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Europe » France » Aquitaine » Marmande
October 11th 2008
Published: October 14th 2008
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ChickensChickensChickens

Here they are when we first bought them
Enid and Kevin have left on a mini-break weekend to the Pyrenees, and left me in charge of the grounds. It's amazing how I can get people to think I'm trustworthy. Normally I don't have to work on the weekends, so I could sleep in if I wanted, but now as head farmer, I have to wake up with the cats to make sure all the chores are done. I thought this morning I would just get a little bit of a late start, but a starving cat cacophany got me up earlier than normal. First step is to put cat food in the otherwise-disinterested cats' bowl. I didn't even know there were cats until yesterday. Then, I have to feed the dogs, and let them out of the barn where they sleep. Animals get so noisy when they think they're forgotten! I can see traces of this in human behaviour sometimes too; "I know some people without brains who do an awful lot of talking".
After the dogs, I need to take care of the chickens...This is completely new to me. There is a little coop where they sleep, with an adorable little door that Kevin installed. But they're free-rangers, so there's an electric fence that is supposed to keep them enclosed. I need to turn on the fence, spread around some chicken feed, and let them out. And gather any eggs; I had fresh fried eggs for breakfast this morning, so good! However, the fence is completely useless, and two chickens (or the same chicken, twice) have already gotten loose on my watch. The last time was because the little dog, who follows me everywhere, thought it would be fun to jump into the chicken pen while I was feeding them. Sam leaps through the fencing, with nary a shock to his tiny body, and attacks the group of clucking hens. In a flurry, they scatter, one of them spurting out throught the electric wire. So now, one dog inside, and one hen outside, I need to somehow make an exchange without shocking myself or losing any more chickens. So I unplug the stupid fence, and try to corral the wayward hen. It's important to guide, not to scare the loose chicken, so I spread my arms out wide, crouch down, and start walking towards the hen. It takes many attempts to get her back near the fence, but
Chicken RunChicken RunChicken Run

Kevin put an adorable little door on their run.
eventually success is mine, and she climbs through. It is by sheer luck that Sam, intrigued by my game, crawled out himself during my hen corralling. I'm pretty sure the fence doesn't shock anything, since the dog passed in and out with such ease, but I'm not willing to test my theory.
Before they left, the Wilsons and I spent some time in their garden, getting it ready for winter. We amassed a large basket of tomatoes, most of which were green. All they could think to do with them was chutney, but I had a much better idea. Long enamored of fried green tomatoes, I suggested we try to make some. Enid was thrilled, and kept saying, "fried green tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe!!" in her best American accent, though it still came out "tomahtoes". I had no idea what she meant, until she explained that it was a movie. How funny that this delicious food item was nothing more than a hollywood figment to the British. So I made up a batch for lunch one day, and they were positively scrumptious. So good in fact, that Enid is going to make them for her French friends during their weekend trip. She didn't really ask for the recipe though, so I hope they turn out.

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16th October 2008

The worst way to test the functionality of an electric fence is to wizz on it. I learned that from educational cartoons when I was young. I can't believe people would claim that Ren & Stimpy is inappropriate for kids!
21st October 2008

fried green tomatoes!
kcc farmers market!

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