I can’t decide if the last week has been more Greek tragedy or French farce – Monty Python meets Italian Opera? You decide. We’ve had a sick cat, a flurry of cooking, a kitchen catastrophe and a lovely Thanksgiving/Birthday dinner with family. From the sublime to the ridiculous and back.
Where should we begin? Let’s start with the sick cat. Moxie went on one of her (thankfully, increasingly rare) multi-day wanders, giving us an anxious few days. Dundee and Ronnie are indoor cats, but we have not managed to tame The Moxilator. She is relentless in her insistence on going outside. She returned Thursday morning, exhausted and dehydrated. I kept squirting syringes of water down her throat all day before taking her to the vet late that afternoon. She has a pretty bad cold, nothing too serious, but cats don’t eat when their sense of smell is impaired. We once spent a month force-feeding a cat who had contracted hepatic lipidosis due to not eating – I was painfully aware of the dangers of letting her go too long without food. The vet, eyeing Moxie’s baleful glare, recollected her feisty nature. The last time she went on a walkabout, he sedated her to give her IV fluids. He hastily suggested she would likely be happier at home and sent us on our way. So, syringed fluids down the throat and warm, wet food plastered behind the front teeth for Moxie every few hours until she recovers. Cat coddling is a Mum job.
She looks so innocent, doesn’t she? Ha!
Let’s move onto happier things: cake and pie preparations. I bring you a three-layered pumpkin cake filled with candied pecans, pepitas and crystallized ginger, on its way to being smothered in cream cheese frosting.
I increased the cake quantity in this Pumpkin Cake recipe by 50% to get the third 9″ layer but had more than enough cream cheese frosting from the original recipe to cover the cake.
I had a ton of fun with the decoration. It involved Swiss Meringue Buttercream frosting, a whole raft of piping tips, gel colourings, Pinterest ogling, and some excellent instruction from this online Buttercream Flowers course. It was a big hit with Birthday Girl #1.
As was the pumpkin pie with Birthday Girl #2. In this instance, I used the crust from the Cherry Plum pie and the pumpkin filling from this Pumpkin Pie.
So far, so good. Now onto the farce part. It involved a garburator coming adrift from its moorings just as I started the clean-up between finishing the cake and starting the pie. It was whirring away, doing its thing, when it just, er, dropped. The entire cabinet under the sink was filled with water gushing from the dishwasher and spilled onto the floor. Aaaagh!!! Happily, Glenn was on the spot in less than a minute. We turned off the dishwasher and emptied the cupboard. The Ikea container holding all the cleaning supplies had caught a lot of the water, but there was a small lake on the floor. We did a basic mop up, and then Glenn stuck his head under the sink to survey the scope of the issue; I fished the cleaning bottles out of the Ikea container and, without thinking, poured the water down the closest sink. Yes, the one without a drain. With Glenn’s head right underneath. It’s a testament to his good nature that he didn’t throttle me. He just yelled. I burst out laughing, which was probably not the best response. What was I thinking? Not much, obviously! But it was just so silly. I hastily apologized.
By now, it was about 4:30 on Friday evening, an hour when, even pre-COVID, we would have been lucky to get any type of repair person to attend. As well, my experience is they come, survey the issue, generally make it worse, and then announce that parts are required (which prove unobtainable), before sighing heavily and leaving. Glenn muttered to himself and disappeared to the garage to get tools. He wrestled with the 75 lb garburator for a while, trying to determine what had gone wrong. Was it broken, or had it just vibrated itself loose? He went back to the garage and brought back more tools, including a car jack. That did the trick. The jack held the heavy machine aloft while he reattached it. Half an hour later, all was well. The dishwasher resumed its cycle, I finished cleaning up the kitchen, and we both collapsed onto the couch with a stiff drink (Glenn) and wine (me). Peanut butter on toast for dinner that night.
Saturday morning. Moxie between us on the bed all night. Not showing much interest in life, including using the litter box. Rise and shine. Walk the dogs. Peel the potatoes, On to setting the table.
The base is two square burlap tablecloths topped with a broad, cream linen runner from Pottery Barn a few years ago. Rustic gold-coloured beaded chargers hold Mikasa’s English Countryside dinner plates.
Porcelain wood slice salad plates from Web Restaurant (incredibly reasonably priced) are next.
Then Watercolour Leaves salad plates from Pottery Barn several years ago (discontinued, sometimes available on eBay).
Casual, but festive, yes?
I used Hearth and Hand for Magnolia dark green X tumblers for water (eBay), and Morgantown 7617 Depression glass water goblets for wine.
I’ve had the dark orange napkins forever, and the bittersweet napkin rings were from Pier 1.
Squirrels and acorns held up their ends of the table,
Dinner was the usual Thanksgiving fare: turkey, Sausage Stuffing with Apple, Celery, Cranberry and Sage, Cranberry Chutney, mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts roasted with pancetta, roasted beets and roasted carrots. The kids brought the vegetables and did yeoman work helping in the kitchen during prep and clean up. It was a real group effort.
Moxie is feeling much better this morning. She is now taking fluids on her own, which is a good thing. All of our bedding, including the duvet, is in the laundry room. Enough said. Borax, washing soda and a lot of hot water eliminate the scent of cat urine, don’t they? Please??? It’s such a pervasive odour. Oh, joy. Fortunately, the mattress was spared.
From our house to yours, Happy Thanksgiving, albeit a bit early, even for Canadians!
Enjoy your week, all!
I’m sharing this post with Between Naps on the Porch.
This sounded like more of a circus than a pre dinner party. Glad all turned out ok. BTW that cake is unbelievably awesome looking and I’m sure tastes as good as it looks. It all sounded so yummy and nice having the kids to help. It’s a good thing Glenn is a handy guy. Time to relax now. Take care and no more catastrophes.
That’s a very good description. A circus it was.
I’m having fun with buttercream flowers. We have another birthday coming up in early November, so I’ll get a chance to concoct another cake. Carrot this time, is the request!
We both have our feet up today (other than the mound of laundry). And the duvet came out fine. Whew!
When I first read you had a sick cat, I immediately thought , “oh no, not Dundee.”! Then I felt bad remembering you had other felines. So sorry to.hear it was Moxie. That little rascal, Dundee, has just stolen my heart. Gorgeous table and deserts to die for. I laughed out loud reading about the drowning of Glenn and read your story to my.husband. He replied, that sounds like you! .
Haha! Dundee is indeed a star. He remains quite modest, despite his fan club (thank goodness).
Moxie is gradually getting better, but this is a nasty infection. The vet gave her an antibiotic injection that lasts two weeks, so I’m hoping she continues to improve. She’s pretty thin, and not quite her usual self.
Poor Glenn. It was such a thoughtless thing to do on my part, but he remained very good-natured. We are both pretty calm and matter of fact; he more so. Sounds like your husband is the same!
A car jack????? What a clever man you have. As always your table was a dreamy setting. I won’t even mention the cake. We all know you knock them out of the park.
Bought a new fire kindle to download your book. It is a treasure. Must have gotten it just in time. What happened? So disappointed not to have it in hardcover.
Happy Thanksgiving to you as well. I’m very thankful for all your musings and great photography. Look forward to many more.
I’m so glad you enjoyed the kindle version of the book. The hardcover is still wending its way through Amazon’s receiving process. It moved from “checked in” where it actually arrives at the loading dock (it’s been sitting in the parking lot? warehouse? since October 5. I was informed it would be another 3-9 days to move to “received” but got a notice yesterday afternoon that it is “being received”. I’m trying not to get my hopes up too much, but it has not been lost. I gather from a discussion thread that this is endemic right now. People are apoplectic with perishable foods spoiling, seasonal items missing their window, etc. At least a book doesn’t spoil.
OK, Helen, I’m going back on my Amazon watch. As I mentioned some time ago it’s my Christmas gift to friends near and far. Didn’t want to go on another quest in the hopes of finding just the “Right” thing for people who are very picky, or they have it all. I’ll be in the market for not only a book, but several boxes of books.
You had better put your tap shoes on and come up with something equally exciting for next year.
I like the kindle, but nothing beats the feel of crispy pages in one’s hand.
Take good care. Kem
They’re up and available, Kem, so have at it! I’ve just posted a giveaway of three hardcover books; be sure to enter the contest!
Book Number 2 is underway. I’ve done about 3/4 of the photography. Still have to do some research and get the writing done, which seems to come together once I’ve got the pics in place. But you should have something for next year. Tap shoes or not. 🙂
Thanks for being such an enthusiastic supporter. I do appreciate it very much.
Here we have a lot of Cirque du Soleil with cats; fur balls included.
I keep a bottle of pediatric electrolytes from the dollar store on hand and a syringe with added water.
Lovely table as usual.
Thanks for the tip on the pediatric electrolytes. I’ll pick some up today. Genius.
She’s still pretty wan, but on the mend.
Oxyclean is your friend…it’s saved a number of my favourite things that I thought were ruined. Sometimes it takes a week of poultice (with spot remover as the liquid and spritzing twice a day to keep it damp).
I love the movement in those watercolour plates and swoon for the wine glasses. Amber is so hard to get right without looking (clunky) 1970s.
Both of us are handy, but I often appreciate his engineering expertise and extra strength–bravo for thinking of the jack. You must use your disposal often for it to vibrate loose, and it probably generates torque in one direction, so best check it periodically. At least it didn’t happen in the middle of festivities!
Sick cats like anchovies…
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.
Oxyclean is indeed a treasure. It’s magic on carpets, too. The duvet came out smelling like fresh laundry. All sweet and puffy, thank goodness! Thank you for the poultice tip. It’s perfect for smaller incidents.
I was fortunate to find those amber stemmed Morgantown glasses. They’re two different etching patterns, same bowl and stem shape. I’d love to pick up a few more, but so far, no luck.
Yes, I thought the car jack was an inspired choice. It was a huge relief that the garburator has just vibrated loose, not snapped. It’s been in situ since 2003, so has done well, but you’re quite right about checking it from here on in. We have green recycling here in Canada; all compost goes in the green bin. Excess lawn clippings, weeds, etc have a separate pickup, though we have enough property to compost most of it on site. I tend to use the garburator only for sloppy fridge rejects. In the States we have an octagonal drum compost bin from Lee Valley which we use for all kitchen compost barring meat products. It’s astonishing how it breaks down. The roses are very appreciative.
Yes, we compost heavily here too, because to dispose of trash is a mindful affair that costs money. But when I put eggshells into the bin, the marauding chickens (vile cannibals they are) come and toss them all out. Leaves and ashes are the best, and if you can get horse manure…well, then you’re in the money. There is nothing roses love more!
What a week! I’m glad Moxie is better though, and your table is beautiful. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.
It was quite an adventure, Joy. These weeks are sent to try us, I always think.
I’ve passed your good wishes on to Moxie. She’s slowly, but surely, coming back to normal.
Oh my goodness – it definitely sounds like a wild week! The car jack was indeed genius.
The table setting is so autumn – love the PB salad plates – they are so pretty. And the flower icing on the pumpkin cake is just amazing. Wow.
Sorry to hear about Moxie, but glad she is on the mend. Our Sam likes to drink standing water in the yard – from the bird bath, the water fountain, or even off the deck itself after its rained -yuck! He’s been to the vet twice this summer for infections – we now have to watch both the water and the cat. Kittae – gotta love ’em…
Happy Thanksgiving to you – sounds like everything worked out after all!
Cats drive owners crazy, don’t they? Honestly, if she’d just stay in she would avoid a lot of these issues. Her rodent-catching habit leaves much to be desired, and also invokes de-worming, no fun for any of us. Yikes.
She’s still not herself. The congestion is much better, but she’s wan. I’m still having to feed her by hand. She is NOT pleased with me.
Have a good weekend, Kim!
Amazing table! Best wishes!
Lovely table in spite of (because of?) the chaos. I follow someone from the UK who does the most incredible flowers.
A tip for feeding sick cats: they love baby food, particularly ham and chicken, that come in glass jars. Smells enticing, doesn’t require chewing and apparently tastes divine.
Is it Peggy Porschen you follow, Sandra? If so, she does make the most intricate and gorgeous blossoms. I got her book Cakes in Bloom and devoured it. She uses fondant and gum paste, which is an art in and of itself. There are a number of artists from Korea who produce incredibly realistic buttercream flowers, too. I’m in awe.
Thank you for the tip about the babyfood. What a great idea. Moxie is still pretty wan. I’m feeding her by hand at least half a dozen times a day – small quantities. The food goes down much more easily now, but she’s a bag of bones. She’s getting extremely insistent about her desire to go out. No way. Not until there is significant improvement in her weight and general “bounce to the ounce”.
What a beautiful cake!!
Thanks! I was a bit annoyed about the large flowers turning grey. The colour was supposed to be closer to a cafe au lait, but the food dye morphed. I’ll know for next time.