Archive for the ‘Dog Is My Co-Pilot’ Category

The Adventures of A Hermit: Year 1 Retrospective.

January 6, 2012

We should be just about done with all the ''Best of" and Top 10 Most Spectacular Vomit Moments of 2011  that clog practically every newspaper and magazine in the land. But I wouldn't be a contributing member of blogger-society if I didn't put the Hermist's fondest adventures on record.

I've come into myself this year, owning up to the role of the Hermist, and no longer trying to force the social butterfly bullshit that simply wasn't me.  Once I did that, I found, much to my surprise, a feeling of relief and also an abundance of good things.  Let's look, shall we? 


A new and entertaining friend, Cheffapetta came to visit the wilds of Austin from the Land of the Sophisticated Palate (Denver), so I had to show him a thing or two about gritty-Coke-In-The-Glass-Bottle-With-Yer-Brisket barbecue.  Wood paneled walls, duck decor, plastic plates and a roll of paper towels. You've been schooled.

they wish they had something so divine in Colorado as the Smokehouse.

 This was the year of canning. I canned practically anything I could get my hands on, from boozed-up strawberries to grilled corn to watermelon rinds and lime-slapped kiwis. I actually killed my nice stove in the process and never had so much fun. The highlight of all that sweating and domestic syrup were the get-togethers with my hermitty friends who weren't afraid to step into the kitchen with me. Now, I'd post photos of the gooey leche quemada, the swimming-in-whisky strawberries and the rows of jeweled fruit in jars, but there are other sites that do food porn so much more justice.   
Can it.
Here was our first canning party, with myself in a feverish state, surrounded by my beautiful domestic-lovin' friends. God love ya. I barely remember anything thanks to that penicillin, what a hell of a party!   

Bringing the world together around a pressure cooker...

 Part of my hermit transformation was learning a lot about how to fend for myself.  And part of THAT includes a pressure cooker, which I was afraid of, and now, am only slightly afraid of.  Just a little bit.  Thanks to David Alexander, for the story about his grandmother blowing up her stove top/roof... but that is another story.  *Do take a special note of the Mistress of Ceremony, the lovely Milan, parked directly in the center of all the quick-paced and high-energy action in the kitchen.   She knows who's in charge.

Too much canning can only lead to drunken moments like this... (drinking cold stew)

Here's Russ. The man makes an excellent elderberry wine, which he creates himself of course, along with above-pictured beef stew, and can fully stock his own larder single-handedly.  The man has amazing potential for  Hermit status...   

Where The Wild Things Are.

My role this past year was the designated wielder of the knife and spatula, cooking up outdoor meals for the people crawling through bushes, being chased by zombies, and living the primitive life.  My inner hermit got much joy out of witnessing moments like these.

This wood elf will find you. Track your ass down and find you.

I loved watching the process of Human Pathers evolving into crafty, independent diy-ers who weren't afraid of getting dirty, doing it from scratch and taking care of themselves.   

Girl kicks man's ass soundly.

  Honestly, and I know everyone agrees on this one. There is nothing better than a girl who can kick your ass.  

No, I promise you I am totally normal.

When we hosted the 1st Annual Zombie Apocalypse this past October, it was an awesome experience to watch how zombies can really put a crimp on carefully planned disorder. 

Zombies and the People That Love Them.

Plus we got to witness zombies who barely stumbled, barely moved, barely accessorized. Zombie baby, zombie kid, zombie bride, zombie gung-ho dad.  And one zombie, who was a streak of darkness, running after pathers in the pitch black.

The Fastest Zombie We've Ever Seen.


A Drill. A Vat of Glue. And An Apron.

One of my outward expressions of happiness is to create textile installations.  Its a surreal Dr. Suess meets The Stepford Wives world, with my alter ego, the Kitchen Goddess.  Somehow, working with fabric and lots of laborious applications of string, stick-pins and nails, has become my defining mark.  My college art professors would be so proud. (probably not)   

Noche De Recuedros with my buddy Rick

  Here is the floating altar, year two, that Rick and I set loose in the Woodlawn Lake.  After an intense summer drought, 'setting loose' might not be the right term, as it grazed the murky bottom of the very low casting pond.   The highlight of the year for me was the day I could step out of Vi's hair salon with my hair sprayed so fastidiously into a beehive that it took me almost a week to get it out.  I stuck two shellacked forks in my hair, put on my pink flirtin' gloves and my favorite blue chiffon apron, was handed a never-empty glass of wine and out I went ... the kitchen goddess.

There is nothing more divine than a kitchen goddess that knows her place. In the home.

 Who says art can't be fun?  With the indispensible Rebecca Coffey fronting the kitchen lines, we opened up a alternate reality of frozen housewife smiles and pickles on a stick.  View the exhibit photos here!  
The Kitchen Goddess, April exhibit

Are You There Dog? Its me...

Not a day goes by that I don't have the company of my dogs; constant companions, artistic consultants and snuffler-of-ears.  We fostered 3 dogs this year and all found great new homes, mostly with other pathers.

Fozzy Leo.

It is a great life, living out here on the hermit-stead with these fine beasts.  This final image though, is my favorite.  It has been exactly 2 years now that Milan came home with us on the day my beloved dad-in-law Joe died.  She came broken down and tired.  Since then she's slowly recovered and is now our elderly dragon-growling matron, the mascot of the hermit.  Milan the Beautiful.

Sam brings Milan up from the pond at the quarry to help her make the trip.

Happy New Year to all of you.  May good things happen. Eat good food. Pet your friends and hug your dogs.  Live that life with intention and gusto.
-The Hermist.

Are You There, Dog? Its me…

September 1, 2011
It was a happy day in Hermit-Ville a week ago.  Our newest visitor, in our lives for only a week, found her forever home. Phoenix, a gentle shepherd-mix dog with bottomless eyes, survived a horrible fire that claimed the life of a child and injured many others in a San Antonio apartment complex fire just about a week and a half ago. While the remnants of the apartments smoldered and residents and fire crews left the scene, she had stayed in the rubble, waiting and watching, but no one returned for her.  Sam left work during the day after hearing about her online, scooped her up and brought her home.  She fit right in to HermitVille.  Initially a little timid, she made friends quickly with our pack and started to learn basic Doggie Manners. She'd never had any training and was like a blank slate. With the help of a good friend, Kelly Reid Walls, who is an animal activist and an absolute angel, we got Phoenix her shots and micro-chipped and then spayed in preparation of a good home.    And one of Sam's students in Austin made the drive down here to meet her.  He has several dogs of his own, but decided that she was special enough to add into his pack. And here is Phoenix, with ghostie eyes, with her new ghostie pals, looking as sweet as can be.  Rest well, my dear girl. Now you are home.

Survival Of The Fittest

August 21, 2011
  Earlier this week, I saw the rounds of photos (this one taken by a local news reporter) making their way through Facebook about a dog that was abandoned at the scene of a terrible fire in San Antonio.  An entire apartment complex had burned to the ground, killing one child and injuring many others.  All that was left were mangled concrete pillars, staircases and ash ... and this dog, waiting patiently for someone to come for her. She stood watch for two days with no food or water given to her.  No one arrived, and she continued to patiently wait. Sam loaded her up into his car and brought her home. She was so dehydrated that she would barely move, spending that first day lying lethargically in a ball, accepting only Pedia-Lyte from a dropper and weakly wagging her tail.  Sam set straight to work with showering her off, and giving her chicken broth with Kaopectate to counteract her bad malnutrition. the rehab of a downward facing dog While she had been clearly waiting for someone, after cleaning this pup up, it became evident she'd been on her own.  Maybe 35# sopping wet, her hips jut out, her skin is taut on her ribs and she's got not so much as an ounce to spare. Several ticks had to be picked off, and she is not yet spayed.  Ask yourself about the type of person who leaves a creature like this for days without any help, and worse, has set their preceding life to be absent of any real quality of care.  If my world crumbled and went up in flames, my priority would be my family and that, for me, includes my animals. Every one of them.  Dogs are amazing survivalists.  It doesn't matter the odds.  It doesn't matter the treatment.  It doesn't matter how hard they're kicked, how little they are fed, or the abuse that's heaped on them. They love. They love you anyway, even though you shouldn't deserve it and they find a way to survive.   This beautiful creature, meek and soulful-eyed, is going to make the best friend for someone lucky. She'll be the thumping tail by their bedside in the morning, eager to follow them through the backyard, tend that garden or look quizzically (did i misspell that?) at the nature that is all new to her.  If her new owner has a homestead, Phoenix, (having risen from the ashes of this fire) will be patrolling the land and keeping her own watch over someone who deserves her.

world's best dog. kamman getter.

 Being a caretaker to the land is a crucial and important thing that all humans should do, but few choose to.  Being a caretaker to a creature like Phoenix is a second way to make that connection, and to, in seconds, with little effort, change an entire life.  There is no greater love than this.  I guarantee that.