Sunday, May 25, 2008

When geese attack

I think this is the first Memorial Day weekend I have spent at home. Usually, I go up to Mom and Dad's, but since I was just there, I opted to spend the weekend down here!

This morning I did a 12 mile run, and I must say it felt almost effortless compared to last weekend's trail race! Temperatures were in the low 60's with overcast skies and a pretty good dose of humidity. Good weather for running, feeling like summer but without a lot of heat. Nice!

I saw a number of birds again. Of interest, I encountered a noisy flock of red-winged blackbirds that were giving the business to a Cooper's hawk. I spotted several yellow warblers who were obviously nesting in the area around the lake. And of course, there were the usual suspects; tree and barn swallows, catbirds, egrets, eagles, bluebirds, cardinals, and chickadees. The park was alive today.

The resident Canada geese have all started having their babies as well, so there are many proud parents walking around with their yellow puffballs in tow. If you have never encountered Canada geese with their young, they can be ornery birds.

While rounding the lake, I met mama and papa goose with their four adorable goslings. They were standing right on the edge of the trail. As I approached, I tried to stay as far away from them as I could. One of the parents started hissing at me. I have experienced this before, and it usually ends there.

But suddenly, the crazed goose lunges at me, flapping its wings and flying up into the air to come after me. Making a quick dart to the right of the trail, I sprinted up into someone's yard in an attempt to evade the pursuit of a goose gone wild. Pointing my water bottle at the bird, I yelled at it and said, "Hey, back off!" (I am unsure if squirting the goose would have done anything, but it seemed like a solid defense mechanism at the time)

The goose sensed that I was leaving, so it quickly returned to the family. However, the bad part was that I had another lap around the lake, so I would be seeing these geese again. Sure enough, they were in the exact same spot! This time, I ran up into the yard to steer clear of the angry bird (still hissing at me), pointing my water bottle at it the whole time, ready to fire if necessary. Happily, I made it past with no unpleasantness. Although I am guessing if anyone in the homes near this part of the trail witnessed any my two episodes with mother goose, it probably made for some good laughter at the breakfast table.

Unrelated to anything, I made a great dish last night. I cooked up Giada De Laurentiis' scampi on couscous, and it was delicious.

Giada rules



I don't think I have ever been disappointed with one of her recipes, and this was certainly no exception. I took a few liberties with the recipe (added some dried red chile pepper to the tomato sauce for heat, seasoning the shrimp with fresh rosemary and herbes de Provence, and added peas to the couscous), but I was true to the measurements.

A delightful summer meal. The couscous was light, fluffy, and absorbed the flavors of the tomato broth, and I did a great job preparing the shrimp so that they were just cooked through. I will be making this one again!

Kind of a gloomy day with a chance of rain, so it is a perfect excuse to stay in and watch golf and NASCAR, as well as cooking a little dinner!

Until next time,

Jean
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