Monday, April 16, 2012

Dried Cherry, Chocolate chip and Oatmeal Cookies and Welcoming the Geese

One sure sign of the coming of spring in Fairbanks is the arrival of the geese.  We all look forward to this and our city even has a "Goose Watch" contest where you guess the day and time the first goose lands at Creamer's Field, our migratory waterfowl wildlife refuge (learn more here).  Each spring a volunteer group plows the field and lays grain for the birds to eat.  The whole town stops by to check out the birds.  We often get ice cream at Hot Licks (them opening on College Rd. is another spring event I look forward to) and drive to the viewing area for Creamer's, eat our ice cream and watch the birds.
Two geese at a grain pile, very close to the fence that separates the birds from the people.

Monday morning there was a report of one goose at the field.  I had to drive by to see if there was any truth to that rumor.  It usually starts slow, with just a couple of geese, but then as more arrive, the field is full.  Geese, Sandhill Cranes, and ducks steal the show, but other small birds are around too. One of the most exciting things for me is that our house is on the goose flight path.  In the mornings, around 5:00 or so, geese fly over my house on the way to Creamer's.  I love waking up to the sound of them flying by.
Look closely, swans, ducks and geese are all on the field.

 There are several paths to walk on, around the fields or through a Boreal forest.  Creamer's Field is one of my favorite places to visit.  When I was teaching I would take my class there every year, catch dragonfly larva for observations before releasing them safely back into the water to eat the mosquito larva, walk the old farm road and check out the bird banding stations.
Creamer's Dairy buildings in the background.  Plowed fields to welcome birds in front.

Because Spring is such a busy time of the year, I don't always get things done at home that I want to (like cleaning, cooking, cleaning and then there is cleaning).  I like to make a batch of cookies, scoop them into individual cookie balls and then freeze them.  This way I can take 3 or 6 or 12 cookies out and bake what I need for a snack or to take to work. I don't have time to make cookies every day but I still need my sweet tooth fix and I haven't met a cookie I didn't like.   I love warm cookies and a walk through Creamer's, I do believe this is what heaven will be like.
Cookie dough scooped and headed to the freezer.  Once froze they go into a ziplock baggie.
Dried Cherry and Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
adapted from the lid of my oatmeal box

1/2 lb. (2 sticks) butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar (I like to use dark brown sugar)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
3 cups old fashioned oatmeal
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350º F.  Beat together butter and sugars until creamy.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Combine both flours, baking soda, cinnamon and salt, mix well.  Add flour mixture to creamed butter and mix well.  Stir in oats, cherries and chocolate chips, mix well.  Scoop onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on cookie sheet 1 minute then move to wire rack.  Makes about 4 dozen.
 To freeze, follow directions to scooping.  Scoop onto parchment lined cookie sheet.  Freeze until solid, move to ziplock baggie and keep in freezer.  Remove number cookies you want to bake, bake in 350º F oven for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown, there is no need to thaw cookies before baking.

April 16, 2012     Daylight  15 hours,  23 minutes,  24 seconds     Current Temp.  48ºF

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