Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Few FAQ's About Ferrets

     I hope that everyone had a lovely weekend and is having at least a tolerable Monday! (Bleh, Mondays.) I have been super duper busy with school stuff and this weekend my hubby drove me every which way visiting and working and visiting the flea market, so today I have still been trying to catch my breath! I still have a few exams and quizzes to do this week, so it doesn't look like the pace is about to let up for me. We also just got a new baby ferret, so we are still acclimating her to our two boys. Because my fur-kids are such a big part of my life, I thought that today I would share a  a few FAQ's I get about them.

Loki and Odin, doing one of their favorite pass-times: napping! 

Q:Don't ferrets stink?
A: Nope! They usually have a slight musky smell that you can only notice if you hold one right up to your nose and inhale, but I find it pleasant. I recently brought them with me to a club meeting and a couple of the girls remarked that they smelled like baby powder. Modern ferrets are usually descented and spayed/ neutered before being sold, so that tends to nip any potential odor problems in the bud. 

Q: Are they related to rats? 
A: They are actually a member of the mustelid family, which includes otters, badgers, skunks, minks, stoats, sables, martens, and other weasels. They are carnivorous and must have a meat based diet, and they don't rock the "rodent teeth"- their teeth are quite sharp and resemble a cat's. They also don't have a naked tail or feet. 

Q: What do they eat?
A: Right now mine are eating a 1:1 blend of a commercially available ferret food and Blue Buffalo Wilderness Evolutionary Formula chicken cat food. I just found out that the ferret food had more corn in it than I thought, so I'm trying to find a replacement. We are also about to switch them to the BB Wilderness kitten formula, because of the new baby and because I think a higher fat content might be beneficial for the older boys, too (they are getting kinda sluggish this winter.) They also get Bandits ferret treats and the occasional turkey baby food.

Q: Do they make noise?
A: They will squeal when playing and one gets too rough, and will also chuckle and dook when having fun. It's a hard noise to describe, so I recommend youtubing it- it's such a funny and happy sound! 

Q: Since you have males and a female, won't they have babies? 
A: If you are buying a ferret at a pet store, chances are it is already spayed or neutered, like all of mine are. Breeding ferrets takes alot of knowledge and dedication. If females aren't bred when they come into heat, they will stay in heat and develop aplastic anemia from overexposure to estrogen. Right now there aren't many commercial breeders of ferrets- the largest is Marshall. Marshall ferrets are easily identified by the blue tattooed dots in their ear, which represent being fixed and descented. Our newest addition, Skadi, is from a smaller producer, Path Valley Farm. 

Q: Why did you get a ferret? 
A: My now- husband actually bought Loki for me as a surprise Valentine's Day gift last year! He came into where I worked, asked me if I liked ferrets, and said, "Good, because I've already paid the petshop for one in the next shipment." From then on out, it was love! These little creatures are so much fun just to watch, and ours are so affectionate! 

Skadi, our newest baby! She is an albino. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Scarves I've Made Over Winter Break

     It's the day before classes start back and I'm trying to procrastinate my way out of some housework (apartmentwork?) for just a little while! So, I thought that I would share a couple of scarves that I've crocheted over break. I'm so proud of how these turned out! I made them using a pattern/ stitch sequence that I came up with myself. I really like it because you get these uniform rows of squares that are solid, yet pliable enough that you don't need button holes for the buttons. The green is made out of what is now officially my favorite yarn- it is a Loops and Threads wool blend. It is very soft and easy to work with, and because it is a bulkier yarn it works up quickly. The grey is made with an acrylic yarn from Lion Brand, which I like quite a bit, too. It is thick, cheap, and practical without being scratchy or stiff. In real life it is easier to see all of the little bits of color in it- I think it makes it more interesting than just flat grey. 


Monday, January 14, 2013

The Countdown Begins, Plus Turkey Burgers

     I should probably feel thankful, considering that a good portion of college kids have already started classes back, but I am so dreading the start of this semester! This is the first college break that I've had where I'm not working and I absolutely love it! I have stayed fairly busy crocheting and playing video games, and over the weekend I bought my first ever sewing machine from a lady. I can't wait to see what I can get into with it. I think the fact that I've been so productive is what is making dread returning to such a cluttered schedule. With that said, I'm going to make the short eight days I  have left seriously count. 
     I also wanted to post about one of the most popular meals in our household- turkey burgers with sweet potato fries. It's healthy and cheap (preformed turkey patties are almost always on special around here, apparently not many people are aware of their awsomeness?) I cook the patties in my electric skillet with a little vegetable oil and salt, pepper, and coriander. We usually top them with colby-jack cheese (yum) and I mix up some spicy mayo to go on mine (2 parts mayo to 1 part mustard, cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes mixed in), along with some caramelized onions if I'm in the mood. Sweet potato fries are easier to make than you would expect. Just peel the skin off and cut into desired- sized fry shapes, toss in a bowl with oil, about 1 tsp of brown sugar per sweet potato, and seasonings (I like to use cinnamon, garlic salt, and cayenne pepper.)  Space them out on a cookie sheet and bake at 450 for around 30 minutes, making sure to flip them around 15 minutes through. These are delicious! I like mine with ketchup, but Matt prefers just to sprinkle on more cinnamon. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

My Meatloaf Brings All the Boys to the Yard... My Savory Chicken Meatloaf Recipe

     I am a decently good cook. Not the best, mind you, but I can crank out some yummies. Which comes in handy because my husband is insanely picky. Thankfully, I have a dinner that never fails to please- meatloaf. The first time I made a meatloaf was the first time Matt had ever had meatloaf, so when he gobbled it up like ambrosia, I was shocked. I couldn't believe MY husband was a meatloaf fan. Granted, this isn't my mama's meatloaf, which is always made of ground beef and usually winds up somewhat dry (sorry Mama!)
Yum-yum for the tum- tum!

     I like to experiment with my meatloaf- for example, if I have them on hand, I will grate up a nice, big carrot and add it in. My hubs isn't a huge fan of veggies, so I get them down him any way I can. This is an outline of my recipe, though you can mess with it quite a bit- I hardly ever make it exactly the same way twice:

- 1lb of ground chicken
- 1 egg
- 2 heels and 1 regular slice of bread, cut up into little cubes
- all but about a tablespoon of a pack of Lipton's onion soup mix 
- a generous squirt of ketchup (4-ish tablespoons?)
- a generous squirt of Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce
- a couple tablespoons of finely chopped sweet onions

     And for the sauce on top, I use the remaining Liptop's onion soup mix combined with another squirt of ketchup plus a squirt of Sweet Baby Ray's and just spread it evenly over- top of the loaf mixture. I bake it on 350 for around 45 minutes. And presto! Instant delicious. My hubs usually isn't a leftover fan, but if by some miracle we wind up with leftovers, he is all over them. 
     I can see celery and maybe some other veggies working out good in this recipe- hope it works out well for you if you decide to give it a shot!