Friday, July 27, 2012

Goodbye Clove (for real, this time....)

We had a tragic Clove accident a few weeks ago........*sniff sniff*

My post about how to handle aggressive roosters was rather timely, because almost right after that Clove and Coriander ("Cori") began fighting. And this was not just a peck-you-on-the-head kind of fight. This was a feather-plucking, comb-and wattle-tearing, spurs-flying-everywhere, bloody-faces-and-feathers, I'm-going-to-kill-you ALL OUT BATTLE.

We went out one morning and found Cori and Clove dueling it out in the forest....spurring each other, jumping on top of one another, panting extremely hard, and covered in blood. They would not stop for anything so I had to pick them up in the middle of their fight and separate Cori into the pen with Rosemary and Reggie. Clove had always been dominant over Cori, pushing him around, occasionally attacking him, and I think Cori finally decided he had had enough and wasn't going to take that behavior from Clove anymore.

this is the treatment clove usually gets after he has shown aggression: excessive cuddling, LOL. 

Well, Clove continued to fight with Cori through the netting of the pen (he would run up to him and puff his neck feathers all out). One day we must have had the electric fence netting turned on and when we came home that night Clove had gotten his foot caught in the electric fence trying to fight with Cori! Poor baby.....he was lying on the ground crying in pain. We immediately freed him of it and he was so weak from all that shock through his body he couldn't stand. We put him in the "sick crate" and tried to get him to eat and drink but he was unable to. We thought it would be best to let him rest, and by the next morning he had died.

Poor Clove......even though he was troublesome he was such a beautiful roo......and we will miss him.

Clove is especially uncomfortable and embarrassed in this position, being held like a baby. Just another way to reinforce to him who is boss. 

R.I.P. Clove- I wish it didn't have to end this way for you :(

Friday, July 13, 2012

Garlic Braiding

I have been wanting to grow, harvest, and hang a garlic braid in my kitchen ever since I read Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegatable, Miracle.  We finally grew and harvested a decent garlic crop (over-wintered) and now we have braided it too!

Garlic braiding is not hard, but does require some patience and basic instruction.

cleaning the garlic bulbs

For instructions on how to braid garlic, visit this link.

It looks so nice hanging up next to my kitchen window over the sink I hate to use it! Oh but don't worry, it WILL get plucked and used, head by head, as our family loves lots of garlic in our food. I love roasting garlic and combining it with salt, butter, and some herbs to make a wonderful spread for fresh bread. Yum!

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Friday, July 6, 2012

Roosters with an Attitude

Remember this post when I talked about getting rid of Clove? Well, I lied. Sort of.

Clove posing for the picture....he is beautiful and he knows it!

Clove went to live with a friend of mine but she could not keep him, so, he is back. He has been for some time. Poor guy. We actually had some other offers and places lined up for him to go, but in the end we feel bad giving him away because our neighbors have become so attached to him. Almost every day, Clove books it over to the neighbors house once we are gone. He stands at their back door and crows until they come out and feed him treats. Yes, they are spoiling Clove rotten and they think he is HILARIOUS. The other day I went over to their house with Clove in my arms with hopes they would just keep him. I put him down and our neighbor said to him, "Clove, you want a biscuit?" and proceeded to feed him. Oh, dear.....

looking for bugs

Well, Clove (a Partridge Rock) is proving to be a trouble-maker and he is super smart. He has some aggressive tendencies which we have NEVER experienced before with any of our Dominiques. He is rough on the hens, not nice to Coriander (his "BFF"), and is mean to the babies. He will occassionally come running at me and BJ to attack, and we have to stand up to him and put our foot out in front of us so that he stops. A few times he has actually pecked at my shoe or spurred me out of aggression. My response is usually to pick him up immediately, carry him around for a while, pet him excessively and scold him, push his head down, etc. I make sure all the other chickens get to see him getting held so that he is throughouly embarrassed.

Had we not named him and grown attached, he surely would be going into "freezer camp" by now. I think the best I could do at this point would be to give him away, or perhaps enter him in the state fair with the intention to sell him.

Clove and Coriander.....always together :)

Poor Rosemary is scared to death of Clove, and Reggie is nearly always protecting her from him and Cori both. They have a tendency to try to gang rape Rosemary and she just freaks out. Thankfully, since Reggie is the dominant roo, he chases them off so that Rosemary can forage in peace. Reggie is a very sweet, respectful rooster. He does NOT like being held, but he would never try to hurt us and does a fantastic job of protecting the flock and keeping everyone in line. I even spied him over in front of the little pullets pen already courting them with his "I found food" noises. It was so cute.

So, readers, what are your tips for dealing with troublesome or aggressive roosters?

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Monday, July 2, 2012

Garden Harvest Dinner Party

A couple of weekends ago we had a fabulous dinner party with friends. What was so fun about this party was that everything we cooked either came out of our gardens or was purchased from the farmer's market or from a local produce source.

(Our pizza crust was homemade too!)

locally grown peppers and tomatoes
fresh hydrangeas for the work table!

Our menu included pesto pizzas with tomatoes, peppers, and fresh mozzarella for toppings complimented by a fresh garden salad from homegrown lettuce. For appetizers I made deviled eggs (compliments of Rosemary herself) sprinkled with homegrown chives and we also had local cheeses and a wonderful leek gribiche. For dessert we had a delicious peach chocolate cake made with local peaches!

basil leaves being prepared for the pesto
working hard!!  P.S- I would LOVE to paint my kitchen cabinets white some day
mmmmm......pesto pizza

We had SUCH a good time! I could definitely do this every month for sure and we are already thinking about doing another garden party with our fall harvests.

It was a wonderful way to utilize our garden bounty and enjoy an entertaining evening with friends.