Aby-a-Day – 14 Januari: More snow, more fun (Thursday Things)

Since I posted last week, we’ve had a bit more snow here. I took the cats outside again on Tuesday; it was actually rather warm and the snow was perfect and not too wet or icy.

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Lorelai, of course, went pelting off into the whiteness.

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The boys, however, were less enthusiastic (and yes, I made Dashiell come out with us).

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Eventually, Alfred stretched his legs.

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Dash even took a little walk around the building.

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Izaak…was displeased.

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Rory, on the other hand, was playing with the snow.

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She was having so much fun out there.

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One cool thing happened, though. Watching Rory run, I saw some movement in the background. At first I thought it was Freddy, but it was a hare! I wish one of the cats had seen it, though. I’d love to see what their reaction would be!

Aby-a-Day – 25 Juni 2020: More magpies (Thursday Things)

The other day when we went outside, poor Alfred was the target of magpie harrassment.

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He ran down the hill and the magpies were ON him.

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Look at this in close-up.

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I don’t think Freddy even noticed the angry birds attacking him.

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Here’s a close-up of the second magpie attack.

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After that second attack, they stood down, but remained watchful.

Aby-a-Day – 15 Juni 2020: More Magpies (Movie Monday)

I know I posted about magpies just yesterday, but by sheer coincidence we had another magpie encounter this afternoon.

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Björn and I were outside with the cats, when the magpies started yelling. We looked over, and sure enough, they were yelling at Alfred.

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Freddy noped out, but Izaak was very interested in what was going on up in the branches.

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The magpies yelled at Zak, and Zak yelled right back at them.

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Lorelai, of course, was also interested in the screeching birds.

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She looked like she wanted to go up after them, but she didn’t go any higher in the tree.

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Zak, on the other hand…

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…I think even Rory was impressed with how high Zak was willing to climb.

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Zak is a deceptively good climber.

Here is a video of the entire encounter with the magpies. It’s sometimes hard to see them in the leaves, but you can certainly hear them!

Aby-a-Day – 14 Juni 2020: Lorelai and the Magpie (Swedish Sunday)

One thing I missed whilst living in New England was magpies.

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I grew up in the Northern California valley, the only place on the planet that is home to Yellow-Billed Magpies, and they are my favourite bird. The ones we have in Sweden are the usual Black-Billed sort…but it’s stlll nice to have them around.

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When we go out with the cats, the resident magpies keep a sharp eye on us.

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Mostly. When we went out the other day, this magpie brazenly decided to watch the cats from the ground.

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At first, Lorelai didn’t see the magpie.

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Until she did.

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Rory stalked the magpie for a while.

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And then, oddly, she just stopped. I am not sure why.

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She didn’t chase the magpie, but the magpie didn’t fly away, either. They just sort of looked at each other.

Aby-a-Day – 4 April 2020: The Maltese Magpie (Swedish Saturday)

Dashiell loves to go outside with the other cats…once he gets outside. He doesn’t go running for the door like the others, and I have to catch him and carry him out.

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But once he’s outside…he loves to fly!

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Usually, Dash hangs out with Izaak or Alfred…but the other day, he ran down the hill to play with Lorelai.

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And, while they were down the hill, a magpie flew over and landed nearby!

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Of course, they both froze and watched the bird. I don’t know if the magpie just didn’t see them camouflaged in the grass…

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…Or if it was just incredibly foolish. Luckily, Rory and Dash were too surprised the magpie was there and just stared at it.

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They were even more stunned when a second magpie landed near the first one.

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I was holding my breath, wondering if they would charge the magpies…

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…they didn’t, but they did move, and the magpies flew away.

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I think Dash actually looks a little disappointed.

Aby-a-Day – 22 Mars 2020: Lorelai and the Geese (Cinema Sunday)

It started with Alfred.

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He’s the first one who ran towards the lake.

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But Lorelai took it to a whole other level.

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She decided to HUNT the geese. Who probably outweigh her. Here’s a video of Freddy, but mainly Rory, stalking the geese.

Aby-a-Day – 5 Mars 2020: It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s SuperFreddy! (Thursday Things)

As you saw yesterday, Alfred went a little bit crazy running around in the snow when we had it. He was the last one who wanted to come in from the cold.

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He just wanted to run and run….

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It was a little frustrating. I was only wearing a hoody so I would be as cold as the unclothed cats, and I was ready to go in, too.

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He broke away from me at the door and made a beeline for the swing set that is always so popular in summer.

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He was wicked hard to catch.

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And he was super naughty! First, he peed in the snow. AGAIN.

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Then he moved on and started digging. I thought he was just playing with the snow…

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…And it looked like that was all it was, at first.

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But no. And, yes, that is exactly what it looks like. He pooped in the snow, too! I feel a little bad about leaving it there in the play area, but I guess kids won’t be swinging anytime soon.

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Soon after, he ran back towards our house. Guess that’s why he didn’t want to go back in. But I have never seen him go to the bathroom outside anytime except in snow. Weirdo.

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While I was out there in the “backyard,” I saw some things that I wouldn’t have had Freddy not run back there. Like hare tracks.

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And bird landing/take-off prints. This is probably a magpie.

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I love bird footprints in snow.

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I also love wingprints.

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I think this is a jackdaw picking something up.

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I am guessing this is another magpie.

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Walking and then a take-off. Magpies make tailprints, so this is either a crow or a jackdaw.

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Of course, there were also some cat footprints.

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As snowy as it looks, it was also melting fast.

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Crocuses are already blooming!

And, as you can see, a large area at the back of our building was all green grass. I think we’ll be lucky if we get any more snow this year.

Aby-a-Day – 16 Januari 2020: Autumn leaves (Thursday Things)

Autumn in Skövde is beautiful.

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The trees are easily as lovely as the trees in New England.

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And the orange and yellow leaves carpet the lawn.

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By October, Dashiell was confident enough outside to go offleash.

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At first, he stayed close to the side of the building with Angel.

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But then he got brave and started to explore. It was so heartening to see!

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At one point, I was looking for Alfred and thought I saw him in the middle of the lawn.

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But it wasn’t Freddy. It was a hare!

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I tried to get both Dash and Freddy to notice it, to see what they’d do…but neither of them saw it. Too bad.

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I guess Dash was too busy exploring!

Aby-a-Day – 20 May: Jakedaw (Swedish Sunday)

Well, this was not the weekend we were expecting to have, and these are not the posts I was expecting to write, but we managed to turn things around pretty well. We went down and had a beer in the lobby and fell asleep later than we would have done last night, because there wasn’t any reason to get up early in the morning. We had breakfast, packed leisurely, and left Alsingsås around noon. We took the scenic route home and stopped at a couple of rummage sales in the countryside. Jacoby seemed to enjoy his weekend away from the kittens. When we got home, I let Jake out on his leash while we unloaded the car and schlepped things back up to the apartment.

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While I was inside, Björn managed to snap these two shots of Jake and a jackdaw eyeing each other. Jackdaws are corvids between a crow and a magpie in size, and they are everywhere.

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Jackdaws love to hang around outside cafés and eating areas in summer and they are fearless in the face of food. This one came to sit at one of the chairs at our table.

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He certainly wasn’t afraid of humans!

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Jackdays are known for stealing food off tables and bussing stations and I have even seen them go inside garbage cans to grab a tasty snack. Is it any surprise that Björn and I call them JAKEdaws?

Aby-a-Day – 21 January: Swedish Cat TV

When we all move to Sweden, Jacoby and Angel will have fabulous HD Cat TV on a big window.

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This is the view from Björn’s living room window.

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Granted, it’s significantly different from the view they currently have out their windows…

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…which isn’t to say that watching cars and trucks isn’t interesting. I just think that cats in general find birds more captivating than vehicles.

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There are lots of birds that frequent the yard outside Bjorn’s apartment, as well as squirrels and the occasional rabbit.

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Residents aren’t supposed to feed the birds from their windows or balconies, but they still come close to the buildings.

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Best of all are the magpies.

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I love magpies; I grew up in Northern California, the only place in the world where Yellow-Billed Magpies exist.

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There are no magpies in Massachusetts, and even blue jays and crows are fairly scarce in the city.

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I miss seeing them and was happy to learn that once I’m in Sweden, I’ll get to see them, as well as crows and jackdaws, fairly often.

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(This is a crow at the train station in Falköping…I love their colouration so much!)

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Views like this, taken outside Björn’s living room window, are common.

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Which is really cool, since I love magpies.

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I found the view outside Björn’s window endlessly fascinating.

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I can only imagine what Angel and Jake will think!

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Pyret, being 16 years old, is rather immune to the birds outside.

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She’d rather watch me work on my laptop!

Aby-a-Day – June 1: “Quaggy” (Saturday Photo Hunt)

This week’s Photo Hunt subject is “Quaggy.” Okay…this is an odd one. I had to look up this week’s word, because I wasn’t sure of its meaning!

quaggy [ˈkwægɪ ˈkwɒgɪ]
adj -gier, -giest
1. (Earth Science /Physical Geography) resembling a marsh or quagmire; boggy
2. yielding, soft, or flabby

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Wow. I had no idea what I was going to do for this word…and then Jacoby and I happened to go to a park in New Hampshire with a river.

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Jake wanted to go down to the water, of course.

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The shoreline was a combination of sand and mud and definitely fits that first description!

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Jake’s feet really sank in!

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He left some really good prints behind.

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And so did someone else! I’m not sure what made this print, but it wasn’t a dog or a cat.

Aby-a-Day – November 5: Squirrels are nuts!

Boston is known for many things. One of these happens to be the insane squirrels of Boston Common.

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These squirrels have almost no fear of people; generation upon generation of them have evolved to produce a kind of super-squirrel that sees humans as big walking feeders. I’ve had them run up to me and climb up the leg of my jeans simply because I stopped to look at them.

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Still, I have to say it took me by surprise when I went to the Common with Jacoby and this happened…

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Not once, not twice, but three times with two different squirrels!

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In case you can’t tell, squirrels ran up to us while I was pushing Jake’s stroller, and the cheeky buggers climbed right up the front of the stroller looking for handouts!

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This guy almost went inside. Jake lunged at him and he pretty much flung himself to the ground in fright.

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Contrary to what you may read, squirrels don’t carry rabies. At least, the CDC told Brigham and Women’s Hospital that when my doctor called them after a Boston Common squirrel mistook my thumb for a peanut and tried to run off with it in his mouth. Apparently, they have no known cases of rabies being caused by squirrels. So that’s good to know.

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But look at this guy, and then look at the lower left corner of the photo – that’s Jake’s back. Even when he could see the cat, this squirrel still came up to me. There’s a fine line between brave and stupid, as the saying goes.