Trudy Taylor stopped by for a visit. We have common interests in canaries and gardening. We discussed our love for chicken and how many meals one can eat from one bird. I believe we settled on five for a small one. The first night, of course, can be enjoyed with several side dishes. Of late, I’ve been cooking a roaster in the Dutch oven in the wood cook stove. I never add water to meat. I find it toughens it — better to let it stew in its own juices. I’ve been known to do that myself.

I don’t believe I ever have thrown out a chicken carcass. I pick it clean and set the bones to simmer for days in the crock-pot. There is always a need for chicken stock. At any rate the resulting meat from the pick and clean can be incorporated into several more meals depending on the amount of vegetables available. Last week I sauteed onions, carrots and leftover butternut squash along with some chicken pieces, added some curry and served over rice. In these trying economic times one can eat in a thrifty fashion without resorting to Ramen noodles.

Last Sunday my grandson Michael stopped over to help me haul some big pots of herbs, carrots, kale and lettuce into the hot house. I served him leftover chicken, cabbage, onions with Bragg Liquid Aminos all purpose seasoning. For dessert, I made him some homemade bread slathered in butter with cinnamon and sugar. After quietly eating a couple of pieces he said he no longer could eat any more. I was surprised he would be full. Teenagers rarely are. He said, no, that the cinnamon was funny. Apparently I had inadvertently sprinkled heavily with powdered wheat grass and brewer’s yeast from a similar container. Awful would be the best word to describe the concoction. I couldn’t imagine he ate as much as he did. He said he didn’t want to be rude and that I had always told my children not to criticize anyone’s cooking! I laughed until I cried.

It reminded me of Grandpa Bill, my paternal grandfather. He always said to my Grandma Kate, “Kate, this is the best cup of tea (or whatever) I have ever tasted.” One time she made breadsticks and he naturally commented, “Kate, these are the best breadsticks I ever ate.” She, a no-nonsense mother of 12, probably called him a fool and mentioned she had burned the breadsticks. Without missing a beat, he responded, “Kate, these are the best burnt breadsticks I ever ate.”

I do digress! I hope I did not make a futile attempt to keep my artichokes alive this winter. They were so beautiful this summer. I harvested a couple tiny chokes and let the rest flower. Talk about spectacular. They could easily get the big bucks as a cut flower. They are perennial but probably not here. At any rate, I made a frame of hay bales around the bed and tucked a layer of Reemay on top of the plants. They don’t look great, as they did take a couple freezes. Next week I think I may put a row cover of the opaque white plastic and hope for the best.

I cut yet another Charlie Brown Christmas tree. It is far from perfect — downright laughable. I have always done it — for two reasons. I refuse to purchase one and I would never cut a perfectly good tree. My reasoning is that the pathetic specimen I pick gets a shot at glory. I have been known to drill some holes for branches on the back side. This year I needed to make an arrangement at the bottom to fill in some large gaps.

I listened to the local food reporter on NPR. She told of a woman who bought an orchard from the estate of a Ukranian woman in Falmouth. The woman had died young with hopes of selling apples. The new owner discovered 30 viable trees from the original 48. She also found the woman’s business plans in the attic and decided to make the dead stranger’s dream a reality. I was happy to hear this part — she sent samples of the fruit to the University of Massachusetts Extension Service to find out the varieties. She received a 30-page color report from them. I am going to take advantage of this service next year as I have several trees on the property of unknown origin.

I would pay dearly to watch Sarah Palin try to debunk Al Gore concerning global warming. She is like the Everready Energizer Bunny. In response to the summit in Copenhagen, Dr. Sanjay Gupta on CNN’s House Call interviewed Dr. Paul Epstein of the Center for Health and Global Environment. He said that one reason for the rise in allergy problems is that the culprit ragweed produces more pollen with the increased carbon dioxide. I mentioned in a previous column that poison ivy also loves the CO2.

Oh! I did hear that Tiger Woods is thinking of changing his name to get some privacy. He is toying with Lion or Cheetah.