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Saturday-morning pancakes create ruckus on the river

It's Saturday morning. Rain is pattering down on the roof of my riverside cottage, and my critters and I have full, happy bellies. Life is good, we say.

The Englishman begs to differ. My beau is home alone at his Illinois Valley abode, nose firmly affixed to the grindstone as he toils away on old 1950s Chevy trucks. Some guys would be in high heaven working on their toys.

But not T.E. He's hungry.

Unlike the parrots and me, he has no belly full of piping hot pancakes. And, he says, in the vernacular of my African Grey, "WANT SOME!"

T.E. called earlier this a.m., just as the first batch of cakes were about to hit the butter sizzling on the cast-iron griddle.

The parrots were already in full voice, calling out for their brekkies.

"Hello! Hello! Hellllloooooo!" called Gaia, ringing her dinner bell, just as the phone toned its own chime.

Drat! The batter, filled with fresh, local blueberries and huckleberries, was ready to pour. And I was already salivating.

Would this new recipe I'd created — adding an extra egg and a spoon of cottage cheese for protein, along with a touch of curry and cinnamon spices for flavor — be a blast or a bust? Only the griddle — and our taste buds — could answer that question.

Rrrrrrrring ...

The sounds of Gaia's bell-ringing and my phone chiming competed for attention. Goose, the cockatiel, joined in, too. His tones are higher and therefore even more ear-splitting.

What happened to my quiet morning?

Squiggy the Cat was thankfully mute. But only because she had her face buried in a bowl of stinky mackerel.

Hands sticky with batter and stained with berries, I considered letting my message machine handle this dilemma. But I am constitutionally incapable of not answering my phone — especially if I think a dear one is on the other end.

I grabbed a kitchen towel and reached for the handset. Of course, it wasn't on the nearby base. It wasn't anywhere handy. The ring tones were coming from the living room. No doubt the phone was buried somewhere in the couch under a tangled pile of afghans and pillows.

"Good morning," I said, finally unearthing the silver phone from the cushions.

I was happy to hear from my beau but trying to regain my "Flo the Diner Gal" mojo — and also wondering how many minutes it would take my fluffy batter to turned into gelatinous goop.

Gaia was worried, too. She definitely did not want me yakking on the phone while her breakfast cup was empty.

T.E. and I had barely uttered our greetings before my brat-bird decided to mimic me terminating a conversation.

"OK! Uh huh! Got it! Buh-bye!" Gaia said.

T.E. had moved on to the foul state of the weather, and how it was fouling up his plans. Turns out it's very hard to work on old trucks when stuck in the muck — literally and figuratively.

I may have mentioned in columns past that T.E. is a sun-loving lizard who turns into a cranky dragon when the big yellow orb is nowhere to be found. This is never a good dialog for us, as I am a rain, wind and snow lover.

So I derailed this conversation and told him about my new pancake recipe. I described the luscious purple of the berries. The sound of the sizzle and the spicy scents.

"Those sound good," T.E. said. "I think you should bring me some."

I'd already, rather unsuccessfully and definitely messily, poured the batter onto the griddle while we were chatting. I was struggling to hold the receive in one hand and flip the pancakes with the other when Gaia upped her verbal ante.

"OK! BYE!!!" Gaia shouted again.

For good measure, and because she has no faith in my ability to understand my own language, Gaia added the sounds of a phone hanging up and a dial tone. Then she offered up a big raspberry to the mix — the "phffffft!" kind.

Rude! I don't know where she learned this atrocious behavior. I am always the soul of politeness.

T.E. could hear his feathered paramour and let out a throaty chuckle. Gaia normally puts up quite a stink just to be near The Englishman. She wolf whistles as soon as he sets foot in the cottage, demanding to be let out of her cage.

But Gaia's Saturday snit was about frustration and the need to feed the belly. T.E. could relate.

"Tell that bad birdie to shut up," he growled with a throaty chuckle. "And bring me some pancakes!"

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or e-mail sspecht@mailtribune.com.