Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Angel Food Cake and Chickens

In my struggle to use up eggs, I made this cake, which takes twelve of them. I have never had an Angel Food Cake that wasn't made from a mix (it was our standard birthday cake when I was growing up), and I never really liked it. I thought perhaps the home-made version would be be an improvement. It was a lot of work, separating all those eggs, sifting all that sugar and flour, beating and folding the batter gently so as to not deflate the eggs. It is a pretty thing and I feel accomplished as a cook having done it. It is probably perceptibly better tasting than the mixes of my youth. Nevertheless, it is still Angel Food Cake. I think if I get some heavy cream and strawberries to go with it, it will be fine.

We had yet another snowstorm yesterday and last night. I had to drive to Perry in it to get chicken food, but I got back before the roads were too slippery. At the feed store I checked out the various feeders they had for chickens and ended up buying a big metal thing that hangs from the ceiling. I have tried everything I could think of to keep the chickens from kicking sawdust and pooping in their food. Nothing has worked, plus nothing was big enough to last them 24 hours. This afternoon after I shoveled a rudimentary path I installed the new feeder and cleaned out the house. It has been bothering me that the place was so dirty, but I kept putting off doing anything about it because of the weather and the accessability problem.......I can squeeze through the fence, but I can't get a bale of wood shavings in there. Using my trusty hoe, I dug out the congealed sawdust and poop. The girls were curious about what I was doing, and slightly un-nerved, but not enough to go outside. They watched from their roosts, talking about it from time to time. After I had thrown enough old sawdust, etc. out onto the ground, one of the Rhode Island Reds (I regret to say that I couldn't tell which one it was) ventured outside. She flew up onto the bulkhead and then had a harrowing and slippery ride down the slanting door. It didn't seem to bother her much, but she did decide to go back inside. I filled a trash bag full of new sawdust from the bale I had in the car and put down new bedding.

The chicken house is really much too small for six chickens. I thought I was going to have three chickens, and the house would be fine for that, but six is too many for the space. In the spring I think I will try to figure out how to expand it. They have begun to peck at one another, and a couple of them have small raw places on their backs. I am more than distressed by this, but don't know what to do about it. I can't blame them for getting short-tempered. They are confined in such a small area that they probably can barely stand to look at each other.

My plan is to open their door during the day so they can go out if they want to. I stopped doing that earlier because it was so cold and I thought they would be uncomfortable. Now I think that even if they don't go out the open door will give them an illusion of more room...........with the added bonus of fresh air. I read that chickens can stand cold temperatures without problems.

My efforts to provide a good life for chickens are not nearly as successful as I had hoped................ I just thought of one thing I could do for them..............I wonder if they'd like Angel Food cake......
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