Thursday, February 11, 2010

Phantom Feline; 2-11-10




Another trip to the woodyard today. Cut down a couple of trees (standing dead spruce), removed the limbs (via axe and sinew) and cut them into blocks; length determined by my woodstove.

A couple of days ago a wolf passed by. His (or her) tracks told the story of a brief visit. He came out of the woods, walked down the trail for, maybe, twenty yards, then back into the woods. Trudging through deep snow clearly requires more effort than strolling along a packed trail, so there was a reason for the quick return into the seclusion of the forest.

A list of possibilities would include: detection of a lingering scent (mine would do it), the sound of an approaching snow machine (maybe mine, maybe some one else cruising down the nearby lake), or something else I can only imagine.

Perhaps this "lone wolf", an outcast with no pack of his own, heard the far-off howling of another wolf. Realizing he was in hostile territory and wanting to avoid a deadly confrontation, he skulked off into the shadows, tail between legs. That's my version, anyway.

But this post is about a cat, not a dog. The photo shows the overnight tracks of a lynx. This kitty has been prowling the vicinity of the woodyard for a couple of weeks now. I believe spring is the mating season so perhaps the tabby is hunting a mate to go along with the snowshoe hares, spruce grouse and ptarmigan he (more likely a she, based on foot size) is seeking while creeping through the willows.

http://www.adfg.state.ak.us/pubs/notebook/furbear/lynx.php

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

"What's a man to do?"

My dilemma, staring me in the face like an angry Rotweiller, is the decision of what to do...now.

My morning agenda is was to drive the snow machine out to the woodyard, cut some trees and haul a couple of loads of firewood. But now??? Perhaps I should back up.

It started last night; well it really started a couple of years ago, but we'll begin with last night.

I had a bit of spare time before I was to cook dinner. While pondering the evening menu I got a hankering for something yummy; something...chocolatey! That, naturally, led me straight to the container or Ghirardelli "Sweet Ground Chocolate". (If you are not familiar with the afore mentioned delicacy, I will not attempt to explain it here; words alone can't get it done. If you are familiar with it, words are superfluous; enjoy my friend, enjoy! Life is good with Ghirardelli by your side. Mmmmmmmmm!)

Where was I? Oh. So I decided to make some "brownies". (I put it in quotations because "brownies" is the name most of the poor, ignorant masses of this world would assign to the resulting masterful creation, made possible ONLY by the use of G.S.G.C., confusing this exceptional gastronomical delight with the mundane brown baked product originating from a "Duncan Hines" or "Hersheys" box.).

I won't divulge the recipe here. If you are able to obtain a container of G.S.G.C. for yourself, and I strongly recommend you do, you will find the recipe there. If not, the formula is worthless without the essential ingredient anyway. 

So I made them. And they were good. No; they were GOOD! No, that still doesn't do justice. They were...TOTALLYAWESOMELYOUTSTANDINGLYDELICIOUS!!! Yeah, I think that about says it.

These are simply "the world's best brownies", and I'm not too shy to say it. So when my 14 year old friend came by last night I told him so, right to his face, as soon as he stepped through my door. He gave me a weird, confused look in return. Apparently he was not convinced, the poor boy. He obviously had never had the gastronomical delight originating from a container of G.S.G.C.

"Have a seat at the table, boy" I commanded with authority. Never let it be said that I had a fresh batch (well, by now a couple were missing) of "the world's best brownies" and would not share with a lad lacking experience in the higher levels of chocolate comsumption.

He looked even more confused as I pulled out the chair and motioned with my hand for him to sit. Then he saw them. No doubt, by now the aroma had also penetrated his previously dull senses. A smile spread across his face as he settled into his seat, rubbed his hands together and readied himself for what was coming. 

About half way through, with chocolate smearing his cheek and crumbs falling (crumbs he would later retrieve; these are too valuable to be wasted) he admitted "they're definitely better than Martha's (his step-mom).

But that wasn't good enough. I persisted, with my wife giving me disapproving looks from across the room. Surely taste would prevail and this young lad would have the revelation which relegates boxed brownie mixes to be left on store shelves; unpurchased and unloved.

"Well? Was I right? Have you ever had a better 'brownie?'"

"Nope. Those are pretty good." (Remember his youthful age, so he has trouble really expressing himself)

Ahhhh; now I could relax and go back to...what ever it was I was doing. And so could he. We parted ways, both happy and content.

That was last night, but it is TODAY in which I have the dilemma. I have just finished my coffee and the final two (dare I say three) servings of the world's best brownies. (Alas, I always feel that certain sorrow which comes when the pan is empty). As I said, my plan was to load up and head out to fall trees, cut wood and haul it home, shoring up my shrinking firewood pile.

But now? My stomach feels like a shopping cart overloaded with holiday baking supplies during a half-off sale. I picture myself as a giant anaconda who just swallowed Sara Lee, Betty Crocker and the Pillsbury Doughboy (except I just googled him and it appears he died a while back, apparently from a rampant yeast infection and complications from repeated blunt force trauma to the belly, but I digress)

So, I suppose I'll proceed as planned. It won't be easy to slither ahead into a winter wilderness with a belly full of cooking icons, but we must do what we must do.