Monday, May 29, 2006

Really Useful Information:

I took a hotline call at the Wildlife Center today. The caller asked how to get a raccoon out of her garage. I told her the usual stuff listed in our hotline manual:

1) Make sure the animal has a way out.
2) Remove any possible food source.
3) Play the radio really loud.

The conservation Director was sitting behind me, and added, with deadpan sincerity "Tell her to play Rush Linbaugh. We've found that his voice really makes the animals scatter fast."


this is an audio post - click to play

This is what I'm listening to right now...The theme song "Defying Gravity" from the *HOT-HOT-HOT* broadway musical WICKED.
Oh I can't wait to see this show!
My daughter will be singing this song in the school choir for the big last-day send off, from grade school to middle school.
We have been practicing daily. Singing it in the car, on the deck, while doing the washin up, while walkin the dogs.

It's our theme song for the summer.

Singing this song with my baby girl while thinking about her growing up gets me all choked up, especially when I try to hit those high notes. (giggle)

The question is: Do I wait for it to come to town in 2007, or bite the bullet and take the family to NYC to see it now?

Friday, May 26, 2006

Another Hard day at the Office

This sweet little fawn was found during a thunderstorm, huddling under the body of her dead mother. She was shocky and weak. I took her to our animal hospital where she was admitted to the orphan ward.

We put her in with another fawn, and you should have seen her come back to life at the sight and smell of her own kind!

We are bottle feeding her some of our "super charged" fawn formula. There is no doubt that she will recover, be released into a new herd, and live a long healthy life in the wild.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Mr. Squeaks

We lost a member of our little family today. Mr. Squeaks went off to rat heaven. Thankfully, he crossed over while the kids were in school.

We had a little funeral when they got home, and buried him in our pet cemetery by the stream, at the edge of the woods. All our pets are buried there. We have a concrete meditation bench and two stone lions guarding the space with quiet dignity. Tulip bulbs are planted on every grave.

Each spring when the flowers bloom, we know our furry family members send us their love.

Friday, May 19, 2006

The DaVinci Code

I met up with a group of local media folks to see The DaVinci Code last night, and the experience was pretty much exactly what I expected. One critic was panning the film before we even walked into the theater, and seeing it did not change his opinion one bit. He was offended by the mere Idea of this film, and was not about to let himself be entertained.
The story is a murder mystery that takes Tom Hanks on a treasure hunt for clues. His quest for The Holy Grail, leads us through some of the most famous landmarks in Europe. It was well made, fast paced, and full of interesting twists and turns.

This film should be on par with Indiana Jones and the last crusade. Both movies are action adventure tales based on Grail lore. But Indiana Jones never raised the ire of the faithful the way The DaVinci Code has. The contoversy lies in the premise that the clues in this mystery question some of the modern interpretations of Christianity. Indiana Jones never did that. The Indy movie reinforced the tenets of The Church.

The crime behind Dan Brown's book is that it dares to ask the heretical question "What If?"

"What if?" is a dangerous question.

"What If?" caused the death of Galileo when he challenged the teachings of The Church by claiming that the earth moved around the sun.

"What If?" set off the great debate of Darwin's Evolution.

"What If?" landed John Scopes in jail.

"What If?" was the question posed by our forefathers when they wondered if it was possible to create a nation without a King; When the demanded Freedom of Religion; When they explored the idea that The People might be able to govern themselves; When they surmised that freedom of speech might be an idea worth protecting.

There are a lot of Americans who shook their heads in dismay at the violent reactions of Muslims when a Danish newspaper printed a cartoon of The Prophet Mohammad.

When I read all the hype over The DaVinci Code, it just makes me realize how alike we all really are.

If you like murder mysteries, code breaking and clues, you will like The DaVinci Code, unless of course you are afraid to ask "What If?"

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Bloomin Idea

WriterMom wrote a post which reminds us that the word "Kindergarden" means Garden of Children.

Oh how delightful!

-Photo by Anne Geddes

Funny Emails

I got one of those funny e-mails today, and thought the satire worth sharing:

Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.

Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.

If quizzes are quizzical, what are tests?

If electricity comes from electrons, does morality come from morons?

Friday, May 05, 2006

Chicken Sh*t

When the civilized Cartesian rebels known as Puritans, (aka: immigrants) risked their lives to escape religious and political persecution in Europe, they knew they would face many dangers. They threw caution to the wind and crossed the ocean in rickety little slave ships, devoid of toilets, saying "Who careth how bad it smells!"

They gave up everything, from porridge to potatoes, to forge a new life in the wilderness of the America's. They were willing to risk their lives for Freedom, and multi colored Indian Corn.

This is our legacy, or heritage, and our proud history (that is if you skip the Indian part, and the slavery thing) But outside of those minor details, we can all stand tall when we salute the flag.

Yes indeed we are a strong nation and a brave people! There's no doubt about that.

So we set to work, killing off all the Bison,

Ridding the forests of Bear. (Yes, folks, once upon a time, there were forests 'round here.)

When they were gone, we turned our sights of Wolf, Cougar, Eagle, Hawk and Owl.

The resulting overpopulation of Deer was not a problem, cuz we gots a whole bunch of folks who likes ta shoot dem! (They don't bite back.)

Animals are here for us to do with as we will. We breed, butcher, hunt, skin, harvest, eat, own, break, train, torture, pen, rope, brand, crop, harness, race, hunt, package, whip em and wear em, whenever and wherever we want.

When it comes to the things of nature, we have convinced ourselves that the world is our plate of pancakes, and we re going to flip it, trip it, and drip it any way we darn well please,

and that ain't no flap, jack.

Of course, The States just weren't big enough fer all the killin we was prone to, so we came up with new and better ways to exploit the land, up north in Alaska.

But even that did not quench our thirst for destruction, so when there were no wild things left, we turned on the dog.

Man's best friend.

Cuz they is SCARY critters.

And we want to be "Safe."

As a nation, we are shaking in our shoes over all sort of fears and terrors these days. (Me thinks that brave stock we came from, has been watered down a teensy weensie bit.)

Now we are afraid of our food animals.

Look out for the Mad Cows!

Heck, we are even afraid of chickens.

Avian flu.

"Quick, KILL all the Chickens!"

Chicken genocide.

I wonder what would our Brave Founding Fathers think of all this yeller bellied sniveling?

I imagine they would think it fitting that we all die from infectious chicken Sh*t.

And maybe we should.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


I just got back from the big grade school art show with my munchkins, and oh what a divine comedy of frolicking fun it was.
There is nothing quite like an evening packed into a smelly grade school weaving through swarms of wealthy white people who are all pretending to be from Mr. Rogers neighborhood.

We squeezed past pregnant mothers, snot nosed kids, and disgruntled dads, to seek out the art my kiddies had on display. This only took about half an eternity, as there were only thirty thousand mini masterpieces plastering the walls like a Sesame Street explosion.

When I was mere inches from going Columbine, we finally found my boy's frog sculpture. I must say I liked it. There was something in the expression that moved me, (or maybe it was the mosh pit of parents, moving me along the hallway like fans at a Smashing Pumpkins concert.)

Anyway, I told him I loved it, he beamed with pride, and we got out alive.

Im home now, safe and sound, with cocktail in hand, only mildly traumatized from the energy of that wholesome goody two shoes mob of Plastic Revlon Barbies.

Maybe I'll run for office on the platform of mandatory, State Subsidized Abortion.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Garlic Mustard

Garlic mustard is an herb with heart-shaped leaves that gives off an odor of garlic when crushed. German immigrants brought the plant to The United States in the early 1800's for it's culinary and medicinal use. Once introduced to an area, garlic mustard takes over and spreads like crazy. It has become a problem in the northeast as native plants are deprived of light, water and space to grow, when garlic mustard moves in. It replaces native plants used as food by local wildlife, and puts stress on the ecological balance, most notibaly wildflowers and butterflies. In Europe, Garlic Mustard is consumed by 69 species of insects, who keep it's growth in check. None of these predators inhabit North America.

Here in The States, Garlic mustard is called "the villain of the valley" because of it's reputation for aggressively monopolizing soil, space, and nutrients. However, several studies have shown that garlic mustard may not be as wicked as claimed. "One study found that areas with garlic mustard had the same species diversity as those without, over a three year period. A second study found that jewelweed, a native plant, out competed garlic mustard."

If you have garlic mustard growing in your area, it is a good idea to do the work that the bugs do in Europe. Keep the plant in check by pulling it out by the roots. You may then eat it, use it as medicine, or put it in the garbage, but remember not to compost pulled weeds. The seeds in the compost will just make the problem worse over time.

There are many medicinal uses for garlic mustard. Ingesting the leaves will induce sweating and treat respiratory problems like asthma and bronchitis. Applied as a poultice, it is effective itching from insect bites and stings.

"The many culinary names of garlic mustard are suggestive of its historic use as a potherb in its native countries. This was particularly true in the winter and the early spring, as there are few other greens available. The leaves of young plants can be eaten raw as a salad or can be cooked as a steamed vegetable, like spinach. It can also be used with other foods to impart a garlic flavor. It has been promoted for its high vitamin A content 8,600 units per 100 grams) and its high vitamin C content (190mg per 100 grams)."

In Maryland, The Friends of the Patapsco Valley and Heritage Greenway hold a Garlic Mustard festival each year, that includes a Garlic Mustard picking contest, a poster contest, and a Garlic Mustard Cook-off.

Here is the prize winning recipe from professional chef Robert Dunn from The Garlic Mustard Cook's Challenge 2003

You know the old saying: When life gives you garlic mustard...Make Pesto!

Garlic Mustard and Spinach Raviolis with Garlic Mustard Pesto

4 shallots / 1 clove garlic
2 cups spinach
2 cups garlic mustard
4 oz. ricotta cheese
2 oz. Parmesan cheese
2 oz. chopped sundried tomotoes
6 sheets fresh pasta

Saute shallots and garlic in 2 Tbl butter until tender. Add spinach and garlic mustard greens & wilt. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from pan and cool slightly. Squeeze excess liquid from green and chop. Combine all ingredients and season to taste. Cut pasta sheets to desired size. Eggwash pasta and fill with garlic mustard and spinach mixture.

1 cup garlic mustard
½ cup basil
3 cloves garlic
2 oz. toasted pinenuts
4 oz. olive oil
juice of 1 lemon

In food processor combine all ingredients except olive oil. Puree and add olive oil with processor running. Toss cooked raviolis with pesto.

Time required: 1 hr. Serves 10.