Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Bird in the Bush

Kate came up for her visit last week. She brought her Bread Machine with her and her recipe for Green Chili & Cheese Yeasted Corn Bread. Oh my goodness, if you have never tried this bread, you don't know what you are missing. She also made us Beef Enchiladas to go with the bread. Yum! I LOVE Kate's Enchiladas. And her Green Chili Cheese Bread.

We made a batch of Brioche Dough as well. With it we made a Cinnamon Rolls, Cinnamon Sticky Buns and a savory cheese roll. The consensus was that the Rolls and Sticky Buns were great, but we didn't like the Cheese Rolls and wouldn't make them again. Of course, that could have been because I decided to put garlic in them and used 3 crushed cloves. Hey, on the bright side, it kept vampires away!

Kate left on Thursday morning to go back down Island to Sidney to go to work. The rain started in earnest the night before and didn't let up for 2 days. I swear we got at least 4 inches of it. That's ok, it could have been that cold, white stuff they were getting back east.

When I got groceries last week, we picked up our seed blocks for the wild birds. Richard put one in the hanger in the Cherry tree outside the laundry room window. I love to watch the birds come and enjoy it. There is a hierarchy to who eats when that I noticed this last year when we hung up the feeder. There are many different types of birds that come to peck at the seed, nut and fruit laden suet block. Some are really tiny, like the little Chestnut Backed Chickadee - some really big like the Red Shafted Flicker that is about a foot in length.

Talk about a pecking order! The Red Shafted Flicker is intimidated by no one. I like to call him the Professor, as he looks as if he is wearing a corduroy jacket with leather patches on the sleeves, a speckled vest with a black V-neck and glasses. When he arrives, the others leave so he can get some seeds.

Then there is the Starlings, or Bully Boys as I refer to them. Four or five will show up at a time, chasing off any other bird that is at the feeder, hogging it for an hour, squawking and squabbling and making a nuisance of themselves. That is, until the Professor arrives. He is the only one that can intimidate them without even trying. Even the Stellar Jays, which are larger than the Starlings, make way for the Bully Boys.

The little Chickadees are generous and share the feeder with the Towhees and the Fox Sparrows. And the small Downy Woodpecker nervously eats, bobbing up and down to check for the larger birds. We also have the Hairy Woodpecker coming to the feeder, much to my delight. Even ground feeders like the Juncos benefit from the feeder, picking at the seeds that drop to the ground beneath the tree it sits in.

But I've watched them enough and now it is time to make some more bread...Brioche of course. My favorite. Bente phoned to say she was bringing me out my Vanilla Bean order. I found a Canadian Supplier on the Internet and ordered a pound of Vanilla Beans. The savings is amazing. I have them delivered to her house in town because most delivery people can't find our house in the country. I plan to make lots of
things with Vanilla for Christmas gifts. Oh and of course I will make homemade Vanilla Extract. Once you make your own, you will never buy from the store again, believe me.

While I wait, I decide to take the dogs out into the garden yard. I bundle up - toque, mitts, jacket, pants tucked into socks - no, it's not THAT cold but it is damp. The dogs race out into the yard.

Mow pepo!
Ovah heah, unner dis plant ting.

Trying to keep my eyes on all the dogs at once is difficult. I wander about, deactivating doggy mines, checking the Sweet Peas in the garden boat to see if they have been touched by frost at all...they haven't. I am waiting to see how long they last. So far, so good.

Time to go back inside. I holler for the dogs and move towards the deck. I've got five of them, but Molly is missing.



"Come on Molly, time to go in."

I busy. I huntin' mow pepo. Dey rite heah, unner plant ting.


ok, ok, i comin'

That will teach me not to pay attention. She got under my plant bench, beneath the rambling rose-entwined apple tree and started digging in the mud. Her paws were so caked with it, that I had to dig it out of her pads, all the while berating her for being so bad. Bichons. Honestly, what a little digger she is, and who knows what she was looking for.

Mow pepo, mom, I to'd you, mow pepo unner der.


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