Dienstag, 22. September 2009

Black and White

The last days I have been working on a double portrait of a black and a white kitten featuring The Investigator and The Inapproachable. I took the photographs when they were looking through the window from outside awaiting their breakfast.

Black And White - Black 2009

I like the dust and scratches of the window which let the portrait of the black one look very picturesque. The white one is looking through a fly screen which I used to boost the soft tone of the image.

Black And White - White 2009

Montag, 14. September 2009

Under Siege

I couldn´t have imagined to write about cats one day even in my wildest dreams. Formative experiences with yowling and wounded cats in my childhood got me to forgo this particularly popular species.

Later on I often noticed people adopting cats or dogs in case the partner refused to start a family. Furthermore, watching lonely cats looking out of appartment windows almost bring me to burst into tears. No desirable examples to emulate as well.

At the moment I am watching a female person studying diet plans and social behaviour of feral domestic cats, lurking around in the backyard to check the stools of four kittens and getting annoyed when being attacked by a bunch of hungry wannabee tigers.

Being fed about three days a week, and being left to their own resources the remaining days, they decided to stay anyway and to reside in front of our door.

They love the warmed-up stairs and have learned that food comes out of that green door.

Now the kittens are about four month old and have grown distinctive characters.

The Inapproachable

She is the most experienced one especially in climbing up high trees and hunting. She loves to be on her own and seems to look down on human beings.

In the morning she enjoys sunbathing at the top of our shortened apricot tree.

The Philosopher

You never know what this calm little black one is thinking about. He behaves like an odd man out and mostly surprises us with a ruminant look.

The Companionable

This little tabby seems to be full of sunshine and was the first one who sometimes allowed us to touch her. Being convinced that she is a tomcat, I had to learn that I was wrong with that. But I am still not sure.

The Investigator

For some month he was the smallest and the most shy one of the kittens. Maybe being a good eater encouraged him to act in the line of fire at breakfast, lunch and dinner time. Jumping on the door, pacing up and down in front of the window together with striking meowing and a piercing glance let him stand out in the meantime.

The Mommy

The kittens couldn´t have asked for a better mother. Waiting next to the feeding bowl until the babies have finished their meal, she is satisfied with what they have left. Or speeding them up to go on excursions by jumping and behaving like a kitten herself, are just a few qualities of that mysterious creature. Looking after them for such a long time she now disappears more frequently. At the moment we see her rarely - will she leave us alone with the kittens?


Primarily the four kittens have got another brother or sister which is unfortunately lost since a month. She was so cute and extremely shy, watching us all the time, whatever she did. Can´t think of what might have happened to her. In the picture above she´s playing with her brothers and sisters.

We still aren´t sure about the sex of "our" kittens. As they are not used to get handled or touched, we found out a feasible manner to inspect them: when fed by their mother you can do whatever you want, they don´t care, even if a human being is lying on the floor to lift their tails. Not experienced with investigations like that, we consistently mistrust our results : - )

Sonntag, 6. September 2009

Shades Of Green

Today Pam from alwaysartistic included one of my photographs in her treasury displaying works by POE (Photographers of Etsy Street Team) members. The photographs are featuring different shades of green. It´s quite a gorgeous selection all around. Congrats Pam and many thanks for including Glassy Landscape!

Freitag, 4. September 2009

Growing Our Own Food II - Apricots

It´s a shame. Last weekend my husband has shortened our one and only apricot tree by more than a half without taking a picture of it as a whole before (to be honest, this should have been my job). After yielding large crops of delicous apricots for a couple of years, we had to come to that sad decision. The tall tree had been pollarded lengthwise by a severe storm just after we had moved in. Gale-force winds are blowing frequently in this area, and it was to be expected that the remaining half of the beautiful tree would fell as a whole some time. Furthermore it already had got too high to pick the fruits. Falling on the ground most of them got damaged and had to be cooked at once.

We met the challenge and got rather busy with cooking apricot dumplings, cakes, jam, chutney, sirup and something special called "Marillenröster" (Marillen = apricots). We also experimented with air-drying apricots in the sun. A bold and funny venture: my husband climbed a ladder every morning to place the baking sheets with the apricots on the roof of the house and removed them again in the evening or when rain was emerging.

The effort payed off: I never ate dried apricots with such phantastic flavor.

Have I whetted your appetite? Then I will betray to you how to cook this special something called Marillenröster, a traditional Austrian kind of stewed fruit which tastes delicous when mixed with natural yoghurt, the perfect stuff on hot summer days:

Wash the apricots, cut them in half, remove the kernels and put them in a large cooking pot. Add a bit of water and bring to the boil. Stir occasionally. Simmer until the peel of the apricots gets puckered. Skim any foam or scum off the top (you can eat it, it tastes like jam). Add sugar (300 to 400 g for 1000 g of fruits) and let it simmer shortly until the liquid gets limpid. If you like, add some fresh mint. Leave to cool a little, then pour into clean jam jars and cover them.

If you want to eat it within one week, allow to cool completely and place the jars in the fridge. If you want keep it for a longer time you have to sterilize - don´t be afraid, it´s quite simple: Put the jars in a large cooking pot filled with cool water (the jars should be almost covered with water). Bring to boil slowly and simmer for about 10 minutes at 70 to 80 degrees. That´s it! The Marillenröster will keep for about a year, but will be long gone before then!