Our neighbor is an Irish man who once upon a time kept chickens of his own. He told us that he would feed his chickens wild bird seed and that his chickens thrived beautifully on this. He said he used less feed, and his eggs were more nutritious because of the variety of seeds offered in wild bird seed mix. This made sense. Sure enough, I looked at the content of the wild bird seed and it was chock full of black sunflower seeds, millet, safflower, sorghum, flax all of which, I’ve read are good snacks for the girls. And so the experiment started. I thought I’d make the girls a chicken cake. I bought a bag of the best quality bird seed Wal-Mart had to offer, picked up some old cake pans from the Salvation Army and then got the Natives involved. We spread the seed, covered them in water, changed the water the next day and did this until we saw some sprouting. Then we started misting. Each day we watched for a cake shaped grass patch that would have sprouted from the seeds.
It’s been 10 days and my seeds are barely sprouting. There is good matting underneath, and no mold that I can see. Yet the ‘sprouts’ are thread like, sparse and not the mat of green we were expecting. I thought sprouting was supposed to be easy. Or it just might be my deficiency in the culinary arts once again being exposed. My lack of skill is so humiliating. Now even homemade chicken treats are out of my culinary reach.
YET, not to be defeated – we had breakfast from our garden today!
We harvested some of our very own home-grown arugula – our first harvest!
Though we waited too long to harvest (viva la inexperienced!) and discovered the leaves to be extremely bitter, the good resourceful cook that I am thought it best to juice it. I can’t let perfectly good chlorophyll go to waste. Plus arugula is nutrient rich, is high in antioxidants, has 4 times the iron of ice burg lettuce, is rich in vitamins A, C, and K – it’s in our garden for all those reasons (not to mention that it’s considered ‘Nature’s Fat Burner’ and it’s good for your eye health – both of which I’m overly concerned with). So, I combined the arugula with 5 granny apples and 1 lemon and made a zesty morning arugula-apple lemonade. Refreshing yes, but it smelled up the kitchen and Cowboy had to choke it down. The Natives never tried it. They mysteriously disappeared when they heard the juicer rev up chased by the stench of ground up ‘grass’. I, on the other hand, thoroughly enjoyed it. Not the juice exactly but the fact and the feeling that we were consuming what we were growing. I know exactly what’s in the soil composition, I know exactly the pesticides usage (NONE!), and I know the benefits of what we’re consuming. In that glass of ‘lemonade’ I could fully appreciate the labor that was involved in producing it. I can see how growing your own food is a labor of love. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s lemonade. I can’t say the same for Cowboy and the Natives.