Of Rats and Jen (Inactive)

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

Giant Marsupial Rats

Filed under: Blogfriends,Cooking - Folkcat in the Kitchen,Rats!,Weaving — folkcat at 2:06 pm on Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Bet that got your attention, huh? The funny part is, I didn’t make that up just to make you look – I have a genuine reason to refer to “Giant Marsupial Rats”.

One of my Very Good BlogFriends, Valerie, is currently traveling around Australia visiting family and friends. She’s been able to stay somewhat connected while there, so there have been very interesting posts of her adventures, complete with photos of Aussie wildlife.

She’s also been very sweet in thinking of me while she’s there, and has sent these postcards. That’s a kookaburra on the left (kookaburra sits in the old gum tree, eatin’ all the gumdrops he can see…). The creature on the right, however, is the source of this post’s title.

Postcards from Oz

Valerie posted about her visit to Rottnest Island, and the creatures known as Quokkas, in her post here. The quokkas are cat-sized marsupials, and as friendly as squirrels in a city park. (Read – they come up to you and beg for food!) Dutch settlers thought they looked like rats – and they do, somewhat, including a long, naked tail. This is what gave the island it’s name – Rottenest, or Rat Nest, recently shortened to Rottnest.

I think Valerie knew how much I’d love the idea of a friendly, giant, marsupial rat. After all, we’re a very rat-friendly home here. We even have our own versions of rats’ nests!

Sable in her Den
Sable’s Den

Sable is still fond of the tissue box we gave her for the Rattie Birthday celebration. These days, it lives on an ottoman near the front corner of my chair, just beside the table that their cage rests on. She’s taken to spending most of her daytime sleep hours (while I’m home to supervise, of course) curled up in this box, under the celestial throw that they also like to crawl around under.

We’ve always kept a tissue box inside the cage for nesting, too. That’s a favorite spot for Star. I caught her sleeping in it at the same time I took the photo of Sable above, but I don’t think Star was too pleased to be disturbed for the picture!

Sleepy-eyed Star
Star on a Knitted Blanket

That’s a garter-stitch knitted washcloth, aka Rattie Rug, folded up for a nice cushion. Fear not, Star was not irretrievably disrupted – moments later, she curled back up and is now snoozing comfortably.

Handspun Monday

It’s not always about actual spinning, it turns out. Some days, it’s about making things with my handspun.

I’ve mentioned last week about the Weavettes looms that I purchased at NH S&W, and showed pictures of my rapid progress in weaving squares on them. Most successful so far is the pink/orange/red handspun yarn, which is coming out a lovely, heathered tweed in variations of light and dark.

I am definitely going to make a throw pillow from these squares. Each side will have four 6″ squares in the corners, separated by central vertical and horizontal bands of 2″ squares. That will make a 14″ pillow, a size I can easily buy a readymade form for.

I found vintage weaving loom books on the web in PDF format, and picked up a simple texture to add some interest to the whole thing. Half of my squares will now be done in plain weave, but half in texture, and I’ll mix them half and half on each side of the pillow.

Here’s a comparison of the two weaves – plain on the left, textured on the right.

WIP - Weavette Squares, Plain vs. Textured
Weavettes squares – plain (l) and textured (r)

All my plain squares are done – 4 large, 13 small. So far, I’ve got 2 large textured squares, with another in progress, and 8 small ones. Not much further to go, and I can start sewing these all together.

Cooking

The idea of doing more stir-fried meals is definitely catching on for me. On Sunday, I improvised a very nice Beef with Broccoli in Oyster Sauce (with red pepper strips for added color), which Gryphon couldn’t stop giving me compliments for all night – and into the next day. Positive reinforcement like that will go a long ways towards making me want to do this again!

And I already have – last night, even though Gryphon was at work, I made a nice big pile of Tofu, Asparagus, Snow Peas, and Water Chestnuts. Kept the sauce simple on this one – just soy sauce and rice wine vinegar, with a little toasted sesame oil as a finishing touch. Would have loved some ginger in it, but I didn’t have any in the house.

Had a large bowlful over rice for my dinner, and packed up two more sizable servings that Gryphon can take for his meal at work over the next day or two. It’s got me eating better, and it cuts down the number of work meals that Gryphon has to assemble for himself – making it a little easier for him to manage both the full-time and part-time jobs together. Win-win all around, I’d say!

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