Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Mid-Century Chickens!

So Terry over at HenCam http://hencam.com/category/thevintagehen/ has been posting pictures of her vintage apron collection--my favorite is the pink and turquoise happy little rooster on wheels--and got me inspired to share some of my own obnoxious vintage chicken-themed linens.  I had been telling her about my favorite chicken apron which is a 1950's 'black with pink/orange chickens and chicken wire' monstrosity.

So as promised to Terry, here is my more-50's-than-50's chicken apron:

I *DID* warn you.

Such a happy little orange-pink-green chicken family!  I'm sure that they aren't actually staring at each other, aghast with sheer horror...

I don't wear this apron much, my go-to cooking apron is one of those full-front things (still chicken themed of course, in the style of a baby chick feed bag) since when I cook I require more of a drop cloth affair than an apron.

Among my collection of vintage table linens I also have a little tablecloth which looks to be from the early 1960's.

In each corner are these cheerful, clueless rooboys, who clearly have no idea they are standing next to a cooking pot.

There is also this saucy little fellow in the middle.  He is presenting us with his backside, which is what all chickens do the minute you point a camera at them.

I'll have to get pictures of my other tacky chicken decorations, I love me some tacky crap so I've got some doosies.

Friday, November 22, 2013

He's The Happiest Little Snowman!

This morning I found that the kid had created a snowman last night.  There was only a light layer of snow about half an inch at it's deepest, so this snowman is snowball-sized and rests atop the old rabbit hutch.

I like how he's got a snowball in each hand, obviously ready for a snowball fight with any other micro-snowman who happens by.  Heck, he's even got legs.

But the best part is the huge smile she gave him.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Arg Fargl...

So the kid has been out back playing in the little bit of snow we got today, and just came in the back door while I was making enchiladas.  I hear her ask from behind me, "Do I have snow on my head?"

I cringe.  I know my child well enough to know that I probably do not want to turn and look. *sigh*  I do anyway.  "Yes, you do.  Go OUTSIDE and brush it off."

She does so, then returns and races down the hall.  "Imgoingrightbackout!" she calls over her shoulder.

Meanwhile I shove the enchiladas into the oven to do their thing.  I glance at the sliding door and outside is Dusty, covered in snow.  "Geez, the dog is covered in snow, too!"

The kid calls out, "That's because she's been rolling in it!"

Oh, swell.  I leave the kitchen and head into the living room.

"I have, too!"  chirps my child.

AUUUGGGHHHHH...  I don't realize that I have actually voiced my anguish aloud until the kid says, "What?"

"Nothing."  I grump.  "I'm sure there isn't an ounce of dirt in your hair."

...so does anyone make industrial-strength shampoo?

For All Of Your More Creepy Holiday Needs

So I was sifting through the mail yesterday and ran across this ad from one of the hardware stores offering 'Holiday Gift Ideas'.

Which looks fine at first...yeah, yeah, assorted crappy tools, little weird things...

Until you get to the lower right hand corner, where your brain screeches to a halt.  TRASH BAGS?!

Because nothing says, 'Ahaha, no, fuck YOU' like the gift of trash bags?  For those times when your loved one may need to shoot, shovel and shut up?  What message does this particular gift send, anyway?  And no, not even the inclusion of 'xtreme' can save it.  It's trash bags fer chrissakes.

Maybe it goes with the knife set directly above it, I dunno.  Taken in that way, this entire ad becomes menacing.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Here's Your Morning Activities...

So we're getting all settled in to watch the MAVEN launch this morning...husband on the couch with the NASA feed running, I'm putting the finishing touches on some pumpkin bread before tossing it into the oven.

It's times like these that all Hell seems to break loose, when you are least expecting it.

Three things happen nearly simultaneously.  The brand-new washing machine (I consider any appliance less than 2 years old 'brand-new' and it damned well better WORK with no problems, goddamn it) suddenly starts to gleefully make godawful, LOUD 'BANG BANG BANG' noises.  Jesus, it sounds like 4 maniacs with 25 pound sledgehammers are tearing the roof off the house.  It's the kind of thing that scrambles your brain for a few seconds and makes you run around like a cockroach after the lights have been turned on.  We  both rush to the hallway where the laundry machines crouch in a large closet and fling open the doors.  There is the washer, leaping about, out of balance and clearly trying for a murder-suicide pact with the BRAND NEW water heater sitting innocently next to it.  It couldn't go the other way and aim for the 20 year old, garage sale bargain, battle-scarred dryer, oh no.

Husband whips open the lid of the washer, growling 'Why the Hell didn't this thing stop itself when it went out of balance?!' and as it finally, begrudgingly gives up and stops, plunges his hand into the thing and rearranges the clothes.  Closes the lid and we both stand there, poised to leap at it again as it restarts...peacefully, thank God.

We no sooner walk back and sit down with our coffee to watch the launch, which has 1 1/2 minutes to go, when suddenly the feed blinks out and is replaced by a feed from 'Eagle Cam'.  Coffee cups halfway to lips, we freeze.  WTF?  Husband leaps for the remote and within 15 seconds has it back to the NASA feed...

...which now shows MAVEN computer animation with the launch narrator talking about how many miles downrange the thing is.  I think we've discovered time travel, here.  This is now also the time when Dusty the dog suddenly goes into a positive frenzy of barking--because, you know, someone is riding a horse down the street, which is cause for total canine panic/property defense with extreme prejudice.  Meanwhile husband is roaring four-letter words at NASA, UStream and the universe in general while charging back and forth from the TV to his computer, trying to figure this out.

Clearly we've magically somehow missed the launch.

Luckily all is resolved by screaming 'Shut up, Dusty!' at the dog and waiting for NASA to rerun all the camera angles of the launch, which they always do.

But lord, things happen when you least expect it.  Weird shit, Maynard.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Happiness For Old Ladies

Today it warmed up enough for my husband to take two of the old ladies out for some quality front yard time.  Bear is still going strong as our flock's Head Hen, and the oldest in the flock at 11 years old.  Sugar is 8-9 years old and mostly blind.  Bear took to the beds I'd just weeded for winter and threw herself wholeheartedly into a dust bath while Sugar mostly just hung out.

Then Bear really got into dustbathing, flinging dirt with wild abandon.

Happy, happy old lady face.  Most people will never know the kind of sheer bliss a chicken attains while dustbathing, it's very zen.

Raspberry Chicken Stew Cookies, Of Course!

So today was mostly devoted to running Chickam and cooking.

I decided to whip up a batch of raspberry meringues--deceptively simple, elegant little four ingredient tidbits that are super simple to make and crunch when you bite into them yet melt in your mouth.

Started with egg whites from the girls out back.

I was going to make half of the batch raspberry flavor and the other half coffee flavor, but got all involved and forgot to seperate out half of the finished meringue mixture.  So raspberry it is!

Toss together the egg whites, raspberry extract and cream of tartar.  Normally I make these with a teaspoonful of Chambord instead of extract, because, well, Chambord is awesome and luscious and made of angel whispers from God himself.  Next stick it in my trusty 900 year old KitchenAid mixture and beat the living Hell outta it 'until soft peaks form'.

Hmm, not there yet...

There ya go!

Now to add the sugar while the KitchenAid is whirring away and get it to 'stiff & glossy', which is what all little meringues aspire to be when they grow up.

Yeah, baby!

Onto my battle-scarred cookie sheets they are dolloped.  They don't spread but do puff up the tiniest bit when you bake them, so you can put them pretty close together.  Into a 300 degree oven for half an hour, after which you turn the oven off and forget about the things for anywhere from 2 hours to overnight.


They really do look disturbingly like styrofoam, and next time I make them I think I'll use an icing piping bag and try to make them look like packing peanuts.

Into the cookie jar they go!
At my house the cookie jar is a repurposed glass iced tea jar.

At the same time, I was making a chicken/vegetable stew for the animals.  I ladle the finished stew into muffin tins, freeze them and then I have little yummy chicken/veg disks to go on the dog's food or mix with rice for the chickens on cold days as a treat.  So the kitchen smelled of raspberry/chicken.

The kid ventured into the kitchen at one point, looking confused.  'What are you making...?'

No hesitation whats-so-freakin'-ever. I chirp out, 'Raspberry chicken stew cookies!'

She looks fascinated/disgusted for a moment, then disgust wins--but is quickly masked when I bend her a steely '...and you'd better like it!' gaze.  She wanders off in disappointment.

One of the true joys of parenting is messing with your kid every so often.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Wattle Wiggle Wars, Round 2

Not content to humiliate roosters just one day, this weekend we Wattle Wiggled again:

This time it was Honey first--he is the one practically roaring 'Oh, NO!' and grumping all the way to the camera, then settling down and seeming to dig it.  Then for a bit we get to admire Bloop the MilleFleur Belgian d'Uccle roosters' comb.  After that comes Meeko, who submits with only slightly more grace.

Today has been devoted to fall yard clean-up, we dumped three loads of leaves into the coop and now have very happy, busy chickens.  We cleaned up a bit in the back of the yard,  carefully skirting the brush pile that about 100 California quail have decided to call home.  Our afternoon foray into the very back of the property to clean was accompanied by shudders & wailed imprecations at previous tenants as we dredged up a wonderland of trash, as usual around here. Good God.  Every time we go out a new layer of crap has writhed it's way to the surface for us to gaze at in horrified fascination.  I don't know what my neighbors must think, seeing me walk the property with a big bucket and a trash-grabbing gizmo all the time.

Also, some largish critter--I suspect a raccoon or a skunk--has been digging under the perimeter fence to go in and out of the yard.  Not sure what to do about securing that much fence down below ground level to seal out chicken-eating beasties. Every solution I can think of involves weeks of digging and miles of expensive wire.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Wattle Wiggle Wars!

Because of this:

We were forced--FORCED I tell you--to do this:

Fred was merely confused, but Weedcat's dignity was somewhat bruised.

Monday, November 4, 2013

New Eggs & Killin' Rats

The ladies from our first hatch this year have begun to lay--delicate, petite little first eggs that we sometimes find left lying in the run like little whoopsies.  The roo boys have also begun to crow, much to Weedcat & Bloop's disgust--although Meeko's crows are just single note, drawn-out 'Ooooo's.  Weedcat stared at him in disbelief and carefully crowed back at him, obviously trying to show him how it's really done.

I don't expect to get many eggs from this year's chicks this late in the year, but next Spring should be a 'Oh my GOD I've laid an EGG!' caterwaulfest supreme.  Right now everyone is concentrating on growing feathers as the nighttime temperatures steadily drop, all the chickens are getting amusingly fluffy and are lots of fun to scoop up & snoodle.

As for me, I'm concentrating on pre-snow yard cleanup and the final shots at house projects like painting before it gets too cold & wet.  This week is slated for things that I call "Killin' Rats"--small, unexciting, annoying chores that need to get done.