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HOMEMADE LIVING: HOME DAIRY

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING BEES

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: CANNING & PRESERVING

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING CHICKENS


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Monthly Archives: August 2008

Potential

I’ve been thinking a good bit about potential lately. Untapped potential, realized potential, unknown potential. My own potential to author two books in 6 months having never authored a book before (oh, for those of you who might not already know, I’m authoring a series of books on the “new” domesticity, starting with two books on Raising Chickens and Canning & Preserving; bee-keeping, goat-keeping, herbal products, cut flowers, making cordials and elixirs are all potential-again, that word!-topics for future books in the series).


Then I came across the first acorn of the season on our property. I found it in the driveway, directly in front of the tree festooned with Hell’s Interior. Talk about potential. This tiny nugget holds the means of creating an enormous oak. Latent potential if there ever was any! 

As today is Monday, I’m thinking of potential projects for the week. I’m thinking of potential delicious meals and stirring conversations to enjoy. I’m thinking of the potential of having to fly through the remnants of Fay on my way to San Francisco Thursday for the Slow Food conference. I’m thinking of potentially meeting Alice Waters. I’m thinking of potentially dancing at a venue other than family weddings. Potential. What a motivator. 

A Few of My Favorite Things


    French toast for breakfast, with caramelized oranges

     Cats atop dryers, all warmed up and gorgeous.
        (not too many things rhyme with “oranges”)

Fringe Benefits


It’s always this good. Seriously. Glenn whipped up this blue-cornmeal-crusted-local-catfish-with- blueberry, corn and yellow cherry tomato relish-atop-cabbage-slaw number while I ran out to get AAA batteries. 

When I wrote my mental list of qualities I’d like in a spouse, gourmet chef seemed a bit too much to ask for. I went instead for things like character, integrity, the ability to not take oneself too seriously. I got all that AND my own personal Thomas Keller. Oh, and we washed it down with ACE hard cider. Happiness is a full belly and a husband, barefoot and chef-ing in the kitchen.

Eggstravaganza!!


The girls are laying. It all started just over a week ago. Glenn and I were in the kitchen making breakfast. Suddenly, there was an enormous shriek, following with thunderous squawking. We exchanged glances, instantly thinking the same thought: “The chickens are being ripped apart by ravenous hawks”, or perhaps “ravenous raccoons” or “ravenous bears” or, worst of all, “ravenous owls braving the light of day.” No matter the perp, a bloody and painful death occurring at that very moment in the coop was the only rational explanation for the ruckus thatt we could come up with. Glenn flung his spatula to the side, I immediately halted all toast buttering and away to the coop we ran.

What we found were Uno and Hedwig, in the nesting boxes, shrieking it up. Turns out, laying that first egg can be a wee bit uncomfortable. There’s the whole stretching of the muscles thing, let alone the cramping component, and least of all, the whole “OMG! Something weird and completely unanticipated is happening to me!!!” factor, all undertandably coalescing into the need to yell, or shout, or cluck loudly, as it were.

And so began the egg abundance. I’m currently gathering around 3-4 eggs per day. Not all hands are on deck just yet. Hedwig, Uno and Georgette are definitely laying. As for Micah and Buffy, no one’s talking. Glenn and I have been discussing getting 5 more hens. Then we’ll definitely be swimming in eggs. Not that we suffer from any shortage of egg-centered cooking and baking ideas. More eggs simply translates into more frittatas, more egg salad sandwiches, and, of course, more custards and creamy, dreamy desserts. Should we find ourselves with more egg abundance than we can bear, I know of several willing mouths ready to relieve us of our burden (you know who you are…).

You know when new parents talk at length about the cute things their infant does? Even if their audience has no children? And they are so enraptured of the little ones antics that all other babies just completely pale in comparison? Well, that’s me and my hens. Not only are they the prettiest chickens, but there are the most affectionate (four of them let me scratch their backs, doing what I call the “war dance” as I walk up to do this to them, which roughly translates to stomping their feet alternately, squatting, and thrusting their wings up a bit in preparation for the scratch-fest) and their eggs are the best ever. Period. Really. The. Best. Eggs. Ever. Glenn agrees. We’re no stranger to eggs, either. Before our ladies came along, we routinely purchased local free-range eggs from our local natural foods store.



In fact, we still have a dozen or so in the fridge. Just this morning, though, we did a side-by-side comparison. The yolks of our girls (let’s call them “The Ladies”) are considerably more orange than the store bought eggs. They are so orange, in fact, that when whisked, it almost looks as though turmeric must have been added to the bowl to account for the vibrant color. I actually asked Glenn if he had done just that the first time we made omelets from “The Ladies.” Then there are the whites. Creamier than I ever thought egg whites possible of. Tender and succulent, almost like cream cheese, as opposed to the rubber-y consistency of most egg whites.

I never knew eggs could be like this. Not only did I get a few new pets out of this, but they earn their keep, too. The cats and dogs are worth all the work, but they’ve never laid any eggs. I’m just sayin.’