Sunday, January 22, 2012

Coming out of hibernation .....

....maybe a little bit.  

Believe it or not, I like the kind of weather we are having today - damp, but not raining, foggy, chilly, but not frigid. Great for working outside.  This morning I 'stripped' Francis  and Dolley's cage.  Most of the time I use the 'deep litter method,' just putting clean shavings on top of the dirty.  When it gets so deep it's easily kicked out of the cage, and has broken down almost completely, it makes an incredible amount of dust - which can't be good for any of us.  Out it came, and was added to the compost heap(s).  The pine shavings leech nitrogen out of the soil, but the chicken poo adds plenty back in, so it's a well-balanced addition to the pile. Include green clippings and you've got the makings of 'black gold' - compost.  I left the new pine shavings in big compacted chunks as I put them in the cage.  The chickens enjoy scratching them apart, then 'arranging the furniture,' -  making heaps and hollows that are just as they like.

Here they are in their freshly-clean coop.   I was trying to get a decent shot of Francis for a potential taker.   He is afraid of the camera, but Dolley loves it, and kept sneaking into the shot.   He has grown into quite a handsome boy, but look at the difference in size!    He's definitely breeding her, meaning fertile eggs, but her blue and the Orpington gold don't produce a nice result color-wise. Think mud.  He's gotten Abigail at least once (Orp and Brahma would make a nice cross) but Gracie (for purebred Orps) is scared to death of him and stays out of his way, when the cage doors are open. 

I have been given the phone number of a lady who might be willing to take Francis on her farm.  I don't know why I haven't called her yet.  I think the main thing is the idea of putting him outside suddenly at the worst time of the year. He is sweet and will let me pick him up and cuddle, so temperment - wise he is fine for a pet. If I kept him I could get fertile hatcing eggs for sale or to give away, but he does crow (loudly) and I just don't like whole squawking, violent aspect of the breeding.  Outside in a coop is one thing, right in the middle of where I live is another.   Maybe I'll call her this afternoon. 

On the other hand, the other girls got out for a few minutes on the deck for some fresh air and to clean up some birdseed.   They were having a good time until a hawk swooped low over the deck, chasing a Mourning Dove.  It spoiled everything and they ran for the door and wanted back in. 

Unlike my ambivalence about keeping a rooster, I love all my bantam girls.  They make great pets - with benefits.

Today for brunch, I used some of those benefits in a fritatta. I'm sure I've talked here before about buying some of my dehydrated food. I've tried drying potatoes without success, but I've bought some hashbrowns inexpensively from the company on my sidebar. They come in a #10 can, (large coffee) are easy to store, save freezer space, and store forever.  While I was using the kettle to make a cup of tea, I just covered the potatoes with the same boiling water to rehydrate them.   Be sure to salt the water you rehydrate in.  Like grits, if you wait to season them until they are done, you'll pour on the salt and they'll still be bland.   By the time I had finished my cup of tea, the potatoes were ready to go.  Drain, and put in the pan, browning - covered- as usual, with butter or oil as you choose.   When they are browned, reduce the heat,  pour some lightly beaten eggs over the top, add some spinach (I used kale, because I have it still fresh in the garden)  Cover and cook, flipping over once.   Yum!     

I've been messing around a little with some jewelry making, but don't have anything finished to show yet.  I need to be spinning and working on fiber things.  The Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival  is only four months away!!!!

Until I next emerge ..... from Wren Cottage.


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