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Where the Wild Things Are

Where the Wild Things Are: The Movie

This video is a must watch.  Andy, the Sociologist/Entomologist/Photographer, has morphed into Andy the Film Producer.  And do turn your speakers up; Andy chose the perfect soundtrack for his video.  Now – bear with me – we’ll ultimately bring this around to recipes.  Meanwhile, enjoy Andy’s Corner. OMG – it never ends.

We love our teeny front yard – where the wild things are. Every evening without fail Andy dutifully arranges his trail camera to focus on our little path.  And every morning, usually in his bathrobe, he retrieves it, in hopes that he’s captured an image of yet another wild one….and didn’t capture some image of a wild AirBnB-er staying next door.

Another wild thing that frequents the Sonoma Valley, if not our front walk-way, is the turkey.  Think Thanksgiving.


A posse of Sonoma’s wild turkeys, on the prowl just up the hill from us

If you live near our wild turkeys, you may not be a real fan of them (though you may be a fan of Wild Turkey:).  One of our older and very feminine Glen Ellen neighbors has been known to take a few random shots at wild turkeys to get them off her home’s deck (she has also been known to shoot a few rattlesnakes).  While we’re not advocating taking down your own Thanksgiving turkey, we do have a simple recipe for roasting the breast of a domesticated turkey.  And we definitely recommend trying to find a heritage bird (here is why).

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From Andy the Photographer (not Andy the Sociologist or Andy the Entomologist) This Fly Amanita mushroom is definitely NOT edible.

The family’s interest in wild things goes beyond animals. Our grandson, Moss, who is now 12, always thinks a little outside the box (remember last week’s post?).  While our grandson, Silas, wants soccer shoes and jerseys for presents, Moss requests a class in foraging.  So that’s what he got a few years ago: foraging for mushrooms with Grandpa Andy on the Sonoma coast.  And we have the perfect recipe for those wild mushrooms (or everyday button or white mushrooms, if you’re not a forager at heart).  If you’re fixing Thanksgiving dinner and don’t want to do traditional stuffing, this is a great alternative.

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While Andy is stalking wild animals, I’m more interested in Stalking the Wild Asparagus.

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Does this bring back fond memories of the HippyTrippy 60’s?

During Andy’s graduate-school days at Colorado State U, we lived on a farm on South Shields outside Fort Collins.  And every spring along the fence line of that farm, we’d go hunting for an incredible delicacy – which we didn’t adequately appreciate at the time – wild asparagus.  Trust me, nothing store-bought can begin to compare to its flavor.  When spring arrives, seek out your most-locally-grown asparagus – or better yet – go wild asparagus hunting.  We’ve got a great pasta to fix with your fresh asparagus.Screen Shot 2017-10-31 at 11.36.29 AM

The only other wild thing I’ve ever scavenged for is blackberries.  Wild blackberries grow in Baton Rouge and in the Sonoma Valley area, so Andy and I consider ourselves seasoned blackberry pickers. We have our favorite spots which we jealously guard, hoping no one else will discover them.  Ask me sometime about the poison ivy rash I had after one such adventure.

Though blackberries, especially combined with other fruits, make great desserts, jam with blackberries is my specialty.  Making jam together was one way my mother and I bonded during my teen years, and I still can’t make a batch without feeling like my mom is watching my every move….affectionately.

After forcing me to do 4-H “Home Ec” rather than just show livestock at the Larimer County Fair, I spent a summer perfecting my jams and jellies, all made without artificial pectin.  My mother was convinced I would get a blue ribbon, because mine would be so much more authentic than those contestants who made jam with pectin.

Of course, I didn’t win.

But I’ve had a lifetime of enjoyment from what I learned that summer.  And Andy’s a pretty lucky man to have an over-supply of homemade jams and jellies, if I do say so myself.

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