In the morning paper, yes I still get real paper paper, there was touching story about a horse named Raphael recently relocated to an animal rescue in our area. The article detailed the 12-year-old quarter horse’s journey from Juarez, Mexico and his life prior to being rescued. There are few things that will move me to anger more quickly than the abuse of any creature, human or otherwise, who is unable to defend themselves. As the story unfolded it said the equine had lived in forced labor most of his life in Juarez under the heavy hand of a master who beat him and cared little, if at all, for the animal’s well-being. Had it not been for a well-meaning tourist intervening after seeing the horse kneeling in the street unable to go on Raphael would have ended his days with that yoke around his neck. The yoke, never removed, had to be extricated in pieces. The leather had insinuated itself in the horse’s skin over years of wear. Makes me cry.
After much red tape, several wonderful vets, and caring volunteers Raphael, purchased for $200 from his owner in Juarez, has finally found a loving home in which to spend his remaining years. According to the article he follows his new caregivers around like a puppy, happy for any attention they can spare or an apple or two. Tortilla chips and other fast food items were his diet staples until coming to the U.S. leaving the animal both unhealthy and underweight.
Sometimes we humans are sorrowful creatures. I have to rekindle the fire I have for our more admirable traits after reading such a thing. However, the random acts of kindness will have the glow going in no time and I’ll be back to singing our praises again.
On the subject of animals, we had an incredible thunder and lightning storm pass through here night before last. Boo, the Queen of Cats, needed a therapy session once it was over. She traveled the area between the bedroom and the living room meowing loudly and requiring much reassurance the world, as she knows it, was not about to end. It rolled over us leaving much debris and piles of leaves strewn in its path. I spent a good part of the morning sweeping leaves, depositing them in the already full bin out front. Living up here in the tall trees nature takes over most of the time making it futile to try to keep everything pristine. Part of the beauty of living here is that it is a natural setting, but if you let it go too long catching up the leaves will always be three steps ahead of you.
I have given some thought to the upcoming holidays. Christmas is to be at our house this year. Not to bring the subject up before we’ve even carved pumpkins. I saw my first Black Friday ad yesterday, which struck fear in my heart. Each year the holidays seem to creep up on me a little bit earlier than the year before. In our family we’ve really limited the spending we do among the adults. Little “I love you’s” serve nicely. Particularly as the younger members of our clan are growing up quickly and asking for gifts of a far more expensive nature then when they were younger. A doll or a box of Lego’s used to be the perfect choice. These days they have moved on to electronic watches and cell phones which require a far deeper reach into pockets than in years before. We’ve learned to collaborate on these pricey items, each of us tossing something in the pot. Works much better than trying to handle it alone, especially with nine photos lining our grandchildren album.
This soup is one of my favorites. I haul it out about this time each year. It is a full meal really, not needing much to accompany it but perhaps a slice of crusty bread.
Hearty Crockpot Pepper Soup
1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
4 small yellow and orange bell peppers, seeded and chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
4 cups chicken broth
1 15 1/2 oz.can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 15 1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes with garlic and olive oil, with juice
1 6 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. basil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. hot paprika
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 small chub of hard Parmesan cheese (optional)
2 bay leaves
1 cup cooked corn kernels
1 pkg. Boil in bag white rice
In large skillet brown meat with onion, garlic, and chopped peppers. Drain.
Spray bottom of 6 quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Add meat.
In large bowl combine all remaining ingredients but rice and croutons. Pour sauce ingredients over meat. Mix well. Cook for 8 hrs. on low. Add corn. Cook for 1 hr.