of 2011)

Two, I have been so fortunate to have had such amazing dogs in my life: (Puffy, Willy, Tasha, Cita and my sweet boy Teiko)  How could I not do something?

(My first dog, Puffy and me taking a "nap")

Three, I read a heart-felt plea about truly honoring your dog who had passed, by giving another dog a chance.  

So 10 foster dogs later. I've learned a few things...   
  1. Dogs want to please you.  Just not always the way you're expecting....
  2. Your energy - both good and bad says more to a dog than your voice.
  3. All new dogs will "mark" your home at least once....  
  4. Dog (and kids) need structure, rules, discipline and time to be free
  5. Joy comes in quick moments and you had better pay attention: Like a wagging tail, a play bow, a successful "Come" or "Sit" and sometimes, if you are lucky, a full jump of joy.
  6. Your trust in the dog is a powerful tool for training. 
  7. Your heart always has room for just one more dog and that's why you can let go.
So here's Dakota, my parents' and my latest foster.  Dakota is truly a rescue in that she came from a neglect situation where she was forcibly surrendered by a dog-hoarding family that also kept wolves, yes...wolves.  For the first three years of her life, she was kept in an outside pen behind the barn (and yes, Wisconsin winters suck).  When coming to shelter, with no socialization to the real world, she was timid, cowered and would back-up from everything.  The only comfort she could give herself was licking her skinny hip.  

Thankfully, the family gave her to the local humane shelter, which spent the time getting to know her sweetness.  After a few calls and emails, Dakota found her way to GSRAW.  With a couple of months of love, attention, care and discipline she has just blossomed into an amazing young dog.  Yes, she has a lot to learn yet, but dang, she's come so far.  

Today Dakota and I worked on some house-dog basics.  She conquered the stairs.  She hammered the word - "Come" (always have a great $1000 treat - like ham). She worked on the sit, stay and wait commands.  She wore out my arm with a Wubba and her absolute joy to play. She sniffed every tree on our one hour walk.  And she didn't knock over the miniature poodle, Cita.   

The best moment:  She gives hugs.  Really!  She'll jump up gently, put her front paws around your middle,  tuck her nose in your side and just be.

Here is a great dog who just loves to be in safety and kindness and knows how good she has it. 

And the sad....she could have easily had been euthanized like so many others - because of her initial fear of new things.  

And imagine that.  What a loss of joy.

PLEASE, please consider fostering.  It makes your heart feel so good and it really does make a difference!  

October 16, 2011

Meet Dakota

Meet Dakota, our latest foster girl from German Shepherd Rescue Alliance of Wisconsin.  From what we know about this 3-year old girl , she was an owner-surrender to a Wisconsin county shelter.  It was a hoarding situation and the family had to give up a couple of dogs.  Dakota was kept in an outside pen behind a barn for three years with little interaction with others. And she was surrendered with a wolf.  Yes,  the family had wolves.  Are they nuts?

What we know so far about Dakota is she is a just sweet girl who bonds with a person totally but is very skittish and afraid of the unknown.   This lack of socialization causes her to try to run away from new people and experiences, cower and bark if backed into a corner.

But once she gets to know and trust someone, she is just a sweetie.  And guess where she landed?  Yep, my parents have opened the doors to Grama's Healing Center for Dogs.  This dog needs lots of love, attention and a safe place to decompress.   She's had a pretty full week already as a few days ago she had to have surgery to remove a broken canine.

She is recovering now and  was well enough on Thursday to take a set of blinds off the window at my parents' house. My father wanted to "test" how she'd do if he left the house for a short time..... My mom unbeknownst to this great plan was at the grocery store. She came home to a very happy dog sitting on the end table by said window wagging her tail and glad someone came home.... I think my dad came home a few minutes later and got a time out....

Cosmos aren't just for drinking

I just love Cosmos.  They grow like crazy in just a few months, fill an area with lots of color and make a great back fill.  Here in Wisconsin, I'm seeing them actually self seed.  The Cosmos pictured here are mostly from self-starters that germinated and grew in the pebbles below.  I pulled them out and replanted them and look at what happened - these babies tower at 6ft tall.

I saw some orange ones by a church yesterday.  Think I'm going to have to find some of those for next year....

October 6, 2011

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood

The temps this week have been in the upper 70s and just beautiful.  This morning during our daily walk, Teiko spotted one of several very busy squirrels gathering acorns.  It's the only time his ears are full up.

 The colors of the trees are almost full peak this week.  It is a good time to be in Wisconsin.  Since we had a hard frost last weekend, these temps will be fleeting.  Winter is on her way - but for now, let's just enjoy the present.

Had to take a photo ofTeiko chasing his frisbie under the beautiful reds of a young maple tree.

October 5, 2011

The end of summer

Probably the last bouquet of this Wisconsin summer.  We had a good frost last weekend (31 degrees) and all the annuals have bit it.  This is why I lean towards perennials - they can stand a shot or two of artic cold blasts.  Pictured above is a bouquet of sedum, coneflowers, cosmos, vervain and one rose from my back garden.  

Meet Victoria Schuchart - my Great Great Grandma

This past weekend was the annual Wedekind family reunion in Baraboo, WI.  I'm the family's genealogist in this branch - lucky them.  I love to go as this event grows more each year and new branches come with great photos and wonderful stories that bring these people to life.

I met a distant cousin who brought photos of Victoria Schuchart, my great-great grandmother, standing on the front porch of her house on Ash Street in Baraboo, WI.  I'd never seen a photo of her before so it was awesome to "meet" this grandmother.

I know from my genealogy research, she was born in Lancaster, WI around 1866, a daughter of the Schucharts and Gabels of Grant County, WI. Her parents and family were German Catholic immigrants who had previously farmed the rich soils around the villages of Geismar and Eichsfeld in the Thuringer province of Germany until the late 1840s.  I also know this was one of the last Catholic vestiges of northern Germany in an otherwise "reformed" part of the country.
To keep their religious freedoms and seeing the new opportunities in America, they emigrated in the 1850s to Wisconsin.  The Wedekind clan came 25 years later with a widow Christine Noring Wedekind and her five children finding a safe landing with this clan in Grant County. 
Wisconsinite Victoria, married my handsome German grandfather, Joseph, seen above in the  late 1880s.  Joseph died in the early 1900s after he and Victoria had started a good life together and had had several children.

Victoria, according to many grandchildren, and stories told to me this weekend, married a second great, loving man named Henry Noring,  Henry and Victoria  lived for many many years in Baraboo, WI.  They  raised all of her children with Joseph, who died unexpectedly of a heart attack in August 1903.

Above is a photo of the adult children of Victoria Schuchart and Joseph Wedekind with their deeply loved step-father, Henry Noring.  This photo is from 1955.  My great grandfather, Henry Wedekind is in the back row. 

My belief is that Victoria was introduced to her second husband, Henry Noring, by her first mother-in-law Christine, who was a Noring and had emigrated and found welcomed refuge in Lancaster, WI.   I'm still figuring this out but this is why I love history and genealogy.  There are so many threads, stories, and deep connections of family and love.  

Seek out your roots.

October 4, 2011

Bone-In Chicken Breast with Fig jam marinade

Tonight's dinner was a beautiful chicken breast with a fig marinade served with toasted Israeli couscous with porcini mushrooms and sauteed spinach.

I recently bought some Quince and Apple's Fig and Black Tea Jam at a local farmer's market.  I love fresh figs but in Wisconsin, they are available for about two days.  So I go to the experts to get the flavor and joy of a fleeting summer. 

The master of the grill, Todd, cooked these bone-in chicken breasts to perfection.  I, of course, made the marinade.  Here's the recipe:

  • Half (little more) jar of fig jam
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1tbs olive oil
  • 1-3 cloves of minced garlic
  • Salt and Pepper to season
  • Red pepper flakes to taste.
In a small bowl, combine all ingredients, stir.  Take two chicken breasts and put in plastic bag.  Add marinade.  Let sit 30 minutes on counter while grill gets hot or sit in the refridge for up to 12 hours.  When ready to grill, take meat out of bag and plate.  Using a brush, spread the marinade over the meat.  Pour the rest in a bowl to use later. 

Todd is the master, I can only give basics at this point.  Heat grill as normal.  Sear the breasts quickly on high heat.  Then turn down heat in the middle of the grill - or set to cool area.  The idea is to finish cooking slowly with indirect heat - about 30 minutes all together.  Turn regularly. Baste the meat with the marinade when turning.  Towards the end of grilling, turn the breasts meat-side down and fill the cup of the rib bones with the marinade.  Let sit on the turned-off grill while finishing the rest of the sides. 

We served with boxed couscous and added dried porcini mushrooms and a wok full of sauteed spinach.  The wine was a delightlfully full-bodied Simi Sauvignon Blanc 2009 purchased at our local Pierces Supermarket for under $12.  

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...