Friday, August 31, 2012

Peach Pie Recipe

I had a few requests for the peach pie I made for the weekend so here it is:

2 and 2/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup shortening
7-8 tablespoons cold water

Mix flour and salt. Use pastry cutter to cut in shortening. Sprinkle with 5 tablespoons of water and mix with a long pronged fork.  Then mix in two more.  You can always use the last one if you don't think it's sticking together just right.

Form dough into a  ball and halve it.  I use the first half to roll out the bottom half of the pastry.  I sometimes can't get that second crust just right so I roll out the second ball and use a ravioli cutter to make lattice strips.  Then I weave them.

Peach Filling
5-6 cups sliced fresh peaches (I like them to be ripe)
1/2-3/4 cup sugar (Depends on tartness of peach variety.)
3 tablespoons flour
dash of salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix until all peaches are coated.  Then pour into the bottom shell.  If they've made a syrup, I don't pour that in. They'll cook out sometimes as is. Dot the filling with about eight flicks of butter.

Top with lattice and bring bottom edge up over the lattice.  I crimp with my thumbs!

Bake at 400 degrees for 45-50 minutes until the crust is golden brown.  (I use a protector on the outside rim so that crust doesn't bake too much.


Sunday, August 26, 2012


Last week, I blogged about how we'd found a kitten in our backyard.  I made a vet appointment for the day after we found her, knowing there could be physical problems--fleas, worms, runny eyes to name a few.  What I was really concerned about was feline leukemia.  I think that's why we didn't name her before the appointment.

My husband kept the appointment because I had another appointment around the same time.  Fortunately, the vet took him early and he put me on speaker phone so we could have a conference call and I could ask questions.  After forty years of marriage, he knows I always have questions!  But the fact that this vet and tech would do that proved we'd chosen a good veterinarian.

The kitten's little paws were scraped from whatever time she'd been outside on her own.  We'd had a week of storms.  But the vet said they'd heal.  Her coat was good which shows some degree of health and she didn't have ear mites.  But...  She did have fleas and the vet gave her the first part of that treatment, saying we should give her a bath in 48 hours to wash away the flea dirt.  I had never given a cat a bath!  She also gave her the worming medicine and her first distemper shot.  Her runny eyes were a problem because of our other cats.  But she advised us to keep the cats separated, watch her eyes and also be alert for sneezing which could indicate an infection.

Thank goodness the feline leukemia test was negative.

The total cost for the vet was $130.

When my husband brought her home, we considered names.  I had created a character named Zoie in one of my books who ran away to find her bliss.  Just holding her, stroking her and caring for her filled me with a lot of joy.  So we named our new family member Zoie Joy.

Because Zoie's little body was being taxed with the vaccine, fleas and a possible virus/infection, I wanted to help her heal.  We chose healthy kitten foods (Blue and Wellness, both wet and dry with the intention of trying them one at a time) and bought a milk substitute for kittens that was chock full of vitamins. We left a tablespoon of that at night.  Zoie was eating about 8 times a day.  Kittens should be able to have food on demand whenever they want it during that first year.  I had decided to feed her mostly canned food and supplement with dry because in the past with other kittens, too much dry food and water caused diarrhea.  We made another vet appointment for a week later for her second distemper injection and to check eveything else.

The hardest part of all of this was keeping Zoie separated from the other cats.  Ebbie and London wondered where I was disappearing to for hours at a time.  The sunroom is attached to our basement. But I was mostly concerned about Ebbie.  When we'd brought her home from an acquaintance's farm, she'd been a very sick kitten.  She couldn't even meow because of her cough.  Although we helped her fight off the infection and she's been healthy the past eleven years, the virus which caused it remains in her system and could reappear because of stress.  I hoped to prevent that from happening.

More next week about Zoie Joy, her bath and what came next.  If you have any of your own cat rescue stories you'd like to share, please feel free to do so.  I'd like to hear them.

© 2012  Karen Rose Smith

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Sunday, August 19, 2012


We rescued a kitten this summer.  We love her to bits.  In my new mystery series, my heroine rescues strays.  Maybe what I visualized came true!  But I thought I'd write a blog on our rescue process because taking in a stray can be complicated and costly.  Maybe that's why more people are hesitant to do it.

This kitten was in a shrub, crying.  My husband and a friend found her when they were gardening.  But--and I think this is more a guy thing--they watched her run away.  So when they told me about the baby kitten who had been crying in a bush, I decided to try to find her.  It wasn't hard.  She was still in our backyard.

Tons of thoughts ran through my head.  We have two older cats who are eleven.  One has a territorial problem.  We had never thought about bringing in another kitten because of all the complications one could present.  I've had cats as companions all my life so I'm aware of their behaviors and physical problems as they grow older.  Taking in a kitten would be a big commitment.

However, as soon as my husband caught her and put her in my arms, I was pretty sure we'd figure out whatever we had to do.  She was a baby (about six weeks), hungry and thirsty and dehydrated on an almost 100 degree day.  First thing to do was feed her smooshed cat food with water mixed in.  She knew how to eat so we knew she'd been weaned.  After she ate, she curled up in my arms and fell asleep.  We have a sunroom with A/C and that's where I sat with her, holding her and stroking her.  My husband asked if this was where we were going to keep her and I responded, "For now."  He knew she'd be in the house eventually.  We'd bonded.

Still, I called a neighbor who lived on a farm to the rear of our yard and he knew nothing about the kitten.  After speaking to other neighbors, we realized no one was searching for a small black kitten.  In our area, passersby have dropped kittens before because we knew of other neighbors who took them in.  No one was claiming this one.

Her eyes were runny and I found flea dirt in her fur, which meant she had fleas even if I couldn't see them in her black fuz.  So the next thing I did was make an appointment with a veterinarian.  I couldn't get an appointment with our regular vet for three days, so I phoned a new vet in our area who our petsitter recommended.  I spoke with the receptionist about the kitten and they could get me in the next day.  The tech reminded me to feed her small amounts often with fresh water.  My husband went to the store for kitten food and readied a box with towels as a bed.  At first the kitten was disoriented and she urinated on the towel in the box.  Cats rarely soil where they sleep.  But as soon as she'd eaten two meals and had a nap, she used the nearby litter box and hasn't had an accident since.  Her mom taught her well.  I also think she was well-tended by her mom, groomed and played with because she liked the petting and stroking and was easy to handle.  She was a sweetie.  I held her for hours until she went to sleep, then fed her and repeated the whole process over again.

We also were careful about washing our hands thoroughly before going into the house with our other two cats.  I changed clothes each time because I was the one who handled all three cats.  We didn't know yet if the kitten had distemper or feline leukemia.  That's why a quick vet appointment was necessary.

More about the veterinarian visit, the cost and naming the new kitty in the next blog.

© 2012 Karen Rose Smith

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