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A box full of pure joy

A box full of pure joy.  <a href=”http://sunshinefordinner.com/2008/01/31/a-box-full-of-pure-joy.aspx”>

box full of pure joy

box full of pure joy

Contents of box:  70-75 baby hard-working hens, 10 baby lady ducks, 10-15 chicken dinners, 10 duck dinners, or as the hatchery calls it on the packing slip, 65 production red pullets, 25 straight run Surprise Special chickens, 20 straight run Hatchery Choice ducks

Did you know that chicks come in the mail?  Delightfully, they do.  An early morning (very early, dark-thirty early) call to the postmaster went something like this:

Georgiaberry (anxiously):  Did my chicks come today?
Postmaster (amused) :  Yeah, they’re here.  Do you want me to hold the phone over there so you can hear them cheeping?

Lots of cheeping.  You have to shut them up with food.

The natural hatching process of birds lends itself to shipping them in the mail.  A mama bird (chicken, in this case) lays a clutch of eggs.  Hens will lay a pile of 10-15 eggs before they begin to “set” – a lot of eggs.  After the setting period, most of the eggs will hatch over the period of a couple of days.  The first chick to hatch must wait, safe and warm, but hungry, for the mama to decide that all the eggs have hatched, and then get up and lead the chicks to find food.  So a couple of days in a warm box transported by various mail carriers from the hatchery in Texas to my house is a little like a couple of days waiting under mama for hatching to finish.  They arrive hungry and thirsty but fine.

Chickens do not bring food to their babies like a backyard songbird does – baby chicks (and all this goes for the ducks, too) are hatched ready to scavenge for food.  They start scratching as soon as their little feet touch something to scratch on.  The mama hen scratches and they scratch.  The mama hen finds something good in the dirt, and makes a certain low trilling cluck, and the chicks come running.  She bobs her head over the spot with the nourishing morsel and they obediently come and peck in that spot.  The mama hen finds water and makes the come-here-for-something-good clucking sound and the chicks come and she shows them how to drink – beak in, then tip head back to let the water trickle down your throat.  Soon they are drinking like pros.

So when chicks come in the mail there is no mother hen.  We have to be the mother hen.  As the chicks are removed from the box, each must have its beak dipped gently in a pan of water.  They find food with no problem, at first a little food sprinkled on a piece of paper, then in a low tray.  They have to be kept very warm and dry.  As long as they have copious amounts of food and lots of other chicks to cuddle with, the noise level is melodious but constant chirping.  If they are hungry or one gets separated from the rest, then shrill, ear-piercing shrieking ensues.

So in a few months these chickens will begin laying eggs for all of us, and in the meantime they will eat and grow and join their hardworking hen friends in scratching and turning compost and eating bugs.

Posted by Georgiaberry Mobley at 1/31/2008 4:36 PM <a href=”http://sunshinefordinner.com/2008/01/31/a-box-full-of-pure-joy.aspx”>http://sunshinefordinner.com/2008/01/31/a-box-full-of-pure-joy.aspx</a> | Add Comment <a href=”http://sunshinefordinner.com/2008/01/31/a-box-full-of-pure-joy.aspx”>http://sunshinefordinner.com/2008/01/31/a-box-full-of-pure-joy.aspx</a>

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On the menu – Dec. 31, 2007

On the menu – Dec. 31, 2007
Farm fresh eggs
Swiss chard ‘Sunshine Mix’, washed and ready to cook
‘Easter Egg’ Radishes
Baby beets
Beet greens
Turnips
‘Ebenezer’ green onion
‘Beauregard’ sweet potatoes
Miller County honey
Miller County stone ground corn meal – NOW ORGANIC!!!
Posted by Georgiaberry Mobley at 12/31/2007 5:00 PM <a href=”http://sunshinefordinner.com/2007/12/31/on-the-menu–dec-31-2007.aspx”>http://sunshinefordinner.com/2007/12/31/on-the-menu–dec-31-2007.aspx</a> | View Comments (1) <a href=”http://sunshinefordinner.com/2007/12/31/on-the-menu–dec-31-2007.aspx”>http://sunshinefordinner.com/2007/12/31/on-the-menu–dec-31-2007.aspx</a> | Add Comment <a href=”http://sunshinefordinner.com/2007/12/31/on-the-menu–dec-31-2007.aspx”>http://sunshinefordinner.com/2007/12/31/on-the-menu–dec-31-2007.aspx</a>

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On the menu Dec. 17, 2007

On the menu Dec. 17, 2007
Farm fresh eggs
Salad mix – lettuce baby ‘Superstar Mix’, lettuce ‘Black Seeded Simpson’, baby romaine lettuce, baby chard ‘Sunshine Mix’,
‘Easter Egg’ Radishes
Swiss chard ‘Sunshine Mix’
Anaheim peppers
‘Weathersfield’ green onion
‘Beauregard’ sweet potatoes
Sweet Potato Spice Muffins – Happy Holidays !
Posted by Georgiaberry Mobley at 12/31/2007 4:58 PM <a href=”http://sunshinefordinner.com/2007/12/31/on-the-menu-dec-17-2007.aspx”>http://sunshinefordinner.com/2007/12/31/on-the-menu-dec-17-2007.aspx</a> | Add Comment <a href=”http://sunshinefordinner.com/2007/12/31/on-the-menu-dec-17-2007.aspx”>http://sunshinefordinner.com/2007/12/31/on-the-menu-dec-17-2007.aspx</a

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On the menu Dec. 10, 2007

On the menu Dec. 10, 2007
Farm fresh eggs
Broccoli
Bok Choy
Red Pimento pepper
Salad mix – lettuce baby ‘Superstar Mix’, lettuce ‘Black Seeded Simpson’, baby romaine lettuce, baby chard ‘Sunshine Mix’,
‘Easter Egg’ Radishes
‘Red Russian’ Kale
‘Weathersfield’ green onion
‘Beauregard’ sweet potatoes
Posted by Georgiaberry Mobley at 12/31/2007 4:56 PM <a href=”http://sunshinefordinner.com/2007/12/31/on-the-menu-dec-10-2007.aspx”>http://sunshinefordinner.com/2007/12/31/on-the-menu-dec-10-2007.aspx</a> | Add Comment <a href=”http://sunshinefordinner.com/2007/12/31/on-the-menu-dec-10-2007.aspx”>http://sunshinefordinner.com/2007/12/31/on-the-menu-dec-10-2007.aspx</a>

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satisfaction: pleasure or contentment derived from the gratification of a desire, need, or appetite

happy pigs

happy pigs

satisfaction: pleasure or contentment derived from the gratification of a desire, need, or appetite

It isn’t often enough that I have a truly satisfying day, but it does happen from time to time.   The other day, Kandan and I finished the new pig pen in the cold, and the pigs were happy to find new ground, a little green stuff, and lots of roots and acorns to munch.  Building this pen was hard work.   My kids were very good all day and did not cause any trouble – they were basically on their own indoors, because pigs and children do not mix.  Kids love looking at pigs and feeding pigs, but moving pigs is always a potentially dangerous situation, and while our pigs are friendly, they are still big and strong.   You have to be prepared with a combination of patience and fast reflexes.  You have to make a plan that will ultimately produce the pig going from point A to point B without the use of brute force, because the pig is stronger than you, and your dog, and your fence.  Trying to handle pigs while your kids are asking for elaborate snacks, or help with their projects, or reporting their petty bickering, is frustrating and counterproductive.  But there was none of that, and I am pleased with our whole family for each doing their part to accomplish this task.  The kids did run a huge ball of string around everything in the playroom with about a thousand knots, but this is to be expected.

After we finished with the pigs, Kandan dug potatoes and we had the loveliest dinner of tiny chops from a lamb that we raised ourselves, and new potatoes, and very tasty sweet baby green peas (from the grocer’s freezer, I’m afraid – don’t get mad and email me with “where are my peas, I want peas” – I know and I am trying to grow them!  They have flowers . . .).  The chops are 2″ long at the most, just the tiniest things that you could never buy, the only way to get them is to grow the lamb and butcher it yourself.  I made a pan sauce with red wine and butter and a pinch of herbs (rosemary,parsley, garlic) left over from making sausage the day before (yes, we stay busy).  It was so delicious!

When I was washing the potatoes, I was reminded of a book I read a few years ago, about an Irish bartender who hates a man and wants to kill him – one of the reasons he hated the man was because he didn’t eat potato skins.  So that evening when we were eating dinner, my daughter didn’t want the potatoes, no big deal.  Kandan and I were talking and I told him about the book and went to the shelf, and a small miracle occurred and I found it.  Here is the passage from “Bogmail” by Patrick McGinley.

Eales was a fastidious feeder who never touched bacon rind or pork crackling or the thin veins of white fat that made the best gammon [bacon] so tasty.  He never ate the frizzled fat of grilled lamb chops or sirloin steak, nor the crisp earthy jackets of baked potatoes.  Normally he would not have blamed him for avoiding the latter because the jackets of some potatoes were rough with scabs and excrescences.  But Roarty’s potatoes were different, grown lovingly in the sandy soil by the estuary and smooth to the touch as sea scoured beach pebbles.  The man who was not moved to eat the jackets of such potatoes was nothing if not untrustworthy.  He was blind to the beauties of life and the true delights of a wholesome table.  He was probably a man who harboured evil thoughts against his neighbor, a man from whom wise men one and all would lock up their daughters, at least those of them who still retained their maidenheads [this turns out to be very true – there are some ‘adult themes’ in this book and they are very funny].  The outcome was inescapable; Eales must be destroyed.

That is what our potatoes were like – sea scoured beach pebbles.  So after reading this passage aloud and laughing over it, my daughter decided to try the potatoes!  The power of literature prevails.  And she liked them so much that she even ate all the leftovers the next day.  And that does make a momma satisfied.

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On the menu Dec. 3, 2007

On the menu Dec. 3, 2007

http://sunshinefordinner.com/2007/12/31/on-the-menu-dec-3-2007.aspx
Farm fresh eggs
Bok Choy
Bell pepper
Salad mix – lettuce ‘Black Seeded Simpson’, baby romaine lettuce, baby chard ‘Sunshine Mix’, baby ‘Red Russian Kale’
‘Easter Egg’ Radishes
Baby beets and beet greens
Bunching onions
New potatoes ‘Yukon Gold’ and ‘Red Pontiac’
Edible pod peas
Fresh Rosemary
Fresh Chives
Posted by Georgiaberry Mobley at 12/31/2007 4:53 PM <a href=”http://sunshinefordinner.com/2007/12/31/on-the-menu-dec-3-2007.aspx”>http://sunshinefordinner.com/2007/12/31/on-the-menu-dec-3-2007.aspx</a> | Add Comment <a href=”http://sunshinefordinner.com/2007/12/31/on-the-menu-dec-3-2007.aspx”>http://sunshinefordinner.com/2007/12/31/on-the-menu-dec-3-2007.aspx</a>

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On the menu – Nov. 19 2007

On the menu – Nov. 19
Farm fresh eggs
Bok Choy
Sweet Potatoes
Salad mix – lettuce ‘Black Seeded Simpson’, green leaf lettuce, baby chard ‘Sunshine Mix’, baby ‘Red Russian Kale’
Radishes
Zucchini
Pimento Peppers
Bell peppers
Bunching onions
Cucumbers
Fresh Rosemary and Chives
Posted by Georgiaberry Mobley at 12/1/2007 5:46 AM <a href=”http://sunshinefordinner.com/2007/12/01/on-the-menu–nov-19.aspx”>http://sunshinefordinner.com/2007/12/01/on-the-menu–nov-19.aspx</a> | Add Comment <a href=”http://sunshinefordinner.com/2007/12/01/on-the-menu–nov-19.aspx”>http://sunshinefordinner.com/2007/12/01/on-the-menu–nov-19.aspx</a>

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On the menu – Nov. 12 2007

On the menu – Nov. 12
Farm fresh eggs
Sweet Potatoes
Salad mix – lettuce ‘Black Seeded Simpson’ and baby chard ‘Sunshine Mix’
Yellow Squash
Baby Eggplant
Bell peppers
Bunching onions
Cucumber
Miller County stone ground corn meal
Posted by Georgiaberry Mobley at 12/1/2007 5:45 AM <a href=”http://sunshinefordinner.com/2007/12/01/on-the-menu–nov-12.aspx”>http://sunshinefordinner.com/2007/12/01/on-the-menu–nov-12.aspx</a> | Add Comment <a href=”http://sunshinefordinner.com/2007/12/01/on-the-menu–nov-12.aspx”>http://sunshinefordinner.com/2007/12/01/on-the-menu–nov-12.aspx</a>

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On the menu – Nov. 9 2007

On the menu – Nov. 9
Farm fresh eggs
Miller County honey
Sweet Potatoes
Salad mix – lettuce ‘Black Seeded Simpson’ and baby chard ‘Sunshine Mix’
Zucchini
Radishes
Bunching onions
Cucumber
Miller County stone ground corn meal
Posted by Georgiaberry Mobley at 12/1/2007 5:40 AM <a href=”http://sunshinefordinner.com/2007/12/01/on-the-menu–nov-9.aspx”>http://sunshinefordinner.com/2007/12/01/on-the-menu–nov-9.aspx</a> | Add Comment <a href=”http://sunshinefordinner.com/2007/12/01/on-the-menu–nov-9.aspx”>http://sunshinefordinner.com/2007/12/01/on-the-menu–nov-9.aspx</a>

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Salad at last!

Salad at last!
Posted by Georgiaberry Mobley at 10/21/2007 6:10 AM
Yes, it is just a little bit of salad, but it is the first of the season. As the weather cools, the lettuce will thrive. This variety, ‘Black Seeded Simpson’, is far too tender to be used commercially. The leaves would just disintegrate in shipping. This lettuce has been a southern garden favorite since its introduction in 1850. The baby chard is very much like spinach in a salad at this stage of development. Its crisp leaves lend some body to this delicate lettuce.
This salad has been washed and trimmed and is ready to eat. As the quantities in the garden increase, so will the quantities in the bag. So enjoy this first salad of the season! Try it with thinly slice pear and blue cheese – delicious! . . . And fancy – impress your friends!

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