Sunday, March 11, 2007

The time has come to post pictures of those mysterious containers I've been writing about.

First, there is the metate. Here is a picture of the metate with the mano resting on it. The metate, which has three legs, is six inches across and about 3/12 inches high. The mano, the piece that you hold in your hand, is 1 3/4 inches across and 3 1/2 inches long, narrower in the middle than at the ends.


As long as I have the metate out here on the patio to measure it, I've now filled it with rice. That's how you season a new metate, I'm told. You grind some rice to a fine powder. That picks up any dirt, rock dust, or whatever, that might otherwise come loose in the first batch of curry powder you make. (While the photo was being uploaded, I started grinding. It's hard. I think there's an art to it. I'll practise.)

I've also talked about my cazuelas. Here is the first one I bought. It's a foot across at the rim. I put a banana and a chayote into it to give an idea of its size, but it didn't really help. I finally just measured it.

I can easily cook half a chicken in this cazuela, or a batch of beans, a spaghetti sauce, or Mexican rice. This pot was my downfall. I had been doing so well at not buying things. I don't take home souvenirs, as a rule, except for rocks and sea shells (I'll definitely be hauling a load of shells home from this trip.), but as soon as I saw the cazuelas I was hooked. They brought out all the crunchy granola in me. I've always said I would much rather use a wooden spoon than a mixer, make my own bread than buy it, and all that homespun stuff. When I cook in this pot, I get to hover over it and stir, inhale the fragrance of the spices I'm using, revel in the creative process and the beauty of the glaze. Hey, for $6 per cazuela, that's a lot of pleasure!

Well, if one cazuela is good, two are better, right? So I bought this one.

Cute, isn't it? It's about 8 1/2 inches across, but deeper than the other one. It's become the beans and rice specialist, leaving the wider cazuela for meaty dishes and for acting as a fruit bowl between cooking duties.

The nicest thing about these little bits of Mexico is that I get to take them home and make them part of my daily life. That's not true of my other find.

When we first moved into Totonaka the second time (oh, how confusing. start again)...When we first came back from Mazatlan, we occupied a space at the back of the park, on the road, remember? Well. Then some rigs moved out and we snagged a space near the office, which is why I can sit here on the patio and blog. Neat.

Anyway, it was after we moved to this spot that Ahnold appeared. People keep calling him Arnold, but that's not his name. I named him for the Governator, because he's so muscular. (When I've been watching a Sunday's Heroes clip, I sometimes lengthen it to Aaaaaahhhhhnold.) This is Ahnold. He seems to be about six months old - and he's a small cat.

He came to the door, looking like somebody else's cat, but obviously wanting to be fed. I gave him some water, then went hunting in the fridge for something suitable. There was nothing meaty except for some sliced turkey ham. I gave him a saucer of evaporated milk mixed with water. That wasn't good enough for our Ahnold. Oh, all right. I gave him a little turkey ham. Ambrosia, obviously.

That was all for that night. The following day, I bought Ahnold some Whiskas dry cat food (which is very expensive down here, btw). Kitty heaven.

Ahnold decided he wanted to move into the rv. Heh. R wasn't having any of that. I put some water in a squirt bottle, and whenever Ahnold started up the steps, R would squirt some water at him. He learned very quickly, and now he stands at the door every morning, yelling for breakfast, but doesn't try to come inside. He usually leaves when Roger and Chantel bring Blitzen over, but soon he's back, wanting lunch - and dinner - and a little something to keep his stomach from growling in the night.

A few days into this relationship, our next door neighbour Russell was here, and he noticed Ahnold. "I see you've been adopted," he said. I explained that I was sure Ahnold had a home, because he was so healthy. No, Russell said, he's wild. There was a couple here in the park (pointing at the spot just kitty-cornered (heh) from ours) that tamed him. He was really wild, but they kept working with him, and he ended up sleeping in their bed. They couldn't take him home, though.

Well, neither can we! In order to take an animal across the border into the U.S., it has to have had a rabies shot more than thirty days previously, and when Ahnold came into our lives, we were already within thirty days of our departure. Of course, all hell would break loose anyway if we took him home. I can't see poor old Katrina taking to a rambunctious young punk like Ahnold. Robin either, for that matter.

Here is Ahnold playing the cello. I rather adore him, you know. He's obviously very musical.

The best I can do is to feed and pet him while I'm here, then see if I can convince Russell to take over when I leave, or prevail upon one of the other long term residents. Ahnold seems to have figured out how to look after his own interests. He really does look like a pampered pet, not a feral cat - and he has no objection to my picking him up. There is an almost identical cat living in the rv behind us - this one with a collar. Maybe they'd like a second cat.

I can go to the vet this week and find out about rabies clinics. Ahnold might let me carry him, but I'm not sure about that. Oh, for a cat carrier. And if Russell will look after him, I can see about some monthly flea medicine.

And speaking of medicine, we were going to go to the estuary this afternoon, but R has developed a nasty cold, so he's taking cold meds, napping, sitting around instead. I should really get some exercise, but I'm waiting for the sun to back off a bit.

p.s. I've figured it out. If you put the metate in your lap, you can get better leverage. I imagine if I put it on the floor and put all my considerable weight into it, I could smash this rice lickety-split, but I don't think I'm willing to go that far. ;>)

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