2.13.2015 Just Cold

It’s cold. Really cold. We cancelled market today because temperatures never got above freezing and the winds were howling. Customers don’t come out in weather like that. To stand out in that kind of weather is just painful. Instead, we worked in the barn today, revamping Ophelia’s stall like I did last week with Sadie’s. The first week of Sadie’s stall makeover has been interesting.  The ammonia odor seems to be under control and I’m moving a lot less bedding out every day.  I did move two yards of frozen rock dust into the barn today and my legs are like Jello. I am very thankful for the help of my husband and son and I am looking forward to a few days of minimal work to let the body heal. The good news is I got the stall renovation done with a day to spare. Word is on Monday we’re going to get slimed by snow, sleet, freezing rain and rain. After that, temperatures are supposed to return to normal Virginia winter, with highs in the 50’s and lows in the 30’s. Balmy.

The chicks seem to be happy in the hoophouse. Still moving as a herd, but the sunlight has made them much more talkative.

The chicks seem to be happy in the hoophouse. Still moving as a herd, but the sunlight has made them much more chatty.

Did I mention it’s been a long, cold, windy week? The chicks got moved out of the coop and away from their heat lamp. They are now managing quite nicely out in one third of the new hoophouse. They’re five weeks old and are fully feathered. Even though it drops into the 20’s at night inside the hoophouse, the soil is warm and the straw bedding is deep. They huddle together at night and are squealing for breakfast at daybreak. It took them a couple of days to figure out hot oatmeal. But they are hungry little buggers and eat a lot.

I've never used roofing felt before. Weird stuff, but relatively easy to work with. Cut to size. Staple in place and make sure the bees can get in and out. Easy if the wind is not blowing. Moderately challenging if it is.

I’ve never used roofing felt before. Weird stuff, but relatively easy to work with. Cut to size. Staple in place and make sure the bees can get in and out. Easy if the wind is not blowing. Moderately challenging if it is.

I wrapped the beehives in roofing felt this week. Never done that before. Last year, my bees froze to death in January. I got two new hives in the spring and as of a week ago, they were still alive. So I wrapped the hives to help them through this bit of nastiness. I hope I don’t kill them. I have a great record of losing bees over the winter. I’ve read that wrapping them increases the humidity in the hives and it was just too cold to open the hives to add spacers for ventilation. Always something new to learn keeping bees.

Notice how I cleverly zip tied a tarp to the round pen? Lots of zip ties, because, you know, free flying tarps are dragons as far as horses are concerned.

Notice how I cleverly zip tied a tarp to the round pen? Lots of zip ties, because, you know, free flying tarps are dragons as far as horses are concerned.

Then there were the wind breaks for the roos and the horses in the round pen. I hate wind.

Odds and ends:

Salt cured egg yolks. I mentioned these a couple of weeks ago. Easy to do. Just bury an egg yolk in salt and wait a week or two. Then chip away the salt and grate the yolk over pasta or salad as you would Parmesan cheese. It’s like grating salt on your food. Not worth the trouble in our opinion.

This yolk had about 2 weeks in the salt. I knocked off the salt shell with the butt end of a butter knife. It grates easily on a regular kitchen grater. It just doesn't add much of anything to a dish, unless you need some extra salt.

This yolk had about 2 weeks in the salt. I knocked off the salt shell with the butt end of a butter knife. It grates easily on a regular kitchen grater. It just doesn’t add much of anything to a dish, unless you need some extra salt.

Enchiladas: I made chicken enchiladas this week and I used store bought, canned sauce. It was good. My peeps liked it a lot, but I am not thrilled by the ingredients listed on the side of the can. So now I am on a quest to learn more about green enchilada sauce. Apparently you can make it with peppers or a combination of tomatillos and peppers. That’s tomorrow’s project.

That and trying to recreate the most amazing bread we’ve had in ages. I didn’t bake it. Sub Rosa Bakery in Richmond, Virginia did. It’s called Polenta bread and it is made with Turkey Red Wheat and Bloody Butcher corn. Bread Nirvana! It’s got a tinge of sourdough to it and yeast is not listed as an ingredient so I suspect it’s made with a starter dough of some sort. I am not fond of sourdough starters. They’re pets and require regular care and feeding – fine if you’re running a bakery, annoying if you’re not. But hey, I just happen to have some Bloody Butcher corn dried and ready for grinding. Do I cook it like polenta or add it to the dough straight up?

I’ll probably just end up doing laundry and resting the legs and save the creative cooking for Monday, when the sliming begins.


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