Giz checks the Antiques and the Arts Weekly newspaper for the current auction items at the Saturday night auction so he can tell Pawpa which items look good that he might be interested in. A good puppy should ALWAYS be prepared to discuss current events.
In reading this morning's Hartford Courant newspaper, Mom learned of a different harbinger of spring that she'd like to share.
The Timberdoodle Courtship Dance
We've never seen this dance nor heard of it but, evidently, the Bolton Land Trust is organizing a hike called The Timberdoodle Tramp to search out timberdoodles. They are hoping to see the timberdoodle's courtship sky dance. The dance starts with a nasal mating call followed by the male spiraling up hundreds of feet into the sky. He then plummets straight down to the ground making a twittering sound all the way down in an effort to attract a mate. (The timberdoodle is a woodcock and looks like this picture I found on timberdoodle.org.)
Hmmmm .... Mom thought it sounded interesting but it sounds like it uses way too much energy for me!
It was almost a disaster. I did not buy chocolate chips because I "knew" I had some. Unfortunately many of the chocolate chips had disappeared. As it later turned out, I had enough but it was a little unnerving. When I was almost ready to pop them into the oven, I discovered I'd not added the sugar so I needed to put the batter back into the bowl and add it. What a pain! I liked the muffins that started out as Barb's Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins from Allrecipe.com.
I made a few changes to the recipe because I didn't want 24 muffins; I only wanted 6 big ones so I halved the recipe ingredients to change the measurements to be appropriate for 12 small muffins. (There is an option on the Allrecipe site to do this.) Although the revised recipe called for 1/2 cup of chocolate chips, I added 1 cup of mini-chocolate chips and 1 cup of chopped walnuts. Then I used my 6 muffin popover pan to make bigger muffins and baked them for 50 minutes .
I would have been happier with less chocolate chips but Pawpa has pronounced that these muffins were"THE BEST MUFFINS EVER".
Although there are mallards that live on the pond next door, this pair leads a solitary life up on the small reservoir. They stop by the feeder a few times a day to dine on whatever has been thrown down to the ground.
There are no mountain lions (catamounts) in CT. The CT Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) describes them on their website but it says there are none here. If anyone sends a picture, they will reconsider....no one has...so there are no mountain lions in CT. This is a picture of a mountain lion.
There are bobcats in CT. A bobcat is larger than a housecat but smaller than a mountain lion. A bobcat has a stub for a tail. That's why it's called a bobcat. One visited our yard last year but I did not have my new camera and did not get a picture of it. Here's one I found on the web.
Yesterday our neighbor gave us a call to tell us of a surprising sighting by a neighbor up the road. The neighbor caught sight of a very large cat..the size of a coyote and a very, very long tail. It crossed the road in front of her car and she got a real good look at the long tail as it passed in front of her headlights. She called the DEP. They asked if she got a picture. It was dark. She was driving. The cat was running. Nope! No picture. They told her she must have seen a bobcat or a coyote. There are NO mountains lions in CT. Yeah, right.
Sadly, these pictures are not my pictures. I got them on the web. As much as I'd like to SEE a mountain lion, I DO NOT want it to be when I am walking alone in the park. Gizzy and Pawpa agree. Hopefully, it was just passing through.
Message from Gizzy: Mom was feeling a wee bit better yesterday. She woke up early and made these for Pawpa. Yummy Strawberry Nut Muffins! Well, Pawpa said Yummy. I don't like strawberries so I got a little bite of chicken. You all know I love chicken. I had Mom put the recipe below the picture.
1/4 Cup Canola Oil
1/2 Cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 Cup white sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Cup chopped strawberries (fresh or slightly thawed frozen)
1/2 Cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Oil a 6 cup POPOVER muffin tin. (Mom used Pam for baking.)
In a small bowl, combine oil, milk, and egg.
Beat lightly.In a large bowl, mix flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar. (Mom didn't sift the flour. She just spooned it lightly into the measuring cups and leveled it with the flat side of a knife.)
Toss in chopped strawberries and stir to coat with flour. Pour in milk mixture and stir together.
Fill muffin cups. (1/2 cup of batter in each one of the 6 cups worked for me.
Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes or until the tops bounce back from the touch. Cool 10 minutes and remove from pan.
** This will make 8 average size muffins or 6 muffins made with a larger popover muffin tin. Mom bought a silicone popover pan and loved, loved, loved it. (Mom used a recipe from Allrecipes.com and adapted it for the larger pan.)
Mom's been feeling a little yucky and she is hunkering down with soothing chicken soup so she is not available to be my photographer today. Here is one of her pictures from a vacation trip to the Maritimes. It was very peaceful and deserted on this beach.
The ice is melting at the duck pond next door and the mallards are back. There is just one little peninsula of ice left on the water. (There were a LOT more ducks there but they took off when I started down our hill to the pond. The closer I got, the fewer there were.)
Pawpa has gone off to the antique co-op in Old Saybrook and left me home with Mom. It is my firm belief that IF I sit and watch the door, he will come home quicker and release me from the onerous task of guarding Mom. WHY does he always say "you're in charge" when he leaves me alone with her??? Why can't SHE be "in charge" just once?
The weather has been bad and Mom says she is just not in the mood to leave the house and take pictures. And .. and .. she says there are a limited number of pictures of me sleeping that she can foist on an unsuspecting public. I think she's nuts. Who would EVER be tired of looking at me??Seriously..she gots a couple problems and I am NOT one of them. Oh, the stories I could tell. Since we are almost alone, I guess I can tell you one.
She is a BIG fraidy pants? HEIGHTS! She is not a fan of high places, her knees shake and she feels a little jiggly inside. Once, she went to this place on the Fundy Trail where there is a really neat waterfall that she thought would make a nice picture. She could NOT get down the stairs to the viewing platform so what she got was a neat picture of the stairs ... going down, down, down.
Me? I'd have run right down those stairs!
What? No, I'm not doing nothing Mom. Really. Shhhh! Don't tell her I told you!