Saturday, October 15, 2011

Hanging Around...

So since we're getting moved in, I started a bunch of new houseplants which will probably, inevitably, die.  I always start new plants when I move, then forget about them.  But we're not thinking of that.  These are the plants that will last!  Yes!

I have plenty of pots, but what I need are hanging pots. Why? Because cats love to munch on some houseplants. In fact, that's what did in my last house plant.  Furball chomped it down to stems.  Bad kitty!

The key to having both pets and plants is first to find plants that your cats won't die from eating.  Common spider plants are an easy place to start.  Second, you must find a spot to put your plants where your cats can't get to them.  Because spider plants are tasty.  Very, very tasty.  Ask Furball.

Plastic hanging planters are tacky.  Metal ones and nice ones are too expensive.  In fact, the plastic ones are too expensive, too, while still being tacky.  What to do?  Make your own, dummy.  There are a bunch of tutorials online.  Here and here.  I'm fairly excited about that "double" hanging planter, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.

 All are fairly easy, and don't limit yourself to a particular kind of string(for indoor planters, anyway).  Anything strong enough to hold your plants which can also hold a knot is going to work.  These can also be customized for any size pot or basket.  I prefer not to make my look all funky with lots of knots, but that is a fairly easy option to add if you've ever made jewelry with hemp or leather cord.

I bought some colorful plastic pots from the store and used ordinary twine for mine.  These are going up into the attic room with all the nice skylights when they have rooted.  Thanks to Sue at work for the spider plant babies!

ASPCA list of plants that are Toxic and Non-toxic to pets.  It's not comprehensive, but it should give you a good idea.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Rhubarb and Strawberry Pie. I'm not out of season, YOU'RE out of season.

Usually, strawberry-rhubarb pie would be something to eat early in the summer.  If you grow rhubarb, you know it's best to pick it before the end of July.  However, I inherited a MASSIVE rhubarb plant from the last inhabitant of this place and it needed trimmed back.  Badly.  So while we were pulling the large green stalks off of the plant, I saved a few of the smaller, pinker ones in the center to make a pie with.

Now, I think rhubarb pie is gross.  And I think strawberry pie is gross.  Somehow, when you mix the two together, they become some sort of delicious magical treat.  The tartness of the rhubarb mixes with the sweetness of the strawberries and they balance one another out.  Next time I will probably go ahead and add the tapioca like most recipes suggest.  Corn starch and flour don't work like they do for apple pie, because the berries and rhubarb become extremely liquid.  Fortunately for me, most of the liquid spilled out into the pie pan where slices had been removed and left the actual pie, keeping it from turning into a soggy mess.

Pies- now with better lighting!

I used all the rhubarb and strawberries I had (a whole pound of strawberries!) and I think it still could have used more filling, but it was pretty tasty.


In other news our move to Sellwood has gone mostly very well.  A friend helped us with big furniture, but we have done most of it ourselves without any help.  Both of us have lost enough weight carrying things up the steps here to afford eating pie for breakfast.  We are not quite done yet but we will be probably by the end of the week.

A strange phenomenon has occurred, though.  Balloon and Furball no longer fight.  They are more like partners in crime, now.  They are both allowed to go outside (collars on, during daylight) and they seem a thousand times happier for it, though they act like snotty teenagers and pretend not to know us when they are outside.  All calls and temptations with food or treats fall on deaf ears until they are good and ready.

There are lots of other neighborhood cats, too.  Word traveled fast in the cat community, and once I gave treats to one, more came to say hi!  The neighbors have a tiny grey cat named Priscilla.  She might weigh 5 pounds and I think she's an adult.  Another cat without a name tag (Just a Multco registration tag) came to say hi.  I couldn't believe it; he was a beautiful cross-eyed Balinese!  Furball doesn't like the Balinese...colorpoint envy?  Zach said other cats had come during the day while I was at work, so I think there will be more.

For now here's a picture of our dining room, still not totally unpacked.  (Enlarge the picture, we totally have a framed photo of Ms T and her husband from our wedding.)