Author: Jim Moore

Great Aunt Bess’s Springerle Cookie Recipe

Ingredients: 3 to 4 cups white flour 2 cups powdered sugar (Emily subs 1 cup honey) 4 eggs 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 4 drops of anise oil (Emily uses 1 teaspoon anise extract) 4 teaspoons anise seed (ground, or crushed) Directions: Beat eggs until well blended in mixer.  Add sugar gradually, beating between additions, then mix for 10 minutes.  Mix in anise oil and seed. Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder; and then slowly fold flour into the mixing bowl. Use as much flour as needed to make a soft, kneadable dough. Pour out dough onto a floured surface and knead well, adding more flour if needed to reduce stickiness of dough. Roll out dough to about 1/2  inch thick using a regular rolling pin. Sprinkle flour (or powdered sugar) onto the Springerle rolling pin; or onto the dough itself; to prevent sticking. Firmly press Springerle pin downward on to the dough as you slowly roll the pin across the dough. The designs should be sharp and clear in appearance. Cut out the cookies and rub underside of cookies very lightly with cool water (an Aunt Bess secret). Then place them on a buttered cookie sheet pan. Set cookies in a cool dry place overnight,  between 12 to 24 hours, depending on size of cookies. The purpose of this step is to dry-harden the top surface of the springerle cookies; which in turn...

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Twelve Ladybug Beauties

By Jim Moore, Entomologist ♪ “On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: twelve Ladybug beauties, eleven chocolate candies, ten Springerle cookies, and some mistletoe in the doorway.” ♪ Well, I am not going to say which was my favorite, but the most peculiar was the twelve Ladybug beauties. Where she found them in the middle of winter she would not exactly say, except that these twelve, shown in the photo, were found in various locations in Northeastern California. Some folks call them Ladybugs; others call them Ladybird Beetles; still others call them Lady Beetles....

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The Eagle Lake Trout – Back From the Brink

By Jim Moore, Entomologist     Long before any human eyes ever gazed upon the pristine beauty of Eagle Lake in Lassen County, its one and only endemic and namesake trout species reigned supreme as the one and only fish-eating predator beneath the surface of its water.  The Eagle Lake Trout is a Rainbow Trout subspecies (Oncorhynchus mykiss aquilarum; with the subspecies name ‘aquilarum’  meaning ‘eagle’ in the Latin language). In those days the trout were not limited to just the lake. The trout would swim up the creeks that flow into the lake to lay their eggs in the...

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Bug Wild -The Pacific Meadow Katydid, Sometimes Heard but Rarely Seen

By Jim Moore, Entomologist     Nor Cal meadows are often very diverse in many kinds of plants and animals. Many of the plant species are readily observable, showing forth their flowers and seed in their appointed season.  However, most of the animal life is rarely if ever observed.  What is usually seen are what I call the three B’s: Birds, Bees and Butterflies; as well as a few dragonflies and other flying insects.     But, hidden within the meadow flora are myriads of small animals! Once, when taking some kids on a hike, along a lush green...

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The Versatile Cattail

By Jim Moore, Entomologist When I first made my home in the Mountain Meadows Basin thirty-some years ago, I, like many new-comers to the Basin, began to acquaint myself with the wonders found within the surrounding woods and mountain meadows. My favorite explorations were along the shore line of Mountain Meadows Reservoir, also called Walker Lake by the local folks.  This is where I had my first close observations of the curious looking Cattail. Occasionally I would cut some brown cattails and bring them home for use in dried flower arrangements. The wildlife, plants and animals, in and around...

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