Monday, November 8, 2010

And Dudley Comes Home to Roost

One day this past summer I was awakened by the sounds of a rooster crowing.  Okay, so living in the country as we do, we often heard this rooster crowing of a morning, but this time it sounded as if it were actually under our window singing its head off.  It was a happy rooster, happy to have a voice, happy to flap it's wings, happy to be alive.  As we discovered  later that same day , it's gladness was the latter more than the former.  Our neighbors, Tara and Sam (he's Greek, so can't pronounce the last name much less spell it,  therefore I won't trouble you with the minor details) have a farm complete with horses and cows, chickens and at one time even a goat, etc...and once they had plenty of barnyard cats too,  but seems they've all migrated our way.  So, as I've rambled way off the subject here,we'll get back to the rooster crowing beneath my window.  Well, since he was sitting on the porch railing greeting the sun and the new day with a fervor I've hardly ever heard before, I had to get up and pull back the curtain to check.  And yes, there he was.  A beauty of a rooster, all luscious reds and bark browns, blacks of several different depths and he had an attitude.  Later that day we discovered that he also had a number of tail feathers missing from his considerable plume.  I asked Tara that evening if she was missing a member of their  menagerie.  Seems she was missing quite a few.  Her doberman had gotten loose and gone on a chicken killing spree that defies description.  The rooster of the flock was lucky to escape with the few tail feathers he had left attached to his backside.  He had made a hasty departure through the woods to seek asylum(looney bin?) with us.  I'm not sure if he figured the myriad cats were a protection from  or a distraction for the dog.  But he made it safely here, and here he stays.

Now, I know having a rooster in residence  isn't much of a big deal for a lot of people.  It's not much of a big deal for us either since luckily we have plenty of corn and seed on hand to feed the squirrels guineas and song birds.  But the oddest thing of all is the rooster much prefers cat food.  And he prefers to eat the cat food out of the cat food dishes.  And he prefers to eat it with the cats.  The first time I saw Dudley (as we have since named him) eating with the cats I could only stand and watch.  That he tolerated the cats was not what amazed me.  That they tolerated him as a dinner companion rather than that really got my attention.  The first time he raced me to the food dish (starting at a dead run from 1/2 an acre away, he beat me handily) made me laugh out loud.  I've never seen a rooster running with cats before.  Away from them, yes, with them no.  This has been going on for months now.  I think it's safe to say that Tara and Sam no longer have a rooster.  Their Guineas (hens) claimed us as family at roughly the same time.  The guineas only capture Dudley's attention once in a while at which time he will condescend to eat a morsal or two of corn with them.  But mostly, he likes the cats. 

Now that fall is upon us Dudley goes to roost on the porch railing at around 5 pm each evening.  He prefers it if we will kindly  not be banging in out of the front door from 5 on.  He needs his rest.  He begins his sympony to dawn somewhere roughly between 3 am and 0dark30.   I've asked Craig, our neighbor on the other side to stop referencing dumplings whenever he sees Dudley.  It's giving him a complex.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Banana Split Cake

Last time I was here we were on our way to Magnolia Alabama for a family reunion.  Mac drove long enough to remember how much he hates Atlanta traffic and happily gave the wheel to Michael, who drives amazingly well for a baby son.  When we reached Selma, Alabama I was so glad to be out of a moving vehicle, no matter who was driving, that I could have kissed the pavement.  We were there for the Sealy family reunion and very nearly held it at the motel.  I think our family had booked the entire bottom floor.  It was like a gigantic slumber party, what with walking up and down the halls visiting brothers sisters nieces and nephews, snacking on every imaginable thing that the snack food conglomerates throw at you, plus this one thing that niece Sherry had brought along.  She called it a Banana Split Cake.  She had made and brought three of them.  They were residing in the refrigerator of her motel room and she promised everyone a piece of it even before the Sunday reunion dinner.  Mind you, these dishes of heavenly promise measured 13x9 inches long and promised to make our dreams come true.  It seems that cake was the topic of conversation every time I saw any of them.  Turns out it's a Paula Deen recipe and I knew right away it was going to be winner.  Unfortunately it was not a winner that I would be able to share in.  Just looking at it had me in danger of going into a month long sugar coma.  Sherry began to tell me exactly how it was made and I lost consciousness somewhere around the two cups of confectioners sugar and the two sticks of butter.  Yes, I said two sticks of butter.  (I did mention it's a Paula Deen recipe?)
So late on Saturday night after Mac had had his third or maybe fourth helping of this incredible cake, I had to warn them that they were in danger of having nothing left for the family reunion dinner.  One pan had been consumed and the mob in the corridor were eyeing the refrigerator thru the doorway.  I didn't hold out much hope for it's survival.  I was right.  But then I frequently am.

So we made it home from the reunion which was wonderful.  Seeing family members we hadn't seen in years was worth the long trip.  Aunt Jeanne looked like a movie star, it was hard to believe she is in her late 70's.  Such a great lady and so welcoming and warm to her family.

So when we got home I talked to SIL Betty and she sent me the recipe for the marvel of a cake.  I knew I'd probably make it for Thanksgiving but also knew that I'd not be able to taste it, the diabetes would prevent even a smidgen.  I tucked it away for another day.

Saturday I went to the grocers and as I was going down the baking aisle came across a new product.  It was a sugar free confectioners sugar by Ideal (tr).  I read it several times before I could believe my eyes.  But yes, sure enough there it was.  They even had a sugar free brown sugar.  I dug my cell phone out of my purse and called home to get Mac to look up the recipe so I could be sure I had everything I needed.  I made the Banana Split Cake on Sunday, after Church.  I prepared a bowl of it for afters that night.  Angels sang.  We wept with joy.  No, really, we wept with joy...okay so we didn't weep but we were happy.  I'm including the recipe and for those of you who don't care if they go into a sugar coma, just substitute the real thing for all the sugar free stuff.  But you won't be sorry if you prepare it exactly as I say.  Angels will sing.  Weeping will be simulated.  You will be happy diners, I promise!


Banana Split Cake


1 1/2 sticks butter

2 cups graham cracker crumbs


2 eggs (I used pasteurized eggs since they are raw)

2 sticks butter
2 cups Ideal Sugar Free Confectioners sugar

4 or 5 bananas, ripe and sliced

1 large can crushed pineapple (sugar free), well drained

2 cartons sugar free Kool Whip

Chopped nuts

Chopped cherries

To make crust: Melt butter; mix with crumbs. Press into a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan. Bake in 350 degree oven for 1about 15 minutes and let cool.

To make filling: Beat the eggs, margarine and powdered (confectioners) sugar together, beating no less than 15 minutes. Filling must be light and fluffy.Spread over crust.  Place sliced bananas over filling, then spoon pineapple over bananas.  Cover all with Kool Whip, add chopped cherries (maraschino) and sprinkle with chopped walnuts or pecans.  Refrigerate til ready to eat.