Sammy Squirrel, Shamrock Cookies and Brown Cows

IT’S  84 F DEGREES with scattered clouds and Carolina blue skies in Charlotte.  Buds are swelling on the trees.

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WE CELEBRATED St. Patrick’s Day by sitting on the patio with shamrock sugar cookies and a cold Brown Cow.

THERE ARE DIFFERENT RECIPES for a brown cow.  One calls for a chocolate liquour, milk,  whipped cream and chocolate syrup… a refreshing  drink really.

OUR BROWN COW is a drink we had as teenagers in Indiana.  The Black Cow of my adolescence was made with coca cola and ice cream.  The Brown Cow that I loved best contained root beer, vanilla ice cream, a dash of chocolate syrup and sometimes whipped cream on top. Hmmm!

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MY HUSBAND HAS BEEN FIGHTING what is likely a losing battle with Sammy squirrel trying to keep him out of the bird feeders.  We have a large wind chimes just outside the sunroom door. When we’re in the sunroom, we can see  the back yard with the various feeders.

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ONE FEEDER IS beside a tree.  The cardinals and woodpeckers love this feeder.   Sammy climbs up and jumps on the roof of the feeder. He then climbs down and and hides his body inside the feeder,  with his fluffy tail hanging out giving him away.  When my husband sees Sammy’s bushy tail hanging down from the feeder, he opens the door and rings the chimes.  The squirrel runs like the wind two or three yards away.

WE SET OUT oranges cut in half for the Baltimore Orioles and a suet, peanuts  and mealworms cake by the sunroom window hoping we would attract Bluebirds.

SAMMY must have smelled the peanuts in the mealworm cake hanging at the top of the tall pole with a big hook at the top.  It was too high for him to jump up and there was no tree nearby.  He was soon struggling to climb the shepard’s crook.  After sliding down many times, he finally figured out how to get on top.

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HE STOPPED AND STARED at me through the window, like he was thumbing his nose at me.

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I GOT THE IDEA to grease the pole to inhibit his climbing.  I greased it well with butter.  It didn’t take long for him to attempt the climb again, sliding down each time. SO FUNNY.   I wish I had a picture of him sliding down the pole holding on for dear life.   He left finally, deciding to forego the peanut treat – at least for today.  I have no doubt, he will be back.   Sammy is clearly the clever clown of the back yard.

Happy Spring!  Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Sue Marquis Bishop 2015

RedBirds, Southern Snow and Lebanese Porkchops

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WE’VE WAITED ALL WINTER for a decent snowfall in the sunny south and it’s finally arriving.  It was dark when it began to snow, and I couldn’t resist taking some pictures of the snow coming down in huge snowflakes, blanketing our world outside.

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OUR 3-4 INCHES OF SNOW will melt in two days, but we enjoy it while it’s here.

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THE SHOWY REDBIRDS  gather at the backyard feeders as the snow  begins to fall.

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THE RED BELLIED WOODPECKER family visits to sample the peanut suet.

TWO CROWS stop in briefly and the small birds arrive and walk under the feeders catching the fall out.

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TIME TO THINK ABOUT DINNER. The slow cooker is a welcome fixture in my kitchen, especially on a cold winter day, when I want to prepare an easy meal.  I decide to make Lebanese Pork Chops. Each Lebanese cook creates her own mixture of spices, based on family tradition.  This is my version of Lebanese Seven Spices Seasoning, modified from a recipe I found several years ago in The Week (no author).

5 Tablespoons  Allspice

5 Tablespoons Cloves

3 1/2 Tablespoons Cinnamon

4 Tablespoons Ginger

4 Tablespoons Greek seasoning

4 Tablespoons Nutmeg

3 1/2 Tablespoons Pepper

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COAT THE PORK CHOPS well  with the Lebanese Seven Spices mixture and rub into meat. Brown each side In a hot skillet with a splash of olive oil to seal in juice

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MOVE PORK CHOPS TO CROCK POT (slow cooker). Wash and cut sweet potatoes into large chunks and add to crock pot.

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ADD ABOUT 1/2 CUP OF ORANGE JUICE.  Cook on low for 3-4 hours until pork shops are done.  Then, I peeled apples and cooked them with butter and brown sugar in the microwave oven. (Sometimes I  add the apples to the crock pot later in the cooking  time )

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WHILE THE PORK CHOPS WERE COOKING,   I  baked some mini apple caramel cakes for dessert by adding diced apples and spices to a cake batter and topped with a caramel topping.

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It’s difficult to catch the woodpecker with the camera, but I finally caught him two days later, as the snow melted away.

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Sue Marquis Bishop February 28, 2015