A Flock Of Ibis and A Jar of Lemon Curd

When it rains like we have been getting, the best thing to do is just “Duck and Cover”.

I don’t mind a thunderstorm but I am smart enough to stay inside during the worst of it.  Most folks are. 

There are always a few who you wonder about.  You know the type, I’ve called them chickens.  The type that if you set outside in a rainstorm, they’d drown because they would be looking “due up” at the sky with their mouth open.  It would then fill up and they don’t have the common sense to at least swallow.

There was a gap between the storms.  You could still hear the thunder off in the very distance, like a low rumble from a distant train.  Humid out, with grey skies, it was clearly time to go out and get some errands run.

I had a conversation with Sherree a few days back.  We were paying a visit and made a casual comment that I was probably one of about one people here in town that made their own Lemon Curd.  If you haven’t had it, it basically is what you get inside of a Lemon Meringue pie.  Subtract the crust and the meringue, and there you have it.   It’s a sweet and tart jelly that is rich with eggs, lemon zest and juice, and is really quite good on a breakfast English Muffin with some cream cheese.  I’ve gotten the recipe down so that it’s about as good as what I can get out at the market.  Oh, and as good as that recipe is, it is amazing with either grapefruit or limes, Key Limes are exceptional when you can find them.

But it also is an English thing.  Since Sherree is quite gloriously English, her eyes lit up when she heard that. 

It was time to do a good deed.

That morning I knew I would make up a batch and try to can the stuff.   Home canning is one of those At Your Own Risk activities like running with scissors.  Do it right and it can be exhilarating.  Do it wrong and you fall down and hurt yourself.

There are certain foods that it is “Not Recommended” that you home can.  They are things that spoil easily that contain Egg that could go horribly wrong if you didn’t sterilize everything in boiling water and follow instructions exactly.

Seeing that I was kind of winging this, I was going to deliver one of the two full jars locally that same day.

If someone gives you some Home Canned goods, check the lid.  If the lid bulges, it should no longer be eaten.  Dispose of it, then tell a white lie.  Tell them it was good, but don’t eat it.  Save the ring and the jar and return them, they’re not exactly easy to find.  The rings are almost never sold separately, and come one to a jar.

On the other hand, this jar was canned, and then immediately refrigerated, and went into the refrigerator upon delivery.

After chatting about her dog, and that my own Rack was sitting in the car out front, we came outside.  Having a pleasant conversation about things that you usually have when you’re three adults and a dog standing around in a front yard, we were interrupted.

A Flock of 11 Ibises make a rather large sound when they come in for a landing.  We spotted them just as they crested over the trees and landed in the street in front of us.  Think of the Hitchcock movie “The Birds” but in miniature.  One thing about wildlife in Florida, they are everywhere.  You only reside here, but this is their home.

This flock paid us no mind as we all stood there with our heads cocked to one side due to their arrival.  They walked East down the street as my Rack hid behind me.  I’m not too surprised about that but when I noticed that he was plastered to the back of my leg, I dropped the leash.

He was in the back of the car and curled into a fetal ball in an eyeblink.

So if you’re standing in a yard and a flock of American Ibis decide to pay a visit, remember they were here first and they’re really quite shy.  Don’t worry, they’ll head back to the water shortly.  They can’t eat asphalt anyway.

Egrets In The Yard

Other than having fun editing pictures, what use is a camera?

In the case of this particular picture, I was able to catch a flock of egrets land in a neighbor’s yard and start to feed.  I don’t know why birds decide to chose one particular spot to feed, but it must have looked tasty.

Around here, you get used to seeing egrets.  One here or there, they are fairly common to see, about as common as the flocks of feral parrots that scream through the sky or the hawks and buzzards hovering near sunrise or sundown.

On the other hand, usually when I see an egret, it is just that, “an” egret.  This particular day I was blessed by a flock coming by.  They landed on the roof, first by the lead bird, then the rest of the flock.  One by one, led by that pilot, they landed on this particular spot of weeds and began to feed.

As some of my friends are fond of pointing out around here, if you plant native species, wildlife will come.  I can look out any window and expect to see natives pass through, but they may not stay if they don’t like what they find.   The curious thing about this flock of egrets is that they are on and stayed over a line.  The line separated the “Nice Green Lawn” of one property from the “Nasty Unkempt Weeds” of the one next door.  The Weed strewn lawn was that way because the house was not cared for since it was sold by the owner back in 2007.  It was then bought by a character that we of this block are happy to see the end of.  He basically walked away, brought in a house hold of 20-something bar crowd partiers that eventually moved on.  After the partiers moved in the younger set of an “Old Wilton Manors Family” who began to take better care of the place.  At least the place stopped it’s decline.

All of that wordy prose leads me to wonder if we all let our lawns go more natural, might we not see more nature?

Update…

One of my regular readers, Constance, told me that I was mistaken.  I saw the white bird above and thought it was the Egrets that sometimes land around here.  This flock is not, it’s an American White Ibis.  It looks like “my” flock was an adult and a number of juveniles.

Here are the wikipedia pages:

Snowy Egret:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowy_Egret

American White Ibis:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_White_Ibis