Hello there, chickadees! You’ve probably gathered that I’m not quite as prolific as m’wife when it comes to updating the blog, but I think it’s about time – no, past time – for an update on how the chicken coop is going. Well, it’s done. We have chickens.
“What’s this?”, you cry in alarm. “The last we heard you were planning on building one, and now you’ve built one, and you have chickens, and this is how we find out, you tell us?”
All those things are true. I found a plan online, a plan that was detailed and had lots of pictures (quite important for an idiot like me with no knowledge of power tools), I ordered the lumber and hardware parts, and hove at it. There was sawing. Quite a lot of sawing. There was the judicious application of nail and screw, along with a fair number of brackets, and a great deal of hardware cloth, wrapped around and sunk a foot into the ground. There is a brace, ‘cos it’s a bit wonky.
Essentially, it’s a walk-in coop consisting of a framed shell, roofed with corrugated vinyl, and enclosed on one side with interior plywood and exterior siding, to form the henhouse. Once the frame was together, our friends Karen and Tom helped us position it down in a corner of the yard, and I built up the frame, roof, netting and henhouse a step at a time when I had a few hours in the day. Last weekend I finished the plywood nesting boxes and interior walls, and today we drove up to Saugerties and handed a farmer some cash money in exchange for four chickens.
The design of the coop means that they can be confined within, but since we have a fenced yard, they should be safe to roam around under supervision, provided the whistle-pig doesn’t take a fancy to them…
Yes! We picked these four lovely ladies up today. Seriously, can you believe we actually have chickens? In our yard? I’m agog. AGOG, I say!
Arya says: “Whats? Im cant beleave!”
(At least she seems to realize they aren’t her dinner…so far.)
You’ve seen Withnail and I, right? Of course you have. It’s a classic fil…wait, WHAT? You haven’t? You must see it! Right this minute! Go on, we’ll wait. *Taps fingers on table sternly*. Cut to 5 hours later (because you had to watch it twice and have a nap because you were tipsy). Now… don’t you feel better? Something was missing, wasn’t it?
For years, every time I’d roast a chicken, I’d be tempted to stand it up in the oven, just for giggles.
Now, I know cooking chicken on a beer can is a thing but I am way too accident prone to try to balance a large, slippery chicken on a tallboy . Then I saw this, noticed it was only $20 and decided that I must have it. I have to tell you, it actually works incredibly well and, more importantly, your chicken will look hilarious as it hangs out, sitting up, in your oven.
I imagine this will be me, Matt and one of our chickens very soon.
Like most fancy-pants wanna-be’s, I often read recipes in the New York Times dining section and think “Yes! I am SO going to make that!”. Then I get distracted by work or something sparkly out of the corner of my eye and forget all about it. Not this time! I saw Melissa Clark’s recipe for corn ice cream and knew I wanted to try it. I also knew that Matt would be totally game because A) he’s always up for a challenge and B) he loves both corn and ice cream.
We had a a few ears of (not that great) corn that we bought in Long Island, so we decided to give this a try. It’s really good! It’s a tiny little bit under-sweetened to my taste (unusual for me) but that could be because the corn we used was not that sweet to begin with. If I make it again (with under-whelming corn), I would add a touch more sugar. Maybe just a tablespoon or so. Or, even better, I’ll leave it as-is and pour a bit of this (elixir of the gods) Salted Caramel Sauce on top.
You’ll never buy jarred Salted Caramel Sauce again once you realize how easy it is to make at home. Plus it tastes so much better without all the additives. It has a million uses, one of which is to be eaten straight out of the jar with a spoon while no one is looking.
Is salted caramel the best thing ever? “Bah”, you’re thinking. “Best? No way.” Is it better than fluffy kittens in a basket? Is it better than Tyrion Lannister looking at you like this? Is it better than doggie derp face? Who’s to say. Well, I am and the answer is yes. It is better than all those things.
Okay, so now we know that salted caramel sauce is the one true god, I’m not going to insult your intelligence by telling you it’s the easiest thing to make. I mean, it’s simple enough. There’s only 4 ingredients. The thing about caramel though is that there is a very fine line between deliciously dark and acridly burned. You have to be brave when browning the sugar but not foolhardy. The best caramel teeters right on that line between sweet and bitter.
It definitely helps to have the right tools (I found this link to a tumblr that’s just people posing with giant spoons and had to include it here. Thank you for understanding). Seriously though, you’ll need a good, heavy saucepan. It should be larger than you’d think, 2 or 3 quarts is perfect. A rounded bottom is ideal but not required. An instant-read thermometer would also be extremely useful. It will help in that panicky moment between perfect and ruined.