Throwing rocks at pigeons

Neither Chris nor I have a green thumb. The only plant we’ve not killed is the “dad plant,” which is a holdover from my dad’s funeral, and has remained alive on a diet of beer and darkness for the last 7 years. It’s a money tree. Are they particularly hardy? I don’t know. I’m choosing to believe it’s a miracle. The cats need to stop chewing the leaves of my miracle, or I’ll send them to the glue factory.

Recently, we started our outdoor garden. I have beets, kale, spinach, onions, and carrots. None of them have sprouted. I planted them almost a month ago, after spending a ton on planting soil and having Chris build very attractive planting beds. If it weren’t for grocery stores, I’d starve to death. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Maybe I should learn to hunt, so I don’t have to rely on my own agricultural talents to get me through a post-apocalyptic world. Or maybe I’ll just buy a shitload of canned beans to keep in the basement.
Our backyard is small and full of ingrown spots and pockmarks. It’s the teenage boy of lawns. It’s not our fault, either. The owners before us had two large dogs, and they ate parts of the fence and left dead spots. Darn cute dogs, though. And pets are usually worth the havoc they wreak. THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS!
Chris decided to help remedy the situation by spreading more of that gorgeous planting soil in an even layer over the lawn, filling in any of the divots and leaving a light blanket of nutrients and moisture for the old grass to grow through. He also put down a fresh layer of some fancy grass seed to fill any of the sparse areas. We wanted to have a really nice lawn for our own personal dog to destroy at his leisure.
After all of his hard work, he, too, was missing any sprouting action. We were perplexed, until we looked out one morning and saw a herd of pigeons marauding around the yard, feasting on grass seed. Chris was furious. I was laughing my ass off. He said, “it’s not like they’re robins or doves or anything nice, either!” Nope. They’re pigeons. And I’m going to assume that they ate my vegetables, too, because it’s easier than admitting to myself that I’ve got some kind of botanical voodoo curse that was placed on me at birth.
I let the dog out to chase them away, although our dog lacks the gumption to do any kind of chasing whatsoever. My mother-in-law insists that he’d eat the rash of baby rabbits in her neighborhood. I’ve tried to explain that the baby rabbits are more likely to eat him than vice versa, but she seems immovable on the subject. He’s a golden retriever. The cat steals his food and then vomits it in his bed, and he won’t do jack or squat about it. His effort against the pigeons seemed to be the animal equivalent of stepping outside, clearing his puppy throat, and saying (quietly), “ahem…erm…bird friends? That’s my dad’s grass seed and I was hoping…well, he was hoping…ah, that you’d, well, ummm….webothhopeyouenjoyit!” and then running inside and hiding in his bed with his Wubba.

Of course, neither Chris nor I are willing to take any kind of action against nature. We’re always just kind of amused when animals take revenge on the people who have stolen their land and polluted it with barbecue grills and brightly colored plastic jungle gyms. Go groundhogs! Get on with your bad selves!

We won’t be killing two birds with one stone outside.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t do it inside!

I discovered once, by accident, that you can make a single dough and then ration it out for various purposes. You don’t have to make a single loaf of bread because that’s the kind of dough you made. Nope. You can take half and make a loaf of bread, and then take half and make fried dough balls like I did two thanksgivings ago. Or, if you’re a sugar whore like myself, you can do what I did the other night using this recipe that I adapted from King Arthur Flour:

Ingredient list A:

2.5 t active dry yeast

1 C lukewarm water

3 C AP flour

1.25 t kosher salt

3 T sugar

6 T unsalted butter, at room temperature

.25 C nonfat dry milk

.5 C instant mashed potato flakes (I know, the shame! I only use them for baking)

Ingredient list B:

.25 C brown sugar

2 T softened butter

.25 C chocolate chips or wafers (I used guittard semi-sweet wafers)

Put all of ingredient list A into a breadmaker, in the listed order. Set the maker to “basic dough” setting or whatever the equivalent is on your breadmaker.

Allow it to rise, then divide it into two even pieces.

Get out two 9″ cake rounds and butter the bottoms or line them with parchment

With the first piece, divide it into 8 equal balls, rolling them to make them smooth, then place (not touching one another) in the cake pan. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place.

With the second piece, roll it into a thin rectangle. Smear it with a thin layer of softened butter. Dust it with brown sugar, cinnamon, and chocolate chips as shown.

Roll it into a log, cut it into 8 pieces (like a cinnamon roll), and place in the cake round, not touching one another, like you did with the original section. Cover and put in a warm place to rise.

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

When the rolls in each pan have risen enough to touch each other (they should be fairly puffy), uncover them and put them in the hot oven. Bake until golden brown on top
Brush the plain rolls with butter and sprinkle with sea salt. Drizzle some basic powdered sugar icing on the sweet ones.

What you now have are two fabulous breads out of one stupidly simple dough. Your plain rolls are soft, white rolls that work fabulously for sandwiches, sliders, or just eating out of hand. We rocked some homemade sloppy joe and sweet and sour slaw with ours
Your sweet rolls are like a chocolate chip cookie and a cinnamon roll had a baby. And their baby was given up for adoption, and now you’re going to eat it for dessert.

Plus, this keeps you from having an ENTIRE BATCH of cinnamon rolls to mow through like a big fat fatass. So that’s good, right?

If you have leftovers, feel free to put them in your yard. Pigeons are known to have a fondness for freshly baked pastries with their grass seed, and we’re doing all we can to be welcoming to the little beasts.

3 thoughts on “Throwing rocks at pigeons”

  1. 1) for goosefoot crops (spinach, beets, chard, kale, etc.) try soaking the seeds overnight – helps em germinate quicker. otherwise it can take like up to a month for them to sprout, and you have to keep them mighty wet (I know you hate the word 'moist').

    2) for carrots, the seeds need to see the sun so just press them into the ground without covering (of course this also makes it that much easier for the pigeons to get them).

    3) when the beets do germinate, they will produce up to 5 little sprouts per seed so you'll want to cut or pinch off all but one (don't pull, you'll pull up the whole thing).

    4) Onions take forever from seed. easier to use the starts (it's like $2.50 for 2 dozen or so). Some onions have the recommended dates for planting right in the name (Granex 1015) where the number indicates that you should be planting the seed around 10/15 if you want them to bulb. I know you can also just go buy the green onions from the store, cut off the white part (use the green part for your cooking), and plant it in the ground.

    5) You should try garlic – it's supposed to grow really well in Colorado.

    6) Also, when I did gardening in Colorado it always seemed to be either a nightshade year (tomatoes, eggplant, peppers) or a squash year (pumpkins, zucchini, yellow crook neck, patty pan). I never had much luck with carrots (and I didn't try growing the others you listed until after I moved to Texas).

    7) I had glanced through the photos before reading and I seriously thought you had added raisins to the cinnamon rolls. I briefly thought we weren't going to be able to be friends anymore. (okay, I'm really just kidding because I will eat raisins, i just don't like them that much).

  2. Thank you Katina!!! That is such good advice. We actually have a pretty decent garden going (for us) right now. The tomato plants are a couple feet high, the onion greens are at least a foot long (though no bulbing action yet), the cabbage is huge, and I think it's starting to head, and the beets are midway through their growth, I think. I should have planted them much earlier. Our spinach is starting to bolt, so I guess I should have planted them earlier, too. I have enough on their for a respectable spinach salad.

    Chris hates raisins too.

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