Thursday, April 7, 2011

Spring in Northeastern PA (NEPA)

Spring just might have finally really arrived. I'm not sure, and I'm not counting on it, but it has actually gone a whole week without snow so I'm hopeful. Robins and geese and groundhogs are all out and about their business.

 I witnessed quite a rescue yesterday morning. A storm came through and blew part of a squirrel nest out of the pine tree in front of our house. It was just chance that I saw the leaves of the  nest go flying and then I heard very loud chirping and upon investigating further, 2 baby squirrels were hanging on to tree limbs by legs and tails for dear life and a third was on the ground, seemingly OK, but cold and traumatized as it was raining as well. I then spied mamma squirrel and backed off to watch on the porch with Teddy. She got her babies out of the tree and all on the ground, one by one taking them to a protected spot under the tree. They were still crying and she ran feverishly grabbing new materials to rebuild her nest. Time was against her as her babies didn't even have their eyes open yet and the weather was nasty. Within 20 minutes, she had a new nest constructed, and then one by one, she grabbed each baby squirrel up, much like a mamma cat with her kittens in her mouth, and got all three back up the tree and into the nest. They all made it and peace was once again restored to the yard. It is amazing how wonderfully we are all made by God. Animals are often such an example to humans.

Since spring is here, a favorite spring supper this time of year is ham with boiled or fried potatoes and dandelion with hot bacon dressing.  Around here, you can harvest nice dandelion greens in fields etc. But one must be careful to avoid areas that used pesticides and wash well etc. Some farm markets around here grow it to sell like salad greens, and that is always a safe way to go. If you can't find dandelion greens, endive or lettuce will work, just doesn't taste quite as good. Plus, dandelion has a lot of good properties that naturally detox your system, making it a common spring tonic. Dandelion is not the nasty weed townies make it out to be; it is a very valuable herb.

So, here tiz:

Ham and Dandelion Dinner

Prepare a thick smoked ham slice or ham roast, boiled or fried potatoes. Wash and trim dandelion greens.
About 10 minutes before everything else is ready, make the hot bacon dressing.

Hot Bacon Dressing

1 lb bacon, cooked, save the fat
1 c hot water
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C sugar
2-3 tbs dark vinegar
1 tbs flour

1 egg

Cut bacon into pieces and fry until crisp. Remove from drippings. Mix together dry ingredients. Add beaten egg, vinegar and water. Stir until blended. Cook in bacon drippngs until thick.

 It will be a darker dressing if using smoked bacon. And for a really good taste, get peppercorn crusted bacon for this.

I also wanted to share a site with you that I think is very uplifting. If you love flowers or your life has been touched by cancer in some way, please visit this inspirational site.  You won't be sorry!