If reincarnation does exist, I want to come back as one of Jerry’s birds. My husband, Jerry, is for the birds. As soon as the first leaf of autumn had fallen, Jerry was looking for the best prices on bird seed and getting his thermal spa ready for winter bathing. I have never used Jerry’s spa. It’s in our back yard just past our deck in prime real estate location for a bird’s eye view while sitting at our kitchen table. It could probably handle my foot and big toe… possibly. I don’t have a spa, but Jerry’s birds do.
A few years ago, St. Francis, aka Jerry, received a bird bath warmer for Christmas. He opened his present and, with sheer and utter delight, immediately proceeded to the birdbath to “hook that baby up.” Jerry has been hooked on feeding the birds for as long as I have known him – a very, very long time. I guess you could say feeding the birds is his soft-core addiction.
To his credit, he does feed the squirrels, too, but they have to work harder to get their daily grub. He has bird feeders with baffles overhead to thwart the squirrels, but I think he put up the baffles just to watch the fun. On any given winter day, the squirrels will slip, slide and do all sorts of acrobatics to get Jerry’s bird food. But after all these antics, St. Francis does reward the squirrels for their mental maneuvers and performances. He stocks the flat, wooden rails along the top of our deck with birdseed, and those furry vacuum cleaners just gobble it up.
I must admit I do like to see the little snow birds and nuthatches that visit in winter. There have been winter visits from cardinals, juncos, bluebirds, blackbirds, doves, blue jays, woodpeckers and many more. Even some robust robins visit in the cold weather to bathe at Jerry’s spa. I’m beginning to think that Jerry’s Place was “tweeted” as the bird retreat to visit when wintering over in Philadelphia.
We’ve talked about getting a soaking tub, what I always refer to as “my spa.” But I’m not rushing out to buy bath salts and soaking oils yet. For now, I am content just to live vicariously watching Jerry’s feathered friends. Hopefully, my spa plans will materialize someday, but for now those plans are … for the birds.
Now that winter has turned to spring, Jerry stops feeding the birds, as his winter collection flies north, and any remaining feathered friends have enough insects and worms to “fend for themselves.”
Recently, reading about an ex-corporate investment banker who traded Wall Street for hanging out and shooting with hunters, and then cooking her bounty, made me think of Jerry’s little treasures in the back. In fact, reading her recipes for Squirrel Dumplings and Fried Dove Breast prompted me to think more about vegetables and to offer a no meat or fowl alternative this week.
The following recipe has been enjoyed while watching our local back yard critters.
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1½ cup onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
24 oz. frozen, cut leaf spinach, seasoned with salt/pepper. (Microwave spinach to cook, drain, and squeeze out liquid.)
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, chopped, season with salt/pepper. (Microwave mushrooms for 2 minutes, drain, and squeeze out liquid.)
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup cream cheese
8 to 10 whole wheat tortillas
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9x13-inch baking pan with oil.
In a large pan, heat 1 Tbsp. oil and add the onion and garlic. Cook 2-3 minutes until onion is softened.
Add the spinach, mushrooms, coriander, nutmeg, and cheeses. Mix well. Turn off heat.
Soften tortillas by laying them on a baking sheet and putting them in the oven for a minute or two.
Put about ½ cup filling on the lower half of warm tortilla, fold bottom up and sides in, and roll to encase the filling. Repeat with remainders.
Place each seam-side down in baking dish.
Spray tops lightly with oil. Cover with foil. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until hot.
Serve with salsa and sour cream.
Eat well, live long, enjoy!
(Questions or tips can be sent to Donna Zitter Bordelon at WhatscookinNEPhilly@gmail.com or in care of the Northeast Times, 2512 Metropolitan Drive, Trevose, PA 19053)