ABIGAIL WENT BROODY!!

Abigail, our 11-month-old Pilgrim goose

I just cannot believe our good fortune!  God certainly is blessing us in the poultry area at the moment.

She’d built her nest awhile ago and had been laying an egg in it every other day.  I collected some for the incubator and had been storing the rest in the basement because the nights have still been dropping below freezing and she wasn’t sitting yet.

But today I put those eight eggs back in her nest because it isn’t supposed to freeze again, and shortly thereafter she commenced sitting!

I was surprised that Uncle Waldo wasn’t with her and is instead spending this lovely sunny spring day out on the pond.

He kept close tabs on me while I was busy planting a new Stanley plum tree and a Red Haven peach tree, but he didn’t try to attack me.

I put food and a bucket of water in the duck-n-goose house with Abigail and quietly closed the door to keep the chickens from pestering her, as they seemed determined to do.

Here is some helpful information about broody geese from Domestic Geese by Dr. Chris Ashton:

“More females are lost in spring through lack of care than at any other time. It is essential to make a note of the date when the goose first sat seriously, both for the sake of her health and that of the goslings. Females that have been left to sit for more than 32 days off and find it very difficult to revive their appetite, and sometimes die.

First of all, the goose and gander should be wormed when she is definitely broody. The gander also tends to lose his appetite when the goose is sitting. The advantage of worming for the goose is that she does not lose so much condition while she is sitting and, if she becomes ill, one possible cause of disease is eliminated. Also, both birds will be free of worms when they lead the goslings out.

 The goose must be fed and watered once a day. This should not be too hurried an affair, as she will want to carefully cover her eggs with down, so that they remain warm in the nest for some time and are camouflaged. Wheat in a bucket of water is suitable, and the goose should be encouraged to swim if the weather is hot and dry, as this will give the eggs the correct amount of moisture.

If the birds are tame, the feeding and watering procedure is not a problem, as a tame goose will allow you to look at the eggs and left her off the nest, and a tame gander will not attack. In these circumstances, a goose can be fed twice a day if she is losing too much condition. With fierce birds it is much more problematical, and it is best to drive the gander to a place out of the way when you want to drive the goose off the nest, otherwise smashed eggs will result. Geese that are accustomed to sitting will probably look after themselves, but you must check. Young birds need more attention because they have not been through this process before, and can become very run down by sitting too tightly.” (Ashton, pp 131-133).

Provided she stays on the nest and the eggs are viable, the goslings should hatch on May 8th!

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Sunday Dinner: A very simple roast chicken recipe for the novice cook.

the ultimate roast chickenchicpangrav

 

(header images from Food Wishes)

 

My husband is on ski patrol at a nearby ski area every Sunday, and when he gets home in the early evening he is usually exhausted, cold, and very hungry. I try to have something nutritious prepared for dinner ahead of time so that when he gets home, he can just eat, shower, and fall into bed. Today I’m roasting a whole chicken to go with some leftover baby red-skinned potatoes and salad.

Chef John at Food Wishes is one of my favorite recipe bloggers. His video recipe for The Ultimate Roast Chicken, which I mentioned on my old blog, is so easy and yields a very moist and delicious roast chicken.  When we stopped being vegetarians (and I was a lifelong vegetarian who had never prepared meat dishes before), I used this recipe for the very first whole chicken I ever prepared; watching the video several times beforehand was really helpful to the novice.

I’ve changed Chef John’s recipe a bit to make it even easier and to reflect my family’s tastes, so I’ll tell you what I do and drop in a few pictures with my iPad, but you should watch his video, too.

Ingredients

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 t each of dried thyme, rosemary, and parsley (Chef John uses fresh, and you can too, but I rarely have fresh herbs around in the winter, so I substitute dried)
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic
  • zest from 1 fresh lemon (I use a citrus zester, but you can do it with a fine grater, too)
  • 1 t each of kosher salt and black pepper
  • whole chicken (3-4 pounds, but really any size will work fine)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Remove chicken from package, take out anything in the cavity (neck, giblets, etc) and rinse well under cold water. Pat dry with paper towel and set it in the pan. Because I’m making Chef John’s recipe for pan gravy with this, I’m roasting my chicken in a cast iron skillet; when the chicken is done, I can place it on a platter and then make the pan gravy right in the skillet I used to roast it. image
  3. Fold wings under so they don’t burn.
  4. Mash herbs, seasoning, lemon zest, and garlic into the softened butter.
  5. Using your fingers or a thin rubber spatula, loosen the chicken’s skin over the breasts.
  6. Insert 2/3 of the herb butter under the skin (1/3 for each breast) and massage it all around until it coats the whole breast.
  7. Salt and pepper the inside cavity of the chicken, then cut the lemon you zested into quarters and stick the wedges into the cavity.
  8. Tie chicken legs shut with kitchen twine or tuck them together under the bird.
  9. Rub the remaining 1/3 of the herb butter over the outside of the chicken.

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    Here’s my bird, ready for the oven.

  10. Roast for about one hour until its internal temperature is about 165 degrees. You can baste it part way through if you want.

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Not only is the dish easy, but it’s also fairly inexpensive. I just paid $.99/pound at Meijer for this conventionally-raised chicken (free-range and organic ones cost more but are worth it if you can find them and budget permits).

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Speaking of food, here is an update on the New Year’s cooking resolution front:

I’ve got a whiteboard in the kitchen that I’m using to write the upcoming week’s ideas for menu planning on and I’ve got a running shopping list going. For me, I think just having a plan will be more than half the battle when it comes to cooking while working full-time:

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The pot roast is for next Sunday and the pasta dishes, tofu, and pork chops are for the weeknights.