Shut In, Shut Out (A Duck Tale)

Hello, Oskar here. I want to talk to you again.

My human family members came up with something new to complicate my existence. ENTRAPMENT! Yes, you read right: they locked me up! Every day I have to live confined to a space of about 50 duck steps. Surrounded by high ivy, a dense shrubbery and a fence with climbing roses and other stuff. The ground is a dense lawn and I also have a pond of about one deep dive. On one of the sides is a wooden walkway from where I can watch what’s going on on the other side of the fence. OK, theoretically I’m not really missing anything. Except my company, which, of course, is shut out now.

Max, the dog, is now going in and out of the house with an always open door and I can not follow him anymore. No bites anymore, running under his belly, pull on his tail or just sticking my head in my feathers next to him. NOTHING! Why?? Because I have always sat on the kitchen steps and shit on them? I am a shit-er, so what? Or because Max and all other family members do not want to get loving bites? Someone explains that, please!

Now I practice flying over the fence and it works pretty well. My humans believe the fence is high enough not to let me out, but they are wrong. It won’t be easy to get me out of their life!

When Max comes out, I fly over the fence and run right under his belly. That’s where he can’t get me that easy. I annoy him a little bit with bites until he voluntarily goes back into the house. It’s fun and a little fun is needed in my life!

In the meantime I have already found out something much better. The two – Max and Mum – sit or lie most of the time in the study. I hear the radio, she clatters on the computer and Max snores loudly. So I quickly escape somewhere under the fence, run quickly through the open kitchen door and slip very quietly under the curtain into the kitchen.

I stand still, make a long neck and tighten my ears. I turn my head in all directions a couple of times, if anyone has heard me. Nothing! So I go very quiet – limp, limp – to the other door, drink briefly from Max’s water bowl without my usual loud smack and listen again. Now I’m really close to my goal!

A few more steps through the small vestibule, two or three quiet shits, and around the corner is my beloved object of annoyance: Max. I hear him snoring – my goodness, if the snoring would cut trees, there would be no trees in all of the country! No pee-tree for Max anymore!!

Well, I get ready, and then we start: I whirl around the corner, stand immediately in front of Max and … snap, I have his nose! Yeah, I did it! I bit his nose! The look that he has at the moment, you have to see! No one can look as stupid as Max, when he is pinched in the nose while he sleeps!

He starts barking a moment later, but until he understands what’s going on, I bite him again. Another bite on a paw and when he gets on his four legs, I’m already under his belly. What fun, now get me! The crap is that he often whirls his feet around so wildly trying to get me that the fool sometimes end up on one of my paddles. And sometimes he bites me without biting. Means he gets me into his jaws without closing them. He never ever hurts me!

The other day he stood on my wing! OMG, only a dog’s brain can be so stupid! A duck would never do that! But I have to be patient with my patchwork family members, humans, dogs or cats just do not have the IQ of a duck!

Anyway, I had my fun until our human catches me and brings me back outside. She does not like when the dog gets upset!

But most of the time I am in my enclosure … or until the next attack at least!

Yeah, that’s how I spend my time, so it’s not that bad in end. Sometimes I run after the sparrows. They are already in the morning with me, when I get finally my food. I have a few bites and then quickly tell my human, what I have dreamed last night and immediately the sparrows are there eating MY food. But now I defend it: if the sparrows come, I aim at them, head down and neck long (because of the aerodynamics!) And go! They are gone quickly. For the next few seconds. Then I can quickly swallow all I can, no matter what.

And I love to swim in my pond, dive in the water, shit in it as much as I want to and try to get out the stones around the side. My humans always put them back, so we have a lot of fun of pulling out and digging in stones during the day.

So, people, that’s it for now. Just wanted to tell you what they came up with. Now I put the beak under the wing and sleep a while. Sometimes I wonder why I had to be born a duck. Deep down in my heart I am a Buddhist and believe in rebirth. But I’m not sure if I’m one step higher or one step lower than my last life. Because of my intelligence, of course, on the higher one! Well .. I think about it and then tell you, what a conclusion I came.

To all a warm chatter-bye and: splash the water!

Quack quack

Posted in The Storyteller | Tagged | 2 Comments

The Daily French Bread: Baguette

I love – like most of the Europeans – a crunchy bread crust. One of the very few things my sweetheart and I are completely the opposite, he loves the American fluffy bread. I even differentiate for what I want the bread: to clean the plate, as companion for soup, with fresh, homemade jam or for a sandwich. All have a different taste, made of different flour and are soft or with a crunchy crust.

Baguette is traditional bread in France and easy to identity: it is white bread with a golden crunchy outside, soft inside and slim and long. In France the recipe is defined by law (!), in other countries it only may be called baguette, but have an altered recipe. Like mine.

History tells us also something about the baguette: there is no history. No one knows who invented the long bread stick which appears in the 18th century the first time in France. But here is a first law in 1920 coming out regulating the dimension and the ingredients. It is today a little longer than half a meter/25 inches and 6 cm/2 inches of diameter.

I tried a gluten-free version with mixed flours and I made shorter baguettes. But they are super tasty and crunchy outside, soft inside… like the ‘real’ one.

To give the right shape I tried out something new: a Baguette backing tray. Later I bought also a shorter one which makes baguettes like rolls.

The baguette to me has the same taste as a ‘real’ one, it is a little less fluffy inside which I like more but has a wonderful crunchy crust. I gave a couple to a friend of mine who said that it is like french baguette she used to eat before the no-gluten-story.

What do you like on your baguette?

Baguette
Baguette
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
2 15 minutes
Passive Time
1 hour
Servings Prep Time
2 15 minutes
Passive Time
1 hour
Baguette
Baguette
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
2 15 minutes
Passive Time
1 hour
Servings Prep Time
2 15 minutes
Passive Time
1 hour
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix well until you get a smooth bread dough. Cover the dough with some saran wrap and let the dough rise for one hour in a warm ambiance.
  2. Preheat the oven to 220°C/430°F.
  3. With wet hands divide the bread dough into 4 equal pieces and form with your hands a small baguette. Put every one in one of the baguette baking forms.
  4. Place a bowl with water on the bottom of the oven and the baguette baking tray mid-height.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden on the top.
  6. When they are ready take them out of the oven and let them cool completely before eating,
Recipe Notes

You should not eat any baking goods with yeast when they are still warm, but it is so delicious, especially with some herb butter!

As the little baguettes are like long rolls, it is not necessary to cut them in slices.

If you prefer a bigger baguette, just take another baguette baking form (for two big) and bake for 30 minutes.

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The Man on the Moon is watching YOU!

Or at least I thought so. That is why I decided to have a look every night and see if he is home and really whatching me. But it seems so, he is not…

I just took a picture (nearly) every night from full moon to new moon. It looks so interesting to see the satellite get smaller and the craters twisting.

I made a collage to show better the twist and change of the moon.

Have you ever observed the moon from near? With a camera or telescope? Maybe as a child? Or are you a hobby-astronomer? Let me know in a comment!


Posted in reflections | Tagged | 2 Comments

O Christmas Tree

I just found an old picture of the Christmas tree we had a few years ago when I had Christmas with my most beloved friend Emanuela. We had such a beautiful, cozy and wonderful Christmas in family, because that is what she was to me.

She passed away earlier this year and I am still crying because I miss her so much. I want to dedicate to her the little lyrics of the German song “Oh Tannenbaum”, thinking of her wonderful Christmas tree and those days with a lot of love and laughter. I miss you endlessly, Emanuela!

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree!
How are thy leaves so verdant!
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
How are thy leaves so verdant!

Not only in the summertime,
But even in winter is thy prime.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
How are thy leaves so verdant!

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Much pleasure doth thou bring me!
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Much pleasure doth thou bring me!

For every year the Christmas tree,
Brings to us all both joy and glee.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Much pleasure doth thou bring me!

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Thy candles shine out brightly!
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Thy candles shine out brightly

Each bough doth hold its tiny light,
That makes each toy to sparkle bright.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Thy candles shine out brightly!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO EVERYONE!

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Three Hazelnuts for Cinderella

Who doesn’t know the story about Cinderella and her prince? A love-story not only for children, as every girl is dreaming of her prince on the white horse coming one day to find and give her everlasting happiness.

I remember that fairy-tale movie very well and I have seen it many times. It was – and still is – one of the many Christmas movies on the TV. For some reason in English it is called ‘Three Wishes for Cinderella”. It came out in 1973.

Hazelnuts normally are not my favorite nuts, I like more walnuts. But these little cookies are special. I found a recipe on this page. Super simple and super fast. The taste is great, the consistency perfect. I changed a little the original recipe as I used Xylitol as sugar and doubled the recipe to make two types: one simple and one with yummy mango-orange jam and chocolate. I think a nice option would be also pumpkin spice in the dough.

A few friends had to be my guinea pigs and they liked the cookies very much.

And here is your first Christmas Cookie idea!







hazelnut cookies
Hazelnut Cookies
Print Recipe
hazelnut cookies
Hazelnut Cookies
Print Recipe
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/340°F.
  2. In a bowl beat the egg whites until they are stiff.
  3. Add the sugar of your choice and beat again until well incorporated.
  4. Add the hazelnut flour and fold in the flour, best with a spatula or a wooden spoon.
  5. Form little balls of the cookie dough and place them on a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Press the balls down to get a cookie shape and sprinkle on half on them some icing sugar.
  7. In the other half of the cookies press a hole with a spoon handle, fill the holes with some jam and place some chocolate chips on the top in order to cover the jam more or less.
  8. Now place the cookies in the oven and let them bake until golden, around 12 - 15 minutes, not longer.
  9. Let them cool well on a cooling rack and then sprinkle again some icing sugar on the non-jam- cookies.
  10. Enjoy!
Recipe Notes

As sugar I used Xylit, but you can use as well coconut sugar or any other you like as long it is granulated and no honey (honey has to much humidity and alters the consistency of the dough).

You can omit the icing sugar and leave them plain.

 

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