Sabra is visiting her parents and friends in Denver this week. The trip was planned awhile back so she didn’t go there because of the flooding. As it turns out her family and friends are all okay, although her sister, who lives in Golden, had water in her basement. In any event, that leaves me home alone for five days with only Pearl, the cats and chickens to keep me company.
Pearl has a new toy. The tennis ball proved to be too hard for her to find, even if she was only a few feet away from it. So I got her a small tire, about nine inches in diameter. Because it’s bigger, she is much more successful in following and retrieving it. Sometimes when she picks it up, however, she grabs it by the bottom and the top flips up over her eyes. This freaks her out and she shakes her head wildly to get it off her eyes. This in turns cause the tire to whap her on the head which freaks her out more. She’s fun to watch: I should sell tickets.
When Sabra’s away the cats are actually friendly to me twice a day: breakfast and dinner. Maybe I’ll off the little suckers and tell Sabra a cat burglar got ‘em.
The new chickens are even friendlier than the old ones, and I have to be careful that they don’t follow me out of the gate. Chicks still find me irresistible. The gals are still working out the pecking order on the roosting bar, which leaves the odd hen out. Instead of getting up on the bar, the shunned fowl will roost in a nesting box and fill it full of chicken droppings. Sabra’s a bit of a hen whisperer. She goes out at night, picks up the outcast member and gently places her on the bar. Me, I don’t have the touch, so the dumb clucks have to work it out for themselves, and I have to clean nesting boxes.
Besides getting eggs, another advantage of chickens is how quickly they go through kitchen scraps. Before chickens, a pile of rinds, cobs and leftover may take weeks or months to decompose in the compost pile, which is inside the chicken pen. The chickens, however, pick, scratch and eat at it until it’s gone in a matter of hours.
I’ve especially noted this phenomenon as I’ve been making lots of scraps this week. A friend gave me a big bag of assorted peppers: jalapenos, cayenne and habaneros.
With them I made two-dozen jalapeno poppers and a double batch of salsa.
I’ve been making poppers the past dozen years and my process has gradually been refined. Originally, I cut off the big end of the pepper and scooped out the seeds and membrane with a grapefruit spoon. That proved too time consuming, and I came up with the idea of attaching the business end of a wine bottle opener to a drill. This auger method was much faster but a little dangerous. You haven’t experience pain until you’ve drilled through your hand with a bit dripping in jalapeno juice. Next I tried cutting a little off both ends and blowing the innards out with compressed air. This worked really well but you want to make sure you’re outside and downwind. Lately, I’ve been cutting the peppers in half lengthwise and using the bacon to bind them back together.
Originally, I stuffed the peppers with cream cheese; then moved on to cheddar and then sausage, chorizo or Italian. But after years of trial and error, I’ve decided that cheese doesn’t work well because it melts away in the cooking process, and the meat gets overcooked.
For this last batch, however, I came up with a stuffing that is as obvious as it is brilliant: jalapenos stuffed with jalapenos. If I have red pepper on the outside then I put green strips on the inside, or visa versa.
Can’t wait to try them.
After that, I’ll have to figure out something that’s been puzzling me lately. Why are the eggs so spicy?