Thursday, January 01, 2015

Start as you mean to go on

Today I ensured all the smoke detectors in the house had new batteries,  cleaned the refrigerator and
made bagels.

The Man of the Place is a creature of habit.  He has a cinnamon raisin bagel almost every morning for breakfast.  Yesterday the last one was toasted and we were officially out of bagels. (insert ominous sound here)

We have become accustomed to living out of town and prefer it to any other sort of life.  This means that we have become very organised when it comes to ordinary supplies.  I have a little method for ensuring that we never run out of toilet paper, soap, toothpaste, light bulbs and other things that make modern life pleasant.  I also have become adept at not running out of food staples.  If we ever get caught out and find we don't have something in that we need, there are a couple of choices.  We can do without, drive all the way in to the nearest town for it or make it our own damn self.

A bagel is not a staple for life.  It is a "nice to have" rather than a "need to have".  I knew there were only a few left but chose to ignore it when we were in town on Monday.  So when we sliced and toasted the last bagel yesterday, I had a thought.  I'll just make some!

It was my first attempt at bagels.  I looked up a recipe for them in my trusty Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.  It was not good.  The instructions included sticking them under the grill! I am not Jewish but I know enough to know that part of the bagel making process includes boiling them. 

Going on-line helped.  I found a good recipe and an accompanying video on YouTube.  Better Homes and Gardens you have let me down.  Please don't do it again.  

The bagels turned out really well!  I haven't had a fresh bagel in years and they were delightful.  I loved the chewy texture of them.  I used more cinnamon and more raisins than the supermarket bagels too.  That's the genius thing about making stuff at home. Sometimes it's better!

I also opened the new bird diary.  I have retired the 2014 bird log to the book shelves along with diaries of other years to be part of the Whitelees nature archive.  A new bird watching year has begun.

I simply write down all the different species of bird that I see in the garden.  I write them down in the order that I see them. Sometimes I will indicate the number of each species. I also will log birds that I can identify by their sound.  There are a number of British birds that I can identify by sound now.  

If a bird entry is out of the ordinary I will highlight the entry in yellow.  So, if I see a swallow for the first time, I will highlight the entry.  Any new bird to me personally or the garden will also get highlighted.  

When the first sparrows returned to the garden after an absence of almost 20 years, that was given a big yellow mark.  I practically had a birdgasm and wanted to put glitter on the page when the tree sparrows showed up.  

I also log red squirrels in the diary.  They get highlighted in pink.  I will write down if it is a male or female if it is known and the number of squirrels seen at one time.  If we get a mole, deer or weasel that's worthy of mentioning as well.  

I note other things in the margins.  If the weather is particularly horrid or if there has been a big snow, I'll mention it.  I will also note when the field next to the house is ploughed, planted or harvested.

There are pages in the old diary with nothing written down. Those are the days when I haven't had time to record what I've seen or we have been away on a holiday.  There are also a couple of days, when I just plain didn't want to do it. Those sorts of blank entry days are rare.

So today there weren't many birds to write down as the weather is so bad.  The wind, which was strong all day is really howling now.  I fully expect to find the feeder on its side in the morning.

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