Happy 14th Birthday, Kylie!

Today is Kylie’s 14th birthday. She was such a tiny kitten when we got her…

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…and here she is on St. Patrick’s Day, ignoring the parade.

Aby-a-Day – 14 April: Happy Birthday, Jacoby (Cinema Sunday)

Today would have been Jacoby’s 10th birthday. We had candles already for such a special birthday. I made a cake anyway, for all the other cats to share.

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Unlike Jake, the other cats were a bit taken aback by the burning candles.

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Naturally, Alfred was the least afraid of the fire, because it was on food.

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Once the flame was extinguished, though, they all tucked right in.

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Jake loved the birthday ritual. He was never afraid of the candles and usually had a few singed whiskers after the candles were extinguished.

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He also loved plastic springs.

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I gave him a fresh package of them last year.

However where as most cats bat them, chase them or carry them around in their mouths, but not our Jake. A still photo could never capture his technique, so here is a video I managed to capture.

All Jacoby’s Birthdays

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Aby-a-Day – 2 April: Birthday pub quiz sketches (Cartoon Tuesday)

A couple of weeks ago, we did the pub quiz again. It was our friend Roger’s birthday, so I did a birthday-themes sketch with Lorelai.

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I also did one with her beloved red dot as well.

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And, of course I wanted to practice Izaak, too. It wasn’t our best night, but we had a really good time.

Aby-a-Day – 25 Mars: That next step is a doozy! (Cartoon Tuesday)

My sister’s birthday is this weekend, and, as I always do, I sent her a card. And, as I usually do, I included a little cartoon of Jacoby.

My sister is five years younger than me, and thus is turning 49 this year. That next step really IS a doozy!

Aby-a-Day- 19 Mars: Kalle’s birthday card from Emma (Cartoon Tuesday)

Last week I posted the birthday card Emma drew for Björn. Turns out, she also drew one for Kalle! (Björn and Kalle’s birthdays are three days apart.) And, like Björn’s card, Kalle’s card features cats that look especially Abyssinian-like. And, even though she’s coloured brown, she has a bow on her head, so I think she’s meant to be Lorelai.

I find the drawing on the inside of the card particularly hilarious. The first side says, “Congratulations you are now 16 years old!” but the other side…it says, “That was not me.” Even though she doesn’t live with cats 24/7, Emma clearly understands cats. I suspect this is meant to be Jacoby.

Emma added another drawing on the back of the card. It’s a black and white version of the cat on the front…perhaps it was meant for Kalle to colour in?

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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Izaak made sure Björn cooked it thoroughly.

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And he did.

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

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

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

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

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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.

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Alfred took his piece so quickly…

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

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Angel took her sample gingerly…

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

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

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