AVITIUM: Let's talk turkey

"Auntie Whispers, do the wild turkey!"

Is that a new dance?

"No. Wild turkeys! Write a thing about wild turkeys."

Seriously? Huff. Fine.


The Wild Turkey
M. gallopavo

Appearance Wild Turkeys are very large, feathered blimps with long legs, wide, rounded tails, and a weensy head on a long, slim neck.
Turkeys are dark overall with a bronze-green iridescence to most of their plumage. Their wings are dark, boldly barred with white. Their rump and tail feathers are broadly tipped with rusty or white. The bare head and neck wattles varies from red to blue to gray. Contrary to myth, Toms do not sport their testicles on their heads. Get your mind out of the gutter.
Behavior Turkeys group themselves into thuggish flocks, called rafters, and search on t…

DAD UPDATE: PICC line saga

Parkinson's has landed my dad in the hospital again. Specifically, an infection did.

To put it in layman's terms, a Parkinson's patient with an infection degrades to the point where they are too weak to move, and can suffer from dementia and hallucinations, and can not function.  If you want the technical bit, here's the abstract from an article in Frontiers in Neurology.
Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by progressive loss of dopaminergic neurons of the substantia nigra pars compacta with a reduction of dopamine concentration in the striatum. The complex interaction between genetic and environmental factors seems to play a role in determining susceptibility to PD and may explain the heterogeneity observed in clinical presentations. The exact etiology is not yet clear, but different possible causes have been identified. Inflammation has been increasingly studied as part of the pathophysiology of neurodegenerative diseases, corroborat…

NEW KITCHEN TOY: a quesadilla maker

I haven't been able to catch up on writing in a long while.  This post started as a review of a new quesadilla maker but, because Fate is an ass, I wasn't able to finish it: dad went to the ER.

We did have yummy ingredients for it. Some seasoned pork, some freshly chopped veg. The iron itself kicks ass and the food comes out perfect.

QUICK UPDATE: rabbits, fire, and coffee

A quick summary of the evening.

I finally spotted the bunny living in our backyard flowerbed.  He's just a yearling, but he's leaving pellets all over the yard and I'm worried that Angus will get him, if not my mother's Dante.

But enough of that!  On to the fun!
The September Equinox was this week.  We planned to do a small bonfire that night but it rained.  So, why not tonight?  
We were worried Hershey would react poorly considering his history (mother and siblings perished in a fire when his original owners tried to heat the dog box with a bare light bulb). 
He took a healthy interest when Better Half lit the kindling. I suppose he felt safe knowing he wasn't confined with the flames. It also helped that his new daddy soothed him and gave him love while they worked.

 It was time to break out the goods. A new campfire kettle.

Bowls of beans.

And a hot dog.

I'm very proud of how well Hershey did.  He did retreat to the back porch as darkness fell, sporadicall…

UPDATE: Revamping the blog

It's been a while since this blog's theme has seen any love.  Tweaked some fonts, changed up some colors, and revamped the tired logo. 

This will be a work in progress.  I'm still on restrictions after surgery, so I can't work the garden beds.  I can't pack up boxes in my parents office to convert it into our bedroom. Might as well be productive while I'm sitting on my ass all day.

HOME DELIGHTS: Ham & Lentil Bean Soup

Nothing helps usher in Autumn's arrival like a hearty ham and lentil bean soup. Full-bodied flavor and delightful textures make this recipe a family favorite.

This tasty recipe takes a bit of time to prepare, and you will need to let it cook about two hours on the stove.  I make a large pot of it to last a few days. You can cut this recipe in half if you'd like.

Gruff's Tips
I use a large, meaty ham shank in this recipe.  I remove most of the meat and cut it into bite-sized pieces before adding the shank to the pot. Otherwise you'll find yourself struggling to remove meat from a hot bone.

I also add raw, deboned pork blade steak. It's not a lean recipe; the fat adds to the flavor.

These beautiful legumes come in a variety of colors.  I prefer a visually vibrant soup, and so I go with dried pale greens and yellows.  Just remember to prep your beans by rinsing them to remove any debris and get them moist. Salt will toughen these little guys.  If you pr…

FORESTS AND TECHNOLOGY: the impact of transition

Nathan Rott's article for NPR, "A Fire Lookout On What's Lost In A Transition To Technology", captures encroaching technology's impact on the U.S. Forest Service jobs.

The article shook an old memory loose this morning. Coffee in hand and with a desire to write rather than tweet, I decided to take another trip back in time.

It was a crisp Autumn afternoon along the California coastline. The trees had not yet donned their brilliant hats.  Regina and I had grown weary of playing with the surf, thus we took to wandering in pursuit of adventure.

I was very young, perhaps no more than six, and our neighbor down the way had invited me to their Baptist youth activity for the Thanksgiving break week. Though we were Catholics, my weary mother was eager to be shut of me.

And I, a painfully shy girl that seldom spoke to strangers, found myself thrust into a massive collection of children. It was overwhelming. I slinked off early Saturday morning, unnoticed by adults, for …