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Jul 6, 2018

100 Degrees, Hawk Attack! Sweet Hot Pickled Red Onion, Making Corn Relish

100 Degrees-
Well summer is finally here and so is the heat! It was 100 yesterday and 80 degrees at 10:30 a.m. this morning. Now it's water, water, water. We added more compost to our beds to keep the soil moist, really helps. I'm very grateful we also have A/C and lots of ceiling fans. We dress for the weather and stay hydrated. Kept the chickens cool with the little mister. Both the hens stood right under it yesterday. I hosed down the chick area where they like to hang out. Pretty cool. The veggies are really taking off in the garden and the heat will help. And hey, I can make sun tea!

Sadly the fires have started too. Many fires were started on the 4th from fireworks, and there was a grass fire in the foothills yesterday. The sky was smoky in parts last night, at times obscuring the sun, but it's gone this morning thankfully. So we're staying cool and enjoying the summer. 

Image from

Hawk Attack! 
You know how every thing's going really well and something happens that is so bizarre you stand back and think did that really happen?  Two days ago the chicks were outside having a good time and I was in the kitchen with the sliding glass door open. It was pretty quiet, the weather was great. I heard a terrible terrible, blood-curdling peeping from one of the chicks. I wasn't sure if one of the hens was attacking one, a cat or what was going on. I threw open the door and ran outside. As I was coming out off the deck I could see something long and low, jet black at the base of our garden gate going into the veggie area, was it a cat or?

 After getting closer coming off the deck a huge hawk flew up over our maple tree. When the hawk flew off it went and landed on our neighbor's tree behind us. I went into the garden, saw only two chicks and just had a terrible thought that the hawk had taken one. Annie the white chick was missing-

I thought well, that's it, the hawk took the chick. Then I heard another terrible peeping and looked around the yard. Annie was in the top of a boxwood shrub in the shade area, on the other side of the coop. I ran over there I was able to get her out of the shrub-

 Round boxwood shrub

 She was shaking like a leaf and peeping wildly. Poor thing was terrified. I checked her and didn't see any blood or any puncture marks. I took her back into the main part of the garden, closed the gate and put her down on the ground to see if she was okay. She seemed fine, but all three of the chicks ran and hid in a corner. I grabbed a lawn chair and brought it inside the gate so I was only a few feet from them and sat down. I didn't see the hawk at that point but when I looked up it was soaring over us. The chicks kept looking at me and I think they seemed comforted by my being near, and they all fell asleep.

Mantling Behavior from

Hawks spread their wings out to cover their prey when they first catch it. That's called mantling, then they eat. I learned this being a volunteer at the local Birds Of Prey Center.  It was low to the ground in front of the gate, just flat. When I came out and the hawk flew away I think it dropped Annie due to her size or weight into the maple tree. I suspect that she tumbled down through the tree, then landed in the shrub directly below. I think if she had hit the dirt directly she probably would have died from the fall. I stayed with them for about an hour or so and just make sure that the hawk didn't come back. Hopefully I startled it enough that it won't come back, but that's the risk you take. It had really black top wing feathers and I called the Bird of Prey Center. With it's coloring and size they thought it was probably a Swainson's Hawk. I had looked up the Sharp-Shinned Hawks that I know we have in the neighborhood, but they are smaller. So all in all everything came out okay. I'm just glad I was home and heard things or it might have been a much different outcome.

Sweet Hot Pickled Red Onion-
Speaking of food projects I decided to make some of these wonderful that red onion rings. I heard this recipe on the radio years ago, made some and it's a really versatile side dish. You can put it on top of salads, eat on crackers, lots you can do with it. Just follow the simple directions here and you could double or triple the batch if you like The limes juices basically works like a pickling acid. I do like a little less heat, so I use Jalapenos, and skip the mint. A mandolin made quick work of this. This recipe made 2 packed Qts. Yummy!

Making Corn Relish-
Here's another fun summer cold side dish! I didn't make this last summer and regretted it, so I made some now. It's pretty simple, you basically drop all the ingredients into a pot and simmer. It keeps in the refrigerator for quite a few weeks since it's basically in a vinegar base. Some people do can this as well, lots of info out there. Since I don't grow my own corn I just use canned (horrors!) and make enough for the 2 of us. You can certainly make a quadruple batch. All three of my adult kids really love this recipe! The first time I gave some to my one daughter she said she sat down with a spoon and ate an entire quart jar! Too much acid for my tummy. Anyway it's simple and you could add all kinds of other veggies- tomatoes, cukes, hot peppers, etc. I started to chop the red onion and up came the fumes! I forgot to chill the onion, that cuts down on the tears. So I got out my manual mini veggie Chef'n chopper-

I chunked up the onion, put inside, pulled the handle about 8-10 xs, and had finely diced onion, no more tears! I HIGHLY recommend this chopper, VERY sharp, small and works fast. $19.99 on Amazon, click on photo for more info. So here's the version I came up with after reading multiple recipes online-

5 cans corn (I used low sodium) and the juice, or fresh or frozen
1 each chopped- red bell pepper and green bell pepper
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 cup white sugar
1 teas. celery seed
1 teas. mustard seed
1 teas. Turmeric
1 large diced red onion
2 cups apple cider vinegar

Put everything into a large pot, stir well, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 1 hour. Cool, then transfer to jars and refrigerate. This recipe made about four Qts. I really like making these kinds of recipes from scratch and add to my cold 'pantry'.


Susan said...

I'm so glad Annie was okay! How terrifying that must have been for all of them (and you)! That is the one thing I can't prevent in my yard, so I provide lots of cover for the hens. After the fox attack, my two remaining ducks were so traumatised it took them two weeks to start to act normal.

Nancy @ Little Homestead In Boise said...

Thanks, and oh your poor ducks, so sorry.

Leigh said...

Gosh, but hawk attacks are scary. We've lost a few chickens to hawks but have been fortunate this year. So glad Annie was okay. Sorry to hear about your hot weather too! We've "only" gotten up to the mid-nineties, which is pretty "cool" for us! Hopefully you're in for some milder temps soon.

Nancy @ Little Homestead In Boise said...

Yes annie flew! Still got but great for hot weather veggies

Tarahlynn said...

Goodness it really has been scorcher so far this year! Thanks for sharing with us at the To Grandma's house we go link party!