Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Chicken Feet

Well, it's always something here in our menagerie, and this time it's Phoenix. He is our little bantam Cochin rooster. That's him on the left, the little one with the creamy-colored neck and black body. The feathers on his legs make him a Cochin. They also make him look like he's wearing pants. I love him. He's a great little rooster. Always very polite to his ladies, offering them any choice morsel he finds. For those of you who have never seen a rooster taking care of his hens, what happens is this: When you toss some delicious treats into the pen (tomato ends, old green beans, apple cores, etc.) all the chickens start running around pecking and picking. The rooster, if he's a good one, will find a morsel and make a certain cluck. Kind of a quork. This means, "I've found a tasty treat, if anyone wants it," and a hen or two will respond by checking out what he has. If it is indeed a treat, he will let them take it right out of his beak. If he's just being dramatic about a bit of regular old food, they usually ignore him.
Well, the other day we noticed his feet looking red and scabby (see picture on the right). I looked and searched my poultry books and the internet, but really didn't come up with anything. So I emailed the Chatham County Extension agent in charge of poultry, sent him a couple pictures and asked for advice. He got right back with me and suggested soaking the feet up to the hocks in a dilute betadine bath 3 times a week and see if that helps.
Phoenix, while the only one of our chickens to have a name (the other ones all look alike), is not the tamest. He's actually quite dodgy about handling. I was a bit concerned, but having caught him without too much trouble in the past, set out this morning with my barn boots, leaving the boy with his daddy, and mixed up the solution in an old red bucket. 1 oz. betadine to 4 c. water. I estimated the betadine in the Motorhead shotglass and added about 5 cups warm water, just to make sure it wasn't too strong. Caught the little guy without much trouble on the second try, and after he squawked like he was being attacked and eaten, got him calmed down.
The best way to calm a chicken is to make sure you've got their wings comfortably pinned against them, hold them close to your body so they feel secure, speak gentle, soothing tones, and I've found that stroking their beak will almost always work.
So today was the first treatment. Phoenix did great. After his initial freak-out, he remained calm throughout the ordeal, excepting a few loud bi-cawks when he was startled, once by Honey tearing across the yard to bark at some squirrels, and once just because he's a chicken. Next soaking scheduled for Thursday.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I hate to upstage my own pesto, but...

Alright. You know how some packs of flower seeds say "attracts birds and butterflies"? Well here's proof that the folks at Burpee (or wherever I happened to buy these seeds) don't lie. This is the goldfinch that has been enjoying the cones on my purple coneflower (aka Echinacea). I took these through the screen door, so sorry if they're not the sharpest. Isn't he the prettiest little thing you've ever seen?
I've been feeling a little bad because Mr. Finch has been hanging around the four birdfeeders in our yard, plucking out blackoil sunflower seeds and tossing them to the ground as if to say, "Gimme something to work with already!!" We keep babbling to each other (in this, as in many cases, "we" refers to Adam and I. It also sometimes refers to Buck and I, and at other times refers to Lily and I, or some other animal and I), "we need to get a finch feeder," "I know, we really need to get one of those finch feeders," "yeah we need to get some finch food for the finch," "yeah we need to feed the finch." By next summer, what with Christmas and two birthdays, I'm sure we would have a nice, shiny, plastic finch feeder strategically placed within view of the porch and front window, but you can imagine my immense satisfaction with the current situation. I mean, awesome.

Besides the convenience and aesthetic of it, imagine what the Echinacea is doing for little Goldy's immune system!! He's got something right here that he can't get from any old "finch feeder." He's got nature. Nature that I nurtured. Nurturing that I'm a natural for. Natural... oh, okay.
I've lost the point.

I guess the point is, how cool is that?
Besides, the coneflowers are looking their age at this time of year, not exactly the fresh blossoms they were a few months ago, so having a pretty yellow bird landing on them all the time really brings out the best in them.
I haven't been able to capture the hummingbirds that have been, well, humming around. But maybe I'll try. Maybe I'll become a backyard wildlife photographer and just have a blog centered entirely around tufted titmice (titmouses?) and grey squirrels and white-breasted nuthatches and oh, yeah!! did you know I saw an indigo bunting this year?? No kidding, it was my first one, showed up right after Buck was born...

Presto Pesto Dip

So, this is the dish I brought to Nikki's (a fellow Pepper's employee) bachelorette party. She's getting married next weekend, to, get this, the RA of my dorm freshman year, Derek. Funny how people seem to keep coming around. I would never have guessed nine years ago that me and my husband and child would attend my RA's wedding to Nikki from Pepper's. Or that I would have a husband or child. Really, I don't know what I thought I'd be doing nine years from nine years ago. I think I could go so far as to call those my "short-sighted years," as I didn't really seem to think too far ahead about anything...
Anyway, back to pesto-- I had to photograph it. The pesto dip lies serenely in the middle, like a green sea of spice and smoothness, banked by the glistening tomatoes, nestled against the rocky shore of crustinis. The whole has been showered with fresh feta and a bit of basil.

Yes, the pesto was homemade with garden-fresh basil. Yes, it was garlicky as all get-out. Yes, the tomatoes, too, were garden fresh, and so succulently ripe. Yes, the crustinis were made by me, out of free rolls left over from a catering gig that Joe worked. Yes, Joe the guitar player from Blag'ard. Yes, they were brushed with olive oil and cracked black pepper and kosher salt.

No, I did not have to go to the store for any ingredients-- this is a work of pure serendipity.

I am extremely proud of this creation, and if there was no other purpose for this blog but to preserve it in all its splendor, that would be enough.

Yes, I am available for parties. As long as I can bring the boy.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Daddy's Back

After a full 24 hours of food poisoning (as best as we can tell), Adam has fully recovered and is back to his old self. He's been reading to Buck out of the beautifully illustrated James Herriot's Treasury of Inspirational Stories for Children. It's got all the classics-- Only One Woof, The Christmas Day Kitten, and many more, as well as what's being read in the picture, Moses the Kitten, one of Adam's favorites since it features a black kitten. Buck will usually sit through almost a whole story. He also likes Eric Carle's books (The Very Hungry Caterpillar, "Slowly Slowly, Slowly," Said the Sloth, et al). The pictures in those are quite fascinating to him. I checked out a ton from the library. I would also have to add Goodnight Moon to the list, as he frequently sings to it whenever you read it to him.

I've got my day all planned out:
-wash all the bedclothes
-wash diapers
-clean bathroom (again)

Not a very long list but it will probably take all day, adding in my Buck time-- nursing, pooping/peeing/changing, napping, entertaining, etc., as well as kitchen cleaning and food preparation throughout the day I think Adam's still a little puny, so he'll probably stick around the house and can help with Buck. Also, if I get a second, I will probably stick my nose in the fourth Harry Potter book, Goblet of Fire, as I have been devouring that series once again. I started on Sunday with The Sorcerer's Stone and have blazed through the first three in about as many days.
Tip: you can read while nursing.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Me, too!!

Well, I've been thinking about doing this for awhile. I've pretty much abandoned journal writing, though I still pretend I'm going to pick it back up again, and who knows? Maybe I will.
Really, it's the same problem my sister states in her first blog (Farm Kitchen Table), which is how to begin. There is a lot of pressure in any opening entry, be it blog, journal, slambook. It's what keeps me from getting back into journaling. I imagine myself, writing to myself, something like, "Wow, I can't believe how long it's been since I last wrote in this thing! So much has happened, I don't even know where to start. I got married and had a baby." Then I'm like, uh, "____..."
I don't want to start with the cliches, "it's changed my life," "my baby is a miracle," "we are so happy," and the like, but really, there's a reason these are common expressions-- because that's the truth.

Then there's the insincerity of just glossing over it with no introduction, jumping right in with, "This morning Buck and I went to the library." To skip the very recent event of a child being born seems borderline negligent. Besides that, there are literary reasons not to go about it in this manner-- "Who is Buck?" I can see scribbled in red ink above my first entry. "Need to define characters and place."

Alright, so place? A little cabin in the Big Woods, a lake nearby, far enough out of town to not have to worry about neighbors, but close enough to town to make a run in if you need to.

Characters? Well, there's me, my husband Adam, our almost-four-month-old son Buck, and a host of four-, two- and no-legged creatures we share our cabin and woods with (yes, Mr. Huddleston, I do see those prepositions so incorrectly ending the previous sentences. I'm calling it my "style.").

Time? The present.
Mood? Changing.
Themes (if any)? We will just have to see.

p.s. I'm totally copying my older sister. She just started her blog and I was all, me too!!!