The saga of the owls continues |

The saga of the owls continues

Muffy Vhay

Spring is upon us, and as usual, watching our resident pair of great-horned owls is prime entertainment for us and our B and B guests.

You may not know owls don’t make their own nests. They commandeer nests built by others: hawks, magpies, and also, in our case, the humans who live here. We’ve had the same pair every year for the last several years. (They even made the front page of this paper about three or four years ago and are in today’s paper, see page 3).

This year, we’ve noticed problems. They nested early in February as they always do — she on the nest, “Dad” almost always in the same spot in a nearby tree, watchfully facing her. That was the pattern for a while this spring, but then one day, he wasn’t in his spot. And the next day. And the next. We started to get concerned. She was “whoo-hooing” and there was no answer. Who would bring her food? Who would help with “wing-flapping” training? Would she and the as yet unhatched chicks survive?

After quite a few days, a few other owls started appearing. One had such beautiful markings, we named him “Snazzy.” Who were these new owls? Previous year’s chicks? Uncles? Did something happen to “Dad” or does he have another family somewhere? Wikipedia was no help. Owls are known to mate for life, so who are all these interlopers?

As of this writing, the owl we’re pretty sure is “Dad” is back in his usual spot, so we’ll relax about the whole thing and wait for “Mom” to show us her fledglings.

In the meantime, gardens are waiting for planting, Easter is coming, the B and B is getting busier, and I need to make many muffins this season, this week’s recipe being first on the docket.

This is a great muffin for an Easter brunch, a picnic, or a take-along for an early flight or meeting. It freezes well and is quick and easy to make.

Orange-pineapple oatmeal muffins

Makes 12 muffins

Prepare muffin tins and preheat oven to 400 degrees. (Greased muffin tins will give you a crispy crust and soft interior; muffin papers will give you a softer exterior. I almost always use papers).

Combine in a large bowl:

2 eggs, lightly beaten

Zest and juice of one orange

1/2 cup dark or light brown sugar

1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil

1 eight-ounce can crushed pineapple with juice

Mix well, and then add 1 cup old fashioned oatmeal (not instant).

Place in a separate bowl and mix thoroughly:

1 1/2 cup flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup (or more, if you want) chopped pecans

Mix wet and dry together and spoon into muffin pan. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20-22 minutes. Serve warm or cool, with whipped cream cheese or butter. Also good just plain!

David and Muffy Vhay own Deer Run Ranch Bed and Breakfast. Contact the ranch at 775-882-3643.