Friday, November 25, 2011

Turkey turkey

MI wish I had taken a photo of the bird I cooked from Weather Top Farm in Check VA for it was excellent, magnificent. Monday after I returned home with the 12 1/2 pound (seemed heavier than Mr. Lee who weighs 13 lbs!) organic,pastured turkey, Baldwin suggested a dry brine and he handed me a fresh bouquet of herbs (sage, thyme and rosemary). I rubbed sea salt and rosemary over the bird and covered it in the refrigerator until Thursday morning. (Luckily I invited Alma to drive with me to pick up the bird - and we did not get lost!)
Thursday morning I brushed off any excess salt and whiped out the cavity. I stuffed turkey with organic tangerines, organic apple, onion and celery and lots of Baldwin and Mindy's herbs. Early that morning I had began cooking a stock for the gravy with the neck, liver and heart - with carrot, onion, celery, jalapeno, herbs, lots of salt and pepper. I calculated that the bird would take 4 hours and I decided to cook it breast down for the first 45 minutes. I go with the Joy of cooking and heat the oven to 450, immediately turning the oven to 325 when the turkey goes in. I pushed a couple of tbs of butter up under the skin of the breast and rubbed olive oil over the rest of the skin. Thru out the cooking I basted the bird with olive oil about every 25 min - sometimes I basted with stock. I debated whether to cook in my gas oven on Convection Roast or Convection Bake. Ach! I went with the bake until the last hour when I switched to roast. I tented the breast with foil, but the bird was very brown anyway. I am writing this down so that next year I have something to which I can refer. um.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tree down and sectioned

I debated all year whether to cut down the black walnut between my house and the spring house. The kick to action was the profuse crop of walnuts this fall! Luckily for me, Baldwin's friend Eli came and with Baldwin's help managed the feat of falling the tree without damaging house! There is more light and spaciousness. But I feel a sadness and guilt as I remember this tree, hardly a wrist in diameter when we moved here, 37 years ago and I watched it thrive after its too near neighbor maple died, toppling very close to the back porch. There is another black walnut to the north of the house, perhaps too close; it also is pending removal! Black walnuts are not easy to live with near house or garden, spreading a toxin which kills especially ever greens (I have lost several). It was a healthy tree, although branching early into three which Eli assured me was dangerous - likely to split the trunk in two. My friend Alma voted for keeping the tree as it was healthy without the canker which is attacking walnuts in the area. The day of its death, squirrels were in the limbs, jumping from the spring house roof.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

the Passing of Bilbo - Parakeet

I will remember Bilbo on the deck rail, snug under the branches of the red bud happily mimmicking bird calls. He was never eager to converse with me or other humans, nor did he escape his cage although I frequently left his door open. But he was a vivid blue spot of energy in my day, ringing his many bells to bring me back to NOW. It was a week ago that I found him on the bottom of his cage, his plumage spotless as he'd just finished molting. His appetite hadn't changed, but his stool was loose (i think stool is the wrong word here - but je ne sais pas!). Katrina's marking of Bilbo's demise seems to be the capture of a titmouse yesterday. There is now such a blank space on the wall where his cage hung! But I don't want a new bird. Not yet.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Learning of super tonics

My most favorite super tonic of late is chia seeds, but yesterday I discovered a new super tonic: hemp seeds. It has long outraged me that the United States has outlawed the growing of hemp! Grown in Canada and elsewhere - probably everywhere but here (here because it is a weed - but not cultivated). Besides the obvious benefits, one of which is hemp paper which would save untold trees, hemp seeds are high in protein and contain all nine of the essential amino acids (like flax). These potent seeds have the power to treat nutritional deficiencies caused by diseases such as Tuberculosis or cancer; hemp seeds are anti-inflammatory. Adding hulled organic hemp seeds to your diet (eat plain - taste somewhat like walnuts, a bit greener or add to salads or other food) will correct any long standing issues with blood flow, help reduce blood cholesterol, reduce the chance of arterial thrombosis and more - lots more! Hemp seeds contain a perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega-6 Linoleic Acid and Omega-3 Linolenic Acid for cardiovascular health and general strengthening of immune system! Here's a near free source of food, good source, and in America we can't grow it. Must be because the Pharma folk can't patent it. Of course, the surveillance helicopters can't distinguish hemp from its sister MaryJane.

Friday, November 11, 2011

flirst snow flakes

Wind is cold this Veteran's Day, but the sun is out which warms the green house warming the south east side of the house and my room where I write, french doors to the room of green. What would have been a miserable discovery by myself, was mitigated by Baldwin's great help: He and I went in the studio to drain the pipes and were assaulted by a deadly odor. The refrigerator decided to die and take a freezer full of pastured beef with it. Gross! We emptied the frig and mopped with clorox. The smell is gone and the frig stands by the driveway ready for the trip to the dump! I don't eat meat often and I suspect this incident will serve to put red meat way down on my list of desirable food.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


From working at the polls to peering inquisitively at nature - if it weren't for the time to lollygag with trees, I don't think that I would have the inclination to stand at the polls asking, "would you like a sample ballot?" over and over again! Sad that Don Langrehr lost and that Brandon Bell lost. I can't help but wonder how someone feels at the results who did not take the time to vote. Bothers me, especially ticks me off, if the non voter could walk, had a car, and a brain. In what reality is the nonvoter inhabiting? I've heard an unregistered 50 year old man say, "what has the government done for me?" Oh, poor poor pitiful one, vote so you can register a complaint. Not voting will certainly not help.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Frosty mornings

The deck is so frosty in the mornings that i can skate or slip on my way to open the chickens. I've covered three small areas in the garden with plastic to fashion mini green houses in hopes of prolonging the life of arugula, chard and collards. The ends need tending to today as I've not gotten them snug enuf; if the sun stays with us, I will open these small tunnels so they don't overheat. I need to gather some pine needles or other mulch to put on the sides - probably by December. Day light savings ended and the morning is lighter and easier on the rising - but i know that i will be sad this early darkening evening as I drive into the burg for our fund raiser for Planned Parenthood.
The first light over the east ridge on the shards of frost set the hollar adazzle. I think it lightens my mind; how can i tell you? Too intent this hour on paying attention to "On Being." Later!
Of course, we are part of but one of multitudes of universes - the avenues between: black holes, i hazard.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Novel November

I hadn't heard of this challenge; 500 words a day. I can't imagine doing more than 50 each day for 30 days! I'd rather tackle a play. It's difficult to follow the day to day command; rebellious nature erupts - we question if it is as necessary as brushing our teeth. Daily I open and close my chickens, but not at the same time. Likewise with feeding my cat, my dog and bird. At my first job after college at National Geographic, I talked my editors into allowing me to come in at 8 and leave at 4 - I liked not being part of the herd? I'm not sure, but they let me do this - and I relished walking to work from 31st and Q Street to downtown DC.
Problem is when I rebel from my own best practices, as with writing every day. I am a loyal walker, every day to the river or around Red Bud - but I can avoid my room to write as if it were a ward in the asylum. Perhaps it is kin. I relish qigong daily, often more than one time in the day; why can't i transfer this discipline to writing?
There is the issue with having stopped smoking 16 years ago - sitting with a cigarette before an empty screen had its attraction! Dark attractions! This habit along with a mug of coffee which I have also given up, conspires to make writing difficult - the brain balks, memory falters - imagination blanks. I want to move. I suspect I need to better OCCUPY MY SPOT!