MINI Thanks!

My beloved, recently-acquired, neglected-in-a-previous-life, 2012 MINI Cooper has been in the shop quite often since we bought “him” used. Ringo has been a bit of a problem child, but so far most of the issues can be attributed to a failure to keep up routine maintenance by a previous owner. Besides, he’s so handsome, I’ll forgive him a lot.

Ringo

At any rate, we have been very pleased with the mechanics at the shop who are doing the work for us, and feel like they have really gone the extra mile to work with us in getting the car brought up to speed.

As a gesture of appreciation, I wanted to make them a special cake to say “thanks”. If you’ve seen my previous post regarding cakes, you know this is something that I am just beginning to be interested in. I baked my first “grown up” cake a few weeks ago, and now I just want to do more and get better at it.

To make this cake more personalized, I wanted to add the MINI logo. Since my piping skills are kind of non-existent at this point, I thought it would be cool to create the logo in chocolate, as a topper. A little research turned up this Castin’ Craft, which is FDA approved and can be used to create your own molds for casting just about anything, chocolate included!

CastinCraft

I found the product very easy to work with, and after making a practice mold of a sunburst, I was ready to make my MINI emblem. Fortunately, I had a keychain I could use to make the impression. The mold only has to set up for about 20 minutes, though I did let it sit a little longer. When done, the silicone is pliable and rubbery and the keychain popped right out. I rinsed the mold and dried it, added my melted chocolate and let it set. The chocolate also popped out easily. I added a little edible silver metallic paint to more closely resemble the actual emblem, and aside from my messy painting, I think it turned out really well.

I’m still experimenting with frostings, and though the frosting was perfect on my practice cake the day before, this time, it was extremely dry and didn’t do well, at all. So I whipped up a different recipe for the piping and I liked it much better! I will try frosting with it on the next chocolate cake I make.

finishedCake

It’s not as close to perfect as I would like, but that’s okay! I learned a lot, and I’m looking forward to my next experiment! I already have plans for a special St. Patrick’s Day cake!

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Cool Things

Barny
The weather has finally gotten a little warm. She didn’t think it would ever happen! She spent the winter freezing and is actually glad to see some warmer weather. It’s just been too cool to enjoy riding the motorcycle the last few weeks. But, speaking of cool, they did see some pretty cool things this past weekend!

He and She and Papa Joe and Ohio and Skeeter rode over to Columbus Georgia to Chattahoochee Harley Davidson, just for fun. While they were there, they got to meet “Baby”! Now, Baby is one cool dog! She rides a Harley!! Yeah, that’s right, a Harley!

Baby Rides a Harley

She enjoyed posing for a couple of pictures with her goggles on!

Baby Rocks her Goggles

She and Skeeter were instantly in love with Baby and found out that she loves to ride and is happy to hop on the bike at any opportunity!

Here’s a picture of the Chattahoochee River She snapped as they were zipping over it on the way home.

The Chattahoochee

Then, on Sunday morning, they encountered this beauty:

Orange Metal Flake!

He and She would just love to have something like that to ride around in! As it was, He and She visited Niffer’s Place at Lake Martin and enjoyed a really delish lunch, followed by a “Ride and Seek” – that’s what they call it when they don’t have a destination in mind, but ride aimlessly seeking one. They actually wound up on a road that leads to a beautiful penninsula at Lake Martin. They were able to pull the bike over and park and walk up to the water as it lapped the shore. It was a beautiful day and peacefully quiet! They felt really lucky to be able to just enjoy the moment before heading back home.

We hope you had some beautiful weather this weekend, and were able to find some enjoyment. Also, our hearts go out to our neighbors in Missouri who have experienced tragedy and heartache due to the recent tornado.

Barny

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Would You Like Some Cheese With That Whine?

Mister Fussy in the Leaves

Lately we’ve had a couple of beautiful early-spring-like days. That has prompted He and She and Gily to be outside a little more. They have all enjoyed getting their solar batteries recharged.

Now, Gily thinks everytime the truck door is opened, he should jump in. He loves to get in the truck and ride. His favorite route is down the driveway and back. He seems to be content with just that.

Let's go!

This past weekend, they decided they would take him to a neighboring town and let him enjoy the park.

Riding High

Being new to the dog world, they weren’t even aware the park didn’t allow dogs. So, they decided to cut their losses and just come home where we have plenty of land where they can walk and picnic and do whatever they could have done at the park. We didn’t understand why they left to begin with!

While we all get along really well with Gily, he’s particularly fond of He and She, and is only really happy when they are both with him. If one of them leaves the room, he is never satisfied until they are back together again. Here’s a little video She took of Gily as they waited for He to come out of a store recently. *Warning: This video contains explicit dog whining and may be difficult for some viewers.

So, Gily, would you care to have some cheese with that whine? You can see he was not happy until they were together again. And, all that tail wagging. What a kiss up! I can see all of us cats are really going to have to step up our games to show He and She that we really appreciate them, too. Flirt already got a head start this morning by yaking on the rug. Maybe that will get the idea across!

Mister Fussy
*****

aka “Sweet Potato Fu Fu”

Modes of Conveyance

Lilah

There is so much to share, we might as well take one thing at a time!

On March 27th, He and She decided they would take a short trip to the North of us to scope out a little shop they had heard of. During that trip, they traveled Highway 280 through Sylacauga Alabama, where this caught their eyes:
AutoMoto
After a quick u-turn, they went back to investigate. It turns out this is a new little vehicle that promises to bridge the gap between an automobile and a motorcycle. The Auto Moto.
AutoMotoDash
With a promise of 83 miles per gallon, it could be worth a closer look! It is essentially a three-wheeled scooter with a top speed of 65 mph.
AutoMotoFront
AutoMotoRear
If you would like more information, they have a website here. For more information in Alabama, contact this authorized dealer at 256-369-7663. They are located at 34825 US Highway 280, Sylacauga Alabama.

After that little distraction, they continued their journey and wound up at their destination:

image

This is Homewood Cycle and Fitness, the Homewood location of Cahaba Cycles. Their goal during this visit was to “consider” the purchase of a new bicycle for her. After their success in losing weight over the past several months, they are gearing up for a very active Spring and Summer, and as a part of that, they would both like to become more adept in cycling. He has a nice Bianchi road bike, but She didn’t have any hope of keeping up with him on her little hybrid.

Not only did they really enjoy going into the bike shop and seeing all the wonderful cycling-related items, but the town of Homewood is so charming! The store was located in the central business district which is the home to plenty of shops, restaurants and specialty stores.

They didn’t do a lot of exploring the area, but plan to do that when they make a return trip for the free 90-day tune up. Yep! They bought her a new bike. It is a 2009 Trek 1.2 WSD. It may have been just a little outside her skill range when they bought it, but she is determined to work hard and earn the right to own such an awesome bike. Andrew worked with them to fit the bike and to make sure she understood the basics, while Kenny helped her pick out as many pink accessories as they could find. This is what they brought home:
Pearl
One other individual at Homewood Cycles that bears mentioning is Lilly. Lilly is the staff Weimaraner, and she did a great job assisting Andrew and Kenny with the sale. Unfortunately, She neglected to take any pictures even though She had the camera in her purse the whole time. You can see more pictures of the store here, and there is one little picture of Lilly included.

So far, they have ridden three times and she has a total of 18 miles on her odometer. The first ride was 3 miles, the second was 8 miles and the third was 10 miles. She does have another date with a certain, very steep, hill which might have had the upper hand on that last ride, but once She learns to shift properly, that thing is hers! Her goal is 50 by 50. She will be 50 years old on her birthday in January, so she hopes to have conqured 50 miles by then. Either by a 50 mile ride, or possibly just to have 50 cumulative miles on the bike by then! We’ll just have to see how She progresses in the meantime.

Nova was just happy there were some new boxes and bags brought in!
Nova'sHelmetBox

The final thing we wanted to talk about is the bee-yoo-tee-ful weather we are finally having! Around here, when the weather gets warm enough, out comes the Harley. They aren’t too fond of riding when it’s cold and now that they have lost all their “insulation”, they have to wait until it is around 70 degrees to be comfortable. So, with the nice weather this past weekend, they once again traveled up Highway 280, with a completely different destination in mind this time. Even as they have altered their habits and become more conscious of what they consume, they have continued to treat themselves along the way. With that in mind, they made a trip to The Cheesecake Factory.
Cheesecake Facotry
Inside, they enjoyed sharing a slice of Red Velvet Cheesecake and coffee. Unfortunately, The Cheesecake Factory doesn’t have any nutritional information on-line, but they estimate this has about 450 calories.
RedVelvetCheesecake
But, keep in mind – this is HALF a slice! He and She keep track of calories burned and calories consumed, so they were able to determine they could afford the treat. They have learned that, for them, awareness is the key to losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight. So, they made the choice to enjoy this slice of decadence completely aware of the “cost”.

Because they were on the Harley, She attempted to take several pictures, but as they were in heavy traffic some of them weren’t that great. She loved all the pretty corporate landscaping and tried to get a few shots.
DSC03148

DSC03150

DSC03153

Well, that about sums it up. We’ve pretty much described trips on all modes of conveyance at The House of 9 Lives with the exception of the lawn mower, the four-wheeler, the tractor and the unicycle. Who knows? We might cover those in a future post!

Lilah
*****

Miscellany

LilahWriting.jpg

 

 

 

It’s been fairly quiet around here the last few weeks. Of course, for house cats, that is an ideal situation. While the temperatures have soared outside, reaching 100 degrees, or close to it, on most days, the nine of us have snoozed comfortably in our cool, climate-controlled enclave.

There have been just a few things of interest around here lately to share. Our local Humane Shelter, the Elmore County Humane Society, put out the word that they were running really low on dry dog food. Well, since He and She are at capacity and cannot lighten the burden by adopting a dog from the shelter, they did what they could by donating some food. Here’s our little Jetta loaded down with kibble. You may not be able to tell, but they snuck a bag or two of kitty food in as well.

Doggy Donations

When they delivered the food to the shelter, they found that the supply had gotten as low as three bags before the call for help went out. Thankfully, the community has responded and their needs are being met. He and She have made donations in the past, but plan to do so on a more regular basis in the future. This is a great way to help out homeless animals in need if you aren’t able to bring one home with you.

Here’s another interesting thing we wanted to share. While He and She are out on the Harley Davidson, they see many unique sights. Usually, they see several other people out enjoying toys of their own. This past weekend, they spotted this:

Morgan Roadster

Bamajama says it is a Morgan Roadster, and they all thought it was pretty cool.

Here’s another toy the owners decided to take out for a spin!

Unique Trike 

And, lastly, this may not be the most interesting picture, ever, but we wanted to share with you the trick we are playing. Almost every day when She comes home, She finds some different item on the rug in the bathroom. One day, it was a pair of flip flops from the closet laid atop the hand towel which was pulled down from the rack and neatly folded. Sometimes it will be a piece of jewelry we’ve purloined from the dresser, or a stray sock from the laundry room. We are trying to see if She can guess what kind of message we are trying to send her.

A Cryptic Message

Lately She has been making a strong effort to be more physically fit, so the tennis shoes have gotten quite a work out. We acknowledge that. However, we added the fuzzy slipper because we don’t want her to forget to put her feet up and relax with a kitty in her lap now then, either!

Lilah

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Curves Ahead

Alley in the Sunshine
We finally enjoyed beautiful weather on a day that He and She didn’t have to go in to work. Of course, that meant the Harley was taken out for a little exercise. They met up with Bamajama and rode out Highway 63, across beautiful Lake Martin and into Alexander City. They stopped for lunch at Ruby Tuesday, then dropped in at Carlisle Drugs for a tasty Malted Milkshake. After, that, it was on to the open road. They took Highway 280 to 231 North, and then turned off onto Alabama 25. It turns out that Alabama 25 is a beautiful road and quite popular with motorcyclists of all tastes. She attempted to take pictures of all the many twists and turns, just so you could see how the road winds and climbs through the beautiful scenery. Instead of posting all the pictures She took, I’m just going to share a few with you here. Clicking on any picture will take you to Flickr, where you can see more photos from this ride.

There were quite a few of these:
Alabama Highway 25 to Leeds

Alabama Highway 25 to Leeds
 

Several of these:

Alabama Highway 25 to Leeds

Alabama Highway 25 to Leeds

Alabama Highway 25 to Leeds
 

And, more than a few of these:

 Alabama Highway 25 to Leeds

Alabama Highway 25

At the peak, they were treated to this view:

View from Alabama Highway 25

After descending through more twists and turns, they ended up in the town of Leeds, Alabama, just outside of Birmingham. She thought the downtown area was quaint and charming.

 Leeds Alabama

Leeds Alabama

Located in Leeds, Alabama, happens to be Barber Motorsports Park. They hadn’t planned to visit, but they rode up to the building and in the parking lot, they got to see a lot of exotic cars, like Morgans, and Lotus (Loti?), and rare motorcycles like a ’57 Harley Panhead, a Kawaski Mach III – 5 cylinder, a Sommer, and an old Cushman scooter. I would love to share some pictures with you, but unfortunately, after she snapped the one below, the battery in the camera died.

Barber Motorsports Park 

They have decided they will definitely go back with a charged battery, and they will pay for admission and see all the wonderful collector’s items inside the museum!

Actually, the name of this post might be just a bit of a misnomer. Instead of “Curves Ahead”, it could actually be titled “Angles Ahead”!

Alabama Highway 25

Alley
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The Caretaker

DSC01574 (2)
Those of you who know He and She love their Harley Davidson motorcycle might be inclined to think of something like this when I say He got a new chopper:

Chopper[1]

However, the chopper he got is of a different variety. It’s a Dixie Chopper:

Dixie Chopper

And we don’t think He could be any more excited if it were a chopper of the first type! Because the “Caretaker” (as it is known around here) has a 74″ cut and is known as “The World’s Fastest Lawn Mower”, He is now able to make quick work of cutting the yard and the pastures when necessary. This makes her very happy, as it should leave more leisure time for riding the actual motorcycle.

She’s just pleasantly surprised that with his love of lawn equipment, John Deere and motorcycles, he didn’t come home with one of these!

JDChopperMower

Thank heavens for small blessings! Or, should I say very large blessings?

The "Caretaker"

Lilah
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