Winter in January

19 Jan

<Our new DIY Cake Concept is in the final planning stages… containers found, recipes tested, decorating goodies on the way.  So, in the meantime, let me blather on about cool chickens, ok?>

Tales from the Farm Show… part 1

Me by Temple Grandin's Squeeze Machine

Take it from a gal who’s lived in California for umpteen years… winter is cold.  And snow is fluffy and crunchy.  Sounds logical, I suppose, but the still white of snow-covered fields and branches is amazing.  After spending 5 days in Pennsylvania’s state capital, Harrisburg, I have a new-found appreciation for cold.

The reason for my visit was three-fold… to have a vacation, to visit relatives and to attend the State Farm Show.  According to the Farm Show literature, 1 in 7 residents of Pennsylvania work in the agricultural industry.  Produce, livestock and draft horses are taken very seriously here.

Let’s take chickens, for instance.  Just think of the classic red rooster or white hen, the archetypal “chicken”.  That’s it, you think.  But no, after walking down row upon row of double-decker cages, I can safely say that there are 100’s of varieties.  I love the diversity.  Although I’m no expert at poultry identification, I’ve assembled an assortment of pictures highlighting some of the more wacky ones.  For several years, we owned a small flock of chickens – Barred Rock, Rhode Island Red, Aracauna – when we lived in Los Osos, and I credit them with a pivotal role in my evolution as a baker.  I would toss out my bread and dessert mishaps (and there were quite a lot) to the always hungry poultry and they would reward my efforts with fresh eggs to try another recipe.

We called these chickens Bantams with Barbie Legs… they look almost like mini-velociraptors.

Then on the other end of the spectrum are these super fluffy Cochins, looking like decked-out Samurai, complete with leg feathers.

There were a slew of these guys…  This guy is notable for the feather pattern and leg feathers but may not be a Cochin…

We also found chickens with feathers all over their heads a la Phyllis Diller on Laugh-In – called Polish.

Moving on, we found these wacky chickens with super silky feathers (hence the name, Silkies) or with frizzled feathers like they lost a fight with the curling iron.

Some of the roosters had weird-looking blobby combs…

I ended up taking close to 100 pictures in the chicken area, so I’m trying to be restrained in my enthusiasm.  But, here are a few more of our favorites….

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