Spring has started well at the Zedery and I am very happy today. I went out this morning as usual, to feed the barn cats and cosset the chickens and I took with me some leftovers, including the remains of yesterday’s pasta and bolognese sauce. I thought the cats might appreciate the mince and they certainly did. While I watched them eat, I realised that, though there were the usual four, two had white paws instead of one. Betty Kitten has white paws, Barney and Freddie are black and Zain is a tabby. Joyously, I realised that their mother, Mehitabel, had returned, four years after I last saw her.
She so wanted to be a house pet and begged to come indoors, but Eloise cat wouldn’t hear of it. Eventually, Mehitabel found another home and only returned occasionally, for a few months, then not at all. I missed her, but was sure she was all right. But I always hoped she’d drop in again, not that I expected her to. She’s still the same girl, she wouldn’t eat the own-brand cat food I offered her, nor the bolognese. So I trotted up to the house and fetched a pouch of Eloise’s food and she was happy to eat that. I shared it between her and her daughter Betty. She was wary of the others and they of her, but there was no antagonism.
This afternoon, I couldn’t resist going to check if she was still there. No sign, so I fetched kale for the chickens and tidied up their henhouse. When I came out of the greenhouse, there was Mehitabel. So all the cats were given extra rations in celebration. M herself jumped on top of the shed next to the food bin and waited to be fed there. She’s a smart cat. I’ve been out again to put the chickens to bed and she hasn’t turned up – but she may well have gone back to her own home for the night. No idea if she’ll return, but I’m so pleased to see her again, looking glossy and healthy.
I left the sourdough to rise overnight and it had trebled in bulk. I shaped it and left it to rise again, which it did very pleasingly. We’ll find out, when we cut it, how successful the crumb is. That’s now three loaves that have done much better than usual with the salt being added last, dissolved in the last of the water, and this is what I’ll do in future. Apparently, the Hairy Bikers, as well as Paul Hollywood, recommend putting the salt on the other side of the bowl from the yeast, but this seems to be even better. I really can’t see why it makes a great difference, but the dough this morning was spectacular and there’s nothing else to account for it.