My fellow summer worshippers will likely agree that there is nothing quite like relaxing in the sunshine in sunglasses and flip flops, feet kicked up, with a glass of fresh, fruity sangria. When I visualize all of my favorite summertime stereotypes (which I do, and often), sangria makes an appearance much of the time.
A couple of weeks ago, I was in one of my longing-for-summer states of mind, and I decided that I needed to come up with a new version of sangria that would be more appropriate for wintertime. I ended up creating a seriously delicious sparkling winter white sangria. I don’t use brandy or a ton of fruit juice like you normally find in traditional sangrias, so it’s nice and crisp, and doesn’t mask the flavor of the prosecco. So good.
1 bottle (750 ML) VOVETI Prosecco, chilled
1/2 cup fresh clementine or orange juice
2-4 tablespoons sugar (depending on level of sweetness desired)
4-6 clementines, peeled and separated into segments
1 apple (we like Fuji), cut into small cubes
1 cup of fresh cranberries
In a large pitcher, combine the VOVETI clementine or orange juice, and sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add clementines, apples, and cranberries. Let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Pour into glasses and top with a squeeze of fresh clementine juice. Enjoy!
I love using VOVETI for this cocktail, because its level of dryness and delicious hints of fruit make it perfect for sangria. I’m also a big fan of the fact that it has more bubbles than any other prosecco. If you’re not yet familiar with VOVETI, it’s brut style DOC with tempered acuity and a fresh, graceful profile, making it a great aperitif before a meal with friends, or an evening cocktail to enjoy with your partner (or by yourself!). I always have a bottle chilling in the fridge. (It makes a killer mimosa too!)
While this sparkling white sangria could easily be enjoyed in the summertime too, I think it’s perfect for the winter months. Robbie, who is mostly a beer drinker, loves it as much as I do. In fact, it’s become one of our go-to night caps after the kids go to bed and we want to spend a few minutes together just chilling. Sometimes we just make individual servings with VOVETI mini bottles instead of a full size. Either way, it’s so easy to whip together. I’m looking forward to making it for friends next time we host a gathering. If you try it, I’d love to hear what you think too!
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The second Thursday in November has just passed. In most of the country, thoughts will be about the big feast that comes exactly seven days later, but not in my part of the world.
This coming week does include American Thanksgiving. Big family meals will be held that day, and swarms of people will go charging out to shopping malls on Friday.
But in West Virginia, another holiday takes precedence: “buck gun season.” This coming Monday, the woods be filled with more loud booms than the Fourth of July. Organic protein and “horns” will be the prize, and a few more forest destroying cervids will be removed from the population before the coming winter turns them into twig chomping fiends.
When I was a child, all sort of people came into the rural districts, often people who had grown up in the area but had gone into the industrial parts of Ohio for work. Ohio’s deer season, “shotgun only,” came later in the year, but West Virginia’s came the week of Thanksgiving. If one wanted to visit the family for the holiday, why not come a few days early and drop a buck for the freezer?
It was such a big event that the school was out all week, not just Thursday and Friday. We received a truncated Christmas vacation, but school attendance during that week would have been terrible. So the district let us all out.
And the tradition continues. I don’t know of a single school district in West Virginia that stays open the week of Thanksgiving.
In fact, virtually every college or university in West Virginia has a week-long holiday this coming week. It is that big a deal.
And it’s not like the deer are massive trophies. The state has antler restrictions in only a few public hunting lands, and in most of the state, there will be many young bucks taken. Because the “antlerless” firearms season occurs at the same time, button bucks will be taken as well. When that many younger bucks are removed from the population, the number of mature deer with nice racks becomes much lower.
But this is a state that allows the hunter to take six deer a year. If you have a family who owns land and have two hunters who have resident rights to it, you’re talking potentially twelve deer killed a year, which could feed a family of four fairly well.
I come from a family of deer hunters, but they were not venison eaters. When I was a kid, every deer that got shot was given to a relative or someone who couldn’t hunt. My grandpa, who loved to hunt everything and would have us eat cooked squirrel brains, wouldn’t even field dress a deer. That was my dad’s job, and for whatever reason, if my dad or my grandpa even smelled venison cooking, it would make their stomachs weak.
I never had this problem, and in the last few years, I’ve learned how to cook venison properly. I much prefer the meat to beef, especially when we’re talking leaving certain steak cuts rare. These deer have been living well on acorns, and their flesh has that oaky, rich taste, which some call gamey. I call it delicious.
I’ll be in the woods early Monday morning. I don’t know if I’ll get anything. The odds are usually against my killing anything that first week. I don’t have access to the best deer bedding grounds, and the hunting pressure means they won’t be moving into the area where I hunt.
My favorite time to go is Thursday evening, when more than half the local hunters are at home watching football games and digesting turkey. I would rather go through waterboarding than watch a football game, so it’s not big loss for me.
I am a naturalist hunter on the quest for meat. My ancestors in Germany, the Netherlands, and Great Britain hunted the red deer and the roe thousands of years. They got their meat from the forest.
I am doing the same.
And if you really wanted to know what I think of deer, I’d have to say that I love them. They are fascinating animals. This particular species has been roaming North America virtually unchanged for 3 million years. This animal watched the mammoths rise and fall. It was coursed by Armbruster’s wolf and the American cheetahs. It saw the elk come down from Beringia– and the bison too. It ran the back country with primitive horses and several species of pronghorn. It quivered and blew out at jaguars and American lions that stalked in the bush, and it dodged the Clovis points of the Siberian hunters who first colonized this land.
The white-tailed deer thrives so well, but this coming week is the beginning of the great cull. Fewer deer mean less pressure on the limited winter forage, which means healthier deer in the early spring. Better winter and spring condition means that does have had a chance to carry fawns to term, and mature does usually have twins if the conditions are good. Healthier bucks get a better chance to grow nice antlers for the coming year.
A public resource is being managed. Organic meat raised without hormones or antibiotics is easily procured, and stories and yarns are being compiled for exposition that rivals any trophy mount on the wall.
I know deer stories, including ones about the people I barely knew and are no longer with us.
My Grandpa Westfall once went on a deer drive for my great grandpa, who was getting older. He valued his clean shot placement, as many of those old time hunters did, and he would not shoot a deer on the run.
But as he grew older, deer hunting became harder for him, so my grandpa decided to jump one out to him.
My grandpa went rustling through the brush to drive one into my great grandpa’s ran, and he happened to bump a nice little buck and a few does that went running in his direction.
Expecting to hear rifle shots, my grandpa was a bit surprised to hear nothing. So when he approached the deer stand, he saw my great grandpa sitting there.
“Did you see those deer?”
“I ran three out to you. A buck and two does. Why didn’t you shoot?”
“I didn’t see or hear any deer.”
“Well, you should have at least heard them.”
“Well, if there were that many deer coming my way, they must’ve had their sneakers on.”
He didn’t want to tell my grandpa that he appreciated the effort, but that deer drives were against his ethics. He shot deer cleanly, or he didn’t shoot them at all.
These old men will be with me when I’m out on Monday. I go in their memory, participating in the Great West Virginia Deer Cull.
Thanks for the kind comments. A sobering reality check though: With the exception of these pups, we're not able to help much with this case. With nearly zero rescue resources available to semi-feral adult dogs,100 or more will be facing euthanasia in order for this high volume breeding operation to cease. I'm sorry if I wasn't clear when I wrote this. Trying to offer a realistic account without inciting panic can be a tricky balance.
BAD RAP Blog
You know how some dog trainers caution to never look a dog directly in the eye – that it can be threatening or intimidating or send a negative message along those lines? And might even incite a dog to go after you?
Now this may be true if you run into a crazed-killer-mutant-mad dog like Cujo in a dark alley some night (in which case tiptoe slowly backwards, averting your gaze!), but I’ve found that confident, well-socialized dogs love nothing more than to have you gaze adoringly into their big brown peepers. The Look of Love!
In my case (with dogs whose eyes are actually the yellow/green color of a cat, because they are Weimaraners – whose eyes start out baby blue and then change around six months of age), Maisie and Wanda virtually insist that I look right at them when we are interacting. They sit and stare intently at me when I’m at the computer (for example right now Maisie’s eyes are boring a hole in my side, willing me to look at her and pat her!); then when I do stroke or scratch them, they always position themselves so they can look back right at me, as if to keep me engaged. And if I really lock eyes with them they just melt with happiness.
I’ve also noticed they are affected not just by my tone of voice, but by my facial expression – they are definitely studying my eyes and mouth. I have been curious if my expression affects them and to test it I have purposefully given them a big giant grin. It seems to me they respond in kind, opening their mouths slightly and, in Wanda’s case, becoming so ecstatic that she also makes a series of joyful, cup-brimming-over cooing sounds.
Now it turns out that our dogs’ expressions can reflect ours. The New York Times recently reported in an article that British researchers studied the facial expressions of dogs — in particular the muscle that raises the inner part of the eyebrows and makes their eyes look bigger. The study noted whether the person was paying attention to the dog or was turned away; at times the person was holding food and other times was empty-handed.
The study in the journal Scientific Reports showed that the dogs were more expressive when the person was paying attention to them, and that it didn’t seem to make a difference whether the person was holding food or not. The dogs reacted by sticking out their tongues and barking more when they did get attention, compared with when they were being ignored or given food.
“This simply shows that dogs produce more (but not different) facial movements when someone is looking at them,” Juliane Kaminski, the study’s lead researcher and a senior lecturer at the University of Portsmouth in England, was quoted in the New York Times article. There was also an opinion from Brian Hare, a professor and director of the Canine Cognition Center at Duke University (which was not involved in the study), who told The Times that these findings should be gratifying to any dog lover who worries that his dog only cares because he’s being fed.
I would add that having your dog’s full attention is actually a ”treatable moment” – something worthy of a fine little reward. Whether their attention is freely given in a spontaneous moment of trying to decipher your intentions or mood – or when you get your dog’s full attention in response to coming when called – or simply responding with a head tilt to hearing you speak her name – these are all good occasions to pull out a super dandy treat (Halo Liv-a-Littles work nicely here – my girls are partial to the liver cubes!) and reward the dog’s focus on your face. All while smiling broadly at her and gazing in mutual adoration!
Tracie Hotchner is a nationally acclaimed pet wellness advocate, who wrote THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know. She is recognized as the premiere voice for pets and their people on pet talk radio. She continues to produce and host her own Gracie® Award winning NPR show DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) from Peconic Public Broadcasting in the Hamptons after 9 consecutive years and over 500 shows. She produced and hosted her own live, call-in show CAT CHAT® on the Martha Stewart channel of Sirius/XM for over 7 years until the channel was canceled, when Tracie created her own Radio Pet Lady Network where she produces and co-hosts CAT CHAT® along with 10 other pet talk radio podcasts with top veterinarians and pet experts.
Tracie also is the Founder and Director of the annual NY Dog Film Festival, a philanthropic celebration of the love between dogs and their people. Short canine-themed documentary, animated and narrative films from around the world create a shared audience experience that inspires, educates and entertains. With a New York City premiere every October, the Festival then travels around the country, partnering in each location with an outstanding animal welfare organization that brings adoptable dogs to the theater and receives half the proceeds of the ticket sales. Halo was a Founding Sponsor in 2015 and donated 10,000 meals to the beneficiary shelters in every destination around the country in 2016.
Tracie lives in Bennington, Vermont – where the Radio Pet Lady Network studio is based – and where her 12 acres are well-used by her 2-girl pack of lovely, lively rescued Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda.
Dogs vomit undigested food occasionally and if this happens to your pet it shouldn’t be cause for alarm. It’s normal for dogs to vomit sometimes, but if the vomiting is accompanied by diarrhea or bloody stools, the dog should be examined by a vet and treated as soon as possible.
When a dog eats inedible food it can develop gastrointestinal …
#FunnyNotFunny Until next time, Good day, and good dog!
I know, I know. Thanksgiving is still almost two weeks away, and here I am sharing a bunch of random Christmas themed images. And honestly, I’m one of those people who waits to put up holiday decor until at least the last month of November (and usually, the beginning of December) and doesn’t start holiday shopping until two weeks before. But my big plans to enjoy the simple pleasures of the season and take the pressure off myself (see yesterday’s post for more on that) include things like late night holiday pinning sessions on Pinterest, where my mind doesn’t have to think about anything more than why, despite the madness that accompanies it, I really do love this time of year.
Whether or not you’re ready to embrace the holidays, I hope these images inspire you (either now or later in the season) like they did me. Enjoy your weekend, friends!