Baby Birdies

Every morning and afternoon for the last 3 weeks I have checked on my babies…my baby birds. The nest came first, of course, in the top corner of our deck. Then 5 little speckled eggs. Then the eggs hatched and I was the proud mother of 5 precious barn swallows. The real mother isn’t too happy with me spying on her children every day. She rallies her bird friends and they dive bomb me when I try to look in the nest. I have managed to get a few pictures. I had to do a little research to figure out what kind of birds they were…I’m not a Orthinologist afterall, just a teacher! I’m pretty sure that they’re barn swallows based on this info from Bird of Texas website.

Field Marks: This bird is about 6 ¾” in length. Adults of both sexes have dark bluish back, dark wings, long, deeply forked tail. The males have rusty or buff under parts and a chestnut throat and forehead. Females and Immature are similar but paler.

Voice: Song complex combines clear notes, twitters, and gurgles. The call is a soft wit wit or emphatic slip slip.

Where found: Breeds from Alaska across Canada to Newfoundland south through the United States. These birds winter in South America.

Texas: Migrant (Mar. – June, July – Nov) throughout. Winters occasionally along the Texas coast.

Habitat: Open country, farms, fields, marshes, lakes, etc.

Nest: An open mud cup lined with feathers, on ledge, bridge, beam, or building. Eggs (3-5) speckled.


Here are my sweet swallows!

Blackberry Pie Bars


My mother in law gave me a cookbook for Christmas…Rebecca Rather’s cookbook The Pasty Queen. I’m really starting to believe that rather haughty moniker of hers! I’ve made about 5 of the recipes from the cookbook including the chocolate chip and sugar cookies. Both were quite tasty. Not as good as the cookies I ate from the bakery itself, Rather Sweet in Frederickburg, but still very good and not too difficult for the home baker. These bars sounded pretty decadent (3 sticks of butter in the crust alone!) and also pretty delicious. I love fruit desserts because it makes me feel like I’m eating something healthy, ha, so I decided to give these a try. They were easy to put together and everything in the recipe turned out great…except the baking time. I used a 9×13 glass pan and baked the bars for 50 minutes, then I let them cool overnight. When I cut them in the morning they were incredibly gooey and almost impossible to eat with your hands. So, I recommend at least an hour of baking. I did try a half recipe in an 8×8 pan and baked them for 45 minutes. They’re cooling right now, but they look much less iffy than the last batch. Enjoy!


Blackberry Pie Bars
from The Pastry Queen

Crust & Topping
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups chilled unsalted butter

Fruit Filling
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup all purpose flour
Pinch of salt
2 (16-ounce) packages frozen blackberries, defrosted and drained

For the crust and topping:
Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.

Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process until fully combined. Cut the butter into 1/2-inch cubes. Add the butter to the flour mixture and process until the butter is evenly distributed, but the mixture is still crumbly.

Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the crumb mixture for the topping. Press the remaining crumbs into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake the crust for 12-15 minutes, or until it is golden brown. Cool for at least 10 minutes.

To make the filling:
Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a large bowl, then add the sour cream, flour and salt. Gently fold in the blackberries. Spoon the mixture evenly over the crust. Sprinkle the reserved crumbs evenly over the top. Bake 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until the crust is lightly browned. Cool for at least 1 hour before cutting.

Makes approximately 2 dozen bars.

Television, glorious television

Anyone who knows me knows that I like television.  I don’t really like one show in particular.  I don’t run all wide eyed and crazy to the television at a certain day and time each week to watch MY show.  I just like television, plain and simple.  It doesn’t really even matter what’s on.  I like it all!  Last weekend MTV was running a marathon of So You Think You Can Dance.  I was totally hooked!  Here’s why…1: I cannot dance, so I like to watch people who can.   2: Bryan Gaynor.  This guy has scoliosis and auditioned for the show in season 3.  Here is the youtube video.  The season premiere is on my 32 inch Philips flatscreen while I type this post and I can see Thurdsays @ 7pm being on my weekly calendar until the finale.  Thanks FOX!  You couldn’t trap me with American Idol, but you’ve got me here.

Fredericksburg Weekend

Ben and I celebrated his completion of the first quarter of PC at Baylor Law this weekend. So, Sunday morning we headed to Fredericksburg, Texas for our 24 hour getaway! Our first stop was at Enchanted Rock where we hiked to the top, climbed into dark, dangerous caves and my mountain-man husband led me the “back way” down the back of the rock and around all creation back to our car. One of the best parts was watching a 3 year old boy climb without fear into a cave that scared the heebie jeebies out of me. Ben and I both came away with nice little sunburns. That’s what we get for being whiter than sheets and not wearing sunscreen. Since it was a Sunday a lot of the places on main street were closed. We did have a nice little snack at Fredericksburg Brewery; a link of sausage, cheese, mustard, a roll and sauerkraut all for only $4.99! We checked in to our bed and breakfast, The Angels Lodge, around 3. Our room was really nice. Right outside our room was a small pool with a waterfall…very peaceful. HUGE king bed that required a stool to get in…nice bathroom with a jacuzzi tub. We were not too thrilled with the lack of a shower. An awkward hand-held shower caused some interesting words to be uttered during Ben’s time in the shower. We survived this little predicament and headed to The Nest for dinner. We had a stuffed shrimp appetizer that could have been a meal. 4 large shrimp stuffed with artichokes and other yummy goodness on top of angel hair pasta with a red pepper sauce. We also had a crab cake appetizer with a cilantro lime hollandaise on top of sauteed spinach. Entrees came with a field greens salad with pecans and feta cheese. Ben had quail stuffed with sausage on polenta. I had sea scallops with a chipotle lime sauce and turnip mashed potatoes. We were really pleased and would definitely go again…but maybe not order 2 appetizers. I slept really well in our HUGE bed. Breakfast arrived to our room at 8:45…fresh fruit, cranberry muffins, red-pepper breakfast potatoes and a breakfast burrito. The weather was a little nasty, but we went to main again after checking out of our room and walked up and down for a while. It was really a good weekend for us. Only two more quarters of law school!