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Turkey Tracks: Skunk Recipe!

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Turkey Tracks:  May 30, 2011

Skunk Recipe!

We don’t usually have skunks around the house.

No No Penny does not allow them under any circumstances.

If we do get a whiff of skunk, it’s always been in the spring.  That’s when I thank my lucky stars neither of our girls has taken on a skunk and when I check to see if I have skunk-bath ingredients on hand.  It’s a pretty simple mixture, and Mainers swear it is better than tomato juice:  1 quart of hydrogen peroxide, 1 cup of baking soda, and 1 Tablespoon of dishwashing detergent.  Wash until the odor goes away.

So, the other night Miss Reynolds Georgia, aka The Beauty Queen, NEEDED to go out in the middle of the night.  She signals this need by crawling out from the covers, sitting on the end of the bed, and harumping in a low throaty growl–like dripping water–until you get up and put her out.  Which I did finally.  She takes her sweet time, too, and strolls about the yard smelling things in the moonlight.  I know she does because she’s so white that she stands out like a neon light.

Once back in bed, I began to realize that skunk odor was flooding through the windows at my head, though the bedroom is on the second floor.  It was so strong that I seriously wondered if Rey Rey had been skunked and in my sleepiness, I had not picked it up.  I hauled her our from beneath the covers to smell her.  No, she was good.

It was so strong that I worried I would smell like it the next day since my understanding is that “skunk” is an oil that disperses into the air.  Or, the room would.  For days!  Gradually it faded, and I fell back to sleep.

Tomorrow:  hydrogen peroxide.   Ours is a year out of date now.

And, thanks, girls, for being too smart to get skunked!

The girls are 8 and 9 years old now, and it’s hard to believe.  Here’s a pic taken last summer in June:

No  No Penny, on the left, is a Katrina rescue–when she was about 2 years old.  She is the kind of Rat Dog I grew up with–a savvy and relentless hunger, a huge protector of her people and her property, a sunny and funny personality.  She’s a bit heavier this year because she crawls under or into the chicken house–though she is terrified of the rooster–and eats whatever meat and milk they have not finished yet.

Rey Rey is on the right and has a lot of Chihuahua in her line–something breeders are doing to perfectly good rat dogs.  She is my faithful shadow throughout the day and night–except when the black flies are biting.

Both are smarter than you can believe and have huge vocabularies.    Except for Penny’s early life, they’ve never had any dry dog food.

Written by louisaenright

May 30, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Turkey Tracks: Chicken Update

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Turkey Tracks:  May 30, 2011

Chicken Update

I went out to see Rose, Pete, and the chickens on Friday.

The Freedom Rangers are SO BIG!  It was hot, so they were resting in the shade, but you can get some idea of how much they’ve grown.  They’re about 5-6 weeks now and are beautiful birds!  I can’t wait until we can tell male from female, and I can take home one of the girls.

Here’s a picture of Rose with the other chickie batch.  That little speckled creature with the top knot on top of his/her head is a Barbanter.  This batch of chicks was born late April, so is only about two weeks younger than the Freedom Rangers–which will give you some idea of the difference in how much bigger a big old meat chick will get in a hurry.  This batch of chicks are the Copper Black Marans from Georgia and the “blue egg” chicks–some of which are pure Wheatens.   All, except for two Barbanter chicks, are fathered by William, the Wheaten roo.

Here’s a better pic of the Marans.  I love it that they’re so shaggy.  The larger hen laying down is a Freedom Ranger with an injured leg.  She’s getting better now:

Written by louisaenright

May 30, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Turkey Tracks: Millie Young’s Quilt

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Turkey Tracks:  May 29, 2011

Millie Young’s Quilt

Coastal Quilters have an annual auction in the fall.  Two years ago, Millie Young generously donated a beautiful quilt top and over 5 yards of backing and at least 2 yards of fabric that would be lovely for the binding.  I bid on the quilt, but not vigorously since I knew it would take me a long time to quilt it.  I loved the colors!

The quilt showed up again at the fall 2010 auction!  And this time, I had a long arm.  I can’t remember what I paid for the quilt, but it was, truly, a gift.

 I used a pantograph on a smaller quilt–generously donated by quilter Prudy Netzorg, so I could learn how.  Learning all the tricks of a long-arm machine is a huge learning curve actually.  So, Millie Young’s quilt became my second pantograph experience.  I chose a big pattern–hyacinths–and it came out so pretty.  When the light catches the quilt, the pattern forms raised areas and creates all kinds of lovely shadowing.

I just finished binding the quilt last night.  Here it is flung across a bed:

And, here’s a close-up which shows the quilting:

I did a great job with the pantograph–but learned to think about how the first and last sweeps of the pattern will play out on the quilt.  I looked at a quilt I have done by a professional and can see that the quilter organized the sweeps so that they are even on both sides.  But, that’s the kind of detail few would see, too.

I chose a peach-colored thread, which came out lovely.

I’m throwing ZEN (you can have the work but not the fruit of the work) out the window on this one.  It’s staying here!  I believe, given the history, that I was meant to have it!

Written by louisaenright

May 29, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Turkey Tracks: John’s Socks

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Turkey Tracks:  May 29, 2011

John’s Socks

Earlier in the spring, I visited Halcyon Yarns in Bath, Maine.  Halcyon Yarn is famous in Maine.  I can’t imagine why I haven’t ever visited since I go by Bath not infrequently.  Here’s the web site:  http://halcyonyarn.com/.

I bought a ball of yarn I fell in love with.  Zauberball yarn:  http://halcyonyarn.com/products/yarn/06716600.html.  I saw socks, not shawls.  Ok, the truth.  I bought 2 balls.  One I fell in love with, and one I knew would make a pair of socks that would go with a winter sweater and pair of corduroy pants I have.  I don’t really have socks that work well with this combo.

Of course I started with the ball I loved.  As I worked, John thought he loved the developing socks too.

 In retrospect, this beautiful yarn–lovely to work with–would have taken a pattern with no trouble–without taking away from the changing pattern in the yarn itself.

Written by louisaenright

May 29, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Turkey Tracks: Juicing

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Turkey Tracks:  May 27, 2011

Juicing

My niece, Lauren Howser Black, is starting to experiment with juicing–which she shared on Facebook.

I am trying to figure out juicing myself and am slowly coming to some conclusions.

First, all food is made up of three ingredients:  protein, fat, and carbohydrates.  Protein and fat are the building blocks of the body.  They are absolutely necessary for ideal  human health.  Carbohydrates are, apparently, not, since one can get every single nutrient, vitamin, enzyme, etc., one needs from meat alone.  (This information comes most recently from Gary Taubes in WHY WE GET FAT–which I covered in Tipping Points Essays 29 and 30.)

We eat carbs to give ourselves energy.  And, they taste really good for the most part as most are yummy fruits and vegetables.  But, the plant kingdom has been vastly misunderstood for some time.  Plants are chemically based, and they can pack a powerful punch.  For instance, all the major drugs that really work come from plants.  And, plants have chemicals that are absolutely addictive for humans.  Sugar and grains are an example.

Second, humans do not handle cellulose well at all.  Unlike cows, we don’t have four stomachs full of bacteria specifically meant to break down cellulose, in the form of grass.  Our system is much closer to dogs.  We have a single stomach, longer intestines, and bacteria specializing in processing meat and fats.  When we overload them with cellulose, we set up gut conditions that make us sick since all that bulk in the gut, according to Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, who wrote GUT AND PSYCHOLOGY SYNDROME, starts preventing the absorption of the good nutrients we need.

Third, humans really do not handle sugars well at all.  Sugars of all kinds throw off the delicate balance of our digestive system–which, in turn, causes the host of chronic diseases associated with people who have settled in one place and are growing, particularly, grains.  You’ll recognize some on the following list:  arthritis, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, depression, schizophrenia, and cancer.   Autoimmune and inflammatory conditions abound.  These all appear alongside developmental degradation, like crooked teeth and bad eyesight.  Hunter-gatherers and nomad herders, on the other hand, have been and are (yes there are still some in the world) disease free.  [This kind of assessment is widely discussed.  Here, I’m using Lierre Keith’s recounting of this history in THE VEGETARIAN MYTH (139+).  She is, in turn, drawing on the work of Dr. Loren Cordain, who has worked extensively with archeological evidence of what earlier people ate and how it affected their bodies.]

Given this information, one might avoid all carbs.  I think that would be hard, and most hunter-gatherers and nomadic herders foraged for greens, tubers, seasonal fruits (which were much less sweet than our fruit today), and the like.  Plus, we are surrounded with eye-catching produce all year around.   AND, one has to consider, also, that juicing has long had a place in healing circles.  Maybe it works to detoxify the body–short term–but long-term health requires nutrient dense foods.  Vegetables are not nutrient dense.  Period.

Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride absolutely holds a place for juicing in the GAPS diet.  (I wrote about GAPS in Tipping Points 31.)  But, she is dealing with a population of sick people (autism, in particular) who have significant gut issues.  (There is a growing recognition that autism almost always has a particular profile of an impaired digestive system AND that autistic people crave carbohydrates and have very limited diets.)  I know I have a gut issue–it was the root cause of my food allergy issues.  I suspect most Americans today do, given all the grains, other carbs, processed food, and chemicals they’re eating.

Dr. Max Gerson was one of the pioneers of healing the body through, among other practices, juicing.  But, he also used infusions of raw liver as well.

Dr. Joseph Mercola, who has an interesting web page and who wrote THE NO-GRAIN DIET, juices–but mostly green vegetables.

So, how to think about this issue?

It’s pretty clear that fruit juices are really high in sugar and offer a terrible jolt to the system.  Fructose sugars are particularly difficult for the body to handle and cause elevated insulin levels.  No one should ever drink commercial fruit juices.  If one is struggling with obesity, too much fructose can and does lead straight down a road that has stops at diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and so on.  But, what about vegetable juices?

I have a Vita-Mix, which pulverizes whatever goes in, so I have to think about all the added cellulose as well.  I’ve decided I need to strain whatever I am going to mix up.

Let’s start with a seemingly balanced approach.  Campbell-McBride says juicing is a great way to get nutrients without all the cellulose.  She advocates about a 50-50 ration of fruits to vegetables.  The sweet in the fruits make the good of the vegetables drinkable–especially for picky eaters.  And, the GAPS work shows that some fruits help heal the gut.  She  recommends two cups of juice a day total.  Here are some of her suggestions:

Pineapple, carrot, and a little bit of beetroot (5%  total) in the morning prepares the digestive system for the coming meals.

Carrot, apple, celery, and beetroot cleanses the liver.

Green juices from leafy veggies (spinach, lettuce, parsley, dill, carrot, and beet tops) with some tomatoe and lemon chelate heavy metals and provide magnesium and iron.

Here’s a list of vegetables she uses:  carrot, beetroot (5% of mixture only), celery, cabbage, lettuce, greens (spinach, parsley, dill, basil, fresh nettle leaves, beet tops, carrot tops, white and red cabbage)

And, her list of fruits comes from the GAPS approved fruits.  She also really likes black elderberry as an immune builder.

The Green Approach.  Dr. Mercola does not permit fruit juice because of the elevated levels of sugar.  I’m not sure I see the difference between eating an apple and juicing it, however, especially since I have this new sensibility about all the cellulose in the apple itself.  Anyway, his juicing is confined to green vegetables.  He avoids carrots, beets, and squashes.

Here’s his beginner green drink:  2 stalks of celery, 1 cucumber, 2 stalks of fennel.

He recommends starting with 1 or 2 ounces and adding to that until you are drinking 12 ounces at a time.

He recommends mixing mild greens (lettuces, but not iceberg; endive, escarole, spinach, cabbage) with stronger veggies (kale, collard, dandelion greens, mustard greens), and adding herbs, eggs (1 to 4), and some flavorings (1 Tablespoon coconut that is whole fresh grated or unsweetened dry from a health food store, 1 Tablespoon fresh cranberries, 1/2 lemon, 1 inch ginger root).

Hmmmm.   I’d have to work up to liking these green mixtures.  But, it’s something about which to think.  I would caution that spinach and chard have high levels of oxalates which can give you kidney stones if eaten in excess.   Also, I really like the cookbook THE GARDEN OF EATING, Rachel Albert-Matesz and Don Matesz.  She has a few juiced drinks as well, but has a Vita-Mix and one eats everything.

CAUTION:  YOU MUST USE ORGANIC PRODUCE!  If you want to be healthy, you cannot consider eating anything that is full of poisons.  Juicing for health when you’re using a tainted food defeats your whole purpose.  The Environmental Working Group now has a web site listing what poisons are on our foods:  http://www.whatsonmyfood.org/

I juiced a mixture of fruits and veggies today, and we drank it for lunch.  I used too many fruits.  It was sweet and good, but I had a headache an hour later.  I think for the moment I’m going to stick with my homemade yogurt, egg, coconut oil, fruit smoothies for the moment, with more limited fruit included.  And, a tonic of raw eggs, lemon juice, and honey.  Maybe I’ll play around with Mercolas more green suggestions.  But, we eat so many fresh, locally grown greens and bone-broth soups, that maybe I don’t need the juicing thing.   I am worried about too much fruit and weight loss, which I need to do.  Hey!  I just read that cinnamon is MAGIC for getting tired, insulin-resistant cells to give up fat.  Will add it to my smoothie in the morning.  I do like Campbell-McBride’s suggestions–just have to curb the urge to put in more fruit.

Turkey Tracks: Nan’s Gift

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Turkey Tracks:  May 24, 2011

Nan’s Hand-Crafted Bookmarks

My niece and namesake, Louisa Nancy Howser Gardner, aka as Nan, makes hand-crafted bookmarks.  This endeavor is in addition to making a beautiful baby six months ago:  Judah.  And, in addition to being an artist.

Anyway, she recently sent me one of the bookmarks, and I treasure it.  Every time I use it, which is daily, I think of her and how she made all those tiny, tiny braidings.  And, I think of how smart and how wise and how sweet she is.  Though she is drop-dead beautiful, she doesn’t seem to know it.

To send someone something you’ve taken the time to make is a very special endeavor.  They are not only telling you that you’re special, that you are worthy of their time, they are sending all the positive energy that surrounds the piece–energy the piece accrues while they are making it.

Here’s a picture of my bookmark from Nan–in use:

You can see more of  Nan’s work on her blog:  http://gardnerinthemaking.wordpress.com.

Tami Enright lent me FARM CITY.  She loved it.  And FIBER MENACE is up next in my read pile–a list I’ll be posting on this blog eventually.

Written by louisaenright

May 24, 2011 at 1:30 pm

Turkey Tracks: Copper Black Maran and Wheaten Americauna Chicks

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Turkey Tracks:  May 24, 2011

Copper Black Marans and Wheaten Americaunas

In addition to the Freedom Ranger chicks, Rose and I had two other baby chick endeavors happening.  Because our CBMs have a white feather gene, we didn’t want to reproduce too many of them–although their egg color is a beautiful dark brown.  Also, we felt like we needed other breeding stock.  So, in order to keep the CBMs going–so we get enough for Rose to have more hens and so I could replace ageing hens whose laying has slowed down considerably (but who are as sweet as can be)–I ordered 15 CBM chicks for us from Tom Culpepper in Grantville, Georgia.  Tom’s chickens derive from a famous line–the Wade Jeane line of CBMs.   To recap, CBMs are NOT rare in Europe, but because of the fowl importation laws and avian flu, America has to get along with its own, rare CBM lines.  So, CBMs are rare in America.  Here’s Tom’s web site if you want to see some pictures:    http://www.mydarkeggs.com/home.

CBMs are spectacular.  They are both meat and laying birds, are BIG, and the rooster is gorgeous and a great protector.   The hens are docile and very social and great foragers.  The only problem with CBMs in Maine is that their generous combs can and do get frostbite, so a good owner lubes them up with vaseline a lot during the winter.

In addition to the CBMs, Rose and I wanted to get chicks from her Wheaten Americaunas.  These birds are also spectacular.  The hens are good layers of beautiful blue eggs, they’re lighter and can fly quite well, they’re funny and friendly and emotional, and are great foragers.  So, Rose isolated her Wheatens, collected eggs, borrowed my incubator, bought two more, and started incubating eggs.  She also included “backyarder” eggs, but as William was the father, they could likely be “Easter Eggers” who would lay a blue, olive, or blue-green egg.

Here are eggs starting to hatch:

Here are some newly hatched Wheatens  that are still wet and weak:

 Here’s a picture of the chicks at about 2 1/2 weeks, just after we got back from Charleston.

Now you can understand how fast the Freedom Rangers are growing!  (See below)  They’re only a little over two weeks older than these chicks.  The CBMs are the black shaggy chicks.  See their feathered feet?  They’ll lose the white fluff when they feather out.  The blond on the brick is a Wheaten Americauna.  She’s backed by a backyarder.  The light chicks in the front may be Wheatens as well.  It’s too soon to tell.  the little grey/lavender chick comes from Baby, the Blue Cochin mix (lays a blue egg) that Rose raised by hand.  Rose is keeping her!

Rose and I feel there should be more healthy baby chicks for sale locally, so that’s what Rose is trying to do.  Her backyarders are half Wheaten Americauna, so will have a good shot at laying blue range eggs.  She does have a Barbanter rooster as well, and there are two Barbanters in this batch of chicks.  They are beautiful, tall, rangy, spotted chickens who lay a white egg.  So, Rose’s egg collection is going to be so colorful!

Written by louisaenright

May 24, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Turkey Tracks: Freedom Ranger Update

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Turkey Tracks:  May 24, 2011

Freedom Ranger Update

 The Freedom Ranger meat/layer chickens are growing like weeds.  You might remember that they arrived in the mail about a week before we left for our Charleston trip.  Here’s a picture of one that’s about a week old.  Rose and I were admiring the wing colors.  Freedom Rangers are hybrids, with four distinct grandparents.  So, it’s impossible to reproduce a Freedom Ranger by breeding them to each other.  There is only one company that markets the eggs–and only a handful of companies worldwide that market all hatching eggs commercially.  Freedom Rangers are the famous “Red Label” chicken sold in France.  They are both meat chickens and layers, and they arrive with varying color combinations.  They are good foragers, food sturdy birds.

Here’s what they looked like last week when we arrived home.  Now they are about three weeks old.  They’re growing so fast that they have bare patches under wings and the like, so they look quite scruffy.  But, their feathers will catch up with their bodies soon.

Look at the size of the feet!  We think the real “big foots” may be roosters.

As soon as we can tell hens from roosters, I’m bringing home one of the hens as a layer.  It will be hard to pick one out as they are all so beautiful.

Written by louisaenright

May 24, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Turkey Tracks: Yogurt and Lovey’s Gorp

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Turkey Tracks:  May 23, 2011

Yogurt and Lovey’s Gorp

 Well, here’s something delicious!

It’s one of our favorite breakfasts…

I make homemade yogurt about every 10 days–a half gallon at a time.   The recipe for how to make yogurt is on this blog.  Click on recipes on the right-side of the screen, and you’ll find it.  I make it in the early evening, so it “makes” overnight.   This batch was made from yogurt that sat in the regrigerator while we went to Charleston, SC, for, all said and done with delayed flights home, 15 days or so.  The starter was pungent, but it made the densest custard I’ve ever seen.  And the flavor was superb.

There are few things in this world as delicious as raw-milk yogurt while it is still at room temperature.  We scoop out a bowl full–making sure to get some of the cream.  Cut up some fresh fruit–bananna this time.  add a handful of my gorp–I keep a batch in a pottery lidded jar on the counter for snacking–and drizzle with, this time, Green Hive Honey Farm UNHEATED honey.

We didn’t get hungry again until mid-afternoon.

Lovey’s Gorp

(That’s me!)

There are no proportions–you just mix up what you like from your “assets”–ingredients you keep on hand.

Here are some ideas:

Dried organic coconut shavings;

 Selections of nuts and seeds you’ve soaked in salted water and dried in an oven or a dehydrator–you soak nuts and seeds to remove their phytates, which can seriously interfere with how your body accesses and processes the nutrients you eat–how to do it is elsewhere on the blog–and above I used pecans, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds–I don’t use walnuts since they need to be refrigerated;

Selections of organic dried fruits–above are cranberries and blueberries;

Perhaps some chocolate chips…if you’re feeling decadent and are needing a chocolate jolt.

Written by louisaenright

May 23, 2011 at 7:44 pm

Turkey Tracks: Coastal Quilters’ 2011 Challenge Quilt

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Turkey Tracks:  May 23, 2011

Coastal Quilters’ 2011 Challenge Quilt

This year’s Coastal Quilters’ Challenge asked quilters to create a quilt that evoked a packaged product in the grocery store.  Called “The Grocery Store Challenge,” we had to use the colors in a label–all of them if less than four and at least four if more than four.  We could add black or white if we wanted.  And, we had to use some motif from the label in the quilt in some way.  The size was to be bigger as well:  20 1/2 ” square.

I do not buy many packaged products, if at all, so it took me some time to settle on using one of our local honeys as my product.  We buy it by the case.  I posted a picture of Green Hive Honey Farm earlier on the blog, but I printed my first ever fabric label from that picture for the quilt back.  Here it is on the back of the quilt:

Here’s the jar–which continues to entrance me–close up.  See the hexagon shapes embedded in the glass andn on the lid?

And, here’s the front of  “A Thousand Flowers”:

I wanted the flowers to literally be exploding from the honey jar.  The hexagon block is, of course, taken from the same motif on the jar, the label, and from a honey comb.  The green at the top of the quilt (see the tiny bees in the print) symbolizes the top of the “green” hive–and a green hive literally sits in the yard of the Green Hive Honey Farm folks.  The darker blocks at the bottom symbolize thousands of flowers being turned into honey, contained by a jar shape.  I stamped the bees at the top, the flowers in the pink borders, and some of the words.  I sewed in some of the words on the quilt, like “unheated” and “raw.”  I machine quilted long lines in the honey jar and curving lines around the jar.   Like the label, the binding is a darker pink.

The hexagons are made with the English Paper Piecing method.  One buys or makes paper templates, wraps the fabric around each one and bastes it down, then whip stitiches the blocks together.  Here’s what that process looks like:

Here’s a detail of the stamping (with acrylic paint), of the loose blocks appliqued to the quilt, and of some of the bee buttons, large and small, sewn to the quilt:

I had forgotten how the whip stitching of the blocks pulls, so that one sees those threads.  On the dark honey blocks, the lighter threads were disconcerting, so I painted them with fabric paints that came in pens.  It looks much better now.

I love this quilt.  This little thing took me FOREVER to make.  Many, many hours.  So, now it is done and will hang, with the other CQ Grocery Store Challenge Quilts in the Pine Tree Quilting Guild show in Augusta, Maine, in late July.  After it comes home, it will hang on the wall outside my quilt room.