So here is the cleaned corpse of the rooster- many thanks to Spice, who in spite of having presided at quite a few mammal cleanings, was a little squeamish about cleaning a bird. As you can see; it's a pristine carcass. Spice opted to just chop the wings, since a major part of the trickiness here was preventing a rather dirty exterior from coming in contact with the clean meat; it was just too fussy for too little reward, in this case.
It was all a great success. We simmered the bird for a half day or so, on the back of the wood stove, to the point where it was fork-tender and falling off the bones. It smelled wonderful. We moved the bird off the heat, covered, to wait for evening, when we'd add the veggies.
And then we got interrupted again.
Spice and Smidgen went out to the greenhouse to do daily chores- and found Smidgen's pet bunny, which she named Horton, when she was 2annahaf, after the Suessian elephant, dead in his hutch. Old age, in this case- he was given to us when he was 6ish, several years ago.
Farm kids learn about death, and life, immediately. So it wasn't the earthshaking trauma it can be for kids who've been insulated; but still, no fun, and right on the heels of the death of the rooster, whom she also knew personally.
No, we didn't eat the pet rabbit! sheesh.
But things had to stop for a while, and a funeral and burial arranged. Secure burial, so dogs and coyotes wouldn't dig it up, we hope. Though the ground is still frozen, a foot down- so it was tricky.
Then as part of the consoling process, another, longer, interruption was launched.
Smidgen announced at the noon meal that she was going to get another rabbit. A very positive little girl. Mummy and Daddy were not enthusiastic about this, however, since the bunny was pretty much a dead drag on resources and space, and we really didn't have a sensible place for it to fit in. So by way of distraction, I reminded Smidge of our intention to get another puppy; fairly soon. And I tried to convince her that having a little fuzzy puppy to hold would be at least as good as a rabbit; and maybe better. She was a little wary of the idea, but the campaign for a new bunny went quiet.
Now that the topic of the puppy was open, however, Spice asked if she should go ahead and call the shelter lady- right now, while we were thinking about it. Since it's spring(ish) and we were going to be pretty specific this time about what kind of puppy we were willing to accept, I figured we'd be looking at a 1-2 month wait, for the right pup to be located and transferred, etc. So, I said; sure, go ahead.
I'm not sure if this was a good bit of karma, or bad- but the shelter lady called back immediately, with the news that in fact, she had exactly the puppy we were looking for, right now today- and - she was leaving for two weeks (shelter convention and break time) - in two hours. So- NOW is when we needed to take the pup.
This is Theodore; a half Anatolian Shepherd, half - Collie? Aussie? cross; #10 out of 11 pups in the litter; just weaned, the only black one, and the biggest. (No plott hound involved, in spite of the post title...) The shelter lady leans toward the Aussie for a father, because of the black color. But we don't really know.
The time spent in getting the puppy from the shelter, and cuddling him through his introduction to our family, including Delilah, who still sleeps in the house, and is not a puppy (sizewise) anymore- kind of made it impossible to finish off the chicken pot pie and actually pay attention to it, or appreciate it. Our plot had thickened; just a bit too far.
How this pup came to be; and came to be available, is a story of the deepening depression. His mother is a purebred, registered Anatolian- with a chip in her ear.
The chip identifies her unequivocally, of course- so how is it such a valuable dog was found abandoned, injured (missing several toes), skinny, and pregnant?
She had been owned by a couple in Iowa who were running a poultry business, in fact. Which went bankrupt. And the owners- just disappeared; leaving everything behind. The shelter lady says most shelters are full these days- the number of dogs being abandoned is way up. Part of the reason for the conference she's attending- they're trying to figure out how to cope.
So, meanwhile, we're back to puppy pee and puppy poop all over the place. Theodore is not yet paper trained, alas. Plus, Delilah is frequently explosively ecstatic to have a buddy to chase and chew on- you do remember that The Little House is 15' x 20' downstairs? With a sink, woodstove, dining table, bookshelves, desk, and two window seat thingies?
We have our own full scale demonstration of entropic doom now.
Sigh. At any rate, Theodore looks like a winner, so far. Very cuddly; already comes when called, has no trouble holding his own in the rough and tumble with the much bigger dog- in fact when they get to the play-growling point- his growl is the most impressive. He's definitely serving his purpose of wearing out and calming down Delilah. And seems to have good common sense.
We've been paying our shelter fees with barter, incidentally; the shelter lady has been happy to do it that way. Otherwise, it's $100 minimum, and likely more, depending.
Back to the chicken pot pie! We put it off until the next evening, then took off from a mixture of Joy of Cooking and Farmer's Daughter's (thanks!) recipes; added onion, carrots, and potatoes, a little thyme, salt and pepper, made gravy with some of the cooking liquid, which was then stirred into the whole; and finished it off with baked biscuit on top. Alas, no photo- we were too hungry at that point to remember. But it was wonderful.
The chicken, by now, was just a bit overcooked. It was falling into fibers, rather than hanging together in tender chunks. And it was just a tad on the bland side, as it came out of the oven; I think we'll spice it a little more next time; and the rooster was not quite as flavorful as I'd hoped- actually a bit young for this treatment perhaps.
In any case, a great success. We got 3 suppers out of it; two with biscuits, and the third time out it was starting to look really cooked by now from all the re-heatings; so we took it out of the pot and fried it in a little butter, hash style. Oh, yeah.