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Country Coffee Talk


By Jeanette Schmidt

Fri, May 2nd, 2014
Posted in All Columnists

Spring has Sprung!! The week before Easter we weren’t so sure about that… In fact, we thought we might have to wear stocking hats instead of Easter bonnets. But now the bloodroots are blooming and the woods will soon be a carpet of white flowers with the bluebells and marsh marigolds adding their color. And what is better than the lilac blooming, filling the whole yard with its scent.

Another sign of spring is the return of the hummingbird. If you don’t have your feeder out, now is the time to do that. Their long flight from the Gulf of Mexico, which is around May 1 and not many flowers are available yet, so they will be looking for that familiar feeder.

A few fun facts about the hummingbird:

•They are the smallest bird in North America and are fearless and ready to fight.

•They are able to hover, fly up and down and backward.

•Male hummingbirds have a courting “pendulum” flight.

•Their wings create a humming noise, flapping 50-60 times per second.

•A hummingbird’s heart beats 1,260 beats per minute.

•Hummingbirds weigh 2-3 grams.

•They construct their nests with plant material and spider webs, gluing pieces of lichen on the outside for camouflage.

•Hummingbirds are attracted to tubular red flowers, humming bird feeders and eat small insects.

Hummingbird juice is easy to make but, the sugar bill more than doubles! We often get up to 24 humming birds. There is no need to use red food coloring in the juice, as the red feeder will draw them. I prefer not to cook the sugar and water together, as it’s too easy to go off and forget it on the stove and then you have a real mess...been there done that!! What I usually do is measure one cup of sugar into a 4 cup glass measuring cup and just heat the water on the stove. Then pour 2 cups of hot water into the measuring cup to dissolve the sugar. Add 2 cups of cold water and fill the feeder. After three days, especially in hot weather, check the feeder and change it, if necessary. Always clean the feeders before adding new juice. Orioles like this too.

Humming Bird Juice Recipe: 1 cup Sugar, 4 cups Water

But what says “Spring is Here” more than actually sitting on the porch with a cup of coffee, eating a fresh Rhubarb Streusel Muffin, watching the humming birds with the scent of lilacs in the air!!



Rhubarb Streusal Muffins

Ingredients:

•½ cup butter, softened

•1 cup packed brown sugar

•½ cup sugar

•1 egg

•2 cups Unbleached all-purpose flour

•1 teaspoon baking powder

•½ tsp baking soda

•1 cup sour cream

•3 cups chopped fresh or frozen rhubarb – if frozen, measure while frozen, then thaw completely, drain but don’t squeeze

TOPPING:(may need a little more)

•½ cup chopped pecans

•¼ cup packed brown sugar, 1 tsp ground cinnamon

•1 tablespoon cold butter

Directions:

Cream butter and sugars until fluffy. Beat in egg. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda & salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream. Fold in rhubarb.

Fill greased muffin cups ¾ full or use paper liners. For topping, combine pecans, brown sugar & cinnamon; then cut in butter & sprinkle over batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 22-25 min. or until toothpick come out clean.

Cool for 5 min. before removing from pan. Makes about 1-1/2 dozen.

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