Saturday, July 25, 2015

Making pickles

It's a cloudy Saturday. Rained a little. This big old building really amplifies the noise, so we could hear the rainstorm woosh up the hill. Pretty cool.

C. is making the first batch of pickles of the year.

She puts dill and spices in each jar, then crams in as many cucumbers as possible (green Parisian pickling cucs, top, and miniature whites, bottom), then ladles pucker juice in and puts them in the canner for 15 minutes of boiling.

As you can see below, it looks like a cucumber year. Look at all those blooms!

Mama guinea No. 2, Tinier Wattles, is still sitting (or is it setting?) on her dozen+ eggs. I worry about her, especially after Tiny Wattles lost her four keets to predators. So I figured I'd move the nest and eggs into a crate, give her a few days to acclimate, then shift the family, crate and all, into the chicken house. Then the little guys would be safe and they'd sleep sheltered, rather than down past the garden where she built the nest.

So I went down to the nest, crate in hand. There she was.

All I had to do was sneak the eggs out from under her and into the crate.

She wondered where I got this damn-fool idea, and hissed at me. That means, "Back off, child-thief! I will wear your entrails around my neck like a pink feather boa!"

I kept coming. She sounded the hideous CHI-CHI-CHI! alarm, and the other birds joined in from the chicken house, and flew down to help her kill me. (If death would stop that noise, it would be welcome.) Then she flew up in the air and smacked me in the head with her claws. That means, "I will wet my wattles in that gelatinous stuff inside your eyeballs."

I was sure this was a great idea, though, and shooed her off, taking a few scratches to my hands. I made a very nice nest of straw in the crate, and transferred those little warm eggs into it with my left hand, waving her off with my right. Forgot to count them, dammit. I poked the crate into the old nest spot, then backed off. The whole polka-dotted group stood there looking at me.

She was puzzled. She went in the crate, and out, and around the back. Huh. In, out, around again. Then she wandered off and pecked at grass seeds. I could feel the eggs cooling. I scratched around under the crate and brought out some soft grass and downy feathers from the old nest, and draped them across the eggs.

She liked that better, and settled on the nest. As I left, she was making the happy-setting-guinea sound, like crazy drunken laughter. My poor neighbors.

But later I saw her rolling an egg out of the crate, and around the back. I gave up, restored the eggs and bedding to the original nest and slunk off with the crate.

Where do I get these damn-fool ideas?

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