Mrs. Peel we're needed

I'm taking over LJ and turning it intp a chicken blog*

*At least for today

At the farm a few weeks ago, J was looking to expand his flock of chickens and in preparation, managed to score a free rooster on Craigslist. After promising that he wasn't just planning on eating it, he arranged to have it dropped off, sight unseen and relatively few questions asked. I had the responsibility of receiving it, and when he arrived, I knew right away that we were going to have problems. The new rooster was a Silkie, a half-sized bird who comes with a face full of vision-obscuring feathers and a remarkable lack of talent for flying. These are both unfortunate traits for a free-roaming rooster on farm plagued by foxes and hawks.

To make matters worse, he was kind of a pacifist. Every time I saw him over the next few days, he was doing a little dance for one of the much larger hens (and the dance was adorable), which was invariably cut short when the big Brahma rooster who ruled to roost launched at him loudly. Sadly, I only saw him over the next few days. On his third night with us, he managed to not find his way into the coop and, despite a concerted effort to find him as dusk fell, disappeared into the night. I like to think that he left to dance his way home, but he probably got et by the fox. Poor Morrissey, we hardly knew you.

flash forward. I got home this past week, and V and I were tagged by a neighbor on Saturday as the "chicken experts" (read "only people around with any experience with chickens") because there was a stray that was wandering around the neighborhood. At first, it was to make sure it wasn't one of ours, escaped and run amok in a WWII Navy veteran's garage. Then, it was to catch her.

She was a Silkie.

I had started this post thinking that I don't have the best luck with Silkies. At first, we chased the bird around, met a bunch of neighbors who were curious why we were poking around their yards or who wanted to offer help, and then utterly lost her in the brush between ours and the yard next door. We were sad because she was gone, and I was convinced that I had just witnessed another wee bird walking off into the night. I briefly gave up hope, but then I decided to go back outside. She was there, and with just a little coaxing she came into our back yard.

She hasn't quite been accepted into the flock yet, she still hasn't fully wrapped her tiny head around the coop as home, and still runs away when we open the door. That said, she laid an egg today in the right place. It made me extraordinarily happy.

Finding that half of my strawberries were fuzzy much less so, but that's a whole other story.
The gentleman is always properly dressed


Is there ever any sort of discussion about the environmental impact of the oil spills associated with tankers sunk in WWII?
The Epicure

Given over

I've spent eight weeks as an apprentice, and though I've been asked to stay on for a little bit yet, I've completed the official program of study. At eight weeks, I have a decent understanding of anatomy, different approaches for butchering each animal, and skills and techniques to draw upon as I work. I also have a keen awareness that I'm barely beginning. I learn things every time I pick up a knife, and that's amazing and intense and more than a little scary. I still make mistakes, I am slower than I should be, and I should probably spend the next couple of weeks doing nothing but cutting steaks. The absolutely crazy thing is that I don't care. It just feels so fucking right.
The gentleman is always properly dressed

Cooking with a Butcher's Apprentice, Part VII - Not My Grandmother's Liver and Onions

...but frighteningly close.

Normally liver is cut to order and as a result not quite so readily available in the shop as, say, sausages or steak. The opportunity for this arose when the instruction, "cut this up" was understood by one of the hands to mean not "into 1/2" slices," but "into a bizarre assortment of irregular sized and shaped pieces." I jumped on it, and was dubbed the staff's favorite cook and eater.

I didn't stray far with this, but I promise the results were delicious.

You will need per person served:

A sense of nostalgia, adventure, or both
1/2" slice of calf's liver
1 onion, sliced fine
1-2 slices of thick cut bacon
Salt and pepper
Olive oil or butter

  • Cook the onions on low heat until they soften. When cooked through, bring the heat up to brown them slightly.
  • Meanwhile, use a second pan to brown the bacon over low heat. Wish that you had some ventrèche you made instead. That's what I used, and it was brilliant.
  • When the bacon is finished, remove it from the pan, turn up the heat, and brown both sides of your pristine slice of liver in the rendered bacon fat. 2-3 minutes per side should do, more if you prefer it less pink and more grainy. Season with salt and pepper as it's browning.
  • Be thankful your liver doesn't look like a set of polyhedral dice.
  • Stack on a plate with some lightly dressed greens and mashed potatoes.

(no subject)

It's snowing (hard) again here in the Catskills, and a woman's voice, singing something old and unidentifiable, is coming from somewhere deep in the woods above. It's beautiful and not a little eerie.
Soccer Hooligan



"Proof positive that a bout of insomnia does not lend itself to whole animal butchery."


"You'll only ever try to catch a knife once."

I'm fine. I just managed to get a nasty gash on the end of my finger (see user icon to get a clear idea which) which relegated me to trimming skirt steaks and fillets all day rather than learning to break a chuck as was originally planned.