Friday, March 1, 2013

Spring Happenings

Douglas Meadowfoam at sunrise

On a very cheery Spring note, I heard the remaining male California quail singing while I was planting outside. He seemed very close, and when I looked about, there he was atop the growing brush pile on our driveway that soon will be reduced to chips. He moved all around singing, “where are the females?” We used to have quite a large flock of quail until the proliferation of domesticated and feral cats in the area decimated them.

What a wonderful surprise on the morning of Shasta's birthday.  When I went out to our vegetable garden, I saw not one but two quail: hopefully a pair.

A rare sighting of a Tiger Salamander here at MuRefuge. The endangered salamander was amidst my recycled pots stored in a wooden apple box. What a treasured sighting! Since I was getting rid of the apple boxes, I moved the salamander to the edge of the pond and he, well it could very well have been a she, slipped into the pond. We have a plethora of gopher tunnels so (s)he will have plenty of choices for a home.

For those that are interested in our small duck flock, two of our fawn and white Indian Runners died. The oldest one who would have been nine next month had a stroke some five and a half weeks ago. The other female , soon to be six years old, has had respiratory difficulties off and on for over a year. She no doubt had Aspergillus, a mold prevalent most everywhere and easily inhaled during foraging. What an incredibly awesome gift to participate in the process of departure of these two ducks from their physical forms!

The remaining six Indian Runners are rearranging their pecking order after a few days of grieving. And now that the days are getting longer the chocolate and two blue Indian Runners are giving us fabulously delicious eggs again.

While shopping for bird seed to feed the wild birds who visit MuRefuge, wood shavings for the floor of the Indian Runners’ duck house, organic no soy laying pellets to feed the Indian Runners, and balls for Shasta, the 2012 Annual Natural Dog: your complete guide to holistic dog care magazine fell off the counter into my hands. Both Dwight and I have enjoyed reading it.

One of the features was "Farmers Market Recipe for Dogs" which included recipes for both humans and dogs, one for each season. This prompted the idea to include one of each, for humans and for dogs, here. Since Shasta loves Salmon Creek Ranch pasture fed ground beef, both the human and Shasta recipes revolve around that basic ingredient. The human recipe is “comfort food” for me:

  • 1 package (about a pound give or take a few ounces) of Salmon Creek Ranch ground beef
  • 1 quart of oven, slow roasted fresh tomatoes from our garden, then frozen for Winter use
  • 1 pint of lightly sauteed multicolored peppers from The Patch, also frozen for Winter use
  • 2 to 3 pounds of German Butterball potatoes from Iron Horse or First Family Farm at the local Farm Market

Brown the ground beef in a large cast iron skillet adding chives, also gathered 
from our garden during the warm season and finely chopped and frozen for
Winter use, a bit of sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Place in the bottom of
a 2 to 3 quart Corning Ware casserole dish. Layer the sliced peppers and cover 
with the roasted tomatoes. Top with a thick layer of mashed potatoes whipped 
with salted butter only. Bake for 45 minutes or until the mashed potatoes are
lightly browned and the tomato juice is bubbling up around the edges in 
450 degree preheated oven. Best served in pasta bowls.

And now for Shasta’s recipe:
  • 5 packages of Salmon Creek Ranch ground beef unthawed, lightly sauteed
  • 1 qt. jar frozen grated carrots from MuRefuge’s vegetable garden
  • 1 qt. jar frozen grated zucchini also from MuRefuge’s vegetable garden
  • 1 lg. freshly dug celeriac from MuRefuge’s vegetable garden, grated

Cook last 3 ingredients in 1 qt. water for about 20 minutes then puree and mix with
ground beef.  Fill pint jars and freeze. Defrost and bring to room temperature for serving.

Shasta likes the contents of one pint divided into two meals and add: 
  • 1/4 tsp. each dried kelp, 
  • dried wheat grass (both powdered)
  • and NutriBiotic Buffered Sodium Ascorbate 
  • + 1 tsp. each Freeda Pure Calcium Gluconate Powder 
  • and Nordic Naturals Omega-3 PET

If anyone would like to share recipes, please feel free to do so in the comment section below.

Shasta has now arrived at the one year marker and been with us 6 months.  

Shasta deciding which birthday present to open first
The monkey won!
We all (including Shasta’s Auntie T) celebrated with a romp on Dillon Beach followed by lunch at the Deli in Tomalas; certainly a visit to Mostly Natives Nursery, too.

And Kathy, along with Bill and Joan, did you see your 55 species in celebration of your 55th birthday? Here’s hoping you all did so and also had a good


  1. I frequently receive emails I'd like to post in this comment section. Here's one from the recent birthday girl updating us on her BD count: "We saw many fine species, from fungus gnats to black-necked stilts, numbering well over 55. Joan managed to spot and identify some very elusive marsh wrens, which we verified once finding their bolder cohorts further on. A grand day out. Kathy"

  2. Happy Birthday Shasta!
    Those duck eggs are beautiful.