No Bones About It

Iconic as it is deeply flawed, the imagery of a dog gnawing away at a huge, meaty bone is one embedded in our cultural fabric, a remnant of misguided early training practices. Our tiny beasts are carnivores at heart, some argue, irresistibly drawn to the taste of meat, who love nothing more than savoring our scraps while getting a good dental workout at the same time. Without picking apart the umpteen faults in that shaky logic, the irrefutable truth is that bones are dangerous for dogs big and small, young and old. Brittle and easily snapped into pointed shards, those sharp pieces can result in choking, digestive blockages, cuts around the gums and throat, vomiting, and in the worst cases, yes, those symptoms can be compounded, and that innocent treat can become fatal.

Vegan or not, bones have no place on the menu for humans, so why should they suffice for our canine companions? Countless alternatives exist for safer, softer options, including those made from scraps of a different sort. Polishing off a few yards of leftover remnant yarn, this quick knit bone was a satisfying project for both human and animal participants.

A prodigious chewer with especially pointed little teeth, I thought for sure my monster baby would tear right through my handiwork in less time than it took to complete, but I’m happily surprised by its longevity thus far. Content to teethe rather than shred, Luka seems to savor this new toy with a sense of appreciation. It’s only a matter of time before the plush facsimile lies in ruin, no doubt, but that can easily be replaced; the pup himself most certainly cannot.

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For Every Bird a Nest [of Kale]

For every Bird a Nest —
Wherefore in timid quest
Some little Wren goes seeking round —

Wherefore when boughs are free —
Households in every tree —
Pilgrim be found?

Perhaps a home too high —
Ah Aristocracy!
The little Wren desires —

Perhaps of kale so fine —
Of leafy greens e’en superfine,
Her pride aspires —

The Lark is not ashamed
To build upon the ground
Her modest house —

Yet who of all the throng
Dancing around the sun
Does so rejoice?

[Ever so slightly adapted from] Emily Dickinson

Neatly Nested

Adorable and cheerful as they are, handmade softies tend to accumulate in mass amounts around here if left unchecked. Multiplying mysteriously throughout the course of a month, it seems as though they spring forth out of the ether, entirely of their own accord. There’s no stopping this home invasion, but there are certainly worse problems to worry about. When space is at a premium and not another square inch can be spared, at least this particular close-knit family of featherless fowl is happy to accommodate.

Nesting within each other like plush matryoshka dolls, no actual nest is required for them to call any place home. Luckily for them and their hosts, even the smallest spaces can comfortably contain all four, right down to the tiny eggling still waiting to hatch. No matter what, you can rest assured that it will be kept very warm!

[The Nesting Birds knitting pattern can be found on page 45 of Huge & Huggable Mochimochi: 20 Supersized Patterns for Big Knitted Friends by Anna Hrachovec.]

Raising the Sushi Bar

Coordinating shared meals can be tough enough with just one or two family members, but when everyone’s home at the dinner hour at once, it can be nearly impossible. Greatly disparate tastes define us, ranging from the fairly healthy vegan (hi there!) to the vegetable-hating omnivore, making it challenging to get a universally agreeable meal on the table, to say the least. In a pinch there is at least one safe haven where we can all find something good to eat, however: The sushi bar.

Topping this list of “must order” items is edamame. Those young soy beans are one of the only green edibles that said vegetable-hater will actually consume, and even willingly most times! Trust me, that’s a big deal in our household. Thus, a big bowl of edamame always graces our table, to be shared communally.

Vegetable gyoza are another staple found on most menus, and what’s not to like about chewy wonton skin stretched around a savory filling? Steamed or fried, plump parcels or dainty half-moons, even bad gyoza are pretty darn good.

And of course, the main event, the sushi. There’s so much more than just the standard cucumber and avocado, but there’s nothing wrong with those reassuring staples either. Nigiri is usually off the menu for me, but hey, when it’s made of this much fiber, it’s got to be vegan!

Tiny sushi bar pattern by Anna Hrachovec

Indian Summer

Just as suddenly as the cold and darkness descended, a brief respite from the encroaching fall brings us glorious blue skies and gentle 80-degree breezes, as if summer never left us in the first place. Toying with my heart, it’s hard not to get attached to this anomaly of the season. While Canadian friends across the border celebrate Thanksgiving, I’m marveling at children still playing on the beaches, joggers baring all in skimpy outfits, and general summer behavior continuing as if the calendar pages haven’t already advanced beyond July. Even the wildlife are clearly mixed up and confused by this inexplicable shift.


Glass platter provided by Steelite

Lounging about on a placid pond without a care in the world, this little fellow can’t even dream of a time without warm sunshine. So comfortable on that buoyant lily pad, I swear I could see him flattening out, relaxing to the point of loosening every muscle in his tiny green body and becoming a genuine pancake of a frog. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that next week is just as liable to bring a blizzard as it is more of this Indian summer. What’s the harm in pretending it’s still vacation, for just a little while longer, at least?

[Flapjack Frog pattern by Anna Hrachovec of MochiMochi Land]