Sunday, March 1, 2009

Snow Day

The weather forecast called for maybe an inch of snow. Instead, we got a good six inches on Saturday, which was a great way to end out the month of February. Nothing is more fun and relaxing than to spend a snowy day in the kitchen, reading, cooking, watching birds, and, now, thanks to the new addition to our family, watching Basie play in the snow.

Basie loves snow, which isn't a big surprise. He loves to play in the backyard, loves cold weather, and loves to explore. He is 11 weeks old now and growing fast.

My two new journals -- the green one is for birdwatching and the tan one is my kitchen journal. Among other things, this is great for remembering what cookbook a particularly good recipe came from.

Elly was busy making a Cauliflower Cheese Pie from Mollie Katzen's Moosewood Cookbook. We substitute a regular pie crust for the grated potato crust called for in the original recipe. This is awesome with white cheddar cheese, BTW.

I've been on something of a baking binge since trying a Ciabatta recipe in the March/April 2009 Cooks Illustrated which turned out marvelously. Then I came across Suzanne Dunaway's No Need to Knead cookbook at the library. This is one cookbook that seriously needs a second edition. It was published in 1999 and is not readily available on the used book market. It is one of the best cookbooks I have found, even including original watercolor illustrations by Dunaway. I made Apricot Focaccia following her recipe exactly and the result was divine. Easy too. It is suprising what great bread you can make without kneading. Seriously. If you are interested in baking at all and can find a copy of Dunaway's book at your local library, do yourself a favor and check it out.

Some more birds. I can't seem to stop snapping pictures of birds in our backyard. Believe me this is a tiny sample of my total image haul. :-)

Lots of activity at the niger feeder. Goldfinches give larger birds like Grackles a very wide birth, but they aren't afraid to mix it up with birds their own size like house finches and juncos.

The quintessential snow birds in our backyard are cardials and dark-eyed juncos. These are a couple of nice junco pictures. They stay with us from October through April, traveling north into Canada to breed and next in the spring and summer.

Bluejays simply can't resist peanuts in the shell, even if they have to do a little snow removal to uncover them.

Starlings are widely reviled by birders because they are an invasive species and force out many lovely native birds. Well, at least in urban areas. I have to confess that I enjoy watching the. They are handsome, fiesty, and often hilarious.

Here are a couple more pictures of Basie, for his many blog-stalking fans...

Playing in the snow can wear a puppy out!


waxwing said...

Cauliflower Cheese Pie from Mollie Katzen's Moosewood Cookbook


sorry.. Will now read the rest of your post.

waxwing said...

Ok, now that I've calmed down and read the rest of your post -- Love the Juncos. We rarely have them anymore. I guess it is because I don't feed the birds things that drop to the ground because we've had rats.

We've not gotten any grackles yet this year, although I did see one fly over my car on the way to Rockville, carrying a twig for a nest today.

I like starlings too. They have lovely voices during mating season.

Basie is lovely and makes me want to be a dog person in my next life.

Fiske said...


Mollie Katezen fan, huh? :-) That is a great cookbook.

We haven't had any trouble with rats, thank goodness. The birds keep the seed pretty well cleaned up and we store it in galvanized metal trash cans with big rocks on the lids. Though, we do leave the sunflower chip can without a rock because racoon families will sometimes visit for a chipfest, which is fun to see if we hear them in the night and sneak down to the kitchen to peek at them on the back porch. Haven't seen any for a number of months, now. We get the occasional possum, too.

Lots of grackles here. Red-winged blackbirds, too. They are definitely harbingers of spring, though all sorts of signs start appearing. Male cardinals start singing, mourning doves start calling, the gold finches start showing little bits of bright color. We also tend to get roving bands of house finches. The males sereneding their lady friends with complex and lengthy songs.

Basie is a keeper, no doubt about that. Puppies are lots of work, though. ;-)