Category Archives: Image of the Day

Sasha

Last fall, when I first brought two of the little wild kittens inside that had been living in my side yard, I intended to find homes for them. I had Roxie, and one cat was enough for me at that point! And these little kittens were adorable, and only a few months old, so I figured once they were tamed it would be easy to find them homes. But it took me longer than I expected to tame them, and so I had two wild babies hiding in my house! 

Taming Wild Kittens / Photo: Cheryl SpeltsSasha with one of his brothers, at about six weeks old.

Kittens / Photo: Cheryl SpeltsSasha and Maisie on the left, with two of their siblings, at about seven weeks old.

Sasha / Photo: Cheryl SpeltsSasha at about eight weeks old.

Sasha / Photo: Cheryl SpeltsSasha at about three months old.

Finally the little yellow one discovered that it was nice to be touched, and even better to be held. And I started to fall in love…

And then this little yellow kitten – who was about four months old at the time – suddenly grew a little bulge. He was a boy! I love male cats, but a male cat might change the dynamic of the whole house, and how would Roxie adapt to not being the top cat, once he matured? But I couldn’t give him up. So I just had to hope that he would stay as sweet as he was at four-months-old…

Sasha is now a year-old, and a big beautiful male cat. He’s gentle and easy to get along with. Thankfully!

Sasha / Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Sasha / Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Sasha and Vanessa / Photo: Cheryl SpeltsSasha with Vanessa, who is almost four months old.

Kittens / Photo: Cheryl SpeltsSasha with Calista and Raphael

Sasha lived his first few months outside, with no owner, no love, no food dish of his own, and no mother after she disappeared when he was two months old. All he wanted was to get inside! He used to cry under my bedroom window, and try to climb the screen, convinced he could get in, if he just tried hard enough. And now that he’s in? He has zero desire to ever go outside again. He’s a happy house cat!

Samantha’s last day with her siblings…

Kittens doing yoga / Photo: Cheryl SpeltsSammie came to visit for a week, while my Mom was on vacation, and after a little bit of growling and hissing, worked her way back into the family fold. But Mom came home on Tuesday, so these images are the last with Sammie and her cat family. She won’t be back for a long while – and by then the other kittens will have new homes.

They’re three-and-a-half-months old now. Growing up fast!

So what did Sammie do on her last day? Well she started with some yoga with her calico sister, Calista.

Kittens / Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Then grabbed the favorite sleeping spot before Raphael could get to it.

Kittens / Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Oh well, Raphael will just sleep beside it. He’s adaptable like that! Isn’t Sammie’s sleeping position, with one foot out of the bowl, hysterical?

Kittens / Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Can you believe those whiskers? So beautiful!

Kittens / Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Raphael has whiskers too!

Kittens / Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Vanessa wishes it were here turn in the bowl…

Kittens / Photo: Cheryl Spelts

That’s okay, Vanessa will just knock all the magazines stacked on a chair, onto the floor, and sleep there.

Kittens / Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Roxie in bed.

Kittens / Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Sammie is still queen of the bowl…

Kittens / Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Vanessa gets ready to pounce.

Kittens / Photo: Cheryl Spelts
Ah! Calista gets a chance in the bowl!

Kittens / Photo: Cheryl Spelts

But it’s not as fun if no one else wants it. Where is everybody?

Kittens / Photo: Cheryl Spelts

And the very last time all four will nurse. Maisie’s babies are growing up!

Kittens / Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Goodbye Samantha! We’ll miss you!

The places kittens sleep…

Maisie

Maisie, in December, when she was just seven months old. Her favorite spot in the whole house was on this table, in a decorative bowl.

Vanessa and Rafael

And now her babies love the same spot. It’s a different bowl, but the same location, and yes they really do squish in two or three at a time to sleep! Here Vanessa and Rafael are trying to share the bowl, but at times three of them crowd in all at once.

Samantha

Samantha is here while my Mom is on vacation – so she’s getting her turn in the bowl!

Vanessa

It cracks me up that the kittens like to sleep in the cat carrier! Up until the moment when the zipper closes–and they’re locked in–then they don’t like it so much!

But Vanessa? Isn’t that the most precious face ever? She’s such a tough little thing. I love her!

Eleven weeks old and adorable!

kittens

Rafael and Sasha! Sasha just turned one year old, so he’s barely out of kittenhood himself, but he’s completely affectionate and loving with the babies. Even when they bite his tail and try to climb him like a tree… He’s a patient cat!

kittenskittens

Little Miss Calista, (with Rafael photobombing!) and her very tired mother, Maisie. Raising these babies is making Maisie more than a little tired. She’ll be glad when they find forever homes, and she can get back to napping at will again!

kittens

Samantha has the greenest eyes of all the kittens – not as green as her mother, but very pretty!

kittenskittens

Sasha gives good baths! And my favorite cat of all, Roxie Pablo, is ready to take a real bath! Roxie is two-years-old now, and still my favorite. She was first, but it’s more than that; she’s just a very special cat.

kittens

Calista gives good face. That little orange nose? Just perfection.

kittenskittens

Two shots of Vanessa! She’s actually my favorite of the kittens; probably because she loves me the most. It’s hard not to love a baby that looks at you adoringly, and follows you around, and only wants to be near you!

kittens

And finally, one more of Calista, because she’s just so darn cute! She wins for best-looking!

Kittens! Year Three…

10-day-old kittens

Kiss, kiss!

baby kitten

Ten-days-old…

baby calico kittens

Little kitten faces

Little faces, ten-days-old…

When do kittens open their eyes?

This is the LAST generation of this particular cat family. The mother of these kittens is one of the kittens from last summer – in other words, she’s only nine-months old herself – but now that she’s letting me touch her, she’ll be on her was to the Vet to get fixed, as soon as these babies are weaned. Her brother has already visited the Vet, and she’s the last hold-out, so definitely the last branch of this particular cat family tree!

Two-week old kittens

two-week old kittens

Somebody wants out of the box!

two-week old kittens

And big sister, who is a little over three months old, is always a willing accomplice…

two-week old kittens

Oh no! Getting out of the box means another bath! They hate baths… Scratchy tongue is no fun.

two-week old kittens

two-week old kittens

The little girl is making a run for it Good thing she learned to walk yesterday!

two-week old kittens

Cuddling up with big sister after the bath isn’t so bad though!

A stray cat in the neighborhood has given birth to two litters this summer, and she was still nursing the older kittens, when these were born, so three of the five in the new litter died the very first day. Luckily a very kind neighbor was willing to scale a barrier and go into a black widow infested shed to save the last two – and I’ve been feeding them ever since. They’re 16-days-old old now, and have tripled in size – thanks to a steady diet of Kitten Milk Replacement every three hours. On the two days a week I go to Los Angeles, my Mom takes over the feeding.

Their big sister is from the Momma Cat’s first litter this summer, and she is the sweetest thing – and she’s ready to find a forever home. I coaxed her indoors the day after we saved the baby kittens, and she’s completely adjusted to being an indoor cat. She sleeps on my chest, purrs constantly, and is as loving as can be. She also bathes the baby kittens and helps them to pee and poop – which I’m forever grateful for! But I can do chore myself, and it’s time for her to find an owner that will love her and care for her forever – and who is willing to keep her indoors and safe. If you know anyone, please contact me!

Pastel Rainbow Jello Cake

Pastel Rainbow Jello Cake / Photo: Cheryl Spelts

I kept seeing rainbow cakes pinned on Pinterest – and while they were cute, I kept thinking it would be so much prettier to do a pastel version. Sure, if you’re making a kid’s birthday cake, vibrant colors are fun. But if it’s just a no-reason cake, for a summer evening, wouldn’t a pastel version be more appealing to most adults? Certainly more appetizing!

But there was a problem! All of the recipes I found started with plain white cake – which is sweet, but boring. No way am I going to spend time making a cake that doesn’t taste good…

My favorite cake of all is Lemon Jello Cake. It’s a cake my Grandma Spelts used to make for Easter, and whenever anyone offers to make me a birthday cake, it’s what I request. The recipe requires a yellow cake mix, a small package of Lemon Jello, and slightly more oil than you usually put in a cake. Mix it all together, bake, and when the cake is still hot, poke it all over with a fork, and then pour on a glaze of fresh lemon juice and powdered sugar. It’s moist and tart and sweet and just the best cake ever!

So why couldn’t I use other flavors of Jello to make a rainbow cake? So I tired it. My first attempt wasn’t quite right. I used too much Jello, and the colors were too vibrant, and that much Jello changed the consistency of the cake. I also decided that the super moist quality the extra oil gave it while perfect for a Lemon Jello Cake, wasn’t quite as appropriate for a rainbow cake! Next I tried making cupcakes – and while I got the balance of Jello and cake batter fixed, I decided that cupcakes are too small to really get the full effect of the rainbow. I wanted a full cake to cut into, to show off all the colors.

Today I made my third attempt, and this time I got the balance of ingredients right – I divided the cake batter into six sections, and put a half-a-teaspoon of each color of Jello crystals into each one. And if the color wasn’t quite deep enough? I used a drop of food coloring to get it just right. And I skipped the Blue Jello entirely, because I’m not a big fan of that flavor. And blue food coloring worked just fine!

Pastel Rainbow Jello Cake / Photo: Cheryl Spelts

It looks totally incognito before you cut into it. Just like any other loaf cake with cream cheese frosting.

Pastel Rainbow Jello Cake / Photo: Cheryl Spelts

But once you cut into it, you get all these pretty colors, swirling around.

I chose to be a little freeform with how I glopped the batter into the pan, because I wanted interesting swirls – but if you want a neater demarkation, just plop each new color in rounded spoonfuls, directly on top of the last color, and it will spread out on it’s own, into neat little stripes.

So despite all my troubles figuring out the best way to do it, in the end it was dead simple. Just a plain white cake mix, and follow the directions on the box – then divide into sections, and mix a half-teaspoon of a different colored Jello flavor into each one – and plop into the greased pan, one color at a time. Then bake normally! The frosting is equally easy. It’s an adaption of a Martha Stewart recipe. Just take one stick of butter, and one 16 oz bucket of cream cheese, one box of powdered sugar, half-a-teaspoon of vanilla, and a splash of milk – and mix together. Takes about one minute to make the frosting and four minutes to frost the cake. Couldn’t be easier, or in my opinion, prettier!

Spelt Banana Nut Bread

Spelt Banana Bread / Photo: Cheryl Spelts

This is an adaption of a recipe my mother still makes – but I used Spelt flour, because I wanted to try it, and because it’s much better for you than modern white flour – and I use more nuts, and add dark chocolate chips – both of which are good for you in small doses! This is a nice dense bread – and a little piece will fill you up and satisfy your sweet tooth – and it’s fairly healthy! The Spelt flour has a nice nutty honey flavor – which works well with the bananas and nuts and chocolate. And if you use Sucanet instead of sugar, then the only “not-so-good-for-you” ingredient is the third of a cup of butter, and divided over a dozen portions, even that’s not too bad!

Spelt Banana Nut Bread

Mix together thoroughly…
2/3 cup sugar or Sucanat
1/3 cup butter
2 organic free-range brown eggs
a splash of whole milk

Mix in…
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Stir in…
3 ripe bananas
2 cups Spelt flour

Blend in…
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Let stand for 20 minutes before baking at 350°F in a greased baking pan. Sprinkle with more of the dark chocolate chips right before baking, if you want it to look ever prettier and taste ever better! Bake for about 30 minutes in a small cake pan, or 50-60 minutes in a loaf pan.