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Posts Tagged ‘house sitting’

finalTypically, the media was full of good news this morning. There was discussion about buzz among the scientific community that the end of the world, or big bang theory, is expected to arrive sooner than previously thought. A belief the universe will likely implode rather than explode is floating about. Either scenario doesn’t play well for those of us enjoying our time here. Not good news. Not good news at all. I hope it’s not directly imminent. I just bought a pair of the cutest new sandals I haven’t had a chance to wear yet and have a pricey rack of lamb cooling its heels in the freezer waiting for its debut on Easter.

Truly the good news can usually be jammed in a five minute segment most likely including an animal of some sort. I try to take in as little of the news as possible or I’ll be eying the gas oven as a way to put myself out of my misery. Last night I have to admit there was actually a bit of levity squeezed in between the gruesome murders, home invasions and horrendous accidents which are standard fare around dinnertime. A large bear, well truly the adjective is superlative here as most bears are, in fact, bigger than a breadbox, got stuck up a tree. I can imagine this created a rather nervous squirrel population in the immediate vicinity and probably not something I’m sure the local woodpecker or bee population is used to seeing every day. The bear, referred to by the emergency personnel as “Boo Boo” for whatever reason, lay comfortably draped over a large branch watching with idle curiosity as fire department and police below tried to figure out how extricate the animal.

Bears seem to be in the news lately. A local man reported having hit a bear in our area. Perhaps the animals are coming down in search of food with warmer weather arriving early. Maybe this bear simply was enjoying the limelight on a warm spring afternoon. Who am I to say? Bears also permeate my dreams of late. Emergency crews were on hand to relocate the treed bear to safety. I wish I had an emergency number to dial to get the bears out of my sleep. I would be most interested to understand their significance of their persisting presence in my subconscious.

In the midst of chasing bears while I sleep, or rather having them stalk me, I continue to prepare for the upcoming nuptials. Rick’s daughter, the bride in question, is a dog rescuer of sorts so I can imagine animals will figure in my time in Phoenix as well. Most likely we will find a plethora of furry friends in need of temporary rescuing at their house when we arrive in Phoenix. In our absence friends will be house sitting. They have an event to attend not far from here so the timing was perfect for them to move in while we are gone.

House sitting can be fun. During my lifetime I’ve taken the opportunity to do so on several different occasions. While living on the east coast I filled in for friends while they traveled abroad on several occasions. The home in question was a shingled somewhat weather worn cottage. The structure sat atop a sand dune on a long strand of beach in Massachusetts. My presence was required the first time during a particularly balmy week in July. Two bedrooms were inside but with the humidity high the rugged deck was where I chose to sleep with salty air, sea smells, and gulls calling beginning and ending my days while there. Along with its eclectic interior decor, ranging from rusted anchors to treasured china dolls, the airy dwelling offered up a glorious view of the deep dark Atlantic just outside the French doors. Loved it. I stayed there two more times before the house changed hands. Looking back I wish I’d snapped it up when it came on the market, but hindsight as always is 20-20, and money as always is an issue.

While living in California I’ve house sat twice. Once in Southern California. A lovely home belonging to a dentist and his wife taking a second honeymoon in Bali. Another time I obliged for a couple I worked with in Silicon Valley. The Silicon Valley house was more modest than the dentists home by far. A cozy little tract home with a backyard butting up against an olive orchard. Peaceful and serene surroundings for a weekend away. I shared space while visiting with the couple’s corpulent Samoyed, Gracie, and Mitch, their tuxedo cat. Gracie was a lovely old dog, though prone to flatulence and suffering from arthritis. I assumed her well rounded physique to be due in part to her preference for doggie treats as well as movement causing her pain. Mitch, for the most part, minded his own business climbing on my lap a time or two to check me out. Apparently finding my company less than stimulating spent his time on the window sill or outside most of the day. Along with retrieving the paper and keeping an eye on the house I was tasked with keeping Gracie mobile, lest she stiffen up like the Tin Man, and keep the kibble flowing. There was little to do while there. Sometimes having nothing to do is a gift. Though it was explained to me, I never did get comfortable with using any of the sophisticated equipment occupying the impressive tower in the living room. Five remotes on the coffee table were required to maneuver your way through the equipment. With my luck I assumed I could take the entire unit down with one flick of a button. With no television or stereo to occupy my time, Gracie and I shared space in the padded lawn chairs out back. I caught up on my reading while Mitch scanned the sky for birds. Cell phones and computers not the rage back then, it’s amazing how much time you find on your hands when electronic devices are eliminated from the mix. In the end I enjoyed my stay there and the company of Gracie, gone now, who asked little of me other than an occasional piece of doggie jerky and a pat on the head.

So, we prepare to hit the friendly skies once again. With all the recent publicity about air travel, I hope this is only a metaphor.

This pie is a delightful way to use up leftover turkey. Certainly you could use chicken, but I had turkey on hand. This makes 4 pies. Reduce by half if you only need one or freeze the filling and make another at a later date.

1Turkey Pot Pie

3 carrots, sliced
2 large baking potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup frozen peas
2/3 cup butter
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large onion, chopped
5 large mushrooms, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp. coriander
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 3/4 cups turkey broth (or chicken)
1 1/3 cups milk (I used non-fat)
4 cups cooked turkey meat, cubed or shredded
4 unbaked pie shells
1 egg plus 1 Tbsp. water (egg wash)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place carrots, potatoes, and and peas in large deep skillet. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and continue cooking until vegetables are tender. Drain and set aside.

In same skillet melt butter over med. heat. Add onion, celery, and mushrooms. Cook about 8 mins. until vegetables are tender.

Mix together all seasonings. Sprinkle over onion/celery mix in pan. Add flour and stir to mix well. Continue cooking for 2 mins. stirring constantly. Whisk in turkey broth then milk. Increase heat to med.-high and cook whisking constantly until mixture begins to bubble and thicken. Add carrots, potatoes, peas, and turkey to mixture. Combine.

Place 1 shell in the bottom of each of two pie plates. Pour one half of the filling mixture into each pie. Top with remaining 2 shells. Pinch top and bottoms together and trim if necessary. Add four slits to center of each shell to vent.

Mix together egg and 1 Tbsp. water. Brush over tops of both shells. Bake for 1 hour. If crust becomes too dark around edges cover with tin foil.

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