Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Life Lessons on Wine Country Livin'

This whole moving-to-the-country thing has been chock-full of lessons from day one. And usually those lessons are learned the hard way—like Don't Do Any Gardening Without Wearing Bug Spray, Check the Tasting Room's Hours Before Driving to the Boonies to Try Some New Wine, If You're Going to a Vintner's Festival Get There Early Or There Won't Be Any Food Left, and my favorite, Always Check the Bottom of Your Shoes After Walking through the Chicken Run.

In the last couple weeks, we've been hit with a few more lessons...some more painful than others. Just in case any of you readers should decide to move to wine country and raise chickens, I want to share my discoveries with you in hopes that I can save you from the agony of learning them yourself. Here's a rundown:

1. If you go to a winemakers' dinner, eat a huge lunch and use the wine-dump pot.
We attended our first winemakers' dinner at Los Olivos Cafe last Thursday night and were so giddy at the idea of finally going to one of the events we dreamed of attending when we lived back in LA. The evening featured winemakers from Qupe, Bien Nacido, and Au Bon Climat, with a selection of 9 different wines and carefully paired dishes.

Knowing my 3-4 glass limit, I was well aware of the fact that I'd have to dump partial glasses throughout the night. I figured I could get away with at least a few sips of each and that the copious amounts of food would absorb most of the alcohol anyway. At the end of the night, I was tipsy but feeling pretty much fine. Mr. and I came home and watched some TV and the next morning I awoke with only a minor headache.

I got myself some water and toast, thinking I'd make a full recovery. And then I became very, very sleepy on the couch. It was only 9:00 a.m. but I needed a nap. Or twelve. And then at about 10:00, my first winemaker dinner came back to haunt me in a very projectilious way. SO not the way to start a day. I haven't gotten sick from drinking since my 28th birthday at the Beauty Bar in Hollywood (too many martinis with my manicure). I now know that if we attend another winemaker dinner, I will need to eat and hydrate well all day long in preparation—and probably take a few less sips with my dinner.

2. Chickens that lay eggs are significantly louder than chickens who don't.
Two of our baby girls (Charlotte and Carrie) have started laying, and we couldn't be more proud. Our fridge is currently stocked with the cutest little pullet eggs you've ever seen. Every day, it's a thrill to go egg-hunting in their coop. However, I didn't realize that their eggy labor pains would include raucous clucking. Sometimes they call out to each other while one is laying—like the non-layer is coaching the layer to push. And the crazy thing is that it often happens several times a day even though they're only laying once. El Pollo Loco got their name right because those chickens are crazy.

3. Hens are bitches.
This whole pecking order business? So not cool. Particularly because one of my favorite chickens (yes, I have favorites) is at the bottom. Poor little fuzzy-faced Samantha gets a forehead full of beak all the time. We're not sure whether the ring leader is Charlotte or Carrie, but Charlotte is by far the nastiest and peckiest. Every time she bops somebody on the head, I want to pick up one of the other girls and use her to peck Charlotte right back. Definitely not a fan of henhouse hierarchies...

I don't anticipate our lessons here to slow down anytime soon. Between the new terrain, being pet parents, and remodeling our house, we're continually being hit with new educational content. I just hope we both get graduate degrees at the end of it all...

1 comment:

  1. So, here's the big question for me ... do you and Mr. W eat all of the eggs half your girls are laying? And if not, what do you do with the excess? I would think it'd be really sad to throw away such good eggs. Have you started swapping eggs for other goods with your neighbors and town folk? Hitting up the local farmer's market to sell your beauties? Do tell! =)


Well, whatdya think?