Archive for August, 2008


August 18, 2008

Look at what they’re bringing back! The Banana Splits!


I love that it’s such news that it made the BBC most popular stories linklist. I will be watching teh youtubes with anticipation. Damn Freeview and its lack of Cartoon Network.


This and that around the house

August 14, 2008

James was gone, and I had found some organic bacon and Pilsbury crescent roll dough at Tesco (I know, wtf?). Couldn’t resist making pigs in a blanket. This is a notable meal in that I haven’t actually cooked raw meat in more than 5 years. I suppose bacon is hard to mess up–put in pan, fry until nearly rock-hard (I love it that way). So these items, along with Minute Maid orange juice, was very reminiscent of things I ate as a kid. So nice, in an artery-hardening sort of way.

This is what I like to see, a man at some sort of labor necessitating a ladder.

Not so much what I like to see–a man coming at me at breakneck speed on a child-sized scooter.

Definitely what I like to see, a shaved husband. Not so sure about the kid-tormenting though..

Hehe, super Ikea dinner–quorn swedish meatballs, boiled buttered potatoes, gravy, and even loganberry jam.

Poor Joseph, doomed to be forever upstaged.

There’s always stuff in the news insinuating that homeschoolers do what they do in order to abuse their kids and escape notice. I point out here that 1. this has been caught on film and 2. not all of the kids packing the baby into the recycling bin are homeschoolers.

The field behind our new doctor’s office. Could almost be Idaho if you squint right..

Aw, the scruffy village charity shop cat. The tag reads, “Tiger’s: do not sell!”

I submit proof that Joseph does know how to swing *and* that he indeed likes it.

Since Mitu has been given the chance to go outside on a lead, he really really really loves going out. Sometimes just to hop up on the windowsill and watch us pull weeds.

Random bit of our garden: it wouldn’t be a Scottish garden without ‘decorative’ thistles.

This is growing near the front door. I don’t know what it is, but it’s beautiful.

Nyssa has to be hosed off before coming inside from gardening. Only we don’t have a hose or indeed a tap (spigot) outside, so this has to do.

Nyssa putting on a puppet show with Einstein and ‘Homorabi’ the cat. She means to say Hammurabi, lol.

Cookie, Einstein, and Hammurabi, the cast of our puppetry. We are freaks.

No joke: 35% rise in gas prices. That’s fine, we just won’t cook or heat the house this winter. Been meaning to give the kids an object lesson in austerity anyway. 😛

A rainbow out the front door, and me having been quick enough to catch it.

James encouraging kitty bad manners. *sigh*

I may have said before that pipe cleaners are the best craft innovation ever. Here we have pipe cleaner Death Star and pipe cleaner Fighter whatsit (Joseph will strangle me for not remembering which). Nyssa in her usual posture of late–engrossed in a book. She was so sweet the other day, she comes to me and starts gushing breathlessly, as though she were speaking of a crush, about how many different sorts of books there are to read and how she loves that there’s always something new and wonderful to learn about, etc. etc. Aw.

Aw, cute, how sweet, etc. He’s also fluffing up my fabric.

This one just makes me giggle. I have this demanding little guy in my face all the time.

Nom nom nom. But FFS, I thought it was expensive enough at 50% off. Can you believe someone is meant to pay the equivalent of $10 for a wee bag of animal crackers??

We met this little kitty named Puisicain at Dobbies Garden Centre. They’re trying to raise money for Glendrick Roost, a sanctuary for rescued, abused and/or unwanted animals. They’re having a hard time at the moment because their leased land has been pulled out from under them to make way for some other more profitable venture. If you know of a location, please contact them. Also, please go and give them a donation. They’re just a wee charity, but they care so much for their animals and do such good.

Big Tent 2008

August 14, 2008

Finally getting around to posting pictures.. This year we did make it to Big Tent in Falkland, and it was good times. Definitely expanded from a couple years ago.

Waiting for the bus that morning, Nyss and I definitely look ready to go hang out with hippies *guffaw*

An enviable entrance.

The mist on the hills was very pretty, and actually the weather held pretty well that day.

Jos and Nyss grinding flour. You learn something new about your kids every day–Joseph can really work a mill stone!

Doing some crafts in a yurt is a nice way to pass the time.

Very nice finished items. Joseph worked quite hard on his Star Wars scene.

Here Joseph is cutting out a rubbing he made with plant materials on cloth.

Ginormous Connect Four: Joseph and peer vs. a baby. Surely it’s in the bag.

Oh no! In an unexpected move, Baby brings in the big guns–paint-covered toddler! Joseph and peer forfeited.

Those who know Nyss might recognize this refusal to use chairs in a standard, non-risky fashion. And also her refusal to wear matched socks.

Joseph has identified our village. Well done!

Hopes and Fears. Nyssa in particular took this quite seriously.

Mine reads: I fear the Boogie Mans! This is just as serious, I assure you. Just watch me around dusk when I begin my mad dash to shut curtains.

Cherry trees and grass that has gone to seed–someday I want a large portion of a garden devoted to such things.

A spring-loaded cigarette dispenser, cool! Joseph was not impressed. With as much as he’s needed his inhaler recently, fair enough.

FFS, even at a ‘festival of sustainability’, it’s just not a British outdoor event without a bouncy castle.

A vendor was selling Bouvrage. I realllly like the sparkling raspberry drink. I brought some home and made sorta float-like desserts with it using raspberry panna cotta ice cream. Very nice.

A Saturday Rave

August 2, 2008, not the fun kind with youths and black-lighting. I got a bit sad at the last post being at the top of my page, and I’m not quite inspired enough to tackle all the photos I need to post. So I’m going to do something fairly odd for a cynic like me and blather on about a consumer item I adore!

Which is..

..World’s Best Cat Litter

Why is it so fantastic? I have three indoor cats, and I have tried many kinds of cat litter in order to help my home not smell like a urinal. Friends can attest to some of my failures. Some brands I’ve tried include: Catsan Hygiene (expensive for what ends up being piss-scented mortar), Catsan and Sophisticat Clumping (works fine until you realize you have to chisel up the bottom of the litter tray), Bob Martin Silica Crystals (disgusting within 2 days), Tesco variants of the above (just don’t), and many others. None of the above control smell well, are easy to clean, or are particularly nice on the environment.

I was intrigued by WBCL because it is advertised as flushable and made from corn. The price gave me pause, however. The smallest bag retails for between £8-9. I decided to try it anyway, realizing that the cats might completely reject it.

I decided to do a complete switch-out of the cats’ litter and just hope for the best. When I poured the new litter into the tray I was impressed by the lack of dust and amused by the vague smell of popcorn. I got nervous when the cats investigated because of how confused they looked. Their expressions seemed to say, ‘This is where I poo, but it smells like food! WTF?’ Mitu even ate a bit, which is apparently quite normal. In short order they figured it out though, and all seemed well.

The litter is indeed flushable, assuming you don’t overload the toilet. Maintenance of the tray is a lot easier if you keep it in the bathroom. It sounds wretched, but if you’re like me, that will prompt you to stay on top of cleaning it. The toilet being at hand is a bonus. When we had the tray in the downstairs closet of our last flat, it was not ideal. No air circulates down there and it’s amazing how a flight of stairs will make you ‘forget’ to be fastidious. Out of sight, out of mind–until I would go downstairs to let guests in and start gagging and hunting for the Febreze can. The point is, a problem staring you in the face will get dealt with, and WBCL is effective enough at clumping and controlling odor that keeping the tray in the bathroom is a reasonable option.

Now, being based on corn, a food crop at the centre of much debate these days, I won’t pretend that there aren’t issues with using a corn-based litter. Given the alternatives, I do think this is the best choice, however. Compared to the others, it contains, “no clays, silica, synthetic binding or dust reducing agents.” Nothing is going to landfill, aside from the bag, which I do wish could be recycled. All that goes in the toilet is kitty waste plus corn. Better surely than what the humans are putting in there.. I’d be particularly happy if it were organic, but nothing’s perfect.

As it is “99% dust-free,” the benefit to those in my house with breathing issues is something to note as well.

Now regarding the issue of economics, the website provides this graphic:

Generally, this sort of information is grandly optimistic. The chart above is fairly well spot-on actually. A 17 lb bag costs less than £20 and lasts 2/3 of a month, which works out to about £1 per day. For three cats, that’s just not much of an expense, to be honest.

If you take care to clean the box regularly, you will only have to completely change out the box but rarely, which of course was the most dreaded chore when using all the other litters. This leads me to the only con that comes to mind, which is more of a human issue than anything. If you’re going to leave for a day or more, you must elicit a promise from your other half to stay on top of the tray. The reason for this is that when urine forms a clump in the litter, it doesn’t turn to inpenetrable cement. This is what makes it flushable! This is also a problem when the clump is left too long–it will loosen, get kicked around by the cats, etc. You’ll have tiny bits of dark-colored litter in with your lovely pristine litter. (Note: apparently in the States you can get an ‘extra-stength’ version to help deal with this issue.) The upside is that even then, odor is controlled quite well. Eventually you will need to totally clean out the tray, and perhaps one of the biggest bonuses is that the used litter does not bond to the bottom of your cat tray like other brands, and doesn’t leave it smelling like urinal cake death.

The only thing that remains now is to find a product that will convince certain cats (Mittens!) that there is no call to be so prideful of their offerings that they refuse to bury them. There isn’t a litter in the world that will control the smells of naughty kittens!