Friday, June 29, 2007
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Getting to know me
1. I watched the Library of Congress tribute to Paul Simon last night. I like Paul Simon a lot and have for a long time. When I was in 5th grade, our art teacher let my best friend and I listen to our Simon and Garfunkel records in her supply closet instead of going out to recess. I also had a pair of parakeets as a kid named Simon and Garfunkel. Suffice to say, there weren't many kids in my school that were in to Simon and Garfunkel, making me pretty much a dork.
2. I was artsy in high school and was convinced that I would live in the big city and work in advertising. After high school, I went to F.I.T. in New York City and majored in advertising design. I hated it. And I didn't realize how much I missed nature when living in the city. I left to eventually major in Biology at a state school outside of Philadelphia. Now I admire toads and stick my hands in the nether regions of chickens. Funny. I don't draw or paint much anymore and I should. The coneflower above and the chickadee are little doodles I have lying around my desk at work. Another funny thing was that there were a suprising number of women in by biology classes that had started out their schooling as art majors.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
you ungrateful toad
Really. Some amphibians!
I was weeding on Sunday with my five feathered 'helpers' and they were jumping on anything that moved. I came across this toad. He didn't even attempt to flee. And five pairs of chicken eyes spied him and moved in. Just seconds away from being pecked to messy, toady pulp, I whisked him away and carried him to an area that would be a little more secure. And how does he thank me? By letting loose a torrential toad-sized bucket of pee on my hand. Twice.
He is Bufo americanus, the American Toad. Here is what he sounds like. It makes me really happy to find things like toads in my yard, as we are pretty far from any water or wetlands and it just isn't a common occurrence.
Be careful Toad. There are five hungry ladies scratching around looking for good eats. Hell, they even eat their own kind. They'd certainly eat a toad.
OLS Meal 1
Local burgers from Masonic Homes, buns from Terranetti's (a local bakery in Mechanicsburg), little squash from Chicque's Roc Organic Farm (named after local Chicque's creek) in Mount Joy which were marinated in Gazebo Room Greek Dressing, also made in Mechanicsburg. And radish 'pickles' along with a seedless cucumber from Shady Acres in Elizabethtown.
The buns and dressing come from about 25 miles away and are probably not made with local ingredients, but are made by small, locally owned companies. Everything else came from within 5 miles, and the radishes came from me!
And since I've been averaging about four quarts a day of black raspberries (you should see the freezer), dessert for the evening was handfuls of berries consumed standing up as I rush to get them picked by the time the sun goes down.
Friday, June 22, 2007
I'll stop talking about chickens soon, I promise
I am not a huge radish fan. Yet I plant them every year. Probably because they are easy, pest free, and almost instantly gratifying. Yet I never knew what to do with them other than put them on salads. I've read about slicing them thin and putting them on buttered bread with salt, but that didn't seem that appetizing either. So I made Suzuke. Basically a pickle, it is sliced radishes or carrots or onions dressed with Basic Su and refrigerated. Basic Su is a Japanese sweet/sour dressing and is just one cup of sugar mixed with one cup of white vinegar and salt to taste. Really easy and really good. I can eat lots of radishes now. And I look forward to using it with cucumbers when there are ripe ones, but not quite enough to can a batch of pickles. Thanks to the Kitazawa Seed Co. Catalog for the idea. While I didn't order any seeds from them, I did hang on to the catalog because the back is filled with really interesting recipes.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
I've been very busy with work and haven't had much time to do much of anything. I'm excited about next week when a stream restoration project begins. I actually get to oversee the sectioning off and dewatering of several sections of stream. They pump the water from the upstream section to the next live downstream section, giving a stretch of a few hundred feet of dry streambed in which to work installing erosion protection and such. The critters get moved on Monday, so I get to help move fish and whatever else we find when the water level starts dropping. Fun!
I'm particpating in One Local Summer again this year. I hope to have an entry every week (even though most of what I've been eating is local). This year there are 100 participants, so I want to have something great every week, really reflecting my area of Lancaster County. I think I'll stick to the 100-mile radius limits, which for me goes about to Trenton, NJ to the east, a little below D.C. to the south, Altoona to the west and Scranton to the north, but mostly concentrating on my home county. This should be easy, and pretty much most of our food comes from within 10 miles of our home this time of year. So I'm starting off with good intentions. We'll see how well I follow through with the postings.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Tweet tweet. Tweetely Deetlety Deet.
Baby Robin, just hanging out. I should form a committee and lobby for changing the Latin binomial for this little guy. Turdus migratorius is really kind of unfortunate. And not very fitting to this feathery little harbinger of spring.
Yesterday was a good day. Spent mostly driving all around southeastern Pennsylvania. I got an hour long tour of a quarry in Birdsboro, when all I really needed were some pictures of rocks for a stream restoration project. Still interesting though.
And I got to see MORE GOATS!!!!
A farm near where I was taking more pictures of a stream project had all these little guys. How cute!
It was all I could do to not just jump in their pen and start grabbing baby goats and just absorb all their smushy baby goaty goodness.
But then I could hear the unpleasant ruminant noises coming from the barn which housed the adult goats. Did you know that goats make this rather piggy snorting noise which is actually them burping because they eat a ton of grain and sit around and digest it? It momentarily cured my goat fever.
And since it was Tuesday, on the way home I stopped at Roots Farmers Market in Manheim. I didn't buy much. Some Swiss Chard and two quarts of homegrown berries. I'm getting a little berried out. Kind of ready for cherries and blueberries and something different.
Last week was a whirlwind of local food. Wonderful spring mix, snap peas, baby potatoes, and strawberries from Masonic Homes Orchards. Which is now also offering grass-fed, dry-aged beef. We bought some hamburger patties to try, as the cuts of steak were rather expensive and if it wasn't that great, I'd be annoyed that I spent a lot of money. We made the burgers over the weekend. Just beef, nothing added. My husband took one bite and said "Is it just me, or are these really, really good?" I thought they were fantastic as well. He thought they tasted like burgers we had when we were kids. He said he had forgotten what beef was supposed to taste like. We loved them. And probably will never buy anything else. Seriously, that good. And then there was local chicken from Shady Acres, which also had homegrown tomatoes from their hothouses. Yumm!
Monday, June 11, 2007
Anyway, when I got home with the dozen eggs and put them in a pile, Claire was beside herself and hopped on and hasn't willingly budged since. I pull her off every afternoon to make sure she eats something and runs around a little. It will be interesting to have newly hatched chicks with a mother hen.
The owner of Meadowview Apiary (in addition to bees) has so many chickens and turkeys and ducks, I can't imagine keeping track of them all.
Thank goodness he didn't offer me any of these to take home. Cause I totally would have.
Monday, June 04, 2007
I am such a dork
O’er the yard came a fat Barred Rock who said woman I’m not roostin’
I’m headin for a land that’s far away beside the rooster fountain
So come with me and we’ll go and see the Big Mulch Chicken Mountain
At the Big Mulch Chicken Mountain there’s a yard that’s fair and bright
Where the hornworms grow on bushes and you roost out every night
Where the nest boxes are all roomy and the sun shines every day
On the tender lettuce leaves and the earthworm trees
Where the cool water springs and the Orpingtons sing
At the Big Mulch Chicken Mountain
At the Big Mulch Chicken Mountain all the hawks have broken wings
All the raccoons’ teeth are missing and the snakes are tiny things
The farmers trees are full of fruit hanging just off of the ground
Oh, I’m bound to go where there ain’t no snow
Where the rain don’t fall and the wind don’t blow
At the Big Mulch Chicken Mountain
At the Big Mulch Chicken Mountain the hens can all soar high
Your feathers never all fall out and there’s no such thing as pot pie
There’s plenty of gravel for your gizzard with cracked corn mixed right in
I’m goin’ to stay where you scratch all day
The bugs never end, a fine place for a hen
At the Big Mulch Chicken Mountain