Monday, June 14, 2010

Summer, with a decisive win

***Yep, I made a few changes here at the little farm blog. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!***

Well, summer finally nudged spring out of the way here in Tennessee, and she came on with a vengeance. Yesterday was our first really, really, ridiculously, stupid hot day, with the mercury topping out somewhere around 95 or so. We didn't turn on the air conditioner, but our mettle was tested, especially in the kitchen.

I cooked what I hope will be the first of many gloriously indulgent, super tasty sunday dinners. Big sunday meals were never a tradition in my family when I was growing up nor were they in B's (I don't think. I could be totally wrong.). But, Friday, when I was poking around in the freezer for supper, inspiration struck! There, in the corner, hidden from the light of day, was a turkey. Can I get a hallelujah! Yep, B's Christmas turkey was still in the freezer. Now, I know, I know, you're grossed out. Six month old frozen turkey? But trust me, I've cooked turkeys that have been frozen for longer and they've been a-ok. Promise.

So, out came the turkey to thaw in the sink over night. The next morning, I dropped the ol' girl into a brine and let her soak for what should've been eight hours but turned into more like eleven. Out of her bath and into a dish in the fridge to air dry overnight, and into the oven Sunday morning. While the bird was roasting away, I dug up a bunch of new potatoes and shelled some peas to add to the feast. I'd never had freshly dug potatoes until yesterday and holy cow. They were delicious. Yukon Gold. Definitely grow them if you haven't.

Now, back to the heat. It was around 12:30 or 1:00 when I came in from digging potatoes. I walked into my kitchen and almost turned around and went right back outside to cool off in the the 95 degree outside air. I lacked the foresight to understand that a 400 degree oven would heat up my kitchen right proper. But, I persevered!! I plugged in a box fan and went about my business. No air conditioner. I'm not sure how much longer we'll be able to put it off, but I refuse to buckle after only one day! And after I turned off the oven, we had a much more manageable temperature inside.

So, yes, Summer is upon us in all her glory. Long days, lightning bugs, heat lightning, thunderstorms,all the good things. And, unfortunately, at least one very, very bad thing. This year, summer brought with her our first predator. I won't go into detail cause I'm still pretty bummed, but our luck finally ran out. We hadn't had even a hint of any hungry visitors since we've been here. But, something visited Saturday night and left undeniable proof of a very macabre dinner party. So, Sunday, along with filling our bellies to bursting, we scrambled to move chickens and duck (yeah, singular duck *sniff*) into what B dubbed "bear-proof" housing. So far, so good. Last night, if our visitor showed up, he went home with an empty belly.

We have to understand that livestock losses are part of the game. When you put a bunch of tasty morsels in a pen together, it's like a buffet for all the sharp-toothed, woodland creatures. However, trying to be practical about it is tough. You just have to keep everyone as safe as possible and when nature wins, reevaluate your strategy. Living up here, doing what we do, it's all about adapting.

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