-13 degrees this morning on the way out to the birds! Let the newly adopted chicken out of her cage into the big pen with the others, no strife. I identify her as she’s (temporarily) the only White without a frost-bitten comb. Stomped down new snow to scatter kitchen scraps and used a scraper to whack the ice out of the waterer (that would be the waterer on the heater) . Found a Speckled Sussex (my favorite) chicken feather in the snow. First pigeon chick, palest yellow at two days old, doing just fine tucked in under his daddy Hokie Mokie’s chest feathers. I’d show you pictures but it’s too cold to take him out.
Back in the house I’m cooing over twelve inches of shining black cast iron gorgeousness coming out of the warm oven. I found the foot-wide skillet at the corner thrift store, stuck it in plastic bags with oven cleaner for three days in the Mothership* to eat through the blackened crust. Scrubbed with brass brushes, rubbed with lard from last year’s pig and tucked in the warm oven for seasoning at increasing levels of heat and rubbings** until it can cool into shiny sweetness. Teflon never had it so good. Did the whole stable while I was at it. Find Joanna Pruess’ Cast Iron Cookbook to seduce yourself into your own stable. Great sections on iron care and lots of recipes, along with hilarious old Griswold Cast Iron advertisements and my near-requirement of great food pictures. I highly recommend it.
*Mothership: around here, the room that has all the house internal workings — filters, heaters, floor zone pipes, boilers, vents — looks like a spaceship. When my studio is finished may have to confiscate the name for it.
**Preheat oven at 125 degrees. Really do this. Heat piece(s) for 15 minutes. Wipe with lard or something else, heat in oven at 225 degrees for 30 minutes. Wipe pooled lard, still leave shining wet. Back in oven for 30 more minutes. Remove and cool 10 minutes, wipe to a dull shine. Glory in it.