Cottage Status Report: 20200715

The red squirrel that Dennis caught the other day, down by the dock while I was swimming, has thankfully, I assume, been repurposed as dinner for a bird of prey. Maybe one of the ravens (are they birds of prey? Henry seems to think they are and makes sure to steer clear of them.) Anyhow, the reason I was glad the expired squirrel disappeared without my intervention was because it was thirty-five degrees in the shade, with all that implies with a dead animal in the vicinity. Meanwhile, I have two hot cats. On the radio today, an expert was offering advice about pets and heat. Everyone pretty much knows it is ill-advised to leave your dog in a car on a hot day while you check out the sale on watermelons at Walmart. However, apparently it is not common knowledge you should not exercise dogs vigorously in extreme heat. That’s because they will do whatever you want them to do, regardless of weather-related distress. Cats one, dogs zero.

And what about cats, inquired the hapless radio call-in show host, who, it seems, has never seen one in real life. There was a substantial pause before the veterinarian guest weighed in on this important topic. “Well,” he said, “if you know anything about cats, (clearly not), you will know you don’t need to worry about them.” Cats, of course, do not need mere humans to detect whether they are hot or not, nor when to not exert themselves. They are masters of non-exertion at the best of times. What cats do when it’s hot, in case you are unaware, is simply go somewhere cool. In fluffy Henry’s case, this is under the cottage on the windward side or under the undergrowth beside the septic bed. Heat? What heat? Where are my treats? Henry is also a poet and doesn’t know it. Cats two hundred, dogs still zero.

To continue in a public service vein, did you know that dried chickpeas do not last forever? I have recently learned there is a best before date on dried peas. This is usually several years after purchase, or even tens of years, however, if you have carefully decanted them into extremely decorative mason jars that have been sitting extremely decoratively on your open kitchen shelving for some time, the best before date will have gone to the wind with the packaging. When your chickpeas chicken-out, this is what happens. You soak them dutifully overnight, then set them to boil. As an aside, I have also recently learned you do not need to drain the chickpea soaking water, just cook them in it, at which point you may discover they are past their prime. If the chickpeas are past their prime, you can boil them until COVID-19 goes away and comes back again, and goes away and comes back again, and goes away and comes back again, but your chickepeas will never become soft enough to eat. But wait! My food magazine says you can just soak them, grind them in your food processor without even cooking them, and fry them up into awesome falafel. See you tomorrow for a spectacular and guaranteed not stale falafel night. Or not. Please call ahead.

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