Friday, June 22, 2007

I'll stop talking about chickens soon, I promise

Violet. My special needs hen. When they clipped her beak when she was a mere day-old ball of fluff, they messed up. Her lower beak sticks out a good bit, making her a little slower on the take. And when competing with four other hens for a juicy bug or ripe berry, Violet usually loses out. So I always save her an extra portion and make sure she gets her share. I think the lower beak gives her sort of a pouty look. She is a friendly little gal and for some reason prefers to pal around with the two barred rocks instead of the other two Buff orps.

I've been picking a few black raspberries here and there, but it will really ramp up in the next few days. The far end of the garden, where I intended to have orderly rows of fruit bushes, has morphed into a tangled mass of black raspberries with a few blueberries and red raspberries mixed in. I remove the blackberries when they volunteer in there because I just can't abide those thorns. Raspberry thorns aren't too awful and the reward is worth the small scratches. I think my first OLS meal will have a yummy black raspberry ending.

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.


Blogger Faith said...

So you grow blueberries? How do they turn out? We were picking the last of the strawberries over at a farm in Lititz last weekend and the woman who runs it was telling us that they don't grow blueberries because Pennsylvania blueberries don't turn out as well as New Jersey blueberries do.

What a great idea for the radishes. As a kid I used to eat them raw and dipped in salt, but I like your pickling recipe. I'll have to look it up and try it out myself.

On a side note, I have off from work 4th of July week, and one of those days we're going to take a trip to the Masonic Homes store. I'm interested to see what they have, after reading everything you've had to say about it. :o)

11:27 AM  
Blogger meresy_g said...

They only turn out okay because I don't fuss with them much. A bucket of pine needles for mulch is about all they get. You'll like the masonic homes store. They have lots of their own fruit and meat, and they get local veggies from local farms. Plus baked goods.

11:52 AM  
Blogger Rurality said...

Hmm thanks for that radish suggestion. I have used that dressing before with cucumbers and sweet onions mixed together... never thought about it with radishes! I don't normally like those by themselves. They are great in couscous chicken salad though!

1:05 PM  
Blogger Rurality said...

P.S. don't stop talking about chickens please! :)

1:05 PM  
Blogger Faith said...

I second that! Your chickens are always up to something, and it's fun to read about them.

1:38 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Poor Violet.... I didn't know that beak clipping was necessary.

I think we're going to have a bumper crop (our first) of red raspberries this year, and I am SO EXCITED.

I love sound of Basic Su. I'm not a big fan of radish, but think I'd like them that way. Thanks, M!

3:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can talk about chickens all you want. We like to hear about them. Do all your hens have names? The berries look wonderful.

5:49 PM  
Blogger Kitt said...

Violet looks very personable!

I have a big mess of raspberries, or maybe they're blackberries. Can't tell yet! But I'm going to have to rip most of them out, as they're taking over the yard. I don't know why the previous gardener didn't put in some kind of barrier. They're thorny as hell.

12:50 AM  
Blogger El said...

Okay, how many pictures did you have to take before you got that one of Violet?

I love Kitazawa!! So do order from them next year: it'll save you from Jonesing about Chinatowns, like I tend to do, living out here in the Hinterlands.

12:20 PM  
Blogger kris said...

No more chicken stories??? Say it ain't so!

12:10 AM  
Blogger meresy_g said...

They have names except for the black and white ones which are collectively known as Daisy. My neice named one of them that and I can't tell them apart. Claire and Darla (also named by neice) are the others.

Kitt, those sound like blackberries. Very very thorny and spread rapidly. In a confined space, best to do away with them.

El, I got that picture on the first try, by accident. I had the camera in my hand after taking the berry photo and picked her up to put her in for the evening and just snapped it. Total luck, as taking chicken portraits is often is.

7:14 AM  
Blogger Iowa Gardening Woman said...

Violet is a lovely lady.

9:27 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Violet looks like such a sweetie... I really want to give her the chicken equivalent of a scratch behind the ears. :)

Those raspberries look delicious. I'm drooling...

10:31 PM  
Blogger Annie in Austin said...

Reading about your chickens is fascinating, Meresy. But I wouldn't want to clean up the remains of the henpecked, fertilized eggs!

Before we moved to TX we gave a start from our black raspberry patch to our IL son, because they won't grow here. He and his wife were eating black raspberries with angel food cake tonight. So I'm jealous of all of ya.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

2:51 AM  
Blogger cyndy said...

Thanks for the radish idea!

(and I never tire of your chicken anecdotes!)

8:22 AM  
Blogger Ali said...

Your blog is fascinating (the snake sex!!), I've been reading quietly for a while, but am tagging you with a meme. read all about it here


9:51 PM  
Blogger Faith said...

Sorry to comment yet again (I'm not spamming, I swear!) but I was just reading an old post and saw that you mentioned Chicken Corn soup. I love that stuff but I don't have a good Dutchy recipe. Do you mind sharing your recipe with us?

9:51 AM  
Blogger meresy_g said...

sure Faith, I'll post about that recipe soon. Only a few more weeks till Sweet corn here in Lanc. County!

9:58 AM  
Blogger woof nanny said...

Wow, I didn't know beaks were clipped. All this messing with nature creeps me out. In a day and age where claws can have little plastic tips, it seems like someone could make an enhanced beak. Just sayin'.

2:29 AM  

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