Monday, November 10, 2008

Birds of a Feather

Yup, I am still sick, although I think the antibiotic is finally starting to work. I didn't try to cough up a lung this morning like a 4 pak a day smoker. Which I am not...not a smoker at all. Nope, not one habit I ever had. I'm still tired, still weak, still whiney, still bored. Siiiiggghh.

Mid-morning, Richard is getting ready for work, and the dogs suddenly start barking and hooting in the living room. I, of course, ignore them. Richard goes to see what they are carrying on about, and quickly comes into the bedroom to tell me what is happening.

"There is a Cock Pheasant and at least 4 Hen Pheasants in the driveway!" he exclaims. "Quick, come and look." Then he darts back out to the living room again.

I hobble out to the kitchen, looking through the windows, and finally spot two hen pheasants under the Birch tree outside the garden yard. They are eating seeds and pecking up gravel for their crops. Silently edging out the kitchen door, I move to the gate and spot the Cock Pheasant and another hen moving up from the old garden towards the apple tree on the driveway. Of course the sharp-eyed guy sees me and bolts into the field towards the creek. The hens are oblivious, continuing to feed.

Now you may ask yourself, why all the fuss about pheasants. Well, it's this way. It's been several years since we have had them in the yard. At one time, after we first moved here, we had dozens of pheasants. One winter, we saw a Cock Pheasant and his harem of 13 hens in the yard, and could hear many others calling from different areas of the farm. We had cats at the time, one in particular was a great pheasant hunter, and had a real taste for them. She kept the population balanced for us. Then, after all the cats had gone to the great catnip patch in the sky, the population bottomed out. Now it, and the Blue Grouse population, appears to be returning. Hence our excitement.

Too much excitement for a sick person, back to bed.

Last night before settling down for my sleep, I put the dry ingredients for Brioche into a bag so I could make some dough after Richard went to work today at noon. Of course, after taking my medication this morning, I got sleepy and slept for a while, but mid afternoon I finally got around to making my Brioche dough. The recipe measures everything by volume...everything that is except the butter and that it measured by weight, or so I thought.

Note to self: if most of the recipe is measured by volume, assume that ALL the recipe should be measured by volume.

The recipe calls for 5 ounces of butter, while the rest of the recipe is measured in cups, tablespoons or teaspoons. Being a literalist, I took the 5 ounces to be a weight, not a measurement and weighed it out on my kitchen scale. Believe me, 5 ounces weighed is considerably more than 5 ounces measured. No, really.

After adjusting my dough by adding 1/3 cup more flour to the pan, the dough mixes up beautifully. I text Kate and tell her what I did. She texts back with "Oooops. Well, tell Richard it is supposed to be that way. It's a French dough. French Doughs are supposed to have lots of butter in them!"

I made two loaves of bread and some sweet rolls. I have several cans of Peach Pie Filling in the cupboard, thanks to a recent sale at Extra Foods. Now, Peach Pie filling is kind of insipid, but with the right additions, it can be quite tasty. I however, was still tired - second note to self: DON'T MAKE BREAD WHEN YOU ARE SICK AND TIRED - and only added cinnamon and dried cranberrys. Next time, lemon juice and lemon zest for more zip. The bread of course, is great. The sweet rolls, despite my just kind of slapping them in the pan...see note about sick and tired above...turned out good. When I do it again, and I will, I will puree the pie filling, add the lemon juice and lemon zest as well as the cranberries, mix together and spread on the cinnamon-sprinkled rolled out dough.

Oh and rather than purchase Peach pie filling in the future, which has a regular price of almost $4.00 a can, although I paid $1.50 each, I will buy canned peaches, add lemon juice and zest and thicken the lot with cornstarch. At a cost of almost $3.00 less.

The dogs are nattering to go outside, so after the bread comes out of the oven, I don my coat, toque and mitts, and take them into the garden yard. Today is my day for birds. Overhead a large Bald Eagle floats on the air currents above us hunting rodents. Behind me in the Holly trees I hear the raucous cry of a Stellar Jay and from the creek comes the teasing laughter of my Muttering Murder of Crows. In the distance to the North of us, over the middle field where the creek flooded two days ago in the downpour of rain, a flock of Western Gulls circles, looking for unfortunate fish left behind when the waters receded.

Time to go back indoors and rest some more, I am worn out. Going to be a while before I am well again that is for sure. And time for more drugs to combat the infection. Time to lay down again. And doze.

Then the dogs remind me they haven't eaten yet, so first, I feed them, then lay down.

And doze.

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