Sherlock Nomming – Wordless Wednesday

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This is Sherlock enjoying a bit of cookie.   Doesn’t he look so sweet and lovable?

Well, he is definitely lovable, and he’s a wonderful couch potato and a great companion for video gaming.  However, most of my rats think he’s a mean ole bully.  Sherlock has a temper, and he’s my first rat that we’ve had to resort to separation.  He currently lives with Smudge and occasionally can have visits with Stan, but the other rats are fight on sight.   What we think happens is that Sherlock can be overly insistent that other rats groom him, and this can turn into fights, and once Sherlock is angry, unfortunately, he stays angry.

We will keep working with him, and hopefully, with lots of patience and itsy bitsy baby steps we will succeed on re-introducing him to the crowd.

Until then, he’s our best squish, and he gets lots of human attention.

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Cute Purse – The Cage This Week

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Upstairs – This week, Sherlock and Smudge are hanging out here.  We’ve taken down the super hammock, and they have the singleton of the Tulip.  A bunch of boxes were added, too.

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Downstairs is for the crowd.  I wish this photo was a bit brighter.  We also put a wooden ladder horizontally across the top so that they can easily egress from the tulip and their new patchwork purse.  It’s been fun watching them check out their new purse.  We’d obtained it at a thrift store, so we might have spent a quarter on it.  It’s like a miniature canvas tote, and it’s perfect rat size.  Behind the purse is an old favorite hide : the plastic tile cube, but you can’t really see it in this photo.

Doc is right in the middle of the second floor being massive.  He’s hard to see because the photo is dark and he, of course, is color coordinated.

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Our Rodent of Unusual Size says “Hi” – Wordless Wednesday

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Here’s Doc.  He’s my 2 pounder of pure muscle.  He is humongous.  If he looks normal sized in the photo, it’s only because black is slimming.

At his size, he should be a wonderful squish, but he’s not fat, so he’s not really squishy.  Rather, he’s BIG.  When he jumps on you, he lands with a significant impact.

And, this Rodent of Unusual Size comes with his unique behavioral issues.  He’s our big wimp.  He’s highly sensitive and very reactive.  Without known trauma, he used to bite even to blood.  That’s extremely rare in pet rats.  But, we figured out that he doesn’t like his fur brushed backwards.  And, since then, he hasn’t bit for blood while being pet.  He does have to be removed from the cage for cage cleanings as cage cleaning freaks him out, and you’re risking your fingers redecorating his cage with him around.

He gets his own modified training sessions.   Every thing is itsy bitsy baby steps for him, but he responds beautifully to positive behavior modification.  He loves to snuggle and try out new food.  We’ve learned to watch his mood and help him stay calm and not get nervous.  He’s really brave when he’s not freaking out.

And, he loves to hang out with a blue minion especially Alfonse who he turns to bolster his bravery.


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Super Hammock – The Cage This Week

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Upstairs, this week, is a bit special.  One of our super hammocks was put up.  That’s our hammock that stretches across the entire level.  We also put a smaller hammock between the super hammock and the ceiling which the rats particularly enjoy.

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Here’s Kitty checking out the stuff stored in the “attic”.

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Spring Lamb Cake

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(This has been a side project of mine for awhile that I’ve wanted to share. )

Welcome to my vintage cooking/kitchen portion of my blog.  This is where I attempt to recreate a kitchen of yesteryear.  Well, it’s more an experiment, but I’ve been enjoying my forays into the past.  At times, I will even attempt to sell the pots and pans and dishware on Ebay.  Why would I sell them?? You may ask.

Well, here are my 3 reasons.  First, I love trying new things especially with “new” vintage dishware, but, SECOND, I have no storage space.  Zip.  Nada.  So, the only way I can rationalize obtaining even a new mug is that it must be replacing a different mug.  THIRD is the materialistic reason.  Yes, to make some money which supports my blogging habit.  Nope, I’m not asking you to donate to me.  But, if you want one of my vintage items that you see on the blog, then you’re supporting my blog by buying the item.

So, here’s my first post about vintage cooking, and it’s about a lovely stand-up lamb cake.

And, I must say…. Wowzers.  This is my best stand up cake that I have ever made.  Sadly, I have very low standards.  After using a few decorative Wilton cake pans, I’m quite jaded.  Yes, Wilton’s cakes look beautiful.  Mine always look like flops.  But… But… Look here.  That’s a Spring Lamb Cake.  And, it’s standing on its own “folded” legs.  No inner sticks for strength.  (And, no peeking ahead at the photo that shows that there was a definite leaning Tower of Pisa thing happening.  Regardless, this cake was sturdy… and DELICIOUS)

And, yes ao (22)my lamb has no icing.  First, I love the “natural” look.  Second, my icing skills are lousy.  Third, icing has lots and lots of calories.  But, don’t fear… this cake was actually tasty even without the icing.

The cake pan is a vintage aluminum pan from Blue Ribbon Bakeware.  I obtained it from a Church bazaar wrapped in a bread bag with a receipt which makes it at least several decades old.  But, given the yellowing of the recipe and the recipe’s verbage, I expect that the pan is several years older.

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I do not keep specialized cookware in my tiny house rather I enjoy the item, and then, sell it on Ebay.  So, if you would like to recreate this lovely cake, you can buy the actual cake pan here.  Oops.  I sold it before I even posted the blogpost.

In the spirit of complete transparency, I’m not the baker in the household, but as you can tell, I’m not opposed to taking credit for the baking.  My hubby operates our Kitchenaid Mixer.  Also, he’s a stickler for following a recipe’s instructions.  I tend to substitute and be a bit more creative in my interpretations.  So, with this particular cake, I would recommend following the instructions carefully.  Believe it or not, he actually sifted the flour.  Something I just wouldn’t have done.

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The above photo is the Leaning Tower of Lamb and next to it is…. the unbelievable… Sifted Flour.

photo (10) Here’s a blurry picture of the Kitchenaide doing what Kitchenaide mixers do.

photo (11)This was my portion of the baking.  I sprayed canned oil and floured the pan.  From prior experience with cakes getting stuck in the pan I went a tad overboard.  This likely led to my lamb having a pockmarked appearance.

photo (12) This is all of the batter poured into the top half of the pan.  The odd thing about this cake pan is that you don’t fill both halves with cake batter.  You only fill the front half with batter, and then, the cake expands while baking into the other half.

photo (8)It was really easy to place the back half on top, and it fits snugly.  Of course, use a cookie sheet under the cake pan to avoid sloshing and burning oneself.

photo (7) Here’s our “lamb cake to be” tucked away in its warm oven for the baking.

photo (9)The back half easily lifted off the cake.  And, the front half released easily, too.  WOW.

photo (15) And, here our lamb stands on her own.

So, we had a lot of fun baking this lamb cake.

Are you planning to bake any cakes for Easter?

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Butters Loves His Stylish Kleenex Box

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Ok,  I admit it.  Yes, when I buy Kleenex boxes, I think … hmmm… how will a rat look inside that box?

Here’s Butters modeling a wintry themed tissue box that has had a little bit of remodeling done.

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Upstairs Downstairs – This Week in the Cage

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Dorian welcomes you to the Downstairs.  Butters is hanging out in the box in the back.

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Downstairs in its full glory.  One day after a full cleaning, it’s already a mess with litter box accidents and the space pod holding on with only two tabs.

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Upstairs is much nicer, but Sherlock shares it with the only rat that he can tolerate and he barely tolerates Smudge.  Yesterday, Kitty visited for awhile and Sherlock was snuggled up so sweetly for hours, and, then, Sherlock had a hissfit and was chasing Kitty all over the cage, so we returned Kitty to his downstairs buddies.  Kitty used to live with Sherlock, but his increased bulliness has led to separation.

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Upstairs is purty, but having only 2 rats in all that space helps.  The double hammock is affectionately as “The Tulip”.  This is an absolute favorite.  It was made from a couple of placemats, and I don’t know if it’s the heavy fabric or that it has the perfect sagginess, but the rats love “The Tulip”.

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