Thursday, February 3, 2011

Candlemas and Sebastapols

Before I get going on this post I just want to thank every one that responded with book and movie titles. I now have a replenished list and more to learn.

Some years ago on one of my BIG birthdays I decided to never have another birthday. Instead, just to appease those who insist on doing something to commemorate this joyous occasion, I found another holiday to take its place. It isn't that I don't appreciate being thought of on that special day. I just refuse to get any older. If you go looking for holidays you can find something listed on nearly everyday of the year. My birthday just happens to be on Candlemas. Now I suppose some of you are asking just what is Candlemas? It is supposed to be a celebration of new beginnings. There are several ways to do this some Christian in origin some tied to agriculture and some the black arts. You can find lots of different explanations on the internet. The one I like the best is Pennsylvania Dutch in origin. This day is the half way mark between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox and in many traditions is considered the beginning of spring. Celebrating the awakening of the ground, new beginnings, germination of seeds, end of winter etc.  It is also where the ground hog tradition came from. I can handle that. Since I am a gardener I like the new beginning thing. According to my brother it is also a time when covens of witches initiate new members. Maybe he's trying to tell me something?  I think I will leave that last one out. To commemorate the occasion you can put candles in the windows, eat pancakes, and start seeds indoors. I put candles in the windows at Christmas time so I just leave them there until the day after Candlemas. Thank you electronic candles. Pancakes made from last years grain harvest are suppose to symbolize the sun and abundant crops or something. My brother is making me a waffle brunch that day and that is close enough to pancakes for me especially since I like waffles better. Since pancakes are suppose to symbolize the sun lets hope his waffles are round.
 Lummi Island geese
My Sebastapol
What I am really excited about is ordering this years birds from a hatchery. I have all the chickens I have room for so I am going to finally get Sebastapol geese. I will most likely get some ducks to fill out the order and my two mallard Khaki Campbells will get some girl friends but the geese are what I really want. I had a pair of them when I lived on Lummi Island. One of them is happily living on a beautiful farm on Lopez Island and I am thankful to them for taking her (and the other three regular geese) in since she had a bad leg. (which miraculously healed overnight when all the other geese on that farm were re-homed). Little faker.... Hate to mention to the man that there may be a honey do in his future. I may need a bigger pen to keep them all safe at night or when I'm not home.

I have decided to order my birds from Metzer Farms this time. They are located in California and have some beautiful birds AND I can order sexed birds! If you are interested use this link.
You may even get John Metzer answering your phone call like I did the other day. Nice to see a business owner that is truly involved and willing to do the same things asked of his workers. I like that.

Sebastapol geese are the gentlest most beautiful things ever. If you want to see some stunning pictures of these geese I highly recommend everyone to see the pictures taken at Cottage Rose Birds and Blossoms. These pictures must have been taken professionally because they are beautiful. Just click on the link here then click on White Sebastapol in the menu located under the header.

So I have decided also to make my own Candlemas dinner. We will have a prime rib that I have in the freezer (bought on sale) roasted in course ground kosher salt. I've done this once before and the roast was to die for. A restaurant I worked for use to do this and prime rib night was always sold out. Seldom did the employees ever get a taste.

I'm also going to do a new salad. Recipe follows. If the roast turns out I will post that on the next blog along with pictures.

Spinach Salad with Cranberries and Warm Honey Dressing
  1/2 lb. bacon, chopped
baby spinach leaves, washed (about 8 cups)
4 hard boiled eggs, sliced
1 cup shredded swiss cheese
1/2 cup lightly toasted pecans
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3 Tbsp. honey
3 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1 cup sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Saute' bacon until just beginning to crisp. Remove bacon to paper towel to drain. Reserve 1/3 cup of the drippings in the pan.
     Arrange spinach on individual serving plates or put in a serving bowl. Place egg slices over the spinach and sprinkle the cheese, bacon and pecans over the spinach.

     Place the pan with the bacon drippings over medium heat and then heat the honey in a microwave oven until melted. Stir the vinegar into the honey then slowly stir the mixture into the bacon drippings. Remove from heat and gradually stir in the sour cream. Season with salt and pepper. Immediately pour over arranged salad, garnish with cranberries and serve.

This salad was really yummy. Even the kids ate it.

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