Aby-a-Day – 22 Mars: Kit-Tea (Fashion Friday)

Björn had a wonderful Scottish bone china tea mug featuring men with dogs hunting quail made by Dunoon. Sadly, the mug was accidentally knocked off the counter and broken a month or so ago. It really is the best mug for drinking tea, but that particular design has been discontinued.

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Whilst searching for a suitable replacement for his dearly departed mug, Björn also found the perfect mug for me! It features every breed of cat imaginable. Some are featured around the inside edge of the rim, and also in larger illustrations with descriptions on the sides of the mug. As you can see, the Somali is one of the featured breeds.

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As you can see it’s a fairly tall mug. It holds a half litre of beverage!

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Other breeds are shown along the base of the mug, including the Abyssinian…

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…And the Singapura.

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The Aby and the Singa are actually kind of next to each other, both next to the handle of the mug, which has a collection of “Cat Facts.” It’s an absolutely lovely mug, and I think it makes the tea taste better. Thank you, Björn, for introducing me to these awesome mugs!

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 – 6 Mars: Wordless Wednesday (Cats by Kalle)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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…that she leaps higher than the door handle!

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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 – 24 Februari: “Some chicken, some neck!” (Cinema Sunday)

Izaak loves his chicken necks.

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I mean, he really loves them. He only gets one a day, though, because too many raw bones can cause constipation…but if he could have it his way, he’d eat five or six a day.

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I generally feed the cats at noon and midnight, and Zak gets his neck around 8pm. He knows this, so starting around 6pm, every time I get up, he tries to lead me into the kitchen. If I am in the kitchen, he leaps up to the counter next to the refrigerator and yells for his neck.

Of course, still photos cannot express how funny he is when he is doing this…so I made a video of a typical trip to the kitchen chez Hellqvist.

Aby-a-Day – 20 Februari: Wordless Wednesday (Adoorable Lorelai)

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Aby-a-Day – 17 Januari: Repeat offender (Thursday Things)

As you saw in yesterday’s post, Alfred has figured out some kind of workaround to our cabinet solution. And before you suggest it…we don’t want to move the food. This is the most convenient place to keep it, and, honestly, moving the food won’t stop Freddy from opening the damn cabinet, and he’ll keep on stealing plastic packets whether or not they contain cat food.

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Kalle took the two photos yesterday, and Björn caught this action this morning.

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By the time Björn took the photos, Freddy was nowhere to be seen. As you can see, he was all too happy to frame his brothers for the crime.

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Not that they tried too terribly hard to look innocent…

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Interestingly enough, whilst I was working on this very post, I heard a crash in the kitchen. I went to look and…yeah, no surprise here.

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Oh, hi there…

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…What?

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Far from being contrite, Freddy grabbed a packet of Jake’s food and carried it underneath the dining room table to puncture and shred. I managed to rescue it before he could so Jake can have dinner tonight.

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You can tell he’s already plotting his next move…