Saturday, November 5, 2016

Bath Time

I am a huge fan of free stuff. From the free stuff, I often think of how to repurpose them to make my life easier. A few months ago, a family with several young children across the street was moving. At the end of their moving sale, they had a huge pile of things left out on the curb for free. One of the items was a Stokke Flexi infant bath. I almost didn't take but then I thought Cracus could take his bath in it instead of in the big bathtub. I would use less water and be able to stay dry. It is so easy to give Cracus a bath now, I bath him more often than I used to.

Since the baby bath is small, he can't really try to run away. I have seen other baby bath before, and this one has the best design for converting to dog bath. It's foldable to save space when not being used. It also has a rubber plug on the bottom to empty out the water after a bath. I usually drain out the dirty water then fill it up again to rinse Cracus off with clean water.  I give Cracus treats during his bath to make it a positive experience for him.  Recently I switched to Bobbi Panter Bad Hair Day dog shampoo, and Cracus seems to like it better than what I used before.  I got the shampoo for Kelsey initially since Kelsey has a lot of dandruff and sheds a lot. It worked amazing on Kelsey's hair, too. The dog shampoo costs more than my shampoo, but it's worth it for me.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Passion Fruit Propagated!

passion fruit next to mulberry tree

While visiting the old Sand Village Farm last week, I dug up one of rooted cuttings of passion fruit in the rain. I put it in a small temporary blue container before I could find the time to plant it outside. Remember the 4" dwarf mulberry tree I ordered last year around this time?  Well, it's about 4 feet tall now.  I put the passion fruit cutting next to it for comparison. I am sure by spring the mulberry tree would be at least as tall as I am. I can't wait to have fresh mulberries right in my backyard!

Cracus always wants to help

I picked a spot that is sunny for the passion fruit. It's next to the kiwi vines. Since the passion fruit is still so small, I needed to put something around it to protect it from the pups. They don't bother plants much, but occasionally one of the pups would just decide to attack a random plant. Since the mulberry tree no longer needs extra protection, I moved the wire plant protector over to the passion fruit. As you can see, Cracus was very curious about this new addition to the garden. He kept sniffing and circling it. It was about 9:30, and everything was still wet outside from the morning dew. His paws and tummy got quite muddy from stepping all over the damp soil.  By the time I was done, I could not let him back in the house without a bath.  Bath time will be the next topic.

Cracus proudly posing with the newly planted passion fruit

Monday, October 31, 2016

Barktoberfest 2016

A group of dog lovers put together a Barktoberfest at Point Isabel every year right around Halloween. The even includes a parade and costume contest for dogs. For the past several years, I always missed it for one reason or another. This year I wasn't sure if I could make it either until the last minute. It had been raining which is unusual for California, where I can't remember when was the last time we weren't having a drought. This year's Barktoberfest was scheduled on Saturday, October 29th. It was still raining that morning. Around 10 a.m. the sun came out and the rain stopped. Around 11 a.m. the sun disappeared and it started drizzling again. I made a circus clown costume for Cracus a few weeks ago. He's been running around in Point Isabel in his costume. People smile at the sight of his craziness.

At 12:30 p.m., it became obvious that the sun was going to stay around. I quickly put on my Pikachu onesie and put Cracus in costume. I forgot the hula hoop I was going to bring with us as we rushed out the door.

We got a big bag of treats just for registering our names for the contest. We were number 9. After everyone had a chance to register, we paraded down the trail. Since I forgot to bring the hoop, all I could do was making Cracus walk on his hind legs and twirl around as we paraded. People were already amused by his "tricks." The judges were making notes and giving scores while we showed off our pups.

After a short parade, we turned back to the area where we first gathered and waited for the announcement of winners. It was nice that they divided the dogs into three groups by size. Cracus is a small dog. They announced the first runner up in small dog category. It was a pup who had a giraffe costume on. When they called for number 9 as the second runner up, I couldn't believe it. There were so many nice costumes. Maybe it was the twirling. We went up to the front, and someone from the audience asked to have Cracus "dance for everyone, so he happily did a few more times.  We received an award certificate with a big bag of prizes and had our photos taken. We couldn't stop smiling!

We will be back next year!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Passion Fruit Vines Reach the Roof

Over the weekend, Cracus and I returned to the old Sand Village Farm to check on the plants. Take a look at the passion fruit vines!  This is basically just one plant as you can see in the photo. It's now covered the entire arbor and reached the roof. Remember when I first blogged about it back in 2011 when it had its first flower?  There are fruits hanging down everywhere now. I like to pick the ones that are ripe, so usually they already fall on the ground. Those are the sweetest. They are dark purple. If you touch them while they are still attached to the vines, and they come right off, that means they are ripe. If you have to twist or pull them, then just wait for a few more days.

Cracus was so excited to be there. He ran around like a mad dog. He is always so enthusiastic about everything and every place he visits even though he has been there many times.  I just walked around and picked up all the passion fruit on the ground.  There were more than 20 of them. I can't wait to propagate some over to the new location. People need to know about this delicious fruit that has ten amazing health benefits. It's high in vitamin A and C, both are strong antioxidants. It's also high in fiber. A full list is available here on the fitness wiki page. However, I love it because it smells amazing and tastes so good. It always reminds me of my grandfather, who shared them with me when I was a toddler.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Making Chicha Morada

I recently had dinner at El Mono, a newish Peruvian restaurant, in El Cerrito. I loved everything they served - from the roasted corn appetizer, canchita, to the purple corn drink, chicha morada.  Ever since that night, I have been thinking about making a huge pot of chicha morada so that I can drink a lot of it whenever I like. This is something I have done for years. Whenever I like something a lot in a restaurant, I go home and make a huge amount of it from scratch. Over the years, I have made seafood gumbo, clam chowder, hot and sour soup, empanada, etc., etc.  I am not rich so I can't afford to go back to the restaurant and order the same thing over and over; besides, I have a huge appetite.

I already had the spices I needed in my pantry such as whole cloves and cinnamon. I have unlimited supply of fresh lemons and apples, so instead of using limes, I used lemons. All I really needed to buy were pinapple and purple corn. This morning I stopped by La Loma Market No. 1 while I was getting a complimentary alignment at Big O Tires across the street.  The produce guy was not sure what I meant by "purple" corn but as soon as I mentioned Peruvian drink, he took me to the Peruvian isle and showed me all different types of corn!  Wow! I was tempted to get some canchita as well, but I figured that I would make the drink first. I found many youtube videos and recipes on how to make chicha morada with slight variations from each other. I made my own modification as well. Instead of using sugar, I added honey to my drink. I have included a link above on how to make it in Spanish. You really don't need to understand Spanish to follow the young girl in the video. If a child can make it, you can, too.

I love this drink and sipping it with little chunks of pineapple in it!