Monday, February 28, 2011

Cake and Chickens

Ah, my two favorite things.  Both happened today.  So what to start with... cake or chickens?

Lets do chickens.  The day started rather normally, except for one thing.  I apparently forgot to open the little door that connects the coop with the run.  I think I forgot because the chickens usually bust right past me out the bigger door in the morning since they're eager and ready to get their grazing on, so they were already out in the yard.  I opened the run up so they can get into their food and water but just forgot to open the other one.  This afternoon, I went out to clean some poop and refill their food dishes when I noticed there were no eggs.  As I was feeling puzzled by this, I saw that the little door was closed.  As soon as I opened it up, Frannie came running in like she was prairie doggin' an egg.  Pretty funny.

So I left her in peace and went about refilling food troughs.  I opened the "barn" door (we call the shed that houses all the chicken supplies like food, scratch, and straw "the barn") which resulted in Abby and Mabel running in.  For some reason, they LOVE the barn and scratching around for any dropped corn kernels and such.  But this time, Abby hopped up onto the straw bale and sat like she needed to lay an egg.  Feeling bad about being a bad chicken mommy and thinking her egg may also be turtle-heading, I just let her sit.  I came back about 3 minutes later, and there already was an egg under her!  I quickly got my camera so I could report to daddy about the crazy thing that Abby did today.  Luckily, I also got footage of her after-laying-triumph-calls.  I think all chickens do this, squawking like they're really proud of their accomplishments or something.  The video is a little long, but I wanted to include Mabel trying to burrow into the nest as far as she can go... crazy girl.

Soon after this video, Mabel left the nest without laying so I grabbed the egg.  And it was ice cold.  What???  How could that be?  Didn't Abster just lay it?  She must have laid it last time we cleaned the coop... but how could she have creeped by and done that without us noticing?  But then why was she calling like she had just laid?  It's still a mystery.  I opened the egg and it was totally fine, so it hasn't been sitting there that long.  It's a good thing it's been coooold out to keep it chilled.

This leads me to where the egg went: the cake.

It was Shawn's Ma's birthday yesterday, so today I made dinner and a birthday cake for her.  I decided to make a simple yellow cake and top it with some good stuff.  What kinds of good stuff?  You know, the usual, fresh fruit, whipped cream, and to make it extra special, lemon curd.  I grew up eating lemon curd, but I've come to realize that lemon curd is not a staple in many people's diets.  We always ate it on bagels, on top of the cream cheese.  Never done it?  Do it, it's the best way to eat toasted bagels.

Home-made eggs make for a very yellow lemon curd.
Lemon curd is really simple to make.  Take a microwave-safe bowl and mix together a cup of sugar, the juice from 2 lemons, two eggs, 4tbs melted butter, and the zest from those two lemons.  Mix it all up and microwave, stirring every minute to 45 seconds until it thickens.  You can also do it on a double-boiler, but microwaving it is way easier.  Put it in a nice jar, and there you go.  It'll stay good in the 'fridge for about 2 weeks.

The cake I made is a cream cake (you use whipping cream instead of milk) and I found it here.  I whipped up the remaining whipped cream from the recipe and sliced up some strawberries.  I feel a little guilty about buying fresh fruit when it is totally out of season, but sometimes I just want it.  Put it all together, and it looks like this:

Oh yeah, I went to Goodwill today.  As usual, there were some serious finds.  I'm itching to get started on my garden, so I found a watering can and some planting pots and trays for the greenhouse we'll be getting soon.

Cake, chickens, Goodwill.  It's the little things that really make my day.

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