Week 9: Chickens of the Woods

Well, I thought this newsletter was going to be mostly about seasonal shifts and foraging bounties of lobster mushrooms & blackberries, and maybe something about how I first came to this land exactly a decade ago, and fell instantly in love … but now, instead, we are going to talk about the wild chickens of the woods.

Yes, there is a delicious wild mushroom called Chicken of the Woods, and yes, I did find one that was too old to be eaten while we were out finding lobster mushrooms early in the week.

sadness when Weekly Chicken of the Woods #1 was old and oogey

Yes, we did offer our members some of the fresh, beautiful specimen we discovered while out foraging for wild berries a few days later.

WWOOFer Madball & her find: the week’s second surprise chicken of the woods

And yes, our CSA members, Neighbors Marquardt, did gift us a second massive Chicken of the Woods mushroom yesterday!

Neighbor Dave delivering the week’s third surprise chicken of the woods

However, none of these are what we are most excited about at the moment. While we were harvesting for your boxes today, Marty went into the chicken yard to dump some culled cabbages for chicken food and future compost.

And while in there, he spied a gang of tiny chicks fleeing into the dense underbrush behind the chickenyard.

They hid too well for us to find, but while we took our lunch break, they re-emerged … eleven beautiful babies wisely following their proud momma (who we’d noticed had gone rogue in recent weeks, sleeping somewhere secret in the woods, rather than the coop).

the finale of the week’s wild chickens of the woods , emerging from the undergrowth

So we all fanned out through the woods, forming a gentle line of shooing and baby talking, moving the family to safety – first, through the gate into the chicken yard, and then through the door of the little truck topper coop, where mama and her brood can relax in safety and privacy as they grow up a bit.

out of the woods and into the chickenyard

The herding went off without a hitch, and now the farm is feeling bright and cheerful, in a way that’s hard to explain but inarguably real for us all.

There is new life on the land here, new sparks for us to tend and bring up into our magical, grubby existence on the edge between the Barrens and Civilization.

It’s beautiful, and we are well reminded of that today.

Inside Box 9

  • Potatoes (red purple, yukon gold, and/or maybe russets)
  • Green Cabbage of Unremembered Variety
  • Eggplant – the season’s first! You probably remember that they will soak up a lot of oil when cooking, so choose an oil that you like the flavor of.
  • Shallots
  • Zucchini – all the kinds
  • Cucumbers – big slicers and littler picklers
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Savory herb – will pair great with the potatoes!
  • Micro-greens (either basil (don’t refrigerate!), cilantro, radish, or a mix with cabbage, kale, and amaranth)
  • Tomatoes – they are ripening more slowly with these cool nights; use the soft ripe ones first, and let the firmer ones finish ripening on a counter for later in the week.
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