I posted a request on Facebook for a picture of a cat in a box, and within a half-hour I had six. Naomi Kritzer responded first, so it was her cat Cassandra Fluffypants that got drawn, which is totally fitting because her short story Cat Pictures, Please won a freaking Hugo Award this year.
I planted a dwarf Montmorency cherry tree several years ago, and have been waiting eagerly for a year in which I could actually, y’know, pick some cherries. Previously, one defiant bird stripped all the cherries before they even had a chance to ripen, but this year, the tree not only had a bumper crop, but the birds mysteriously stayed away.
In the last week, we’ve harvested three huge bowls of tart cherries, probably around 10 quarts total. I was mystified at the good luck until Paul reminded me that a feral cat has taken up residence in our backyard — a slender, white-and-grey kitty with gangly long legs that we have taken to calling “Teenage Cat.” That seems to be the only differing factor this year — the topmost branches were picked clean as usual, but all the lower ones remained untouched — and it seems as likely an explanation as we’re going to get.
After pitting them in stages and freezing them (there’s only so much pitting one can do in a day before one starts getting aggrivated…) I’ve simmered the cherries down in the crockpot and whirled the results in my blender to make a kind of cherry butter. I’m more fond of jam with whole fruit, but this allows a nice thick jam consistency without a ton of extra sugar or pectin. I like it lots.
Thanks, Teenage Cat! We’ll have to leave you some extra food out this winter.
Paul and I were awoken at 4:30am by the cats tearing up and down the hallway– or rather, Paul was awoken, because I had my earplugs in and was sleeping like the dead. A bat was lost in the house again and was doing laps around the second story. Paul quickly isolated it in the bathroom and left it there to calm down until morning, where he found it sleeping on the floor of the shower and quickly evicted it with the help of a tupperware container and a vinyl LP. We’re getting rather good at bat extractions.
If things with White Nose Syndrome keep going as they are, though, we may never have another bat infestation again. This Wired article is just plain terrifying, and makes me fear deeply for the future of agriculture in this country. Between bats who eat insect pests, and honeybees who pollenate the crops, we may be heading for seriously difficult times in farming.
Biked home from work tonight to a strange yowling coming from under my car. Turns out that Claudia escaped from the house sometime today (out a window? when we let the dog out?) and got into some trouble with the local wildlife. We’re still not sure what kind of critter she tangled with, but it was pretty nasty; fortunately we found her before the vet closed and were able to get her stitched up within an hour. The vet said that the long gash in her forepaw was pretty serious and had just missed a major artery — she could’ve bled out if it had been any worse. She also got tagged over one eye, and will be wearing The Cone of Shame for the next ten days till the stitches come out.
Right now she’s cooling her heels in the library, all loopy on drugs. Here’s hoping that this will break her of some of her more aggressive nature with the other animals in the house.
And now for something pleasant: Kittens, after five months. Claudia is the whip-thin black one, fond of playing fetch and capable of a four-foot vertical. Maddie is the dense calico, so compact and heavy for her size that she must be a Tardis-kitty. She is the most loving affectionate, cuddly cat I’ve ever known. Both allow us to clip their claws with no protest whatsoever, a testament to their foster parents.
I have a guilty-pleasure confession: I love chicken wings. Love them. I love the tactile pleasure of getting every last bit of meat off the bones, and as such, I rarely eat them in public (I have the exact same problem with rib tips, my preferred form of barbecue) because I am such an embarrassing, gnawing carnivore. It’s a bit like that scene in Splash, where Madison eats the lobster (sorry, no clip — The Youtubes have failed me).
So I tend to eat my wings at home. Which brings me to the problem.
There is something in chicken wings that drives our pets completely insane. They will not leave us alone when we eat them. The cats swarm, leaping into laps. The dog shoves her snout directly into the bowl. We cook meat all the time, and nothing has ever produced a reaction like this — all other meals are ignored as though they don’t exist (okay, except for our older cat, who loves yogurt).
So I literally have to throw all the animals out of the room and shut all the doors to eat my wings, unless I want sauce-sticky fingers covered in pet hair from shooing them away. And as soon as I carry the bones to the garbage, they’re on top of me again.
The wings are sizzling now — off to start the kitty-viction.
and discovering that one of the new kittens likes to watch speed skating. For serious. She keeps tracking them as they run off the edge of the screen. We’ll try to get video of it, but as soon as we haul out the camera she gets all shy.