Are you and Nance going to do another podcast for us? I loved the last one! No podcast from us this time around, you probably already realized. Nance didn’t bring her fancy recording equipment with her this time. Maybe next time! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~   Since you like to make anything and everything, I thought you might … Continue reading “7-11-08”

Are you and Nance going to do another podcast for us? I loved the last one!

No podcast from us this time around, you probably already realized. Nance didn’t bring her fancy recording equipment with her this time. Maybe next time!



Since you like to make anything and everything, I thought you might like to try Homemade Oreos. There are some rather interesting recipes on her blog.




So tell me a little bit about pattypan squash… I’d never even heard about it until I read about it here and it looks very interesting. Is it super sweet like butternut squash or is it less sweet like yellow squash? Do you peel it? How do you cook it? I’m trying to increase my veggie repertoire!

I hate the fucking SHIT out of pattypan squash. It’s a pain in the ass to cut, it doesn’t taste any better than yellow squash, and Fred seems to think it’s the most amazing vegetable this side of okra. I HATE IT. To me, it tastes very much like yellow squash, though it’s firmer and less watery than yellow squash tends to be. We eat it sliced up and oven-fried or diced and sauteed with yellow squash, eggplant, and/ or zucchini (whatever’s on hand) – which we call “vegetable medley”. I’ve seen recipes indicating that you can hollow out the pattypan squash, prepare the innards in some way and then use the shell of the pattypan as the serving bowl. I’ve never done that, though.

(I might be hating the pattypan a little more than usual, given that I spent three hours dicing it up for the freezer so we can eat vegetable medley all damn winter long. Stupid pattypan.)



My first thought on seeing you taking a picture of the cake pan on the floor was: “How is it possible there are no cats getting frosting on their noses?” My beagle would have her face right in that cake if I tried a stunt like that. The risks you take for your readers! I’m so glad Nance was there to document the situation.

If I’d left the cake on the floor any longer than I did, I can guarantee that at least Miz Poo would have come moseying on over for a sniff-see. As it was, though, the cats are usually pretty uninterested when I’m in the kitchen. They never get any extra treats from me (I’m too fixated on getting whatever I’m working on made so I can get the hell out of the kitchen), so why bother hanging around? I think they were probably scattered all over the house, sound asleep.



You have peach trees??? If so, I am so jealous. Peaches won’t grow where I live – it’s too damn cold. As a child, I envisioned moving to the south and living on a peach farm/plantation. Heh.

We do! Scroll down a bit in this entry, and you can see them from earlier this year. They were tiny little peaches, but surprisingly flavorful. Considering the fact that Fred just planted the peach tree last year, I think the fact that he got a nice-sized bowl of peaches is pretty awesome.



Poor Sugarbutt. How much longer till he gets it taken off?

We’ve started taking Sugarbutt’s collar off around dinnertime and keeping it off ’til bedtime. The first night Fred did that, Sugarbutt jumped into the air and then hauled off like his butt was on fire. I’m hoping maybe after his vet appointment on Monday, we’ll be able to keep it off him. I think it’ll all depend on how quickly his toes heal.



Robyn, you look great! I’m jealous of your garden. I was wondering if you’ve read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. She and her family moved to a farm in southwestern VA and spent a year eating only food that they grew or raised or that was grown or raised within 100 miles of their home. It’s really got me thinking about where the stuff we buy in the grocery store comes from, and looking for local farmer’s markets. Love the kittens, I have five adult cats and miss the little ones.

Actually, I have – I read it about this time last year, and enjoyed it a lot. Which reminds me – when the tomatoes start coming in good, I want to give the Tomato Sauce recipe a try!

It was a very good book, I recommend it to anyone who hasn’t read it.



Did you and Nance colour coordinate your outfits in the great cake taking photograph? (beige pants, red tops!)

We didn’t color coordinate – Nance is just such a damn copycat that she had to copy me.

(I kid, of course – actually, I was wearing gray pants, not beige.)



How do you hang your laundry outside without it totally getting covered in pollen? I don’t dare try that with all the allergies in my house.

Good question – I’ve never had a problem with it. Either I just don’t notice it – doubtful, since Fred suffers from allergies – or we don’t get a lot of pollen around here (at least not this time of year), or my clothesline is located in some weird pollen-free vortex.



Have you figured out which one of the cats has been doing the recent peeing (on the guest bed, in the kitty bed)? There are so many potential suspects! Are you ever tempted to set up a video camera to catch the culprit? Also, if one of them pees on a bed, how do you prevent the mattress from taking on that hideous cat pee smell? Do you have special Cat Lady techniques that you are willing to share with the world?

I strongly suspect that either Joe Bob or Mister Boogers is the culprit when it comes to the peeing in the guest bedroom. Mister Boogers has been known to pee on beds to register his displeasure with whatever it is that’s going on at the moment and Joe Bob, well, I just think he’s a troublemaker because he’s always smiling.

But then, I know for sure that Maxi likes to spray (did you know that female cats can spray to mark their territory? I never would have believed it, except the bitch did it RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME) and I suspect that Newt pees on things I leave on top of the washer (imagine my rage when I walk by the washer and find that my cleaning rags have been peed upon. I CANNOT HAVE ONE GODDAMN NICE THING IN THIS HOUSE.), so what I’m saying here is “Fuck if I know.”

We were having an issue for a while with someone occasionally peeing on Fred’s bed. Now, we both think that that was due to the fact that years ago, when suffering from the effects of diabetes, Tubby peed on the bed a few times, and I suspect the cats can still smell the remnants from that. I myself would insist on a new mattress, but Fred won’t hear of it because he doesn’t want to spend the money (and that mattress was damn expensive). Anyway, I very much wanted to set up a hidden camera to see who the hell was doing it, but instead Fred installed a latch on his door so now the cats can’t get in there at all.

All the beds in the house currently sport waterproof mattress pads, but in addition to that, I can’t recommend Stink-Free strongly enough. It removes the smell immediately and – as far as I can tell – the smell doesn’t come back at all.



I love the idea of using a bucket for a litter box – y’all are genius! What’s the diameter of the bottom of the bucket? What are the dimensions of the hole and what did Fred use to cut the hole? I think we need an instructible!

(Those of you who missed the initial entry about the Lowe’s bucket/ litter box, see a picture and read about it here.)

According to the label on the bucket, it is a “Rough & Rugged Extra Large Heavy Duty Tub (with Rope Handles)”, made by United Solutions. It’s 22 1/8″ in diameter, and 16″ high. The hole is 8 inches by 9 inches (I measured the hole in the old covered litter box and made an outline on the tub where I wanted the hole to go). According to Fred, he used his jigsaw to cut the hole in the bucket. It’s a nice, clean cut, isn’t it?



Have you seen Wipeout on ABC? We watched last night and I am ashamed to admit we laughed our asses off. Good mindless summer TV with people getting the you know what knocked out of them. And then there are the Big Balls…

We haven’t watched it yet – but it’s certainly up Fred’s alley, so I’m sure we’ll be checking it out sooner or later!



I don’t know how you do it. This morning I was digging in my closet for work clothes and found that the shirt I wanted had fallen off the hanger and was on the floor. I picked it up and got a whiff and realized Darth Vadar had peed on it. I’m so sick of the smell of cat urine. I wanted to just strangle him. He’s lucky he wasn’t in the room.

I tell you what, I get SO PISSED when I find something that’s been peed on. And what’s worse is that it’s ALWAYS a freakin’ surprise. Fred can tell you, I get mighty irate about it, too. I am completely paranoid that my house smells like cat pee, and if there’s any cat pee anywhere in the vicinity, I can smell it, and I can usually locate it eventually, too. I despair of the day when my sense of smell starts to go – I’ll have to hire someone with young nostrils to come over and sniff around the house to make sure it doesn’t reek of cat pee.



Lack of adoptive homes for kitties must be just another sign of Mr. Bush’s economic disaster we are facing. Gasoline, food,in fact EVERYTHING costing more and more. Your lovely garden will certainly be a help to you and Fred as prices keep rising.

That’s Fred’s contention, too, that the economy is responsible for the dropoff of adoptions. ::sigh::



I think I need to try this. The tiny kitty I found almost a month ago has decided that the guest room bed is the place to do her business. I covered it with a plastic sheet, but still ewwww. She uses the litter box occasionally, but prefers the bed. I have made her smell it, then put her in the litter box, trying to teach her, and that doesn’t seem to work. Anybody have any great ideas for me? Other than this, she’s the perfect loving kitty.

I know people left suggestions in the comments (I love you guys!), and the only thing I can add is to maybe try adding Kitten Attract to the litter box. It’s supposed to encourage kittens to use the litter box (and not the bed!); I don’t know that it works, but it might be worth a try!



Robyn, I was wondering how it works with the kitties being stuck at the pet store before adoption. I foster dogs for a local rescue and we have adoptions on Saturday and sometimes Sunday for about 3-4 hours. We take the dog and stay there with them to discuss the pup with potential adopters. We actually get a say in whether the potential adopters can get the dog or not. Granted, they go through a ridiculous adoption screening, but sometimes the foster can just feel whether it will be a good fit. There are times when a potential adopter just screams to me that they shouldn’t take the dog. It is important to get a good fit. Just wondering if you get any input is all.

Until now, I’ve always taken the kittens (or cats) to the pet store and left them in a cage. The shelter’s adoption counselors have developed a keen nose for people who shouldn’t be allowed to adopt, so I’ve never actually come in contact with potential adopters before now. Now that they can come to the house to spend time with the kittens (after a rigorous pre-adoption screening), the shelter manager has been clear that if any alarm bells go off when foster parents are meeting with potential adopters, we should absolutely let them know.



Can you tell us more about that collar that Sugarbutt has on? I’ve never seen anything like it! I’m betting we probably don’t even get them in Australia though…

It’s called the No-Bite Collar, and basically what it does is make it impossible for Sugarbutt to reach his toes and lick between them, which would stop them from healing. It’s a pretty neat thing, and according to the vet, works far better than cones do, with cats. Considering that the one time we tried putting a cone on Sugarbutt, he freaked right out so badly that we had to take it off him, I’d say the collar is working pretty well!



Robyn, this has nothing to do with anything, really, but I notice that Sugarbutt’s got SoftPaws on. I was just wondering if you could explain how you get these on the claws – is this an adventure that you take all alone, or do you have four hands to get the SoftPaws glued on? Do you throw towels over the cats to get them to not freak out and claw at you to get away?

Fred always helps me when we put SoftPaws on Tommy and Sugarbutt – I’m sure that one person could somehow get them on a cat without help, but I don’t know how on earth that would happen, unless it involved wrapping them in a towel. Tommy and Sugarbutt are both pretty calm about having the SoftPaws glued on – they don’t like it, but they’ll tolerate it.

Also, I was hoping you’d be able to offer a little advice. I’ve recently attempted and mostly succeeded at training my little Mia to scratch her climbing tower rather than the sofa, so I know I can sort of train her to do some things. We live pretty high up in an apartment high rise, and we have a large balcony with a railing which Mia, the little minx, has taken to jumping on. This not only gives us a heart attack, but also, if she jumps down off the railing on the other side there’s a ledge that goes all the way around the building, but it is certainly not big enough that I’m going to go walking out there after her. She has jumped on the railing, she’s jumped down on the other side, and she’s walked around a little bit on the ledge (it’s about 12 inches wide in most places so she’s not likely to fall off because of bad balance, but still). Each time, well, let’s just say I am displeased. Do you have any advice on how to train her to NOT jump on the railing? It seems my yelling her name and shaking treats to entice her inside when she does jump up there doesn’t seem to dissuade her from ever doing it again. Short of being able to teach her to cut it out, I’m going to have to keep the balcony door closed, which in this weather is not the most ideal solution.

I feel sure that there must be something you can put around the railing to stop her from jumping up there, but a cursory search on Google gives me nothin’. I know my readers will have a solution, because they ROCK. Readers?



Hi Robyn – love the litter box idea! Any suggestions as to what to do about a darling kitty girl that always gets all four feet in the litter box to pee and then hangs her ass right over the edge so pee goes on the mat/paper towel rather than in the box? She gets all the way in the middle to poo, no problem, but not to pee (and the box is clean, so that isn’t an issue). Once in awhile the pee goes down the outside of the box, but most hits the floor just outside. Sigh. Anyone?

The only suggestion that comes to mind is giving her a litter box that’s high enough that she can’t hang her butt over the side. The top entry litter box we have (though I don’t use the lid) is definitely high enough that she won’t be able to pee over the front, but as with all cats, it’s going to depend on whether she likes the litter box or not. Also, if she’s an older cat, it might be difficult for her to jump into it. Other than that – maybe a bigger litter box? Though the fact that she has no problems getting her poo in the box indicates that it’s either laziness or a MESSAGE on her part.


My elder statesman did the same thing due to lack of mobility and what I did was get some puppy housetraining pads (I get them at target) and place them under the litter box. You need to leave a few inches of the pad showing outside of the edge of the box to catch the errant pee. Works pretty well. I don’t know what to do about getting her to pee inside the box. Maybe try a bigger box?



Speaking of RR, as she’s using the garbage bowl on 30 Minute Meals, it always drives me nuts that she is putting recyclables in with the other garbage. To me, it would be more work to separate everything after I’m finished.

I have to say, I’ve never actually seen Rachel Ray’s show, so the whole “garbage bowl” thing is just what I’ve read and heard from other people. I don’t actually use a garbage bowl, but if I did – I guarantee you, it would NOT cost no damn FIFTEEN DOLLARS.



I’m surprised you don’t have a compost pile – but then your pigs eat all your composting fodder, I suppose. I do have a separate bowl for my kitchen scraps, but it’s just an old gallon ice cream bucket which gets emptied into our compost pile.

We do have a compost heap. I have a canister sitting by the sink in which I put all my compostable (non-meat) food. The damn pigs won’t eat the ends of squash or the ends of green beans or onion skins, so that stuff goes on the compost heap. Anything that’s not compostable and goes in the garbage, I usually toss in the garbage as I’m cooking – I guess it doesn’t bother me to take the extra steps to toss stuff in the garbage instead of in a garbage bowl!



Repeat after me: “Righty Tighty, Lefty Loosey.” Turn the lid to the left to open the jar! I know it’s SILLY but it works. Also, if you take the blunt end of a can opener and just gently lift the bottom edge of the lid until that little piff of air comes out, the jar will open right up.

I do know “righty tighty, lefty loosey”, I swear! I just never think of it when I’m opening jars, apparently. 🙂



Fred? The man who likes cheese, but not on his salad? Who likes cheese, but not on his burger? He wants TWO LAYERS of cheese on his squash? Now we know where Fred LIKES his cheese…or haven’t you told him that parmesan is cheese?

Not only does he LIKE cheese on his squash, the whole recipe was his idea! I’ve been told, recently, that he guesses it’s just American cheese he doesn’t like on his burger. Tonight we’re having hamburgers for dinner, and he asked me to get pepperjack cheese. To eat on his burger. I guess you CAN teach an old dog new tricks!



you still feeding that spoiled kitten baby food? =)

That bratty little kitten AND her Momma AND her brother AND her sister (but not Kaylee) all share a jar of chicken baby food in the morning and another at night. You KNOW I spoil the hell out of my fosters, and I expect that they’ll be eating baby food as long as they’re in residence!



As for the dental tech, and her comment about cats; she sounds more like someone who doesn’t care for cats OR dogs. Some people just don’t like or have pets, and never seem to have anything good to say about any species.

No, she’s definitely a dog person – she has a couple of dogs. She told me that in the evening when she sits down, her dogs get right up on her, and cats aren’t like that, they’re more independent. Considering that Fred cannot sit down and watch TV without Mister Boogers, Maxi, Tommy, and Spanky all up in his shit, I’m thinking she just hasn’t met the right cat!



Fred called me from work yesterday. “It’s supposed to get really stormy this afternoon,” he said. “You need to go out and pick the squash before that happens.” It had been a couple of days since the squash got picked, and the only reason he hadn’t done it on Wednesday is because it was raining when he got home from work.

I went out to the garden and picked yellow and pattypan squash and zucchini and cucumbers.


I’ll be making pickles this weekend.

Some of the zucchini was really freakin’ big!

When Fred got home, it was not stormy at ALL. It was bright and sunny. And since he hadn’t picked green beans in about a week, he went out to do so. He came in with a big basket of green beans.

“Where can I put these?” he asked. “I’m not even a third of the way down the row!” I pointed to the utility sink in the laundry room. He picked and he picked, and he picked some more.


I’ll be snapping the hell out of green beans today. And maybe tomorrow. And canning green beans. And freezing them. And then I will kill Fred in his sleep.



Kara and the babies are doing well. Kaylee, kind of standoffish until now, has warmed up to me a little. She’s always had the quickest purr – you barely touch her, and off she goes – but she hasn’t wanted to be petted. Until now – now she doesn’t mind a little petting. Until she’s done being petted, and then you better back off.

I adore this picture, because it looks like Zoe is airborne, that the purple thing is the rug and she’s in a mid-air Matrix move. They’re actually in the tub, fighting, though. They love to fight in the tub, for some reason. Also, they love to poke holes in my shower curtains. Brats.

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Joe Bob keeps an eye on the birds.



2007: “It tastes awful… chickeny,” he said.
2006: I thought I was going to die from the sheer annoyance factor.
2005: But really, is there anything less threatening than giving someone the FINGER?
2004: No entry.
2003: Ever have one of those days, or is it just me?
2002: He can’t close a drawer all the way to save his life.
2001: What next, I ask you?
2000: Surely y’all know me better by now?