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Sunday, April 29, 2012

birds of a feather

Today I visited Dixon, an old and dear friend of mine. I was lucky enough to meet him my first year of college when I signed up to go on a volunteer trip to Yellowstone. My first impression of him was "who is that hippie bearded guy with the long hair?" I discovered soon after that he grew up only a few miles from me and even though he was a few years younger (okay like 4) that we had a lot in common. He likes to do things from scratch too.

He makes wine, he bakes his own bread and he loves to cook. I enjoy the stories he tells, I admire his intolerance for drama and I love that despite having a handful of traumatic things happen to him over the years, he retains a positive outlook on life and a very strong faith in God. I forgot his birthday and he didn't get angry, I often go far, far too long without calling him and he never judges me. He is truly a good person in every sense and being around him is like breathing fresh air. It just feels good.

Today's visit in particular was to meet his new ladies. 5 of them. He recently acquired new egg laying chickens-something I've wanted to do for years and years. I insisted that as soon as he got them, that he needed to let me come see them. I decided to name them for him as well. The problem is that they are really hard to tell apart so unfortunately for them, 4 are named Princess Erica and the other one is Hennifer.
He built this coop himself.  Twice. While in its early stages, it blew over in a wind storm. This was one of the several stories he told me today that cracked me up. Not the best picture of the chickens but I spent the rest of the time trying to catch one.

Not only did he let me chase his chickens around, he made some venison stew and the best homemade granola I've ever had. A recipe I insisted I steal from him and share on my blog. So it goes like this.

1 cup sunflower seeds (shelled)
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 cup dried fruit of choice. He used cranberry and raisins
1 cup peanuts (or whatever nut you'd like)
2 1/2 cups oatmeal (quick cook is fine)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 tbs of cinnamon. (he put in, like 4, I'm sure of it)

Mix all the ingredients thoroughly, spread on a parchment covered bar pan and then put in a pre-heated 350 ish degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until slightly browned and crispy on top. The middle and bottom should be chewy. When its cooled, you can break it up in chunks or cut into uniform pieces. It should be good in a covered container for a week or two, but it won't last that long. It was delicious. Crispy, chewy, sweet and slightly salty.

Dixon showing me how he makes his granola.

 Not only did he give me a fantastic granola recipe, a delicious, healthy and free meal, complete with homemade bread, but he also gave me these. Yep, those are enormous eggs and two bottles of homemade wine. Peach and Blueberry.

Sorry ladies, he is taken by a nice girl I haven't gotten the privilege to meet yet but I will let you know as soon as anything changes.

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