Tuesday, May 3, 2011

How to cook for chickens

Lucky for us humble human chefs, chickens are not picky eaters.  Even the most shameless omnivores I know would be hard pressed to get super worked up over a dead lizard.  Not chickens.  OMIGODDEADLIZARDMYFAAAAAAAAAAVE!!!!! say the chickens. 

Try this delicious dish for them tonight:

.5 cup leftover brown rice and mung bean daal
1/4 cup lukewarm tea of unpeeled garlic and sage
2 tbs plain yogurt with active cultures
oat bran

Mix all that shit together.  Add enough oat bran to give it the consistency of oatmeal.  Garnish with dead lizard.  Serve any temperature.

If my chickens were Matt Preston, their ascots would have a stiffy.

Australia doesn't have enough good-looking celebrities for all the reality tv shows...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Really Weird Things I Now Know About Chickens

I’m just a big city gal who was always totally unfamiliar with any animals that aren’t common house pets.  At the petting zoo, I had a visceral fear that the goats and sheep were going to eat my fingers.  Because I was a good little animal-loving child, I held my hand out flat and let them lick those green pellet things from my palm, but Jesus, I was terrified, and glad when it was over. 

After a little while in Australia, we got two chickens.  That’s pretty common here – a lot of families keep laying hens, and it’s not considered unusual, unlike back home for anyone who didn't grow up in Guatemala or on a farm.  Anyone, one day they got out and ran away when we were on a day trip.  We Chicken CSI’ed the backyard and surrounding laneway, but realized, when their scratch tracks came to an abrupt end, that they had been abducted on the street, I suspect by one of our more ethnic neighbors (and I mean ethnic in a 1950’s way that includes Italians and Greeks). 

We were sad.  We got three more hens, who were much less agreeable and friendly than the first two, but they’ve still been great teachers.  There’s some fucked up shit I’ve learned from watching these animals that are at once so close, in food and popular culture, to our daily lives, and yet physically so far removed.  We discuss in list form like so.

I. Chickens are brave little badasses. I.hear people worry about cats eating chickens.  Chickens will attack a cat without hesiatation.  Chickens will also attack a dog.  Chickens will also attack my feet, despite the fact that they are at the bottom of an animal about fifty times bigger, heavier, and stronger than them, and that also brings them food. To call someone ‘chicken’ for being cowardly is weird.  Has anyone in this family ever even seen a chicken?  No.  No they have not.

II.  Chickens are extremely competitive, but also have a bizarre herd mentality.  They will knock each other out of the way of food, chase each other around the yard for a scrap of bread, and will snatch something right out of the another’s beak. Yet, when one of them starts to drink water, they all go and drink water.  One decides to spread out their wings and sunbathe, and they all start doing it.  They take dustbaths together, scratch together, walk around the garden together, and generally get along spendidly.  For this reason, I think that the chicken would be an excellent mascot for the Tea Party Movement.

III.  Chickens can be fucking assholes.  Actually, it shows a highish level of intelligence, since to be an asshole requires a knowledge of another animal’s independent thought and intention, and subsequent decision to betray that knowledge and go and be a fucking asshole anyway.  I think I read that in National Geographic.

Anyway, I let the chickens out every morning, when I water and do gardeny things, to scratch around the fruit trees or eat grass or peck at random stuff, as they are wont to do.  We have raised garden beds, and without a doubt, the chickens know they are NOT supposed to scratch in them during their outside time.  They know this, because when they do it, we get mad and put them back in their pen.  After play time is over, it is commonly difficult to get them back in their pens.  I have to bribe them with some other food, or else they’ll just outrun me and split up so I can’t herd them in.

Except when they decide to go into the garden bed.  As soon as I catch them and run up and wave them out, they all file very quickly back into the pen, because they know that they’ve been bad, and that they’re being punished.

But do they still do it?  Oh yeah, at least once a week.  Know why?  Because they’re assholes.

IV.  Despite aforementioned assholeness, keeping chickens is great.  I love dogs and cats and things that are fluffy and show actual affection towards me.  My chickens don’t do that.  But they do MAKE FOOD FOR ME.  Plus, they’re really amusing to watch.  Plus, unlike dogs and cats, they’re cheap and easy to take care of.  Plus, they MAKE FOOD FOR ME.    So I’m putting the backyard chicken as a pet right up there at top with the ultimate best pets.  Cat, dog, chicken.  The perfect triad of companion animal domestication.

V.  Chickens often make a noise similar the one Marge Simpson makes when she disapproves of something.  MMMMMmmmmmmr….

VI.  SOME chickens are not assholes.  This I  have to say, because everyone but me seems to have wonderful stories about chickens who came up and sat in your lap and read you bedtime stories and helped you come off heroin.  I don’t know where these chickens come from.

VII.  Chickens eat food in a preference that is very similar to the American diet.  Their top choice is meat, fats, cheese, and other animal products, including their own cooked eggs.  Then comes grains and cereals.  At the bottom is fruits and vegetables, and even then they prefer cooked vegetables over raw.  

VIII.  The eggs you buy in the store are shit.  They are weird, and not natural.  They don’t look right.  They certainly don’t taste right.  They’re pretty much a perfect example of everything wrong in our consumer culture – sucking a product out of a suffering producer on a ridiculously abusive scale, then selling the inferior, shlocky product to consumers who don’t know any better and learn to consider the simulacrum the original and the natural.  Fucking hell, dude.  I need to listen to some RATM.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

An Open Letter to Hugh Laurie

I've been completely unmotivated on the garden front lately.  Here's what's been on my mind instead.


Dear Hugh Laurie,

I used to really love the show House.  I mean really, really loved it.  I loved the writing.  And I loved your acting.  And I love your eyes…but most importantly I loved the show.  It made me feel kind of smart, while still being entertaining enough for me to actually watch it, instead of just having it on while I dick around online, which is what I do with shows I think I should watch to be smarter but they’re soooo boooring…anyway, I would watch House and think, that Hugh Laurie, he’s so talented, I want him implanted in my body somewhere behind my ribs.  Not that I really want that.  That would be crazy.

Point is, I love you.  As an actor, I mean.  In a totally platonic way.  But there’s a problem.

House now sucks.  It fucking sucks balls.  I mean, who told those people it would be a good idea to focus on Taub and his wife?  Or Cameron and Chase??  And medical stuff – who needs that?  Oh my god, patient is shooting plasma rays from his penis, but Cuddy got a pedicure and what does that mean???  Plus, Cuddy and House broke up so many times before this last one I just saw that there was no drama left.  This show is no longer sustainable.  Thumbs down – in the gladiator sense. 

Hugh Laurie, this show isn’t good enough for you anymore.  I say you take stinking, toothless, decrepit ol’ House back behind the shed.  Tell him he’s been a real good boy and let him lick your hand one last time, and then blow his brains out with a shotgun.  He won’t feel a thing.

But I don’t want you gone from television entirely.  That would be too painful for me to bare.  I’ve grown so fond of you (see previous mention of imprisoning you behind my ribcage), but I would hate to go back to watching old episodes of Jeeves and Wooster (side note: I know find your real British accent weird and confusing.  Please never use it again).

Instead, my darling Mr. Laurie, I propose a new showcase for your talents.

Perhaps (and remember, this is only an idea – I’m an amateur, you know) you could play the wacky dean of a boarding school.  Rather than focus on the rich kids and their bullshit (after all, they already have shows for that), we could focus on the staff.  Sure, they can have love triangles and stuff.  But they’re all kinda kooky.  And you are the head kook.  The sexy, sexy head kook.  To make it more dark, like House, maybe your character’s wife could have terminal cancer or something.  Not that I want your REAL wife to get terminal cancer, and for you to come to me for comfort or anything.  I DID NOT even mean it like that.  That would be seriously crazy.  Seriously.  

Oh, maybe you could be a tempremental chef!  And the show could be about the restaurant…which is staffed by lesbians!!!!!  So in between fucking everything up and making you mad and causing you to be snarky and totally hilarious, they could…ya know…kiss each other and stuff.  I think I speak for everyone when I say we’d be open to watching that…just not with our parents

So what do you think?  I know, you’ll have to look into your contract and everything…it’s no big.  I mean, I’m here all the time.  Hugh.  New best friend!  Just kidding.  I completely acknowledge that it’s not appropriate that I called you that, I’m sure you have much closer friends than me.

Did I ever tell you, haha, how one time I was going into the supermarket, and I saw a man who looked vaguely like you, and I almost walked into a glass door??  It was so funny.  Not in a creepy way!  You goof.  Totally not creepy. 

So just remember my key points:
-       House sucks.
-       Not creepy!!
-       I’m free to talk, ya know, whenever.
-       Lesbians

Yours for all times,

P.S. I've been feeling a little off lately...do you have any idea what it might be?

Friday, April 8, 2011

New Zealand: Home of the World's Most Boring Reality Shows

I've been watching New Zealand's version of Cops for twenty-three whole minutes, and I have yet to see one shirtless person slammed on the ground.

Friendly, Baby-Faced New Zealand Cop:  Hullo sir!
Crazy and Extremely Drunk Homeless Person Living Under a Bridge:  GHHHraaaah?
Cop: We've gotten reports of you...well, exposing yourself in this area, sir.
Homeless Man: Fraaaaah!  I's yuh, takin' a *bleep* piss!  Whassa gotta?  Man can't....blubblah!
Cop: I see.  Well, unfortunately that's called indecent exposure, and it's against the law.
Homeless Man:  Rah..I frahm 'a.  Yes, I understahhr.  Wan hap' eegin. 
Cop: Well, glad we've gotten that all cleared up.  Enjoy the rest of your day.
Homeless Man:  Glashoota!
Narrator: You never do quite know what's in store for a day in the life of a Highway Patrol!

And if that wasn't completely terrifying enough, we now see a man arguing with another officer about whether or not he can walk his dog down the freeway.

This is why you never want your country to be too nice.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Blog The First: In which we meet our heroine and pass judgement upon her

Hi.  My name is Kristina and I like to write things.  It is for this reason that I enter the world of Blog. 

I think that this blog will be mostly centered around my gardening.  About four years ago, I started putting seeds in dirt.  I didn’t know anything about what a plant needs to grow, aside from the fact that soil and water and sunlight were vaguely necessary.  Things grew, but they were mostly unimpressive. 

Basic facts, like that plants also need fertilizer, or that some plants liked more sun than others, or that tomatoes only grew in a certain season, were beyond me.  I did not know that snails were often harmful to plants, so I encouraged their presence because they amused me.  That first attempt was pretty much a dismal failure – I did get some tomatoes actually, but they were nasty, probably because they were grown in very small pots with no fertilizer.

Now, I kick ass at gardening.  Look at some of this badass plants I grew:

Of course, I couldn’t have done it without my partner in farm and love, Paul.  Paul is a very intelligent man who likes science and grew up in the country and thus knows all sorts of things that bore the shit out of me, but are nevertheless necessary.  He has spent most of his adult life using knives and drills and hammers on people’s feet, and so has a high tolerance for doing grody stuff.  Without him, there would probably still be a pigeon stuck in the chicken feeder.  He also has excellent digging, building and lifting skills, as all good men should.  He also has the potential to be pretty damn amusing.

I live in Adelaide, which you may or may not have heard of.  It is a smallish Australian city, which other urban-dwelling Australians disparage for being a “piss-ant” town and “the city of churches”.  Let me tell you something about this city: Adelaide is awesome.  Oh sure, there aren’t many jobs, and I wouldn’t know about nightlife excitement, and the people are sort of vaguely airheaded, but it is the most genuinely smiley place I have ever been.  The weather is usually amazing, there’s a very low crime rate and almost no traffic, and there are at least five billion public parks.  For the Americans: imagine you removed the entire population of southern California and replaced it with all the people in one of those northern mid-Western states who voted for Obama, then added some cute marsupials and made their accents all Britishy.  That’s what Adelaide is like.  Ben Folds even wrote a song about it.

By the way, I grew up in New York City.  So don’t give me any shit about liking Adelaide.  Because no matter where you are from, New York is better.  I just really, really hate snow and being sexually harassed on the street. 

Other various facts about me:
-       I am the person who has to pet any friendly dog or cat that I come across.
-       I read voraciously.  When I think about all the books that I’ll never read, it makes me sad.
-       I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up (I will be 26 this year and this whole ‘time marching on’ thing is really getting to me).
-       When people use the term ‘begs the question’ incorrectly, I lose some respect for them. 
-       I wish I were back in school.
-       I get into periods where I am a really good, devoted exerciser.  Then?  Nada.
-       Depending on the situation, I can see how an animal’s life would be more valuable than a human’s.  I support the people that go around rescuing animals after a huge disaster.  I don’t really care that you think that’s crazy.   
-       I’m not a fan of religion.  But I probably won’t say anything about your religion, unless it sucks in which case all bets are off. 
o      Richard Dawkins smiled at me once.  True story.
-       I really, really don’t give a shit about celebrity breakdowns. 
-       My ideal world is one in which we all live in fairly small, self-sufficient farming communities and devote ourselves to enrichment of the mind, the earth, and the future.  But that shit’s pretty pollyanna really, so I’ll settle for a government that doesn’t actively kill a lot of people or hate gays and the women.  

Do you like me yet?  Please say yes.  Despite my tough exterior, I really do care, you guys.  Look, I'll even give you a silly cute dog picture.