It was a scene out of “Rambo IV,” or maybe I’m thinking “Terminator.” I rolled up to Route 589 just as those geese and ducks – those dreaded monsters – started waddling their way into incoming traffic. What ensued was nothing short of sheer terror. Buildings were ablaze, cars stacked in ditches while innocent bystanders were forced to cover the eyes of their offspring to prevent them from seeing the carnage forged by these fiery-eyed, feathered foes.
They made their way across the road, nary a scratch on any of them, all the while laughing (In hindsight, I imagine they were honking and quacking) at the ensuing destruction. As I think about this, I shiver as I recall the traffic light falling on a new litter of puppies enjoying an innocent frolic around the pond.
And then I woke up. I realized that I can’t imagine the geese being such a problem that we would even consider resorting to killing them to improve traffic conditions. Did I really read that correctly in the paper? The geese are causing New York-style congestion? Are we talking about the same geese and the same intersection? I need to go back to sleep.
I reentered dreamland only to be confronted by a goose dressed as Marlon Brando in “The Godfather,” and I’m tied to a chair. I won’t delve further into that dream, but suffice it to say, I awoke trembling and in a cold sweat. I wonder if I can sue waterfowl for mental trauma and duress.
Every time those beasts get in front of my car, it costs me at least 45 seconds of my life and I can’t get those back. I’m a busy man, and I absolutely refuse to stop for a minute and allow nature to stride in front of my car, taking a brief moment to stop and smell the roses. I won’t stand for it. Wait, now I’m dressed as a lawyer?
I wake up again, and I realize that I am not angry at the geese and I never have been. I wonder why I would agree with anyone who wants to kill the geese or spread chemicals around our natural resources to get rid of an animal that has inhabited our wetlands long before any of us were born. Well, there may be a few residents left who predate the Branta Canadensis, also known as the Canada goose (not “Canadian,” so just stop it), but they are probably few and far between at this point.
We live in their house, not the other way around. The waterfowl at the South Gate was something that truly attracted my wife and me to the Pines 15 years ago, and I was happy to hear many friends respond in kind when I posted on this issue in social media this weekend.
Our kids have always enjoyed waddling along with our feathered friends (and not feeding them bread) and I don’t know that I’ve ever lost control of my vehicle based on the shenanigans of the Crazy Canadas or the Malicious Mallards; but I now know that I must be ever so cautious as I navigate my way through the mire that has apparently become 589.
As I write this, I am inspired. I now have my “why:” I must create The Canada Goose Liberation Front for a Waddle-Free America, if for no other reason than to have the chubby-cheeked goose in my dreams stop telling me to “leave the gun and take the cannoli.”
Duck Confit, Cherry Compote
Makes approximately 12 hors d’oeuvres
2 Duck breast lobes, skin on
EV Olive oil OR rendered duck fat, as needed
1 in-sprig fresh rosemary
3 cloves garlic
Zest from 1 lemon (Microplaned)
1 shallot, halved
1 tsp. Black peppercorns
Salt and Pepper, as needed to season
Remove the skin from the duck breast and score with a knife.
Place in a small pan and put on a low-medium heat to begin to render the fat from the skin.
When the skin has rendered as much fat as possible, remove the skin and cut into small lardons or strips.
Bring the oil to medium-high and fry the skin until it becomes duck cracklings. Set aside until service at room temperature.
Put all other ingredients except for the salt and pepper for seasoning in an ovenproof pan just big enough to hold it.
If there is not enough fat (which there won’t be) just cover with rendered duck fat or olive oil, or both.
Cover with foil.
Cook at 225 if using a conventional oven and 200 if using a convection oven for 12-14 hours. Your house will smell divine all through the evening.
When the chicken easily shreds, it is done. Remove from the oven and cool in the refrigerator, at least 12 hours.
When ready to serve, remove from the oil and drain, and try to strain the juices from the bottom of the pan – a gravy separator will work splendidly here.
Serve on individual spoons with fruit compote and greens. These are rich, satisfying and delightful hors d’oeuvres for the fall and winter months, however please don’t let them take you over so that you aim for the waterfowl on our precious roads.