Monday, March 21, 2005

Because one cannot live by ice cream alone

We are exhausted. We've been making a wire-fence pen and a very swanky doghouse for Gracie (after we find her a permanent home, the pen and house will be used to put up any dog that needs to be fostered; I suspect we will take them with us when we move). That has meant a lot of digging on my part--eight two-foot-deep holes in stiff silt and clay--and a trip to Home Depot for a lot of bulky materials. And for the s.o., it has meant a lot of hammering and sawing of wood, and a lot of tamping of dirt with a heavy sledge.

Also, the other day at dusk, the s.o. was outside using the table saw for an unrelated project when he started noticing small swooping creatures launching themselves from the eaves of the house. It turns out that what we had thought was a nest of peeping baby birds in the wall was actually a massive colony of bats. "Well, that explains why we don't have a mosquito problem," the s.o. observed. Bats are useful and good creatures, certainly. But the thing is, we can't sit idly and let our walls fill with guano (there's a lovely image). So the s.o. is spending a lot of time on the extension ladder, sealing chinks in the siding (the trick is to try to do it while the bats are outside), and meanwhile he has built a largeish bat house from plans he found on the internet. I think he is making some progress on the bat-exclusion front, if displaced bats are any indication. A couple have blundered into the chimneys and down into the house, leading to a lot of barking, meowing, and shrieking on the part of the house's occupants.

Ah! The country life.

So in those moments when we are not playing with dogs, shoveling dirt, or chasing bats with brooms, we are hungry. Here's what we had for dinner today, which I thought turned out really well:

2 turkey thighs, skinned, deboned, and halved
2 to 4 Tbs. flour
1 medium onion, chopped
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
14-oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
8-oz. can tomato sauce
3 c. fresh or frozen okra, chopped into bite-size pieces
1/2 c. chopped celery
1/2 c. fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/2 c. diced cooked ham
several sprigs fresh parsley, chopped
a bay leaf
3 c. water
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Dredge the turkey pieces in flour and fry them, with the onion, in the oil in a large pot. When the turkey is slightly browned, add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Reach into the pot with two forks and pull the turkey into large shreds for easier eating.