Monday, October 11, 2010

Surprise guest!

Isn't he amazing? I think he is a Western Screech Owl. (click on the photo to get a better look) I hear them quite often in the summer at night but I had never seen one. We had our annual Lord of the Gourd neighborhood pumpkin party yesterday and at one point my nephew looked up (from frog hunting) in the big tree in our front yard and spotted him. It was a good spot because he blended in pretty well with the tree branches and dappled sunlight.
It had rained all morning but cleared up in time for the party so there had been about a million frogs in our yard. I wondered if that was why he was there or if he was just taking a snooze before nightfall. Sort of difficult to snooze with a huge gaggle of people pointing and ooing at you. He just sat there and blinked accasionally. Totally unfazed. It was such a treat to get such a good look at him. He was about 12 feet up and he stayed there for hours. After the party was over there was a man walking his little dog and I called him over to see it. He was so enraptured by the owl he wasn't paying attention to his dog and the dog completely wrapped his leash (one of those long skinny retractable ones- I hate those!)around me and it was so little and hyper I was powerless. It felt like a cartoon- my husband just watching a laughing and the man oblivious and me totally stuck trying not to fall on this tiny freaking out dog. Classic.

Lord of the Gourd is a party we have every October- this year was the 7th annual. It is a big neighborhood party and it was so fun to see people come yesterday who had never come and the mix of people is great- Tons of kids, some older neighbors we don't get to see as much of. My husband is the Pied Piper of Pumpkins and he has slowly over the years coerced just about everyone to grow pumpkins. The record this year, after a particularly wet and icky summer was 108 lbs- down considerably from last year's 286. There were about 90 people there and it was the perfect fall day. I think everyone should have a LOTG party in their own neighborhood- it is so community building and we are now at the point where people start talking about it in the spring as we all get our pumpkins planted.
One of the contests we hold is a pumpkin decorating contest for the kids. This is the only category where pumpkins can be purchased and the kids always come up with awesome pumpkins. Plus if you don't cut into them they usually last until Halloween. This year's winner is that amazing Queen of Hearts. Isn't she cool? Made by one of our talented 8 year old neighbors.
Ah yes... the food. The rule is bring a dessert or appetizer to share and there is always tons of yummy food. Our Belgian neighbor brings Belgian hot chocolate which will blow your mind. It is like hot brownie batter. I made cookies, bread pudding, pumpkin cake with caramel cream (below) and kalua pork nachos. The caramel cream for the cake was homemade caramel whipped into heavy cream and mascapone cheese. It was crazy good. I have said it before and I know I will say it again: The Cake Book by Tish Boyle is the best cookbook for cake period anywhere. Every single thing I have ever made out of this book has knocked all of our socks off. If you like cake you have to get yourself this book. The ingredients can be pricey but all the cakes I have made have this incredible batter consistency that makes you want to rub it into your skin. OK, not really but it is beautiful batter.


10 comments:

Hip Fabric said...

OMG! Mo! I want to come live in your neighborhood! We'll be expecting some of that cake next week!

gchaney said...

Yeah Mo, I'm moving in too! Awesome looking cookies. See ya Thurs -Gabrien

Sara said...

What are the Kalua Nachos? That cake looks so delicious!

Allison said...

That is a Screech Owl. Congratulations--I've never seen one, though I have tried. :-)

Dogwood said...

what a fun celebration. that cake! oh my...must be the most yummiest.

the owl is wonderful. we have had one in a owl house this summer. so exciting!

Lori said...

I love the little screech owls. I grew up with a few screeching away during the summer/fall nights. They are so darling and so petite.
Sounds like the Lord of the Gourd was a grand success. I am trying to find a place to plant pumpkins next summer. We are running out of sunny places in our yard... the trees are too big in the neighborhood.

Violet Craft said...

WOW! I couldn't imagine how cool he was until I saw the picture. That is awesome!!!

mascanlon said...

I followed you here from HZ of course! And have already ordered the Cake Book as a Christmas gift for my daughter who loves to bake! And your fabric is too gorgeous!

Patty said...

That sounds like a delicious party!! What a great neighborhood to live in. I'd like to get ahold of some of those cookies. They look wonderful. Is it a special recipe?

alexia said...

what a beautiful owl!!!
and mmmm, I'm hungry now!