Adorable Dora

It is sad to farewell lovely Dora today.

Named for Dora the Explorer, she was the curious, sociable one who would sit next to you or peer through the window from the back of an outdoor chair.

She is the only chook I have ever taken to the vet. In November I saw she had observable symptoms of ill-health which an internet search seemed to show could be cured with antibiotics. I found a local vet who was knowledgeable about poultry. Dora was given an injection and antibiotic pills – which she would eat ground up in lasagne!

Recently, however, her symptoms returned and then she became lethargic and uncoordinated, but was still eating and drinking. Her comb became pale and floppy. I had no idea how old this rescued chicken was, but she had long since stopped laying eggs. These brown shavers are bred to lay eggs constantly and die an early death, worn out by the effort.

I bathed her rear end on Monday, when I feared she might get fly-strike due to some scouring. Then I settled her in a “chicken hospital” for a couple of days (carrying her to her house each night) after powdering her feathers with diatomaceous earth powder to keep insects away.

Yesterday was cooler, and I left her in her house. By the end of the day she had passed away.

Now she rests next to Betty (the first Betty, not the current one). They each have their own rock.

Dora’s rock is on the left

I wondered if Popcorn would miss her mate, but she seems unconcerned, still bossing the others around – although Betty No 2 gives her a run for her money. Animals are far more accepting of life’s inevitabilities than we are.

Here are some happy memories:

Berry time of year

The blackcurrants have been ripening over the last few weeks. Now they are ready to pick. Blackcurrants may be an acquired taste for some as they are quite tart. Blueberries are much sweeter and I’ve harvested two large bowls from one bush.

We had our first lot in a shortcake, and I added blueberries for interest.

Before the top layer of pastry was put on.

Then I looked for a more interesting recipe and found one for Blackcurrant and vanilla cream tart. This has a pastry base and a filling of egg yolk, caster sugar, vanilla, and double cream. I used half yoghurt and half cream which probably added to the tartness of the fruit. Delicious.

Because the recipe used three separated eggs, I used the whites to make meringues which I’ve never made before. They turned out well and are nice to eat on the side of the tart with a spoonful of cream and a sprinkling of fresh berries.

There’s still one more blackcurrant bush to harvest. I picked a few of the currants this evening. They are large, juicy, tart and bursting with goodness.