Single, Sunny, Still, Songs, Spiral, Squirrel, Sauce

3 Mar

Single digits but sunny.  And no wind; a wondrous stillness.  Yesterday was a howling whipping wind day.  On top of the thick crunchy sugar crust of snow is a light dusting that fell before the wind.  That thin layer looks like a fine painting this morning: fine brushstrokes covering the surface.  Wind work that artists try to imitate with feathers or fine hair brushes.  And through all the whiteness bright crystal sparkles of reflected light.

Even with the bitter cold, the birds are singing.  It is light earlier and later.  The Northern Mockingbird was at the feeder yesterday.  And the Brown Creeper returned to the suet tree. I had never seen one before last week.  It uses it tail as a support and spirals only up, flying down to work its way back up the tree.  Hawks, crows, jays, nuthatches, chickadees, finches, woodpeckers, the creeper: all are sounding off that spring is coming.  On the road trip last week we saw a pair of yellow-shafted flickers and some turkeys.

Our pussy willow is exceptional only for a few of its branches rather than its gray pussies.  Those are wide and flattened at the end with buds sticking out on every surface.  This one is best–a spiral.  The photo does not do it justice.

I have been contemplating moving the flying squirrels up to an enclosed porch to enable them to acclimate somewhat to the outside temperatures.  I didn’t think it would get into the single digits again.  So not yet.  But they continue to have to work for their food.  I give them whole English walnuts.  They chew one hole and eat some of the nut, then move to another nut.  To encourage them to do better, I put only as many nuts in as have been more thoroughly eaten.  This entails them chewing another hole to get at the other end.  So now I have a few necklaces worth of squirrel-slave-made “beads”.

Jay thinks they should be made into a garland for the Christmas tree.  I think maybe necklaces or buttons?  Each nut needs to be sanded.  Maybe strung with other large beads?

Isaac saw a gray squirrel on the feeder yesterday.  I saw a squirrel– could not tell the color–red or gray–crossing on branch tips from spruce to spruce outside our bedroom window this morning.  The same window Banner used to visit and come into our room through.  Sigh.

Daren harvested five grays Tuesday for me.  We were having guests for supper that would appreciate game.  I boiled them up yesterday morning.  They were noticeably smaller; the meat lighter and more tender than the big ones he gave us at Christmas.  Five yielded about 2.5 cups of meat.  It was ground up and went into homemade sauce for pizza.  Squirrel pizza.  Yum!  Quick sauce recipe: three large cloves garlic, three shallots (bought five pounds of them in the fall–must use them!), a medium onion all chopped fine and cooked in butter.  Add one quart home canned tomatoes (a red-Sungold mix), spices, extra frozen basil, salt, pepper, the rest of the ajvar and the ground squirrel.  Cook for a bit.  Really marvelous.  It got my 20-yr old out of bed.  Well, not until 10.30AM.  But he said he smelled it all the way upstairs.

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