Battle Of The Bird

As homeowners for 18 years, Hubby Bryan and I have waged a few battles with members of the neighborhood wildlife commu-nity.

There were the rabbits that chomped their way through my small garden bed, which prompted us to erect a chicken wire fence. A couple members of that same herd (yep, that’s the name for a group of hares) — which we believe were conceived under a neighbor’s storage shed, where it evidently got too crowded — took up residence under our deck, and they continued to find their way under there even after we put up lattice.

Sure, the bunnies could still find their way in but couldn’t seem to get back out. You could hear the animals bang into the lattice in attempting a hasty exit when we’d step out onto the deck. The ones that couldn’t slam their way out gnawed through the wood strips. Now we’ve taken to putting large rocks in front of the lattice at the entrance and exit points.

A certain squirrel — I know it’s the same one every time — likes to dig in my flower pots, spraying dirt all over the deck. He also sits in the tree and chatters every time I set foot into the backyard — mad at me for invading HIS territory — and even dropped a nut onto my head as I was pulling weeds under the tree.

And then there are the vultures — turkey vultures — that at times seem to circle directly over our house, pirouetting on the cur-rents of the wind blowing off the lake. The other night Bryan looked out and counted 17 of these birds of prey right over top of where we live. That’s just downright creepy.

Our most recent nemesis is another of the feathered variety. Mama Robin has decided to construct her nest on top of the light over our garage door. It is a precarious perch, so we’re not sure why she settled on that particular spot. But she is absolutely deter-mined in her efforts — and we’re just as determined to thwart her.

Last evening, I used a broom to pull the materials she’d gathered off the top of the light. Bryan repeated this effort before we went for our walk this morning.

By the time I was leaving for work — perhaps some 45 minutes later — she had totally rebuilt the structure from twigs, cotton and even a strand of Christmas tinsel. I once again wielded the broom and pulled it all down. As I backed out of the driveway, there she was, sitting on the deck railing, new materials clasped in her beak.

Bryan and I figured she would give up after we destroyed her initial efforts, but this bird is wholeheartedly dedicated to the nest-building effort. I just hope she doesn’t get it constructed and eggs laid before I get home for lunch.

Although she’s driving me crazy, I have to admire Ms. Robin’s determination to get the job done. I need to be just as persistent in hunting down some recipe requests. I’m still following up on some leads for the Taco Towne taco recipe — but do have the burrito recipe to share, thanks to Jan Wass of rural Worthington, who graciously resent it after I deleted it from e-mail. I’ve also had a promise of sharing at least one other school district favorite recipe and a new request — for the recipe for the popcorn balls that were sold during King Turkey Day festivities.

Jan Wass credits this burrito recipe to Ed and Sylvia Ellison, the last owners of Taco Towne, who now live in Monticello.

Taco Towne Burritos

Pour one 15-ounce can Great Northern beans into a blender and puree until smooth.

Brown 2 pounds ground beef with 1 chopped onion. Add puréed beans and season to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper.

Place a couple spoonfuls of the burrito meat down the center of a flour tortilla shell; add shredded cheddar cheese. Fold sides over and hold in place with a toothpick.

Bake at 450 degrees for approximately 10 minutes. Remove from oven, remove toothpicks, carefully lift up one side of the shell and add toppings of your choice: lettuce, salsa, onions, black olives, tomatoes, sour cream, more cheese, taco sauce, etc.