The Cat Came Back

This is the story of how a self-described “not-a-cat person” started to feel more compassionate towards a cat…to the point of bringing him into her home. What could possibly make someone who referred to the feline species as the “spawns of Satan” have such a change of heart?

Our neighborhood has it’s fair share of stray cats, and they make their grand reappearance every spring (where are they all winter, I wonder?). Whenever I saw one, I’d scare it off. Then, a little over a year ago, a black and white cat started hanging out between our house and our neighbor’s house. Our neighbors (who already had an indoor cat) began feeding him, so he stuck around. Moo, as I started to call him, was there most of the day, and would sleep in their planter at night. On the rare occasion that he didn’t return for the evening, I’d get a bit worried.

There were a couple of strays that would come through to bully Moo. And on the afternoon of April 28, 2009 (exactly a year ago) it came to a head. I saw Moo walk around to the other side of our neighbor’s house, a minute later heard a screech in the alley, and then saw Moo come back around with a bleeding tail. One of those cat bullies had attacked him! The poor guy sat there licking his wound for a while, but when I took out my camera, he posed for a few pictures for me. Uh, oh… I was starting to soften up…

See the blood on his right cheek he got from licking his wound???

But what really pushed me over the line, was his reaction (or lack thereof) to Moxie. Every other stray we had previously encountered on walks would either run away or hiss at the sight of her. Moo, on the other hand, just sat there. He would let Moxie get right up in his face without a swat or a sound. I would have never considered bringing him in if I didn’t think he and Moxie would get along.

Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?

I thought it would be a shame to allow a cat with such a seemingly calm temperament to remain on the streets to get “ruined”…or worse. So we got a trap from the vet (they required it, since Moo was considered feral), made an appointment to bring him in, and hoped he would be around that morning so we could lure him into it.

Poor guy didn’t know what was going on.

But after all that trauma, it didn’t take long for him to make himself at home.

And the rest, as they say, is history…


My New (Older-Than-Me) Bike

Last weekend, I found a vintage Peugeot bicycle on Craigslist (thanks, Dgls!). When I called the seller, I was surprised to find out that no one had snatched it up yet, and set a time to check it out. Sunday afternoon, we put the bike rack on the car, packed up Moxie, and drove about an hour northwest to check it out. Long story short, we drove home with a two-wheeled passenger from France. Long story long, we had to stop a few times on the highway to resecure the bike on the rack, which was not designed with the needs of a lady’s bike in mind (big surprise, right?). But, eventually, we got ‘er home in one piece.

I was tempted to add a bling to the back fender in Photoshop, but I resisted. :)

Tourisme Dames PX45 (5-speed) as pictured in the 1975 French Peugeot catalog
(image courtesy of Bike-boom Peugeot)

If you’re into needless details (like I am), you’ll want to know that, as far as I can tell, this particular model was never sold in the U.S. Rather, it was what Peugeot marketed in France and Europe as a Tourisme Dames (Ladies Touring) bike. After comparing it against vintage Peugeot catalogs online, I’ve deduced that it’s a circa 1975 French model PX45. From what I can tell, the bike and all parts are original and made in France, right down to the tires and tool bag.

Michelin 650Bx44mm Semi-Confort Tires. Vertical ribbing on the sidewalls helps turn the generator wheel for the head and tail lights (they still work!). Unfortunately, Michelin no longer makes these tires. Hopefully the dynamo will still work with replacement tires.

I took the bike for a rough test spin up and down our block a couple times. I gently shifted through all five gears, and the chain only slipped once. Not bad, considering. The brake pads are old, so I didn’t expect to be able to stop on a dime, and I was not disappointed in that respect. ;)

At thirty-five years old,  she’s due for a tune up and a sprucin’ up (couldn’t we all say that of ourselves?). Hopefully she’ll be in riding shape sooner rather than later.

Those of you with bikes: where do you like to ride?
Any suggestions for some leisurely rides in the city?

April is for Azalea

This is the time of year when our front yard looks it’s best. Everything is filling out, and the new growth is bright and fresh. We have two azalea bushes flanking our walk, and they are finally full of white blooms.

Hopefully the flowers can hold on for at least a week without getting washed away by the forecasted rains.

Our little Moxie-girl

I should be posting more pictures of the perennials in our front yard once I remind myself of the names of all of them.

Trash-Picked: Lane Coffee Table

As I’ve mentioned before, I am an avid (to put it nicely) trash-picker. Well, apparently, this has rubbed off on my husband. A while back, he text-messaged me, saying he had picked up a coffee table he found lying at a curb. On his morning drive from studio to work, something caught his eye, and he actually backed up to check it out (Did I train him well or what?)! The finish wasn’t perfect, and it was missing it’s glass top, but he saw the piece’s potential, and was wise enough to throw it in the back of the car before continuing on his way.

This is the picture he sent me from his phone when he got to work…

…and here it is sitting in limbo in our sun porch:

The finish needs to be cleaned up, and obviously, it needs a glass top. I initially thought I had a piece of plate glass that would fit (a previous trash-pick), but it wasn’t quite long enough for the 59″ long table. So, we’re still on the look-out.

Moo and Moxie inspect the new addition…

I haven’t been able to find out much about this table. I’ve seen other Lane tables here and there, but very few reference to this particular  one. It certainly seems to be less common than the Lane Acclaim line. As for it’s age, the curves of the legs remind me of our Brasilla breakfront by Broyhill, which dates from the early 1960’s. So that would be my rough guess at this table’s vintage as well.

Apartment Therapy, recently pointed to a post on Craigslist where a seller was asking $395 for the same table. Is it actually worth that much? I doubt it. Especially not in this condition. But we like it regardless of it’s value. Hopefully at some point in the (near?) future, I’ll post an image of it cleaned up, complete, and in our living room.

What’s your opinion on trash-picking? If you’re a fan, do you get self-conscious while doing it? or are you a proud picker? And, please share one of your recent / favorite finds!

Poached Eggs & A Simple Spring Meal

Last weekend we visited Tim’s parents and came home with a couple dozen eggs freshly laid by their small flock of chickens. So, tonight I tried making poached eggs for the first time. Since I’d heard that poaching could be a bit tricky, I decided to try the process that appeared to be the most fool-proof:

Using this process, my first egg came out pretty well, but the second one’s yolk was a bit overcooked. It was still wet inside, though, so it was good enough.

For our simple dinner, I tossed some asparagus (picked from our garden) with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roasted it at 400ºF for about 12 minutes.

Then I buttered and toasted a hamburger bun (the only bread we had in the house), topped it with the roasted asparagus, poached egg, and finally, some shaved Pecorino Romano.

Tim digs in. I gave him the better egg.

Our meal was rounded out by a tangy salad of fresh dandelion greens (picked from our yard*) tossed with balsamic vinaigrette.

Tim really enjoyed the meal, so I’m sure I’ll be getting more practice poaching eggs in the near future.

Have you ever made poached eggs?
If so, how do you like to prepare and serve them?

*pesticide and herbicide-free. Why else would it be full of dandelions?

A Year + A Day

imagine there’s a candle

One month ago, I shared my goal to make more frequent posts before the one-year anniversary of this blog…and it would seem that I have succeeded. After posting only twenty-two times in the past eleven months (averaging to one post every three weeks), I posted twelve times in just one month’s time (one post every two-and-a-half days). I don’t think I’ll ever be a daily poster, but that doesn’t bother me. I’ll just keep plugging away at posting a few times a week. That’s enough for me.

So, Happy (belated) Birthday, little blog. Ya done good.

What’s Coming Up

Here’s a quick peek at what’s coming up in our vegetable garden so far…

Seedlings: cucumber, butternut squash, watermelon (not pictured), kale (not pictured), cabbage, Brussels sprouts & broccoli…

Thirty or so heads of garlic at one end of a raised bed…

Asparagus (which we gladly inherited from our home’s previous owners)…

Our first harvest of the year (a full two weeks ahead of last year’s)!

A Bit of Progress in the Backyard

We took advantage of the essentially perfect weather over the past few weekends, to make a bit of headway in the backyard.

Tim put in wood edging around the center area that will eventually be planted with sod (when we last checked, Home Depot and Lowe’s had not yet received their shipments).

We moved one of the asparagus crowns closer to the deck, so we’d have more room to build a compost pile in the back corner (sorry, no picture). Then Tim installed edging around the asparagus bed while I groomed Moxie.

Moxie looking cute(r) after her trim.

Tim leveled and tamped the soil around the left raised bed, put down weed-blocking fabric, and finally, six bags of cedar mulch.
Our next step is to do the same thing around the other raised bed.

BTW, the trash can is full of shredded leaves, which we add to our kitchen scraps when composting.

There sure is a whole lot of wood going on back there…