Izzy (and Mama) Eat: The Gourmand Grows up...

Tales of Empty Nesting ...The Next Chapter

Monday, June 29, 2009

Peanut Butter, Pickles and a Peach: A Full Lunchbox And An Empty Stomach (First Day of Camp Liberty)

Many parents in Jersey City, eagerly await the day when their child turns six, for that is the age when they are old enough to attend Camp Liberty, a much loved day camp situated somewhere within Liberty State Park.

I can't say that I was nearly as eager as the others but I had heard many good things about the camp so I signed Izzy up. The first day of camp was a big day for Izzy in many ways. It was his first time taking a big, yellow school bus, which picked him up around the corner from our house. We waited for it to arrive, along with many of the neighborhood children. He barely gave me a backwards glance when it was his turn to get on and he waved as the bus pulled off.

I worried about him all day: Would he put on enough sunblock? Would he go swimming? Who would he play with? Would he use the bathroom? And most of all..Would he be hungry? You might think me foolish for worrying but as it turns out, my food fretting was for well-founded.

When Izzy descended from the bus he looked less than pleased. And for good reason.
He was quite hungry. I had packed him an ample lunch which included a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, 2 pickles and a giant white peach. I was told that they were not allowed to have a snack, which meant that he went from 8:15 until noon with nothing in his belly except for 2 blueberry pancakes and a glass of grapefruit juice. He complained that during the morning he was hungry and was told he had to wait until lunch. One needn't be a nutritionist to know that it is not healthy, for child or adult to go nearly four hours without a snack.

When lunchtime finally arrived, Izzy claimed there was not enough time to finish so he only ate 3/4 of his sandwich. Not only that but his peach met a sad fate as it had turned to mush. To add to his mood, he never used to wc the entire day. My poor boy. Is it any wonder he looked so unhappy?

On the bright side, he returned full of many details of the day, the most positive surrounding art projects he had worked on. His pocket was full of pins that he had made and he proudly displayed them and then told of another project in the making.

If only he could snack and have more time for eating, his camp experience might improve. Let's see what tomorrow will bring.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Day On The Lower East Side:Eldridge Street Synagogue, Roast Pig and Pickles

Given his druthers, Izzy would have stayed in the backyard all day, happily playing in mud. I was almost inclined to indulge him for I could have easily lazed on our swing and read the Sunday paper. Giving in to slothfulness was not an option, since earlier this morning I had come across an idea for an outing to the Lower East Side and I couldn't shake it.

There was a family program at The Eldridge Street Synagogue which promised to turn kids into detectives as they explored what life was life during the synagogue's heyday. The date 1909 was included in the event description and since that is the year of my grandfather's birth, I took it as a sign that we should visit today. As it has long been on my list of places to visit, I coaxed Isadore to join me.

We arrived at the beautifully restored synagogue, now nestled in the middle of Chinatown, just in time for the event to begin. Having grown up attending a modern, rather ugly synagogue, it was a pleasure to visit such an ornate and beautiful example of Jewish house of worship. We were one of only three families attending so it was an intimate gathering. I especially loved that one of the other attendees brought along her newest American Girl doll, Rebecca, who (according to her bio) is Jewish and attended Eldridge Street. The children were given binoculars and magnifying glasses and they scoured old photographs, and the synagogue for clues as to what life was like way back when.

When our visit ended, we needed to have lunch. I had no set idea in mind as to where we would eat, having imagined that something like Katz's would have fit in perfectly with the mood. We began wandering but quickly switched gears when Izzy recalled his distaste for pastrami.
Instead we had the good fortune of stumbling upon An Choi.

An Choi is a small Banh Mi establishment on Orchard Street. I had read about this wonderful Vietnamese sandwich spot a few months ago and was more than pleased to give it a try. Leave it to me to want a roast pig sandwich after a visit to a synagogue but I simply couldn't resist. I chose the sandwich that boasted "chunks of moist Chinese roast pork belly and slivers of crispy skin". The crisp pickled carrots and cucumbers turned the sandwich into a symphony of textures and flavors. Izzy was not quite as taken as I was and proceeded to extract the skin from his half (which sadly was a tad more fatty than crunchy but tasty nonetheless).

While eating our sandwiches on a bench out front, we spied Guss' Pickles only a few steps away. After lunch, we stopped in for another dose of the old Jewish Lower East Side. There was a food tour underway as we approached.

Izzy was captivated by the offerings and waited patiently for our turn. Quart of pickles in hand, we made our way onwards toward Il Laboratorio Del Gelato, another spur of the moment stop on what was turning into a veritable food bonanza! The milk chocolate is a must!

Bellies full, we pressed on to a playground. Izzy needed some playtime after all that eating and I needed to sit down. We made it to Thompkins Square Park just in time for Izzy to terrorize a few little kids at the water park and also find their Sunday Greenmarket in full swing, something to keep in mind if you need some farm fresh goods over the weekend. My cheese love, Consider Bardwell Farm was there and I managed to score a Mettowee. Yippee!!

But our day did not end there. Finally tuckered out, we hopped a cab over to the 9th Street Path only to discover the Gay Pride Parade marching along, in all its rainbowed splendor. Izzy insisted upon inching up for a better view and by the end he seriously coveted a rainbow flag. He was taken in by the music and colors, and we agreed to attend next year. Throngs of parade-goers packed the train on our way home and Izzy decided he would try to wipe a rainbow flag from one of them. I told him that might not be a good idea so he decided upon buying one at a toy store. I explained that we probably wouldn't find one there, that the West Village would be a more likely spot.

What a day! Izzy conceded that sometimes it is more fun to go out and explore instead of staying home and being a stick in the mud!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Salad Simplicity: Sliced Radishes With Oranges and Olive Oil

Izzy and I escaped today's late afternoon rainstorm. Izzy pedaled furiously home as I ran clumsily along behind him.

I had entertained thoughts of dinner out but the weather squelched those. Once we were warm and dry inside, we weren't venturing out again.

I looked inside the fridge and found some beautiful radishes from our csa (how many weeks ago?) that thankfully had not yet turned to compost.

I sliced them thinly and tossed with a few sliced oranges and an orange/olive oil vinaigrette.
The were light and refreshing as a side with our pasta dinner.

6 large radishes sliced
1/4 an orange, cut into small pieces

1. Place in bowl and toss with

2 teaspoons orange juice
4 teaspoons olive oil

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Care and Feeding of The Fang Sisters: Life Fostering Five Kittens

Occhi and Pokey

Feed, pet, scoop and clean...Feed, pet, scoop and clean...Feed, pet, scoop and clean...And so we have done, since June 1, 2009 when we brought these kittens into our home and hearts. Izzy and I have diligently attended to their needs, several times each day and my how they have changed.

They were frightened then. Some hissed and scratched. Others trembled when we held them. Now they have become our little bundles of purr. When I open their crate for playtime, they leap out and come to me. They climb over me and await neck and belly rubs. Izzy grooms their paws and chases them relentlessly. He also showers them with plenty of cuddles.

First thing each morning, Izzy comes to get me and asks, "Is it kitten time?" Our day begins around 7 a.m., with kitten play and feeding time. We try to give them as much playtime as possible, letting them out 3-4 times a day. All of our constant attention has turned these kittens into, tame, playful pets.

They will be ready for adoption in about 10 days and we will be so sad to see them go. We would like to keep one of them, two would be ideal since they play so well together but I am not so sure I really need four cats in the house.

If you think you might be interested in adopting one our kittens, Pokey, Occhi, Checker, Tiger or Rabutnitcha please contact me and come on over to pet and play with them! More pictures shortly..

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Study In Contrasts..Cannoli vs. Mayonnaise Sandwich

Here Izzy's friend T., contemplates a cannoli from Carlo's Bakery in Hoboken. I brought over a box to share as a treat after helping them to pack up and leave Jersey City (boohoo, sniff). She eyes it suspiciously, then takes a bite and a look of pain washes over her face.

What would she prefer instead? A mayonnaise sandwich of course. Something she request for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Note the look of glee upon her face at the prospect of eating her beloved food. Don't you think it is time her mom pulled a "Bread and Jam For Frances" maneuver on her?

p.s. Izzy and I cannot fathom a distaste for cannoli and we proceed to eat two and a half of them, each.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Tear-Free Pearly Whites: Izzy Visits The Dental Magician (plus a Whole Foods bonus)

I recognize that dental meltdowns are common amongst children but having bore witness to Izzy's, I can't imagine another more tragic. His dental trauma has become legendary in my mind. And so I dread taking him to the dentist, so much so that I let 9 months elapse between visits. Our last appointment wasn't nearly as bad as the previous but it still wasn't exactly what I had in mind.

Today things were very different. We were very excited to visit the dentist for two reasons.
First, we decided to try a new dentist. This pediatric dentist, Dr. Parhar, is my friend and mother of Izzy's great friend and schoolmate, J. Second, we were going along with Izzy's friend T. Our day was what I would characterize as a dental playdate! Something I highly recommend!

T. was first in the dentist's chair, while Izzy and I were invited to watch. Dr. P. had her giggling nearly the entire time. Her calm, gentle manner was just the thing to put her little patients at ease.

When it was Izzy's turn, he was eager to climb into the dentist's chair, not something I'd ever expected to see. Granted it helped that he knew her but given his past, I still envisioned some hesitation. There was none. Dr. P. managed to clean, floss and paint fluoride on without so much as a whimper. This time he actually didn't mind the taste of the toothpaste. He even got to try two flavors. Chocolate mint was definitely a hit, too bad my dentist doesn't have it! When the visit was over, the kids were treated to stickers, balloons and a summer-themed toy from the bin.

We grown-ups treated ourselves to a trip to Whole Foods, conveniently located only 5 minutes from the office. We had lunch and shopped. I marveled at Izzy's gleaming teeth as he chowed down on a full meal of Indian delights from the WF salad bar. When lunch was over, we strolled the vast aisles of the store and Izzy made a bee-line for the fish counter. The clams and shrimp called to him and I agreed to purchasing a bag shrimp for our dinner, which is something I am not wont to do. But that story is for tomorrow.

Tonight I will rest easy, knowing that Izzy's teeth are strong and healthy, ready to chew on all sorts of wonderful foods.

p.s. A bottom tooth is loose!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Pre-Father's Day Meal: Izzy's Papa Cooks

Izzy's Papa happened to be in the city today, in the vicinity of Whole Foods. Now normally I would not request that he pick something up as he especially hates to do food shopping and my specific requests go unheeded or become muddled. In this instance I needed to make an exception as there was nothing in the house for dinner. I instructed him to "buy whatever you dream of eating."

He returned with a bag full of items far different that what I would have purchased, had I been gave the same instructions (lamb or duck would have surely been one of my ingredients).

Instead I found: Two boxes of rigatoni, 3 shallots, 1 endive, a bunch of baby arugula, Fourme'd'Ambert cheese, freshly grated Parmesan, several tomatoes and a bunch of asparagus. I volunteered to be his sous-chef at dinner. It was my duty to slice the shallots, julienne the endive, cut the tomatoes, blanch the asparagus and prepare the vinaigrette.

Our meal was a simple one. Endive/Arugula/Blue Cheese Salad with White Wine Vinaigrette and Rigatoni with Asparagus, Shallots and Tomatoes.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Muddy Boys Are Ravenous

Izzy and his friend J. soaked up today's late afternoon sun in Liberty State Park, where they became far to familiar with one especially enormous mud puddle. Izzy was mud-spattered in the front and soaked in back, covered in brown, slimy muck. He biked and his friend scooted, over and over again through brown icky waters. I tried not to cringe at the thought of putting their mud-covered bodies into my friend's car and let them have fun. Boys do love a muddy time after all. Besides, as my friend G. put so well, "Better mud than videos." The reaction of various on-lookers ranged from bemusement to disgust. One young woman announced loudly, "Imagine if my child (future I am guessing) ever did that. I would have a heart attack!" Comments like those only spurred Izzy on to further muddy fun.

When the boys took a brief break from their mud-induced euphoria, I became the filling station as they stuffed themselves with popcorn, bananas, crackers, raisins and dried apricots. J. prepared raisin sandwiches, stuffing them between crackers. Every time I turned around, a little muddied hand was finding its way into my snack bag. Eventually I shooed them away and back to their muddy games.

When it was time to leave, we had to strip them down to their undies and place them on plastic bags in the car. As we drove home they began plotting their next muddy adventure and we began figuring out a strategy to deal with it better ( towels, crocs and a change of clothing).

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Local Chocolates: The Good, The Bad And....

I had heard tell that Hoboken boasts a few decent chocolate shops but I'd never gotten around to testing them out. After one awful experience at a Jersey City chocolatier, I wasn't in any great hurry. Besides lately I have managed to sate my chocolate cravings with Mast Brothers artisanal small batch chocolates, handcrafted in nearby Williamsburg, Brooklyn. If they are good enough for Per Se or Blue Hill, they most certainly are good enough for me.

But back to Hoboken..My husband moved his office there recently and so when it came time for him to find a birthday present for me, he researched the Hoboken chocolate scene. He even went into a few shops to sample the goods. He was not all impressed with the first spot so went off in search of better. The patrons at his second stop raved about the chocolates and though hesitant, he purchased two boxes (less than he had intended so as not to show up empty handed).

He arrived bearing two, unmarked boxes of chocolates, wrapped with ribbon. I was hopeful and curious. Why was there no sticker or store name imprinted on the boxes?

After dinner, Izzy and I unwrapped the boxes together, one full of turtles and another full of some round, heavy truffle-type candy. I didn't want to appear ungrateful, but neither box appealed. It was then that A. admitted that perhaps he hadn't chosen so wisely but decided to chance it anyway. We tasted from each box, Izzy and I laughing at the awful flavor, which he happily chomped on, nonetheless.

Meanwhile when I need a chocolate fix, I'll stick to Mast Brothers and the small stash of bars I just so happened to have purchased today, on an excursion with my friend S. If anyone would like a sample of the Hoboken delights, just let me know!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Birthday Bouquets And Other Tales Of The Day

Could there be a better birthday present then the sight of my child helping sort this week's CSA picks? We didn't do what I had originally planned because Izzy wanted to stay home to sort the vegetables with Farmer Rich. As you can see I had trouble arguing with that.

Going to Madison Square park to hear Elizabeth Mitchell sing simply couldn't compete with bunches of fresh, fragrant oregano. So we stayed home and helped (besides, no other volunteers were forthcoming).

Farmer Rich gave me extra daisies in honor of my birthday so I'm glad we stuck around.

Later on it was off for some baked goods at our local, organic bakery, Made With Love.

Then dinner at Marco and Pepe with my very well-behaved companion... We clinked glasses and I received birthday wishes. He had pineapple juice, I a Lingonberry cocktail.

There was no room for dessert but there is still the promise of tomorrow.

Why Cats Like Cheese: Izzy's Theory

"Cats like cheese because the mouse eats cheese and cats get the taste of cheese from the mouse when they eat it."

Sounds good in theory but would that mean that people who eat cows enjoy eating grass because the beef tastes grassy??

Monday, June 15, 2009

Eating Down In the Depths of Dirty...From Vietnamese Restaurants To ShopRite Clams

First it was eating at the Vietnamese restaurant I love to hate, next it was clams from Shoprite. Is there no end to the sacrifices I must make for my friends?


Izzy and I have always been partial to one of the two Vietnamese restaurants here in downtown JC, Saigon Cafe. My husband has a fondness for the other restaurant, Nha Trang Place, that I just don't share but my friend T. may have managed to change my mind a bit. She insisted we try it with her, as she knows just what to order, having been a regular for years. She treated Izzy and me to a delightful meal, full of new tastes. There was shrimp with sugar cane and a porky dish too. Plus spring rolls and a salmon dish with greens. Too much food for four of us (2 of whom were young'uns) but it gave me a chance to sample a bunch of things I wouldn't have tried on my own. I am not sure that Izzy was as taken with the meal as I was but I think that may be more a result of my previous indoctrination that anything else. Now that I know what to order I will definitely go back with A. and give it another try.

Shoprite Clams

We were supposed to have an easy pizza night at my house but before I knew it, it turned it a clam extravaganza. Once again, my friend T. took me to the dirty side. Truthfully I steer clear of any seafood, meat or poultry from Shoprite. I don't want to see it or touch it. If you prepared it for me at home and I was blissfully unaware, that would be a different story.

Remember, it was pizza night at my house but according to T., there was a clam sale and she and her husband hatched a plan that they would be great to share with us. I agreed and she went off to Shoprite and returned with a giant stinky bag of seashells. I tried to avoid observing the cleansing of the creatures (I have had enough of them after many hours in restaurant kitchens cleaning shellfish in my past). Izzy, though, was tickled pink as he is a huge clam lover.

T. cooked them up with garlic, olive oil and clam juice. She brought out the whole mess of them and we all partook.. Some of us more than others. Thankfully T. cleaned up the pots and most of the mess before she left. Here's to more culinary dirt in the future!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

First S'more

We unexpectedly dropped in on Izzy's friend M. and his family during an impromptu bbq. They were kind enough to invite us to join in and although we did not partake of the burgers etc, dessert was hard to resist. They were making s'mores.

Other guests were surprised to hear that he was over six years old and had never tried one before. I just hadn't gotten around to preparing the s'more of my dreams. I do love a good s'more but I wanted his first one to be the best. I had envisioned a s'more, prepared with homemade marshmallows, homemade graham crackers and a superb chocolate. That will be for next time.

This first s'more was of the classic variety. Hershey's Chocolate, Campfire Marshmallows and Honey-Maid Grahams (or Nabisco). It may not have been exactly the s'more I had imagined but clearly he was smitten.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Field Trip For Ice Cream??

As an end of year treat, Izzy and his class went to Torico's for ice cream. I must say that ice cream lover though I am, I did take pause at the idea of a field trip for ice cream. I generally think of field trips as a way to introduce children to something new and different and since we eat ice cream on a fairly regular basis, this hardly seemed to qualify as such.

Since there wasn't much I could do about the trip, I tried take a positive outlook. Perhaps the other students were unfamiliar with Torico's and this was an opportunity to get to know the surrounding community. Or even better, maybe the kids would get a tour of the back of the ice cream shop and Izzy would decide to become a small-batch artisanal ice cream maker.

The reality was somewhat different. When queried as to what Izzy had eaten, he explained that they were given a choice of vanilla, chocolate or strawberry. He mentioned that each child was given a turn to operate the soft serve machine... (Wait. Soft serve? We rarely if ever have soft serve, as it is, sadly, more chemical cocktail than ice cream.)

In any case, Izzy chose the chocolate and he described it as not being as tasty as the hard ice cream. In fact, he claimed to have even requested the other ice cream. Of course he couldn't have another kind, which is quite understandable as everybody was eating the same thing.

What is mystifying though, was the fact that, in Izzy's own words, "The teachers were allowed to have whatever they wanted."

Does that seem fair to you? The teachers get the good stuff, under the assumption that most kids probably prefer soft serve anyway or are just plain clueless. Next year I vote for a "Make Your Own Ice Cream Party." More educational and tastier too!

Oh and p.s. Izzy wasn't the only one to notice that the ice cream wasn't up to par. Perhaps the soft serve machine was having trouble cranking out so many ice creams.. I guess we'll never know!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Chocolate is ALWAYS Appreciated: Alma of Portland

My friend S. recently returned from a lengthy visit to Portland, Oregon, where she and her family will be moving shortly. She returned with tales of wonderful foods and bakeries, and also bearing a gift of chocolate. I already sampled a few of the bon-bons, before photographing this box of Alma Chocolates . I could not resist the lavender/caramel or the chevre/black pepper.

So terribly sad that S. will be moving away. My only consolation is that she is moving to a land of great eats and perhaps we will get to visit in the not so distant future!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

An Old Fashioned Fourth Birthday Party

I am as charmed as ever by birthday parties held at home, as they are few and far between. T.'s fourth birthday is another shining example of how successful a small party at home can be.

The fun began with T-shirt painting. The kids were giving stencils, paints and crystals with which to embellish their shirts. Izzy, the oldest at the party, was engrossed in his artistry and could not be torn away from his oeuvre.

He did a great job but missed out on all of the groovy games led by N., a friend of the birthday girl's Mama. Pin-the-tail on the donkey, Freeze-Dance and Red-light, Green-light were all part of the fun.

Snacks were offered and Izzy was introduced to his first taste of Cheese Puffs or Doodles or some related snack..At least he gave equal time to grapes on his plate.

Next up was the cake, which was a real show stopper from my bakery obsession, Baked. Hard to imagine how eight children and their parents were supposed to eat such a thing though it was lovely to behold.

The birthday girl could not have been more pleased and a sweet old time was had by all!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Mini-Raspberry Popover Puffs

It was the night before the last day of my snack mom assignment last week. I was frazzled and couldn't bring myself to bake another thing. I had baked a few things for class already. Besides, far too much had been going on, from hosting two La Leche League meetings, baking cheesecake, and this whole cat saga, the last thing I felt like doing was making another snack. So I went to sleep, knowing I had nothing in the house to offer Izzy's class, hoping somehow that inspiration would strike in the morning.

Inspiration did strike and it came by way of David Lebovitz and his stunningly simple rendition of airy, sweet popovers or sugared puffs.

I tweaked the recipe in that I made miniatures. I was able to get 30 miniatures rather than 9 large. Enough to feed his class and experiment. I rolled the cooked puffs in a mixture of brown and white sugars. I experimented on a few and came up with a raspberry version, created by dropping a single raspberry into each batter-filled muffin tin.

The Plight Of Miss Fang (The Making Of A Feral Cat)

Unbeknownst to us, Miss Fang was born near our backyard in April of 2008. Her mother, (whose origins are uncertain) heretofore known as Mama, introduced her to us, along with her siblings last June, when she wandered into our yard searching for food. We had hopes of catching Miss Fang or her siblings but they dispersed before we had the chance.

When Miss Fang came our way, I felt compelled to take care of her, just as we had taken care of her mother (Mama) last year. History repeated itself in that Miss Fang brought her kittens to the very same spot where she was born, in our neighbor's yard.

We had spotted Miss Fang dash through our yard pregnant and then did not see her again until after she had birthed her kittens. She looked frightened and hungry. I immediately began to feed her and her kittens, knowing that I would somehow become responsible for them. With help I decided to trap the whole family. I wanted to get the kittens before they had a chance to disperse.

The heart-wrenching part of this is that I had to separate Miss Fang from her kittens. After we caught the kittens, we brought them upstairs. Miss Fang remained in her trap in the yard until her spay appointment on Wednesday. It was extremely difficult for me to listen to her whimper. I did my best to clean her trap and keep her comfortable but no matter, she was miserable, not eating at all and occasionally seeking a means of escape. The second night she was slightly calmer and nibbled a bit of food off of a butter knife. Listening to her was painful and I looked forward to having taken to be spayed the next morning.

N., of Critter Cab, came to get her and returned her that same afternoon. I kept her overnight, just to make sure she was okay. The following morning, Izzy released her and she immediately ran off to the spot where she had last seen her kittens.

She sniffed around a bit and then I fed her and she disappeared. I worry about her well-being as ideally she should have 4-5 days to recover. She is certainly less sure-footed and has trouble climbing the wall in our yard. I have continued to feed her twice a day since then and we have spotted her curled up against a window in our neighbor's yard. She comes to eat but is definitely keeping her distance.

Is she better off now than she was before? In the short-term I would have to say not, as she is now missing her babies and recovering from surgery. Hopefully she will soon enjoy a calmer existence, chasing butterflies and birds in the backyard. Will she make our yard her home or will she leave for a yard free from hostile neighbors? It all remains to be seen.

What I do know is that I have saved our neighborhood from having adding seven female cats to its population, along with countless future litters.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Lettuce In My Lunch...

Just picked from my garden, sprinkled with salt and served with avocado and smoked salmon.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Kitten Preview

Not the best shot but in between feeding, cleaning and entertaining 8 cats, I haven't had time to dedicate to the photo aspect, nor much else. Hopefully things will calm down a bit in the next day or two for a cat update. Just a glimpse of fuzziness until then.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Whole Kitten Caboodle

Is now resting peacefully in a crate in our spare bedroom. The Mama cat is in a trap outside, awaiting her fate, which is to be spayed on Wednesday and then released back into the wild.

Thanks to L., a neighborhood cat rescuer, the entire plan went off without a hitch (knock wood, spill salt etc. for it is not over yet). I knew I wanted to help these kitties and their Mama but was hesitant. She and my friend Y. convinced me this was the right way to do it. I had reservations and still do, about separating a mother from her babies and it was heart-wrenching to watch. I just have to remember that the kittens will be happy when we socialize them and find them good homes. The mother cat will become calmer once spayed and the neighborhood will have fewer feral cats overall.

Watching L. in action was quite a sight. She came bearing all of her cat rescue items, from traps, to paper french fry holders (ideal for containing food in the traps) and she set to work. She began by placing their food in the usual spot and waited quietly while the kittens emerged from the bramble. She picked them up, one by one, grabbing them by the scruff of their necks, as their Mama would, and placing them in the transfer cage.

Then she placed the trap for the Mama cat, directly in front of the kittens and within a minute, the Mama walked in. A seemingly cruel but effective method. For the first half an hour or so, the kittens meowed quite loudly, so much so that neighbors two houses away could hear and they texted to see if they could help out.

When things calmed down, we brought the kittens upstairs and Mama is outside, in a covered trap which is now situated under an outdoor table. L. helped us to set up a fine temporary home for the kittens in a large cage. With toys, a litter box, food and a towel, they are now resting comfortably. Tomorrow I will take them to the shelter to be checked over and registered, making us official foster cat parents.

This entire kitten rescue occurred during the dinner hour, Izzy feared I would ruin our dinner for the second night, since I was all but ignoring things on the grill. In the end, L. joined us outside and we managed to have some grilled turkey sausages, sliced mozzarella, asparagus and bread.

Stay tuned for photos of these adorable kittens...once you see them, you won't be able to resist!