7/10/09 – Friday! Friday! Friday!

If things look odd around here for the next few days, it could be because we’re switching servers. Hopefully by Monday, things will be running smoothly again! & & & & & & & & & & & & & & & & & & & & & & & & & &   On … Continue reading “7/10/09 – Friday! Friday! Friday!”

If things look odd around here for the next few days, it could be because we’re switching servers. Hopefully by Monday, things will be running smoothly again!

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On the issue of cats peeing all over the house, I have some advice from (unfortunately) years of experience. Don’t put the litter box there. Putting the litter box there says “Yes! Pee here!” Instead, put their food there. Cats won’t eliminate where their food is. Then put the litter box some distance away. Have multiple litter boxes, of course. When this was an issue for our cat, due to stress caused by strange cats outside our apartment, we tried everything but it wasn’t until we used the food solution that we made any progress (still wasn’t perfect, but it really helped — fortunately our cat was obsessed with peeing in corners only). We had about ten food dishes around at one point, but he got the idea after awhile. Also having a little dish of vinegar in the spot will stop them. As long as you have made sure it’s not a medical issue, it’s just a long process of behavior modification. Our ultimate solution was moving to a new house 😉 Once the stress was gone, his behavior was perfect. (I like the Valium suggestion too. For both cat and owner.)

Excellent advice!

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We have been having a problem with our cat pooping outside of the litter box. We took him to the vet and same thing, no physical problem. Eliminating outside of the litter box can be a reaction to stress and anxiety and that could be from just about anything. Anyway the vet recommended that we have 2 litter boxes (you are supposed to have 1 more than the number of cats you have so I guess Robyn and Fred have about 20 boxes:)), change the litter to plain non-scented clay and also we confined him to a small area 24/7 for 2 weeks. In our case he had the run of the laundry area so that it had his food, his litter boxes and his cushion. Be prepared for a lot of meowing and carrying on. Just don’t have his food all that close to the litter boxes. During this 2 weeks your cat is getting retrained to use the litter boxes. Also if you have the kind of box that has a hood on it take it off and watch to see if he is having trouble getting into the boxes, maybe the sides are too high. Meanwhile make sure you are thoroughly cleaning the areas where he has peed with enzyme cleaner, make sure it soaks right into the carpet and underpad. Then after the 2 weeks let him have the run of part of the house, block off the stairs if you can and only let him out when you are home to observe. When you have to go out put him back into his confined space. After 2 weeks of this and no accidents let him have the run of the house and keep your fingers crossed. Right now our kitty is on an anti-anxiety plus we are using the Feliway plus he is confined when we are not home.

More excellent advice!

And actually, we only (!) have four litter boxes – three in the laundry room, one upstairs in the bathroom (there’s a nook that’s perfect for a litter box). When the foster kittens have the run of the house, all the cats have access to the two litter boxes in the foster room, too – but those rarely get used by our cats. I scoop all the litter boxes in the house twice a day (upon rising and at Snackin’! Time!), and I’ve noticed that one of the litter boxes doesn’t get much use. I may try removing it and see if that causes any problems.

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Under $100 at Sam’s. It is a Festivus Miracle. I truly did not think that was possible.

And then! The following week! I DID IT AGAIN! I think I should play the lottery, because amazing things are happening ’round here!

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I took our 2 orange and white kitties to the vet for their annual shots this morning, and while there the receptionist mentioned (because somebody else mentioned that almost all calico cats are female) that most orange kitties are male. Have you ever heard that before? (I notice Phyllis is both orange and female, which might blow that theory.)

I’ve heard that orange tabbies more often tend to be male than female, but after I first heard that a few years ago, it seems like I’m always getting female orange tabbies. I looked around for an explanation, and found this, from this page:

Like humans, cats have one pair of sex chromosomes. These are the ones that make them male or female and they play an essential role in determining a cat’s colour. In females, both sex chromosomes are X making girl kitties XX. Males are XY, the Y making them male. A kitten gets one chromosome from Mom and one from Dad. Moms only have X’s so the variable is given by the Dad, if he gives his X, the kitten is a girl, if he gives his Y, it is a boy.

The gene which makes a cat ginger (orange) is located on the X chromosome. The gene for ginger will override all other colours. Since males have only one X, they either are or aren’t ginger – no halfway about it. Girl cats have two X’s in each cell. As far as the cells are concerned two X’s is one too many, so each cell deactivates one of the X chromosomes in a fairly random fashion . . .

Since males only need to have the orange gene on one chromosome to become ginger, and females have to have it on two, ginger males outnumber females 3 to 1.

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(Regarding Danielle from Real Housewives from NJ) While Danielle’s childhood history is horrible, it doesn’t excuse her behavior as an adult these many years later. It explains it, but doesn’t excuse it.

Absolutely! I am not a fan of the “This happened to me, therefore it excuses all my consequent asshole behavior” excuse.

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Hey Robyn, save some of those jumbo zuccs and make this: http://www.recipezaar.com/Low-GI-8220Apple8221-Crisp-12379. I made it for dessert last night and it totally fooled my non-squash eating 11 year old. FTW! It was great warm with a little squirt of whipped cream on top.

That looks really good – I may have to make that this weekend! (I’ll report back, if I do.)

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I hope adorable Creed doesn’t jump atop the stove when burners are still hot. I wouldn’t want him, or any other kittehs, burning their paws.


I have one cat, Snickers, and worry that he will burn his paws on my flat top stove while being his nosy self. I was wondering what you guys do, with your crew of cats, to prevent this from happening? Snickers sizzled his whiskers one morning as he checked out what was in the toaster.

Creed’s too little to get up on the stove, actually – I put him on the stove so I could show how damn big those zucchini had gotten.

I don’t actually do anything to keep the cats off the stove top – they don’t hang out on the counters or near the stove when I’m cooking (they’ve been tossed off the counters often enough while I’ve been cooking so that they know it’s a no-no). So far, we’ve been lucky!

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I’ve got a “Friday Question,” something that’s been running through my wee tiny brain of late. (Especially after the other night when I had a Robyn dream that you and Fred actually lived during the week in an apartment in some city. You only spent the weekends at Crooked Acres, and you hired me to take care of things for you at the farm during the week. I kept trying to explain that maybe I could deal with the “dispatching” of the chickens but the pigs were out of the question, and then Fred yelled at me for being a hypocrite. And that hurt, Robyn, that really hurt.)

I’ve been following your blog since long before your surgery, long before Fred lost the weight. I look at your life now, the house, the garden, the animals, the joy you both clearly take in what you’ve accomplished, and after I’m done trying to not be jealous (I would KILL for your tomatoes [uh, the ones in your garden ;-)]), I wonder: do you think that the way you and Fred live today would have been even remotely possible if you were as large as you both were when your blogs had their inceptions? And, when you began your blogs, did either of you ever imagine that you’d live this kind of life?

I ask because I’m incredibly nosy. It’s how I roll. Especially when I’m yelled at for refusing to kill pigs with hammers and my kid’s safety scissors.

I LOVE IT when you guys have dreams about us, for the record. And really, if Fred was demanding that you take care of dispatching the pigs, he was the hypocrite, since he makes someone else do that!

I honestly don’t think it would have been physically possible for us to do what we’ve done with this place, the renovating of the inside, the cutting of the lawn, the caring for the animals, the constant goddamn weeding in the garden (hee – as if I’ve done any weeding in weeks! Fred does it all!) at the size we were when we started blogging. We might have wanted to, but there’s no way we could have pulled it off.

I don’t know that having 4 1/2 acres, 150ish chickens, two dogs, and pigs is anything we were aiming for. I know we both wanted to have a house on more land than the 1/3 acre we had then – we kind of stumbled into this life, and as it turns out it’s the life we always wanted without realizing it.

(Hammers and safety scissors? That sounds like some kind of MacGuyver shit!)

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Butterfinger cake sounds great-a definite take and bake. Having pigs to feed the excess to is mighty convenient. Did Fred “take care of” them while you were gone?

Did I forget to mention this? Fred made the appointment to take the pigs the Monday after I got back from Maine, and I was supposed to go with him. But late on the Saturday before, his truck died at a busy intersection (when we were on the way to have a guy take a look at it because some kind of fluid was leaking from underneath – but then the truck completely died, and the guy couldn’t fix it, so we had it towed to our usual place in Closeville.), so he asked a coworker with a truck (and hitch) for help. Monday morning, the guy came, and he and Fred hauled the pigs off to the butcher. I stayed home and weeded!

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I had a problem with a neighbor asking to “borrow” money. For about 8 years my husband and I lived in a home converted into 4 apartments – the same people lived in all 4 units the same time I was there. Everyone was OK (and by OK I mean they pretty much left us alone) except for the front door unit, which we had to pass by every day to get the mail. The woman had no job and a big story, which inevitably led to heavy sighs about a lack of money. I would just commiserate get out of there as quick as possible, but I found out that my husband was giving her money when she directly asked. I went nuts. I think I was maddest about her taking advantage of my husband’s good nature and he agreed to stop.

Apparently she didn’t get the hint and showed up AT OUR DOOR late one evening. My car in the shop so I’m pretty sure she thought I wasn’t home at the time. She said she needed “just a little bit” of money and promised she’d pay it back. I told her to hold on, shut the door and pulled a $20 out of my wallet – my husband looked at me like I was crazy. I opened the door again, wide enough for her to see my husband in the room, handed her the $20 and cut her off when she tried to say she’d pay it back. I smiled and said “You keep it. This along with all the money you’ve taken from my husband. This is the last you’ll ever get from us, and if you ask again I’m calling the landlord.” And that was the end of that – it was great because after that she actively avoided speaking to either one of us. It’s one of the few times I’ve managed to say exactly what I wanted to say at exactly the right time.

Internet high five!

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I’m so sad to hear about Mr. Boogers. His het updates were a bright spot for me, so I will het everything a little extra today in his memory.

He would het that.

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Hey, Robyn, I’m a bit behind reading (b/c I’ve been in PARIS–eat your heart out 🙂 , so hopefully you’ll get notified about comments.

I’m all about the muffins, and since I’m single and trying to remain relatively healthy, I usually only want one or 2. I got me one of these and boy is it the bomb. Kinda like a waffle iron except for muffins. I freeze batter and make up one or 2, and it’s great and you don’t have to heat up your whole oven. It heats itself up in about 3 minutes and they take about 15 to bake and have that a nice crusty side to go along with the nice crusty top which is what muffins are all about. I (like Alton Brown) detest unitasker appliances, but this one is worth it if you’re all about muffins. Just sayin’.

Kar, you evil evil reader, I cannot find one of those anywhere online. And I WANT one!

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I first read, “Okay, I’ve got shit to do…” as “Okay I’ve got to shit…” and I thought that you were really over-sharing today!

While I do over-share from time to time, I promise to keep my bowel habits to myself!

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Did you ever think of selling your stuff at the Farmer’s Market?

Not really – between the amount of produce I’m freezing and canning, and the stuff we feed the chickens and pigs, and the occasional bags of squash we give Fred’s parents and sister, there’s really not anything left over.

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You are going to be overrun with produce! Do you have a vacuum sealer? I got one this spring because I was tired of buying packages of meat at Costco and having the last ziploc be all freezer burnt before we got to it. I highly recommend if you don’t have one. We have a new model that sort of stands up and it’s also great for sealing spaghetti sauce or what have you (as long as you’re careful to leave a lot of room at the top).

I ADORE my Food Saver. I use it all the time! I highly recommend it to everyone – when I get large amounts of ground beef at Sam’s, I split it up and use the Food Saver to pack it up. LOVE IT.

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Why oh why does the maestro have a red drinking straw sticking out of the back of his head??

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That’s a zip tie behind him, holding the chicken wire to the fence.

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In the neighbourhood where I live there are quite a few feral cats..there are 2 calicos..very cute (I think one is the mom and the other the baby…about 2 & 1 years old) About a year ago the younger cat started hanging out with me when I am out in the garden or outside reading- she’ll sit under a bush watching me, lay on on the porch step … then as the months have gone by she had been sitting in the back garden waiting for me to get up in the mornings. The older one is never too far behind..and sometimes shows up first.

Then about 6 months ago I started Snackin! Time where they have come into my laundry room to eat (about an 8th of a cup of dry food once a day…I never wanted this to be their only food source) as the months have gone by 3 other cats have joined them but just once or twice a week…the 2 calico let me pet them alot each morning but only inside the laundry room, when they are outside they don’t let me get too close and always run off. When I come home they often are waiting for me and roll around on the ground, if I have no food they go away and come back the next day..they don’t seem to bothered. Sometimes I don’t see them for a day but they usually show up within 48 hours, but most days they come by twice but food is only handed once a day.

They have come right into my house once in a while and have a good snoop around but don’t stay longer than 5 minutes. They catch birds and lizards and really could care 2 hoots about how cute I think they are and how I just wanna squeeze them to death…I have picked them up, a little 2 second lift, but they don’t like it and I have been scratched badly by one of them by doing this~ DUH! (they have been spayed as their ears are clipped and the neighbour told me that someone has used to do that to the cats..take them in for fixing and clipping the ears…all 5 of the strays have clipped ears except one, a male is NOT fixed)
anyway I am moving at the end of the month to a new neighbourhood and want your advice about taking them with me The 2 calicos..do you advise it or should I just leave them alone here
The place I am moving to has a huge yard…very large but I know they won’t know where the hell they are if I take them- here they know where they are and the hood is their life.

Please let me know your thoughts.

And Val said:

My aunt is the neighborhood cat lady. She had several outdoor cats that adopted her. When she built a beautiful house out in the country, she wanted to make sure the cats were OK. So she lived trapped the cats, and took them out to the new place and let them go. It took her hubby and her over a week to move so she did it slowly after they started sleeping at the new digs. She, also, had them fixed if they hadn’t been already fixed (I think she had one sly male that she never managed to catch before the move). The cats adjusted quite nicely. I think she moved something like 3 or 4 cats.

There’s a really good page about relocating feral cats, here. I think that if you’re willing to relocate them, that’s pretty awesome – and you should go for it!

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What’s pigweed?


Hmm… it’s been a long time. My Dad owned a sale barn and he passed away when I was 12. I was looking at a photo this morning of MJ’s daughter and thought gosh that is how old I was when my dad died. So I was pretty young when I was around pigs which is why my memory is hazy on this. I thought pigweed was toxic to animals???

and then Fred said:

We call it pig weed because we feed it to the pigs, but I’m pretty sure it’s actually smartweed.

For the record, I did not know that it’s not actually pig weed. Fred’s always called it pig weed, so that’s what I’ve called it, too!

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How is Miz Poo doing with her affliction?

Miz Poo spends most of her time sitting around in an Elavil-induced haze. I haven’t caught her grooming her belly and legs at all except for the two days when Fred forgot to medicate her before he left for work. If he forgets to give her her pill, it’s like she’s instantly out of the haze, and begins grooming obsessively.

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You might be sorry if you contact those magazines. I don’t think you have to actively subsribe to them. Entrepreneur, in particular, goes to anyone who *might* be a small business owner. If you contact them, you’ll probably be subscribed as Robyn and then be getting 2 copies.

I didn’t actually identify myself as NOT the previous box owner, just wrote and asked them to cancel the subscriptions. Hopefully that’ll stop them from coming. Also, I think it’s odd that I keep getting the magazines addressed to the previous box owner, but am not getting any of their other non-magazine mail. It’s as if they gave up their PO Box to get the hell away from the magazines!

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My Credit Union even offers a service where I scan the fronts and backs of checks, and email them into the bank – Voila! They deposit them into my account! I always make sure to shred them after I know the deposit has been credited to my account. I truly don’t have to go to the bank if I don’t want to!


We do ALL our banking online. It’s awesome! I can deposit checks online then send them on to the bank (its actually a credit union) via the special envelopes they send me. The funds are even available immediately! I also never have to balance my checkbook since I can check my account balance every day and I know what checks are out. Very few since I use the online bill payer and don’t have to write out as many checks. I used to hate banking but now I can do it at home in my pajamas any time of the day or night!

Our credit union doesn’t offer that – but I’m hoping they do, and the sooner the better. That would be a dream come true!

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After your posts last summer about pattypan squash, I decided to grow some this year. LOVE ‘EM!

I LOVE the pattypans. They rank even with zucchini, as far as I’m concerned. They have a good flavor, and they don’t get as seedy as yellow summer squash does. For dinner last night, I roasted slices of pattypan, then layered them in a dish with our leftover spaghetti sauce from earlier this week, and topped it with cheese. It was REALLY good.

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I love okra but never eat it because I can’t get past the slime. Does the oven-fried okra still have that slime factor going because I would really like to try it!

Nope, I don’t find the oven-fried okra to be slimy at all. Handling it before you cook it – the slicing of it, and tossing it with the breading – is a bit slimy, but once it’s breaded and baked, it’s not slimy at all. And it’s really pretty good!

A few months ago, Gina left a recipe in my comments (a recipe I haven’t tried yet but plan to) that she swears gives you non-slimy okra. It’s worth a try!

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Some people swim with the dolphins…and other Darwins find swimming pigs…and get bit.

Ha – I love it!

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When I first glanced at #1 picture, I thought it was Gracie & George and thought “Oh Boy, they already got another kitten”. Then it hit me that no way would you replace the Boogie so quickly and I read the caption. I also thought of you, Fred Poor Boogie several times over the last week. I even got mad at him for jumping the fence. But I quickly forgave him.

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No, we’re not planning to get another cat anytime soon, if ever. When Spot had to be put to sleep, we were sad but he’d been sick, so it wasn’t such a great shock. When Fred remembered Joe Bob and what a great cat he was, it seemed only natural to bring him into our house. This time, we’re still getting used to losing Mister Boogers, and the idea of bringing another cat into the family, well, it just doesn’t feel right. That might change in the future, or it might not – only time will tell.

(And I hate that Boogie was able to get out of the back yard. We’re talking about adding an electrified strand to the top of the fence so that it never happens again.)

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Question for you. How did George and Gracie handle the firecrackers? Our three goofballs did not even bat an eye but I know doggies don’t like the fireworks.

The stuff that was being set off in the distance didn’t bother them, but the kids a few doors down have been setting off bottle rockets almost every afternoon, and they bark at that. Also, someone set something off in the church parking lot the other night, and that set them off, too. For the most part, though, we’re lucky – most of the stuff being set off around here was far enough away that they didn’t pay much attention to it.

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Say goodbye to Creed, Dwight, and Phyllis, who are off to the pet store, hopefully to be adopted quickly! We’ve certainly gotten attached to the little monkeys, and they’ve really made themselves at home. They really like hanging out with us in the evening when we’re watching TV. Hopefully they’ll be adopted quickly by people who’ll be able to tell right away what sweetie pies they are!

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“I wonder if she noticed I was SLEEPING before she started up with that flashy thing?”

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At the sight of such a large supply of pristine cardboard, Phyllis can barely contain herself!

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She finishes off her meal with a chomp of Creed’s neck.

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“Hey! Guys! I don’t wanna brag or nothin’, but did you notice I’m in the box??”

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Junk mail inspectors Creed and Dwight check my recycling box to be sure I’m doing it right.

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Dwight curls up in the bucket with the latest copy of In Style. It’s what all the stylish kittens are reading!

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Creed knocked over the trash can in the bathroom and hung out there for a few hours. He likes to curl up in the oddest places.

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Sheriff Mama performs an exhaustive interrogation of the suspect.

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2008: I’m too young to be old and frail!
2006: Playing with tigers.
2005: No entry.
2004: No entry.
2003: How to kick a sock’s ass. If it had an ass.
2002: “What’s your name?” he asked.
2001: No entry.
2000: Leave it to me to have sex dreams about the gay guy, huh?