>THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
• Salad Mix
• Fava Beans
• Bok Choi (see Winter Makeup Week 1 for recipe ideas)
• Genovese Basil
Rival apricots from Rama Farms in Bridgeport
U-PICK THIS WEEK:
Flowers, although the heat has put a damper on things temporarily. We’ll be planting more flowers soon.
• Stir-Fry Greens
I’m sure most mothers are often asked “Are you going to have more children?” I know I am, and while I love my children beyond belief (most of the time) I can’t imagine adding another to this crazy life of ours. Maybe if I didn’t have a business to run. But besides, I have plenty of “children” without adding any more humans—baby pigs, baby cows, baby chickens several times a year, etc. Many of the babies have brief stays with us in our house, too. Sometimes baby pigs born on the coldest night of the year get chilled and the easiest way to warm them up is on a heating pad in a cardboard box, with a bottle feed or two. They don’t usually stay in the house for long before they go back to their real moms.
However, there are exceptions. The other day when I was milking, I heard a baby chicken. A new baby chicken, alone. I wandered around the chicken yard toward the sound, and there I found it—a single newly hatched chick. But where was the mother, and the siblings? I couldn’t find the rest of the family, and it was getting dark. A solitary chick doesn’t stand a chance, even on a warm night. Too many critters around to snack on them. So, in the chick came—to the garage, in a box. I wasn’t ready to commit yet.
The next morning I heard more baby chicks, so I checked the chicken house again. There was mom—a Blue Andalusian hen, which are somewhat greyish-blue, and nervous. This is a breed known to not set and hatch eggs, by the way. But there she was with her other four chicks, acting properly motherly. So, I tossed the chick into the group of siblings, hoping that it would blend in and assimilate itself. But this little chick didn’t want the family, and mom didn’t seem to notice it. I tossed it in again and walked away, because sometimes that’s the best thing to do. (I’ve learned this through a great many trials and tribulations of “mothering-on” of babies.) No luck—the baby followed ME! I tried again and when one of the roosters started nibbling on the chick, I swooped it up and brought it back home. This time, I found a box to put inside the house, and tiny food and water dishes. The kids added a stuffed toy chick from easter. The chick had bonded with me, and I became it’s mom. Incidentally, the siblings didn’t make it through the night. Here’s a picture of “chickie” enjoying spilled shreds of Pecorino and roasted beets while we eat dinner. (Della is experimenting with chopsticks.)
Cosmo doesn’t think it’s funny that the chick is now his little brother/sister. But I think it’s cute. I can’t take it everywhere I go, but we have snuggle sessions throughout the day. It’s getting big and strong, and I’m sure it will grow up and be a rooster, because that’s the way these things always seem to work. When I was about 11 years old I had a similar experience with a baby duck. A friend of my parents had lost all their ducks to neighborhood dogs except for one baby, and I became its mom. It slept with me at night—at first in a box by my bed, but eventually I got a towel for my pillow and it slept snuggled in my hair. (We pretty much got the poop schedule figured out early!) It ate in my lap at the table, stealing food from my plate. (My most vivid memory is eating peas and potatoes, which the duckling mashed into paste all over my lap!) And, it bathed in our bath tub every day. It learned to come running when it heard the tap turn on, and it learned how to jump up into the tub by itself. I remember the slap, slap, slap of those duck feet on the wood floor. I know my dad got a kick out of the whole thing, but I’m perplexed why my mom put up with the mess. Although I did clean up after it very well, ducks are very messy.
We’re now busy planting winter crops of greens, brassicas, and roots, and trying to stay ahead of the watering. We didn’t lose much last week, but we did lose the tender greens. At least we had some emergency salad mix planted. That should last a few weeks anyway, until something else is ready to take its place. The purslane thrives in hot weather, and its succulent leaves are delicious in salad, or sautéed lightly. Purslane is very high in omega 3s, by the way, and it’s great with sweeter vegetables like beets. Flying Fish restaurant does a dish of roasted beets and purslane leaves. Carrots are on the way next week, they’re just a little small, but growing rapidly with their most recent drink of water. The tomato plants are covered in green tomatoes, so they’re only a few weeks away. And we have lots this year—we filled the big greenhouse with them, so we’ll be able to be generous!
And, a movie I’ve been dying to see for years, “The Real Dirt on Farmer John” is opening across the Country…
It’s coming to Seattle! I wish I could go, but here’s the info in case you can make it!
Friday, July 20, 2007
-AMC Uptown 3
-Bellevue Galleria 11