Friday, March 14, 2008

White Grackles, Roasted Greenbeans, and Georgene Lockwood

I don’t generally go in for The Complete Idiot’s Guide series, but came across Georgene Lockwood’s TCIG Simple Living book at Half-Price last weekend and was so impressed with it (after a cursory examination) I decided to give it a try. Oh, along with five other books. I realize having tons of books is not necessarily the best approach to simple living, but according to Georgene Lockwood we each have to find our own way...

One exercise she recommends (lots of exercises) is to keep track, on a daily basis, of three things to be grateful for, which, she acknowledges, sounds kind of hokey. Why not? Here are my three things for yesterday.

1. On my lunch break (it was a work from home day), I saw this splendid albino grackle on our feeding tray. I have heard of these before, but have not seen one. It was a very striking bird.

Here is a normal grackle for comparison.

2. I decided to choose roasted green beans for my second item. It is amazing how delicious, healthy, and easy to prepare these are. Of course, you need fresh green beans. Cut off the ends with a paring knife, toss them with a bit of olive oil and kosher salt on a large baking sheet, and then roast them in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, turning them with a spatula at 10 minute intervals. Some beans cook faster, some slower, so you want to keep an eye on them until you have some experience with this. They taste better than french fries and are more healthy. We have gotten in the habit of roasting most vegetables. At least, it is a cooking technique we use for them about 75-80% if the time. They taste great and retain more vitamins and minerals (which aren’t leached away by cooking water, etc.).

3. Reading Georgene L’s book was my third grateful choice.

Part of the exercise is that you can't repeat items -- you have to think of new ones each day.

If I were going to pick a fourth item, it would be seeing a female cowbird in our backyard yesterday morning. We haven't seen one since last fall. She is probably hoping to find some early nest to lay an egg in. (Cowbirds don’t make their own nests. They lay eggs in the nests of other birds and let them do the hard work. I hope she chooses a starling's nest.)

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