Wednesday, 8 January 2020
Thursday, 2 January 2020
Wednesday, 11 December 2019
No matter how many times I tell him, it's no point waiting by the chimney. He's not coming TODAY. At the earliest sign of tinsel and Santa stockings, he's sniffing and poking around. Bennie just loves Christmas. He knows it's a time of more food than usual. More baking, more leftovers, more likely loose items of food fallen to the kitchen floor. Having just done another round of mince pies, the kitchen floor now has a slight pastry coated film about it and those loose raisins have a way of hiding in corners until you have someone come and visit, then they suddenly appear. This was my first attempt at fruit mince pie baking. Having decided to spend a little less this year, I decided that baking my own would be this years challenge.
I've had some monumental yuletide disasters over the years including Christmas Cakes that would hold up ancient ruins and berry tarts with pastry so hard you could dry wall your house with it. So this year I set out with realistic expectations (meaning none). I'm using a triple tested recipe and one that doesn't require rare ingredients from some unpopulated island in the Pacific or some alcoholic beverage that is only available by travelling more than 24 hours on a plane. So my first batch was undertaken with a somewhat distracted approach, and as a result turned out semi decent considering I left out only two of the ingredients. It's always when you later go back to the fridge then you wonder why that particular item is still there. Oops! I also didn't have the right baking tins and didn't have the right size star cookie cutter so my first batch fruit mince pies were renamed 'make-do mince pies'. Not a bad result, certainly edible. So gave the second batch a serious go with all of the ingredients and even the right pans and star shape cutter. My only substitute was whisky for brandy, and only because that's all I had. Other than being a little bit lethal and not recommended if you are the designated driver, I'm happy with how they turned out. So is Bennie. Oh, he'll just sleep it off.
Wednesday, 20 November 2019
Tuesday, 12 November 2019
You know those days when you realise that the only one who understands you is a rooster? Ok, well perhaps it is only me but Crossbeak was a dear friend. When you had a day that left you wondering what the hell is wrong with the world and why don't people just do what you would expect them to do, Crossbeak was right there with you. He'd stand next to you, right beside your feet with that funny little squawk that said 'oh yeah, life's crap sometimes but you just get on with it'. And so you would. Crossbeak started out in life with a serious disfigurement to his beak that meant that the top one was headed in the complete opposite direction to the bottom one and almost impossible for him to eat. Me, in my great wisdom took him off to the vet for some minor surgery. The vet was able to clip his beak a bit shorter so he could eat. When I got him home in the box he was in shock and couldn't move. I thought I'd almost killed him. I should have just sent him off to one of those resorts in Asia that people go to and come back looking like a completely different person. But Crossbeak didn't need a little freshening up, he needed to survive. And that he did. The other chickens didn't care about his peculiar looks, there was even the odd (short sighted) girlfriend but they never lasted long (we're talking minutes not months). As he struggled to eat off the ground I always hand fed him what I could before getting into trouble from Lewis the head rooster, and always had a special treat for him at the back door. He'd follow me around the property like a pet dog and inspect every weed I pulled. He'd make a mess of himself with the leftover sponge cake and couldn't get the cream off his face before getting found out by the others. Unfortunately he went downhill recently and his tail feathers were getting lower and lower. He was struggling to swallow food and yesterday he quietly passed away. Farewell Crossbeak. I'll miss our little chats. The world is a lesser place without you (wipe the tears off the keyboard now...).
Monday, 4 November 2019
Could have been something he ate? Not sure. A night in the emergency Vet Hospital and $1200 later, he comes home to sleep it off as Nurse Minnie oversees the sleeping patient. And whilst I'd like to think that his nurse is more concerned about his welfare than the fact he's on her bed, I could be a bit wrong. It's so hard when your beloved animals are unwell. They can't speak to tell you which bit hurts so you have to make a lot of assumptions and pay a lot of money to have every possibility eliminated. We thought it might have been something he stole from the chook pen, like too much bread, pastry etc., or could have been some of the old eggs he finds around the property, that only he knows the location of. Either way, he wasn't travelling at all well and didn't get up for an entire day. He was not eating or drinking which was not his style so we needed to make a call. He seemed to be in some sort of pain in the rear end region but we couldn't say exactly, which made us think it could be a bite or injury. We know if it was snake bite we wouldn't be standing around scratching our heads, and he most likely wouldn't be still around to see us do that. So a late night visit to some wonderful staff at the Hobart Vet Hospital who kept us well informed during the night. X-Rays, examinations, medication. Nothing found, a few digestive issues but at least we could rule out the sinister possibilities. He's home now and fast asleep as the medication from this morning will keep him confined to bed for the day. As for his full time carer - unfortunately she's asleep on the job and officially stood down. Very unreliable.