Monday, September 19, 2005

Mending Fences

Today’s task was mending fences. It is a task that always looms larger than it ends up being, whether the fences are interpersonal or of the post and wire type.

It is so dry, it invites the animals to want to wander. It is no less dry anywhere else but when your own grass is not green, the grass always might be greener on the other side of the fence. What with neglected maintenance on the fences and the dry, we had wandering animals.

No more. Ah, there is more to be done, as always, but they are in.

Today’s treat was squirrel gravy. I’m pretty good if I do say so myself. I don’t actually know how my mam-maw fixed hers but this was pretty close. My biscuits are better though because by the time I was around, she settled for canned biscuits. And I thought of Gordon who would bring them the squirrels, Dad-daw skinning them in the garage, Mam-maw fixing them, Barbara and one of my brothers and me joining them at the table. Barbara loved squirrel gravy. Jane, her partner, didn’t. The memories and details sitting down to a meal can conjure. I wouldn’t normally think of Barbara as she spent the last decade of her life too mad to speak but as I child I loved her so.

And gosh darn but nothing is better than a mess of squirrel. And a fixed fence.


H. Stallard said...

Any chance you would be willing to share your recipe??

the Contrary Goddess said...

Sure. Save up squirrels. Of course, you probably know my saw that all meat needs to be aged some. Put in big pot, cover with water, add a little vinegar, boil the begoozle out of them, aka simmer for several hours, until falling apart done.

Then what I did was reduce the broth some, and added, oh, about a quart of milk and some thickening, which I used arrowroot but my grandmother no doubt used cornstarch. Not enough to really thicken the gravy but just enough to give it a little body. I had to add it three times before I got enough.

Served over biscuits, watch for shot. Maybe a side of cooked apples or cooked pears or greens. Desert of whitened molasses on biscuits.

The kids all thought it was delicioso!

Joe Tornatore said...

my daughter wants to know if squirrels are kept as pets by anyone. just thought I'd ask.

H. Stallard said...

When I first began dating my wife, her younger sister had somehow managed to catch a young squirrel. They kept it in a bird cage and would often let it loose in the house. I remember playing with it and having it nip the end of my fingers. I'm not sure how long they had it (several weeks at least) but it finally got outside one day and was never seen again. I know of several others who have had squirrels, groundhogs, raccoons, and deer. But being wild animals they can’t really be tamed.

the Contrary Goddess said...

We actually caught a baby squirrel the other day, fed it crushed nuts, and put it in a rabbit cage. It somehow managed to get out but how it squeezed its head through that is beyond me.

I had one uncle in particular who used to keep wild animals. He once traded a fox and a shotgun for a ferret and a fiddle. He fiddled for the rest of his life. He also kept a lot of skunks which are evidently some of the better wild animal pets, BUT as Harold said, wild animals are always wild animals. Heck, even domestic animals are, when best, mostly wild.

the Contrary Goddess said...

madcap asked about the squirrel meat (privately). Yes, there's plenty of meat. And small bones that become a pile on the side of your plate. My kids' first comment was, "tastes like chicken" but really, I think that is just a way to say that it doesn't taste totally weird or anything.