Archive for June, 2012

Chick Adoption at the Crack of Dawn

Last night my two week old chicks came home for the first time and either in a stroke of brilliance or madness I decided to see if our broody Silkie would adopt the chicks. So here I am at the crack of dawn checking the early results of the adoption experiment. And? So far so good. The broody and her trio are still in the nesting box with her wings puffed out to protect them.  They only poked their heads out after I poked around our #1 Mommy.

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Because these are older chicks, I placed a small waterer and crumbles inside the box, which they all eagerly accepted. The other chickens are curious, but giving them space.  The idea of food in the nesting box prompted a few investigations, but I shoed the onlookers away and all is back to status quo.  The pictures are bit blurry, but then again, so am I at 5:00am.

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Will a Broody Hen Adopt Chicks? Yes!

We’ve had a broody Silkie since mid May. In The Broody Experiments, we tried our best to get her “unbroody,” but without success.  This chicken was broodily determined. Sigh and wait.

Then my chicks arrived today. They were incubated by a nice class of students at a local school. Disappointingly, we only had 3 out of 24 eggs hatch: 2 Salmon Faverolles and 1 Belgian Bearded D’Anvers. Sounds like a perfect size clutch for a broody bantam. Hmm. I conveniently happen to have an inconveniently broody bantam.

Now the question… will our broody hen adopt the chicks? Internet research showed mixed results. Fortunately, most of out conditions are right: The hen has been broody for over 21 days and she is very gentle and good-natured.

The plan: Towards dusk, I introduced them one at a time, approximately 45 minutes apart. I also included an egg shell with the first introduction that my child serendipitously broke while collecting this afternoon. Perhaps it is total nonsense, but I read that the shell helps.

The initial results: Did I say she was good natured? I poked around to take a few nosy pictures of the progress and she hissed and puffed up at me! Hurrah! That’s a first for her and great sign those mothering instincts are kicking into high gear. As of dusk tonight, the chicks seem to be doing fine under #1 adopted mum.

The next steps: Over the next few days, I’ll be watching our new family like that @#*$! red-tailed hawk circling my house. Because these are waaay over day-old (nearly two weeks!), I’m going to have to make sure they are getting enough food and water since they don’t have that yolk sac insurance.

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CSA & Farmers’ Market: CSA Week #2

Surprise CSA Box:

  •    1 bu Garlic Chives
  •    1 head Bok Choy
  •    1 bu Red Oak
  •    1/2 lb Asparagus
  •    1 bu Leeks
  •    1 Green Boston
  •    1 Red Leaf Lettuce
  •    8oz Sugar Snap Peas
  •    1 bu Garlic Scapes
  •    1 bu mixed Carrots

Farmer’s Market Purchases:  pickles, bread, strawberries

Within Budget:  Yes

Bibliopharm’s Weekly CSA & Farmers’ Market Meal Plan

Saturday
Breakfast:  Omelet with sauteed garlic scapes
Dinner:  Birthday Party!

Sunday
Breakfast:  strawberries and yogurt
Lunch:  Greek Salad
Dinner:  Stir Fry with tofu and bok choy

Monday
Breakfast:  buttered toast, strawberries
Lunch:  leftovers
Dinner:  Pork Chops, rice, asparagus

Tuesday
Breakfast:  breakfast smoothie
Lunch:  leftovers
Dinner:  Vegetarian Cobb Salad

Wednesday
Breakfast:  breakfast smoothie
Lunch:  egg salad sandwich
Dinner:  Feta and leek quiche

Thursday
Breakfast:  yogurt with cereal and dried fruit
Lunch:   leftovers
Dinner:  Steak, rice, snap pea and carrot stir fry

Friday
Breakfast: yogurt with cereal and dried fruit
Lunch: Garden salad with leftover steak
Dinner:  Pizza night!

Egg Insomnia and Chicks Having Chicks

Dear Chickens,

Do you sleep peacefully through the night or toss and turn in your chicken beds? Do you stay awake fretting about the future of your disappearing eggs?  Do you ever experience egg insomnia? Mommy is suffering from pregnancy insomnia, a fabulously Internet-based self-diagnose.  Apparently it effects 78% of all pregnant women and Mommy is wondering why she wasn’t part of the other group in blissful repose.

Or perhaps there is something more on Mommy’s mind tonight that makes sleep illusive.  Something that causes Mommy to fret about the future of my children, the world’s children.  It made me think about your first eggs, my darling chickens.  Do you remember that time?  Did it feel natural and right and in harmony with nature?  Or were you frightened by the changes happening to your body? But you were chickens and I think ready for the responsibility of creating all those delicious eggs we so hungrily accepted without much thought.  And so what if there was an errant egg in the garden instead of the nesting box?  They were just eggs and you could leave them for Mommy to find.  Like a game of hide and seek.  Or a chicken-instigated Easter egg hunt.

Today I learned through the grapevine that a neighbor, a young teen, recently gave birth.  Yes, darling chickens, people mommies give birth to live chicks, not eggs.  I know, no egg shells, that must be so strange to you.  However, I’m not tossing and turning over the lack of calcium carbonate.  This neighbor is only a chick herself.  How will she support herself and this new little person so helplessly dependent on her?  How will she finish school with a baby in tow?  What are the odds of the daddy rooster staying with his little flock?  What about their future?

There is no going back here.  Our neighbor chick is prematurely a mommy hen and in our culture and time, it is almost certainly dooming her and baby to poverty.  What is poverty, you ask?  Chickens, this means that she will have to work very hard and yet still find it difficult to find a nice coop and eat organic feed and roam large pastures with tasty grass and bugs.

So this brings us back to sitting up sleeplessly tonight.  Wondering if anything could have been said or done.   Fretting about the future when in a mere decade our little family will have matured to the point where this is a biological possibility.

Mommy, I hear you say, perhaps you should just concentrate on today’s sunshine and delicious weeds and that particularly juicy grub in the compost pile.  Chickens, I reply, you’re right:  I should focus on the blessings of today.  But I am responsible for our flock and I also need to think about tomorrow.

Love,

Mommy

East Meets West: Bok Choy and Pasta

Bok Choy often pairs with Asian stir-fry, but I think the mild flavor lends itself to other regional cuisine. Here it’s added to Mediterranean pasta, cheeses, and herbs for a quick meal. I don’t have exact measurements because this is supposed to be fast – it will take as long as the pasta to cook – so just eyeball it.

East Meets West Pasta for Two

  • 1 cup pasta (Prepare according to package instructions. I recommend Food For Life’s Ezekiel 4:9 penne because it’s quick cooking and a complete protein.)
  • olive oil (about 2 tsp)
  • large handful fresh mushrooms (I used shiitake today, but a mix or others would be great, too.)
  • 2 heads of baby bok choy, chopped into 1″ pieces
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmigiana or Romano cheese (or use Vegan substitute)
  • 1 oz. feta cheese (omit for Vegan)
  • pinch of fresh herbs such as oregano, basil, and/or parsley

Get the water boiling for the pasta and begin to cook according to the package instructions. In a saute pan, heat to medium low, drizzle about a tsp of olive oil, and cook the mushrooms until softened and beginning to brown. You may want to cover if they are too dry. Remove cover if using and add the bok choy. Cook until just wilted. Add to mushrooms and boy choy to the pasta along with the cheese and another drizzle of olive oil.

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CSA & Farmers’ Market: Week #1

Yippee!!  Our CSA season has begun and there was much rejoicing!

Surprise CSA Box:

  • 1 bu Parsley
  • 1 bu Green Scallions
  • 1 head Green Lettuce
  • 1 bu Asparagus
  • 1 bu Leek
  • 8oz Sugar Snap Peas
  • 1 pt Strawberries
  • 1 head Red Romaine Lettuce
  • 3 heads Baby Bok Choy

Farmer’s Market Purchases:  More asparagus, more strawberries, bread, pickles, spinach, mushrooms

Within Budget:  Yes

Bibliopharm’s Weekly CSA & Farmers’ Market Meal Plan

It’s vegetarian week at the farm.  Why?  Because.

Saturday
Brunch:  Asparagus, Leek, and Goat Cheese Quiche
Dinner:  Girls Day Out in the Big City!

Sunday
Breakfast:  Strawberries and Oatmeal
Lunch:  Asparagus Soup with Almond Romano Pesto
Dinner:  Stir Fry with Sesame Tofu, Bok Choy, Snap Peas, and Scallions

Monday
Breakfast:  Strawberries and Overnight Oatmeal
Lunch:  Leftovers
Dinner:  Vegetarian Cobb Salad

Tuesday
Breakfast: Smoothie
Lunch:  Leftovers
Dinner:  Vegetarian Greek Salad

Wednesday
Breakfast:  Smoothie
Lunch:  Leftovers
Dinner:  Spinach and mushroom omelet

Thursday
Breakfast:  Eggs and Toast
Lunch:  Leftovers
Dinner:  Greens and Beans and Pasta

Friday
Breakfast:  Smoothie
Lunch:  Egg Salad
Dinner:  Pizza

Thanks for all the Sardine Toast, Alton Brown!

I have a confession. It’s my celebrity crush. Alton Brown. Who can resist, really? He blinded me with science and hit me with kitchen technology. Please tell me you remember that glorious one-hit wonder?

I love AB’s Sherried Sardine Toast and did my best to make it as local as possible by using Farmers’ Market bread and greens. There was nothing I could do about the California avocados and Portuguese sardines. Some power foods just don’t grow in our area and as much as I love local eating, I’m just doing my best. And this meal? Totally worth it!

Bibliopharm’s Ode to AB’s Sardine Toast

  • 1 can skinless, boneless sardines in oil, drained
  • 1 Tbsp Almond Romano Pesto (or other pesto or vinaigrette)
  • 4 slices cereal bread, toasted
  • 1 avocado
  • handful salad greens
Toss together the sardines and pesto.  Set aside.  Slice the avocados and arrange on the bread. You can then leave them like this or mash them a bit.  Top with salad greens and then with the sardine and pesto mixture.  Serves 2.

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