Turkey Tracks: July 16, 2010
I’m not sure where the past month has gone. We are in full summer in Camden, Maine, so we are outdoors a lot. And, the grandchildren came in early July (almost 7, 5 1/2, almost 4 and almost 3), so we are preoccupied with spending time with them. They arrived just as our first strawberry patch ever was closing down, and they picked out the rest over the next few days.
Our strawberries are “Sparkles.” John had some years back announced that he didn’t like strawberries and wasn’t eating any more. Home grown, heritage strawberries turned him around, and he couldn’t get enough of them. These berries bear no resemblance to commercial strawberries that are the size of golf balls and are sour and which are coated with up to 8 or 9 heinous chemical mixtures. Sparkles fill your mouth with the taste of warm sunshine and sweetness. I was able to freeze a fair amount of them, and we have been making ice cream with them. If you have a food processor, it’s dead easy.
Food Processor Ice Cream:
Put several cups of real heavy cream (if you can’t get it, don’t waste your time or waistline eating the pasteurized stuff as it has no vitamins or enzymes in it, only empty calories) or plain yogurt or keifer (hopefully made from real milk) into the bowl of a food processor. Add something sweet to taste–honey or maple syrup. If you use stevia, make sure you aren’t using one with rice maltodextrin as that stuff is bad for you and nasty tasting–it’s a fake chemical food. Add at least 1 Tablespoon of Arrowroot (buy it in bulk; it’s way cheaper)–it’s what makes the mixture smooth. Turn on the processor, pour in at least 3-4 cups FROZEN fruit, and voila! Lovely, soft ice cream. If you have leftovers, add a Tablespoon of some liquor to keep it soft. We never have leftovers…
Raspberries are coming in now, and mine are going to produce enough for all of us to eat and share. We’ll probably go to a local organic farm to pick raspberries to freeze for winter. There’s a pie I want to try as well, from one of Ruth Reichl’s memoirs. (If you have not read the three memoirs and love food and cooking, you may want to read them: Tender At The Bone, Comfort Me With Apples, and Garlic and Sapphires.)
Blueberries are around the corner. I’ve ordered 15 pounds of organic berries to freeze for winter smoothies and cobblers. Commercial blueberries, even the heralded small “wild” berries of Maine, which are by far the tastiest, are sprayed with an array of chemicals–some of which get into the local water and kill the fish and amphibians. Some kill birds, bees, butterflies, etc. If they kill those living things, they can kill you! Or, make you really sick. In fact, blueberries made the Environmental Working Group’s list of foods to avoid this year at position No. 5.
Here’s what the garden looks like now, with Bowen (almost 7) in front:
The plant on the right with yellow blooms is Beedy Parker Kale. That’s garlic on the left, with celery and radish in front. The potatoes are coming up well to the right of Bowen’s shoulder. We’ve picked peas until we’re tired of them. Beans are coming on strong. That’s a yellow squash up front. And, we’ve got broccoli to cut in the middle of the garden.
Here’s the dreaded zucchini, with lush tomatoes in front of the day lilies and raspberries fringing the yard:
We have 14 winter squash and pumpkin hills in the meadow and Brussel Sprouts, cabbage, and more broccoli along the driveway.
The chicken report is a bit different. Our broody hen has given up trying to sit on eggs, though I suspect one of the Wheatens is starting to get the urge. Here’s a picture of the chicks Rose Thomas incubated in June:
These chicks are Americana/Wheaten and Maran. None of the Marans made it.
Here’s a picture of the six Guinea hens she also incubated:
Guinea hens take 26 days to hatch. Chickens take 21. So, Rose was quite proud of these babies. She also had a hen sitting on eggs in the middle of the chicken pasture. That hen will stay there 26 days, with the male close by. Guineas lay eggs communally, but only one hen will sit the eggs. I wonder if something like that goes on with chickens as our broody hen gathered all the eggs underneath herself out of our two boxes, and the other hens seemed to be cooperating.
I started over 20 eggs timed to hatch July 14th. One caught me by surprise on the 12th and tried to hatch in the egg turner with the humidity too low. It didn’t make it out of the shell. One hatched. The rest are dormant. We will open them later today to see what the story is. Were they unfertilized? Did something go wrong?
The Marans are proving hard to hatch… But, the one chick we have, named Orphan Annie, seems to be thriving. Rose thinks her Maran, who recently hatched a brood, might take her. But, she is rapidly becoming a pet…
So, everything is growing well: veggies, fruits, chickens, and grandchildren.