Archive for May, 2009
Coop construction postponed again. Looks like it won’t start until after we leave for the East coast. Chicks still due to arrive June 4. Hopefully their home will be ready for them. Or they’ll have to go on the offensive…
The original Angry Bird (image from crazy-frankenstein.com)
Received some photos from a friend who apparently got pretty close to the fire:
The Jesusita fire is almost history. With any luck, coop construction will now start this Friday, May 15.
Somehow, eggs have come to occupy the fifth ring of cholesterol hell. It’s a bad rap for all but one quarter of the population who have high serum (blood) cholesterol, a high triglyceride level and are often diabetic. The other three quarters of the population can safely consume eggs and other cholesterol-containing foods without increasing their serum cholesterol levels.
Egg protein quality is so high that scientists often use eggs as a standard for measuring the protein quality of other foods. Whole eggs have a biological value of 93.7% , compared to milk at 84.5% and fish at 76%. For all the nutrients it contains – thirteen vitamins and an array of minerals – a large egg has only 75 calories and is equal in protein to an ounce of lean meat, fish or poultry.
The only way eggs come close to being the devil is when you start adding mayonnaise. Sometimes it feels good to be bad, so here’s a link to a recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Southern-Deviled-Eggs-243228
Not exactly an all clear, but awoke to fog and drizzle this morning, so no worries about any fire advancing our direction. Need to remember to appreciate that come June when we’ll likely shiver through an entire month of fog here along the coastline.
Yesterday was a watch-and-wait day. Everything depended upon the wind and weather. We’re miles away from the actual fire but still had a
coating of ash in our driveway.
By yesterday afternoon we were cautiously optimistic after viewing the west flank of the fire from the La Cumbre Country Club parking lot, which has become the de facto vantage point for many residents this side of the freeway.
Our houseguests, human and otherwise, are hanging in there. See this for our moment of national news fame: http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0508/p02s09-usgn.html. The cat referenced in that story is Mr. Janx, who belongs to Julia. He spent the first night hiding under a bed, but now even he has decided a 8,000-acre wildfire is nothing he can’t handle. Way to go, Janxie!
Unfortunately, coop construction has been postponed due to all this; hopefully it will start late next week…
We have some unexpected guests due to the Jesusita fire but it gave us a chance to take a tour of the chicken run.
This is what the fire looked like yesterday afternoon from La Cumbre road near La Cumbre Plaza. The winds are starting to kick up again; we pray it won’t be a repeat of last night. They’ve expanded the evacuation area and some 13,000 people have been displaced; “dozens” of homes have burned but no info yet on exactly where.
Reportedly owned by Prince Charles, Marans are named for a port town on France’s Atlantic coast. They are prized for their chocolate brown eggs, which are noted as James Bond’s favorites and apparently the only ones used on Martha Stewart’s television show.
Their origins date back to the 12th century, when Eleanor of Aquitane married Henry Platagenet, the Duke of Anjou and later Henry II of England. The subsequent domination of France by the English brought British sailing ships to the port of Marans, whose sailors were fond of keeping chickens for companionship and fighting purposes. These chickens were crossed with French marsh chickens, resulting in a breed that can tolerate dampness well.
This poster dates from 1936
Marans were introduced to England and the United States in 1929. They come in a variety of strains, including Silver and Golden Cuckoo, White, Coppered Black and Black, Wheat, Black-tailed Fawn, and Ermine; with the considered addition of Silvered Black. They are generally known to be calm and even lazy, although temperament varies by strain and some can be wild and difficult to manage.
Three books I’ve read and recommend:
Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens: Care-Feeding-Facilities, by Gail Damerow
Probably the best and most thorough resource on the subject. There’s a book on chicken health by the same author.
For the backyard chicken aficianado, Keep Chickens; Tending Small Flocks in Cities, Suburbs and Other Small Spaces by Barbara Kilarski, and Chickens in your Backyard; A Beginner’s Guide by Rick and Gail Luttman, both make for entertaining and educational reading.
The carpenter comes this Friday, May 8, to start coop construction!!! The coop will be built into this area:
Ours will quite possibly be the only Doric-columned chicken coop on the West or any coast. We’re building it here because concrete is the best of all flooring materials for easy cleaning and it’s pretty well protected with the overhang above.