Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Watercourse Knock-Off: Biscuits & Gravy

So, you may remember my enthusiasm for the food we had at Watercourse Foods resturant in Denver, CO earlier this year.  One of my dear readers, Cristy, suggested I look around online to see if I could replicate any of the scrumptious fare we had there.  What a great idea!  So I did some sleuthing and found a good number of Watercourse Knock-Offs to try out.

So on Monday night we made a take on the Biscuits and Tempeh Gravy they've got on the breakfast menu down at Watercourse.  I've never eaten it at the actual resturant...so I don't know how the recipe stacks up to the real deal....but, my oh my, was it superb.  So who cares if its like the restaurant.  It was fabulous.

I tweaked the recipe found here.
The biscuits have shredded carrot in them!  I'd have never thought of that in a million years, but its pretty genius, I think.  It makes them quite moist and adds a nice touch of color to them.   The gravy is a bit more savory and more spicy than our standard biscuits and gravy recipe.   But, then again, our standard recipe doesn't call for hot sauce! 

Yuuuuuuuuummmmmmy!

I think I know what I'm going to try next time I have the opportunity to go to Watercourse!

Biscuits and Tempeh Gravy

Biscuits:
3/4 cup soy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
5 tbsp shortening
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 small carrot, grated fine

Preheat oven to 350° F.
In a measuring cup, whisk the apple cider vinegar into the soy milk.  Let it sit and curdle a few minutes.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Cut the shortening into the flour mixture.  
Pour in the curdled milk and applesauce, and fold together.  
Fold in the grated carrot.
Drop by heaping quarter-cupfuls onto a baking sheet or stone.
Bake for 20 minutes, until lightly golden.  

Gravy:
8 oz tempeh
water
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp cayenne hot sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp fennel seed
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp sage
a pinch or two red pepper flakes
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup soy milk
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
about 1/4 cup flour whisked into about 1/3 cup water
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Crumble the tempeh into a medium saucepan.  Cover most of the way with water.  
Mix in soy sauce and hot sauce.  
Simmer over medium-high heat until dry, but be careful to not burn it.
Turn the heat down to medium.  Add the olive oil to the pan.
Fry the tempeh until it's lightly browned.
Add the garlic, fennel, oregano, thyme, sage, and red pepper.  Cook until fragrant and lightly browned.
Add the veg broth, and use it to deglaze any sticky bits (fond) from the bottom of the pan.
Stir in the milk and nutritional yeast.
Bring to a simmer.
Whisk the flour into water then add slowly into the gravy while whisking until it gets to a consistency you enjoy—thick, but pourable.
Add salt and pepper to taste, much more pepper than salt.

I Love You the Yellowest

I found a sheet of lined, loose-leaf paper in my front flower bed.  It was hung up in the thorns of the bare branched rose bush and had no doubt blown in from one of the school children who attend the elementary school just around the corner from my house.  It had a sweet little love-note-poem on it which made me smile.  It was so endearing.   I've included it below, as written by the young author--punctuation, spelling, and all.

"I Love you the yellowest

I Love you the color of a flower blooming

I Love you the color of the wind movming in the river

I Love you the color of a sun set when it rises in the morning. *I Love you the color of a ripe-Ready Blosom in the summer.*  I Love you the color of when you give me a hug and my heart shines.

I"
 
I wonder what the next stanza would have been....

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Just a little something I whipped up....

We picked up three eggplants for $1 at the Natural Grocer, as I mentioned a couple days ago.  I worked late on Sunday (I work one Sunday evening a month) and came home to a very, very yummy smelling house.  On nights when I work late Matt typically tries to out-do himself in the kitchen.  On this particular occasion as soon as he opened to door to greet me I was hit by a wall of scrumptious Italian smelling air....even before I was off the porch and inside the house! 

He'd made eggplant lasagna where there were no noodles--the eggplant was cut into thin strips and used as faux noodles.  He layered the eggplant "noodles" with a thick and lightly seasoned red sauce made from our canned tomato sauce, fresh tofu ricotta, a wee bit of Daiya cheese we still had on hand, and on a whim, mixed in some sunflower seeds.  He paired it with some yummy spring asparagus roasted with just a little olive oil, salt, and pepper.  He also made fresh rolls, as if all the rest weren't incredible enough. 

The result was phenomenal.  Rich and satisfying, vegetable laden and awesome.

I asked where he'd gotten the recipe (because I wanted to copy it down to add to my recipe card box and so that I could share it will all of you).  He just casually replied "Oh, it was just a little something I whipped up..."

Well done, I say.   What a gem.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Earth Day: Composting for the Planet

I had this post in the works for Earth Day yesterday, but then an internet-power failure snafu preventing me from properly posting it.  I do trust you all had a lovely Earth Day.  And here is the post from yesterday.....

Matt gave a presentation on composting last Saturday to a collection of about 20 individuals or so, mostly members of our community garden.  The community garden sponsors a couple seminars every year and this year they approached Matt to share his love of turning rubbish into soil nourishing compost with the public.  While a little nervous about the prospect because he hadn't given a "speech" since high school Matt agreed.
Composting is pretty amazing stuff and Matt is a huge fan of the process.  He loves to play with his various piles.  He stores up bags and bags and bags of leaves in the fall so that he has dry, carbon rich material to supplement all the green materials that comes from our kitchen and yard.  Between composting, recycling, and purchasing wisely we have seriously, seriously reduced the amount of stuff that ends up in the landfill and that makes us very happy indeed.  It also reduces our need for outside sources of fertilizers as we can make our own!  It returns the nutrients back into the soil creating a complete cycle of life--plants growing and extracting nutriment, dying and being composted and returning the nutrients to the earth.   I think that's pretty darn cool, and its so easy to do.
While helping Matt prepare for his presentation (I was master of powerpoint for him as he didn't really have much for experience with that program) we came across a number of rather startling stats that I thought worthy of sharing.

#1 In 2010, the U.S. generated 34 million tons of food waste.  This figure is shocking enough on its own, but even worse is that according to the EPA only 3% of that 34 million tons was composted.  The rest was incinerated or buried landfills. 

#2 According to the Montana Extension compostable materials account for 20% of the content of Montana landfills.

#3 Methane is a greenhouse gas significantly more potent than CO2.  Landfills produce about 40-60% of the methane in the U.S.   Methane is produced by materials being broken down in anaerobic conditions (without oxygen).  By composting materials instead of landfilling them we could significantly reduce our methane production as composting is an aerobic activity (with oxygen).

Just think of all the cheap natural fertilizer in the form of compost could be available and how much less methane would be floating around if we would place a greater importance on composting our food and yard waste.  It is astonishing.   We could turn a negative (excess methane and overfull landfills) into a positive (less methane, more room in landfills, and cheap/free fertilizer)!

I learned many things from Matt's presentation and it seemed like many others did as well.  He went over different styles of composting and different structures you can build or buy to contain your compost.  He touched on different philosophies of management and how to use the final finished product.  He gave a good deal of information.  But, I loved the simplicity of his final take away message:

Composting isn't hard (unless you want it to be) and you can't really screw it up (even if you just make a pile and do nothing else).  You can micromanage your pile for fast results or you can do nothing except wait if you don't mind slower result.  Its a very customizable thing.
I also enjoyed how he reminded me that composting is a very natural process, one that is going on all around me constantly.  When leaves fall in the autumn and breakdown on the forest floor they are being composted.  When praire grass dies and falls back to the earth, being slowly absorbed back into it with the help of the worms, beetles, microorganisms, wind, rain, and sun, that is composting.  Its important to remember that we're all part of a giant web of life, all a part of a series of natural processes that are sometimes so subtle we don't even notice it. 

Happy Earth Day!

Friday, April 19, 2013

A Simple Woman's Day Book for April 19, 2013

A Simple Woman's Day Book for April 19, 2013

Outside my window... it is sunny and blue skies again.  It keeps going back and forth from sun to snow to sun to snow.  I am fine with the moisture, but I'd really prefer rain showers to snow showers at this point.  But, that's a Montana spring for ya...

I am thinking....there is too much to do and never enough time to do it in.  I guess that's okay, but I am having a hard time deciding on priorities.

I am thankful for...Matt.  I know he's been in this category before, but I really, really am thankful for him.  Especially since my arthritis has been so inflamed this past week and as a result I've been both weepier and grumpier than normal--and he just takes it as it comes and waits on me when I'm in no mood to getup and encourages me to go walking which he knows helps and rubs my back when I wake up all stiff and on and on.  He's the best.

From the kitchen... we had eggplant daiyasan for dinner (and then I had it again for lunch) when we spotted 3 eggplants in the $1 Grab Bag section at the Natural Grocer.  I love that $1 bin.  I mean, really three organic eggplants for $1.  That is crazy.  I don't even bother looking at the produce section until I have checked there first.  We've gotten all sorts of great deals.  I don't know what was "wrong" with these eggplants.  They were superb.

I am wearing... a new dress I got at a clothes swap we had on Monday.  I'm calling it my prairie dress because that is what it reminds me of.  It is long and full and floral...and has pockets!

I am creating... a tie and its not going well.  I am surprised, too.  I thought it would be a piece of cake.  Oh well, my dad will just have to love it with all its flaws.  It was his birthday on Monday and he'll be passing through town today so that I can give it to him.

I am going... to have a sewing/crafting weekend with my mother next weekend.  I am really looking forward to her visit.  I always learn so much from working with her and we have a really nice time together.  I wonder what I should work on...

I am reading...three books at the moment.  The Mammoth Hunters by Jean Auel which is part of the Earth's Children series.  The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Attwood which I've read oh, probably three or four times before, but that I find disturbingly awesome.  The Food of a Younger Land: The WPA's Portrait of Food in Pre-WWII America by Mark Kurlansky which is a bit dense, but very, very interesting.

On my mind... is reading, reading, reading.  See, I decided to read the Earth's Children series by Jean Auel.  I can remember my mom reading it when I was a young girl.  I had read the first book, The Clan of the Cave Bear, once, but that was where I stopped.  So, now I am trying to read them all.  I own them...I figure I might as well read them if they are going to be taking up space on my shelves.  And now I am hooked and all I want to do is read, read, read.  Its hard to make myself stop to go to bed or because my lunch break is over.  I'm really enjoying it.  I am on the third book with three more to go.  This is why I don't read series books very often...too much of a time investment because they have a tendency to hook me and make me want to finish as soon as possible.
Around the house... things are finally getting back to the way I like them.  I had a house guest for a week and allowed myself to get lax in my picking up, washing dishes, doing laundry routine.  It was great to have her stay though...worth a little chaos to pick up afterwards.  That said, I still haven't stripped the guest bed yet even though its been vacant since Monday.

One of my favorite things... watching birds go about their incredible little lives.  We watched a downy woodpecker moving about on the thinnest of branches in search of food yesterday.  He was very sharp looking--his bright red head in brilliant contrast to his black and white body.  We stared up into the tree until our necks were aching and the little thing flew away.

A few plans for the rest of the week... meeting with Derek tonight so he can pick out some new tie-dyes, Matt's compost talk tomorrow at the community garden, a benefit film showing of Chasing Ice Saturday evening,  working Sunday evening, and hopefully some time in between all that for birding at Riverfront Park (I heard there were snow goose sightings) and maybe a little sewing.

A small window into my life...
The wee downy woodpecker who brought delight to my day yesterday as I strolled through the neighborhood with Matt.
 This format come from the Simple Woman blog.

A Honk for a Leaf Mouse

Last week my dear friend Chantz posted the following on Facebook: 

"Just stopped and honked at a leaf in the road thinking it was a mouse, then laughed for about 10 minutes. Guess who's going to bed early tonight?"

 
Oh, how I laughed to think of it.  I can totally visualize it.  And oh how I admired that he would try and stop for a wee little mouse in the road.  He's so kind.  It was both a very hilarious and very touching story, I thought.  And so I was immediately (and I mean immediately) inspired to make and send him a leaf-mouse postcard.  So I sketched one up and colored it in and dropped it in the mail.  I feel confidant it should have arrived with him by now so I had to share. 
 I was torn between the Desmond Tutu quote, "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality," and the Betty White quote which I ended up choosing.  I think both would have been perfect for Chantz, but in the end I went light-hearted and humorous.

I was pretty pleased with how it turned out and had a really fun time while making it.  And I just hope Chantz found it as amusing as I did.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Small is Beautiful - Inspiration Thursday

I just found a book in the book sale area of my library which I am quite excited about adding to my bookshelf.  I read it during my last semester of college and I so thoroughly enjoyed and admired it.  It changed the way I thought...you know, one of those life-changing books. 

The book is called Small is Beautiful: Economics As If People Mattered by E.F. Schumacher.

This book is written in a lovely straightforward and simple style and is so wise and compassionate that I can hardly believe it is an "economics" book.  Its economic spirituality, if you  ask me.  It is certainly an economic theory that I think would benefit everyone to read and that could change the way this wacky world works...for the better...if we implemented it and put people back in the forefront instead of always focusing on that almighty dollar.  Its rather revolutionary actually.

Here are a couple quotes pulled at random to give a taste of the book:

“An attitude to life which seeks fulfillment in the single-minded pursuit of wealth - in short, materialism - does not fit into this world, because it contains within itself no limiting principle, while the environment in which it is placed is strictly limited.”

“Wisdom demands a new orientation of science and technology toward the organic, the gentle, the elegant and beautiful.”

 If you can find a copy to borrow (or I suppose buy), I highly recommend it.  It was originally published in the 1970's, but there is an updated 25th anniversary edition as well.

Small is beautiful!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Its the Little Things

I lead a pretty quiet life.  That is quite what I prefer.  And I am tremendously pleased by pretty simple, insignificant things.  Like when I think that I am using the last of my stamps and then realize there is a whole new page of them folded underneath.  Yay.  That's eight more postcards to send before I have to trek to post for more. 
 
Its these little seemingly trivial or inconsequential every-day things which make life so joyful and pleasant for me.  If I needed big things to capture that joy I can only imagine how much more joyless I would be in the end.  I am so grateful to be satisfied with the little things. 

Its so easy to snag the pleasure of a warm cup of good black tea while standing at the window watching the birds mob the feeder.  Its so cheap to stroll through the neighborhood, hand in hand with Matt, noting neat fences and garden beds and flowering bushes that we've never seen before or that are changing dramatically with the seasons.  Its so enjoyable to make a fresh, yummy meal at home to share with grateful friends over a table of warmth and laughter.  Its so exhilarating to get caught up in a really good book wrapped up in a blanket against the winter chill or while swinging in the hammock in the summer sun.  Its so satisfying to take something torn and broken and fix it back to good-as-new.  Its such a thrill to open the mailbox and have a handwritten letter or note from someone.  I just can't get enough of the little things.  They make me so happy.  They make me feel like I am on to the biggest, best secret ever. 

Perhaps that's it.  The "secret" to being happier is to notice and value and find joy in all the little things.  The simple things.  Because they are so easy to find each and every day if you are looking for them.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The World's Worst Potluck - Driving Game

On our drive back to Billings last Sunday I was reading to Matt from this interesting book called Why You Say It which I'd borrowed at my Dad's house.  This book is all about the origins of different expressions and sayings like "caught red handed," "monkey wrench," "deviled eggs," and "slush fund."  One of the sections I read was for the term "potluck."  The book said it had to do with housewives adding the bits of all there leftover dinners to a pot which would then be eaten with the diners apparently hoping for good luck when it came to taste.   Or so the story goes.

Somehow or other this led me to say something about what I would bring to the world's worst potluck...which in turn led me to ask Matt to play an old car game with me which we'd both played as  kids. 

You know, the memory and alphabet game where each person says what they are going to bring to a party in turn and correlated to a letter of the alphabet.  Person 1 says something that starts with letter A, person 2 repeats the letter A and the comes up with a letter B, person 3 says letter A, B, and C, and so on until someone forgets one item or you reach the end of the alphabet.  Ever play that one?

It was a lot of fun trying to think of the worst thing to bring for each letter as quickly as possible, though I realize that macaroni salad and coleslaw are probably more than acceptable potluck fare for a lot of people.  Not Matt and I though... yuck, macaroni salad....ewwww.....no thanks. 

So, "Matt and I are going to the world's worst potluck and we are bringing...."

Anchovies
Brussel sprouts
Coleslaw
Deviled eggs
Eggs benedict
Foie gras
Gaspacho
Horseradish
Iceberg lettuce
Jello with fruit in it
Kohlrabi
Lutefisk
Macaroni salad
Nog (as in eggnog)
Oysters on the half shell
Pickled eggs
Quail
Radicchio
Sprouts
Tripe
Unagi (eel)
Veal
Watermelon pickles
Xylitol packets
Yerba mate
Zebra steaks

It kept us pretty amused (and kept me awake) and then before we knew it we were pulling into Billings.  Neither Matt nor I had played that particular travel game in quite some time.  I'm glad it came to me though as we read through that interesting little book.  Its always been pretty fun.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Deadly-Yonder-Pinky

We have a real nice theater here in Billings--The Babcock Theater-- that, in my humble opinion, is  underutilized. 
 
At one point it was a movie theater (long before I ever lived here).  For most of the time I've lived here it was never used for music or films--it was used once a week for boxing matches.  In more recent years its been used very intermittently for some pretty big name, nationally touring musical acts--Railroad Earth in August 2009, The Indigo Girls in April 2010, Galactic and Umphrey's McGee in March 2011.  Each and every time has been fantastic.  The theater is also used a bit more regularly by the local college bands and choirs and groups such as the Yellowstone Bluegrass Association.  I think slowly and surely there is more and more music going on down there.  I was just reading in a local magazine that there are several shows coming up still in April.  It makes me super excited to think we're finally taking advantage of our lovely venue.

I like to get down to the theater every chance I get both because I like music and because I like to support the local music scene--including this awesome and beautiful theater.  I'd like to see the day when there is something on the markee every week!

In the past thirty days I've had the chance to hit up a couple great concerts there and hear some pretty incredible music at The Babcock from The Deadly Gentlemen, Yonder Mountain String Band, and Pinky and the Floyd.   Great, great shows all around.

The Deadly Gentlemen, who seriously warmed up the crowd at the Yonder show. 

Yonder Mountain String Band
 
 
 
 
 

Pinky and the Floyd
 
 
 
 
Hooray for fantastic live music in Billings!  Oh, hip, hip hooray!

Springtime with Snow


We'd been enjoying some very pleasant weather as of recent...and then yesterday we awoke to winter again. 

I really had thought my days of snow boots and winter coats were over, too.  It snowed all day yesterday.  I was surprised by it as I was almost certain in would peter out by the end of the day...but no.  Snow, snow, snow all day long. 
Not feet of snow or anything, but just a nice steady flutter of lovely white flakes so that there is a brilliant white blanket over everything.  The chickadees perch and fluff themselves up into adorable little orbs.  I guess all the cold hearty plants in the garden will be put to the test again as to their heartiness, but we're sure it will all be fine.  Its not as if our garden hasn't been snowed on in years past.  Peas and spinach and all just really don't seem to mind, thank heavens.
 
All the trees, shrubs, grass, flowers, and other plants should get a nice, good drink from this snow (very important in our arid area) which will just bring on the green with even greater vengeance when the snow disappears again.  Ah, Montana springs....

My Not-For-Christmas Dress aka The Easter Dress

I started this dress in late October or early November when I was flush with enthusiasm after finishing my very first dress.  I set myself the (I thought) reasonable goal of finishing it for Christmas.  I work well with a deadline in mind and since it was red fabric this seemed like a good goal to shoot for.  But, then I ended up deciding to fly out to Seattle to visit my sister for a week, I got a really bad stomach flu promptly upon my return, my step-father passed away, and you know, the dress plans went by the wayside.  And then without a clear deadline any longer in mind the nearly completed dress just languished in my to-be-completed pile needing only to have the zipper inserted and the bottom hemmed.

So, I took advantage of my Easter Monday off by finally taking those last steps and finishing the dress off.  It took hardly no time at all, really.
Once again I am sort of amazed that I made it.  Possibly even more than with the first because I really and truly made this second dress all by myself.  I am pretty proud.  And I think it looks pretty darn good, too.  And it wasn't even all that hard!  Hooray!  My practice is paying off!  I really like the fit of the dress and the large, deep pockets.
Next time I am going to try the same pattern, but with the optional sleeves and possibly one of the alternate necklines.  But, I'll have to rummage around in my rather small fabric stash and see if I have anything which suits the bill first.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Stuffed Veg Quesadillas

We were in Helena over the weekend selling tie-dye and visiting my step-mother.  We stopped by the Natural Grocer store yesterday on our way back into town to snag some staples (like onion) and maybe find something we wanted for dinner---something simple as we were pretty lacking in culinary motivation.  As it happened Daiya cheese was half off so we snapped up several packages to toss in the freezer for some rainy day and one package to turn into an awesomely easy dinner that still feels substantial and nourishing--stuffed veg quesadillas.

We sauteed up some yellow and green peppers, onions, and mushrooms in a little bit of olive oil.  We also added some leftover taco-spiced lentils we'd had last week in burritos.  I'd planned to include corn in the veg mix as well, but we forgot about it until dinner was on the table, oh well, next time! 

Combining the sauteed veg, the lentils, and the cheese between two tortillas and cooking on the stove top until the cheese is melted and the tortilla golden results in a very quick and satisfying dinner with very, very little effort--which is sometimes just what the doctor ordered.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Better than Counting Sheep

I recently told Matt a trick that I've been using for quite a while now when I am having a hard time "turning off" my brain at night.   I was quite surprised to learn I hadn't told him about it long ago, but Matt doesn't really have trouble sleeping...aside from dealing with all the tossing and turning that I do.

But, I do not always sleep well.  A lot of it is my arthritis which stiffens up my back as I lay prone.  But the other side of it is that I suppose I am a bit of a worrier/planner type.  So, on occasion I find myself laying in bed thinking about things I want/need to do, making lists/plans, replaying what I should have done/said in a certain situation, and in general having a hard time convincing my brain that all of it can wait until tomorrow so that I can fall asleep.

Counting sheep has never made much sense to me.  And then I read about this other counting trick...I don't even remember where now--and it did make sense to me.  And it works--at least for me. 

All you have to do is count backwards from 100 by twos.  100, 98, 96, 94, 92, 90, 88.....

This activity is just active enough that your mind cannot wander away to planning (or if it does wander away you have something to direct it back to).  But it is also not so complex or exciting of an activity as that it keeps you too alert to fall asleep.  Its boring, but slightly engaging.  

I try to match the counting with the rhythm of my breath.  For me its like magic.  I don't think I've ever made it to the 50s.  I almost always start to loose count and drift off somewhere in the 70s.  Just a couple of times do I remember making it down to the 60s.

Sometimes my planning brain tries to push its way back to the forefront and when that happens I just start over at 100 again.

So next time your brain won't quiet down and go to bed give it a try.  Sure beats sleeping pills or laying awake at night.  And I'd be curious to hear if it works as well for others as it does for me.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Screeeeeeech Owl!

Matt and I saw our first wild screech owl (an Eastern Screech Owl, to be specific) two weeks ago (and I can't believe its taken me this long to blog about especially given my extreme excitement about it).  It was totally random good luck.

I was walking across campus and noticed a group of environmental science majors whom I know staring up into an evergreen tree near the Student Union Building.  As a birder I recognized immediately that this meant there must be something cool up in that tree.

And there was-- a snoozing eastern screech owl--nearly invisible until you really stopped to look.  I am sure I would have walked right by without noticing except for the dozen people staring up into the tree which, as I said, was pretty much a give away.

One of the students happened to be having an on-campus meeting with an ornithologist who told us that the owl was probably a female (based on her size) and that he was surprised to see her roosting on an open branch like that as these very small owls tend to roost in cavities in order to be protected from the larger birds of prey that might like to snap her up for lunch as she slept.

She was SO cool.

When I worked at ZooMontana there was a screech owl, but captive animals and wild ones are in totally separate categories for me.  The zoo owl, Andy, I believe he was called, used to be taken outside for flights attached to a fishing reel--not exactly on a level playing field with the remarkable and stunning wild creature who would just occasionally open an eye ball to see what all the fuss was about going on below her.  So even though, technically I'd seen a screech owl before, it was a whole new and exciting experience for me.  And I was overjoyed.  I went over to watch her several times that day--whenever I had the slightest chance or reason to slip away from the library.

No one's seen her around since, but she was the talk of campus that one day.  And it really made my day.   I called Matt at home and told him to pop by on his way to work as I was sure she'd be roosted there still.  She did not disappoint and so even Matt got to watch her a bit.

Matt and I adore all birds, but owls are especially favored in our hearts---which makes it all the more frustrating that we almost never have seen them.  This is only our second wild owl in all our years of birding.  And then we hear stories from people all the time about how they see owl trimming hedges or something.  We're out looking and we never see them!  It must be that the-watched-kettle-never-boils thing, I guess.