Springtime “officially” comes tomorrow, and given the weather this winter, it couldn’t come soon enough. I’m eager to get things in the ground–just as soon as I can actually see the ground, after all the snow has melted. Of course, it’ll be a little while before things dry out enough to work, but at least the temperatures will be starting to climb.
Whoever it was that mentioned chickens being a gateway drug–well, you were right. Of our original flock of six, we now have five. One of the Orpingtons was getting broody, and the others started pecking, to “nudge” her out of their “favorite” nesting box. We got her into the house before things got too bad, gave her some recuperation time, then got some chicks to try and “break” the broodiness. Long story even longer, she was a horrible mama; so, she’s now in witness relocation, with a friend’s flock in another state. By all accounts, she’s doing well… And so we have six more chicks. Well, they’re about a month and change old, now, and are at that awkward “teenage” stage, where they look more like lizards than any sort of bird. But, we’re averaging four eggs or so a day from the “adults,” and once these girls kick into production in the fall, we’ll be up to our eyeballs in eggs. Fortunately, the folks at work are happy to buy them off me…
What is it with this sudden increase in the “tribal” us-vs-them thing? It seems to have invaded into all levels of everything–from the Federal Government, down through state and local levels; pretty much all religions (but that’s normal); even overseas–Israel vs. Palestine (and the rest of the Arab world), Russia vs. Ukraine (and the rest of the Western world)… I don’t know if I’m just more sensitized to it, for some reason, or if it’s really ratcheted up–but it feels like the latter. Still mulling this one, trying to figure it out; that’ll be a post for a later day.
I like salt. Not so much in the “putting it on my food” thing–although judicious amounts of that are fine–but more in the “rubbing it all over meat and letting it cure” thing. I’ve got a number of duck breasts right now, contentedly turning into a quasi-prosciutto; it’s really the simplest curing process I’ve seen. Rinse the duck breast, put it on a layer of kosher salt in a pan, cover it with more, stick it in the fridge for a day. Pull it out, rinse the salt, dust it with white pepper (or other spices to your taste), wrap it in cheesecloth, and let it air-dry, somewhere cool (~50 degrees F) and humid (~50% humidity is ideal) for about a week to ten days. Slice it thin, and it just melts on the tongue. I need to save up a few pennies and snag a pork belly or two, and try to find a beef navel… With those, I can crank up the smoke!
We finally decided to get bees. Not this year–we made the decision a bit late, and would only have had a week or so to get things ready before they were delivered. Instead, we’ll gather the equipment over the year, and order the bees for next year. Yes, I’m interested in the honey, although I understand that a “harvestable” amount wouldn’t happen until the second year; I’m much more interested in the pollination, though. I’m fairly certain that a lack of pollinators was to blame for the mediocre showing of our garden, last year; if this year’s take is similar, I’ll be convinced.
I’m fairly pleased that I accurately estimated our wood usage for the summer. Barring another long cold snap, we’ll be able to “shut down” the wood stoves, with just enough wood left to allow for an outdoor fire-pit adventure or two. Part of the plan, this year, is to get a little more wood each month, now that I know of a landscape place locally that sells it year-round. I’ll have to get down into our woods and start clearing things in the not-too-distant future, too, but for now, I’ll just enjoy the fact that the trees are beginning to bud out…
How are things going in your area? What do you have going on that’s new and exciting? I’d love to hear about it.