Thursday, January 29, 2015

A shared computer

Cliff's computer has been giving him problems lately.  It has been freezing occasionally, and starting up with error messages.  He's been having problems watching videos. Then yesterday and this morning, every time he tried to go to Facebook, the computer froze.  I keep telling him it's about time for a new one, and he argues with me.  

It's four years old, and I've been trying to decide whether we should have it checked over by an expert, or maybe just buy a new laptop.  

Today I said, "Well, I guess you could use my computer to look at Facebook, since that's the thing that is giving you the biggest problem."  

The words were no more out of my mouth than I remembered that I could easily set up a user account for him on my laptop, and we could share one computer!  I now have it ready to go.  

Now, this wouldn't have worked so well a few years ago.  But because I have the IPad, I don't spend nearly as much time on the regular computer.  I think our marriage could survive a shared computer at this point in our lives.  Cliff stays up later than I do at night, and that's one of the times when he does a lot of web-surfing.  He often uses a computer while I have Cora down for a nap, too (yes, I lie down on my bed near her for my own quiet time).  

And there will only be one laptop littering up the living room.  I think this will work out just fine.    

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The day two roosters died

I hate to see food wasted, so when Cliff kept offering to shoot the two surplus roosters and haul their bodies to the ditch, I kept putting him off until a convenient time came to butcher them... even though every day they lived was a waste in itself, because they seemed to be eating their weight in costly chicken feed.  Not only that, but the hens were getting assaulted about four times per hour, much against their will.  There were also daily, sometimes bloody, battles between the roosters as each of them attempted to become the reigning master of the harem.  See, there are nine hens out there.  One rooster can easily handle twenty or so hens.  Too many roosters, not enough hens means open warfare.  

The last rooster we butchered turned out to be very tough, stringy, and chewy, even after boiling his carcass for hours.  A friend told me she had the same experience with older roosters.  These birds weren't really "old", having hatched out in late June, but if you are after a tender bird, one you might use for frying, it needs to be butchered by the age of twelve weeks.  When I told my cousin, who was raised on the farm, about our experience with the tough meat, she informed me that a pressure cooker would solve the problem.  So I invested in the cheapest aluminum pressure cooker I could find.  It's a four-quart model, which is really tiny.  Looking back, I wish I had spent twice the money and gotten a larger, stainless steel cooker.  That's the story of my life: spend in haste, regret at leisure.  

Sunday we butchered the roosters.  I left one carcass submerged under water for twenty-four hours, but the other I brought straight into the kitchen, cut him up enough for his whole body to fit in my tiny pressure cooker, and followed instructions in the book that came with my cooker.  The longest time suggested for a whole chicken was fifteen minutes, so once the jiggler started jiggling, that's what I punched into the timer on my microwave.  

He came out tough and stringy.  Unwilling to toss him out, I cut the meat up in tiny pieces against the grain, put the pieces in the broth, and made noodles, which were delicious.  The meat had a wonderful flavor, but we had to do quite a bit of chewing.

"Maybe leave it in the pressure pan longer?"  Cliff suggested.  

So next day, I cooked the second rooster for twenty-five minutes.  

Success!  We each had a bite of the meat, and it was tender, not chewy at all.  

No, I didn't make chicken and noodles two days in a row.  I deboned the chicken and put the meat and broth in a gallon freezer bag for FUTURE noodles.  But now I know that sometimes you have to play around with the timing when you're using a pressure cooker.  

I sure do wish I had gotten a bigger, stainless steel cooker, though.   

Here is the pan I bought for $25:

HERE is the one I wish I had purchased.  The cost is $45.99.  Half again the size, and it's stainless steel.