Saturday, August 8, 2009

Dragonflies, Bacteria, and Chefs Who Love Chickens

Dragonflies were swarming around like helicopters when I went to pick up Leo at Coffee Creek today, hundreds of them. They are two or three inches big – bigger than a large wasp, for example – and moving very fast. At first, I thought they were wasps, and was very frightened by the mass of them moving around my head. But when I realized that they were dragonflies, I relaxed and enjoyed watching them.

Apparently, there are over 100 species of dragonflies in Arkansas. They live near water, and Coffee Creek is a fish camp set on the side of a large lake – a very watery place. They eat mosquitoes and swarm in hot weather when the feeding is good. I don’t know what kind of dragonfly I was watching this morning. It could have been the Swamp Darner like the one in this picture, which is common here.

According to this article in Bay Nature magazine, you can see dragonfly swarms in California, too, in the wet places (like the Delta) or even on Mt. Tamalpais.

We also had a frightful near-miss with Honey today. All last week, she had been sick and feverish and twice went to the doctor for tests. On Friday evening, the doctor called to tell Katie that it was an E-coli infection, and ordered them to take Honey into the hospital today for more blood tests. The morning was very anxious, naturally, but by lunchtime, we learned that Honey is not suffering the dangerous effects of E-coli, and we could all stand down. Actually, she’s well past the worst of it and already on the mend. She certainly looked the picture of health this afternoon, climbing through our furniture.

After we got Honey's test results, and while we were all gathered here in Little Rock, Leo showed us a funny video from The Onion. Its very funny - or at least we enjoyed it this afternoon - and I’m giving you a link to the video. But I have to warn you: the video is laced with four-letter-words and it takes a long time to load on most computers. And you have to watch an ad before you see the video, but if you're really bored sometime, you might like to watch it. Here's the link. Honey looks grumpy in this photo taken while we were taching the video because she wanted to play with Leo’s computer and we would not let her. Hopefully, she was too busy trying to mess with the keyboard to retain any of the bad words in the video.

Even though she had a sick baby, this was a notable week for Katie. She made her first delivery of chickens to the Capitol hotel, which has one of the classiest restaurants in town. Lee Richardson is the executive chef there. He is the Alice Waters of Little Rock – a big proponent of local foods who trained in New Orleans and relocated here after Hurricane Katrina. Anyway, Chef Richardson secretly bought one of Katie’s chickens at a farmers market a few weeks ago, and then called her to arrange an order for his restaurant. And this morning, people swarmed Katie's booth at the Certified Arkansas Farmers Market asking for chickens because he has been telling everybody to try them. Way to go, Katie!

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