Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Little Red Hen and a Spring Sautee

       I am extremely thankful for the generosity of mountain people. Two weeks ago,  I pitched an article idea to a magazine about gathering spring foods (ramps, morels, asparagus) and they accepted it.  But, they asked me to provide a recipe and picture with all three foods cooked together, so that meant I had to find all three foods on the same day.  The weather here has been alternately hot and cool so things are growing out of season.  By yesterday, I was quite panicky.  Morels and ramps are just about through their season while the asparagus suffered a freeze setback this week.  How was I going to fulfill my promise to the editor?
     Neighbors and family to the rescue!  My friends Sandy, Hilda, Koressa and Linda all had a few asparagus spears that hadn’t been nipped by frost.  

My friends Lori and Caroline went mushroom hunting while I was on an afternoon field trip with the middle school.  
                        My new friend Faye let me hike up to her ramp patch in the woods.

My friend Cheryl provided a recipe (okay Cheryl, you don’t live in the mountains, but you are a mountain girl at heart).  My friend Dr. Joe actually had goat cheese in his fridge for my new recipe. My son, Justin, let me have all the mushrooms and ramps he’d found ( a big sacrifice since they are his favorite food) and then helped me in the kitchen. My husband cooked breakfast for me while I spent two hours in the only sunlight I knew we would get today trying to get some pictures of the dish I cooked.
     "Who will help me make my dish?" I cried.
     "I will!" shouted  eleven people willing to go out of their way to help one panicked writer.  The Little Red Hen should have come to my mountain home when she decided to bake bread.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Last Chicken Chasing Chapter....We Hope

When I walked out to the back forty last week, the rooster had gathered the hens together to make an important announcement.
Ladies, something is going on over at the henhouse!

Follow me and I'll show you.

Look, Joe has driven some posts in
 the ground and he appears to be fastening something to them.

Now, they are stretching fence wire around.

They've put it all around the back of the chicken house.

 Next, the chicken chasing dog walked over to inspect the job.
Gosh, that fence looks pretty hard to get through.

I can only get my head through.  How will I play with the chickens?

I guess I won't.  Here ladies, come over here where I can grab you... closer, closer....
You can't get us.

But, we can't get out to play in Ginny's flower beds and garden anymore  either...

The end......Or is it?

Friday, April 6, 2012

She Huffed and She Puffed and She Chased the Lamb Down

This time of year brings out the worst in the cows and lambs.  They won’t stay where they belong.  I knew today was going to be an escapish kind of day when we went out at six thirty this morning to bring in the steers and heifers that were going to market.  Of course, they all romped into the pen for food, but they would not and could not seem to romp into the smaller pen where we were trying to corral them.  They whirled and kicked and bawled and ran past our outstretched arms.  Finally we had all of them in the sorting pen and Joe commenced to tapping rumps and sending various bovines in various directions.  He told me to stand in the gap and swing one way for all the animals except number 35.  She was to be sent into the smallest pen of all.  Well, I penned her and then when I turned to shoo away some other heifers she unpenned herself.  It went like that all morning.  Finally, we gave up, loaded up anything we could find and decided to sort things out at the Ag Center where the heifers were being sold and the pens are more suited for sorting.

On my way home from the sorting sortie, I saw one of our lambs in the road.  He was not too distressed about things until I drove up on him to try and gently persuade him to turn back toward the hole under the fence from whence he had crept.  As soon as I left my vehicle, the lost lamb ran as fast as he could north up the road.  The hole was south.  I jumped back in my vehicle, raced ahead of him, skidded into a neighbor’s driveway, jumped out and began to chase him back south.  When some kind friends drove by and saw my middle aged sweating self waving my arms and running pell mell up the road, they stopped to help.  The lamb dodged them and fled south past the hole, so they jumped in their truck and raced to get ahead of him, while I huffed and puffed back to my car and spun out of the driveway to keep him from turning north again.  It took all three of us to convince that little lamb to make the turn into the gate, but he is safe with the flock for now.  Until he decides to escape again.

Then, when I got home from the chase, I discovered a message on my answering machine.  One of our cows was roaming town browsing on the flowers in our neighbors’ yards.  

Justin agreed to go after her.  I think I’ll go up to my studio where there is no phone and no view of the road.