Sunday, April 03, 2011

current affairs

bee in heal all

current state of the corn field

dirt eater?
let's see, some overwintered kale, a seed bed, some onions, and a couple compost piles

chicken laying an egg


Kate said...

So that's what all heal looks like. Good to know. It might grow as a weed here. I'll have to check this year.

Madcap said...

Do chickens generally back up like that to lay? I don't have any experience with laying hens.

Btw, we definitely have several big patches of stinging nettle! I feel a bit odd about saying it, but Yay!

WV is "butshide", which sounds ambiguously rude.

CG said...

yes, yay for stinging nettle. I'm good with it as a green but didn't like it much back then (preggo) as a tea. Maybe my tastes have changed though.

Heal all certainly grows everywhere here.

CG said...

oh yeah, you did ask a question. Hens "nest", which generally means some protection (corners are popular, or something like an overturned canoe or plastic sled (just for instance)) and something like leaves or hay or shavings that they can peck and throw over their back as they get up. They have a nest box in the coop which most use but all of them never do. When they are first laying, sometimes it surprises them and you'll find eggs out by themselves somewhere. One time I saw a hen lay an egg in flight (it broke). An egg rolled off our roof this year. Etc. Animals are funny.

Kate said...

Hey, CG, got a question for you. I think I recall that you grow flint or dent corn for your own consumption. Is that correct? If so, could you please tell me how you remove the kernels from the cob. I'm convinced there must be a tool that facilitates this, but as I don't know what that tool is called, I'm having trouble finding one. The only tools I can find are for sweet corn, which I imagine is an entirely different beast. I'll be growing flint corn for the first time this year. Any tips you have on your routine of growing, harvesting, and cooking/eating the corn you grow would be most welcome.


CG said...

there is a tool, an antique usually, and all I have seen are cast iron. I've always called them a corn sheller. They have a hopper feeder (only one cob at a time) and a plate that it turned with a handle, the corn goes in, it rubs against the knobby plate, the corn comes off and the mostly empty cob is expelled to the side.

We have one, we have used it, but mostly we just shell out what corn we want right then by hand. Since we generally use two cups at a time, this isn't difficult -- not like facing the whole corn crop.

Also, corn has to really be dry to shell, either with a sheller or by hand.

We have great big (50-100#) fiber sacks that we get with feed the animals go through that we keep and then use for the corn. We let it dry on the stalk as much as possible, then gather it, put it in sacks, and generally it stays in the house. Do watch for meal bugs but we have less problems with them the less something is processed.

We eat it as corn bread and corn cakes mostly, and keep threatening to make hominy and grits out of it too.

Sweet corn is an entirely different beast but . . . you can also dry sweet corn and then soak and cook it and it is delicious in its own right. Like dried green beans, an entirely different thing than either sweet corn or hard corn.

If you need it, I can probably post a photo of the corn sheller. Eventually.

Kate said...

CG, thanks for the reply. A sheller, that's what it's called. I knew I'd heard of such a tool, but I couldn't recall the name. I see Lehman's has a simple hand held one. Maybe I'll try that. I have some of those feed bags too. I'll have to see about hanging them somewhere to keep the mice away. It's either that, or lock the cats in the shed overnight. I'm thinking about making tortillas out of our corn, at least as an experiment. I'll wait to see how our own corn tastes as tortillas before investing in one of those tortilla presses though.

Thanks again!

CG said...

to make tortillas, you first need to make masa. To make masa, you first need to make hominy. It isn't hard but if you try to make tortillas out of ground corn, it isn't going to taste right.

I haven't seen a hand held sheller but I wouldn't think it would be much punkin'. Really, you do not need a tool for every little thing (I should make a blog post about this because we were just talking about a blogger who, in 2006, swore he had to have a tractor and lots of other stuff and so now, in 2011, he's broke and soon to be bankrupt IMO). We have a sheller because we picked one up at a flea market for nothing years ago, but we rarely use it.

We don't have a tortilla press. The Mexicans have told us grandmother uses hands and a bowl of water (with which to wet the hands). We have sometimes used two flat surfaces and a bit of plastic wrap (which is all a press is).