Monday, February 9, 2015

Farmhouse Kitchen and Chicken Troubles

 The bushel of apples that I have been keeping down cellar had a few apples starting to ger a bit wrinkly, so I decided to cook up some apple butter. Its easy enough.

Just wash, and chop up the apples. No need to peel or core. Put them in a large pot with an inch or two of water, and cook till soft.

 Once the apples are cooked soft, I simply run them through the strainer. Now we have applesauce. To make apple butter just requires a few spices, and some sugar, if desired, and then long slow simmering till it cooks down by about half.  These apples are sweet but a little extra sugar just brings out the flavor in my opinion.  I used some organic natural sugar.
 Its easiest to do this in a crockpot, but I had taken mine over to a neighbor, so started this batch in my stockpot. Later I got the crockpot and transferred it over.

 I cooked it all night long, and a good part of today.  Cinnamon, cloves, and allspice give the apple butter a delightful taste, amd the fragrance in the house is sure yummy. It was  small batch.  I processed these in the water bath canner.  I will have more apples to cook later I am sure.
 For dinner we had a delicious Thai inspired salad with a mango salsa, a creamy peanut sauce as dressing, and rinsed black beans served over fresh crunchy cabbage. A baked sweet potato and some red pear complete the plate. Yum....
And now, on to some not so good news. Examination of the hens this morning revealed one sweet girl with some problems.  I believe this is the hen who laid the naked egg yesterday. She is in some distress. I think she is egg bound, meaning that another egg inside her is stuck.  This situation is serious, as the hen can not poop unless the egg passes.  Sometimes in this s├Čtuation you can actually feel the egg in her swollen abdomen.  there is also the possibility of an infection, though right now I dont see that. One thing that can be done to try to ease the passage of the egg is moist heat to help just relax everything.  I have done this before with some success , but one never knows how it will turn out.  So this girl got a sitz bath.  I held her gently in a tub of warm water. It must have felt good, as she remained quiet and compliant. Some people have recommended using lubricants inserted with a syringe.  I have also done that before but it is risky to some degree. You do not want to break the egg, as sharp pieces  could injure the hen and cause infection.  So I am keeping her inside in the warmth and hope that she can work this out.  I will not let her suffer, and choices may have to be made.  She is not eating but did take some water, so I hope she can come through it.  These hens have all just begun laying. It is possible she has a defect or irregularity that caused this.  And sometimes, things just happen.....

Weather: it snowed all day. The storm is supposed to stop by around midnight tonight. I am guessing we got an additional 12-14 inches.  Today, partially due to drifiting, the snow had piled up so high against the kitchen door, I couldnt open it. I had to get my snowshoes and snowshoe around the  front of the house so I could shovel out the door.  Kinda funny actually...
Wildlife: only Emmett.  I havent seen Will for days...

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