Frost, feathers, and apple vinegar

Feather donors

With our first frost I am cleaning up all the feather projects  that are spread out in the sunroom so the house plants can come in. I also need to get the final coat of finish on a new kitchen table made from some cherry trees that we had cut into boards. Sometime back a pipeline was put in through the back of our property which meant big trees had to come down. John found a guy with a portable sawmill who cut the logs into boards that had been drying in our barn. We’ll have a history lesson for our kitchen table now made from trees that were not that much older than I am. They grew on a sand dune brought in by glaciers, provided food for countless insects, molds and fungi, birds, deer and raccoons. Their fruit seeded new trees to replace them, and some of the wood they produced that wasn’t worth planking heated our house during our yearly ice age that some call winter around here.

A friend of the kids wants some wild and crazy feathers for her hair when she gets married so we are having fun learning how to burn feathers (soak them in bleach) and trying new dye colors. The guinea hens have donated their polka dot feathers, the phoenix molted some long hackles and sickle feathers, the turkeys dropped some elegant fluff and tail feathers; even the big uglies, the malays have some worthwhile feathers to collect.

Folks, the moon is waning so this is the time to remove warts by rubbing them with a chicken gizzard. Bury the gizzard in the middle of a dirt road once you have rubbed the warts with it. Also this time of year if you aren’t fast enough, the rotten apples will be piling up under your apple trees (unless your geese are eating them as fast as they fall) so collect them before they are bad to make a few gallons of cider. Forget drinking the stuff, let it sit until you have vinegar which is full of acetic acids, mineral salts and amino acids which you then feed to your chickens. Chickens don’t care much for sweets, but a little vinegar in their drinking water (4 tsp./gallon) is tolerated and improves their digestive tract health, increases egg production, kills bacteria, and can double as a cleanser for the coop while helping to repel flies and ants. For a extra super clean, scrub dirty surfaces with a baking soda paste and then spray with vinegar.

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