The Best Dressed Chicken In Town

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I’m working my way through the ‘b’ list on the iPod. The Dr. Alimantato is in.  I am guessing this was a “best of” edition.  He gave us, “The Best Dressed Chicken In Town” today.  Which while cooking zee Fritons, I thought of Darryl.  Above is Darryl ( he has another brother Darryl.  Together they are Darryl and my other brother Darryl ).
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Way back in the day, okay before Z was born, I ran rogue chickens.  I didn’t mean to run rogue chickens.  It’s that we were starting this grass-fed thing and the kids and the whole baby deal … the chooks were left with a daily trip by me with food and water.  The rest was them doing their thing.  Everything went well, but there were a few chooks taken away by predators.  Those chooks were red or white.  The black girls, stayed forever.  We still have them.  Hearty girls.  When it came time to buy thirty chickens, I recommended the black ones.  I have yet to lose a black hen ( unless they are young and fly straight into a window because a stupid puppy said so ).  We’ll see how black and white speckled girl goes.

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Darryl is very handsome. I’d say the best dressed chook in town. The other cockerels are nice and all. OH and they do their job, but Darryl has that strut. He looks after his girls.

I have no idea what the Jamaican reference to “best dressed chicken” might be, so let’s leave it as it is written. The tune is fabulous for this warm winter we are experiencing.

The cows are in and grazing Nebraska. Happy cows.

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Extra bonus should you read this far …

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This gem is mounted securely in the workshop. I’m not sure what we walk away with given this message. I feel like maybe some sunglasses or some sunscreen or maybe sitting in the sun in a mumu. Oh look! sun! I’m on it.  It’s naturelle!

You Got Your Electrons, Your Protons and Your Fritons

Girl On Grill Action

searching for fritons

Making Fritons today.  These are lovely, crunchy ducky bits.  They are the Gascon version of Chicharrón.  Duck skin and fat leftover from your gorgeous duck butchering boiled in fat.
hot vat of duck fat

I’ve not done Fritons before.  I asked our local duck farmer extraordinaire how to cook them.   She said, “just cook the shit out of them.” … but it was in French and I’m sure she said something more elegant and less American.
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Once these little crunchies become crunchy, I’ll slot them out with a spoon and salt.  Fritons are a great snack that will keep you going until dinner.

WKRP electron, proton, neutron ref:

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Bodie. It’s Alive!

Girl On Grill Action

kitchen benchtop

After much pressure from my husband, I finally created life with him other than human.  This is Bodie.  He is our sourdough starter.  Below, you can see he has just been fed.  He will bubble and froth soon.

Bodie, our sourdough starter

A ladle of this fermented beast mixed with flour, salt, duck fat and warm water will bring sourdough joy to serve with many things.

Zélie did the advanced dry pour, I added water.  We stretched and kneaded for five minutes or so.  After, we did some loaves.

she likes to whisk

It runs something like this:

  • A kilo of flour
  • 25 g of salt
  • A big scoop of duck fat
  • 600ml of water
  • A ladle of Bodie ( or your Bodie equivalent )

Mix it in and do the stretchy knead thing.  Things will be sticky.  This was a rye loaf so only needs one rising.  From here, make your loaves.  After a few hours, bake…

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Evening Cow Move

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Brent  moved the cows this evening.  He was going to do it tomorrow, but there is grass and we are finishing those steers.  The cows were totally cool.  They follow him calmly wherever he walks.  Sure if you have a cow or two following you … seems cool, but to have a herd of a mix of 0,1,2 and the rest-year-olds following you, it can be intimidating … if you are me ( it wasn’t me, but maybe me someday.  no, it was him and he wasn’t intimidated.  But look at those horns! ).  He wandered off to grab the water dish before he did the move.  I stood by the gate distracting them with jokes about chickens so they wouldn’t follow him.  They were a great audience.  That steer was snickering, “to get to the other side … ha!moo!  of course! good one!!”

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Everyone went through nicely.  One mother cow showed the new calves the routine.

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They munched away.  The sun began to set.  And then Glenda the Good Witch arrived with her daughter.

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I helped with the water and failed.  I lost a doohickey.  Thankfully Brent corrected my ways and I learned something new about crazy water connectors.

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I wore my best shoes for the occasion and stepped in some fresh merde.

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Speaking of merde, this is old poo from the last (ish) graze.  Most of the pats have been splattered about by birds, chickens, worms or beetles.  This one wasn’t.

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This is fresh poo. To you, poo.  To us, fertility and future grass density.

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What I find interesting is the gorgeous grass that is left untouched when the cows run through.  To me, that looks fantastic!  Such green!  Such length!  To a cow, they smell something too fresh or too intense to munch.  You’ll notice everything else has been munched like a lawn mower.

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Steer Front, Steer Butt

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Brent is working hard on finishing these cows. We finish on grass which challenges you with extra variables such as weather, grass species and many other things that Brent knows more than I. Should you fatten with corn, things are straightforward. We’ve had a great stretch of rain followed by a few days of sun and the grass is growing. And the cows are grazing. The herd seems to be eating well and plumping up. We are after flavor. The cows graze on the same terroir suited for wine, foie gras and Armagnac. Those rocks do their part when it comes to flavor. Our next beef will be ready in April.  When they shed their wooly coat, it’s easier to see what is going on.  Maybe a little Armagnac massage will do.

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Time To Mow The Lawn

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The cows did a great job mowing Colorado.  A few twigs stand here and there, but that’s all fertility.  Brent stopped feeding hay a few weeks ago.  It’s all about grazing now.

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A machine and man mowed this lawn.  It looks beautiful.  I need to mow our lawn.  If only we could bring the cows ’round for a spell.
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A new calf was born today.  A great little guy from a lovely cow.  He’s the shiny black one there.  Brent had to wait a bit and a bit more before he could tag it.  The little guy was hungry.

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I stood by as the electric fence switcher-offer.  This was my view.  Brent’s view was much more spectacular.  But I managed to work the afternoon chili.

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The herd munched away while the little guy was getting used to his new surroundings.  When all was done, there was a water rush.  Not because they were thirsty.  No, because Brent pulled the back fence down.  Which could possibly mean food.  It turns out the food was the other way and the only thing interesting was water and we know how they love to take turns with the water dish.

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They get a giant scratch post in this strip.  Oh how the herd loves a good scratch.

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Today’s Casualties

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Brent’s tractor battery in “S.O.S” mode has been brought back to life.  The tractor, it runs.  And that’s my “women’s bathroom” silhouette.

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Giraffe pillow and “pink banklet” matched with two green chairs had some sort of fun today, not sure what.

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Two old Skoda tires were stacked, not sure why.

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Peppa enjoyed the sun.  No doubt a puppy chew and judging by the tuft of fur on her dress, Tosca joined in as well.

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This rolling thing was used today.  I’m sure there were giggles.

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Things were built and displayed  for appreciation.

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The cows are in and munching away.  I love this mode.  Today gave us a Teletubbie sun.  Yesterday, more heptagons.

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Another Gorgeous Day In France

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This has been a fabulous winter.  Sure, a bit of rain, but no snow!  And now we have sun!  And Brent says the grass grew an inch today!

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The cows graze and ruminate and graze again.  They love sleeping in the sun.

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Lumi is the color of limestone.  Pictured above, you will see a shadow and some eyes.  The rest is Golden Retriever, limstone edition.  He still gets dirty, but he can skip a bath or two.  No one will notice.

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The kids are still on vacation.  France has a lot of vacation.  We love this.  We love it when the kids are running around, fighting, giggling, doing shows and making shit up.  The house is full of life.  Today, Otto walked very,very far away and had a picnic.  He packed some veal stew with rice, some carrots,  all the things needed to make some coffee and didn’t forget the chocolate.  He tweeted his way to a perfect picnic spot and set everything out.  Only then did he realize that he had forgotten the spoon!  Thankfully the girls were on their way by bicycle to check the mail and delivered a few cutlery options.  After, they all splashed away in the very cold river for hours.  “We are having so much fun, Mom!”  Lucy says on the talkie-walkie, “what time to you want us home?”  “Come home before dark,” I say.

Cows Head For Water, The Play-By-Play

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Oh it is SO LOVELY today.  I found a moment to sit down and watch the cows drink water.  They are pretty munch done with their current strip, so the water bowl is back where they started.  The cows happily walk to water once or maybe twice a day, then head back to the good grass to munch.  Above, is a small crew heading off for a quick drink.  That last cow ran to catch up.

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Oh and here is another.  She, no wait, HE – it’s a steer – looks like he’s ready for a great slurp of water.

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Wait, but look!  Another has joined him.  Ooo.  Incroyable! It’s getting very exciting.  Cows walking to water can be unpredictable.  Those two both walked.  They are getting into slurp mode.  Cows don’t “lap” water like a dog or a cat, no, they slurp.  They slurp water as though they were using a straw.  We could do that.  A big, twisty cow straw.  They would totally love that.  But we would need a few twisty cow straws as that herd has no patience when it comes to water bowls.

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And hey!!!  One is coming back.  Oh she looks so refreshed.  Such hot, Spring sun.  I wonder when the rest will return.  I think I see them coming.

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I dusted off those things you call “sunglasses”  and sat in the warm.  That was nice.  Now, it’s off to make dinner.

A Little Pre-season Baseball in France

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Otto set up a baseball field in one of the paddocks ( California ‘t’ specifically ).  He has been reading Peanuts and is fascinated with baseball and “kick the can.”  Lucy played first base.  She looks great.  She needs a bit of warning when the batter hits the ball and heads to first base.  “LUCY!!”  seems to work.  Otherwise, her hair looks awesome in that hat.

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The view from the pitcher’s mound was amazing.  Clear sky.  Warm.  Green.

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Milkshake came out to man third and then wandered off to eat mice.

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Otto has a talent for trash talking.  Not sure where he got that sh*&&t from.

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Otto offered a French soldier helmet for protection.  That tennis ball can come in pretty fast, so it is important to regard one’s safety.

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Our catcher was fairly grumpy, but did her job.  She was nursing an injury.  Sometimes a band-aid on the knee can give you an edge.

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Despite her open flesh wound, she played catcher like a pro.

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The cows were fat and fed and soon to be fed some more.

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After a few innings, Brent had to move the bovines.  We cleaned up and had a little snack.

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