Life on Regal-Hill: March 12, 2008

It is a little warmer today here at Regal-Hill. It is raining instead of snowing and it is almost 40 degrees. The forecast is for it to get colder and the precipitation to become a mix of sleet and rain. It doesn’t sound very good to me. I am thankful I can stay home.
Today I have finally begun to see some birds coming around where I can see them. We have some suet out and it has taken a number of weeks for it to attract any birds. Some chickadees have finally found it. We bought this suet and it has some different kinds of seed in it as well so I would think it would attract more than just chickadees.
Not having a better place to put it we hung it on the clothesline that goes up the bank. It was hung in such a way as to stay in place, not slide down the line. Hopefully the cats won’t decide to come over and prey on the birds.
I have just started to hear a phoebe singing again. I love to hear these birds even though some say that in winter they are really chickadees that sing like phoebes.
It has been quite some time since I have seen a blue jay. At one time we saw several of them all winter here around the farm. I really wonder what happened to them. I like to see them since they are such a pretty blue even though they are such pigs when they eat and don’t care about sharing birdseed with the other birds.
I was talking on the phone with one of my neighbors and she had just seen some robins. George said yesterday he heard a red-winged blackbird. With the sightings of red-winged blackbirds and robins, spring will surely be here soon. It can’t get here soon enough as far as I am concerned. How about you?
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
St. Patrick’s Day will be here in less than a week. Everyone seems to want to be Irish on that day. If you need some ideas for your menu, here are some I hope you can use. If you would rather not have corned beef and cabbage here is a stew for this special day. A quick dessert is cookies made with prepared dough or buy cookies and dress them up with ice cream. Oh, and don’t forget to wear green.

St. Patrick’s Day Stew
2 cups diagonally sliced carrots
2 cups diagonally sliced parsnips
2 cups sliced onions
1 1/2 pounds small white potatoes, each cut into quarters
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 pounds boneless lamb stew meat
1 1/2 cups beef broth
4 cups plus 3 tablespoons cold water
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In heavy 6-quart Dutch oven, spread half of vegetables; season with 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper and half teaspoon thyme. Top with meat, then remaining vegetables. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper and remaining thyme. Add broth and 4 cups water. Cover and cook in oven 2 and 1/2 hours or until meat and vegetables are tender.
Transfer meat and vegetables to bowl; cover and keep warm. In cup, blend flour and remaining water; stir into hot liquid in Dutch oven. Heat to boiling on top of range; boil 1 minute. Skim off fat; return meat and vegetables to Dutch oven.
Serves: 6
Good Housekeeping March 2008

Shamrock Cookies
Slice a roll of refrigerated sugar cookie dough. Cut out shamrock template (draw your own template freehand or go to womansday.com/templates to print); place on cookies one by one and sprinkle with green decorating sugar. Lift off carefully, and then bake.
Woman’s Day March 4, 2008

Ice Cream Sandwiches
Use your favorite green ice cream (pistachio, mint chip, green tea) to sandwich between chocolate wafer cookies. Freeze until ready to serve.
Woman’s Day March 4, 2008