Aby-a-Day – 16 Mars: Bear necessities (Swedish Saturday)

In Sweden, we have a thing called REKO-Ring. REKO means “Real Consumption” (Konsumtion in Swedish) and is a way to shop for locally produced food, without intermediaries. Consumers and producers merge and start a REKO ring where locally produced products are sold directly from producer to consumer. In Skövde, our local REKO-Ring has a Facebook page where the producers post what they have available, and then people who want to buy something comment on the post saying what they want to get. Then, on alternate Wednesdays, we meet in a parking lot at a hockey arena two stops on the bus line from our house.

bearmeatC05749

Well, just as I despairing of finding a really great birthday present for Björn, I happened to check the REKO-Ring Skövde Facebook page. And I found a post from Lilla Spännefalla, and they had all kinds of game for sale. Including bear meat from Jämtland in the north of Sweden.

zakfreddybearmeatC05786

I ordered a “Bear Box” and got steaks, ground bear meat, and chunks.
I have only had bear a couple of times, and it is delicious. The first time was in 2000, when I found it for sale in an Asian grocery store in Boston. I then had it again when we canned bear meat for sale in the duty-free on the ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki. Then I got to eat it again when we went to a medieval restaurant in Taillinn. But the thing is…The name Björn is the same as the Swedish word for bear. So when I found bear meat available for sale just before Björn’s birthday, I knew I had the perfect gift.

zakfreddybearmeatC05788

Bear meat is delicious. You have to make sure all the fat is removed, because it can add a slightly rancid flavour to the meat. The basic rule of thumb is, “Season like beef, cook like pork.” This is because like pigs, bears and raccoons are omnivores, and their meat can cause Trichinosis if it is not cooked well.

zakfreddybearmeatC05761

So, sorry guys…you don’t get to try it raw.

everyonebearmeatC05834

Despite not getting to try it raw, the bear meat attracted quite a crowd.

rorybearmeatC05843

Lorelai, of course, had to get on Björn’s shoulder to supervise.

zakbearmeatC05851

Izaak made sure Björn cooked it thoroughly.

bearmeatC05859

bearmeatC05872

And he did.

bearmeatC05878

Served with plain potato wedges and mushrooms, it was a delicious birthday dinner…

angeljakebearmeatC05879

…which some people in the house were eager to sample.

zakbearmeatC05883

zakbearmeatC05892

Zak was the first to taste bear meat whilst the plates were still on the coffee table.

rorybearmeatC05905

Everyone else got their tastes in the kitchen. Rory LOVED it.

roryjakeC05906

jakerorybearmeatC05910

Jacoby tried to steal her piece, but she managed to keep it for herself. But don’t worry, Jake got a couple of pieces of the bear meat.

freddybearmeatC05914

Alfred took his piece so quickly…

freddybearmeatC05915

…I couldn’t even capture it with my camera. Fast Freddy!

angeljakebearmeatC05920

Angel took her sample gingerly…

angelbearmeatC05927

…and ran away from all the other cats to eat it in peace.

angelbearmeatC05933

It took her a little longer to finish it, because of her three teeth, so she wanted to eat it someplace safe.

jakerorybearmeatC05947

I guess we can add bear meat to the things Abyssinians (and Singapuras) will eat.

Aby-a-Day – 13 Mars: Wordless Wednesday (Sunny Angel)

angelsunC05575

Aby-a-Day – 11 Mars: The rest of Lorelai’s vet visit (Medical Monday)

Last week I posted about Lorelai’s first visit to Min Vetrinär.

angelvetC05915

But that wasn’t the whole story.

freddyvetC05918

We took all the Abys to the vet that day. This was before Izaak joined our family, of course.

freddyvetC05923

Alfred got busy exploring the doctor’s supplies.

freddyvetC05926

Freddy! That’s marked “biohazard” for a reason! Get your face out of there!

freddyvetC05930

Oh? It’s my turn?

freddyvetC05922

Wait…a shot? Nobody told me about a shot…

roryfredvetC05947

After the shot, Freddy was a little jarred.

roryfredvetC05937

But he had his new little sister to cheer him up.

angelroryvetC06018

Next up was Angel.

angelvetC05998

Being the oldest cat, this was definitely not her first rodeo.

angelvetC06004

But that doesn’t mean she enjoys it.

angelvetC06009

She took her vaccination like a champ, though.

jakevetC05988

The last cat to be checked out was Jacoby.

jakeminvetC05995

jakevetC05991

He is always so good at getting his shots. Like everything else he does…he’s just bulletproof.

jakevetteethC06022

I wanted the vet to take a look at Jake’s teeth.

jakevetteethC06023

He’s an Aby, a breed known for bad teeth…but he was nine years old and had never even had a cleaning. When Angel was his age, most of her teeth were gone already.

jakeminvetC06025

But Jake has awesome teeth. Partly because he lets me scrape and brush them…but partly because he just got lucky in the genetic roulette.

bjornroryvetC06036

All in all, a pretty good day at the veterinarian.

Aby-a-Day – 3 Mars: Laser strike (Cinema Sunday)

Last year at a cat show, we won a blue laser pointer in one of the raffles.

rorylaserC05604

I’ve always thought blue and green laser pointers were better for cats than red ones because cats see blues and greens much better than they see reds.

roryzaklaserC05605

Lorelai loves the laser pointer, regardless of colour. She really loves the green one, which is also Jacoby’s favourite. She loves it so much that she assumes her pounce position in the hallway, stares at us (Björn, mostly) and meows at us to “make the light go!” We run it up and down the hallway, into the kitchen, and into our bedroom.

roryzaklaserC05622

rorylaserC05625

rorylaserC05633

rorylaserC05636

The lighting in our bedroom isn’t great, so we tried capturing her with the flash on. Flash photos didn’t capture her frenzy very well, so we tried without the flash.

That didn’t really work, either…so here’s a video of Rory playing on the bed with the green laser pointer.

rorylaserC05591

Our hallway is even less well-lit than our bedroom, but I had to show her other trick.

rorylaserC05598

She gets going so fast when the laser pointer goes up the door…

rorylaserC05599

…that she leaps higher than the door handle!

rorylaserC05642

rorylaserC05643

rorylaserC05644

She runs so fast when she’s chasing the laser pointer, and her run includes these little “flying leaps” in the middle of her gallop. It’s amazing to watch her.

We tried to capture it in the video above, but I am not sure that it really captures the way she runs. But what it does capture is something more unusual and rare: Angel playing with Rory and Izaak!

Aby-a-Day – 23 Februari: Eating is…problematic (Swedish Saturday)

Generally, we eat dinner in the living room in front of the TV (don’t judge), and the way our apartment is set up, we are able to close off the living room from the rest of the house by closing two doors. There are some days that we have to close those doors.

angelgrabbyC04902

This meal was one we probably should have closed the doors for.

angelgrabbyC04901

Okay, we have four Abyssinians and a Singapura. Mealtime was never going to be easy, granted. But the usually shy and retiring Angel becomes a demon when food is involved. To the point of her trying to intercept food on my fork on its way to my mouth.

angelgrabbyC04896

She’s extraordinarily aggressive when it comes to food. Annoying is another adjective that fits into that sentence.

angelgrabbyC04895

Not that she’s not loving and sweet…as long as there’s food to be had.

angelgrabbyC04890

With cats like these, who needs enemies?

Aby-a-Day – 21 Februari: A box from Meg…and a little backstory (Thursday Things)

Friendship is a funny thing. You meet people every day. Some are strangers, and strangers they remain. Others become friends.

When I was a cat-crazy kid, I couldn’t imagine being actual friends with a cat breeder, let alone a cat show judge. Yet here I am, 38 years after this magazine was published, with threinds who are both breeders and judges. In April 1981 I was two months shy of my sweet 16th, and I loved cats. Cats and the Beatles. No wonder that in August 1981, when I found a seal-point and white kitten, I named him Sgt. Pepper…

Usually, when you look at an old magazine, you don’t read the classifieds at the back. But this old issue with an Aby on the cover…I wanted to see something.

And, lo and behold. Meg is listed as an Abyssinian breeder in Massachusetts. I never knew I’d end up in Massachusetts, let alone be friends with a breeder who had ads in a magazine when I was 15 going on 16…

zakfreddyangelrorymegsbox_6187

But it’s true. I am actually friends with a woman who has been breeding Abyssinians almost (but not quite) as long as I’ve been alive. And to think that she and I are very good friends! But it happened so naturally…Meg knew Sherry, and Jacoby was related to Lew and Taz…and…we clicked. That’s how it is when you make a friend.

jakefreddyzakmegsbox_6185

So a couple of weeks ago, Meg sent me my belated Christmas present. To be fair, though, I didn’t send mine out until January.

jakefreddyshrimp_6217

She sent me a lot of cool things for me: Socks, a candle holder, and some CFA things…but she also sent things for the cats. One of which was this catnip shrimp. Alfred was the first to investigate the shrimp, but…

jakeshrimp_6210

…Jake quickly took over. Jake loves firmly stuffed catnip toys.

jakeshrimp_6211

jakeshrimp_6212

jakeshrimp_6213

jakeshrimp_6214

jakeshrimp_6215

So yeah, this shrimp was almost tailor-made for Jake. Sorry, Freddy.

zaksticktoy_6196

Another toy she sent was a wonderful stick toy that we can use at cat shows. Izaak was all over it

zaksticktoy_6197

zaksticktoy_6198

Whilst Zakkie loves his mousies, he also really likes stick toys.

zakrorysticktoy_6200

Not as much as Lorelai does, apparently. Because oh, look, here she is, moving faster than a camera can capture.

zakrorysticktoy_6202

zakrorysticktoy_6203

zakrorysticktoy_6204

zakrorysticktoy_6205

Rory and Zak enjoyed that stick toy so much, I think it’s going to be a permanent fixture at our future cat shows!

Aby-a-Day – 18 Februari: Presidential Photography (Hipstamatic Monday)

Back in the States, today is President’s day. Of course, there’s not much to celebrate lately, but in honour of the holiday, Hipstamatic released a special free Hipstapak with the Lincoln lens and TR Roosevelt 26 film, a subtle reminder of two good Republican presidents.

hipsta-angelKOQH3116

Well, I didn’t have an idea for a Monday post, so I figured I’d try it out. Usually, I use Hipstamatic on random, mixing and matching lenses and films, but today I only used the new lens and film. Not sure what I think of the results…but here is Angel.

hipstazakTPHK4757

It does do a great job on Izaak, though.

hipstazakQZPZ9892

Of course, it’s hard to take a bad photo of Zak.

hipstajakeroryjakeJRXW7955

Recently all the cats have taken to sleeping in our bedroom. Most of them like our bed, but Angel, as you see above, prefers to sleep in a cat bed that’s on our clothing hamper. But it’s not uncommon to find everyone else on our bed, especially Jacoby and Lorelai, who like to burrow under the comforters.

hipstajakeroryOLCO3394

Now that she’s no longer a super crazy kitten, Jake has become more tolerant of Rory…

hipstajakeroryWZLJ4382

…Well, mostly.

hipstafreddyTLPA5933

When I was taking these photos, Alfred was sitting right outside our bedroom and next to the kitchen, hopefully awaiting a snack.

hipstafreddyBTHR0295

Good ol’ Freddy.