Thursday, May 26, 2011

Key Lime Pie

with chocolate cookie crust and raspberry sauce... 
Chocolate Cookie Crust
5 oz shortbread type chocolate cookies, pulverized (about 1 C when crushed.  I used Newman's Own Alphabet Cookies) 
4 T butter, melted
1/2 C shredded coconut (leave out or add more if you  like)
Crush cookies.  Blend in butter and then coconut.  Press into bottom of 9" pie pan.  Bake at 375 degrees for 7-10 minutes.  Let cool.

Lime Filling
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk (I used fat free.  Hey, saving calories counts!) 
1 to 1 1/2 C whipping cream,* whipped into stiff peaks  (Reserve a little for serving.)
@ 4 limes, zest and juice.  Juice should equal about 4 oz.  (Chop zest into smaller pieces if desired.)  Reserve some zest.
Mix sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, and unreserved zest well.  Fold in whipped cream.  Spoon into cooled pie shell.  Sprinkle with reserved zest.  Place pie in refrigerator or freezer.

Raspberry Sauce
Place fresh or frozen berries in a pan on stove.  Add honey to taste.  Let slightly boil for a few minutes.  Remove from heat and crush berries, mixing well.  

To serve:
Place a tablespoon or 2 of raspberry sauce in bottom of bowl or dish, spreading in a pretty manner.  Place slice of pie on top.  Put a dollop of whipped cream on top of pie.
*For easy whipped cream making, place mixer bowl, mixing attachment, and even the cream itself into freezer for a brief period till all is very cold.
This Fun and Fabulous dessert gets rave reviews every time I serve it.  This recipe is original to me, synthesized from several other recipes and honed over time.

Once again, I'm participating in Jenny Matlock's Fantabulous Alphabe-Thursday.  Come and join in the Fun!  You will be enlightened, charmed, and have some plain ole Fun!  See more entries HERE.  This week our letter is "F."  
photos by me © 2010 and 2011

Monday, May 16, 2011

Baby Owl #2

Because Barry's re-nesting was so successful, we were  privileged  to re-nest another baby barred owl!  
This owl came from a nearby town.  The Raptor People put the baby owl in the plastic crate roped to a tree in our woodsy backyard.  It was hoped that new owl parents would adopt it.  By the next day, the owl was perched on the edge of the crate.  The following morning, however, the owl had disappeared!  Oh no!  By that evening we found it--high on a branch in another tree about 20 yards away! 
See the baby owl in the middle of the photo?  (click to enlarge)
Owls cannot fly at this point in their life (about 4 weeks) so it must have fallen out of the tree and somehow made its way across the ground to the new tree.  Then it crawled up the tree using its sharp beak and talons.  What an adventure!  This must have taken many hours to accomplish.
adoptive mother in nearby tree.  We don't know if this is the same mother owl as Barry's, but we assume so since owls are territorial.
The day following this adventure, I saw the baby owl hop up the tree to another branch.  They start doing this at about 4 weeks, but can't really fly till close to 6.
It's been such a joy to witness these young owl lives and the adults caring for them. 
See this link for Barry's story and owl links (including their vocalizations.)
Thanks once again to Cindy and Marc of RAPTOR, INC!

photos by me © 2011

Thursday, May 5, 2011


...the story of Barry the Barred Owl...
It all began one sunny Friday in late April when a dead tree was cut down.  A small owl was found on the ground clinging to a branch.  The owl was placed on an old shirt in a cardboard box.  
(size of 2 softballs)
The Raptor People were called.  The small owl was taken away to be checked for broken wings and to be fed and watched for 24 hours.
At last the Raptor People returned with the small owl!
(Cindy teaching about the owl)
The neighborhood children and adults gathered 'round to hear tales of raptors and to learn about this particular species of owl.  The children named him "Barry."*
Soon a "nest" (plastic milk crate) was roped to a tree near where the original nest had been. 
(Marc attaching the nest)
It wasn't long before both parents visited the nest.  After that initial visit, as far as we know, only the mother stayed at the nest.  (The father hunts, brings the food to the mother, who then tears it up and feeds it to the baby.)  
After a couple days, Barry moved out of the nest and sat on the edge of the crate.  
He grew and grew and grew! 
His mother spent most of her days and nights sitting with him on the edge of the nest. 
(mother in nearby tree)
She shooed away squirrels and kept him safe. Then one evening, Barry was gone!  We imagine that he is happily hopping from tree branch to tree branch.  In about a week he will fledge.  His parents will stay with him for a bit longer teaching him to hunt and continuing to feed him.

TIMELINE of a barred owl's life:
parents mate for life
nest is usually in a tree cavity
female lays 2-3 eggs per clutch 
eggs are brooded by female which then hatch about 4 weeks later
female remains with young while male hunts and brings food
young owls first hop out of the nest onto other branches at around 4 weeks
owls fledge at about 5-6 weeks 
some FACTS:
scientific name:  Strix varia
also called a wood owl or hoot owl
calls hoo hoo hoo-hoo or "who cooks for you"  Male's voice is lower than the female's.  See links below for sound recordings.
brownish grey with white bars across their chests
no ear tufts
found across Canada and the Eastern US south to Mexico. More recently this species has been found in the Western US as well. 
Adult is 16-25 inches long, about 1-2.5 lbs, with a wingspan of 38-50 inches.  Female is larger than the male.
not migratory; territory is about one square mile
lifespan is about 10 years in the wild, 23 years in captivity
prey:  opportunistic meat eater--birds, squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, voles, mice, frogs, lizards, insects, and more
If a juvenile falls out of the nest, it may be able to climb back up the tree using its sharp talons and beak.

information and a few photos
barred owl habitat MAP
more facts
All About Birds scroll down for a variety of sounds these owls make

A huge THANK YOU to Cindy and Marc of Raptor, Inc, who took care of this baby owl, banded and re-nested it! 
RAPTOR, INC. is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of birds of prey through rehabilitation, education, and conservation.  (Click the link in brown above for more information.)

Click any photo to see a larger version.
* Barry might be Bari!

photos © 2011 Margaret Freije, Zack Freije, Anita Mazza, Kim Torbeck