A frigidly cold week on ye old urban homestead. The temperature, with windchill, is -50C today. It might be warmer on Mars. The frigid cold does not stop us, however. With the miracle of natural gas, a high efficiency furnace, and a remote car starter, we just keep on going.
I started the January Cure with apartment therapy this weekend. I did it last last year, but had to quite half way through because I went to Kamloops to do a show. The assignment this weekend was to clean all the floors and buy flowers for your house. I skipped the flower buying because I still have a gorgeous poinsettia from the holidays that is totally thriving in my house. My house usually kills plants within a couple weeks (even those that claim to only need low, indirect light), but this poinsettia still looks great. I did get the floors done eventually. We had company this weekend, so I spent most of my time with them, but I was so anxious to get the floors done, I swept and mopped every nook and cranny of the kitchen at 10 p.m. on Saturday night. Will called me crazy, but it was nice to wake up and have sparkly clean floors in the morning.
I declared this to be the Winter of Soups, and so it has been. I made two more soups this week: Thai Coconut Pumpkin and Potato Leek. Both are fantastic. Luckily, I had picked up a soup chicken at the Farmers’ Market a couple weeks ago ($3! What a deal!), so I had plenty of bones to make lots of stock.
Speaking of stock, I have to confess something. You may have noticed a chicken missing from the photos lately. Liesl is gone. We butchered her back in October. I just couldn’t bring myself to write about it on the blog, partly because I know how people are going to react (you butchered your pet?!?), and partly out of respect for Liesl. So yes, I butchered “my pet.” Liesl was one of our original two. She was already three years old when we got her. She was a fantastic layer right up to the end. This would have been her sixth winter, and last year was really hard for her. She had respiratory problems, and (you’ll remember) she had recently been egg bound. We made the difficult decision to butcher her this fall as soon as she started to molt. I made stock out of her. It’s so hard to explain this if you don’t keep chickens. Yes, I love them, and yes, they have personalities and I get to know them, but they are also livestock, and it would have been wasteful just to throw her body away. She gave us the best years of her life, we cared for her the best we could, and we gave her a dignified death. I’m not sure what else a chicken could ask for. If I sound non-chalant about it, I don’t mean to. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It is not easy to take an animal’s life. Many more people would be vegetarians if they had to kill all the animals they eat.
In happier news, the new girls have started to lay! I think they both must be laying because we’re getting about four eggs a week right now, and it’s so bloody cold, I can’t imagine that one chicken is producing four eggs a week. Poor wee things.
Also in happier news, we have the foster baby room (mostly) set up. We pretty much have all we need to pass our final home safety inspection, then we just have to finish two more days of training at the end of January, and our home will FINALLY be open! We decided to go with a convertible crib since we have no idea what age of child will be placed with us. This crib can convert into a toddler bed or break down and become the headboard and foot board of a twin size bed, so it should serve us well. I’ll blog some more about the room after I’ve had some time to decorate. I’ll admit right now – I can’t stand baby theme bedding or colours. Also, brightly coloured plastic toys send me into a panic attack. I’m thinking navy blue and mustard yellow for the room. None of that pastel and cute animal crap.