Saturday, February 19, 2011

LUCY MOOSE IS LOOSE

Our local newspaper occasionally carries stories about sending moose back to the wild.  The big creatures, which look like they're made up of parts of cows, horses and donkeys with the addition of camel legs, wander into urban areas and either take up residence or can’t find their way back to the river bottoms.

 (Photo from the Rexburg Standard Journal)
The latest one was nick-named Lucy.   After she spent four days stomping through snowy yards and gardens in the neighborhood, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game conservation officers were called to tranquilize and transport her to a safer place.  The officers reported having to deal with seven other moose in the past several days.

When I went cross-country skiing on one of the local golf courses the other day I could see the skiers weren’t the only ones who had found a winter use for the greens and fairways.

There were tracks in the snow bigger than a man’s hand all over the course.

Moose had been making meals of tree branches.  There were circles of tracks around almost every tree.  The new part of the golf course where the trees are young and tender seemed to be the favorite banquet place.

 The browsers had also left their calling cards in the snow…

…along with plenty of broken branches.

On a personal note—moose dung really messes with cross-country skis.

This is just a photo for Shadow Shot Sunday. And I just realized I've published 402 posts. wow!

Friday, February 18, 2011

FRIEND

A true friend is someone
who thinks you are a good egg
even though she knows
you are slightly cracked.

Everyone hears what you say.
Friends listen to what you say.
Best friends listen to what you don't say.

Every gift from a friend is a
wish for your happiness.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

THE INLANDER AND THE CONCH

(The last story, at least for a while,  from our ten day visit to the Yucatan in January 2011)

Maybe because I am Capricorn, water is my second home.  My primary reason for traveling to the Caribbean was the clear sea and the world below its waves.  On our first visit twelve years ago we were only able to spend a short time with fins and snorkel exploring the reefs in the shallow warm water.
 
 On this trip there was much more time to investigate the goings on under the sea.

“Darling it’s better down where it’s wetter under the sea.”

We did our best to keep our hands off the coral and other sea plants and animals; both for their safety and ours.  But when I saw a large mossy shell on the sandy bottom I couldn’t resist diving down to investigate.  It was a full grown Queen Conch (pronounced conk) snail.  I thought at first it was a hermit crab living in an abandoned shell since there was a big claw down inside.  I hauled it back to our bungalow for further inspection.

 Here is the conch on its back in a basin of sea water.

We left it undisturbed with the base down, and before long two little tentacles poked out to survey the new surroundings.   The foot came out with the big claw to dig in and pull the shell around.

We did a Google search to discover more about my find.  We learned the meat is second only to escargot as a delicacy, but the usual method to extract the snail is to cut the tip off the shell which releases the animal.  There was no way I was going to get this guy home alive and I really wanted the shell intact.  I finally found a site that gave instructions to remove the snail without harming the shell.

 I tried not to think about it too much and immersed the conch in water and heated it almost to boiling. 

When the water cooled I used a pair of scissors as large tweezers to pull out the snail.

It was a bizarre creature that lived in that little spiral house.

There were all kinds of recipes for conch chowders, and fritters on the internet, but this would require a lot of shopping and cooking.  So I asked Deeno, the little Mayan man who was the caretaker of our building, if he would like the conch meat.  He was very happy to take it home.  He said his wife had a great recipe for ceviche and could put it to use. 

He also brought back some bleach and a bucket so we could soak the shell and remove the moss and algae.

I asked him if there would be a problem taking the shell out of the country.  “It’s just a shell, no problem,” he said.

He was right.  So my Queen Conch and a few other shells we gathered came back to high, dry Idaho to remind us of our vacation.  And, yes, you can hear the ocean when you put it to your ear.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

GOOD FOOD

(More stories of our ten day visit to the Yucatan in January 2011)

Franchises have pretty much choked out 
any small businesses in our town.  
Here at home when we go out to eat we have a choice between: 
Dominos or Pizza Hut
Wendy’s or Jack in the Box, or;
Taco Bell or Taco Time.

Therefore, it was so enjoyable to sit down in

a restaurant like the Cueva del Pescador 
that is locally owned and where the 
fish on my plate had been swimming only a few hours earlier.

 We liked this grilled sea bass with mango salsa 
so much we returned for a repeat on another day.  
And the shrimp stuffed avocado was not to be missed.

The locals, like this grackle, loved the food at these restaurants as well.

 Another favorite eating place was La Buena Vida
 with a sweeping view of Half Moon Bay.
The menu featured a variety of fresh food and was the 
only place I felt comfortable ordering a green salad.

 Turtle Bay CafĂ© had tasty huevos rancheros 
on their breakfast menu, and when we got there early 
the bakery had fresh sticky buns and cinnamon rolls.

 Their fruit smoothies were a perfect compliment

 to the shredded chicken burrito with pico de gallo.

 One of our favorite after dinner entertainments 
was laughing behind the backs of oddly dressed tourists.  
Then we hoped they didn’t take pictures 
of our goofy clothes when we walked away.

Monday, February 14, 2011

BIG TROUT AND BIRD FEEDERS

I’ve mentioned before that my Dear Hubby is an avid ice fisherman.  I blame it on his Danish heritage and complete idiocy—whichever comes first.  Both traits must be genetic since his sons will also spend hours on a frozen lake in temperatures cold enough to freeze eyeballs solid, just so they can come home and gut fish.

They always have stories to tell about the ones that got away.  
However, Beavis proved they don’t always get away

 when he brought this one home last week.

It’s a four pound brown trout that measured twenty-three inches long.

The guys also tell stories about feeding eagles. 

Most of the time the fish they catch are rainbow and brown trout.  But occasionally they hook a white fish.  Some people like fresh water white fish, but these guys don’t think them worth the trouble so they toss them out in the snow to be eaten by scavengers when they leave.

 I guess an eagle or two appreciate the easy meal and now show up out of nowhere when the whitefish are tossed.  I’ve heard the stories about their “pet eagle.” So I finally got DH to take a camera and get photos.

 Apparently these eagles watch for the tossed white fish.

They come cruising in to check out the fresh meal in the snow.

Usually they can collect the fish and fly off without missing a beat.

With an eagle eye on the people…

they enjoy their lunch.

I’d say they have the fishermen trained pretty well.