Saturday, November 13, 2010

Aeronautical Hens and Water Buckets and Kim Chi, Oh My!

Today was a typical Saturday.
Darlin' Man and Girl and Boy were home. Darlin' Man fed the critters around 6:30 a.m. I got up and made pancakes.
After breakfast, we did a bit of clean up in the yard.
I went back in the house to start a batch of kim-chi and also to get some bread dough started.
Boy wandered out of his room and gulped down a bowl of cereal and went out to assist his dad.
A neighbor had given us some chicken wire and Darlin' Man and Boy were making some alterations to the coop. They let the chickens out in the yard and two hens, Miss Priscilla and Zoe, tried out their aeronautical abilities...right over the fence and into a neighbors yard! This neighbor has quite a pack of dogs, some of which could be termed "chicken aggressive". Darlin' Man leaped over the fence and retrieved the hens before any damage was done. Boy came in and informed me that my talents were need to clip the wings of the "fly girls" before they got themselves into any more trouble.
I was literally elbow deep in kim chi fixins' at that point!
But, I grabbed my utility shears and headed out.
Catching the hens was easy. I snipped the first five feathers on each wing quite a bit shorter. The hens weren't too distraught over the procedure and went back to their scratching as soon as I put them back on the ground. Since Zoe and Chloe are the same breed and size, I went ahead and clipped Chloe's wings as well.

As for the kim-chi, the Darlin' Man got very fond of it during his time stationed in Korea, so I make a good sized batch every month.
Basic recipe:
1 Napa Cabbage
1 Large Cucumber
1 Bok Choy
1 to 2 bunches Green Onions
2 inches Ginger Root, peeled and sliced very thin
1/4 cup salt
1 cup Korean red pepper (ground)
3 tablespoons minced garlic

Wash all vegetables and slice into 1 inch pieces. Put sliced vegetables and sliced ginger in LARGE non-reactive bowl and sprinkle salt over all. Pour in enough water to cover and cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 24 hours.
After 24 hours, drain liquid off vegetables (SAVE that liquid!). Pour one cup of ground red pepper and 3 tablespoons minced garlic over vegetables and mix in well. Pack in one gallon jar. It might be a tight fit, but it can be done! Slowly add in saved brine until jar is full. Tightly cap jar and place in cool (not cold!), dark place (Back shelf in your pantry?) for 3 days. Open on third day. Refrigerate after you open it! The smell will knock most people on their butts--but it is supposed to smell like that! It's called lacto-fermentation.Same principle behind yogurt and sauerkraut.
It is good for you, gets all sort of useful enzymes playing around in your digestive systems.
Some studies have shown kim-chi can be useful in treating colds and flu and researchers are looking into kim-chi as a dietary immune system booster as well. Koreans also claim it wards off cancer...and since Korea has low levels of many types of cancer, maybe there is something to that!
I use kim-chi as a chilled side dish, I mix it into pancake batter along with some shredded pork to make kim-chi pancakes.and generally serve it whenever any Asian dish is on the table!

Today, we also put in *soaker buckets* beside each of our fruit and nut trees.
I live in a very dry climate.If you water trees, about 70% of that water can be lost through evaporation before the tree can absorb it into their parched root system. So, the trees here are a bit stunted and produce little fruit as, like all living things, they are just trying to survive in this climate!
We have plenty of 5 gallon buckets that we get at a local bakery.
We drill 4 or 5 teensy holes near the bottom of each bucket --on one side of the bucket only.
Then we dig a hole beside the tree deep enough and wide enough to put the bucket in, with about one inch above ground level.
When we put the bucket in the hole, we make sure the holes we drilled in the bucket are facing the tree.
We fill the buckets at sundown and the water s-l-o-w-l-y seeps into the ground at a level where it is more easily accessible to the trees root system.
If we water in the morning, we put the lids on the 5 gallon buckets after they are filled with water to stave off evaporation.
We can also fertilize with the bucket system. Strained manure tea works well for this.

That's my did yours go?

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