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June 2006

June 29, 2006

kitten update: Fluff joins the family

Riverflufftussle1 Quick update on theFluffThing. He's gotten comfortable enough that he feels free to take on River in tussles while the three smaller kittens snooze. Which is good for the smidges because Fluff is bigger enough that he's a bit overpowering when he goes bat sh...well, let's just say one of his nicknames is guano... grin

He's usually pretty good with the littler ones, but once a day or so we'll hear a squawk and have to run and reexplain the relative strength of smaller kittens to the fluffKitten. I doubt he understands the speech, but having it delivered while he dangles upside down face-to-face with one of us might make some impact. Then again, having been doing it for a few days, I am not so sure. So it's nice to see him romping with River who is more than happy to straighten his little fluffness out.

4kittensnursing006 On the other hand, he can be the most angelic thing in the entire world. As shown here, where one of these kittens is not like the other one...that not-so-little kitten does belong. This happened after about 48 hours of sporadic hissing from River, which is pretty good all in all.

Today they all had their first adventure out in the garden. But those pictures are for another day.

June 27, 2006

ofvp: soar like a turkey vulture...

Occasional fog valley photos are an homage to Farmgirl's Daily Farm Photo, offering a glimpse into a fog valley that fingers up off of the lower Columbia River in Washington State.

This turkey vulture spent a good part of the day just hanging around on a post across the way. He probably stayed there for three hours, and every 15-20 minutes he'd fly a little loop, fairly close to me and land on another fencepost. I really appreciate that since it allowed me to get good pictures with a handheld Nikon D70 using the kit lens which is nice but not exactly a telephoto. The wing coloration is very nice, I hadn't seen one flying overhead before this so it was sort of a surprise.

June 25, 2006 that even still food?

Beer Battered Deep Fried Bacon Double Quarter Pounder. (complete with battered deep fried string holding it all together) Dude got double dog dared...or something.

Oddly, I am no longer hungry.

June 24, 2006

wcb: and then there were four again...

Clare and Kiri from eat stuff organize weekend cat blogging to provide us with an excuse to bring on the cute...and we're all happy to oblige...

three climbing kittens Starting with the three almost month-old kittens because, even if they are pretty much a blur, they are at least predictable. As in, they are supposed to be here. They are each between 550-575 grams as of yesterday and we've had to redesign the kitty containment system in their room to make the board across the doorway higher — it's now two feet and I give them a week tops before the first one gets claws over the top edge in a single leap. Then this barrier will fall, as the puny 1x12 fell before it. With any luck, we'll have the kitten section of the yard fenced in by then. So far, we've been about a day ahead of them. Doesn't bode well for us puny humans.

They are also getting older — not just bigger, older. They are a lot more like tiny cats now than they were just a few day ago: they scatch behind their necks (and lose their balance and topple over about half the time) and spend a good chunk of their waking time playing bap and bite, which seems like a fun game if you're a kitten. Plus they have their little paws under them and are walking steadily and even doing short bursts of running...until their back legs lose traction on the hardwood floor and they end up sprawled indignantly on their bellies.

I took more than 300 pictures of these three furlings this past week. They all look like this one. Well, that's not entirely true...some are blurrier. I need to get them outside in bright light so I can get a decent shot for next week. (Plus, I need to get a tummy picture for Layla...)

But didn't I say something about four?

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whb: grow your own sweet bay

Weekend Herb Blogging is Kalyn's weekly venture into the land of herbs and always offers a collection of international food writers weighing in with delightful ideas for using the goodness that is fresh herbs. This week's edition is being guest-hosted by Virginie at Absolutely Green who has a French-English blog with some yummy looking pictures of food and France both.

Baymidfeb06Of all the herbs in my garden, I brought three plants with me when I moved, leaving the rest to overwinter in a friend's yard while we got settled. A Tuscan Blue rosemary, the largest of the spanish lavender, and the sweet bay tree rode with me and the cats in the pickup truck. Had I been forced to a decision, the rosemary and lavender could have spent the winter with the rest, but the bay had to be with me.

Pretty strong feelings for an herb whose dried leaves are actually not too bad, widely available and usually inexpensive. For many cooks, bay is a necessary part of the melange of herbs used in things like soups, stews, pot roasts, and, of course, marinara sauce. When used this way, bay provides a difficult to describe flavor that adds a sort of depth and complexity to the dish without leaving a discernable flavor of its own. To paraphrase former Supreme Court Justice Stewart, I may not be able to define it, but I know it when I don't taste it.

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June 23, 2006

Ribs with Chipotle Rub and Apricot-Pineapple BBQ sauce recipe

RibschipotrleapricotpineappSummer has always meant sloppy, gooey finger-food to me. Whether it's licking an arm to catch a dribble of fresh peach juice or licking the last bit of whipped cream from the strawberry shortcake off a finger, summer gives a pass to table behavior that may be considered a bit gauche in other, more serious, seasons. Heck, in summer you can lick peach juice off someone else's arm and get away with it!

This time of year also inspires a very non-RR sort of "thirty minute meal" around my place. Take thirty minutes, divide into two parts, and insert a long time in the middle while some meat cooks ever so slowly and I give it nary a passing thought. (Hey, hey, now all you RR purists! It's still thirty minutes and nobody said it had to be thirty contiguous minutes. If there's one thing I've learned as a writer, it's that if you don't pick your words carefully, others will pick them apart...)

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June 21, 2006

Blogger's Boot-up Blend

This is part two of a series of reviews of Blogger's Fuel, a line of coffee from Boca Java, written by someoneElse, the resident coffee aficionado. Links to earlier reviews are at the end of this article. (disclaimer: the coffee was a freebie in exchange for reviews)

The second Boca Java coffee I tried was Blogger's Boot-up Blend.

After a long and late night of tearing down and rebuilding a Linux server (Fedora), an XP workstation, installing a 400gb NAS device, and getting my new dual core P4 (Dell) to talk to my recording studio (Presonus Firepod w/Cubase), the next morning I was ready for something to boot my system.

Bootupblend I opened the bag of Bloggers Boot Up Blend with anticipation — hopefully something to yank my interrupts and get my operating system going!  The aroma lofting out of the bag was of a mild light roast with a bit of a rustic edge. There was a transient subtleness suggesting tastes imprecisely defined, like an elusive memory that slips away as you try to identify what it is or what it reminds you of. There was also a waft of something my nose identified as "staleness" — you know, like when you pre-grind extra beans that you don't use that day and you toss the extra coffee in a jar with a lid to use later, and then a couple weeks afterward you grab the jar because you don't have beans ground and you sniff it and it smells....stale.

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June 19, 2006

wcb: in which the kittens climb the wall

This week brought great change in the land of the smidges:


We got our first inkling that something was afoot (apaw?) one morning when we awoke to a lone kitten next to the board we had placed across the so-called-sewing room** doorway. Fortunately, we had expanded our kitten-proof zone the previous day in anticipation of just this event so while the furling was unhappy at being alone he was at least confined to a small part of the house. I'd give you three guesses which kitten, but you know which one was 'nymed Trubble, so it's probably obvious.

Greatescape011 The next afternoon, I went to check on the smidges and found this. Apparently escaping is exhausting and the smidges had to crash. but look! That all-gray face that seems somehow ready for more...guess who? The more I watch these guys, the more convinced I am that we got Trubble nailed when he first tried to escape from the 'birthing bed' less than ten minutes after he was born.


  A little while later, after we put back them back into the blue box, T3 had to show her mom just how fewocious she can be. Be amused, be very amused.

The three continue to grow apace, all of them being around 400 grams now, I believe. Everyone is up and moving around pretty well too. The last day or two has seen the beginning skirmishes of the Tussle War, look for pictures of that next week.

I want to thank everyone who left a comment or sent mail about Tidbit. He was an awfully special little thing and it was nice to hear he'd tugged a heartstring or two out there.

The rest of the week's cats can be found at Eat Stuff, where Clare and Kiri have taken a moment from their adventures to round up the cute.

** I use the term "sewing room" to describe the room that has been occupied by one cat or another for well over the half the time we've lived here. The room in which I have used a sewing machine once in eighteen months. The one with the shelves full of fabric that have been unpacked, stacked, semi-repacked, unpacked again, organized "for real" a few weeks back...and then taken over by River when she moved her kittens in there, requiring me to pack three shelves (out of five) lest they become kitten fodder. That sewing room. Hrumph! Might as well call it the kitten room.

June 16, 2006

Blogs of Bravery coffee review

Perhaps sensing a niche, Boca Java coffee recently started a line of coffees called Blogger's Fuel; a series of blends with names like Blogger's Boot-up Blend and New Media Mavericks and an offer that 500 bloggers couldn't resist: Free coffee in exchange for reviews on your blog.

My forays into coffee began in the military, where hot caffeinated water would have been perfectly acceptable — come to think of it, maybe we could have mixed that water with the sludge that filled the dingy glass carafes to make something a bit more palatable — and ended when I could once again make myself a decent cup of tea. (I really consider those triple-shot mochas I indulge in to be more of an adult hot chocolate with a caffeine kicker...and it's so much more socially acceptable to ask for a triple mocha than the other... but i digress...) The upshot is, not being much of a coffee drinker myself, I've recruited someoneElse, the resident coffee aficionado, for a series of reviews of the various Blogger's Blend coffees.

Blogsofbraveryfront The beginning of the adventure

The first coffee I tested was Blogs of Bravery, a good, serious-minded blend that left you with no doubt that you were drinking a real cup of coffee. No frou-frou stuff hereit is not flavored or spiced or altered in such a way that would leave you wondering what you are drinking. With Blogs of Bravery you have no doubt that you are drinking a solid cup of good coffee.

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June 13, 2006

kitten update: new pics!

This one's going to be short and sweet. Fresh pictures of two kittens. (and then I'm going to go write something about food)
T315days Grayling15days

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