Groundhogs

Groundhogs 001There are ups and downs about living in a wooden house surrounded by woods. The downs are that critters get inbetween the outside and inside wall all the time – birds, squirrels and, lately, bees. Countless bird families have taken up residence in the Mayhew walls, producing their young’uns who then cry, cry, cry until mom comes to feed them (or dad, not sure how this works in the bird world). The squrirels we have rescued humanely with peanut butter and honey, the youngest to escape into the house and run through the laundry room. The bees. Well, the bees. We tried to be humane. We got a beekeeper from a neighboring county to come over at night and try to remove the hive. But the bees had secreted themselves in an area unkind for rescue. So we bombed the little suckers with poison. Sometimes you lose your perspective when faced with a bee invasion. Try it sometime.

Over the years, we’ve had deer, of course. Two years ago, during a drought, we had wild turkeys. But by far our favorites are the groundhogs. We realized something had shown up at our house one fall morning when we heard a frantic scratching outside the bedroom door to the sideyard. Something was clawing the underside of the deck. A little later, we looked out the window and realized it was a groundhog making a nest under the deck. We knew this because Mr. Groundhog (or, as it turned out, Mrs.) was ambling through the yard. This spring, after a good long sleep, Mrs. Groundhog emerged with two children.

They have been hilarious. They sun themselves on the deck. Scamper through the yard and come right up to the bedroom window to challenge our cats to a duel. I’m a little worried right now because I haven’t seen them in a few days. Do groundhogs leave home? I hope not.

So, on another topic, I’ve had this recipe sitting on my desk for about a month and today was the day to eliminate piles, pay bills and generally declutter (in between torrid rounds of Zuma). So here it is. You’ll like it.

Pork Medallions with Apples

1/3 cup real maple syrup

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 pork tenderloin

Panko breadcrumbs

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

Butter

2 medium Granny Smith apples

1/2 cup or more of apple juice

Mix the syrup, mustard, salt and pepper. Set aside.  Trim the silverskin off the tenderloin and cut it into 1/2-inch thick slices. Salt and pepper the slices and then dip them into the breadcrumbs. Saute over medium heat in olive oil and butter (about half and half) until golden brown. Set aside in a warm oven. Peel, core and slice the apples. Add more butter to the pan. Then add the apple slices and the apple juice. Stew the apples until tender and most of the juice has evaporated. Add the maple syrup mixture to the pan and mix thorougly. Plate the pork medallions and top with the apples.

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