11 April 2012

My name is Fiona and I lay blue eggs.

My name is Fiona and I lay blue eggs.

Our Araucana, Fiona, starting laying her delicate pale blue eggs two days ago. She's been such a crazy and interesting chicken so far. When she first came to us from Julie Thompson's wonderful chicken hatchery in Brisbane, she was with her sister, Margaret. Margaret was killed a couple of weeks ago. :- (  We found her in the middle of the day, under a palm tree with all the feathers on her neck stripped off, she was as dead as a door nail. Before that, Fiona was always a very shy and flighty chook, now she's moved up in the pecking order and always makes sure she gets her fair share of any extra food treats thrown her way. 

Fiona is  a lavender Araucana, she has a small comb hidden under her feathers and no wattles, she lays blue eggs and from what I've seen with ours, Araucanas like to fly. We have found Fiona in our vegetable patch quite a few times, but it's not a great problem, when we chase her, she flies out again. As you can see in the photo above, Fiona's eggs are small at the moment, but soon they get bigger. When cracked open, the eggs look the same as any other hen's egg.

If you're looking for some unusual chickens, I recommend the Aracanas to you. If you're looking for somewhere to buy them, check out Julie's ad on my side bar. Her chickens are the healthiest we've even bought, they'll be vaccinated and guaranteed females.

One of the ladies at the forum asked about using the tops of celery yesterday. I had taken these photos a few days ago and told her I'd write this today. Celery tops have as much nutritional value as the stalks but unless you have a consistent strategy, you might not use them. I always buy a full head of celery. Buying half a head increases the price and I refuse to buy anything that has already been cut up and washed, so a bag of celery pieces is completely out of the question. But how can you keep a full head of celery fresh and crisp for a long time when you only use about two stalks a week? This is what I do.

Wash the celery under the tap and shake off the water. Then cut off the top and lay it on top of the stalks. 

Wrap the celery head and tops in aluminium foil so that it is completely covered and sealed in. If you don't want your food touching aluminium, cover it first with a sheet of baking or greaseproof paper.

Store it in the fridge until you need it and wrap it up again when you've finished. Storing celery like this will keep it fresh and crisp for six to eight weeks. Even at the end of the eight weeks, the celery will be as crisp as the first day you bought it. No more limp celery.

You can see some of those celery tops above in my leftovers curry we had the other night. I use the leaves more like a herb than a vegetable. You can use them instead of parsley or chives in almost any recipe. They will also make up a delicious pesto, replacing basil leaves with celery leaves. Any stew or soup will be improved with the addition of celery, including the leaves. So don't cut them off and throw them away, if you keep the cut tops in the aluminium parcel with the celery stalks, they be ready to use whenever you need them.

 What do you do with your celery leaves?
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