Friday, June 24, 2011

Blossom Salad & Farmin' Friday

Did you know you can eat many flower blossoms?? So many beautiful blossoms are ready for picking, and I definitely have all I need for salad this time of year. Summer time salads are so much more fun that the same ol winter green salads. I love bright colors, and this salad just makes me smile. You can take this as an example and create your own! I just used what I picked that day. And, I measured by hand.

Jo's Blossom Salad
Greens:
1 C Spinach
1/2 C Arugula
1/2 C Chard
1/2 C Mixed lettuces
1/4 C Kohlrabi leaves (young thinnings)

Toppings:
Handful of Arugula Blossoms
Handful of Chive Blossoms
2 Strawberries Chopped
1/4 Pear Chopped
Sprinkle of Pumpkin Seeds
Sprinkle of Coconut
Sprinkle of Alfalfa sprouts

Dressing: I just drizzled on Raspberry Vinegar and Grapeseed oil.. anything goes.. simple is best for this so you can experience all the tangy/spicy and sweet flavors. Enjoy!

Newbie Farmin Chronicles:
SO much has happened on our little farm lately, I almost need a blog dedicated to it. To keep this post as short as possible, here is a short sentence recap of the past week:

Recap: Plymouth Rock Chicken "Dinner" disappears/Black Bear on property-firearm gets carried around/Mysterious dead vole every morning (the cat)/Crazy Ptarmigan drives the dogs to lunacy/Sparky the duck fights a chicken/goshawk returns and there is a stick vs predator match/"Dinner" is found/Buff Orp Hen "Betty" is limping/Hens are hiding eggs in the fireweed and shed/Juicy Fathead the rooster is a bad ass

Ah, so, pictures may explain more briefly.... I didn't get a photo of the bear because I ran for the rifle and had the cat in my arm, and I could get a picture of the fresh vole this morning.. but no. (Just to clarify, I don't shoot to kill anything.. unless it threatens me. The sound alone scares them off).
Crazy Ptarmigan

Background: We are amateur chicken keepers. This is our second year (well, mine-not my hubs). We added to our flock this year to prepare for selling eggs in town. Duck eggs, chicken eggs, and next spring-3 different breed hatching eggs. Our adults are free range. Once they left the brooder box, we kept them penned in from age 4 wks-7wks because they were still small (and vunerable). Now, we only keep them penned in at night (they go in the coop on their own) for their safety. In the winter I have to shovel snow so they can walk out. Our young flock is currently penned (still small and it's hawk 'season' here). We'll keep them in a bit longer to grow large enough that they can protect themselves when integrated with our older flock. After giving a few away as gifts, and 5 dying (hawk/weak chicks) over the last year, we have 55 birds total.

No Yoga: Once the birds are old enough, chickens are relatively moderate maintenance. Well, at least in comparison to having one adult flock, a younger flock, a flock of ducks, a barn under construction, a special needs chicken and an injured chicken. I love having so much going on. It really keeps me busy (and outside!) however, it has disturbed my yoga routine (usually early morning before I work online) and I'm feeling stiff and maaybe a little cranky.. nah.. cranky before bed though.

Hmm.. lets start with the most exciting. Yesterday I was picking greens in the garden, on the other side of the fence my adult flock was hanging out eating the thinnings/scraps I stuck through the fencing.
stayed like this forever
  
The roo and the hawk and the woman with the stick: So, my adult rooster is a bad ass. He fought a hawk twice last year, losing many feathers. He looks for his hens when they are missing. When he hears one cackle in distress, you've never seen a fat feathered butt run so fast! He's also gentle with the hens and eats crackers out of my hand. Very cool guy.

Hii-yah!
They were eating and making happy chicken sounds.. and he makes this sound that gives me a bad feeling and I though "why is he warning them/is he mad at me?" and I look over (he is 5 inches away from me) and all the chickens look up, so I look up and holy shiz there is a hawk, head bent, low, eyeing the young chicks near the barn. I yelled "hawk!" haha! to who? The rooster? He's like "duh!" And I ran, handful of spinach (that I found later on the ground), jumped out of the garden, grabbed a stick and waited. I normally have the .22 out for bears. And we had a bear hanging out this past week. What was I thinking? Well, 2nd option is a shovel/rake.. I must have actually put those away, and had to grab a long stick (waiting to be used as a roost bar).

2010-Juicy Himself!
So, I jump into the young chicks pen area and wait. Here it comes.. I hear the rooster-who has already herded the hens into their penned area (which is safe and netted-the young pen area is incomplete). I'm standing there inbetween hot pink and orange incomplete netting, ready to swing. The young chicks see the hawk and run and hide.. the hawk hovers right over the barn, and I see how dang big it is now. She swoops down and guess who turns into Babe Ruth (oh wait-was he a pitcher?).. she is thwarted and flies into a tree across the yard. I wait. For 15 minutes. I knew she was coming back because all of a sudden a chicken cries and herds the ducks (that was funny) and they all run. So she comes even closer this time! And I just kept swinging and after a minute of this showdown (she's like WHAT is that??) flew towards the neighbors. So I ran in and called them to warn. We have wildlife phone chains here. That was pretty exciting. I felt really triumphant.
Found the Lost One: Last bit of excitement was later that night. We found "Dinner" alive and under a tarp (that was covering some lumber). A weeks worth of chicken poo dried to her butt and she had laid an egg under there. After a minute, we got her to drink some water. And after about 20 she bit at a strawberry and chowed on some wet cornmeal. But, she didn't get up. And, after 13 hours, she still has not gotten up. I carried her inside after the first hour though and put her up in a brooder box with everything she needs. She holds her wing out for balance. One wing is missing quite a few primary feathers, all except 2. Her leg might be stiff, as she holds it in one direction-back. I checked her out and see no wounds, feel no broken bones. We'll see what happens.
Crooked Beak: Lastly.. little crooked beak. She is also a Plymouth Rock and has a birth deformity that has worsened. She needs special attention with feed. She does not get picked on, which is great. Very ambitious, she escapes the pen (the only one that knows how) and follows me around the yard for food. She likes to hang out on my arm too-while I'm working. Too funny. What a character. Isn't she cute/pitiful?

Update:  Little Crooked Beak passed away over winter. :(

8 comments:

  1. How scary about your chickens! I hope Dinner gets better!

    I can't find it in me to name the chickens - I just call them the "girls". I'm attached enough as it is. I was heartbroken when a fox came and took away 6 a few months ago. :(

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  2. Oh my gosh! I know the feeling! Yeah, I've got a special few.. the rest are "the black ones, the red ones, etc" haha! Dinner was hanging out in the garden with me today. Trying to walk. Poor thing. Improving though.

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  3. I just have to tell you I absolutely love your blog!!. You are so funny and creative and you have such a beautiful soul. I really enjoy reading about your farming adventures and new recipe ideas. Thanks for sharing your journal with us! Bianca from Melbourne, Aus :)

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Thanks for your input!

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