A place where I can share interesting ideas and maybe get a few things off my chest

Archive for January, 2021

Weekend Cooking – Creole Gumbo

My first cookbook

When I graduated high school, Mom and Dad gave me a really nice sewing machine, and Aunt Helen, Mom’s sister, gave me my first cookbook.

Thank you, Aunt Helen and Frances!

She Cooks By Ear was written by my Uncle Buddy’s cousin, Frances S. James, and Aunt Helen got her to autograph it for me.

Our favorite recipe

There is great cooking advice and many great recipes between its covers, but, as you can see by all the stains, this is the family favorite. Most often it was made just as a chicken gumbo, but we did make the full recipe for company and special occasions. (Except for the oysters. Oysters are nasty.)

Just added the seafood and okra – still has another half-hour to cook.
Finished off with the secret of gumbo – powdered sassafras leaves – and ready to eat.
You can’t see the rice, but it’s under there.

Today I made the full recipe (with the previously noted exception) as a celebration for the bright-and-shiny New Year 2021. We had our requisite black-eyed peas yesterday, but this tastes way better.

Going To The Birds

Over the past year (or longer–time is always a little wibbly-wobbly for me, totally unrelated to current circumstances), I’ve read about how intelligent crows are and how people make friends with them and then the crows bring them bright-and-shiny presents.

I decided I want to make friends with crows so they can bring me bright-and-shiny presents.

I told Steve I wanted some kind of feeding platform in front of my writing window, so I would be able to see the crows when they come to eat the peanuts that I read would lure them. He kindly obliged.

Waiting for the crows

We did not get crows, but we did have blue jays visit.

Blue jays and crows are both corvids.

And squirrels.

Squirrels are not corvids. They are also very pushy.

What I didn’t consider was how interested Gracie would be in the peanuts. I thought she was just guarding the backyard from the squirrel invaders, until I saw her eating off the board when she thought I wasn’t looking.

Also not a corvid. Also very pushy.

Obviously, an alternate strategy was called for. So, I bought a hanging feeder.

Small dogs cannot reach this. Squirrels had no problem.

Steve dismantled the low platform, found the shepherd’s hook, and we were good to go. Except the birds stopped visiting. Back to the drawing board.

After some engineering and hard work on Steve’s part, we now have a new feeding platform.

New and improved!

Within a couple of days, we started having visitors!

A pair of titmouses – not corvids, but very cute.

This titmouse pair are now regulars at the feeder. I put out about ten peanuts when I first sit down for Morning Pages, and they almost always show up before I’m done.

This morning was especially exciting, because the jays have finally returned! Not only that, but in addition to my titmouses and the jays, a woodpecker stopped by, and I saw a cardinal pair watching the goings-on from across the yard. I may have to start buying more peanuts.

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