It’s winter, and that means project time. The big freezer is still full of pig parts, so we brined and smoked another slab of bacon. Other pig parts included heart, tongue and liver, so naturally braunschweiger came to mind. Very tasty after a light smoking in cherry wood. We also finally finished shelling the Floriani flint corn. Our tiny 8 x 16 ft patch yielded a full-to-the-brim 5 gallon bucket of dried kernels. We’ll try some as tortillas and tamale masa, but most of it will be added to wheat ears for high-protein chicken scratch. And we also hatched a fine crop of peepers – the first flock of 2014. Out of 31 fertile eggs, 28 hatched. We lost one to birth defects, and two to ‘other causes’. The rest are robust little buggers. Here they are getting ready for their first trip outside to the brooder coop.
One peep is a bit different though. It hatched a day later than the rest, after we had turned off the incubator in preparation for cleaning it up for storage. The door was propped open to allow it to cool off, and we heard an unmistakeable peeping coming from one of the three unhatched eggs. We quickly fired up the incubator, and after an overnight struggle ended up with tiny peep. After one week, this little chickie is still about 1/3 the size of the rest. It eats and drinks and seems active, but very very small. We’re not sure yet if it will make it. Maybe it had developmental issues, maybe some genetic defect or a rogue bantam gene…. It’s hard not to get attached. Time will tell, but in the meantime it’s a cute, feisty little critter.