Life in Dobrzyn

As always, life in Dobrzyn is relaxing, consisting of working, reading, eating, and the occasional walkie to the river or trip to town to buy food.

Food first: there are still many cherries on the trees, left by the pickers since they weren’t ripe. That gives me the chance to go out and, with minimal effort, procure the makings of a fresh cherry pie.

Cherries

For yesterday’s pie:

Picked cherries

Monday’s pie was full of grace: it had only a top crust, but a flourless one made only of almonds, eggs, sugar, and butter:

Pie

A slice:

Pie slice

Much of the day I’m like this: working (children’s book and writing a talk for next week), but with the Princess by my side:

Hili and I

Sometimes she sleeps on the adjacent couch:

Hili sleeping

Cyrus is always nearby:

Cyrus

“Second breakfast” yesterday consisted of a bowl of fresh raspberries with yogurt and a bit of sugar:

raspberries

And “third breakfast” was a Greek salad with feta cheese and balsamic vinegar:

Salad

After lunch we went to the store for supplies. I bought sausages for Cyrus (I can’t give treats to Hili without feeding the d*g). As always, the meat section had more sausages than you could shake a stick at:

sausages

And we bought veggies at the local market, as Malgorzata and Andrzej like to patronize the small grocers whose business is being hurt by the newish supermarket. Here she’s choosing plums for our daily treat (see next photo):

grocery store

Yesterday we had a plum tart instead of cherry pie. Malgorzata insists that I tell you that although she promised me a cherry pie every day of my visit, it was my at own request that we had a pastry made from local plums. It was good, too!

Plum tart

And for dinner (Malgorzata again insists that I say that this was my request), we ordered a pizza from the only takeout place in Dobrzyn. Although most of the pizza there is inedible, they say, there is one pizza that is tolerable, but only if you add extra cheese. Malgorzata thus melted mozarella on top of it. This pizza, as you might expect in Poland, is heavy with meat: ham, sausage, bacon, and smoked meat:

Pizza

After dinner i gave Cyrus one of the sausages I bought for him. He loved it, though he swallowed it so fast I that it’s hard to believe he even tasted it!

Feeding Cyrus

Afternoon walkies by the Vistula river, which adjoins the property:

Walk by river

Cyrus enjoys his walkies, especially because he gets to chase his ball on the way back:

Cyrus by River

The Princess says goodnight. I love the stripes that run sideways from the corners of her eyes. These are seen not just in tabby cats, but in many wild cat species. I’m not sure what function they serve: perhaps camouflage, though that doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Hili

Cheetah eye:

images

Sand cat:

Sand-cat-3

Egyptian wildcat, the ancestor of domesticated cats:

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Margay:

margay-11

Pallas’s cat (manul)

slide_408304_5119496_free

Fishing cat:

fishing-cat-main-image-1038x576

Black-footed cat:

SONY DSC

57 Comments

  1. Posted August 3, 2016 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Looks like an idyllic time! Enjoy and relax!

    The pictures of the wild cats are great. So many species I’ve never heard of!

  2. jennyah46
    Posted August 3, 2016 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    A superb post Jerry! I loved all the photos, food cats and d*g. Perhaps you could find a way of relocating when you retire. (Semi retire I trust! 🙂

    • Posted August 3, 2016 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      He’s already retired! PCC Emeritus!

  3. Alexander
    Posted August 3, 2016 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    “After dinner i gave Cyrus one of the sausages I bought for him. He loved it, though he swallowed it so fast I find it hard to believe he even tasted it!”

    I think dogs enjoy food by smelling it before swallowing it. A bit like wine lovers do.

    • Posted August 3, 2016 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      I think it’s the thought that counts with d*gs.

      You thought enough of them to give them a treat. Score!

    • Posted August 3, 2016 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      We don’t say “wolf it down” without reason.

      • Torbjörn Larsson
        Posted August 3, 2016 at 10:04 am | Permalink

        Good point! Pack competition in wolves?

        Or earlier, reducing the risk of interesting a larger predator?

    • Ken Elliott
      Posted August 3, 2016 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      I’d be curious to know if the impetus for feeding Cyrus has more to do with a softening of Jerry’s stance on d*gs in which he now finds he enjoys Cyrus after spending considerable time with him, or is it due more to respect for his hosts who own this chummy canine.

      • Posted August 3, 2016 at 11:37 am | Permalink

        Any friend of Hili is a friend of mine.

        • Ken Elliott
          Posted August 4, 2016 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

          Haha. That’s great.

    • barn owl
      Posted August 3, 2016 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      I agree – dogs have many more olfactory receptor types, as well as noses that evolved structurally to make better use of olfactory signals.

      My dad, any time he gave a treat to my old Labrador retriever: You didn’t even taste that!!
      Dog: But I enjoyed the smell as soon as you took it out of the fridge/packaging/shopping bag. ::drools::

    • Posted August 3, 2016 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

      There are certainly some wines that are best not tasted.

      But there are many that are simply delicious.

  4. Randall Schenck
    Posted August 3, 2016 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Food and cats. What else is needed.

    The small grocer. A thing of the past around these parts. Like the milk delivery and the butcher they join the extinct species and we are worse for it.

    I believe most of the store bought cherries here are from California or Washington.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted August 3, 2016 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      I bought cherries flown in from the US last week. I’m sure they weren’t as nice as NZ ones, 🙂 and, of course, even more expensive.

      Once again I’m envious of Jerry. Raspberries are even more of a favourite than cherries, and plums make the best tarts. I’m badly missing my summer fruits!

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted August 3, 2016 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

        So why did you buy them? I know, just throwing us a bone. smile

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted August 3, 2016 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

          I didn’t know what they tasted like before I bought them, and I can always talk myself into buying summer fruits whatever the price. I got sucked into buying some strawberries recently too, and they were a tasteless waste of money. At least the cherries were edible.

  5. Jim Knight
    Posted August 3, 2016 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    “Summer time… and the livin’ is easy…”

    Enjoy your well-earned retirement!

  6. Hempenstein
    Posted August 3, 2016 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Those cherries look darker than typical American pie cherries, and therefore I assume they’re sweeter (yet, more tart than typical dark, eating cherries). Are they?

    Always good to take a plum break, too.

    And re. that sand cat – what do the stripes make it? A Lieutenant? And are there variants on the two-stripe theme?

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted August 3, 2016 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      Could also be corporal or airman.

    • George
      Posted August 3, 2016 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      Definitely not sweeter. They are what in the US we call sour cherries. Wisnie in Polish. Regular (sweet) cherries in Polish are czeresnie. Wisnie are so superior to cherries for baking. In the US, about the only way to get some fresh wisnie is to be in Traverse City, MI for about two weeks in July. You can get them dried, canned or in a jar.

      For true sour cherry aficionados, going to the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City is the highlight of the year. I avoid it – incredibly crowded. TC is great to visit when there are fewer people.
      http://www.cherryfestival.org/

      • bluemaas
        Posted August 3, 2016 at 10:20 am | Permalink

        In addition to Dobrzyn now with Ms Hili and her staff there, I am reminded by Mr George’s recommendation of one’s visiting Traverse City: are there, Dr Coyne with re to thus, https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2016/04/18/where-should-i-go, other such pilgrimages and / or walkies planned before the summer of y2016 concludes ?

        Blue

        • Hempenstein
          Posted August 3, 2016 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

          Thx for all replies.

          My art teacher in 9th grade was Wisniewski. Would that mean something like “the cherry orchard folks”?

          • George
            Posted August 3, 2016 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

            The orchard itself is a “sad”. A name like Sadowski would be related to an orchard – not specific as to which fruit. But Wisniewski is related to sour cherries – not necessarily the orchard. Could have dealt them, preserved them, etc. Or had an orchard. When people started getting last names, it was usually related to some aspect of their lives.

            Not all Polish names end in -ski or -czyk. Those names denote membership in minor gentry. In the middle ages and later, over 10% of Poland’s population were members of the gentry. Does not mean they were rich – most did not even own land. But they were a step up from the revolting mass of peasants. I am proud to have come out of that dirty, smelly, slovenly, peasant heritage. On my mother’s (Irish) side too.

            Poland was dominated by the “magnaci”. The magnates were a true oligarchy. I wonder if they would have liked Little Donny the Short Fingered Vulgarian. He may be too gauche for them.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnates_of_Poland_and_Lithuania

      • Posted August 4, 2016 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

        Montmorency cherries, which are sour cherries, are grown in the Willamette Valley of Oregon also. Many years ago, my family went to a U-pick field of Montmorency cherries in the valley and picked (what seemed like a ton) at 10 cents a pound because we’d had a hot spell and all the cherries were ripening at once.

  7. Rick
    Posted August 3, 2016 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    What are the big things in the container beside the plums (in the photo of Malgorzata choosing plums)?

    • Posted August 3, 2016 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      Those are sunflower heads; people buy them to get the seeds.

      • David Harper
        Posted August 3, 2016 at 9:56 am | Permalink

        They are humongous. I’ve grown sunflowers, and seen them grown commercially too, here in Britain, and the heads are less than half the diameter of the ones in your photograph.

      • Rick
        Posted August 3, 2016 at 10:36 am | Permalink

        Thanks. Those are huge. I actually thought that they were giant mushrooms. I didn’t know that sunflowers could grow to such a large size. It must be something to walk into the garden where those sunflowers are growing!

      • Posted August 3, 2016 at 11:09 am | Permalink

        One year, we grew a “giant sunflower”. It was that big. And had the seeds like the ones you see in US stores for eating.

        The oil sunflowers are smaller.

  8. Ann
    Posted August 3, 2016 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    This was a wonderful morning tweet (treat?) to read. I call them “walkies”, too.

  9. Jeremy Tarone
    Posted August 3, 2016 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Jerry, you are a pie tease! Your pictures of cherry pies, pizza and cured meats are driving me crazy. It’s been too hot here to make pies, cherry or pizza, at least until today. I’ve never seen that many different cured meats, they all looks so delicious.

    I so want a piece of cherry pie topped with ice cream now (for breakfast), and not the store bought cherry pie that tastes like glue/paste used in elementary schools. The cherry pies you show us look fantastic.

    • Posted August 3, 2016 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

      I’m particularly interested in that almond/sugar/butter crust. It sounds delicious.

      • Posted August 4, 2016 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

        Me too! We’re on a low carb diet and would love to make pies with a nut crust rather than the usual pie dough made with flour. Please see if Malgorzata will share.

        • Posted August 4, 2016 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

          She already has! See below.

        • Malgorzata
          Posted August 4, 2016 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

          A bit lower down (comment No. 14) is a recipe for the crust. Very easy to make. You can use nuts or almonds.

  10. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted August 3, 2016 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    I love the stripes that run sideways from the corners of her eyes. These are seen not just in tabby cats, but in many wild cat species. I’m not sure what function they serve: perhaps camouflage, though that doesn’t make a lot of sense.

    Apparently you can’t herd cat genes either!

    • Posted August 3, 2016 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      I conjecture that they enlarge the appearance of the face, but I am not sure what function that serves, except perhaps to scare off competitors or predators, if they have any.

      The stripes appear to be endearing to humans.

      • Gregory Kusnick
        Posted August 3, 2016 at 11:04 am | Permalink

        My guess is that the stripes break up the outline of the eyes so it’s harder for prey to tell if they’re being watched.

  11. George
    Posted August 3, 2016 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    What Jerry called “second breakfast” is actually a regular meal in Poland. Wikipedia has an article about it:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_breakfast

    There is also a meal between lunch and dinner called “podwieczorek” – literally beneath the evening. Polish Wikipedia article which you can translate:
    https://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Podwieczorek

    Poles are not eating all day – just spreading it out. The other three meals are smaller than typical American meals. Although I think that any meal anywhere else in the world is smaller than a typical American meal. Our food prices are much lower than anywhere else – and we throw away a third of it. Things have really changed for a species whose primary preoccupation for most of its history has been the pursuit of calories.

    • Posted August 3, 2016 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      You must have spent some serious time in Poland.

      I traveled through Poland only one time and only for about a week. And I loved it. Super-cheap, excellent beer. Cheap food that was good (especially bread and sausage).

      • George
        Posted August 3, 2016 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

        Not much time in Poland itself. I grew up in the post-WWII Polish emigre community. I am not that big on Polish beer. There is better beer out there.

    • Posted August 3, 2016 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

      Of course, it’s also a regular meal in the Shire.

  12. rickflick
    Posted August 3, 2016 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    I had not noticed the ubiquity of the eye markings in cats. In some ways, perhaps, cats are failed raccoons.

  13. Sue Sommers
    Posted August 3, 2016 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Wonderful post! Love the photos. What a luxurious vacation.

  14. Mike Cracraft
    Posted August 3, 2016 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    I’d love to see the recipe for that cherry pie. I imagine that the crust is real crunchy.

    • Malgorzata
      Posted August 3, 2016 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      You need 1 kilogram pitted cherries
      100 gram almonds
      100 gram butter
      100 gram sugar
      2 eggs
      Boil up cherries (no water needed), remove 100 mililiter juice and let it cool at the side. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar to hot cherries. Mix one tablespoon of starch with the cooled juice and pour it on the boiling cherries. Let it cool.
      Grease a big baking pan and pour cherry/sugar/starch mixture.

      If you have food processor: put almonds first and grind them, add sugar, butter and eggs and mix into a smooth dough. With a spoon take dough and cover the cherries. Bake in 175C for 30-40 min.

      • Mike Cracraft
        Posted August 3, 2016 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

        Thank you very much !!!

      • Posted August 3, 2016 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

        Excellent, thanks! This will be happening soon in my house, and I don’t even like to cook!

        • Malgorzata
          Posted August 4, 2016 at 12:54 am | Permalink

          You can use other fruit as well. It is excellent with apples and you don’t have to cook apples: just cut them in thin slices and place in the baking pan. If you have some apricot jam, spread it thin over the apples and then the dough over it. Bake a bit longer – 50 minutes.

      • Posted August 4, 2016 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

        Thanks from me too! I can see pie in our very near future!

  15. Posted August 3, 2016 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Can you explain that “Beetles” t-shirt? I couldn’t make out the picture. Are there beetles on the shirt, or is it just a misprint?

    • darrelle
      Posted August 3, 2016 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      Not a misprint. It is a play on “The Beatles” T-shirts but features beetles, as in bugs, instead of Beatles, as in English Pop superstars. There is quite a variety of them and many imitate “The Beatles” T-shirts to one degree or another.

      • Posted August 3, 2016 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

        Thanks. That’s what I figured, but I wasn’t sure.

      • Posted August 4, 2016 at 1:31 am | Permalink

        This tee shirt was produced by the Entomology Department at UC Davis, and shows beetles crossing the road in the classic Abbey Road pose

  16. Danson Singh
    Posted August 3, 2016 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    That picture of Cyrus suggests
    a George Booth cartoon.


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