Sunday, October 28, 2007

All Sewn Up

My friend Pistachio--you remember her---the one who doesn't like to be compared to Martha Stewart... Anyway, she has plowed into yet another big project.

When I stopped by her house today it looked like a fabric store. She had felt and fleece and feathers strewn everywhere. I was a bit apprehensive about asking what she had jumped into this time but I couldn't resist. Foxes are naturally curious as well as mild risk-takers.

She told me she is making a softie for the Softies for Mirabel campaign. What's a softie? Who is Mirabel? What does it have to do with all that fluffing? I don't know so I asked Pistachio.

Mirabel Foundation supports children who have been adversely affected (effected? I need to ask Charles Torte about that word) by parental substance abuse. A softie is a stuffed animal or a doll made from cloth. And the folks at the Softies for Mirabel campaign are making softies--handmade cloth dolls and stuffed animals--to be given to children whose parents have a substance abuse problem.

The concept of Pistachio making softies, whether it be for Mirabel or anyone else, is just too weird because Pistachio herself is a softie. Actually, I'm a softie. I tried to think about that but it all got too existential and philosophical. Pistachio suggested that I not tax myself and instead enjoy some of her cranberry-almond buckle. It was great.

So, if you know someone crafty (other than me, of course) tell them to check out the Softies for Mirabel link on my blog. Maybe they can figure out where softies come from....

Creme Brule

The Sky is Falling

Ahhh... Fall. It's a word that doesn't sound good when mentioned in the same sentence as staircase, vase or stock market. But it's lovely when it means falling temperatures and falling leaves. There's nothing I enjoy more than a nice hot slice of pumpkin pie smothered in real whip topping. And there's nothing better to work up a healthy appetite while that pie is baking than an afternoon of raking leaves. That was my plan one fine, sunny afternoon this week.

Things didn't turn out quite as I invisioned though. It all started out innocently enough. I stepped out the back door with my bamboo rake. Foxes are traditionalists when it comes to raking leaves. No monster-sized plastic rake for me! I walked out into the pale afternoon sun made just a bit nippy by a sharp western wind. The piles of leaves grew as I tidied up the yard, whistling Berlioz as I worked.

And then Shortbread and Pup popped up. Literally, they popped up from the leaves. They planned to help me. Shortbread disappeared over to Pup's house for a few minutes before coming lumbering up my drive in a massive blue dump truck. The two of them set to work transferring my leaf piles into the truck bed. They scattered at least a quarter of the leaves back all over the yard in the process.

I figured my tranquil afternoon was gone the moment they showed up but I had no idea what was to come. Shortbread decided to drive the leaves to the town drop off center. I had no idea a dump truck could do 80mph...on a dirt road. I found out all sorts of things that afternoon. Like that Shortbread doesn't have a license to drive a dump truck. (Don't tell Charles Torte.) And that he and Pup had no idea how to get the leaves out the back. They climbed up just at the moment when the truck started dumping. Down went the leaves. Down went Pup and Shortbread....into the gigantic pile of leaves.

The ground crew at the city drop off centered kindly loaned me a rake. (Sadly, it was one of those evil plastic ones but sometimes a fox has to make sacrifices when it comes to one's friends. I did finally find Pup and Shortbread. They were fine. It takes more than a few leaves to keep them down. We did make it back to my house safely although hardly sanely.

So the moral of the story is....I have no idea. Don't rake leaves around dogs? Never get in a dump truck with Shortbread? Hire a lawn service? Anyway, we survived and the pumpkin pie was delicious.

Creme Brule

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Puppy Love

Long has the world held the myth that dogs and foxes are sworn enemies. Not so! Foxes have no natural enemies save for fox hunters and I cannot even speak about them without spitting.

Truthfully, foxes and dogs get along quite well. We both like to romp in the leaves, zip down to the ice cream parlor, engage in a rousing game of backgammon. I do think that, in general, foxes have higher literary standards and are much less likely to follow commands but these are piddly differences not worth considering.

The house next door to me has been bought by a scrappy little guy named Pup. This week he has became fast friends with my house guest Shortbread (who, incidently has informed me that he intends to winter over with me here in the deep south of Michigan if he is able to secure a local source of his beloved butterscotch.) And I like him too--him being Pup although I like Shortbread as well.

Pup likes to fetch sticks. He is collecting them in order to test some rather avant garde theories on suspension bridges. He loves to go for long walks, watch Charlie Chan movies, research Spanish explorers and eat colby-jack cheese. But his passion in life is Oreos! After being warned by his doctor on the risks of chocolate poisoning and transfats, Pup cut back to three packs a day and switched to low fat. Still, it's a sight to behold--the crumbs really fly once he rips into a pack.

Having a passion in life is nice. It's so much nicer than nibbling lettuce three times a day while secretly yearning for a Blizzard. I'm not sure that Pup should be consuming that much caffeine (did I mention he's a tad hyper) but at least he enjoys himself. Yes, pour the milk, dunk the 'o's and don't forget to enjoy yourself!

Creme Brule

A Happy Harvest

Despite late season twisters--and I don't just mean dancing to 1950s music--and more warm weather, I have accepted that the summer growing season has come to an end. Saturday, Shortbread played a lament on his bagpipes. Then, we began the finally harvest for 2007. I'll admit to wiping a tear from my eye. What fox does not cry at the sound of "the pipes" and the fall of the garden?

As the autumn leaves flitted in between the tired tomato plants, I stopped to reflect on this year in my bountiful garden: the beautiful blossoms, the bright red plumpness of my tomatoes, the sight of bean plants bending softly to the ground, burden with green....ahhhh. I knew my garden would continue to provide me a rich yield of happy memories even into the long, dark winter months.

But, in the meantime, I had a little problem. Normally, I shake my tomato plants until the orbs plunge gently to the rich dark soil. Sure, a few splatter but I stand assured (in my raincoat to keep dry) that their seeds will put forth another crop of plants next year.

Alas, most of the tomatoes were still green and, try as I might, I could not shake them. Finally, Nutmeg and Shortbread decided they should climb up to fetch what would not come down. We foxes like to stay firmly on the ground so I directed picking from below. (Charles Torte says my grammar is horrible even for a fox.)

Finally, the skywalkers stripped the bushes of the last of their fruit. Or are tomatoes vegetables? And who gets to decide? Was this part of the original naming thing with Adam? Are books written on this? I know not!

What I do know is that my friends and I shall enjoy some lovely stewed tomatoes in a few weeks. Then, I will sit back beside the fire and dream of another year, another summer, more days in the joy of my garden.

Creme Brule

Monday, October 15, 2007

Flower Power

After my rave review of The Three Sisters Restaurant, my friend Rhododendron is irked at me. She sent me an email today:

"Dear CremeBurnt, Three Sisters is fine but what about my place?! What? I'm not good enough for your blog. It's always the same with you foxes. No respect for rabbits."

Truthfully, which we foxes actual are almost all the time, I don't think of Rhoda's restaurant very often because it's in Kentucky. However, she's a good friend, always up here in Michigan to visit her cousin Pistachio and so I really should mention it. And, I want to state for the record that we foxes have lots of respect and admiration for our bunny friends.

Rhoda, as she is known to her friends, runs a lovely little garden oasis called Rhoda's Deli. She serves interesting if slightly exotic dishes such as keystone pie, black current licorice pudding and her signature dish Rhododendron Soup with a Crabgrass Salad.

I can't say that all her cooking is exactly to my tastes but I do know she does a brisk business among the herbivores. Add the fact that's her cafe is a hop, skip and leap from Louisville, on the picturesque shores of Goose Creek and you can see that she does not hurt for business.

So next time you are down for the Derby, stop by Rhoda's Deli and sample the hop cuisine. And be sure to tell her a fox sent you.

Creme Brule

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Tasteful Delight

I am in heaven! Well, yes, as a fox I am unusually blessed on the worst of days but today...Oh my! I have found a fantastic new restaurant: The Three Sisters.

I happened into the small unassuming cafe. It is located in a basement; the decor is...sort of Fisher Price Mansion? Heavy on the toys, light on the breakable china. The floor is painted concrete, the walls are painted concrete, the ceiling was....I think they had cobwebs in the rafters because of Halloween but maybe they just don't dust a lot.

Despite the decor, the food was amazing! They offer unusual combination plates like the hot dogs with pizza and corn on the cob platter, hamburgers with ice cream and cereal, and my favorite: fried chicken a la marshmallows. Yum! And the serving sizes! Wowzer! Just as you finish one plate, they whisk out another.

After dinner I was granted the honor of touring the kitchen and meeting the award winning master chefs. They are incredible! So cute, so friendly, so young! For working in such a small space, I heard remarkably little squabbling as they went about their tasks of creating their masterpieces.

Yes, I shall be returning to The Three Sisters. It was a remarkable adventure in cuisine. A word of warning though: on any given night the place is packed with dolls so don't be surprised if you're expected to share your table or sit on the floor. But what's a little unorthodox table manners when you can enjoy a banquet like this?

Sincerely, Creme Brule

A stalking

Summer has finally departed Michigan. My friends and I have been out this weekend reveling in the falling temperatures and the changing leaves.

Michigan looks splendid in the autumn and I, like all foxes, look lovely against the fall landscape. My coloring is particularly stunning against the yellows and browns of fall follage. Saturday, I took my friend Shortbread out to see Farmer Maize's cornfield.

As we admired the graceful dance of the cornstalks in the autumn breeze, I got the distinct impression that we were not alone. No, not space aliens. (I believe they reside primarily in Jersey and the Southwest.) No, there was something else in that cornfield with us. We were being stalked among the stalks. Perhaps even a cereal killer was lurking.

I was quite beside myself until Shortbread demonstrated his keen tracking talents. (He is part blood hound, but mostly plaid terrier.) It was a turkey! Alas, before we could even turn around, he was gone.

And we were left singing that old blues song "Long gone like a turkey in the corn." I hope he comes back around again. You can never have too many friends. In the meantime, I've got a new restaurant to visit.

Creme Brule

Monday, October 8, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

No, I am not six weeks early. And no the heat has not gotten to me although I do have to say that, as a rule, foxes do not like excessive heat. It rumples our fur and makes our tails look limp.

Today, is Thanksgiving Day for our cool Canadian neighbors. They realize that the end of November is no time to be driving (skidding) over the hills and through the snow-packed woods to Grandmother's house or anywhere else, for that matter. October is a much better time for a harvest celebration, even if the Pilgrims were late in getting themselves organized.

My friend Shortbreadarrived this afternoon from his home in Almonte, Ontario, Canada. He said that when he left Windsor, on the Canadian-US border, it was five below and snowing hard. I told him it was 88 degrees and sunny here in Michigan. Even after we got that old C versus F issue sorted out, he still felt faint.

We decided it was much too hot to roast a turkey. Shortbread suggested that any turkey unlucky enough to be standing outside today was probably already roasted. Clearly, the thing to do was indulge in a little ice which time we discovered that the best place to spend the day was actually in the freezer.

So Happy Thanksgiving to all our friends in Canada. May your ice cream be cold and your turkey frozen!

Creme Brule

Sunday, October 7, 2007

F is For Finally Fantastically Fall

You thought I'd say that F is for Foxes, didn't you? Ha! We foxes are never predictable.

I love fall. It's the time to rake (and jump in) all those gloriously tousled pull on your favorite sweat top and join your friends in a little friendly chomp into a crisp, sweet take a nap in the fading autumn sun. Yes, fall is supurb!

Alas, nothing gold can stay. (Foxes know lots of great quotes and are quite poetic.) Soon, the luscious days of autumn will fade into the blustery chill of November. That means that in the midst of the long walks, the pumpkin carving and the wagon rides, we all must do a little work. Sigh.

My list of "must-do" projects includes: putting out autumn decorations. There is no reason to rush from summer flowers to Christmas reindeer. I prefer artfully arranging cornstalks harvested straight from my summer garden but you could try pumpkin pyramids or hanging gourds. I like to check on my mums to make sure they are thriving and happy. Remember that mums, like the rest of us, like a good cold drink on a warm fall day. While I prefer apple cider, they like water. And fall is a good time to tackle some of those long-put-off restoration projects like reglazing the donuts...I mean the windows and touching up the paint.

However, the most crucial task you must complete...against which you fight the ever ticking to visit old friends before they head south for the winter. I happened to just nip into my neighborhood ice cream parlor on the LAST day they were open for service. Ack!

Remember your priorities and, above all else, don't eat all the ice cream. Save some for me!

Creme Brule

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

no, no, no

Pistachio says she makes tablecloths from leaves. She never makes clothes from leaves. She says that's what Eve did. Sorry. A little slip of the paw and everyone is up in arms. Geesh. I'm going to eat some French silk ice cream and ignore the critics....

Creme Brule

Boxing for Christ

This is my friend Pistachio. She's sort of like Martha Stewart without the prison record or the nasty temperament or the weird hairstyle. Pistachio says she's nothing like Martha; she's a little miffed at me. I can tell because she only gave me a small piece of her homemade Hawaiian plum-kiwi sweet bread.

What I mean is that Pistachio likes to wear aprons. She makes table clothes from pressed leaves. She cans her own mint jelly (from mint she grows herself) and she knows 16 ways to use paper towel rolls to make tasteful holiday gifts.

Pistachio loves to jump into a new project. Her favorite is Operation Christmas Child. Each year she collects new items such as combs, wash cloths, small toys, pencils, crayons, tooth brushes and such. She puts them in a shoe box. She takes the boxes (she usually gets carried away and puts together dozens) to her local drop-off center. She usually takes snacks such as cheese tarts, petite fours and mango muffins for the staff too. (If you can work it out, try to get there the same day she does--the snacks are unbelievable.)

From there, the boxes are sorted and sent to children around the world who would receive no other Christmas presents. The best part is that the folks at Samaritan's Purse, who organize this, put a copy of the story of Jesus in each box, written for kids in their native language.

Pistachio says that the message of Christ is the real gift. She says the boxes are just a way to give it. I think Pistachio is right. She wants me to remind you that the deadline for dropping off your box is the second week of November, that you can find more info at and that you don't have to bring snacks for the volunteers with you. Of course, a thank you never went a miss.

Creme Brule


Actually, I have no idea what that means. I never could stay awake through physics class except that one week we got to play with lazers. No, it's not because foxes are lazy. We just don't have any natural interests in gravity, inertia and vectors. Don't vectors sound sort of violent?

But I digress. I discovered--okay, Charles Torte pointed out to me--that I've been going through the alphabet, using a different letter for my titles. I didn't realize that. I guess I am naturally orderly and methodical. Nutmeg Squirrel found that statement funny. She laughed so hard she fell out of her tree.

Anyway, here I am at E and I realized I couldn't think of anything good to say about E. I don't like E. Sure, there is Ernie of the Sesame Street fame but there's also empty, eggnog, exercise and exams. The bad E words outweigh the good ones.

Therefore, I will keep this brief and look forward to the next letter: F!
Creme Brule

Monday, October 1, 2007

D is for Daily or Delusional?

Charles Torte told me that I am supposed to update my blog daily. Daily? Ack!

Look people, I understand you need me to rid the world of all these offensive misconceptions about foxes. I know you need my wit and my wisdom. I know that your flock to my blog, eagerly awaiting my insight, ever hopeful that I will let my award winning hot chocolate recipe slip.

But I simply cannot blog every single day. Sure, there are fox detractors who will say I do not blog daily because foxes are lazy, unorganized, irresponsible. Not true! I've got important responsibilities--mowing the yard, doing laundry, planning picnics. And how do you think I am able to provide you with thought-provoking blogs without moments of intense repose?

No, no. You will simply have to make do with a few posts a week. I'm sure you will agree with me that it is the quality and not the quantity that is of essence here.

Creme Brule