It was a dinner designed around the bird.
And what a bird it was. Fresh from the farm – Free Union Grass Farm, for those in the area, and in the know – and begging to be eaten; plump and chickeny. Just begging me to break my rule and mess with a whole chicken again. (I fooled it – we cooked this one first, and then we cut it up.) This chicken grew up happily in the field next to my parents-in-law’s house, pecking for bugs and clucking in the tall grass. I watched it out there, having the time of its little poultry life. I knew it had a good run (har har har) and was ready to be The Dinner.
Calin wanted to roast a chicken. So when this one showed up on our doorstep one night (carefully in hand and definitely already dead, brought by my aforementioned parents-in-law – I don’t think I could cook a bird who flew to my house and rang the doorbell), he was raring to go. Epicurious provided the basic recipe; YouTube provided the detailed trussing instructions, and we took it from there.
In keeping with the whole chicken theme, here’s a recipe I made quite a while ago that never actually made it up here. This is another one from Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook that looked simple enough to try, and it turned out really well, which substantially less raw chicken dissection involved. But it did still involve sticking things inside an empty chicken. (Bleh – just that phrase “empty chicken” makes me squig. You?)
What a difference a few months can make! Last year, my veggie beds were rapidly overrun by grass and weeds; the lawnmower couldn’t fit between them, and the plants were all trying to escape. They still came out okay, but there were so many disappointments that we were determined to do this year’s beds differently. In mid-April, Calin decided to rebuilding my beds for me from scratch. We decided to model them on the old ones but take pointers from several internet sources. So we got some solid white pine (cedar is too expensive, and pressure treated is a really, really bad idea – especially for edibles!), and he got to work making me bigger, better beds.
It took a few hundred dollars of wood and crazy deck screws and landscaping fabric, and about two weeks (with our time constraints) to get them all built, but in the end they were substantially larger, tall enough that the grass won’t just grow in the sides, and just generally much better. (I know it doesn’t look like it in this picture – our lawn mower broke, so this is with three weeks of grass growth under steady, growth-inducing rain.) We lined the bottoms with landscape fabric – wrapped up the outside – so that the crab grass will stay out longer (hopefully forever), and we cut them into the hillside farther apart and actually level. We also made sure that the top sides were much farther above ground level, so the yard won’t take over the beds from the top. (more…)