Sunday, October 3, 2010

Cats, Squash Boats, and Gardeny Things

Meet Jada, houseplant eater, super talker, loving sweetheart, black beauty:

September was the month of the cat at our place. When the cat isolation room at the shelter gets full, the officers appeal to volunteers to take some of the iso cats into foster care...just until they get better, in order to make room for new incoming cats. It runs the gamut, but many of the cats in the isolation room are not too sick; they just have mild upper respiratory infections. It's only a matter of giving them anti-biotics for a couple of weeks until their symptoms disappear, and they can return to the shelter for adoption.

Jada was nearly fully recovered when she came to stay with us. I had to relocate all my houseplants, because she loved munching on them...I bought her some wheat grass to nibble on instead. She was with us for 2 weeks, and then went back into the adoption room of the shelter. Man, it was difficult to bring her back to the shelter that day...but she's since been adopted to a good home. (yaay Jada!)

She must have been living with a colony of ferals at one time, because her ear is tipped in the way they do ferals after they have been spayed/neutered in TNR programs. She wasn't the least bit feral herself though.

Next up, meet Lucky: long, lean, athletic, elegant, as graceful as a gazelle, and super friendly (though he looks rather nonchalant in the photo).

Lucky's situation was pretty much the same as Jada's...he just needed to finish up his meds, as his symptoms had already disappeared. He's still with us...we're planning on adopting him, but we have to wait and see; his status is still pending.

And, this is our long-time family member, Cheeky

Cheeky, taking time out to smell the flowers

She's a Drumcondra kitty, because she was born in the Drumcondra neighborhood of Dublin, Ireland. We picked her up as a stray kitten on the busy Drumcondra Road back in 2003, while we were living nearby at the time.

Here's a yummy Sunday dinner (apologies for the dark photo):

I was inspired to try these "squash boats" a while ago, while reading Meeps' blog: Alien's Day Out: A Vegan in Seoul, South Korea.  She totally doesn't know it (probably), but I love her's full of  crazily delicious food. She even makes oatmeal look appetizing. 

Anyway, she had posted about these stuffed squash that she ate for lunch in a department store food court. Food courts around here are full of junk, so I was struck by how healthy and delicious these seemed for food court fare.

My take on it was roasted kabocha squash stuffed with roasted cauliflower, shallots, and yam--and  then topped with pumpkin seeds, cashews, and almonds that I caramelized in maple syrup. Fresh thyme and rosemary made perfect garnishes.

We ate it with beans from the garden, some homemade seitan, and our usual salad.

Vibrant kabocha boats:

September was a good month out in the garden too, and tomatoes finally came into season...

**OK, all you people who have been harvesting tomatoes since July can stop laughing now! :D**

In spite of the cool summer, I got a pretty sizeable tomato harvest. I got 3 good pulls all about 3 lbs- worth, so ~9 lbs all together:

The dark-colored cherries are "Black Cherry" variety. They are super sweet, but skins are on the tough side. The large slicers are "Peron" tomatoes...fairly prolific and have a mild sweetness, nice and juicy too. The romas are, well, romas...extremely prolific, fairly tasty and great for drying or sauces.

I kept the tomatoes under a ventilated poly-tunnel all summer, which kept temps about 10 degrees warmer than ambient. Had I not done this, I would have ended up with multitudes of green tomatoes.

Squash harvest was not so great...I got three mini-kabochas. The cool thing is that they grew orange, knobby scabs over areas that had been munched on by some critter. You can see a big orange scabby thing on the righthand-side squash:

Still waiting on three little eggplants that I have since moved into the sun room:

I was hoping to see these peppers go from yellow to red, but who am I kidding? That's not going to happen: the intensity/warmth of the sun has diminished too much by this time of year. Instead, we'll be eating these greeny/yellow peppers soon:

Here are my autumn greens busy growing under a winter-time poly tunnel:

Dahlias and sunflowers waited until Sept to bloom too:

Next up for the garden is planting some vetch in for a cover crop and putting in some Russian Red stiffneck garlic.

Ciao for now.


  1. What beautiful cats! I'd like to foster kitties, but I know I'd not be able to give any of them up at the end of their tenure. I hope Lucky gets a permanent spot in your family :)

  2. That's so great that you're helping the kitties from the shelter! They look so cute and happy :)
    And the food looks delicious! I need to try making seitan again soon...

  3. This post was well worth the wait! I love the kitties (Cheeky is a doll baby!) and the stuffed squash is gorgeous. I wish I could compose photos like you do. There's so much depth.

  4. How does Cheeky handle the visitors? Jada looks like my black cat, ear snip and all.

    What a great idea to stuff a squash with more vegetables instead of just tomatoes or something. All your harvest looks wonderful.

  5. I'm so glad to see you back! I love your stuffed kabocha, bursting with roasted veggies. It looks like you had a successful gardening season despite the cool weather.
    It's wonderful that you were able to foster the kitties, and I hope the lovely Lucky becomes a permanent resident at your house. What a handsome boy!

  6. i love the butt sniffing birdies at the end! those things are so cute!

    lucky looks right at home, i hope you get to keep him.and what a great thing to do for the animal shelter. thats awesome that the black kitty was already adopted, how wonderful. and your calico cat is from another country!! thats so neat.

    im with you, i would love to buy something like that(stuffed squash) at a restaurant/food court.

  7. All of the kitties are gorgeous and I hope that the adoption goes of Lucky goes through for you. He's quite the handsome fellow!

    Those squash boats look & sound amazing. Mmmm... Actually, everything from your garden looks amazing. We had quite a few red tomatoes but more green ones. Emma jumped the garden fence one day when I was inside and threw all of the green ones out to Rowan. They must have thought they were balls. lol

  8. radioactivevegan,
    You're so right; taking them back to the shelter/letting them go when they get adopted is the hardest part. Thanks for your well wishes re: Lucky. :)

    Thanks for stopping by; I'll be looking forward to seeing your seitan.:)

    You're too nice to me! LOL. Thanks for all your encouragement. I'll be sure and tell Cheeky you think she's a doll baby...we think so too :)

    Aww, you have a cute ear-tipped kitty? I bet he/she is adorable too; black cats are so beautiful, I think.

    Getting the cats to co-habitate is kinda tricky. Cheeky has lived with other cats, rabbits, dogs, she's not one to fuss over it, but some of the foster cats get pretty intense. It takes a bit of juggling between rooms, but I usually try to keep them separated as much as possible.

    I loved the idea of stuffing a veggie with more veggies too, and it's perfect fare for this time of year. Thanks for your good wishes re: Lucky. :)

    LOL! I didn't notice what the birdies were up to when I took the photo...I was wondering who would call that out. It is humorous; I mean, who wouldn't want little statues of animals sniffing each other on their dining table? You should check out that blog...they eat all sorts of healthy yummy stuff in S. Korea it seems.

    Hi Molly,
    LOL about the green tomatoes! I know there are a lot of tasty ways to use green tomatoes, but it seems they make a novel dog toy too. :)

  9. Oh my goodness! I am in love with your blog : D
    So many cute animals and I love that you volunteer at a shelter, something I've been wanting to do for a long long time. I look forward to reading all your posts : ]

  10. Great post! I'm so jealous of your garden (especially the squash!) and the cats. We're away too much to have our own cats, and even our neighbour moved away with hers, who used to sleep on our windowsill :(

  11. Rose, you just keep outdoing your own photos! This blog post is dazzling, as always! Your eye for detail (the butt-sniffing birdie figurines notwithstanding, lol) and arranging is top-rate. It is so good to have you back blogging away, I missed the gentle beauty and inspiration you bring to the Blogosphere!

    I too am jealous of your garden, but perhaps even more so of your weather! We've only had a couple of days of autumnal weather, since summer doesn't seem to know when to leave! Your veggie-stuffed squash looks so delicious and festive, I just can't wait to enjoy some cozy seasonal weather AND its comfort foods!

    It was an awful season for tomatoes here. No one had any luck, and finding decent tomatoes anywhere has been impossible. So I'll just feast my eyes on yours.

    Jada, Lucky and Cheeky are so beautiful (Lucky looks like he's got a little Cheetah in his DNA, and Cheeky looks positively blissed-out!) I'm glad Jada found her forever home and I have great faith that Lucky will, too, with your loving family - thus fulfilling the prophesy of his name. :-)

  12. Jacklyn
    Thanks for stopping by; I'm a new visitor to your blog as well and am looking forward to more of your delicious creations too.

    I know what you mean about having the right kind of lifestyle for pets...sorry your neighbor's friendly kitty moved away is nice to have a visiting cat around. Hopefully, a new cat will move in and take up adorning your windowsill again.:)

    You're totally too sweet...I appreciate the encouragement though...I don't have a clue about photography in general, but do like to "arrange" things as you put it.

    As for the weather...take heart; fall days will surely arrive soon in your neck of the woods, then you can tuck into cozy squashes and roots and all those yummy things. I'll be sending the weather gods some autumnal vibes on your behalf.

    Some years are just bad for tomatoes...we have locally grown ones around here for a relatively short time, then the only ones you can find are from British Columbia or Mexico...I'm always in a quandry whether to buy them out of season, but if they seem halfway decent and I'm in the mood, I usually weaken and buy some...I think the ones from BC are all hothouse grown...they must be...not sure how they could grow tomatoes in the middle of winter...they're even farther north than we are.

    I agree, Lucky is really leapardy/cheetah
    looking...Cheeky is a pretty blissful cat in a lot of ways, I call her my nature girl, because she loves spending time in the garden and climbing trees. We hope to find out about Lucky within the next week or so...thanks for your good wishes.

  13. Rose-
    Aren't you sweet to bring those iso cats up to health. Your Cheeky is a real cutie. I love my adopted cat "Princess P" and often think of another....but not yet.
    I'm awed by your garden. I'm at wow! The shot of your tomatoes in the collander and the assorted vegetables on the table...wonderful. Your vegan dinner looks delicious as well....delicious enough for this non-vegan.
    Happy day to you.

  14. Yay, you're back! So much in your post, wow! So, I'll pick to comment on your garden - simply amazing. Do you do anything poorly?? My greens always get chewed up by bugs - how do you prevent that happening to yours? Those tomatoes look gorgeous, too. Ours were overtaken by our zucchini.

  15. Susan
    I know what you mean about "not yet" esp. with another takes a bit of work to get them settled in together, depending on the individual personalities...we're still working on the ins and outs btw Cheeky and Lucky...but giving it our best shot so it's all smooth should his status clear and we can adopt him.

    Glad to know that the food appeals beyond the walls of the vegan realm! :)

    Believe me, I have my fair share of bugs...and usually end up sharing a lot of veggies with them. You can't see it from the photo, but I'm currently fighting off various leaf eaters from the winter greens with varying degrees of success...and don't even get me started on my potato harvest: complete wash!

    One thing I tried recently, and it seems to be working, is to mix some neem oil with water and spray it on the leaves and also drench the soil around the plants...apparently the smell confuses the insects and they don't stick around to eat the veggies...we'll see how it pans out!

    Happy autumn...the kids must be getting excited for Halloween and all the fun fall activities.

  16. You are very special to foster these cats. I would get too attached. One of my girlfriends fosters dogs and I just think it's so great!

    Those squash boats you made look delicious!
    What a great garden you have

  17. Dreaminitvegan
    It's great that your friend is a doggy foster parent. You're wise to foresee the attachment issue...I struggle with getting too attached too.

  18. Welcome back Rose.
    You have certainly been missed.

    All of the cats are beautiful. You have such a big heart :D to care for so many cats.

    I am so envious of your garden and veg. 'Enjoy the fruits and veg' of your labour.

  19. You're sweet, I'm getting back in the swing of it... I got awful blog lazy in Sept.

    I envy your garden produce: you get so much produce from a small space...I think I would have a lot to learn from you! :)

  20. I love your cat pictures! Cheeky is so sweet and fun! I am so hopeless in gardening...:-(((

  21. Angie

    Thanks for stopping by. I checked out your blog and it looks gorgeous! I'll be returning for sure to check out your recipes and get some inspiration. :)

  22. That is so awesome that you foster cats — I think I'd get so attached I'd just keep them all. LOL. I love Cheeky's colouring. And that's really interesting about the clipped ear. I thought Jada had been in a fight or something when I saw the picture.

    Question about the squash boats: did you do the arrangement after the cooking, or cook everything inside the squash like a stuffed pepper or something?

  23. Hi Monica!

    It is totally hard not to get too attached to the cats! I know, the clipped ear looks kind of horrible doesn't it? Esp, when you think that it was intentionally clipped like that, but I think once it's healed, they don't really notice it.

    For the squash boats, I roasted the yams, shallots and cauliflower separately from the squash and then filled them after.

    I'm getting excited for Vegan Mofo! :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...