Monday, August 30, 2010

Oklahoma is O.K.

My day trip to Salina, Oklahoma to visit Bill Braden and his wife Diana to pick up 10 Blue Laced Red Wyandottes was a long fun drive.  I was already mentally prepared for this drive because I have done this a couple of times already with my son and his best friend earlier this year and last year for Rocklahoma. It is 9 hours there and 9 hours back. I left after feeding the birds.

My first stop to fuel up, on food was at Collin Street Bakery in Waco, Texas. I ordered the turkey and cheddar sandwich with spicy mustard. It was delicious. On the way out I purchased an apple pie to take to the Bradens. I knew they would absolutely love it. Collin Street bakery is said to be the best fruitcake place on the planet.

My next major city was Dallas the third-largest city in Texas and the ninth-largest in the United States. Dallas is a humongous city with lots of buildings and endless freeways. I changed freeways in North Dallas to 75 North and headed on up to I-69 in Oklahoma. After I crossed the state line I immediately passed over The Red River, then the Blue River, and next big and beautiful Lake Eufaula, Oklahoma's largest lake. Next big attraction was the Choctaw casino and then Muscogee. That reminds me of an old song by Merle Haggard "Okie from Muscogee". I made it to Salina at 7 p.m. and visited briefly.  I then turned around and was headed back to Texas with my chickens. I sang to them on the way back to my Home Sweet Home.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Water, water everywhere and lots of it to drink

Everyday I wake up at 6 am and send my teenage son to school and at 7 am, Cody my dog buddy and I go outside to feed and water the flock. Seven is a great time because there is enough light for the nighttime predators to take cover for the day. I have observed feral cats, coyotes, stray dogs, and owls. They are usually gone by seven in the morning. It is then safe to let my free rangers out to eat greens and chase grasshoppers out in the fields. Apart from their main nutrient requirements, poultry also need access to clean, fresh water and plenty of it. Water should always be available and should be cool and clean. Each chicken needs a half a liter of fresh water daily. If deprived of water they will stop 'laying'. When the weather is hot I place waterers where they will stay cool. All my coops have back up waterers for these extreme weather temps.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ladies love outlaws

Juvenile delinquency refers to antisocial or illegal behavior by children or about adolescent bad acting geese. Meet Quinn the African goose. He chases me and hisses at me like he's king of the hill. But I still love em'. Seems like the meaner they are the more we're attached. Is this a dysfunctional relationship? I will let you all decide. In the meantime Quinn and the other 5 geese are moving to their new yard tomorrow.

Pecking Order

I just ordered and received 100 chicks from Ideal Poultry here in Texas. They are shipped out on wednesdays and arrive at the Martindale Post Office the next day. Baby chicks can survive up to two or three days without eating or drinking right after hatching due to the egg sac retained inside of their abdomen. This makes them perfect candidates for shipping by mail. My very special order called " The Pullet Surprise" consisted of an equal number of Barred Rocks, Production Reds, Rhode Island Reds and New Hampshire Reds. I spotted the Barred Rocks immediately, since I already have 50 two week olds in another brooder that I purchased 2 weeks ago from Cackle Hatchery. For the newcomer Chick care is relatively simple. Always remember these 4 basic but important elements.

  • Brooder
  • Food
  • Water
  • Heat

 Hot days and sore toes

The weather  has been really warm this month with the temperatures soaring as high as 103 by late noon so the chicks just need the heat lamps turned on at night when it cools down. That really helps out with the electric bill. The two week old's do not get heat at night I just cover their brooder. Everyone of these little bundles of fuzz has its own little distinct personality. There is always that bully in the flock and of course the little runt. I observed The Bully (a Rhode Island Red) running around pulling on little toes until they screamed bloody murder. I went over several times to separate bullys beak from the toes of his latest victim. He has a strong grip for such a young age. I did not separate Bully from the flock because there always will be bullys and they have to live with each other. That pecking order is being established from day one and is necessary to determine who is the boss chicken and who is the low man on the totem pole and where all the rest fit in between.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hot peppers anyone

I love hot peppers so I planted several Serrano plants and they are doing quite well in this 103 degree weather we've had the last few days. Texas is known for its hot summers and August has the hottest days. The peppers are growing quite nicely in this heat and I say thats why they are called hot peppers. I cut them up and brown them with diced up chicken, bell peppers, garlic and onions and add them to my spaghetti sauce and dinner is served. My son Vem loves spicy spaghetti.  What a flavor blast. The chickens will sneak over the fence for their own chance to taste these delicious hot peppers when they can, as you can see.

I am including our family recipe for Spicy Chicken Rigatoni. The chicken was processed from our flock and all veggies were grown in my garden. I really taste a difference when I used home grown ingredients.

  •  Whole cooked chicken (I boil the chicken in a pressure cooker)
  • Jar of your favorite sauce (I use marinara)
  • 2 bell peppers (one red and one green look great)
  • 2 Onions ( I use one purple and one white)
  • 3 Serrano Chili peppers
  • Garlic (1 elephant garlic clove)
  • Italian seasoning (to taste)
  • Olive Oil
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Black pepper 
  • Whole grain noodles
  • Grated cheese (mozzerella)
Start by adding Olive oil to the saucepan. The bottom should almost be covered.  Turn the heat on high. When the oil is hot enough add the diced chicken and all the vegetables and Italian seasoning to taste except the garlic. Stir until most of the oil is absorbed, then turn the heat to low.  Add the garlic, mix, then cover the pan.  Leave covered for 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally until the Chicken is browned and bell peppers are soft. Add the jar of your favorite pasta sauce to the pan. Turn the heat on low and stir occasionally.  I seasoned with a few strong shakes of cayenne and a pinch of black pepper.
The last step is to ladle the sauce over your favorite pasta.  I used rigatoni. Sprinkle with your favorite grated cheese. Spicy Chicken Rigatoni goes well served with your favorite garlic bread and iced tea.

Let me know what you think! Send me your favorite chicken dishes prepared with ingredients from your garden to try out and post on Farmer in the Martindale.

TIP - Save the empty pasta sauce jar for odds and ends nails and screws for building and repairing your chicken coop.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Meet Cody

My dog Cody caught a mouse the other day and was very proud of himself. We rescued him from the pound 5 years ago. He is a great dog. He goes out in the pasture and checks the free rangers to make sure they are safe. They in turn eat the ticks and grasshoppers. Its a give and take arrangement.

Meet Elvis the King roo

Elvis and his right hand hen. They love green stuff.

Finally doing this blog thing.

Well I have been deeply inspired by other blogs with related content so I have run out of excuses to not do this.