Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pavlov and me

If we ever have a hailstorm, my chickens are doomed to be at least battered. They'll run outside and flap around, and get nailed.

Why will this happen? Because I have conditioned them to associate random missles hitting their coop and the walls around it to be tomatoes thrown from across the yard where I'm picking the vines.

No matter how well I think I'm managing, there are always fallen fruit underneath. The rotten, the soft, the badly-cracked by rain, all takes to the sky and most of it hits Hen Heaven.

Some of it misses, and I bet the squirrels are happy for the ones on the garage roof behind our yard, the bees are annoyed that I'm hitting the hives, and the neighbors on the other side probably are going to wonder where the volunteers came from next spring. I could act like an adult and keep a bowl next to me for chicken treats, but throwing them is so much fun, as is hearing indignant squawks followed by frantic eating noises coming from the birds.

A girl's got to find her jollies where she can. I plan to can most of those tomatoes, along with the ones in the freezer, but I will happily eat that 12 oz Cherokee Purple with sea salt and may dry some more of the Principe Borghese. Because?

Because they were pretty good on foccacia, and I bet they'd be even better if I used fresh dough rather than the batch I'd frozen two weeks ago.


Engineeredgarden said...

stefaneener - when I first saw that picture, I said to myself "Gosh, that looks like a CP tomato". Oh, they're so good....I pitch my damaged tomatoes into the air, so that Jude can catch them. She's good at it!

Ribbit said...

Love it!!

Annie's Granny said...

Hmmm, I wonder how far I can throw a tomato. Or ten. Or fifty. If you see extra tomatoes in that chicken pen, you'll know where they came from ;-)

Dan said...

The foccacia looks great, makes me want to make one! The tom's look good too, much better then my rotten blight ridden ones :-(

el said...

My chickens have always been food motivated (aren't we all), but they've not ever really been gluttons: had I tossed them a tomato they'd turn their beaks up at it. UNTIL this year! Their ranks have doubled, and now ANY food brought to them is gone, and the kerfuffle around the food bowl is rather...impolite.

I know there are always a few hens who are more greedy than others but my new batch always act like they're starved. They're tame, though.

I am going to have to grow some of those PB tomatoes next year! Focaccia looks yums too.

Stefaneener said...

EG, you've got a good eye. I'm really enjoying them. Planning to save some seeds, to. They're a nice performer here.

Ribbt, I'm like an evil animal trainer.

AG, you're welcome to toss as many as you want my way. They'd love it.

Dan, every time I do I remember how easy it is (especially if you have a stand mixer so you don't have to get your hands all doughy). Blight hasn't quite gotten them.

el, crowding probably helps with the chickens. Also, their run is smaller than it used to be and there's not much exciting going on in it because, of course, they kill anything growing. Tomatoes from the sky are Very Exciting.

Helen said...

Yum yum. Or should I say: Cluck cluck. These look delicious. Throw a few my way.

Jackie said...

Great post! Pavlov brings me back to Psychology 101. I've been drying lots of tomatoes as well - about 4 quarts so far. It's especially gratifying when I see tiny little jars of dried tomatoes for $8 at the grocery.

Mr. H. said...

Too funny, we were throwing tomatoes and raspberries from afar at/to our chickens today as well.

Stefaneener said...

Helen, I would if I could! Only I'd give you the good ones. And probably not throw them at you.

Jackie, I like seeing them fill up. I don't think I have as many as you. Some days I throw them in the "sauce" pile because cutting each one in half seems like too much work. Lazy me.

Mr. H., it must be a natural impulse.

Kristin said...

Yes, a girl who works as hard as you do has to get her kicks some way or another and that's a fine enough way if you ask me.

The pizzas look fabulous. Yum!

kitsapFG said...

I toss slug chomped on strawberries towards the compost pile - sometimes I make it - sometimes not! I am surprised there is not a big volunteer strawberry patch behind the compost bin.

Toni said...

What a fun picture your painted in my mind!!! I can just see those hens looking for tasty tomato treats in a storm!

Happy Fall!