Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Week is Upon Us

And because it is rapidly approaching, I have been BDOT besides blogposting about chickens. But today I will do a little catch-up for those interested. C'mon, who's not interested in chicken-happenings!

But first, yesterday Ubergeeks Mom and I made dozens of tamales. This is a tradition John brought to me as his family ate them on Christmas Eve down in Corpus Christi. I love me a good tamale and immediately embraced that tradition for us even though there have been years where the Swedish food was served on the Eve and the Tamale Night was Christmas Day. It always worked out and on some occasions, like when we lived in Valdez, I actually made the tamales myself because buying them was not always an option.

Last year, I found this extraordinary website with explicit instructions on tamale making. If you go there and FOLLOW the INSTRUCTIONS you will make the best tamales in the world. And you will make A LOT of the best tamales in the world. If you don't make them, you can always try to scriggle your way to our table on Christmas DAY this year and try one for yourself.

Another tradition we have been keeping these past, now FOUR, years has been to co-host a Swedish Yule Smorgasbord. We alternate locations and this year it will be again at Jan's in Covington who, like me, is a Swede-by-Proxy. We embrace our inner-Swede and channel this into our daughters at every opportunity (WTLION).

It has all the trappings of the Old Country, right down to the wheat julbock, which we DO NOT BURN! Sorry! If you want to know more about that, you must go here to read a funny personal story. It didn't happen to ME, but the humor has stayed with me since I first read this.

So beginning tomorrow, I will attempt to hold up my end of the festivities by baking Limpa and preparing the dough for peparkakkar and the cabbage and beans. No I don't mix the cabbage with the beans and no, this year the beans will NOT be the Swedish, sweetish version of beans but the TEXAS pinto bean variety. Again, sorry. It isn't about dissing the Swedes as much as we here in the South simply cannot get past the sugar in the beans. Well to be accurate, the vinegary/molasses sweet taste of the beans. WE eat savory beans in the South and I can't stand making a pot of beans that no one will eat when my pinto beans are scrapped clean everytime. Call me crazy. I'm a Texan, That's how I roll.

I will post photos after the event.

Now on to other things:

I had to upload this clip of the chickens from a few days ago. As I watched it, something occurred to me: who exactly, is the stalker here? The cat or me?
All I need is that weird creepy music playing and you'd get the impression that I'm about to slash chicken throats.

I mentioned that we had been given a total of 5 eggs (so far) and we assume this pawltry (poultry) number is due to the lack of daylight and no we don't have a light in the coop to artificially induce laying (yet). We have been taking our time and letting them get acclimated before we ramp up our demands on them. And our acclimating ourselves to life with chickens. But we did eat them and they were delicious.

We have not clipped their wings (yet) and we still watch them sail over the fence but they don't wander off the reservation so that's a good thing. I have not seen ANY neighborhood cat lurking about. Not because they aren't there but probably more due to their caginess. They aren't feral and alive for nothing!

They only go so far as this fence and not a step farther. Higher, yes. Farther, no

And I shouldn't say "they" because, notice, only three are fence-sitting. Ginger doesn't leave the run. It makes me wonder if she is the mother of the chicks. She doesn't hover over them protectively. But she seems perfectly content to hang in the run and cluck nervously when the others head over to the runway.

Last night, we went out to coop them and the sun was still about five minutes til setting. We had to get those three into the run which they obligingly did. We sipped our wine (we are very very civilized out here in the sticks) and watched as they moved slowly toward the coop. Scratching and pecking. Scoping out the sun. Edging closer. Pretending to ignore us.

The white one popped in and up on her roost and bobbed up and down. (I am deaf-ish so I can't know if she was talking to the others but that was the impression I was getting thru the window)

The others were still moving closer but not in any rush. They'd look in and move away. She flew down and out and walked in a circle and went back in. And the others followed, taking one more peek at the setting sun before calling it a day. Amazing, that chicken-nature. They know exactly what they're doing.

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