Thursday, May 14, 2020

Things I've been doing

I told Cliff I'd fashion some sort of temporary pen for my chickens if he'd bring up the roll of chicken wire.  It isn't really chicken wire, though; my chickens are about six weeks old, and can still get through the rectangular spaces in the wire.  So after wasting about 90 minutes outside, I realized my time had been wasted.  Oh well, I got some exercise, anyway, and the pullets enjoyed the green clover and grass for a while.  Before I put them back in the big plastic box that is their temporary home, I dumped out the dirty straw and gave them fresh straw.

I've been trying to come up with some sort of permanent housing for my flock of three.  Cliff told me I could have the old chicken house back, but he and the grandson are using it for storage for miscellaneous items.  I hate to make them move all that stuff.  Besides, three hens don't need all that room.  After my pen failed this morning, I decided to walk around the place and see if anything looked like it could be turned into a small henhouse.  Down in the pasture I saw my remaining two calf hutches and decided one of those might just work.  Cliff went right to work on it.  I think he was eager to do it, knowing it was one of the simplest things I ever asked him to do.  It's already finished.

Here's the calf hutch.  It's four feet wide and maybe six feet long.
 The calf hutch looks nasty.  That dirty looking stuff on it is tree drippings of some sort, because it's been sitting at the edge of a wooded area.

Here's the nest.  One nest will be plenty for 3 hens.  It's right inside the door of the hutch.

Finally, the roost.  You know, sometimes your chickens come home to roost.

OK, all that nasty-looking stuff on the walls inside are probably old, dried-up calf poop.  The chickens won't worry about that.  

In other happenings, I was reading a depression-era cookbook and saw a recipe for creamed tuna.  I like creamed spinach, creamed potatoes, creamed peas and carrots... but I was a little leery of this dish.  Then I checked and saw several recipes for creamed tuna, some that had very high ratings.  Many of the recipes there used cream of mushroom or cream of celery soup, but I wanted to do it the old-fashioned way and make my own sauce.  The book I was reading said to put it on toast to eat; other suggestions on allrecipes suggested it be served over rice or pasta.  

Once it was done (it took all of about 7 minutes), I used the toast for the first serving, but we both decided on untoasted bread on the next one, because you know what?  It looked and tasted like gravy!  We were both surprised at how good it was.  Next time I'll bake biscuits to have with it.  Apparently I'm out of peas, but most recipes say to put 1/2 cup to 1 cup of cooked peas; it was so good, I'm not worried about adding peas unless I happen to have them.  

Below is a little story about the recipe, by one of the ladies who submitted it to  

"Times were tough for my newly divorced mom in the 70's. I remember eating creamed tuna on toast with a green salad on the side at least weekly. It was one of my favorite meals, and I had no idea we were eating it out of necessity. Times aren't so tough now, but I still make this about once a month. It's great when you're in a hurry, or have limited supplies on hand. My kids love it too!"

On another note, two days ago I finally learned how NOT to ruin snickerdoodles.  Every time I tried making them, they turned out hard as a rock; I couldn't figure out what my problem was, but I've tasted snickerdoodles made by ten-year-olds that were delicious, so it was downright humiliating that I ruined them every time.  I'll admit there were a few times I wondered if I was cooking them too long, but they weren't even brown, so how was that possible?

One afternoon the grandson came over after work to talk to Cliff.  Usually I have cookies in the house, but that day there weren't any.  I decided to try making snickerdoodles while I had two cookie tasters in the house, and warned them I didn't know how the cookies would turn out, but that I intended to cook them for less time even if they looked raw.  The recipe suggests 8 to 10 minutes, and in the past they were so pale after 10 minutes, I let them cook longer, but not on this day!  The first cookie sheet full of cookies came out at 8 minutes.  I accidentally stuck my thumb in one as I carried them to the table; I could tell it needed more time, but I let them cool and the men trie them.  My seasoned tasters agreed the cookies needed more time in the oven.  I left the next ones for 10 minutes.  They were better; in fact, after they were totally cooled, they were probably fine.  Then I left some in for 11 minutes.  Perfection!  

The two judges enjoyed their job immensely.  

And that's about all I have to offer from Woodhaven Acres.  It's a lovely day, the first really warm one we've had in awhile; storms may come tonight and then again over the next three days.  We need rain, so I'm really hoping it comes to us.


Marlene said...

I got nothin’ !

Margaret said...

The chickens have a very comfy looking house! I won't tell you what we called creamed tuna(or chipped beef) on toast at my house. My dad was in the Marines and liked that dish, so we ate it at the end of the month when we were low on money. (teachers only get paid once a month and not very much in those days) I thought it was a treat!

The Feminine Energy said...

We've had rain upon rain upon rain for days now. Hopefully it ends this morning, as predicted, and the sun shines. This gloom does not lend itself to lifted spirits. I love old recipes and the stories that go with them. I think "creamed" items were a big deal back in the day, to make food stretch. Love, Andrea xoxo

Sharron McKee said...

I love the recycle-resuse theory in some of our lives!! I also love how you two shared that teaching with the most important person in my life!! Thankx!!

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Good to see you are healthy and keeping busy. That old calf house will make a good chicken hutch. The creamed tuna sounds wonderful and I agree about the biscuits being good with it. Tuna is very good and good for us. Yesterday was our first of summer like days and I finally planted the flowers I got for mothers day. Good thing too as they weren't doing so well sitting in the house. Here's hoping a good summer will get rid of all this virus stuff. We need more sunshine !

Amen said...


krueth said...

Mom also made creamed tuna and she would also boil eggs and chop them up and cream them over toast or biscuits. We ate them, not realizing how poor we really were. But with 7 kids and mom and dad, it stretched well. Mom made 13 loaves of bread every Tuesday and Saturday so we always could eat that too. Your chick hutch will work so well. Wendy