Friday, September 16, 2011

Bill's Parmesan

This was taken on day #3. It's looking good already, no? Waiting is going to be hard.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Yet Another Project in the Works

You know, because goats and chickens and tween-age daughters aren't enough to keep me busy, I've decided to open an Etsy shop. :)

It's called Postmodern Milkmaid, 'cuz I am one of those, or at least I like to think I am. There is a blog associated with it that actually has more content on it right now than my shop does, so for the mean time, I'll direct you there to check out my projects in progress - A Postmodern Milkmaid.

My theme/mantra here is to use 100% recycled/found/landfill-bound materials, and to not have to purchase anything at all to complete my projects. All yarn will be leftover or reclaimed yarn, same goes for fabrics, etc.

I welcome your feedback and suggestions. Be honest, but, please, oh please, not too brutal. I need true feedback, but I am still a fragile wee thing (mentally) and can take uber-blunt feedback a little too personally.

Anyhoo, wish me luck. And thanks, as always, for reading my ramblings and coming back for more. ;)


Obsessive Egg Watch: Day 3

Blood vessels! We have blood vessels!

AND - I think I'm seeing one heart in the double yolker. Fingers crossed that chickie #2 is just lagging behind a touch.

I'll try for some candling pictures tonight, when it's good and dark.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Greetings from the Land of L'oeuf

Put up, frozen, and preserved of the season's foody offerings this week so far -

*Spicy Pork Broth, 3 quarts, frozen
*Blackberry Fruit Roll-ups, 5 lbs worth
*Blackberries, 3 pounds, frozen
*Spinach & Goat Feta Pierogi (Pitaha), 45, frozen
*Rose Petals, Bachelor Buttons, Nasturtium and Lavender flowers - dehydrating them like they're going out of style, cuz they are.

If my back isn't still dogging me, I'll can some blueberry & blackberry jam next week. I also want to make up some traditional Pitaha, with some gorgeous potatoes that were grown by my friends Gabby & Daeg.

I also need to make another batch of feta, or else drown in milk. Same goes with the eggs. I might just be desperate enough to try freezing some, though that still seems weird to me.

I googled "recipes that use a lot of eggs" and got some interesting results. It seems like the suggestions fall into two categories -

#1 - The Dee-hhuuuurrrrs. Have you thought of making an omelet or some deviled eggs? Dear, simple, simple friend. OF COURSE I'VE THOUGHT OF THAT. The trouble, you see, is that I have six dozen eggs and counting, and if my family somehow did manage to muscle down 72 onion-laced eggs, the air quality in North Olympia would suffer a mighty blow, and no one wants that.

#2 - The "Butterified". Pound cake, custard, mousse. All yummy, and all calling for as much or more butter and sugar than eggs. There has to be a way to make something with these babies that doesn't give us diabetes or coronary artery disease, right?

So I guess that I'm going to make some more egg noodles to freeze, and maybe try drying some as well. We'll have scrambled eggs for breakfast and dinner a few times this week and see what kind of damage we can do to the stockpile. Maybe I can start whipping them at the psycho DB that flies by my house on his Ducati at 120 miles per hour?

Nah, he's not worthy of my juevos, only my seething contempt.

By the by, this evening will make 48 hours since the mega-clutch went into the incubator. I've been candling the eggs nightly, because I'm maniacally curious about their inner goings-on. I can't tell for sure, but I *think* I see some progress in their development. There appears to be a pencil eraser-sized spot of increased density in the middle of several of the yolks. No dead giveaways, like blood vessel development, but I think that might still be a few days out.

Here's a pic I took on day one of our one and only double-yolker in the lot.

I don't know what the odds are of twin chickies making it, but I'll keep candling and keep you informed about any "eggciting" developments. ;)

Sorry about that. I need to get out more.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Holy Hidden Huevos, Batman!

Each night at around dusk, we lock our chickens in the coop for the night. Walking out there, you never know what exactly awaits you. Will there be 10 hens roosted up in the rhododendron that you have to fish out, flapping and fighting, in the dark? Will this be the night that you come around a corner to see a coyote or a raccoon (God forbid!) making off with your favorite hennie? Will anyone have collected eggs yet that day, or will it be time for the lightning round of huevo-seek? You just don't know.

Well, with 23 hens, 18 of whom are new layers, we've been having to go the extra mile to track down and collect all of the eggs that they've been laying hither and yon. Those gals are crafty! They'll lay their eggs in the weirdest, most impractical places, just for a shot at motherhood.

Case in point, young Miss Huckleberry.

I knew that she was up to something, because each day when I went to feed the chickens their bread, she'd always show up a full 30 seconds after everyone else. Peeling out on her way in from somewhere down by the bog, doing the run-flap-fly-hop thing in an effort to reach the feeding frenzy before all of the goods were gone. I had my eye on her, but for the life of me, I couldn't track down the hidden nest that I knew must be out there somewhere.

But that's ok, I didn't have to, Bill did.

He heard a bit of clucking under some holly/ivy/who-knows-what bushes and stooped to investigate. Very well hidden among the greenery was our girl, Huck.


Bill thought that we should go ahead and put her in the coop with the others. It isn't safe for her to be out all night. So he picks her up and...


Eighteen eggs. EIGHTEEN EGGS. This little mama has been squirrelling these puppies away for half a month. Sneaky monkey...

The clutch, just before going into the incubator.

Bill & Liv collected the still-warm eggs, and quickly brought them inside where I hastily set up our incubator. Those 18, plus 2 more that I found in a separate nest on the other side of the chicken yard are now "cooking" away. We have no way of knowing whether or not these eggs are fertile, and if so, how far along they are, etc. We also don't know for sure who the Papa bird is. It could be Curlie, the white-crested black Polish frizzle, or possibly King Kong or Rockstar, our Australorp roos. Maury Povich, where are you when I need you?

So approximately 3 weeks from now, we may have the pitter-patter of little chicky feet in our hot tub room, once again. These chicks will either be Americauna/Polish or Americauna/Australorp mixes, so they have the potential to look... interesting.

I'm kind of hoping for a 'Lorp/Americauna mix, as you could have the best of both worlds in one chicky - great temperament, hardy as all get-out and a blue egg-layer. Ok, I'm a little excited now. :)

I've got a Lorp-A,
A Lorp-Acauna.
The coolest chick,
West of Botswana.
Got a Lorp-A,
A Lorp-Acaaaaauna.
Blue eggs,
and black legs,
and something else that rhymes here.
There's a Lorrrrp-Aaaaah...
down in, my boggggg.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I woke up a bit later than usual that day.

By some good fortune, the baby had decided to sleep in a bit. Taking advantage of this rare moment of freedom, I decided to check my email and futz around on the internet. The Yahoo! homepage looks so weird. Huge pictures of a flaming, smoke-filled cityscape. Multiple 18 and 20-point bold font headlines, that before I can even read them, tell me that something huge must have happened. I read their words, and for a few seconds, actually manage to convince myself that this is a mistake; a prank. Yahoo! has been hacked. Grasping at any reason at all that this could be anything but true and actually happening.

I run in a daze from the office to the living room and turn on our tv. I don't know what channel. It didn't matter. Every channel was the same. Manhattan in flames and utter panic and chaos spreading in near silence. Even the polished anchormen and womens voices warble and crack now and then, as they try to describe and speculate on what has and is unfolding. My brain hears but doesn't comprehend. I only see and feel rending horror and grief.

It's hard to look away. If I stay, keep my vigil, will the energy of my quaking heart, combined with a million others, be enough to stop it?

I turn off the tv, and go pick up my sleeping baby. She curls into me like a boiled shrimp and burrows her sleep-damp head into the hollow of my neck. I breathe in her smell. One slow breath after another, in an attempt to adopt her drowsy rhythm and not allow her to sense my panic or hear my racing mind. Outwardly calm, inwardly screaming. One deep sweet, baby-scented breath, then another. Trying to stem the tide of horrified thoughts of the future, both immediate and long term. We're going to war. Jimmy is going to war! God! Are we safe here? Why is it so quiet right now? Will Olivia grow up doing air-raid drills like my mother's generation did? Where is Billy? I want Billy home with me RIGHT NOW!

I maintained my outward calm as best I could. I didn't want the baby to hear me cry, and I surely didn't want her seeing the tv. So I spent the better part of the day in an informational blackout, all the while dying to know what more had been learned about what happened, and what could be done to help. But I didn't dare turn on that tv. If I could keep the horror from touching her, than nothing else mattered.

I remember it perfectly. Sometimes I wish I didn't.

Sustainable South Sound Food Systems Summit

I'm going. How about you? :)

Taking place in Olympia on October 14th & 15th. More information about Sustainable South Sound's Local Food Systems Summit is available here.

Let me know if you plan to go. We can carpool! :)