Somewhat Random Things, Tangentially Related to Food

We have these lovely bird baths outside the kitchen window: used by random mammals (squirrels, raccoons, possums, coyotes, neighborhood cats), plus a plethora of birds (finches, song sparrows, towhees, juncos, doves, pigeons, Red Whiskered Bulbuls, wrentits, wandering peacocks, and corvids).

The corvids - crows and ravens - are birds that cache food. They later retrieve the now-desiccated morsels and seek to rehydrate them.

This means we find all kinds of things soaking in the bird baths, some more easily identified than others. (French fries, sandwich/hamburger/hotdog buns are popular - I will spare you the photos of the assorted critter body parts they scavenged and cached then brought in for hydration.)

Anyway … Tortilla!

Completely unrelated, though does involve critters and food, this kraken beastie has taken to standing on the oven door handle to investigate what’s cooking. He is now banished from the kitchen when we’re cooking anything on the stove top.


Odd “discovery”:

Friend dropped off some daffodils and I couldn’t find a vase, so went digging through a recycling bin - grabbed an empty Classico pasta sauce jar and quickly soaked off the labels, to discover that it’s a mason jar.

Now wondering if these can be used for canning.

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If a canning jar top fits, it should be usable for canning.

I’ve also wondered about this and found this info on

"The Atlas “Mason” jars that you see now used for Classico pasta sauces were never actually made as actual, genuine Mason jars by Hazel-Atlas.

It appears stamping the jars as “Atlas Mason” is a packaging / marketing technique of the Classico company.

We have not yet been able to find out how they acquired the rights to use the Atlas name for this.

Nevertheless, these jars, perhaps because they do say “Mason” on them, are amongst the most popular for re-use with home canning, though they were never actually intended for re-use, as they are not real Mason jars.

It appears that “older” Classico Atlas jars (from the 1980s and 1990s) may have been made of thicker glass, and consequently may have stood up better for re-use. Classico refers to their “current” jar as being lighter.

In any event, Classico does not endorse the current jars for re-use:

Can I reuse the Classico® jar for home canning? No. A coating is applied at the glass plant to reduce scratching and scuffing. If scratched, the jar becomes weaker at this point and can more easily break. This would increase the risk of the jar breaking when used for canning. Also, the lighter weight of our current jar could make it unsafe for home canning.”

Their lack of endorsement makes sense. After all, why would they? There’s no upside for them — why assume the liability, when they get no extra money for taking on that worry?

The older Classico Atlas Mason jars — going back to when Borden brought Classico on the market as a premium pasta sauce, sometime before 1989 — do indeed have more heft to them (not that heft determines how well glass will survive heat; it’s how the glass was tempered.) To be clear, though, these were still never the original, actual, Hazel-Atlas Mason jars certified for use and re-use as proper Mason jars. And, to be clear, Classico to our knowledge didn’t certify their 1980s and 1990s jars for re-use as Mason jars, either.

Some home canners still feel comfortable using these older, heavier Classico Atlas Mason jars for water-bath canning in a pinch. The question of course arises though of how accurately, over time, people will distinguish those older jars from the newer ones.

And to be clear, this is not an endorsement of their re-use, however old they are: it is just a survey of the topic."

Again, for a fuller discussion of re-using commercial jars, please see: Re-using jars from store-bought products .

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Thank you for the links, @MrGuyGuyGuy; I enjoyed the history as much as the yes/no/maybe guidance.

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Where do I start? :astonished: First, it’s impressive that you can identify the different creatures (especially the bird species) and know their habits! Second, I didn’t know critters use bird baths for anything other than bathing & drinking! Our backyard crows occasionally perch on our fountain chatting like it’s the office water cooler, but they never rehydrate or leave anything in it! Whaa?! I did recently catch a squirrel with a whole peanut in its mouth trying to go potty in one of my plants. Does that count as unusual?

P.S. That’s one clever cat.

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The Kraken is clever. Far too clever for us to keep up with him! He’s also given to dramatic sleeping.

As for the corvids, the caching and rehydrating is a pretty nifty strategy. They definitely go for carbs and proteins.

Pizza crust:

Burger bun (with sesame seeds!):

A squirrel using a potted plant as a restroom is grand! Our squirrels just store peanuts in ours - and then forget about them and the peanuts sprout and add to the foliage.