"We must achieve the character and acquire the skills to live much poorer than we do. We must waste less. We must do more for ourselves and for each other. It is either that or continue merely to think and talk about changes that we are inviting catastrophe to make. The great obstacle is simply this: the conviction that we cannot change because we are dependant on what is wrong. But that is the addict's excuse, and we know that it will not do."
—Wendell Berry

Sunday, 31 January 2016

January, an overview on squab, magic and bannanas

Well Christmas was good. We has surprisingly cool weather due to a bank of rain coming over, not unwelcome, even requiring us to return the blankets to the bed and wear a pullover in the mornings. As always we ate too much, drank too much and generally had a lot of fun! The young feller scored the usual haul of presents, he also took great joy in giving presents to others. Something I am delighted to see in a five year old.
January came and the weather quickly returned to normal. Away went the woollies and out came the fans. Now we have entered the pre-monsoon countdown and the weather turns hot and sticky. Thunderheads roll about the tablelands making a lot of noise but generally not giving much rain. Not to us anyway, the wind is coming out of the west right now so the rain is exhausted before it gets to us. I don't mind, those folks out west need it right now. Soon the monsoon band will form near Indonesia and Papua and will descend to the eastern coast and the cool will come.
I am pleased to report the pigeons have been a success! They are breeding rapidly and we have been enjoying regular meals of squab, which is posh speak for young pigeon. They are delightfully easy to pluck and draw, taking less than five minutes per bird and one squab is a good serve per person, two if you really want a big feed. Apart from the actual slaughter it is quite nice to go and harvest a half dozen squabs and then sit in the shade of a tree with the wife and prepare them.
The adult pigeon flock are a rowdy bunch and have adapted to farm life well. Each morning we are greeted from the shed roof where they can eyeball us as we have our morning coffee.
If we take too long the general level of noise increases until we give up and go throw a handful of grain out for them. The guinea fowl have also learned we are throwing grain out in the morning and will come to do battle with the pigeons. In the end everyone appears to be well fed so I don't really care that much. The Guinea fowl hens are bringing in their annual mobs of keets. As the weather has been dry thus far I think there is a reasonable chance of a good number of them surviving this year. That reminds me, I am intending to harvest a few guinea fowl the next time I have the cold room running for a week. This is so I can hang them to age- I am told they should be treated as a game bird to get the best results. Recently I had a chance to handle a cock bird and found him to be very well fleshed all over. He looked tasty indeed!
The Bannanas have also done well in the heat. They are larger than usual this year and there is more than enough for both the parrots and the humans to share.
In other news I taught my son how to hypnotize a chicken the other day. It has been many years since I had done it myself and I was a little unsure if I could pull it off, but with a little patience I soon had a young cockerel lying upside down on the table with a rather glazed expression. Much awe from the wife and child. After a minute or so I gently clicked my fingers beside its head and it woke before strutting off wondering what the hell had just happened.