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Coffee, Trust and Ponder 
Jun. 7, 2011 8:10 pm 
Updated: Jun. 17, 2011 11:55 pm
Here’s some language problems I recently encountered in the blogs. I am unfamiliar with the language, it’s pronunciation and I, certainly, do not know their meaning. "je ne sais quoi" and "menage a trois". Would anyone be kind enough to relieve me of this ignorance?

Raedwulf has a coffee blog that made me remember my induction into the Air Force. It was in the morning and we were lined up getting our physicals. One of the first things they wanted was a sugar test. I confidently offered them my specimen and was quickly told I flunked the test. Shocked, I just stood speechless until the medic asked what I had for breakfast. I told him I had a bowl of Cheerios with milk and sugar, toast with butter and strawberry jelly, a jelly filled Long John and coffee with cream and sugar.

He told the medic working with him, "This guy had a sugar breakfast. Flunk him or pass him?"
The other medic said to put me in the side room and make me drink four cups of black coffee within the next hour and then have me tested again.

It wasn’t even an hour before I could offer a second specimen and I failed that one, too. During hour two, I gave up a third specimen and was told I was barely within acceptable limits but could pass through and catch up with the rest of the inductees.

That day, I learned that overindulgence has consequences and black coffee tastes much better than doctored coffee.

Oh, yeah. Too much coffee makes one pee too much.
Throughout the years I have been a hunter and a bounty hunter of animals. I refused the easy ways of hunting that poisons and traps offered. I didn’t want the knowledge that I made a critter thrash around for hours waiting to die. This wasn’t any macho "look ‘em in the eye" stunt. It was the only way to respect the life of the animal. If my aim was unsure, I wouldn’t take the shot. If the kill could not be instant, I wouldn’t take the shot. I was constantly aware that they’re Gods critters- just as I am- and they are worthy of every bit of respect I could give them.

I gave up hunting (except with a camera) and took up raising small livestock. Enough for our table and some for a restaurant that liked the cleanliness of my "mini farm" and my methods of dispatching and dressing the animals. It was during those years that I discovered a gift I had been unaware of. Perhaps everybody has it. I never knew it existed.

I always knew that a scared horse, dog, cat etc could be calmed by talking to them low and slow. They don’t understand a thing you say but they are reassured by the tones. We can’t make those tones unless we talk. What I didn’t know was that I could connect with animals and gain their trust.

 Most animals prefer to avoid humans because we are not recognized by their natural instinct. Most animals don’t know if we are going to eat them or if they can eat us. In their instinct, we humans are out of place- we don’t fit in the eons old scheme of survival because we are too new on this earth. To run from humans is their defenses mandating the quick way to survive but the animals don’t get to learn about us thus perpetuating the blank spot in their instinct. Given what we know about humanity, that’s probably a good thing.

But, humans have an ace they can play that fools the survival instinct. We adopt, care for, and protect various animals. We give them the life of animal royalty. Given time, this royal life gives up some of the survival instincts and replaces those instincts with loyalty. Blind loyalty to its own fault. Loyalty that finds it’s place deeply cemented by trust. Trust. Billions of animals have benefitted by allowing themselves to trust their humans. Cat Hill’s Pippin is a good example of trust. If he was a wild or feral cat, he would have done anything he could to get away from her in spite of his horrible injury. Instead, he allowed her to take him. He trusted her to help him. She didn’t let him down. Undoubtedly, a deeper bond is forming between them- the care giver and her charge.

Perhaps the biggest mistake we humans make with our pets, is to believe that we own them. We don’t. Nature does not recognize a transaction. They are free spirits that are quartering with us. We provide them with their needs and they provide us with companionship. We can imprison those spirits in our vain attempts to humanize them but the pet will be a walking blob of flesh. It is us who must learn to live within the parameters of nature. The pet has only it’s instinct and trust to offer us.

Ponder Time
Would you get me some Band Aids, please?
Sure! How many is some?
I don’t know. Several.
OK. How many is several?
Well... more than a few.
How about a bunch?
I don’t want a lot.
A small bunch?
No. A few more than that.
A middle sized bunch?
Just don’t get me a lot of them. Just enough to last a while.
How many do you usually use in a while?
Sometimes only a few. Sometimes several. Every so often a lot.
Here’s a small handful.
Looks like too few. I could use a couple more.
Enough, now?
Seems fine. I’ll let you know.
Jun. 8, 2011 3:08 am
Nice blog Mike! It is one many a human I know should read and follow. How true that we don't own our pets - they own us - all I need to do is watch our 2 labs boss us around and get them their treats, etc.! Seriously, I like your words on hunting and only taking the sure shots. My guys have gone out and spent an entire day in the cold, only to come home with nothing but exclaiming on how many birds they saw, just none within the good shot range. I like your band-aid story, too. Have a good day!
Jun. 8, 2011 6:20 am
Great blog Mike. Lots of food for thought here. Thank you.
Jun. 8, 2011 8:12 am
My French is old and rusty, sort of like me, but Je ne said quoi I believe is I do not know, and menage a trois is a 3some. Now depending on the fanatsizer it could be 2 girls and 1 guy or 2 guys and 1 girl. Now that times have changed it may mean 3 of either sex, not sure;P As to the rest of your blog, you had me at don't shoot unless you are sure. We have sat many a day, waiting, watching, wishing for the shot and not achieved our goal. Hunting and Fishing would be called catching, harvesting and eating if it were always meant to be. Our pets (wow you covered many topics). I do not baby my babies. They are on my yard to work, they protect, comfort, retrieve, and alert me of danger. They often rid the yard of pests. For that they get rewards, protection, and unconditional love from me and the family. They help to raise the boys-nothing teaches responsibility, tolerance and respect like a good dog, or on occasion a naughty dog. Bandaids should come on a roll, thay way you could take what you need;D But then we would miss your ponderism-great blogging!
Jun. 8, 2011 8:13 am
Where is menage a trois mentioned in the blogs?! lol
Jun. 8, 2011 9:54 am
Thanks, Mother Ann! As I was tyoing this, I had serious doubts about it's welcome on All Recipes. People are far more sensitive regarding pets than I can ever recall before in my lifetime. That's a good thing but it makes talking about abused animals very difficult.
Jun. 8, 2011 10:03 am
Hi, Baking Nana! Thank you!
Jun. 8, 2011 10:07 am
Hey, redneck gramma! Working pets are the happiest pets. Like people, they need a purpose for their lives. ... If Band Aids came on a roll, some Hollywood activist would want to tell us how to use them. I'll keep the box just to snub them.
Jun. 8, 2011 10:08 am
Hi, Alex! In the comments of my previous post- among the first.
Jun. 8, 2011 10:26 am
Oh I see, I was thinking more risque than that :)
Jun. 8, 2011 11:33 am
Another great blog, Mike!
Jun. 8, 2011 11:50 am
Alex!! Tsk. Tsk!
Jun. 8, 2011 11:51 am
Thank you, Nurse Ellen!
Jun. 8, 2011 11:51 am
Ah, Mike, you're philosphy once again proves true. DH often says that we may pay the mortgage, but the house belongs to the cats (don't know why they don't clean more often). We are fortunate that our dogs allow us to visit their garage and back yard regularly as well. Yes, our "kids" definitely own us. They all chose us to be their keepers whether by wandering into the yard or by yelling, "Pick me! Pick me!" from a kennel at the animal shelter. Here's another Band-Aid quandry--why are "flesh" colored band-aids all one color????
Jun. 8, 2011 12:08 pm
Thank you, Mangel! As for the Band Aid color, I want to know who modeled it! I never have seen flesh that color. Also, why can't you see a wound through a transparent Band Aid?
Jun. 8, 2011 12:48 pm
...cuz that would be nasty:D Those darm Sponge Bob band aids had my grandson running for one everytime he bumped into something. Did not need a band aid, just wants to wear one for the fashion statement.
Jun. 8, 2011 1:04 pm
Great blog Mike! I like the way redneck gramma explained the menage a trois. I couldn't have said it better myself. :) I fully agree with you on animals and I am happy to hear you don't take the shot unless your sure. Your pet comments have opened my eyes a bit about a situation we're having with our dog. I think my fiance and I could be a bit more understanding towards our "baby." Thanks for the wonderful insight. Keep blogging....I don't comment much but I'm always reading yours! :)
Jun. 8, 2011 2:54 pm
"je ne sais quoi" - an intangible quality that is distinctive or attractive - - such as "that little cutie in the picture with you has a certain "je ne sais quoi" that sets her apart from the rest" - - - as for "menage a trois" - redneck gramma is right - but mostly it spells TROUBLE!
Jun. 8, 2011 4:00 pm
LOL, gramma! With one granddaughter it was any animal motif, and the next granddaughter it was Dora, Monkey and Backpack. The youngest granddaughter hasn't been brainwashed, (Yet.) BTW. I haven't told you before how much I enjoy (I mean really enjoy) calling you gramma. Makes my 66 years seem like childsplay!
Jun. 8, 2011 4:08 pm
Thank you, luv2cook! The only foreign language I can barely get along in is Turkish and nobody here speaks it. It is great that you chose my youngest granddaughter to explain je ne sais quoi so nicely. As for the other? Well ... now I wish I had not asked.
Jun. 8, 2011 5:11 pm
Hi, K-Dub! I'll take you off my MIA list, now! I like your use of the word "understanding".
Jun. 8, 2011 7:46 pm
LOL! When our nieces found out DH is a Scooby-Doo fan, they gave him a box of Scooby band-aids at every gift giving opportunity. We have no children, so when DH's friend cut himself working on our house, well, let's just say he was confused:)
Jun. 9, 2011 1:45 pm
Since I'm the "keeper of the ENGLISH lanuage" as my DH says, I'm no help with French translations. As for hunting; if more hunters had your philosophy, there'd be far fewer hunting accidents. Good, clean shots get you the best meat too! My husband taught all our "hunting" children that you don't shoot unless you're sure it's a "kill" shot. Wounding or maiming is unacceptable. And, as for pets; I just love your quote, "Nature does not recognize a transaction." We conive all the time with nature. Just watch the news (weather wrecking havoc in suburbia), read Gitano's blog (squirels in the pool)or try to OWN a pet as you have aptly written. Nature will have it's way and WE will be the ones to adapt. Great Blog Mike, just great!
Jun. 9, 2011 5:29 pm
It's more than a philosophy, Candice. Much more.
Jun. 9, 2011 5:35 pm
Didn't mean to post that already. I believe every hunter should make himself equal to his game. Whether he is hunting frogs or Kodiak, he must realize he is not superior to his game- only one of natures players taking what he needs and only that much. No excesses allowed!
Jun. 9, 2011 10:40 pm
Preach it Brother Mike!
Jun. 10, 2011 4:21 am
I guess I did fall into preaching mode. Animal respect (not animal rights) is a subject for which I have very strong attitudes.
Jun. 10, 2011 8:44 am
"Animal respect not animal rights." I'm gonna put that on a t-shirt! I agree 100%. In this case, Mikey, you are preaching to the choir...preach on my friend:)
Jun. 17, 2011 11:55 pm
I like that phrase "animal respect, not animal rights". Puts things into proper perspective. Thanks for the interesting insight.
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Mike Harvey, daPITA

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About Me
At age 16, I began cooking when my mother was injured in an accident that kept her off her feet for five weeks. At first, my repertoire was fried hot dogs with pork and beans, boiled hot dogs with macaroni and cheese or pizza from a box. After a couple weeks of this, my younger brother was the first to protest and demand variety and my dad was quick to support him. That was my first cooking challenge, learning to plan a meal. About that time, mom returned from the hospital and from her bed, began teaching me things like roast beef, fried chicken, stews and all the sides and trimmings. In 1967, I married and my wife designated herself as the cook and this continued until 1999. It was then that I (voluntarily) began cooking again. At some point, I realized that I was having fun and began searching for recipes that were more challenging and interesting. I found AR and used it's recipes for a long time before registering and later becoming an active member.
My favorite things to cook
Soups. How can I go wrong? They are a great way to use up leftovers and those veggies that are approaching the end of their usefulness. They are always an original recipe. Roasts and steaks are favored, also. Getting the right "doneness" and choosing appropriate sides for a tastey and attractive meal is a continuing and always evolving menu.
My favorite family cooking traditions
If creating impulsive menus and recipes is a tradition then, (I guess) we have a tradition. A new tradition is developing. I have a fruitcake recipe that, I believe, is near perfection. I make it just before Thanksgiving so it is aged enough for the Christmas/ New Year holidays.
My cooking triumphs
Without a doubt, my own recipe for a Reuben Sandwich. It has been a demanded item for many years and I shared it in my AR blog.
My cooking tragedies
Too many. I have been able to throw them out and have something new before my wife gets home. Most of the time, anyway.
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