When you think of Urban Oasis, McGolrick Park might not come immediately to mind. Although it is much more quiet (and less trampled) than it’s more promiscuous sister (McCarren… ’cause everyone’s been there), it’s not exactly teeming with wildlife.
But the NYC Audubon society is taking action to create a native plant garden for songbirds and other winged species in the park this Spring. They will also be starting an initiative to monitor the park’s biodiversity before and after planting. Continue reading →
I learned a new word this weekend: pronking. It’s what animals like springboks, gazelles, and antelopes do when they bounce up into the air, getting all four hooves off the ground. Here’s a clip of some springboks pronking about, all excited about fresh grass. The word comes from the Afrikaaner verb pronk, meaning to “show off” or “strut,” as in “Oh hey there, hungry lion! See how fit I am? Now why would you waste a perfectly lovely afternoon chasing me?” The moral of the story is don’t chase springboks (unless you’re a cheetah). Lunch will NEVER make it to the table. Make fresh spring rolls instead. They taste awesome, are quick and easy to make, and will give you so much clean energy that you’re gonna wanna pronk all day long! Continue reading →
While searching for accessories on KRRB for Greenpointers’ new office, I found this bobcat pillow. I wasn’t aware that “they” ever made bobcat pillows, but apparently “they” don’t anymore, which makes this a rare item.
The best website ever made about bobcats says that, “bobcats have five toes on the forefoot, but the fifth toe does not leave a mark in the ground because it is raised high up on the foot.”
I was so excited to see birds starting to use the new feeders we put up in our new backyard. At first it was just sparrows and starlings with some mourning doves eating the seeds that fell on the ground. Then I spotted gorgeous House Finches!
I will record all of these birds as part of the Great Backyard Bird Count, which is happening now through 2/17! Take a look in your yard or nearby park for at least 15 minutes and count the birds you see in that period of time. This is a great activity for the whole family, kids, cats, etc.
The data from YOU citizen scientists is used by REAL scientists to understand where and how many species of birds there are in a specific place at a specific time – this weekend! You can watch all this data being submitted in real time on the GBBC website.
Birds to look out for in Brooklyn: Pigeons, Starlings, Sparrows, House Finches, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Red Bellied Woodpeckers, Down Woodpeckers, Robins, Red Tailed Hawks, Mourning Doves, Juncos, Seagulls, Cooper’s Hawks, Peregrine Falcons, Kestrels, Snowy Owls (for real!)
Last year I made this video with the house finches that lived on our fire escape before our landlord flipped out about the bird feeder…Maybe they followed us to our new home.
The other day I got an alarming series of texts from my friend Camille. She had just baked a batch of muffins, cooled them, and set them on the countertop in ziploc bags while she stepped out to run some errands. Upon returning home, she entered her kitchen and glanced around. Something was wrong. Granola crumbs littered the floor. She heard a rustling, and surveyed the room. It was then that she locked eyes with her intruder— a fat squirrel, having entered through the open window, now huddled under the kitchen table, seemingly trying to calculate the probability of successfully dragging a Ziploc baggy full of muffins and a package of sprouted chia-goji berry granola out the window without being eaten/killed/captured and/or losing his loot.
Ah oui…mussels and fries, moules frites as les sophisticates call ‘em. This classic combo just might be my dream meal. I nearly always order them if they’re on the menu, and, when inspired, I make them myself at home. You know why? Because it’s seriously simple to make delicious mussels (assuming you got a nice, fresh, living, breathing batch of these bivalves to work with). And if you get over to the Green Market this Saturday, then you too can pick up a bag of these briny black beauties from your neighborhood fishmonger, which is just what I did last weekend. Chop some herbs and vegetables, throw it all in a pot with some beer (nothing too fancy required) and in about 20 minutes you’ve cooked a really delightful (and very nearly gourmet) meal. Continue reading →
Halloween may be long over, but those little decorative pumpkins, the sugar pie variety, are still gracing the table tops and window sills of homes and shops around the neighborhood. You could send your leftover pumpkins to Teddy the talking porcupine, or you could throw them in your oven and transform them into something delicious. On a recent visit to Brouwerij Lane, after extolling my love of squash and shamelessly touting my cooking skills, I was granted 4 little pumpkins from their personal stash of decorative vegetation. I brought them home, set them on the couch and stared at them. Four pumpkins. They stared back. Four pumpkins. They weren’t talking. Tell me what to do with you. Silence. No clues. I decided I’d just roast them all and create something new and pumpkin-y each day.
Nothing is easy. Especially not figuring out what to make for dinner, which can actually feel like sort of a chore if you cook a lot. Having said that, I’ll admit that few things make me as happy as cooking…so I ought to stop complaining and celebrate the fact that last week I received a gift of somewhere around 30 bulbs of fresh garlic from the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival! Weehoo! What to do with such a generous harvest? Well, there is one thing in cooking that IS easy AND satisfying. Two words: roasted garlic. I learned how to roast these lovely alliums over a decade ago and still it’s totally magic to me how a little heat and a drizzle of olive oil can turn something so pungent and crisp as raw garlic into something this mellow, sweet, and smooth. Continue reading →
Growing up, I lived a stone’s throw from Lake Michigan. Nearly every day during the summer I’d go to the beach, but on the hottest afternoons, I stayed indoors. On these lazy days, I’d grab a fistful of freshly peeled carrots (this was before the ubiquity of packaged “baby carrots”) and a stack of picture books, and disappear for a while to my hiding spot— above a floor vent, under a sunny window, behind a big, blue chair.
Brooklyn’s been squawking a lot about chickens lately, but you hear more about the trend of raising backyard birds than you do about foraging for the fungal variety. Chicken of the Woods, also known by its less tantalizing name Laetiporus sulphureus (or Sulphur Shelf…yum!), is also worth clucking about, as it’s in season now in your local forest, park, or maybe even your own backyard. And if you find a good one, young and tender (they get more brittle as they age), throw it into your knapsack and take it back to your kitchen. When I first saw this mushroom I assumed the name came from its appearance, with feathery edges reminiscent of the tawny-colored Buff Orpington poultry breed. But after trying a bite of the cooked mushroom, I was blown away by how much it tasted like chicken! Earthy, faintly-lemony flavor and meaty, almost muscle-y, texture make this a great meat alternative in a main course or simply an interesting seasonal side dish.