Monday, May 16, 2011

Busy days

I seem to have gotten very busy since my last post. Trying to get the garden in, raising geese and ducks, raising new chicks, dealing with broody hens, a graduating senior, two birthdays, and the work here is coming fast and furious. I'm working on the garden between rain and wind storms and temperatures that are 10 degrees below normal. The potatoes are up and need to be mounded. I am still tilling and re-tilling and pulling out the stupid grass that keeps re-sprouting.  I have some lettuce in and some peas. I am also bushwhacking nettles, and what I believe are cow slips, (a big leafy wet plant) in my spare time. I simply refuse to let them take over the area we cleared last summer.

One of the new chicks developed a scissor beak as it grew and I know a "real" farmer would have given it a good whack and been done with it. However this little girl is as sweet as can be and I am a sucker for a Charlie Brown anything. Because I am concerned that she isn't able to get enough to eat I have been making her a wet mash from chick starter and water three times a day. That seems to be working and now when I come out of the house she comes running across the yard to look up at me and ask "where's the food?" She follows me, hopping up on the table and then on me while I am making her mash. She is fearless. Everyone that sees this comical little bird thinks she is cute.

In the mean time I have 4 other birds that have decided to go broody. Two silkies (of course) a bantam light Brahma and a black astrolorpe. I think I have cured the bantam and I am working on the black one. However both Silkies want desperately to be moms. So I bought 4 more chicks. Two for each hen. The black Silkie is a natural mother and didn't mind being moved from her original nest to a dog carrier on the table and instantly tucked each Buff Orpington chick under her. The white Silkie was a little more difficult. She wasn't about to give up the original nest and had a fit so I moved her to a carrier after dark and let her settle in over night before adding the chicks. She is now a good mother of two silver laced Wyandots. The chicks are giving her a hard time since they want to explore their nest and she wants them under her wing. I don't think I will ever brood chicks under a lamp again. Giving that job to the hens is great.

Now the man thinks I'm nuts and I have too many animals. Isn't he the one that was saying I needed more layers to keep up with the demand for my eggs? Since I still don't have housing for my geese I guess I better not push my luck.

The geese and ducks are now 9 weeks old and fully feathered so they are staying outside at night in a predator resistant enclosure. That makes my job a little easier because I don't have to clean up the coup after them every morning. The fenced pasture is up and usable for now and handy to have during the day when they need to be out but I am anxious to get it finished with a real gate and nest houses built. I love my geese and one in particular seems to like me. My youngest named him Sebastian. He likes to be on my lap and gives be goose hugs around my neck. Ok. So I am nuts.

Our oldest graduates from high school so we have announcements to get out, pictures to pick up, parties to plan and registration for college. She is in running start this year which means she did her high school senior year and college freshman year at the same time so she will be going into college as a sophomore next fall studying marine biology. Right now she is in crunch mode to get everything done.

Our youngest has her sweet 16 coming up first week of June. That is a special birthday so I am trying to decide what to do about it. We have a tradition of giving our girls a real ring on their 16th so I have to go shopping. I hate to shop.

The man also has a birthday. He wants heated riding gear for the bike. That means a trip to Olympia about two hours south of here (after the ferry) to visit the company that makes it. We will be taking the car for that. I am not riding that far on his Harley in what will surely be rain.

How about a recipe? This dessert starts out as one batter and separates during baking into fluffy cake hiding a creamy layer of lemon pudding. Try it!

Lemon Pudding Cake

1 Cup granulated sugar divided (3/4 cup and 1/4 cup)
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/8 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
2 tsp. fresh lemon zest
1/2 Cup lemon juice
2 Tbls. butter, melted
2 large egg yolks
3 large egg whites (room temperature)
Confectioners sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350. Coat eight 4-6 ounce oven proof ramekins or custard cups with cooking spray. Place in a baking dish and heat a kettle of water for a water bath.

Whisk 3/4 cup sugar, flour, and salt in a medium bowl. Add milk, lemon juice and zest, butter and egg yolks. Whisk until smooth.

In a clean glass bowl beat egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and continue beating until stiff and glossy. Fold the egg whites into the batter (it will be thinner than other cake batter and it's okay if a little lumpy). Evenly divide among the prepared ramekins.
Place the roasting pan of ramekins in the oven and carefully pour in enough boiling water to come almost halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Bake the pudding cakes until golden brown and the cakes have pulled away slightly from the sides of the ramekins, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the ramekins to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Dust with confectioners sugar and serve warm or at room temperature.

1 comment:

Modern Day Redneck said...

It sounds like our households are close in all the activities. My oldest walks next weekend and the middle one gets her driving license this month and the youngest is mad all the time. For our girls and their sweet sixteen, we left it up to them on what they wanted. The first on cost over $500. The second was just $250 and this year the third one does not look cheap at all. She is already planning it.
Your animals look good, keep up the good work.