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.

Aby-a-Day – 14 Mars: You’ll never pee alone (Thursday Things)

A friend of mine on Facebook posted this fascinating article about why cats feel the need to accompany us in the bathroom, and it was infinitely relatable. Because Izaak sits outside the bathroom when I’m in it and YELLS until I open the door.

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And when I open it…this happens.

Aby-a-Day – 15 February: Supermodel Lorelai (Fashion Friday)

Yesterday, I got a Facebook message from Madelene Jonsson, the photographer who took the marvelous photos of Izaak and Lorelai that I posted on Wednesday (and macroed yesterday). She wanted to show me her ad for the next cat show where she’ll be taking photographs. And look who is prominently featured! I am so proud of our little girl! Thank you, Madelene!

Aby-a-Day – 2 October: Strangers on a train (Cartoon Tuesday)

This is definitely not a cartoon, but a couple of weeks ago, I got this painting sent to me via Facebook Messenger, along with this note: “Hejsan. Träffade dej och din fina katt Jacoby på ett tåg här i Sverige för ca2 år sedan. Hittade visitkortet jag fick av dej häromdagen och målade ett porträtt efter fotot där, Bara för skojs skull, och ville dela med mej av resultatet. Målningen är i akvarell och A3 storlek. Hoppas ni har det bra!”

Maria quickly followed up with an English translation: “I met you and your cat (Jacoby) at a train here in Sweden 2 years ago and i found your card a couple of days ago and felt like making a painting from the photo. It’s aquarell and A3 size.”

This is the card I had given her. But isn’t that wonderful? It’s one of the sweetest, most random thing I think has ever happened because of Jake being Strollercat. I love it. Thank you, Maria!

Clawdius hunts with StarClan

I cannot believe I am having to write ANOTHER of these posts this year. But last night, my amazing friend Molly posted the following to Facebook: Walked Clawdius to the Rainbow Bridge tonight and our wonderful Vet sent him on his journey. I Clawdius II, 08/22/99 – 09/17/18. A life well lived. He will be so very missed…

Clawdius was actually three days younger than Björn’s Pyret, but he was able to celebrate one last birthday.

While the loss of any cat is sad, Clawdius’ death is particularly tragic as Molly’s husband, Don, passed away on 2 July. This is Don with both Clawdius and Mosey.

Ch. Tigerflower I Clawdius II‘s career ended (with 3 grand points from Wain Harding) in the third ring of his first show as a Champion. He growled at Lois Jensen and Molly pulled him. But he went on to father kittens, and his name appears in many well-known pedigrees. He is even very distantly related to Angel, Jacoby, Lorelai and Alfred!

It’s a different kind of sadness when you lose a longtime companion. When they’ve been by your side for 15 years or more, it’s not just their passing that you mourn. It’s also the loss of over a decade of always having been there. You reach out to pet them in the middle of the night, or you look in their favourite napping spot…and they just aren’t there.

My heart has joined the Thousand, for my friend has stopped running today. Sleep well in Tuonela, darling Clawdius.

Aby-a-Day – 11 September: Here he comes to save the day! (Cartoon Tuesday)

Last week I posted the line drawing of the Sepia Saviour, catdom’s smallest superhero. Here it is in colour (well, kind of)!

I posted the line drawing to the Singapura group on Facebook, and members started suggesting superpowers that our hero might possess. Some of them included: “the ability to knock anything off the counter while staring you in the face,” “Singa ‘talk back’ power (for when you don’t do what they want…quickly enough!,” “master manipulators who can con you out of a treat in a single meow,” “‘Iron Claw’ power: try to get something out of their grip,” “the ability to immobilize a 150 pound adult human for hours at a time by just sleeping on them,” along with “the ability to trip said adult by walking between their feet,” and, of course, “Singa stink-eye power”!

About that cape, though…well…you’ll see…

Other People’s Singas: Noodle the paddle boarder, Paolo the Brave and his brother, Keiko

This really awesome video of a Singapura paddle boarding with her human in the UK popped up on Facebook yesterday. Noodle and her human, Nigel, go paddle boarding regularly on rivers in Essex and Sussex. They even have an Instagram page.

But as cool as this story is, it gets cooler. Noodle (Singaneko Artemis) comes from a British cattery, and her father is Bakardi Minimali*PL (“Keiko”). Kinsey, the breeder, has also written two children’s books about Keiko and his littermate brother Paolo (Bolt Minimali*PL). I discovered – and bought – these books last year after we got Logan, delighted to find any books starring Singas.

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Of course, you know that our Izaak also comes from Minimali*PL. But if you look at Paolo’s, Keiko’s and Zak’s pedigrees, you’ll find that all three boys’ parents are Tinytoy Rus Mafoj*PL (father) and Angelina Minimali*PL (mother)…so Zak is Paolo and Keiko’s full brother, and Noodle is his neice! Paolo and Keiko are three years older than Zak…but how amazing is it to discover that Zak’s brothers are children’s book stars!? And his neice is a famous paddle boarder!? I guess Zak has a lot to live up to.