Thursday, July 05, 2007

This is how we get overcommitted

Whew! Long time no post, I know. I've just been very busy. First we had a delightful visit from Ms. Jenny, AKA Stew (about which, more later). But right after she left, a friend dropped by to give us a gift: a box of tiny, peeping, chipmunky Coturnix quail chicks. We have so far been unable to count them, but there seem to be at least 20.

I've put off posting about them until I was fairly certain (from web searches, etc.) that we don't need a breeder license to have them. And it appears we don't--that's just native Bobwhite quail, and it's just if you're going to sell live birds. So all is revealed.

Do you know how difficult it is to photograph a constantly-moving animal the size of a shrew? Blursville. Oh, well.

We hadn't planned on getting quail--I mean, we have enough to deal with!--but that's sort of how things work in the country. People have animals, the animals change owners, people take up unexpected hobbies. These do seem relatively low-maintenance, at least: They are kept in rabbit-hutch-type accommodations, and they start laying one egg per hen per day at age 6 weeks. The males are ready to eat at about the same time.

I picture myself from now on cooking like Bobby Flay on Iron Chef: Tiny fried quail eggs on top of nearly everything I put on the table.

In other bird-related news, we took down the partition between the ducks and geese, and they have not bothered each other in the least. Victory! One pen is much more convenient than two when it comes to feeding, watering, etc. Maybe that sort of makes up for the unexpected foray into quail.

So, Jenny. She came on Sunday and we had a really fun pool party over at L2's house. For a while it looked as though we wouldn't be doing any outdoor activities; lightning struck on our property when we were getting in the car. Despite seeing the bolt spark off our power lines, the s.o. heroically managed not to drop the fruit salad he was carrying. Then the skies opened and it rained buckets for about 20 minutes. Then the sun came out again. After a nervous peek at, we commenced swimming and hot-tubbing.

On Monday we lazed around a lot and then went to our favorite fishing spot. I caught the world's smallest largemouth bass (catching minuscule fish is a special talent of mine) and Jenny got in some quality birdwatching. We saw an indigo bunting, a belted kingfisher, a common yellowthroat, and a prothonotary warbler. The birds there really are spectacular! (Jenny, don't be jealous, but the next night we went back again and I accidentally flushed out a pair of great blue herons at very close range!

And lest I forget to mention it, on Monday afternoon we had an all-local Greek-themed meal, which I respectfully submit for this week's One Local Summer entry:

Milk - Starr, S.C. (73 miles)
Cornmeal - Athens, Ga. (35 miles)
Feta cheese - Athens, Ga. (35 miles)
Lamb's quarters - Royston, Ga. (55 miles)
Mint, dill, sorrel, chard - our own
Olive oil - exempt

Lamb - I am having an awful time remembering what town our lamb source is in, and I can't find their business card; let's just say it's no more than 150 miles away and is somewhere in middle Georgia.
Oregano - our own
Olive oil and lemon - exempt

And now, speaking of food, I have to go feed the dogs...