Sunday, April 13, 2014

Spring Is Here!

Well it is certainly feeling like Spring as of late. We have started some seeds in the apartment and they are really taking off. We also acquired some old windows from Ellen's Dad and we built a couple of cold frames from them. We've even filled up two cold frames with soil and moved some of the heartier plants outside. We are keeping our fingers crossed and hoping that they can make it through a couple more cold nights and frosts before Spring is in full swing.
The seeds are taking off!
A little over a month ago we found a great blog titled Hunter-Angler-Gardener-Cook ( This blog had a recipe for Goose Prosciutto, and since we still had quite a few goose breasts from this year's waterfowl season, we decided to give the recipe a try.

Goose Prosciutto after the curing process. Try to slice it as thin as possible.

We had a little Spring Equinox soiree at the apartment and we served our goose prosciutto on homemade pizza. It reminded us of a milder tasting anchovy. Our friends seemed to really like it. One of our friends brought over some of his homemade wine. It was fun to hangout and invite the oncoming spring season in, despite the fact that it was snowing outside at the time.Since then, it has been warming up.
The final product. Goose Prosciutto pizza.

 A Red-winged Blackbird at Akeley Swamp.
With the coming warmer weather, we have also seen an influx of migrating birds. It is nice to welcome back the Red-winged Blackbird to the wetlands and marshes in NW PA.
A flock of Tundra Swans flying overhead on the Allgheney River
 For several weeks at the end of February and March we saw a large number of migrating waterfowl too. The Allegheny River was loaded with Tundra Swans for about 3 days, but prior to that we saw several Old Squaw (now call the Long-tailed Duck). Other migrating waterfowl species that we saw in abundance included, Canvasbacks, Ring-necked Ducks, Scaups, Redheads, Green-winged Teal, Blue-winged Teal, Pintails, American Wigeons, and of course the Wood Duck. Hearing the hen Woodie make her high pitched cry as she darts overhead reminds me that the warmer days are on the way. Recently we have seen fewer and fewer migrating waterfowl likely due to the water finally opening up further north.

Earlier in the spring we tapped a couple of Sugar Maples. The sap didn't flow well for the first week or two due to the extremely cold weather. When the sap finally started flowing consistently, we had to boil and collect every other day. We will be removing our spires from the Sugar Maples tomorrow and boiling the remaining sap.
Ellen is hammering a spire into a Sugar Maple
We are anxiously awaiting the warmer weather. It won't be long and we can start wondering the small PA freestone creeks in search of native Brook Trout. I am really looking forward to exploring new streams this year.
Thompson Run, north of Tidioute, PA.

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