Birds of Various Feathers


Lured by the communications efforts (good job, Brooklyn Botanic Garden) and ease of getting there, a friend and I went to see the gardens themselves as well the current For the Birds exhibit, a series of birdhouses set along the walks.

Love that exhibit is ‘presented’ by Warby Parker; have never shopped there but concept is great.

June 18, 2022 was a perfect day; warm but not hot, breezy and just when many flowers are in full bloom. BBG occupies fifty-two acres and was founded in 1910.  We walked casually, enjoying the various gardens: Children’s; Rose; Discovery; Fragrance; Japanese Hill-and-Pond; Herb and others. Only the Osborne Garden (friend studies Italian gardens) was a bit disappointing—formal with very little planting to break up the green.

Most of the birdhouse names or descriptions are a little tongue in cheek so they might not work for everyone. For instance, there’s one labeled A Flock without a Murder. Not everyone knows that a group of crows is a murder (as a group of whales is a pod.) Some of the houses look like they would work for real birds; others are fanciful which doesn’t make them any less fun to look at, just less practical as homes for feathered creatures  (Emily Dickinson fans take note: BF, were you here you’d be on it in a nanosecond.)

I adore poppies, setting aside The Wizard of Oz and their use in producing opium. Also love artichokes which I thought wouldn’t flourish in the NYC climate–wrong.








It would be hard to not love these bird houses: E Pluribus Unim with mosaics, crystal beads, paintings, Americana, and household objects as well as a “wise” barn owl, American kestrel, American redstart, American goldfinch, and American robin; the 100 Martin Inn where the  notes neglect to say this bird is having a hard time keeping going and the Birdega, a cute local riff.




We had a birthday lunch of tuna sandwiches on focaccia, chips and rosé at the outdoor café, battling heavy breezes that tended to provide plenty of spills I’m sure the birds enjoyed.

The exhibit runs until late October. If you like birds, flowers or just a nice walk in a lovely setting get there. It’s an easy subway ride.


And to follow up, a chicken recipe: Tfaya Baked Chicken from Nargisse Benkabbou (New York Times Cooking)

The name is Moroccan- don’t be put off—it’s a cinch and delicious with almost no work.)

2 cups raisins

3 large red onions (about 1 pound), halved and sliced

4 chicken leg quarters (I used thighs because that’s what I had)

Generous 1/4 cup sliced almonds

For the marinade:

½ cup vegetable stock (I subbed dried veg bouillon as that’s what I had—worked fine)

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons honey

4 garlic cloves, pressed or finely chopped (well, no)

¾ teaspoon ground turmeric

¾ teaspoon ground ginger

¾ teaspoon fine sea salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon (omitted)

 Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Soak the raisins in hot water for 5 minutes or until softened; drain and transfer to a deep roasting pan. (my raisins were softish so I didn’t bother to soak)

Put stock, olive oil, honey, garlic, turmeric, ginger, salt, black pepper and cinnamon in a large bowl; mix until smooth and well combined.

Add the onions to the roasting pan and pour approximately half of the marinade over the onions and raisins. Use your hands or tongs to combine.

Transfer the chicken to the large bowl with the remaining marinade and use your hands or tongs to make sure that the chicken is thoroughly coated. Place the chicken legs on top of the onion mixture, skin-side up, and pour any remaining marinade over the chicken.

Bake in the oven for 35 minutes. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and scatter the almonds on top. Return to the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and golden and the almonds are nicely toasted.

I served this with orzo and a green salad.

Whatever you chose to drink, whistle.





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