Tuesday, 28 May 2013

What have I gotten myself into?!?!?

On Saturday just past, I made a commitment that will last approximately 6 - 8 weeks. And it is a demanding one.

I am fostering a litter of kittens. Good gawd, what have I done!?!

Five squeaky squirmy babies who are about 4 weeks old. They are cute beyond words! Their mum was a feral cat who was captured, spayed and released back to her colony. Truly feral cats are almost impossible to tame. Their feral babies, when captured at this early age, are very easy to tame.

There is an organization run by a wonderful young woman named Jessica to trap,  neuter and release the feral cats in Windypeg (we're past the cold so can no longer call it Winterpeg). It's a monumental task but they, along with a dedicated group of volunteers, are making good headway into stopping the growth of the city's feral cat population. And any cats that are trapped that are tame strays are fixed and adopted out. As are the kittens they take in. They also do very low cost spays and neuters for the low income families who otherwise could not afford to get their pets fixed.

It's a job that is becoming noticed and their efforts are very much appreciated!

So. Onto these babies. Here's a photo of the litter from Saturday after I got them home.

Starting at the top: cinnamon tabby girl, brown tabby boy, black boy, brown tabby girl, cinnamon tabby boy.

The cinnamon tabby is a very rare colouration in domestic cats. A total absence of black. They are a combination of milk chocolate, cream, orange and russet. It will be interesting to see how they turn out when they have their adult coats and not baby fluff. Apparently mum was a medium haired cat, but I can't yet tell if any or all of the babies will have longer hair.

They are taming very quickly and swarm me whenever I come into the room. They purr and climb all over me and love to have their little faces rubbed. But their litter box skills are just developing and watching one of them trying to poop without falling on their noses is pretty amusing! Balance is not yet fully acquired. They eat canned kitten food with gusto and require hosing down afterwards as it gets everywhere! They are learning about crunchy kibble. They play like little squeaky toys armed with micro mini shark teeth! Bite inhibition is a learned skill, apparently. They practice on each other constantly.

Pips and Lila are understandably affronted by this invasion. Pips has taken to growling and hissing whenever she passes the door to the kitty nursery (aka my computer room). Lila is hiding in the basement and will only come up stairs at night. And if she even smells them on me, she bolts back down. She is such a chicken! But given that it's only been a few days, I am sure they will eventually settle down and accept the babies. Because it won't be long before the kitties will be out and about in the rest of the house.

On a secondary (not really!) note, a while back I had ventured once again into the alternate universe of online dating. Much as I hate that place, it really is the only place to get out and meet someone. And, it seems... I have!

I will call him Maart. He's Dutch, born and raised in Canada, although his parents and older brother were born in the Netherlands. He contacted me about three weeks ago and we started talking. Did the meet and greet a week ago last Saturday and have had three dates since then. All is going well. He's the same age as me, also works in the healthcare field, although in a different capacity (and at a different facility), has two grown kids and a desire to be with someone for a real live honest-to-goodness relationship. He's not afraid of commitment (ala MoS) and vows he is not seeing anyone else (ala Long Haul Trucker). He lives in a town close to mine.

Maart is very comfortable to be around and easy to talk to. We have lots in common and both like how things have started and are looking forward to where this journey leads. So I will post updates periodically.

Spring is sprung and there is now greenery poking spikes up through the soil in the garden out back. I don't know yet what most things are, other than the ferns because they are instantly recognizable. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks, there will be blossoms of some sort! It is raining steadily today and pleasant temperature-wise (forecast high is 21C). That should hasten the emergence of plant life quite nicely.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Prepare your taste buds...

Here is the pancake recipe that I mentioned in a blog comment... I think maybe on Roses's blog? Can't remember where, but a few days ago, Mago reminded me that I was going to share the recipe, since I blathered on and on about how good these are!

So here it is:

Blueberry Pancakes with Orange Sauce


Mix in a bowl:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Whisk together in a measuring cup:
1 egg
3 tbsp oil
1 1/2 cups milk

Add the liquid to the dry ingredients. Mix lightly. Pour onto a hot griddle in batches. To the top of each pancake, sprinkle a few blueberries immediately after pouring batter on griddle. Cook as you would normally do pancakes, turning only once. If you choose to mix the blueberries into the batter before cooking, they will turn the batter rather purpley.

Orange Sauce:
(make ahead of time and let sit in the fridge ~ develops the flavour nicely)

1/2 lb cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup liquid honey
juice and zest of one orange

Beat cream cheese and honey with mixer at high speed until smooth and creamy. Mix in orange juice thoroughly. Then stir in orange zest with wooden spoon. Refrigerate. May be brought to room temp a bit before serving.

These chill and freeze well (the pancakes) and the sauce is even better the next day! When I was a kid, we'd spend 2 weeks every July camping. It was the job of the kids to go pick wild blueberries. My mum would have brought all the other ingredients and we'd feast on these in the summer morning's sun. Even just writing about these, I can taste and smell them. If you can find wild frozen blueberries at your store, or pick wild ones, those are the best for flavour.

If anyone tries these, let me know what you think!

Saturday, 18 May 2013

May day! May day!

No... no emergencies here. It's just another day in May. So I'm a smart ass. Bite me.

I figure I might as well do a post so I can keep up with my "post a month" venture... not that I've joined some group doing that type of thing (like the  post a day people) but that so far, that's all I've managed and it seems to be a comfortable pace for me right now.

So. What's happened since I drew you all here with my last post?

March 21 to May 18 this year

Well, the most noticeable thing is the lack of snow. Once it started melting in earnest, it disappeared very quickly. One Monday, we had snow falling, and by the weekend it was +20! Although it has warmed up considerably, our large fresh water lakes are still mostly covered with ice and with the high winds we had recently, these poor folks were in for a very nasty surprise! Thankfully no was was hurt, but a lot of damage was done.

Now that we've had seasonable temps for a bit, the greenery is starting get, well... green! I think I might have a clump of peonies sprouting in the back yard but am not yet sure as they are only about 1" out of the soil. That is the only thing coming up so far. The trees and shrubs are leafing out now and the grass is rising up from the depths of winter killed lawn. I've raked up lots of thatch and sprinkled some seed over what's left. What with the rain today and yesterday, it should start looking more like a fresh inviting space every day!

With the rain, the fire ban will be lifted and one can have open fires again. It was so dry up until Thursday this past week, there were grass fires gone wild in a number of places in and around Winnipeg, one of which was just down the road from my ex's place. Not that I worried about him, but his horses I did. It never got close to them, although the water bombers were called in to combat the blaze.

Yesterday, I traded in my little 2006 Ford Focus hatchback on a 2010 Ford Ranger Sport Supercab 4x4 truck. Since I now have a house, and need something to haul stuff either to the house or away from the house, I decided a truck would be much more practical than a lunchbox on wheels, but I didn't want a full sized one. Although the MoS and I are still friends, and he willingly lets me borrow his truck, I didn't think it fair if I was calling him up every few weeks to use it. This way, I can do what I need when I need to. Besides, I am now much higher up when I drive, which makes seeing through traffic easier. Plus it is easier to find in a parking lot. If I parked the Focus between two full sized pickups, I couldn't even see its roof! So the Ranger will be infinitely more useful, although I will miss the Focus's sunroof and the heated seats in the winter. But there's always trade offs, right?

And on the work frontier, I will be interviewing at the dialysis unit here in my little city to pick up shifts on a casual basis on days off from my other job. Same duties, different hospital. It's a 3 minute drive from home, versus a 45 minute drive into the city. Who knows? Maybe I will end up with a permanent position there at some point in the future and not have to drive into the city at all unless I want to?

I have been back in the online dating pool for months, with pretty much nothing to show for all the time and effort I have put into sending email, flirts and winks. Talked with a few guys, and the most promising had turned out to be anaphylacticly (or however you would spell that) allergic to cats. Nix that then! Did have a face to face with a man who lives too far away to make things practical (a 2 1/2 hour drive) and there was absolutely no chemistry whatsoever.

However, today I met with a man who lives in a town close by. We'd been emailing for several days. He's my age, works in the healthcare field also, and we had a great chat over drinks and wings. At the end, he wanted to see my new truck, as he'd seriously thought of buying one the same but didn't. So he walked me out to it and we chatted some more. And then he asked me if I'd like to actually go on a real date. I said I thought that would be a lovely idea. So now I await word from him on when and where that will be.

Perhaps in next month's installment, I will have more news on that!