I know I mentioned all the pecans Fred picked up from the ground under the poltergeist tree (located in the old chicken yard) last Fall. He ended up filling up almost three buckets that had previously held 40 pounds of Fresh Step kitty litter. We took the first two buckets to the Co-op to have … Continue reading “1/30/09”

I know I mentioned all the pecans Fred picked up from the ground under the poltergeist tree (located in the old chicken yard) last Fall. He ended up filling up almost three buckets that had previously held 40 pounds of Fresh Step kitty litter. We took the first two buckets to the Co-op to have them cracked, and then when we picked up those two buckets, we dropped off the third bucket.

It took for-fucking-ever, but we got the first two buckets shelled and washed and then frozen. The third bucket, though, I decided I needed a break while I finished the cross-stitch picture I was working on. (I always have to be doing something else when we watch TV in the evening, I can’t just sit there and watch TV, usually. For a while I’d sit and surf on the laptop, but I felt like I was spending too much time online, so I moved the laptop up to my bedroom (where it sits, pretty much ignored all the time) and for a while I was shelling pecans every night, and then when I needed the aforementioned break, I cross-stitched. Sometimes I read magazines. Fascinating, no?)

So earlier this week I finished the picture I was cross-stitching, and I brought the bucket of pecans out to the living room with me at TV time, and I started shelling the pecans. I got a couple of cups of pecans before I got to the nasty ones. It turns out that those pecans had been sitting there waiting to be shelled and they’d somehow gotten damp in the cracking or the waiting process. After the top layer of pecans, every pecan I picked up was moldy.

Fred tossed the pecans onto the compost heap, and I left the pecans I’d gotten shelled in a bowl on the counter for a couple of days. Tuesday, I finally got around to rinsing the dirt off them, and then I spread them on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven at 170º to dry and then lightly roast.

When I decided they were dry and roasted enough, I turned the oven off, but left the cookie sheet in the oven.

If you’re, like me, a fumbling idiot, you probably know where this is going.

Wednesday night I turned the oven on to 400º to preheat it for the chicken pot pie, and after a little while I thought “What is that odd smell?” That odd smell was the pecans, in the oven, starting to burn.

They didn’t get burned to a crisp, but they did get lightly burned, and so I set them aside to cool, figuring Fred could try them out and decide whether he wanted to eat them or if they needed to go to the compost heap.

Long story short (too late!), he tried them and pronounced them REALLY good. I finally gave them a try myself, and I have to admit he’s right. They’re pretty damn good!

Who knew lightly singed pecans would be so good?

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We are in the process of getting our new roof. When I got home yesterday, there were two guys on the roof pulling up shingles and tossing them down into a trailer. They worked through the day and got the front part of the house three-quarters of the way done, and I assume they’ll be back later today to get some more of it done (maybe finish it?).

It honestly never occurred to me that our homeowner’s insurance would pay for any of the new roof – I thought that getting a new roof was going to be one of the (very expensive) things that homeowners just have to suck it up and pay for. Imagine my surprise – and DELIGHT – to find out that it’s not so.

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Real Housewives of Orange County:

Shane is the king of all douchebags and needs a good, hard smack upside the head. That is all.

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I know this entry is really old but I’m working my way backwards. Yes, I peek at the end of books too.


My cat, who was about 8 at the time, had what can only be described as a pet squirrel. This small (baby?) squirrel got into the house and was living in the basement with the cat (the cat is allowed the whole house but the basement is his den, and no one bugs him down there) for like 3 weeks – we couldn’t catch the squirrel. We’d see them both sitting in the basement window together, and once even saw the squirrel eating the cat’s food. Seriously dumb cat – he just didn’t realize it was a rat with a prettier tail. Eventually the squirrel was captured and released and the cat was friendless once again.

I wanna know if the cat even noticed that the squirrel was gone – like, was he sad that his BFF had been kicked out of the house, or did he even notice?

(Also, I wish there were pictures to go along with this story!)

Edited to add: Fred sent me this link. TOO CUTE.

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And a question about the robots.txt file… I’ve noticed that a lot of people who don’t make their sites non-googlable will do this odd little “disguising” thing – like typing “L0we$” instead of “Lowes,” or “we saw a D-sney movie” or “we went to A p p l e b e e’s” to make at least those terms non-googlable. (“Google” here being shorthand for “search engine.”)

And like, where you said, “as often I use the many forms of ‘fuck’, I thought it best to try to slow down the flood of random surfers.”

I don’t understand the reason for that. Is it a bandwidth issue? Am I being incautious by not particularly caring if someone googles a brand name, or something indelicate, and winds up on my site instead? (I always just think it’s funny how they were probably expecting something wild and raunchy and instead got a boring story about my kid and my cats.) What am I missing? So many people do this that there has to be a good reason for it, but I can’t figure it out.

(One person that I asked about it said that she didn’t “want any pervs looking at” her site, and I thought, “Oops. Guess I’d better go, then.”)

The only reason I’ve got the robots.txt on my site to slow down the flood of random surfers is because if someone’s surfing on some pervy term in particular and they end up on the journal of a crazy cat (and chicken… and pig… and dog…) lady, they can get kind of nasty. And I don’t mean nasty in a pervy way (all pervs welcome here!), I mean nasty in a rude way and the random drive-by rudeness of strangers annoys me sometimes.

Also, after posting a story once upon a time about how I bought some sandals and they gave me blisters, I got an email from someone who’d wandered across my site via some search engine or another, and they wanted details. About my feet. And what size were my feet? And could I put up pictures of my feet? And what I do with my feet. And so forth. I think that was the same year I got linked by some K3ds fetish site after I mentioned I’d bought a pair.

I know I disguise the names of some of the stores we visit and restaurants we go to, because I don’t particularly want someone who works there to stumble across me bitching about the service. Actually, I’d kind of prefer it if no one in Smallville knew this site existed, but judging by my stats, I’ve already been discovered.

Final thought: JoeBob looks like he might be a little bit dead up there. Have you poked him recently? (c:

Joe Bob is perfectly well and alive, and he has abandoned his nest atop the bookcase in the kitchen – I think he was tired of fighting with Stinkerbelle over it – for a cat bed on the guest bedroom bed.

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I am embarrassed to admit this….but the Shamwow works. Maybe not to the extent that “Vince” says it would but I have used it on everything to coffee and wine spills and a one time fluke dog accident and it really worked. The things you buy when you stand in line too long at Bed, Bath and Beyond.

I never did work up any test spills to see if my Shamwow works! It’s good to know that it does work, at least to some extent!

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“she bit his tech and pooped on the doc” In the past when I was still a vet tech we had a tortie come in for shots/exam and it went like this. Cat flipping around on the table, me trying to hold cat semi-still for exam and not get bit, cat flipped on back starts peeing, imagine fountain, cat still on back starts pooping, imagine those guns they use to shoot t-shirts into the crowd at sporting events, cat gets shots and back into carrier. No one got bit, cat got shots, I cleaned up the exam room. 30 minutes later I’m still smelling cat poop, check bottom of shoes, no poop. Still smell poop, can’t find poop. More time passes, reach into labcoat pocket for pen, find cat poop. Yeah, I’d been carrying it around in my pocket for about an hour. Nice. Oh the stories I could tell.


If I were a vet tech, I would surely have stories like this one. It almost makes me want to BECOME a vet tech, except for that whole pesky “working” thing.

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I have a trapping a cat story – it’s really sad… About 10 years ago, I had changed positions at my current employer. It required that I travel for 6 months solid (only an occasional weekend home). I talked my Aunt into taking my two kitties while I was gone. When I went to pick them up 6 months later, she said she hardly saw either one (never seeing the 2nd). I went and spent the night and got my Terry to come to me after much work (his love of cottage cheese did the trick). But could not find Timmy. He was hiding in my Aunt’s laundry room which was stacked to the ceiling with stuff. So my Aunt called her friend that caught feral cats to fix and release and borrowed a live trap. It took 2 days, but my poor Timmy was in the trap in the laundry room. I had to run (3 hour drive) to go get him. He was so scared – he peed on the floor. When I got him home, he remembered the house and actually came to me more often then before. I think my act of “saving” him gave me more love credits with the silly kitty. He actually let me pet him with my hand instead of my foot.

Awww – it’s a sad story, but it’s got a happy ending!

(Also, the idea of a cat who would only let you pet him with your foot? PRICELESS!)

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Holy cow have you seen this?


(Damn showing-off British hens!)

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Just a tip on towels and cleaning rags – if you use any kind of fabric softener, whether liquid or dryer sheets, that will hinder their absorption. (I think you mentioned you don’t use fabric softener, though, at one point (?) so maybe it’s a moot point?) Just thought I’d share.

Yeah, I’ve known since I was a kid that you can’t use fabric softener on towels and cleaning rags if you still want them to be absorbent. Nothing annoys me more than a towel that doesn’t absorb when I’m trying to dry off after a shower!

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Robyn – saw this article in the Washington Post today about Alabama’s back roads and thought you might be interested.

Reading that makes me realize just how little of this state I’ve seen in the twelve years I’ve lived here – and it makes me want to do some exploring!

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ah, my Kara mia. She looks like she is a little fuller around the face. Probably just the collar.

Kara has gained a little weight since she birthed her kittens last April – I say she’s built like a linebacker, all short and stocky and muscular. Which makes it interesting (to me, at least) that her kittens, Nate and Dora, are long and lean and sleek. It’s too bad there’s no way to know what their father looked like!

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Ok. I got through the chicken blood and guts in the kitchen and the pig hernia poking, but I nearly lost it at the consumption of the kitty booger. Blech, blech, blech.

Also, I seem to have dropped the ball on the pigs. I don’t remember the last two leaving? Were you pigless for a while? Or are there now four pigs? That can’t be.

How’s this for gross (skip this if y’all are eating or have a weak stomach!): yesterday before I went to my hair appointment, I went into the kitten room to hang out with Rumba and Samba, and Rumba climbed into my lap, and as I started to pet her I realized she had a smear of poo along her side. How it got there, I have NO idea. I had to go get the wet wipes and clean her off.

Fred took the last two pigs to be processed at the end of November (when I was visiting Nance), and we’ve been pigless since, until last weekend.

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I seemed to have missed the “episode” of taking the females to the butcher. Did they yield anywhere close to the first 2? Was it easy to get them out of the pen? You know we have to know cause the closest farming I get except living thru you is playing “my farm” on facebook.

They yielded less this time than the first two, because they were smaller pigs. I can’t give specifics as to how much we got from each pig, ’cause I don’t know, though. Fred didn’t have a hard time getting them to the processor, luckily, because about a week before they were going, he started feeding them in the back of the trailer. So the morning they were going, all he had to do was bring the food to the trailer, and they went in with no problem, and he closed the gate.

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Those are definitely the cutest pigs you’ve had yet. Are they younger than the others and that’s why they are so cute? Or are they just more photogenic and less dirty?

I think they’re about the same age as the first two were, but the first two were absolutely caked with mud and crap, which made them a little less cute, I think. The second two were a bit older, but cleaner. This set is both young and clean, I guess, which makes them pretty cute!

They spend an awful lot of time snuggled up in their shelter, though. I guess they don’t like the cold weather any more than I do!

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I saw this today and thought of you.

I love that! I think our back yard at the old house in Madison would have been awesome for a small flock of chickens – but I can only imagine how that would have gone over with our neighbors!

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Can you tell me where you got the cat bed that Maxi is in? I need MORE of those!

I got that bed at Goody’s, which is currently going out of business. After I bought that bed and brought it home and found out that the cats think it’s the BEST! BED! EVER!, I went back to buy more, but they didn’t have any more and never got them back in stock.

However, smartypants reader Gracie found them on Overstock! $14.99 is definitely not a bad price for these beds, they’re big and deep and comfy, and there’s always a cat snuggled up in the bed on the dining room table.

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By the way, you seem to have a lot of gang trouble in your neighborhood. Have you contacted the police?

Are you implying that Sheriff Mama isn’t doing her job?

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hasn’t it been 5 years for Tubby (2004-2009)? I am so sorry for the loss. I cried. JoJo is overweight and having some cleaning her butt issues (TMI I know). Anyway, I feel for you…

Yeah, apparently I can’t do the math – it has been five years. And I feel for you – having a cat who can’t reach her behind to clean herself is no fun at all!

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Great minds think alike. I just made pot pies the other day and they were ridiculously good. I’m thinking I might want to make a batch and freeze them to bake off at will. Mmm, potpie!

I told Fred that I think I’d like to try making single-serving pot pies with that recipe to freeze. I just need to find the right baking dishes to do that in.

Speaking of the pot pie, Fred said last night that he thinks a couple of diced potatoes added to the recipe would make it perfect – and I think I agree.

Also, speaking of recipes and such – if you ever have a recipe that calls for white wine and you (like us) don’t keep white wine on hand, you can always substitute chicken broth. The recipes I do this with turn out perfectly fine with the substitution, as far as I can tell.

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Wow!!! I just got my Scorchin’ Strawberry-Habanero jam and hot sauce delivered about a half hour ago. Just in time to try some jam on a freshly baked corn muffin. It is awesome! The perfect hot/sweet, in my opinion. The heat lingered for a bit, but since I like spicy, it was all good. Great, in fact! Thanks so much! (I have now exhausted my exclamation point quota for the day. 🙂

Thanks for the ringing endorsement! Anyone who’s interested, we’ve still got jams and hot sauces available – and I’ll be making more this weekend, so there’ll be more half-pint samplers and half-pint single jars available on Monday!

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I just searched your site for hand held vacuums but didn’t find what I was looking for. I have wood floors and two shedding dogs. I’m looking for a good hand held vacuum with attachments that I can use to suck up all the pet hair from the floors as well as the wood staircase. I know you have wood floors and lots of shedding cats so I was wondering what you use. I have an upright with attachments that works well for the stairs but it’s heavy and a pain to use. When I use it on the wood floors it blows away more pet hair than it sucks and sweeping causes a lot of hair to fly around the room. I remember that you wrote once that you love your Dyson upright but you weren’t impressed with the Dyson handheld (if I’m remembering that right) and use another brand. Mainly I just want to know how do you remove pet hair from your wood floor and wood staircase?

Usually, I just vacuum with the Dyson upright (and you’re remembering correctly, I’m not impressed with the Dyson handheld at all). On the stairs, I generally use a Swiffer to pick up the cat hair, and if there’s a lot of cat hair on the floors, I’ll use the Swiffer to get most of it before I vacuum. The Dyson does kind of blow the tufts of cat hair around, but I find that if I position the Dyson right, the tufts of hair will end up against the baseboards, and I can “catch” them with the Dyson at that point.

I have no real words of wisdom on this topic, unfortunately. Readers? Suggestions?

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As I mentioned, when I got home from my appointment yesterday, there were guys on the roof pulling up shingles. The part where they were working was right outside the foster kitten room, and when I walked into the foster kitten room to check on them, Samba and Rumba came slinking out of the closet and came right over to me, then leaned against me to be petted.

They were like “It’s about time you’re home! Who are those guys and why are they terrorizing us?!”

If I’d known all I had to do to get them to like me was to get someone else to scare them, I would have done it ages ago!

(Okay, not really.)

Fred said when he went into the room before bed, they came right over to him to be petted. Funny the things that will turn unfriendly cats into friendly ones, isn’t it?

Last night when I went into the foster kitten room before bed, I let Newt in with me, because he was hovering outside the door. I wish I’d had the camera with me, because Rumba’s reaction was instant – she turned into a little Halloween cat, back up, tail puffed out, ridge of fur on her back standing straight up.

Is there anything LESS threatening than a little kitten who’s all puffed up and indignant?

Eventually, after many theatrics, she sniffed his tail and hissed at him. Samba spent most of Newt’s visit as far away from him as she could get, though as time went on, she got closer.

This morning, as soon as she heard me get up, Rumba started howling at the door. I put baby gates in the doorway to the kitten room, but she just stood at the gates and howled – she’s escaped the room a couple of times (when we open the door, she’s usually RIGHT there and can scoot out before we know what’s going on) and has apparently decided she wants to explore. So I moved the gates down the hallway a little, so they have the bathroom to explore, as well as their room. Depending on how things go today, I may move the gates further down the hallway so that they have my room to explore, too. We’ll see.

Rumba’s far more interested in exploring than Samba is. Samba has run into the bathroom a few times to look around, but she prefers being in the kitten room.

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More kitten pics over at Love & Hisses.

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Snackin’! Time! has come and gone, but these three live eternally in hope that there’ll suddenly be a second Snackin’! Time! and only those who are prepared for it will be allowed to take part.

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2008: Visiting dogs = okay. Permanent dogs = not gonna happen.
2007: How old are these guys, that you’ve got to tell them to flush the toilet, I’m wondering.
2006: Off to the hospital!
2005: No entry.
2004: Poor Bean.
2003: About the cats.
2002: When did Dick Gephardt die?
2001: The illness continues.
2000: I am officially the laziest chick in the world.