Zoo Family

Vigil Book poem

Finally got around to writing some things in my Vigil Book.
The poem in my Vigil Book, by Master Michael Alewright, with my deep appreciation:

Home and hearth unbuilt can never grow
In all-embracing warmth, as will the wood; but
Leaves may fade and fall, whilst walls remain,
Defying Winters touch and wolf’s intent;
Each stone a triumph, bearing up a
Roof that mocks the rain and smiles at snow.
Unassuming mortar binds the whole, and
Nature’s chaos bows to Man’s control.

Harm will seldom guest within the home
Unbidden, where a Mother’s love may dwell.
Go hence, ye wolf! Or better learn to bite.
Expect no welcome, bear, And Master Boar,
Learn further courage ere you come too near.
More peaceful rovers find both meat and drink
And company’s delight within her walls.
No questing wight a truer heart may know,
Nor find a better friend, nor fiercer foe.
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Zoo Family

Gone batty

Tuesday morning, 3:30am. cat runs across the bed, fast. and again. meow-quacks. and races again... I finally look up... and see the BAT flying around our bedroom in circles! The door to the attic is in our bedroom, and is open for air flow. The conversation went something like this:

Me: Holy shit, there's a bat in the bedroom!
Ben: What? No there isn't.
Me: Arrrggghhh, I'm staying under the covers!
Ben: Ah! It IS a bat!
Me: (from under the covers) Whattawedo? Whattawedo? Omigawd! Holy shit!
Cat: Mnower!
Ben: I... I. don't. know.
Me: I'm leaving! [rolls of the bed and crawls commando-style to the hallway] Are you coming?!?
Ben: [turns on the bedside light]...shut the door...
Me: OK. [shuts the bedroom door with Ben, the cat and the bat inside]
Otto: Mommy? Did the kitty eat the bat? CARL! THERE'S A BAT!
Carl: Mmmrrrph? I'm sleepin'. [Pulls the pillow over his head]
Me: Um... Ben? Everything OK?
Ben: Yeah. [opens the bedroom door] It flew back up to the attic.
Cat: Mnyah!!
Me: Sooo, we have a bat in the attic?
Otto: Did the kitty eat him?
Me: No, go back to bed!
Ben: Yeah, he's in the attic. [climbs back into bed and turns off the light]
Me: [blink blink] um. um. ummmmmm. [sigh] OK. That was weird.
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Zoo Family

Livery Collar

My livery collar, based on late 14th century ladies' style, from effigies and brasses here: http://larsdatter.com/collars.htm
Made by Ben (Brandubh), with fittings and studs from Billy and Charlie's, painted by Ben: http://www.billyandcharlie.com/, and medallion from Drachenstein Treasures: http://www.dragonsjewels.com/. Made in January 2012.

The motto says "levitate et caritate", which means "with levity and affection". As far as I can tell, adding mottoes to collars was not done in this period.  However, this was my preference for this piece of regalia.

Hilda Pelican Collar

Zoo Family

My Creation!

Make random delicious chicken dish ad hoc. It turned out amazingly delicious! I share it with you!

Sweet & Sour Walnut Chicken

small onion, sliced thinly
garlic cloves (I used 3), sliced thinly
--sautee in butter and olive oil with salt until slightly caremlized

Handful of chopped walnuts
--add to pan

5 chicken tenders, sliced lengthwise for fast cooking. Can use two whole breasts, I imagine, sliced
---shove onion/walnut mix to the side, and brown the chicken in the center, adding a bit of salt to the chicken. I did this in batches.

white wine (not sure how much, maybe 1/3 c)
honey (not sure how much, maybe 1/4 c)
cider vinegar (not sure how much, maybe 1/4 c)
Ancho powder to taste
Chili powder to taste
Cinnamon to taste
---Add to pan and stir. [Note: with the spices, a little goes a long way] Let simmer until the liquid has reduced to a thin syrup consistency.

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Zoo Family

Chocolate-Covered Strawberries & Cream

This dessert has only 12g carbs per serving. Makes 2 servings. DIVINE!

1/2 c plus 2 Tbsp heavy whipping cream
2 packets Splenda (or other sweetener)
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
1 oz Dark chocolate (Lindt 80% cacao has the least carbs)
1 tsp unsalted butter
2 small strawberries and/or mint for garnish (optional)


1. Whip 1/2 c whipping cream and 1 packet Splenda together until soft peaks form. Add strawberries and muddle them with the whisk until the cream turns pinkish. Spoon into two glasses (I used martini glasses), and put in fridge.
2. Melt chocolate, butter, 1 Tbsp cream, and 1 packet Splenda in microwave very gently (10 seconds, stir, then 10 seconds and stir until fully melted). Add the 1 more Tbsp cream and stir until smooth.
3. Pour chocolate mixture on top of the whipped cream and spread around until the top is coated. Garnish with small strawberry and/or mint.
4. Refrigerate at least 30 mins, or up to overnight. The longer it's refrigerated, the stiffer the cream will be.
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Zoo Family

Bourbon-Cream Chicken



  • 1 Chicken Breast (10-11oz), sliced into strips, or chicken tenders
  • 1/4 cup butter, divided
  • 1 Small onion, diced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 small stalk celery, thinly sliced (about 1 Tbsp.)
  • Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder to taste
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • Half shot good bourbon whiskey (3/4 oz - 1oz)




  1. Melt half the butter in a large skillet and cook the onions and celery until semi-soft (about 3 mins) over med-high heat, being careful not the burn the butter.
  1. Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, then cook until golden brown on both sides (about 8 mins)
  1. Add the rest of the butter and cook for 3 more mins on medium heat, being careful not to burn the butter.
  2. Add the cream, stirring to get the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
  3. Add the bourbon
  4. Simmer lightly, stirring, until the sauce has thickened to your liking (about 5 mins)



Blackstone Raids was interesting. Ben and I brought the kids, so we got a hotel room in the Holt Lodge (with TV).  It rained so much, we spent most of the evenings in the room.  And every bit of non-marshy land was being used (as it should) by campers or event activities, so it was difficult to let the kids run around.  And I hadn't realized how many cars would be on the roads at the campsite all day long, so it was difficult to let them run there, too.  Plus, it was difficult to find people I knew to talk to.  I didn't just run into people walking around like at War Practice.  I suppose that was the rain.  Still we were with Ben all weekend, so that was good.

I did get to wear my new Flemish, though, made by oushi , on commission as a gift from Ts'vee'a.  Looked good! Plus the kids are simply adorable in SCA garb, with their little tunics and hats and coifs! We got our picture taken by about 4 mundanes and a couple SCAdians, even.  Especially when the kids were playing with the scopperels I made them.

Scopperels are awesome, very easy to make, very quick (30 mins or less if you cheat and use tape like I did), and very cheap (I had everything lying around). 
  • For each one, you need a smallish-circumference dowel rod (preferably oak), a small nail, non-corrugated cardboard (shoebox or cereal box type), tape, scissors, a saw and a hand drill.
  • Cut an ~8 inch piece of the dowel off with the saw.
  • Drill a hole slightly bigger in circumference than the nail right in the center of the small dowel piece. Make sure the hole is smaller than the nail's head, though.
  • Drill a hole about the same size as the nail through the end (so it's facing you - drill into the center of the circular cross section) of the long dowel, only about 3/4 the length of the nail.
  • Cut out two squares of cardboard. The length of one side of the square should be about a quarter of the length of the small dowel.
  • Tape the squares on the small dowel one up, one down, so the hole is facing up. (see pic).  This is the cheater step.  There were period adhesives and joinery that should be used if you're going for really period.
  • Use the nail to attach the small "windmill" shaped dowel to the long one.
  • Give it to your kid, tell them to run forward, or hold it in the wind, and watch it spin! You may need to bend the corners of the card baord like a pinwheel a little.
More pics here: http://larsdatter.com/toys.htm

Zoo Family



This.  This is why I tend not to jump on media-driven, fear-based bandwagons.  Especially ones fueled by so-called "science" articles about "toxins" whose only documentation is the phrase "Studies show...".   There is so much junk science out there, it makes my brain hurt.  And the way national, mainstream media report on it like it's tried-and-true "fact" makes my soul hurt. Shame Shame Shame! Leading honest, interested people astray for the sake of sensation! ARGH!

I have 4 axioms for life.  Maybe I need to add two more.  Or are they my battlecries?

- Never confuse information for knowledge!
- A  life lived in fear is no life at all!
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