Friday, January 20, 2012

Blizzard and Birds and Beef and Beans

Catchy alliteration for the title!
I saw this suet log online. They wanted $20 for it. It. Is. A. Log. 
A log!
My co-worker's children has the day off on Monday and I asked her if she thought they could make one. 
Sure enough, Tuesday, she presented me with this wonderful log that will lure the best song birds into my yard. I created my own suet mix with beef lard, (incredibly hard to find), peanuts, dried meal worms and cracked corn and dried cherries. Surely one of those things will tempt a woodpecker or titmouse to my yard?
I sat down in front of the french doors with my camera and my cup of coffee. I sat for hours. 
I asked my co-worker if she thought the kids could make a deck feeder. The next day, she arrives with this!
It is an cedar bird feeder! I love it! It is handcrafted and it is beautiful. 
This is a very resourceful family, to say the least!
This is a new bird in the yard. I think this is a Tree Sparrow..

 “Birds are flyin' south for winter. 

Here's the Weird-Bird headin' north, 
Wings a-flappin', beak a-chatterin', 
Cold head bobbin' back 'n' forth. 
He says, "It's not that I like ice 
Or freezin' winds and snowy ground. 
It's just sometimes it's kind of nice 
To be the only bird in town.” 
― Shel Silverstein

Everyone in the hot tub-this is a heated bird bath!
Why can't I attract more birds??

Purple finch. 
We did not get the 8" of snow that was forecasted. We got less than 5". We also got half day off. I spent mine in front of the window, watching tiny birds scurry around, gobbling up the seeds I would toss out for them.
I stopped on the way home and picked up a Rump Roast. So many cooks use Rump Roast for pot roast, but if you purchase a roast that is "choice", it will roast up so nicely.
I stab the roast with a paring knife and stick garlic cloves in the holes. I grind garlic and salt and rosemary together and rub the mixture on the top and sides of the roast and cook @ 350 for 25 minutes per pound. The salad is the Edamame with Chick Peas and Lemon and Mint, served on baby spinach. That salad is an absolute favorite. I highly recommend it!

Chickpea (Garbanzo Bean) and Edamame Salad with Lemon and Mint

(Makes about 4 lunch salads or 6 side-dish servings, recipe adapted quite a bit from one found in The South Beach Diet Super Quick Cookbook.)

zest and juice of one large lemon (at least 1 T zest and 2-3 T juice + more juice for seasoning the finished salad if desired)
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
2 T olive oil
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

1 can (15.5 oz) chickpeas
1 1/2 cup shelled cooked edamame
1/4 - 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion (scallions)
1 cup finely chopped fresh mint (or less)

Drain garbanzo beans into a colander placed in the sink and rinse well with cold water until no more foam appears. Let beans drain well (I pat them dry with a paper towel if they still seem wet.) If using frozen edamame, microwave for about 5 minutes. (You can microwave the desired amount in a glass bowl covered with cling-wrap, or use the microwave-in-the-package kind like I did.)

Zest the lemon using a microplane grater or the finest side of a regular grater, then squeeze the lemon juice. You need at least 1 T lemon zest and 2-3 T lemon juice. In a plastic or glass bowl large enough to hold all the salad ingredients, whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, minced garlic, olive oil, salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Add the drained chickpeas and stir so the beans are well-coated with dressing. Let beans marinate in the dressing while you prep the other ingredients.

When edamame is cooked, drain well in the same colander you used for the beans. Thinly slice green onions. Wash mint, spin dry or dry with paper towels, and finely chop enough to make 1 cup chopped mint, or less if you're not that fond of mint.

Add the edamame, sliced green onions, and chopped mint to the bowl with the chickpeas and stir until ingredients are well combined. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, pepper, or lemon juice as desired. (I added more lemon juice and a tiny bit of salt.) Serve right away or refrigerate until you're ready to eat it.

This still tasted great after it had been in the fridge overnight, but I added a little more lemon juice to brighten the flavor.


  1. Sissy - Less than 5" of snow? You must be very disappointed. Your bird pictures are so lovely. Ask and you shall receive. So cool. What a nice co-worker you have there. Would it be too greedy if I asked for a few things too? (Just kidding of course.) Doesn't any butcher processing place have beef lard? Later..I will be back for that recipe.

  2. The edamame and chick pea salad looks delicious. I'm going to post to Pinterest on Recipes to try board.

  3. I'm getting ready to leave in search of snow! It keeps going to the south of us. I think YOU'RE stealing it!

  4. Hi Sissy,
    Greetings from Southern Oklahoma! I am watching the birds here this morning with my sister-in-law. We are seeing quite a variety including 2 pairs of blue birds. The weather has been quite warm here so the birds are out and taking advantage of it. Enjoying your blog this morning and thinking about making one of those logs too. Happy birding.

  5. Can I please borrow your coworker for a few projects??? I happen to have beef tallow in my freezer in the garage. Something about using it to prime steam engines. I guess it smells up the whole house to make it---my father in law doesn't mind so he did it.

    Dinner looks great! I'll be over....

    Take care,

  6. I love the picture of that sparrow, and the close up of the junco. Such fluffy, adorable, birds.


  7. Look at all of the beautiful birds now gracing your yard. I love watching and feeding them all year long but especially in the long winter months. It does not take them long to find out that the feeders are filled. LOL! Thanks for following my blog and I hope you will enjoy your new primroses this spring.

  8. Wow, what a talented friend you have! I've made some simple bird treats with the grandkids before, but a cedar bird feeder? Now, that is craftsmanship!

    Great photos of the birds. I've noticed very few of my usual winter visitors this year. I've been wondering if the mild winter earlier kept some of them from migrating or perhaps they're finding enough food in the fields.

    The salad recipe looks delicious--and very healthy!

  9. I wish I had a co-worker who had such talented children! I would love to have those feeders!

  10. I put out my suet in little metal cages (both from Walmart) and I find that the birds go mad for it. The woodpeckers especially love it. Every once in a while, I also treat the neighbourhood birds to peanuts (plain nuts in shell bought in bulk packages). Within minutes the news goes out on the birdy hotline and the jays arrive in numbers. Then the squirrels try to break in on the act. It is so much backyard drama!

  11. Very pretty captures of the birds, always love to see them.


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