Sunday, September 11, 2011

Roosters: Nature's Alarm Clocks

     If I was unsure before, I'm not now. I definitely have a rooster on my hands. He crows every morning at 6:30am and sporadically throughout the day. He's also fond of bullying the other Rhode Island Red hens. He doesn't give too much trouble to the Barred Plymouth Rock girls, but it's probably because when he tries, they kick his butt. I caught him doing something loud and inappropriate to a hen behind a log next to the house yesterday; it was awkward for all involved. I am thus faced with a decision. Find a way to separate him from the girls so we can breed him when we're ready, or eat him. I haven't quite made up my mind. I'll think I'm OK with eating him, but then I'll go outside and they'll all run over to me and follow me around the yard like we're the best of friends; then I feel bad about envisioning him crisping up nicely in the oven. I'll put off making the decision until I absolutely have to.
     Aside from this little bump in the chicken-raising road, everything is going smoothly on that front. Fall is starting bit by bit. The leaves are starting to turn and fall off the trees, and you can hear the chickens coming because the leaves make a crunching sound under their feet. They're are also enjoying the stray apples that fall off of our two apple trees. There's much squabbling over these treats, as well as attempts to jump up and peck at fruit on low hanging branches. Of course, all of this chicken activity and no sign of eggs yet.

Apples are a nice treat for the chickens.

This Barred Plymouth Rock Hen has no tolerance for Rooster antics
     The veggie garden is winding down. I pulled up the zucchini plants that stopped producing and the pumpkins and butternut squash should be ready to harvest in the next week or two (theoretically). I'm hoping the vine borers didn't actually get into the fruit. I picked a few carrots early because I just couldn't wait. Actually, I'm glad I didn't wait since they were deliciously sweet and fragrant. Some of the cranberry bean pods have already started to brown and dry up. I'm hoping it wont be long before the rest follow since I have a recipe for turkey and cranberry bean chili I want to try. Finally, I've picked a bunch of tomatoes that I'm ripening inside; the ones I've left on the vine too long split. 
Moskvitch Tomatoes and Red Pear Cherry Tomatoes
     I've done a bit of baking lately. I used the last zucchini to make two loaves of zucchini bread and still have two quart bags of frozen zucchini in the freezer. I also made no-bake cookies (I guess that doesn't really count as baking), which were awesome as usual. I will include the recipe for those in a separate post. I also made fresh bread today. Well, I say made, but I really just threw all of the ingredients in a bread machine and let the machine do all the work. I don't feel too bad about it though, because it's still more sustainable and economical to make your own bread in a bread machine than it is to buy it at the grocery store. It also makes the house smell great.
Zucchini Bread
     Overall, it's been pretty busy around here. The slower pace of fall and winter will be a welcome reprieve.

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