Thursday, May 12, 2011

Day 24 DP - Chickens???

Busy busy today!  Lots of activity - lots of pictures.  Day off from work. 
I started my day with a nice plate of sashimi for breakfast.  It's really good stuff.  Nice and tender - see through thin slices of bass.  My only problem is fending off the kids (who want to eat it just as much as I do).  They are not so understanding that this is my ONLY source of food.
sashimi bass

 After breakfast, I began working on the chicken coop/pen for the back yard. Let's talk chicken and Survivor for a minute.  I know it's a stretch of the rules a bit but I decided to do it for the adventure/experience factor.  And the way that I justify this is by following the TV show Survivor.  On several occasions the contestants have been given chickens or have captured chickens.  Sometimes they wait for the eggs to come - sometimes they just eat the chicken.  For my purposes I am planning on waiting for the eggs to come.  I don't think it's appropriate to buy the chickens - just to kill and eat them for this challenge.  So no chicken until the challenge is over - then I'll make a decision about what to do with them.
I picked out an area in the back corner and started thinking of ways to fence it in.  I remembered that on my last trip to the beach I saw many rolls of last season's dune fencing just laying all over the place.  I thought this might make a good fence for the chickens.  I grabbed my fishing rod (just in case) and took a ride up to the beach.  It was super high tide and rough.  Too rough to fish.  But there was a lot of fencing still there.  I inspected several rolls and finally found one that wasn't too beat up.  I hauled it off the beach and into my truck.  This will make a nice pen for the yard.  I planned to pick the kids up from school today in Marlboro and I heard of a farm nearby that had chickens for sale.  Time to get to work on the pen.  I did the best I could to get it into working order before having to leave.
The chicken pen
 For lunch today I got quite creative if I do say so myself.  I made some striped bass sushi rolls.  I used some brown rice & bass, stuffed it with some garden greens and  rolled it all up in a couple Swiss chard leaves.  It was EXCELLENT!
Sushi Rolls - survivor style!
I didn't have a solid plan for the roof of the chicken coop yet.  My first inclination is to just make an open style pen and maybe put a nesting area somewhere inside once they get settled.  Originally I was thinking about getting 3 guinea hens but after hearing how LOUD they were, I settled on 2 chickens.  The farmer said that this batch of chickens just started laying eggs and that they were about 18 weeks old.  I quickly realized that I have a lot of learning to do.
This kids came with me to the farm to pick out the birds.  Once we got home, we introduced them to their new home and they seemed to settle in nicely.
Welcome home girls.
 I had to make some modifications to the pen to prevent them from escaping - as well as to prevent predators from entering.  The farmer warned me of foxes and raccoons and birds of prey.  I don't think we have too much to worry about there - other than raccoons - they are quite crafty.  I built a little overhang where they can make a nest.  I put a birdbath inside.  And we got a 50 pound bag of chicken feed.  The kids are enjoying this little pet project right now.  They are trying to come up with some names - so far Clucky and Flappy are winning.
Pogey keeps a watchful eye on the new family additions from his boat side perch
We went out for dinner (or I should say I watched the kids go out to eat dinner) and when we came home there were two chickens wandering around our backyard.  Oh boy.  I guess chickens really can fly (a little bit).  Time to reinforce the pen again.  Our neighbors came over and said that they came by earlier to see the chickens and they were out of the pen so they gathered them up and put them back.  So this was the second escape.  Aren't they supposed to be pretty dumb animals?
I thought they might be squeezing through the fence posts so I added another layer of wire fencing around the perimeter.  In the morning I will make a fishing line roof - just in case they are actually flying out.  It's going to be an adventure.

For dinner I ate some more sashimi and made another Survivor Sushi Roll.  I came up with some better ideas for "weekly rewards" for the next time I tackle this challenge.  I would like to incorporate some other condiments and ingredients for sushi making.  Instead of the chocolate bar for week two I would prefer soy sauce, wasabi, and nori.  Maybe a little mayo and sarachi hot sauce as well.  Just a thought for next time - if there is a next time.
The sashimi is still good - maybe for 1 more day
 Oh - I almost forgot - the striped bass jerky.  Fantastic!  I think I nailed this recipe - not too salty, good flavor, nice texture.  Too bad there isn't that much of it.  Going to have to catch more fish soon.  Here's a little photo layout of the jerky process:

Thoroughly rinsed the brine and marinade off and placed it on upper rack of grill
Smoked with Hickory chips for 1 hour
4 layers of smoked fish strips on the dehydrator
Left overnight in the dehydrator
Bag full of fish jerky
This jerky will keep for months like this.  The only problem is that I am going to eat it ALL in a week (or less).

"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant."

No comments:

Post a Comment