Monthly Archives: February 2014

Wonderfully wonky

Standard

Hello friends! How’ve you been? 🙂

A bit of sun lit up my day today: I couldn’t resist buying my first two pieces of new home decor! I spied these two wonderfully wonky ceramic bowls on sale at Woolies and had to snap them up. They fit right in with my planned colour themes, in this case for the lounge/living room area:

Wonky crockery

Wonky crockery

I like that they’re misshapen, especially for the lounge, because I want it to be a fun, informal area where guests feel at home. And what are the odds that the only colours available would be a perfect robin’s-egg blue and rusty orange?! Plus they were really cheap on sale so I don’t feel bad for squeezing them into my budget.

The ideal marriage of form with function: eye-catching decorations that double as snack bowls for a party or hold-alls for odds and ends.

It’s a silly thing, but this little find made my day! 😀

Advertisements

Thank you!

Standard

Thank you

The four fuzzbutts and I just want to extend a big thank you to the bloggers who’ve recently followed the Sunshine Scrapbook 🙂 It’s been a hectic start to the year, which has left me with less time than I’d like to stay in touch with my blog, but I do notice that a few more people have set up their loungers in this sunny spot on the web – and I thank you for that!

Some of you are ratty peeps, some are Day Zero peeps, and others are those silly cyborgs who just like or follow a blog so they can promote their product/site/services and look popular. These latter I don’t bother with, but hey… thanks for swelling my numbers anyway! 😀 As for the rest of you genuine folk, I’ll do my best to pop over to your blogs sometime to check out what you’re up to…

Have a lovely day,

Zest

Polyarthritis in rats (or so we suspect)

Standard

If you’ve been following this blog for a while you’ll know that in January my one male rat Vodka suddenly seemed to have broken his right front paw. With some TLC and time it healed suprisingly well. Then, to my dismay, his left front paw started showing the same symptoms.

No sooner had Voddy healed from that (which I thought was just really bad luck and maybe just a sprain), than his right back foot suddenly flared up too! It was far more pronounced than with the other feet and I managed to get a few pics of it (to prove I’m not making this up, lol!)

When swelling started

When swelling started

Poor Voddy :(

Poor Voddy 😦

Limping away

Limping away

The next day: very bad swelling and pain

When it happened this third time I got the poor boy to the vet asap, as I’d realised that I might have been wrong about that ‘broken’ paw the first time. Three times on three different feet was just too weird…

At first, after some initial research, I thought it might be cardiomyopathy or another heart problem, which can sometimes manifest as recurring swelling on the limbs. That worried me! Heart problems in such a young buck? 😦

When the vet checked out the foot, however, he said it was too strange to only have signs of heart issues in one paw at a time. Also, he listened to Voddy’s heart and took an X-ray, both of which told him that Vodka’s heart is perfectly normal (praise God!).

But the X-rays did give the vet another clue: Voddy seems to have signs of arthritis in his swollen paw. The vet mentioned that dogs and cats can get a condition called polyarthritis, which often shows up in random joints and then disappears after a while. The vet didn’t know that it could happen to ratties too, but said that’s the most likely problem here.

Armed with a cocktail of Prednisone and Baytril to give to Voddy once daily, I left the vet’s feeling much better. Of course such strong meds are not a long-term solution, so I’ll have to research some dietary and other changes I could make to help a young rat with arthritis. But I’m hoping the initial treatment will reduce the pain and swelling on that poor precious pink paw!

One thing that really made me smile through all this was how Moon, Vodka’s best friend, made sure he was as close as possible to Voddy’s hospital cage so he could watch over him:

Company for a friend in need

Company for a friend in need

Can you see why these little animals have taken over my heart so completely? 🙂

Valentine’s cake and stargazing

Standard

Valentine’s Day sped by in a blur this year. Remember last year’s fanfare? Well, this year was quieter but still fun, and I used the celebration to work on two more of my goals: #22 (bake another cake) and #30 (visit a planetarium).

We went to the Johannesburg Planetarium for their Valentine’s Day show. It was really funny being in a crowd of about 150 couples! The show was cute, and one could opt to screen a personal message in the stars. This is what I wrote for my man:

Ninja

You are strong, handsome, godly, funny, loving and an incredible husband. No matter what happens in life, always look up!

With love, respect and stars in my eyes,

Zest

All together now: “Awwww!” 🙂

As I mentioned, I also managed to bake the fourth of five cakes on my 22nd goal: a fresh raspberry cake. The recipe for this treat (and all the credit!) for the cake can be found here: http://bakingbites.com/2013/06/fresh-raspberry-cake/. (The only thing I changed was using 1 t lemon juice instead of 1 t lemon zest.) Here are my pics to whet your appetite:

Fresh raspberry cake

Fresh raspberry cake

The batter only fills part of the tin

The batter only fills part of the tin

Then you dot in the raspberries

Sprinkle the cake with sugar

Sprinkle the cake with sugar

And bake till it's lovely golden colour

And bake till it’s lovely golden colour

I can’t imagine this cake with any berries other than these tart red delights, but of course you could try other berries if you wanted to. Next time I make this I might experiment with using less sugar, as a whole cup seemed like a huge portion, but otherwise this was fantastic and gobbled up by all those I shared it with. (FYI: I did notice that it’s probably best eaten fresh, as the longer you keep it the softer the berries will become.)

Thank you, Baking Bites, for sharing this recipe with us! The sweetest side of baking is in the sharing 🙂

Mishka’s mad method

Standard

When we treated our boys to leftover prawns, I got a few shots of Mishka’s mad method of eating the seafood without holding it in his hands:

Step 1: Grab a prawn

Step 1: Grab a prawn

Step 2: Taste the yummyness without touching it

Step 3: Chase the prawn across the cage (because you refuse to dirty your paws)

Step 3: Chase the prawn across the cage (because you refuse to dirty your paws)

Step 4: Somehow, use this method to slowly, carefully clean the shells

Step 4: Somehow, use this method to slowly, carefully clean the shells

Step 5: Sneak up to the bowl...

Step 5: Sneak up to the bowl…

Step 6: ... and bounce off with another piece (while managing to look like an utterly adorable clown!)

Step 6: … and bounce off with another piece (while managing to look like an utterly adorable clown!)

Step 7: Start the hands-free licking process as before

Step 7: Start the hands-free licking process as before

Hehehe. Ah man this rat melts my heart! 🙂

Prawn fest

Standard

Our rats are on a see-food diet: if they see food, they eat it! On occasion, that diet includes actual seafood too 🙂

I’ve mentioned before how much they enjoy salmon, and the other day we treated them to something even more decadent: prawns! Or, to be more accurate, the leftovers of Ninja’s prawn dinner. We washed off most of the lemon butter sauce, but Ninja left a little meat in the shells for the boys.

We started by waving the bowl of prawns in front of the cage to tantalise our pets (who looked ready to leap into the bowl!):

Prawn fest 2

*drool*

Of course they each grabbed a piece as soon as they could…

Voddy makes off with a prawn

Voddy makes off with a prawn

… and scurried off to their separate corners to chow down 🙂

Knight eats neatly - a true little gentleman

Knight eats neatly – a true little gentleman

Mishka licks his prawns rather than holding them

Mishka licks his prawns rather than holding them

Moon tucks in while the poor prawn stares at me accusingly

Moon tucks in while the poor prawn stares at me accusingly

Vodka looks guilty as he helps himself to seconds

It was an absolute feast, and so quiet in the cage except for the sounds of contented nibbling. Afterwards I collected a handful of squeaky-clean, transparent shells.

Here are the before and after shots:

Before

Before

After

After

You know, if you’d told me a few years ago that I would one day be happy to wash a pile of cold, half-eaten prawns and feed them to a mischief of ravenous rats, I would have thought you mad.

Now you can be the ones to think me mad, how’s that?! 🙂

Goal #8: Write a letter to my future self

Standard

I’ve completed another goal on my list: Goal #8: Write a letter to myself to open in 10 years’ time.

Anime me

The futuristic me?

In 2024 (Lord willing I’m still around) I hope to open that letter and dissolve the pearls of my youthly wisdom in the vinegar of my aged experience…

Kidding! 😀

It was actually rather enjoyable writing to my future self. Of course I had to assume that many of the basic facts of my life would be the same then as now: marriage, health, home etc. I don’t see how this could work any other way.

The verb tenses were kinda funny too. But once I settled down to the task, I found myself feeling by turns motivated and melancholic. On the one hand I can hardly wait to see what I will have achieved by the end of the decade, but on the other hand I can’t imagine the people I love having aged a decade.

Strange how sometimes life can seem both short and long all at once.

Have you ever written a letter to yourself? Or would you ever write one? It’s an experiment I can recommend 🙂

I’d like my Vodka straight(ened out)!

Standard

You probably won’t believe this. I barely do myself.

But just when I thought Vodka’s right paw had healed beautifully from last week, we noticed last night that he’s now limping with the left paw held up!

Voddy with his right paw injured

Voddy with his right paw injured

At first I thought Ninja was playing a prank when he told me. Then, when the paw didn’t look swollen or sore this morning before work, I even thought Vodka might just be asking for some attention. But now that the left paw is all swollen and purple just like his right one was last week, I’m just… baffled.

I have no idea how this happened, or what it is, or why it would happen twice in a row. It doesn’t seem to be bumblefoot (a painful sore rats can get on their feet when kept in the wrong cages). It just seems to be the way my life is going this year so far. Sigh.

So the little guy is back in the hospital cage under observation, and I’m back on love-him-back-to-health duty with extra treats and healing meals 😉

In other words: if you don’t hear terribly much from me for a while, at least you know why!