Sunday, November 22, 2020

The Eagle, the Hawk, and "The Mother"

As we learn more about predatory ecosystems with our chickens, Chapter 2 is about aviary predators.   Last weekend at about 2pm (the time when we usually let our hens out to free range) we noticed a hawk sweeping over the chicken field, taking a strategic roost overlooking the chicken pen. 

That's predator #1. 

Then we noticed high up in the sky a bald eagle was circling slowly. No we're not kidding, this was an honest to goodness bald eagle. Predator #2, both at the same time.

So, of course we did not open the chicken pen that afternoon. 

After 20 minutes or so of circling, the eagle lost patience. In a hissy fit of frustration, the eagle dove into our field, scraping his talons along the ground for anything that might be under there. He left empty handed, as far as we could tell. He did not have a chicken, at any rate. 

Later on that evening, in an unrelated event, the boys started referring to me as "The Mother." Not mom, or mother... "The Mother." as in 'don't throw paper towels at "The Mother"' or "don't anger "The Mother." This moniker has stuck for over a week now, yay.

Saturday, November 07, 2020

Chicken Hippies and the Air Fryer

 So we all started feeling sorry for the chickens all penned up next to the coop. In the afternoons, between 2 and 8pm, the boys started letting them out for some scratch and run time. It was nice for the chickens and assuaged our guilt about their lifestyle.

Of course, after 2 months of this hippy behavior, the foxes came back and ate 10 chicks in one day. So now we will be more focused on keeping the chickens in the pen instead of having so much leisure time for them.

In other news, I finally broke down and bought an air fryer a few weeks ago. We have enjoyed this purchase very much -- it makes outstanding french fries, tater tots and chicken fingers. Emboldened by that success, we have literally tried air frying every food that comes in the house. 

Air Fryer foods that are a little "meh"

  • beets (unless you slice them really thin and commit to beet chips)
  • bananas (see "beets" above)
  • kale -- if you like kale chips, then definitely put this in the air fryer. Our problem is that we don't like kale chips.
  • green tomatoes -- definitely bread them, and then be prepared for them to taste like pickles.

Air Fryer foods that are a huge success

  • Mozzarella sticks (OMG OMG OMG)
  • Any potato product (fries, tots, etc.) 
  • Fish sticks (soak cod in milk, then bread and air fry)
  • Chicken nuggets (homemade or store bought)
  • Pizza rolls (although my boys prefer the soggy microwaved version) 

We have also purchased three robot vacuums (one for each floor and one for the office) because with all of this stay at home time, the floor is taking a beating. We run them all the time. It's ironic, I know -- we are literally home all the time due to the pandemic, but we can't be bothered with vacuuming in any way.