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Posts Tagged ‘animals’

“Yeeeowww, Yeeeeowww”.

“Bagawk, Bock, Bock, Bock, BEGAWK”.

For those uninitiated in bird speak, that translates into:
“Hellooo, who are youuuu?” (from our recently returned vagrant peacock)

“Help, helphelphelp, H-E-L-P”. (from our little flock of hens who apparently think they are being stalked by the biggest chicken hawk ever)

That was not a discussion that I wanted to hear outside my bedroom window at 7:00 this morning. A quick peak outside revealed the source of the problem. There Farina sat on top of the chicken coop, calling at the top of his lungs, and sending the terrified chickens below scurrying for cover.

Farina on coop

Since Farina, the wandering Peacock returned after a 6 month walk-about, he has been sticking really close to the barn. He can always be seen sitting on a fence rail, or showing off to the llamas. It’s like he’s thinking, ‘I lost this place once and I’m not taking any chances’.

Farina displaying

As he’s getting more comfortable with his surroundings, he’s starting to do a little exploring. Yesterday afternoon, I found him checking out our back yard, and this morning he was trying to make the acquaintance of the hens.

Take a peak in the window. See all the noses pressed against the glass? The chickens are huddled inside peering around wondering where that danged screaming eagle is.

scared chickens

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Buckwheat 9.12.11 cropped

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How to cook the Perfect Boiled Egg.

Good Golly, Miss Molly! Boiling an egg is certainly not an “eggs-acting” science, but few topics disagree so much over the proper technique. Add salt/don’t add salt; add vinegar or baking soda/don’t add vinegar or baking soda; put the eggs in boiling water/put the eggs in cold water; cover the pot/don’t cover the pot; boil the eggs until done/take them off the heat and let them steep; use older eggs/use the freshest eggs possible. What’s a body to believe?

About the only thing that everyone is in agreement on is that really fresh eggs are more difficult to peel than eggs that are at least a week old. If you are buying your eggs from the grocery store, this is rarely ever an issue. By the time eggs hit the shelf, they are often already 30 days old, and the expiration date may be 30 days after that. But if you are lucky enough to raise chickens and collect freshly laid eggs, or have a source for farm fresh eggs, then you know firsthand the “eggs-asperation” of trying to peel boiled eggs without ending up with a mangled mess.

There is a scientific reason for this, and if you are really geeky and want to know the chemistry behind it, you can Google it and study up on it. There’s a whole PH thing going on, but basically, as the egg ages, the egg starts to shrink and the air space between the egg shell and the membrane will get larger, making it easier to peel. So there. Bottom line, if you can let your fresh eggs sit in the fridge for a week or two, all the better.

Since Easter is coming up soon and you may be planning to boil up some Easter Eggs to dye, I thought I would share with you the technique I use for boiling eggs that yields nice yellow yolks without the green tinge, whites that are not rubbery, and eggs that are easier to peel.

There are still many variables that may affect your outcome: how many eggs you are boiling, the size of your pot, the size of your eggs, and your altitude, for instance. But this is what I do.

1. Bring your eggs to room temperature. This helps minimize the eggs cracking as they heat up.
2. Place the eggs gently in a large pot so that you only have one layer of eggs.

Eggs in pot

3. Cover the eggs with cold water so that you have an inch of water covering the eggs.

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4. I put a handful of salt in the water. I don’t think this actually helps the eggs peel better, (as many people believe) but if an egg happens to crack in the pot, the salted water will cause the white to coagulate quickly, thus sealing up the crack so you don’t lose more egg white.

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5. Bring the water to a boil. Just as soon as it reaches a true rolling boil, immediately take the pot off of the heat, and place a tight fitting lid on top of it.
6. Get out your timer and let the pot sit for precisely the recommended time. For small to medium eggs, 12 minutes will do, large eggs should sit for about 15 minutes, and super-duper large eggs should sit for 18 minutes. By following this procedure, you prevent the yolks from getting too hot, which is what causes the green tinge. (Another chemical reaction, if you need to know).
7. As soon as your timer goes off, pour off the hot water and rinse the eggs in cold tap water. Place the eggs in a large bowl, cover with ice cubes and then cover with cold water. Leave the eggs alone for 10-15 minutes or until the eggs are completely cold to the touch.

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8. The easiest way to peel them is to lightly tap them on the counter until the shell is crazed all over. Hold the egg under cold running water and start peeling from the round end where the air sac is.

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9. Now enjoy a perfectly cooked egg. Beautiful creamy yellow yolk with no green ring and a nice tender white that is not at all rubbery.

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Finally, I can enjoy my lunch. Yumm!
Thanks, my dear little chickies!

chickens

If you have a tried and true recipe for boiling eggs, let’s hear it.

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Farina on Cupola

Farina on Cupola

This is that last we saw of our Peacock, Farina. He was one of two males that we have had for a little over 3 years. Two weeks ago we had a group of friends over to the farm, and had opened the door to the PeaPod so that our friends could see the birds.

PeaPod

PeaPod

Farina must have been spooked, seeing strangers standing in the doorway, and he flew out the open door, landing on top of the barn cupola. I hoped that he would come back to the roost in the evening, so we shut Buckwheat in the aviary, and opened the doors to the house, turned on the lights and put a bowl of food in the doorway. We sat out there for hours waiting for him to fly into the house, but when it got dark, we went up to the house. Next morning we scoured the entire property for him, but he had disappeared.

We were broken hearted to lose him, but the worst was seeing how dejected Buckwheat was to have lost his friend. He called out several times the next morning, but Farina never returned. Unfortunately, the weather took a turn for the worse, and we had several inches of snow and record cold temps for the next week. I doubt that a peacock could survive in those conditions without shelter.

We felt so bad for Buckwheat that we bought him a girlfriend. He had never known anything but male companionship, so we weren’t sure how he would react to a new hen. But it was love at first sight. We’ve named her Darla.

Buckwheat accepts Darla

Buckwheat accepts Darla

By morning, he was singing love songs and showing off his tail. He has been very gentle toward her. Notice the head down posture. I can only surmise, as I don’t speak peacock, that he is letting her know he is not going to challenge her. Smart Bird!

Could be we’ll get some eggs come spring.

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There is no better way to herald in the Christmas Season than to go to the local Christmas Parade. Oh, except for, maybe, walking in the parade.

I love a small town parade. We have talked for years about walking in our town’s parade, but with our weekends being occupied with our llama trekking business, we were never available. But this year we made the time and we did it. What a great time.

Parade Lineup

Parade Lineup

We gathered up 6 friends to walk 6 of our llamas. We hung sleigh bells around their necks and put antlers on their heads. (The llamas , that is).

Reindeer antlers

Reindeer antlers

The crowd loved seeing the llamas, especially the kids. They would bunch up right in the middle of the street to pet the llamas. Our llama, Silver, seemed to be the most approachable target.

Hi Ho Silver

Hi Ho Silver

Even the adults were Ga Ga.

At one point, our littlest llama, Pete, was mobbed by the children for a couple of minutes, holding up the parade behind him.

Pete Greets

Pete Greets

Of course the rest of the herd disappeared down the street. When Pete tired of the adulation and realized he had been left behind, he dashed down the street to catch up, dragging his handler behind.

The crowd loved seeing the llamas, but it was evident that many didn’t know what the heck they were. We heard several “Look, it’s camels”; and from one sweet child, “it’s fuzzy reindeer”. Of course there was a lot of the usual mistaken identity, “Look, they’re alcapas.”

But oddly enough, these wooly, four legged mammals, are sometimes mistaken for emu; even by the nurses’ assistant that stopped by to enquire at the end of the parade route.

But the most important member of the group was the elf that brought up the rear.

Pooper Scooper Elf

Pooper Scooper Elf

Luckily I didn’t need to scoop any poop along the way, but I did hear my share of sideline remarks, to include, “She’s sure got a shi**y job”.

But back at the trailer, a job well done, Pete said, “Thank goodness that’s over, can I go home now”.

Home again, Home again, Please?

Home again, Home again, Please?

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Bayley the Goldendoodle turned 1 year old over the weekend. A couple of our best friends were staying the weekend, so we decided to throw a party.

This is an interesting photo, as the short dog on the right looks like a long haired basset hound. She is Mayzie, the Bearded Collie. She actually sits about as tall as Bayley, but she is trying (and fairly successfully) to make herself disappear.

Bayley, on the other hand, thinks it is all great fun. Well, she thinks EVERYTHING is great fun.

Here are the doggie birthday cakes. They are made of a slice of FreshPet Refrigerated Dog Food and iced with mashed potatoes.

Yum Yum Eat ‘Em up. (This reference is probably lost on most all of you born after 1960. It was from a hilarious episode of The Little Rascals in which the Wild Man of Borneo terrorized all the kids by chasing them around and chanting the one phrase that he knew how to say. He actually was looking for candy which he loved, but the kids thought he wanted to eat them.)

The “cakes” soon made their way to the floor where the “icing” was smeared all over the place.

I’m not quite sure what Bayley thought of the tiara. The expression looks a bit disdainful, doesn’t it?

Maybe this sums up what she truly thought of it all.

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