|We'll get to the Autumn tree cherry pie eventually, I promise.|
It comes as no secret to anyone that people aren't my cup of tea; my heart was made to love and nurture animals. The word "pet" simply does not justify what the animals that past or present make up my home mean to me. They are my family, my children, and last week we lost the world's spikiest daughter to a congenital heart defect. We took Peebs into the vet thinking she had pneumonia due to her lack of appetite and labored breathing that happened in a matter of one night. It came as a huge gut punch when the vet and tech took her back to X-ray and her heart failed; after the vet's many attempts to revive her, she died on the table in X-ray alone, without her people by her side. Nothing any of us could have done would've prevented this from happening. It was simply her time, but this never makes things any easier.
|The face that starts a million "Awwws."|
I have always been so unbelievably fascinated by Peeberton: how something could be so small and delicate, yet strong-willed and so tough was incredible. She was pretty much the animal version of me, and I was her person. I was one of two people in this entire world who she would actually let give her belly rubs and the occasional butt scratch (we all love them). I made it my mission to give her the best life a hedgehog could ever have from the instant she became ours. My favorite moments were spent watching her chow down on fruits, eggs, chicken, etc., and when we had time alone, to stretch out on the couch and wrap her in her blanket before laying down and placing her on my chest. Feeling her little feet shuffle around on me until she found the perfect spot and plopped down (with more oomph than any other one pound creature, might I add) made my heart burst. It it odd to think that such a small, bristly creature could bring such a large, much needed softness into my heart. I am rendered with an unbelievable crushing guilt that her life was cut so short. Every time I go into her room in the morning to open the blinds, my heart feels so very empty now that she is not there to help me greet the day and generally be cranky about having to be awake in the first place...like I said, we got each other. Until we leave this house, I will forever tell her goodnight when I close the blinds at night, too.
I am not good at expressing my feelings outside of the written word. I could never fight back the pain and tell people how even though she is gone, she is still in my soul- in my introverted and quiet ways, in my devotion to my "people," in my perseverance to keep fighting no matter how big the problem is compared to me- she is my 'spirit hedge' now. And how lucky I am to have loved and cared for a creature so much that saying goodbye to her is so hard.
|My hedge, my heart.|
In the days following her passing, I spent a lot of time baking up a storm to help me sort out my emotions, so that I could subsequently eat my feelings. I may or may not have wanted to just have ice cream for dinner one night. What can I say...its better than driving to the nearest Costco to obtain their entire supply of Pinot Grigio to drink my feelings. I've never had an ice cream hangover before, and I refuse to believe that a food so good could ever cause pain beyond a brain freeze (and if you're mixing the proper ratio of ice cream to hot fudge to Andes mint chips- this never happens). Along with cinnamon caramel pull-apart rolls I made for brunch this weekend, I also made my mother's homemade cherry pie recipe. This is the next best thing to getting an actual hug from my mother when I'm feeling down in the dumps.
|Because it is absolutely delicious and fall-themed.|
|So I used pre-made pie crust, gimme a break, its been a tough week.|
- Two pie crusts @ room temperature (the Pillsbury stuff comes with two, yet another reason to cut corners!)
- 1 can TART cherries in their juice- not cherry pie filling- just Oregon canned tart cherries that even I can find at my shitty Walmart in the fruit aisle next to cereal
- 3/4 C sugar
- 1/4 tsp of almond extract (the only extract better than vanilla)
- 1/8 tsp of salt
- 3 TBS of flour
- 2 TBS of butter- that's where the nice "hugging" feeling from Mom comes from. Thanks, butter.
|Yeah, I occasionally eat a cherry or two during this process.|
|Yeah, don't just take a spoon to this and start eating...resistance is key.|
|I will cut you.|
|To flute: Take your thumb and index finger, and press them into the edge of your pie. |
This will create a nice indentation.
|Repeat around all edges of the pie until you're left with a gorgeous fluted crust!|
|Free hand, take a paring knife and lightly outline a tree into the top pie crust.|
|Carefully cut out your outline, being sure not to pierce the bottom crust. |
It will leave you with a strange Pagan-esque looking symbol on top of your pie-
Dean Winchester would be proud. Plus one if you love Supernatural and got that reference.
|Use the paring knife to draw a curved line into your dough.|
|Draw an oppositely curved line on the other side, and you've got a leaf!|
|Take it a step further, and lightly draw in veins on the leaf with your knife.|
|Then lightly place the leaves around your branches, |
and you can make some that are "falling" into another leaf pile on the ground.
|I find this to be the most maddening part of making pie. |
One side goes on, the other side falls off..grumble, grumble.
|C'mon, I JUST want to eat you...|
Baking pie will make most of life's horrible experiences at least somewhat tolerable because you can't be 100 percent depressed while eating a good dessert- this is simply a fact. I want to thank everyone for their unbelievable outpouring of support over the past week. I am reminded at times like these that there are decent, loving people out there in this world who understand loss and how hard it can be to lose a loved one, and I am very fortunate that these are the people I call my friends and family. You all are simply wonderful, so thank you for letting me pour my heart and pie out to you this week, and any other should I need to. Til next time, my fellow eaters!
|That's all, nothing left to see here folks...just an adorable hedge tush.|