Easter is early this year

My trip to Devine was great, without too much traffic in either direction. As I was driving, I was watching what type of wildflowers might be showing their spring colors. To my surprise, the only places that any were growing were between Nixon and Gonzales on Hwy. 97, and these seemed to be either red verbena or red phlox. There were no bluebonnets as yet, and in fact when my friend and I went outside the city limits to an estate sale, the bluebonnet plants were profuse, but none of them had even the hint of a stalk for a flower. There were lots of yellow-flowered plants, but that was about it. I guess Mother Nature isn’t quite ready to show us a lot of color yet.
Are there any of you out there who feel as I do about driving without lights in rain/fog/dawn/dusk? It drives me absolutely crazy to meet cars without lights and they can’t be seen until they are right in front of me, especially when it is a dark colored car. When I was driving to Lytle, then to LaCoste and Castroville on Thursday morning, a woman came on the radio (97.3), and she was totally irate and pretty well expressed my feelings about this. She was talking for about three or four minutes and the main gist of the talk was basically telling people to stop being stupid and to turn their lights on during rain and fog. She also spoke about the fact that even though your car has running lights, your taillights are not on! Almost all of the newer models of cars have running lights and in many models your lights come on automatically in low vision situations. My car has running lights that come on when I turn on the motor, however, the regular lights do not come on and off automatically, and this means that I have to be vigilant, because if I use them and don’t remember to turn them back off when I stop, it’s time to call someone to jump start the car for me. It has happened a couple of times lately, especially when I just park with nothing in front of me.
Here is a little bit of knowledge about our early Easter. My brother sent the following article to me and I found it interesting enough to put it in this column, as Easter weekend is only three weeks away. Several years ago, I wrote about how the changing dates of Easter came about, and it was an interesting bit of research. This is much simpler and gives the same information.
Easter 2008 was a once in a lifetime experience, as you will see from the following information.
Easter is always the 1st Sunday after the 1st full moon (March 31st, this year) after the Spring Equinox (which, this year is on March 20th). This dating of Easter is based on the lunar calendar that Hebrew people used to identify Passover, and that is why it moves around on our Roman calendar. Here’s the interesting info. 2008 was the earliest Easter any of us will ever see the rest of our lives! And only the most elderly of our population have ever seen it this early (95 years old or older!). And none of us have ever, or will ever, see it a day earlier! Here’s the facts: 1) The next time Easter will be this early (March 23, 2008) will be the year 2228 (220 years from now). The last time it was this early was 1913 (so if you’re 95 or older, you are the only ones that were around for that!). 2) The next time it will be a day earlier, March 22, will be in the year 2285 (277 years from now). The last time it was on March 22 was 1818. So, no one alive today has or will ever see it any earlier than this year! Celebrate with praise!
This morning, I got up to a cloudy day with chances of rain in the forecast. So far, all we have had is a few drizzles, and for part of the day the sun was out. We do need the rain, as there hasn’t been a whole lot of it recently. Our Fire Chief has said that the ground is wet and the roots of the grass are wet, but the standing tall weeds are very dry and a fire hazard. Since I started writing this, I attended a meeting and it was raining a little as we finished up, but now, an hour later, nothing, just a little noise once in a while.
The following recipe has always been a favorite, both at the paper office and in my family.
Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy
1 pound lean ground meat
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
¼ cup saltine cracker crumbs
1 egg white, slightly beaten (I generally use the whole egg)
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 jar (12-oz) brown gravy*
4 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms
2 tablespoons water
In medium bowl, combine ground meat, onion, cracker crumbs, egg white, milk, horseradish, salt and pepper. Mix lightly but thoroughly. Shape into 4 oval ½-inch thick patties.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Place beef patties in skillet. Cook 7 to 8 minutes, turning once or until centers are no longer pink and juices run clear. Center of patty should register 160ºF on an instant read meat thermometer. Remove patties from skillet and keep warm.
In same skillet, combine gravy, mushrooms and water. Cook over medium heat 3 to 5 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Serve poured over the meat patties, or return the meat patties to the gravy and serve together over mashed potatoes or rice.
*Rather than the jar of gravy, I use an envelope (1.61-oz size) of brown gravy mix, most generally, Pioneer® brand and I make it in a measuring cup according to directions and add when the recipe states to add the gravy.
Butter Broiled Shrimp
1 to 2 lbs. shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on (Use the E-Z peel from the grocery store and all you have to do is peel them)
1 stick butter
2 or 3 small garlic cloves minced
Clean shrimp, leaving tails on, sprinkle with salt and pepper and place on a foil lined baking sheet. Place butter into a small skillet or sauce pan and add the garlic; heat until the butter is melted and then brush over the shrimp on the baking sheet. Place the sheet under the broiler and broil about three to four minutes. Turn shrimp over and baste with the butter mixture and cook for another two to three minutes. Serve hot.