Fred Penner fans, hang on to your hats.
When I spoke to my momma on Thursday last week, she was feeling blue because her cat was missing and presumed dead. The whole thing made me sad too. Dusty, my folks’ cat, is Leroy’s momma and a sweet old thing. I’m not sure exactly how old she is, but best estimates fall around twelve years.
Picture Miss Dusty–she has always been a single mom, after all–a dilute calico with siamese somewhere in her heritage according to her blue eyes. Like some siamese cats, she has slightly crossed eyes. We think she must have learned to mouse by radar, because she has spent pretty much her whole life watching the end of her own nose. Dusty was very fine-boned for a while, but being spayed and reaching middle age led her to a rotund state. Her coat is very plush, and she almost looks like she’s wearing a rabbit fur coat all winter long. She also has an unusually short tail and small ears, which contradict the old wives’ tale that cats with big ears and long tails make the best mousers.
For some reason, Dusty was missing a week when I spoke to my mom on Thursday. Over all the years they’ve had her, Dusty has rarely missed a meal, and, in fact, tends to employ her siamese yowl if the kibble is not provided right on time. She hangs out with my mom in the summers while she’s gardening, warming her kitty self in the sun. If the cows get too close along the fence line, and Dusty thinks they may present a bovine threat to her person, she puffs herself up, faces her perceived, cud-chewing enemy, and growls like a doberman. She’s the toughest little cat I know.
As farm cats go, Dusty’s doing all right. The Electrician and I are of the “pets are family” viewpoint, obviously. My parents, though, are from the old-school and see animals as life forms that belong outside. As much as they like Dusty, she lives outside and sleeps in her cathouse. Not all farm cats get regular meals or insulated houses, which Dusty has. We joke that Leroy won the cat life lottery, living in utter luxury as he does; under that same system, I suppose Dusty is solidly middle class. She’s got all the basics tied up and gets a treat every now and again.
While my mom told me with a deep sigh that it looked like Dusty wasn’t coming home again last week, I was sad. Part of me, though, was sure she was fine and would show up again soon. Never mind that we had windchills down past minus 30 last week, and a foot and a half of snow. Forget about the coyotes and the owls and all the other predators that would love some tender (very) well-fed cat as a break from all the stringy rabbits and tough squirrels. Something told me Dusty was just hiding out somewhere, and would be home soon. I’m fairly psychic and tend to know when to trust my instincts.
To my delight but not my surprise, when I got home from work the following evening there was a delighted message from my momma that Dusty was home, hungry, and healthy in every way. I am not sure where she was or what she was doing, but she returned from her weeklong vacation good as new. Hooray!
Join me, will you?
“The cat came back, the very next day.
The cat came back: we thought she was a goner,
But the cat came back. She just couldn’t stay away.”
copyright 2013: http://bluespeckledpup.com
The Electrician and I are working on a number of family goals right now. First, we are trying to watch our dollhouse budget closely since taking my new job required me starting over on the salary staircase. We are also trying to eat more vegetables and less restaurant food. To be honest, The Electrician isn’t too jazzed about the veggie thing, but living longer and in better health is a good thing. As long as I don’t serve brussel sprouts, he doesn’t fuss too much.
This weekend, I decided to knock out a number of birds with one onion, taking inspiration from the zillion crock pot and freezer meals on Pinterest to fill our deep freeze with some wholesome, homemade goodness.
As an aside, I take issue with the number of recipes I keep finding online that call for can after can of processed crap. I appreciate the goal of saving time while cooking things folks will eat, but feeding your family recipes based on pre-made stuff loaded with sodium and corn syrup may not be the best approach. If you’re going to spend an afternoon prepping meals, there are better ways to invest your time than opening a can of Campbell’s this or a package of Lipton that or a bottle of Heinz whatever.
Thus endeth my mini-rant. Eat well, friends.
Step one to marathon cooking and meal assembly is chopping the veggies. Cutting up anything, whether with scissors or with one of my good knives, is one of the worst triggers for my bad hands, but I thought I could take the edge off with a pre-emptive Advil and a little assistance from my mandoline. Between the colour mother nature grew into my veggies and the glory of my Fiestaware, the results were a sight to behold.
You can’t tell from the photo, really, although I stuck my biggest knife in there as an attempt at providing scale, but that is a heap of vegetable goodness. I prepped a mix of white and sweet onions, parsnip, both celery and carrots at two thicknesses, zucchini, snap peas, garlic, crimini mushrooms, and fresh spinach. To illustrate how much I actually chopped, diced, sliced, and minced, the spinach is on one of my big dinner plates.
After I took the photo, Sherman and I went for our walk. The house smelled so fresh when I came back from the aroma of greens and such that it almost made me forget winter is here to stay.
I made a pot of chicken stew with barley and some of everything you see above for dinner tonight. It was fabulous, due in no small part to those glorious snap peas. While that pot was simmering away, I also made a vat of The Electrician’s favourite: Irish stew. I’ve told him it’s not really Irish stew because I make it with beef and not lamb, but he insists the can of Guinness makes it as Irish as can be. I made at least a dozen meals’ worth of that goodness, and I’m planning to whip up some baking-powder biscuits tomorrow night so we can have a few more meals ready to rock in the freezer. Beef stew is only worth eating if there is something nummy to dunk in it, yes?
Also on the roster, a freezer pack of barbeque beef that will be happy in the crock pot one of these days while we’re at work. There’s also a club pack of pork chops in our fridge that I’ll be turning into freezer to crock pot meals tomorrow. A girl can only prep so much food in one day.
It was a highly-productive day here in dollhouse. On top of all the yummy, healthy food waiting for us, we also managed to watch three Marvel superhero movies. Yay, Sundays at home. Also, I love The Hulk: green is an awesome colour.
copyright 2013: http://bluespeckledpup.com