Tag Archives: Quackerdome

flashback from 2008

We decided to winterize Jaizzy’s little house, and while we had the roof propped open, she walked in and had serious inclinations to fly out and join the gang.  I had to change her mind.

A chipmunk was using her house to store acorns.  I told Jaizzy she should be charging for a storage fee.  No sign of feed hoarding, so if we really do have another rat, it’s probably taking the feed underneath the house.

You can see the boss here listing off all the chores we needed to tackle.

This is pre-cleanup.  She’s got a couple of vents for ventilation, but even with that we kept the floor pretty clear because the summer was so constantly damp this year that turds on the floor weren’t drying out in the straw, and the little house smelled like ammonia when it got hot.  So no straw on the floor all summer.  Chickens are very susceptible to mold growing in their litter and can get real sick if it stays damp.

So Scott had to get in there and scrape the floor….  Not as young as he used to be.

Post cleanup, Scott blocked up the vents to keep the cold wind out, and now Jaizzy has a layer of straw to jump down on.  Old ladies need a little cushioning for their rheumatiz in inclement weather.  After we closed the roof, Jaizzy went in checking it all out, talking, inspecting, testing.  She’s very thorough.  We got the thumbs up, 5 stars.

Here you get a glimpse of how popular Scott is.  All he had to do was bend over to pick up something, and the girls were ~on~ it.  He’s the king of the yard, he’s the bomb, he has magic hands, he can do no wrong, and they watch him like little hawks.  And they’re like cats, you can’t walk without nearly stepping on them.

Scott had a brainstorm for the bird feeder this year.  He has a Plan…

Basically, he says he is outsmarting the squirrels this year with those pvc pipes.  Skip to the big finish.  Those are sunflower heads in the feeder to let passers by know the restaurant is open for biz.

Then he installed a window into the Quacker Dome to cut down on the cold wind coming through.

Dooney is the official inspector for the Quacker Dome.

The afternoon got really exciting when Scott discovered a snake under a board…

 

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invisible garlic monster

Some people swear by dogs, others say there’s no finer watchdog than a guinea, but my girls do a pretty good job of alerting me to questionable scenes when they are out on patrol. This garlic/tomato bed, for instance- someone got in and dug up the whole garlic bed. You can see a few bulbs lying around in the dirt.

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I know what you’re thinking, because Scott thought it, too- the chickens obviously dug up the garlic while they were dusting. To which I reply How? Because the whole reason we put that mesh up was because they kept dusting there, and it wasn’t until after the fence was up that suddenly garlic bulbs are laying around on top of the dirt.

What got my attention in the first place was the sudden “I’ve just laid an egg” sounding cackle right under my kitchen window.  photo 10confazzled.gif How? Why? And they had never cackled in that little bed before, even before there was a fence and they could dust at their convenience. Had one really laid an egg? My chickens are prone to such habit that I’ve never found an egg outside of the Quackerdome, so either she couldn’t get back and therefore couldn’t help laying an egg in there, or something else must be going on. I never did find an egg, so maybe I translated wrong and it was a whole different cackle.

I asked the girls how they got past security, and we had to walk the little fence before we discovered a hole big enough for a chicken to squeeze through. They’d already lost where it was and were trying to get out by the time I got there. Took awhile to find the hole because it was so hidden by tomato bush, no wonder the girls couldn’t find their way back out. They were all on alert for some reason, though, and I think it’s because they could see all the changes in their old dusting spot that I couldn’t. Chickens are super detail freaks, in high gear noticing change because it can mean life or death. They don’t like something being different from the way they left it when they come back to it later.

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Something as big as a chicken forced its way underneath a part that wasn’t staked down, spent quality time digging up all the bulbs (probably found a load of grubworms), and then left before dawn. My chickens have dusted in there plenty of times and never once dug up garlic bulbs, so they found fresh holes very disturbing. Anything that can dig can also get into chicken pens. It would be like you coming home to find your stuff moved around- would you feel safe? Of course not. Scott wanted to blame the chickens for the garlic bed being all dug up, even though chickens aren’t very smart about muscling their way under fences (stuff like that is like math to them, iz hard), until he caught a big armadillo in a catch ’em live trap a couple of nights later. Armadillos love digging holes all over looking for grubs.

So I have a bunch of garlic on my hands now. I’ve already used a bunch, this is still on my counter.

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I’ve also got tomatoes showing up along the deck railing nearly every day like magic, so I bring them in and they pile up on the counter, as well. Other people I know can their own tomatoes and sauces, but that’s a lot of work and I’m busy and tired. I found another way to process that’s super easy.

I line a cookie sheet with foil, quarter a pile of tomatoes, and clean up a couple heads of garlic, like so.

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Then I drizzle a little canola oil over the pile and toss it up with my hands until it all looks oily. I used canola because it handles high heat really well.

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That goes into a 400 degree oven for 30-60 minutes. I can’t be more exact because I don’t really look at the clock. I go by smell and how it looks. When it starts looking like this, I pull the pan out to cool.

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After it’s cooled off, I spoon the mushy maters n garlics into little snack bags and put them into the freezer. They keep really well, and the flavor is fabulous when I add them later to other food I’m cooking.

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I don’t know anyone else who can say they get help harvesting and cooking from armadillos and chickens. I think we make a pretty good team.