Sunday, February 07, 2016

the warmth of February: finale

I got ambitious. It happens sometimes -- I feel the rustle and kick of culinary aspiration and I dive into a meal preparation that's (for me at least) over the top. It's almost as if it has to be difficult or it doesn't count. This time it's a brunch and I did give myself time for prep work yesterday. Still, I was up plenty before dawn today to move things along.

I was frying lemon ginger doughnuts at a time when I usually wrestle with myself to get up and unlatch the cheeper coop.

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(When I do get to the coop, and I lure the girls outside with some chicken corn; It seems that the hens are gossiping about their fate in life. Well they should! A possum came by this way again last night!)

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It's rough being a chicken.

My youngest daughter comes down to help with food preparation. These are the warmest of moments -- having her there to glaze, to chop, to plate the apple cake and then to sit back over a strong coffee and exhale together before the hoards come to the table.

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And such grand guests they are! Ed of course, and the two young couples and... ah, guess who's peeking from the corner?

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The best eater of them all!

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She especially loves the squash pancake and the pepper and feta shakshuka, which, of course, transforms her face into a palate of oranges and reds.

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Oh, but it's good to have both daughters and their husbands here today!

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Snowdrop would agree. And she has found another sucker who never says no when she stretches her arms out waiting to be held and hugged!

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Maybe it's that my younger daughter is closest to her in age -- Snowdrop just worms her way into the warm heart of her aunt. Peas in a pod.

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Warm moments -- all of them.

After the house empties and the last scrubbed dish is stacked in the cupboard, I coax  Ed into taking a walk. They say it is warm and yes, the thermometer registers a high upwards of freezing, but the wind is brisk and so we keep to a brisk pace, continuing along the rural roads to the south of the farmette.

Through the forest, around the bend, with the view again toward Hook Lake...

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We're thinking surely we'll be alone on this remote road. But no -- a car approaches, very slowly and it pauses as we pass by. A woman rolls down her window and peers out. You're looking for the shrike, aren't you?

I don't think I heard right. A what? Ed shrugs his shoulders, equally puzzled.
The shrike. Aren't you birders?
I smile at that. No, just out for a walk.
Well, look here -- she takes out a fat book. It's been spotted in these parts. I read it yesterday, on the internet. She points to a photo of a black and white bird. The northern shrike.
It's rare to see it here?
She laughs at our ignorance.
Very rare.

As we wish her luck, I say to Ed how interesting it is to simply look for a bird. Not to take its photo, not to do anything but to recognize it and check it off your list.
Ed chuckles. Birdwatchers are like fishermen. So many people pursue their hobby for reason that have nothing to do with their hobby. A quiet walk in the woods, or hours of peace on the lake... it's not always about the fish or the birds.

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We return home. Deer pass through the yard, the cheepers have regained their calm and are safely in the coop. The farmette exudes peace.

Time to think about the week ahead. 


  1. What a spectacular brunch! I can almost smell and taste it from the photos. And, of course, what wonderful company to share it with!

  2. Homemade lemon ginger donuts! And so much else! Snowdrop is getting an amazing introduction to food, such encouragement to try new tastes every time. I wonder if she has preferences at thirteen months or if she'll try anything. Some of the Pre-K kids I see are much about "No thank you" at snack time and some will try anything... I think we know which type Snowdrop will be.:^)

  3. Oh, Nina, I haven't had deep-fried doughnuts since my Grandmother used to make them for our Saturday visits. Oh, what a delicious memory! And her apfelkuchen - looks like your apple cake. I'm so glad for you all that you've had this good family interlude.

    I like what Ed said about hobbies being "not always about the fish or the birds". I feel the same about stargazing. I would feel too highfalutin' to call what I do "astronomy". I like to understand what I'm seeing, but really it's about the tranquility and the meditations that the vastness calls to mind.


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