I prefer winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth

Thursday, January 29, 2015

January Chicken Report

Just a quick post on my chickadoodles. The are lookin' good. The molt is over and the the feathers are in.
Here's the Roadie...
She is our attack chicken. She's just one gene short of being a rooster. I don't trust her. She tends to walk alone and she jumps at the coop door in the morning when we come out to give the chickens their scraps and fresh water. Red is pushy and disagreeable but she's a good brown egg layer... and she is looking really good right now.

Then there's the Plymouth Rock. This is our big bird. She is a great hen and a good layer. She lays a large  light to medium brown egg with a touch of pink. and she seems to mingle well with the other big hens.
Her only bad habit is that she picks on Squeekie, our Bantam hen. She doesn't really harm Squeek'.  It's more just her size that makes Squeekie run. The Rock kind of walks around  with an air of, "I'm the biggest and I don't have to fight over anything. I only have to walk up and take what is rightfully mine."

 The Ameraucanas follows the Plymouth Rock around and get along with everyone. We have two of them. The Ameraucana's have tails and muffs unlike the Araucana breed. The all lay blue or green eggs.. or somewhere in between.
All the big hens are looking really good in their new spring feathers.

And then there's Squeekie, our sweet little Bantam hen.
I want you to know that this is her 10th year. She is a little old hen with a charming personality. She doesn't lay eggs anymore and she's dragging one of her feet. She must have had a little stoke or something. But this doesn't stop her. She free ranges with the other hens and can keep up with any of them.
She is a beautiful Belgian Bearded d'Uccle Bantam that, possibly because of bad breeding, does not have a beard and she is not booted. (consist of long feathers covering the legs that look like boots.) Squeekie is a mille fleur variety of this bantam. Mille Fleur describes the plumage associated with this bantam. It's very beautiful and  distinctive, The Mille Fleur plumage consists of  dark, brown feathers divided by a black bar and tipped with white spangle. I should have named her Milly, but Squeekie is more accurate. Her sister, Henny Penny and our Bantam Rooster, Napoleon, are gone. She is the lone survivor of the bantam flock.
I love this little hen. She is a chicken in a million.

Squeekie was checking out the cat box in the garage, the other day.
Yes... our outdoor cat has her own cat box in the garage and uses it exclusively... and she likes it kept clean.
Squeekie checked out the cat's box and Annie watched her the whole time. But Annie never went over and discussed it with Squeek' or chased her away. I guess the have an agreement.. an understanding. Looking is OK, as long as Squeek' doesn't try to use it.
Annie is very patience with the chickens. I think she is a little afraid of them. She sits and watches them. She will even follow them around sometimes, but always at a distance and always with caution.

So the hens are laying again. The molt is over. We got three eggs a day this week and today we got four. Four eggs a day is plenty for us and the neighbors. So what do I use these beautiful eggs for, you ask?
Well, today I made some cookies.
Mixed up the dough...
And then... before I cooked them...
I ate some cookie dough.
It's tradition. Fresh eggs allow this indulgent behavior.
A bad habit that, in 50 or 60 some years, has never made me sick.
Thank you Chickadoodles.
Keep those eggs flowing.




Monday, January 26, 2015

Small Cactus... and Lemon Martinis

The Prospector decided to start a Cactus garden this year. Just a few cacti in some pots. I don't have a problem with this, but they seem to be multiplying. It started out with two cacti in one container and now...
We have many different kinds of cacti in three containers. Where will this all end?
I will admit that I have had nothing to do with this. He bought them, planted them and arranged them on the  small stand, on the front porch, that I was under-utilizing anyway. I'm not complaining. They are very pretty. So different than flowers... more rugged and defensive, but interesting. He waters them, feeds them and seems to enjoy his little grouping of succulents. I just never know what this man is going to find delight in and worthy of his interest. Life is short... we all need to find small things that make us happy. He has found an attraction to these prickly plants.
I like to take close up photos of them. They are symmetrically beautiful. Maybe that's what he likes about them. I will ask. Whatever it is, they make us both happy. It's a small pleasure.

For Christmas the prospector bought me a Meyer Lemon tree. He knew I wanted one and when I actually told him that I would really love to have one, it was almost a guarantee that I would find it in the living room on Christmas Day. It's a dwarf and he's building a big planter for it near the deck. We decided to keep it up near the house where we could protect it (instead of the vegetable garden) because we can get to it more easily and cover it on freezing nights.
We have not had many freezing nights this winter, but we do once in a while and I have lost a couple of citrus trees because we didn't protect them on cold nights. In fact, the weather is so mild this winter, it's like Spring right now. Warm days... cold (but not anywhere near freezing) nights.  All the plants and trees are a bit confused. They are all getting little buds of growth. The lemon tree is no exception.
It is ready to bloom and start its little lemons. I hate to think what will happen if the weather turns on us. Guess we will have a little lemon tree in the livingroom at night. I have big plans for this tree and its lemons. I'm not loosing the tree to carelessness this time.
 I'm personally waiting for these lemons in anticipation of lemon pie, lemon shortbread, fresh lemonade and lemon gelato, homemade Limoncello and... listen very carefully... Lemon Meringue Martinis.
 Yes, Lemon Meringue Martini. Doesn't that just roll right off of your tongue?
We're talking, Limoncello, whipped vodka, half and half and crushed graham crackers around the rim of the glass. Who says you have to be sad when life hands you lemons?  Life is short and when my little Lemon tree hands me lemons... I will be ready.