Sunday, April 26, 2009

probably a bad idea

I love goshawks in the abstract: in my eye they're the most beautiful bird of all, they're determined and they fly like jets. Given the right training they can be sweet on the fist and consistently deadly. But in practical terms, a tiercel gos really not right for what I've got. Ducks are only here for a few months, half of which is past duck season, gosses can chase crows pretty far (in carhawking this means significantly higher danger of losing your bird in a space you can't get to, like behind a building), quail and bunnies are nearly an hour away, and there's only one place nearby where pheasant can be found consistently.

But I still do love a gos... years ago I had one for a few months and would like to try it again. But maybe it's just not the right place for one now.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

shifting into spring

Mr P is giving the call almost every morning now: "Single male HH, 13 years young, looking for a sweet female to make a nest with. Excellent provider of sticks and food." Or at least that's how I interpret "ak-ak-ak-ak-gak-gak-gak-ak-ak-ak." Little bits of down are just starting to star the perch (only one alula has dropped so far), and his field behavior is not quite so enthusiastic.

The crows are nesting too. They've scattered out of their big winter flocks, have been playing with dried grass and twigs for weeks, and now they're paired up, a little scarcer and warier. This week wasn't quite so productive -- "just" 7 -- and I'm half considering putting P up early in hopes of taking him up early, when the young ones are getting on the wing and being stupid.

Put my name on a list for a tiercel gos... that'll be a challenge.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

pig happy

My mom is a roast pig (siu-yook) connoisseur, or maybe just a fresser-fusser. Knowing I live in a place with a Chinese population over 20, she has over the years sent me hoofing all around the Bay Area for the perfect pig -- not too salty, enough of the other spices, and crispy fluffy skin. Above all, gotta be tender and not dry. Very few places meet her exacting Jungsan (Zhongshan) criteria.

So I'm at the Safeway on Washington St in San Lorenzo, and wandering across the parking lot toward the Longs Drugs when I see "Chinese BBQ" in nice red neon letters. It also says "Chinese Fast Food" which tends to make one shy away, unless one is in the mood for fat oily chow mein noodles. But BBQ of any ethnicity sparks interest. I come alongside the window and hanging in full, lovely view are ducks and chickens and pork ribs, brown and gold and red, all of them dripping.
(This is a pic from the web, not the actual restaurant.)

As I go in, a side of roasted pig appears, hanging from a hook on a steel pole. Inside looks like any nameless Chinatown BBQ place: checkerboard tile floor in neutral and white, formica tables or the modern equivalent thereof, industrial fluorescent overhead, and a slight sense of grime. Chinese don't believe in remodeling before opening a restaurant -- improvements come in dribs and drabs, if they ever come at all.

The pig looks looks promising, too. Good color and that bubbly quality to the skin like chicharones, not hard and flat. I talk to the customer ahead of me and she assures me she's picky about her pig and this is a good one. My heart soars.

I get a half-pound just to try it out. They also sell five gin-dui for a buck, which is a steal for the sweet.

As for the pig, I know my mom will find it near perfect. (A titch too salty for me -- I hardly ever salt anything so I find most prepared foods too salty.) I'm real pleased to have this place so near my house, so I can make my mom pig happy any time I see her.

Edit: While googling around for the image, I found this recipe from someone who made roast pig at home. Muahahaha...