Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Christmas Gift for Laura

I have been cooking my brains out now for two straight days. Tonight we have the Feast of the Seven fishes, with only five fishes this year. We'll have Shrimp Bisque, scallops wrapped in bacon with maple mustard cream sauce, spicy calamari with lemon aioli, salad with shrimp, avocado, and oranges, and linguine with clam sauce. No time to post the recipes now, comment if you want a specific recipe and I'll post it after Christmas.

So my gift to Laura, she whom I have tormented and abused in this space for so long?

I will write about my grassland birds.

I live on five acres in semi-rural Mendon, New York. We mow a couple of the acres, but the rest is wild. We call it our meadow, but Laura calls it grassland. It is so wet it could conceivably be called a wetlands. We have animals of every sort: deer, of course, skunks, raccoon, fox, chipmunks, moles, voles, rabbits, squirrels, you name it, if it is indigenous to our region, we have it. But the thing of which we do have the most variety is birds. I can't even begin to tell you or name all the kinds I have seen in my backyard. Two of my favorites though are the hawks and falcons which lazily float above the weeds and then dive suddenly for their kill. Once Laura pointed two of them out who were doing some sort of mating ritual in the sky. It was lovely. My other favorite bird activity on my land is when hundreds of smallish birds gather on my lawn en masse. They are quite small, and unremarkable looking, but I love to see when they gather and then just as much, when they suddenly depart, all together, as if some unheard signal went racing through the flock. I have seen beautiful, if ordinary, birds in my yard: bluejays, cardinals, robins, canadian geese on their way south or north, some bird which runs across my driveway when I approach, apparently to distract me from finding its nest.

My all time-favorite though? A recent sighting of a ring-necked pheasant just on the edge of the field. He was glorious. I though he was a wild turkey until Laura set me straight.

Now, Merry Christmas, Laura, shall we have some recipes on Birds, Words, and Websites? Oh, that's right, she's about a good a cook as I am a nature writer.


Laura said...

My cup runneth over with Christmas love. This is brilliant! Thank you, thank you, thank you. Your yard is great for birds, and I have no idea why I don't live THERE in the country and you live HERE in the fancy main street house with a parlor and butler's pantry for entertaining guests with your fabbo plates of food.

As for Xmas, we got ourselves invited to the Havilands so we didn't have to worry about recipes, shopping, and cooking.

However, I am reminded that we still have Xmas Eve to celebrate, so here I am at 10: 31 am on the Eve wondering what to cook. A ham, perhaps? Sweet potatoes? That green bean casserole with Campbell's mushroom soup? Those dry onion thingies on top put it over the top in the Delish Category.

So, we must squeeze in betweeen the crowds at Weggies and hope the hams have not been hocked and the soup aisle has not already been cleared.

You are lovely, my friend.

And you need about 1 or 2 bird boxes in your yard.

Deb said...



Madison will actually eat it.

Anonymous said...

I HAVE to come an visit one day!

Merry Christmas, J!

The Mendon Foodie said...

Laura, you are the best, my friend.

Deb, hope you liked the shrimp bisque. confession: I use the Wegman's recipe. It is on their website.

Hope, have you or your children ever been to Niagara Falls? It is only an hour from here. You must see it before you die. Come visit and stay with us and see it.

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas. I did, although I'll be doing dishes for two more days.

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