Old Time, Celtic, Maritime Music, Gardening and Small Scale Farming

I didn't know I was a musician gardener.
All my life I've loved getting my hands dirty gardening, keeping small livestock, and playing traditional music, but I always thought that was just a peculiar combination that occurs in a completely random fashion. But one day my wife Sara and I were talking with a neighbor who ran a one acre educational garden down the street from us. He mentioned that as soon as the growing season was over he was going to hit the road with a bluegrass band he played with. He smiled and said that he felt really blessed to live the life he had- getting to play in the dirt and play on the stage. I had no idea he played in a bluegrass band so we talked shop about music, gardening, and travelling for a bit. After we said goodbye and started walking away Sara turned to me and said "oh I know what you guys are, you're Musician Gardeners."
Suddenly it clicked, all my life I've known and met people who combine their lives like that. friends, neighbors and other folks who combine their love of the land with a love of music, often the very music that grew and still grows out of that land.
This blog hopes to explore that relationship and to let other Musician Gardeners out there know that we're actually a demographic!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I know I haven't made a post in a while, but A LOT of things have been happening over the summer.
First things first, my wife, Sara, and I are expecting another addition to our family... soon!  The due date is around October 2nd.   It's a girl, and we're pretty settled on the name Clover May.  We are very excited to be having another little one in our lives, and I'm really glad that June Rose will get to grow up with a sister.  We also are glad to start filling up our new house, since we just moved to the little town of Juliaetta, near moscow, ID.
A bit more about the place...
Sometimes an oppurtunity comes up.  Something unavoidably good, something that cannot be ignored for its overall ability to manifest hopes and dreams long held but unrealized.
My first real experience with this came with meeting my wife, and realizing right off the bat our deep connections and shared desires, and knowing that we needed to be together.  My wife has been my partner and confidant through a whole lot of changes in my life, and with her I've realized my dream of a growing family, learned a lot about myself, and had amazing and fun experiences.
Now, along with my new daughters impending birth, I feel like the next big chapter in me and my family's journey has started. 
Several months ago a property which I had taken quick looks at before suddenly changed.  It was formerly a house and pole barn on 2.5 acres for $127,000.  Not a bad deal but a bit beyond our price range.  The next time I looked at it the bank (it was a foreclosure) had dropped the price to $87,000 and brought the lot size up to 6.3 acres.
We weren't really ready or expecting to buy, what with a baby on the way, and watching our budget, but when we went to see this place my heart really made leaps in my chest.  The house was really big, 2600 square feet.  The pole barn was in perfect condition, and really big as well at about 60 by 80 feet with a little shop and a poured slab inside.  The acreage was perfect for small family and maybe a little farm.  So, we went for it.  We bought it at the end of july and have been working like crazy fixing it up, painting, replacing windows, wiring, plumbing, etc..  all trying to get everything done so we could rent out our place in moscow as the college students were coming back, and so we could have a safe clean place for our new baby.
So here we are.  This is really the realization of a dream for me.  Not only do I have a beautiful family, but I also have that little piece of the country I've always wanted.  Even when I was in highschool I thought things like "hmm, I think I might like to have an exotic fowl farm when I grow up.."  Well, maybe not an exotic fowl farm but berries, fruits, and vegetables- definitely.  Maybe even some goats and guinea hogs too. 
For now here's a bit of what our wonderful property has to offer.
- year round spring
- year round creek
- five nice old standard apples trees- red delicious, golden delicious, granny smith, and one mystery apple.  all of which need major pruning
-The pole barn, of course, and the shop inside which will make a great certified kitchen and farm store someday- fingers crossed.
- a few rag-tag prune plums
-acres and acres of sweet delicious blackberries (that's also why the goats may be necessary)
-enough norway maples for 10 taps
-acres of red alder trees, which are apparently tap-able as well
-a big old english walnut tree
-a tool shop in the house (holy cats!)

and to top it all off it's just across the street from a paved 6 mile bike path along the beautiful potlatch river, where just the other day, in the course of one half hour, I caught a nice smallmouth bass, a good 8 inch rainbow trout, and a REALLY nice 14 inch rainbow trout.

So, now we are relaxing, and winding down from the frenzy of fixing stuff, and getting ready for the new little addition to our family.  We are full of hopes and dreams, and realizations of the work ahead of us, but things seem to coming together.
Life can be trying sometimes, full of ups and downs.  But if you wait, and you hope, and you try, and you are thankful,  good things will come.

More pictures to come soon

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Eric Nassau and Greg Hodapp live at Hogan's place, Clarkston WA!

cover charge

Eric Nassau, troubador extraordinaire is coming to clarkston, washington!  Eric writes songs that evoke hard  travelling, city lights, bicycles, country roads, dirt, grit, and sweet sunshine.
One of the best songwriters I've ever had the pleasure to perform with.  Rock and roll, blues, and folk influenced original music at it's Nassau-est.
Come rock out at Hogan's the best juke joint in the L.C. valley!

Friday, April 13, 2012

A New Album

Last night I spent six hours at Cut the Mustard Recording Studio here in Moscow, ID.  Brad Crooks the owner and engineer spent a bit of time working out the kinks in his new equipment but after we got rolling we cranked out 11 tracks.  What a surprise, I had only come in to record maybe 3 or 4 tunes but things were progressing so fast we decided- what the hey?  Why not just go for it. 
This album will be a bit of a departure for me since it is composed entirely of clawhammer banjo and harmomica.  We will also be adding some drums and maybe bass and organ.  Usually I like to mix as many instruments as I can in a recording but since I've been focusing so much on the banjo recently I thought a banjo album would be appropriate.
here's the tune list
-red rocking chair
    good old timey hard times tune
-once more a lumbering go
    logging song from northern new york that travelled to the midwest
-out on the ocean a-sailing
    great piedmont blues tune from Reverend Gary Davis
-sandy river belle/ john brown's dream
    old timey fiddle tunes
-don't let your deal go down (little girl)
    more of an old timey archaic version of the ragtime tune
-rueben's train
    bluegrass classic, learned from Doc Watson's recording
-the invisible american
   original, about a guy I met in cincinnati, a homeless veteran who could hardly speak from having a stroke, who had no coat, no money, and no one who gave a damn.  These folks need care, but they alway end up getting forgotton about and thrown away by our heartless society.
-hook 'n line/the bucket of the mountain dew
  the first is a foxtrot I hear off a "mammals" CD, and the second in an irish tune that crosses over into   old time style nicely
-whiskey in the jar
   classic irish bar song
-wild bill jones
  good wild west tune I learned from Charlie Parr in Duluth, MN
-lochaber no more
  Scottish aire I listened to a lot as a kid

We'll upload some sample tracks as soon as we have some finished product done.  This promises to be something of a richer sounding and slightly more modern album, a new kind of thing for me but exciting!  Stay tuned.

Friday, March 23, 2012

I should rename this blog Greg's adventures in Maple Syrup Land

Almost a week has gone by since my busy few days playing music various St. Patrick's Day events, and I almost thought I would be at a loss for what to do this weekend.  Fortunately my selective memory often allows me to forget about what really needs to be done untill it's time to do it.  Specifically, time to start tearing down all my sap collecting equipment, and to can up all the maple syrup and apple cider syrup I've made this year.  The total tally for maple syrup has been 2.5 gallons of syrup from a bit over 100 gallons of sap.  I'm wildly estimating my sap to syrup ratio at about 38-1 at the beginning of the season and 70-1 at the end of the season.  In the beginning almost all the sap was from silver maples, while at the end it was all norway maple.  End of the season norway maple sap is nothing to shout about, it's reasonably good, but slightly bitter, and cloudy.  To top that off my very last boil down I calculated a 100-1 ratio, almost completely norway maple sap.  Not so great.  Clearly norways are much better before march 15th- oddly enough this is the start date for good sugar maple flow.  I still have four sugar maples tapped west of town and I'm hoping to get a bit of decent sap out of them since now is the time when they should be flowing well.  I haven't seen a drop however and my observations from last year have definitely born out:  in North central Idaho late march and april do not generally include good sap flow weather, whereas late january through early march consistently have at least some good freezing and thawing cycles.  Silver, and norway maples flow best from late january through early march so any tree worth tapping around here should be one of those two species.
Another potential species that I have yet to tap but would very much like to is big leafed maple- Acer macrophyllum.  Big leafed maples apparently have been the focus of a brand new maple syruping trend on Vancouver Island.  Gary and Katherine Backlund started the trend and it seems that it's caught on like wildfire.  There are big leafed maple syrup festivals and workshops happening on a regular basis and the amount of sap the island has collected as a whole has been in the hundreds of thousand of liters this past spring.  They have a slightly lower sugar content than sugar maple- averaging around 2%, but I've know sugar maples with less than that.  The sap season runs from january through february for this tree as well.  So, next spring I'd definetly like to see if I can't find some big leafs to tap around here.
In this region there are a few isolated pockets of big leafed maple growing along the palouse river and the potlach river.  Even if I can't tap any of them I'm going to try and collect some seed or take some cuttings.  I think it might Make more sense to wait untill we have land to plant these trees on but that may change soon.......   more on that later .
All in all this has been a good experience, and educational as well.  Firstly propane is far too expensive a fuel to use in boiling down.  Natural gas and electric are slightly less costly but not by much.  The only way in my view to make boiling down economical is to use a wood fired boiler and harvest the firewood yourself So I'm putting a wood fired boiler - probably a modified barrel stove - on the list of things to do that may or may not ever get done.  The next most important that I learned is that urban tree tapping could be a great way to make part of your living if you are UNEMPLOYED.  The time (and gas) it takes to drive from neighborhood to nieghborhood and town to town it just too much.  Period.   Hauling sap around a 7 acre sugarbush is one thing, but driving around collecting sap from just 29 taps can take all afternoon. With the cost of gas and the cost of propane as my biggest budget eaters I will do slightly better than breaking even, but not by much.  Compared to the cost in time, energy, and money making apple cider syrup is much more economical so untill I have a real sugarbush of my own Apple cider syrup may become my first focus.  I'll never stop tapping tree of course, once that gets in your blood it's impossible to get out, but an urban tree tapping business along with a full time job.... hmmmm.... not so much.   After all how will I ever get my wood fired maple sap boiler finished?  Oh, the irony.....

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Fiber cereal, and Layer Pellets, Can You Tell the Difference? Plus Norway Maple, a great sap tree- who knew?

We were cleaning out the kitchen the other day and noticed an old box of fiber cereal that a neighbor had given us quite some time ago.  Obviously it hadn't been touched since it was brought in the house so we decided since none of us could stomach it the chicken could probably still handle it.  I have seen them eat broken glass before so I figured they could probably handle fiber cereal.  However, on my morning walk to the coop the next morning I noticed something strange about the similarities between the bucket of layer pellets and the kitchen scrap container full of fiber cereal.  So I've decided to bring the question to you, good reader, containers non-withstanding CAN YOU TELL THE DIFFERENCE?
What does this mean!? Have my parents really been eating layer pellets for breakfast all these years?

We've also recently discovered another culinary mystery.  Steaming purple cauliflower is apparently the best way to make Romulan Ale


If we mixed this with carrot juice would we get a Klingon Car Bomb?

Maple syrup update:
I'm on my fourth boil down now and have tallied up about 80 gallons of sap and 2 gallons of syrup.  Things are going much better than I had expected.  It's looking like the season will start winding down soon for my Silver Maples whose buds are just starting to burst but I'm hoping the my Norway maples will run for at least another week.  Norway Maple, by the way is a tree I have become very impressed with.  They have great sap flow even without dramatic freezing and thawing cylces.  The sap is sweet, clear, and boils down to something much more like Sugar or Red maple syrup than Silver Maple.
Norway Maple does have a tendency to become invasive so one would have to be careful planting it but I'd definitely consider Norways for a sugar bush now.  They seem to flow great all the way from early february through the middle of march and show no signs of stopping.  Most trees will give you a four week window of sap flow before they taper off, but Norways just seem to keep plugging right along.  Can we infer from this that Norway Maples are slower to compartmentalize their wound than other maples?  Who knows, either way I think all those norwegians over in the old country have been missing out on a good thing all these millenia.
Take care.....   and now that you know how to make it, just take it easy on the Romulan Ale......

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Boil down time!

Well I'm glad to say that the last couple of weeks has been good tapping weather indeed.  We had freezing nights and warm sunny days for almost the last two weeks.  As I write this of course it is 34 degrees and snowing/ raining which has definitely put the stop to sap flow for now.  A perfect oppurtunity for the first boil down.
From the 10 taps I have around town I've collected 21 gallons of sap, which should give me anywhere from 1-3 quarts of syrup depending on what sap to syrup ratio our Moscow trees have.  My guess is that it will be closer to 2.5 quarts.  But fear not Palouse Maple Syrup Cooperative members, this is only the first boil down of the season.  With luck we will have a few more stretches of inversion type weather giving us some good runs on sap.
Just so you know, if we don't end up having any more good sap weather the amount of actual syrup available for purchase will be quite small.  In the range of 1/2 pint per co-op member, but that's just the risk you run when making maple syrup and part of the reason that it's become so expensive over the last few years- namely the lack of good sap flow weather in the northeast and northern midwest and the faster transition to warmer tempuratures.  So keep your fingers crossed for frost!
                                            The first boil down of the year.  This batch will be finished
                                           in a certified kitchen but most of the boiling needs to be
                                            done outdoors or you will most likely be kissing your
                                           wall paper goodbye!
MORE ON TAPPING.....                                            
Recently I had to the pleasure to be featured in the Feb. 10th edition of  the Moscow Pullman Daily News in a front page article by Kelli Hadley called "Tap for the Sap."  It was quite a surprise and a pleasure to be on the front page.  It was an informative, accurate and very well written piece but it seems to have stirred something of a small controversy.  The City of Moscow today sent out a press release forbidding anyone to tap any tree growing in a city right of way, and I have been told that this is the last time I will tap maple trees on campus for our grounds shop spring pancake feed since those trees are indeed in a city right of way.  The city also noted in their press release that they disagreed with the statement in the article saying tapping is harmless to maple trees.  And that it can indeed do harm especially to stressed trees.
Well, yes tapping can harm maple trees if done improperly.  That's exactly why I follow the "best tapping" practices laid out by Cornell University, why I don't tap stressed, diseased or heavily damaged trees, and why I use 1/4 inch spiles instead of other commercial spiles which can be up to 1/2 an inch in diameter.  It helps perhaps to think of tapping maple trees like giving blood or milking a cow.  Taking blood from someone with diabetes will certainly cause damage or death, and freshening a cow or goat suffering from chronic ketosis (muscle wasting) may harm or even kill them.  These are both practices done every day all over the country that generally do no present risk, but can in rare instances.
Tapping a tree properly and safely niether benefits nor harms the tree in the long term, and it has indeed been done for decades and decades on intergenerational sugarbushes.  The trees on my sugarbush in Wisconsin and all my friends sugarbushes are healthy vibrant and entirely unharmed despite being tapped nearly every year.  So, if you have any questions at all about how I tap or the methodology I use please feel free to contact me.  Untill then we will all just have to keep looking forward to the delicious taste of condensed local sunshine.  Hopefully the weather will cooperate and give another inversion or two before the end of the season.  Keep your fingers crossed!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Maple tapping and bagpiping

Well the tapping season is just about here.  I plan to start drilling and putting out buckets this week.  I've got five people signed up for the Palouse Maple Syrup Cooperative, all with big old silver maples, one norway maple, and one box elder- most of which are big enough to be double tapped.  My goal was to put in at least six taps.  That would give me enough to make a worthwhile amount of syrup, enough to at least supply the co-op members, but now it seems that I have 12 taps to manage.  Great!
If at some point I can get 50 or more taps in around town the Palouse Maple Syrup Cooperative will be chugging right along.
The Palouse Folkore Society has also been kind enough to include my advertisement for the co-op in thier monthly newsletter.  I got a chance to take a look at it during thier concert series last night.  Dick Hensold, an amazing smallpipe player, was performing and bagpipes are an instrument I love to chat about with other bagpipe nerds but I ended up talking about maple syruping far more.  Seems that there is a lot of interest in this subject around town, hopefully this will translate into more co-op members.
Going back to Dick Hensold's performance... WOW.  He was an absolute virtuoso on the Northumbrian Smallpipes, Reel Pipes, Swedish Transverce Flute, Swedish Smallpipes, and the Pib Gorn (horn pipe).  What a rare treat it was to see him perform here in Moscow.  I'd never heard Piobaireached style performed on smallpipes either.  Piobaireached is a highly stylized form of playing were a melody is cumulatively embellished and variated upon untill at last it becomes an absolutely stunning virtuoso rendition of an otherwise simple two or three part tune.
Now I know I'll probably never get into Piobaireached style playing- it's just too complicated for me, but hearing it performed so incredibly well and on the Northumbrian and Reel Smallpipes nonetheless, made me really want to break out my own sets of Smallpipes and Highland Pipes again.  I've been ignoring them a bit for the last year or so.  The reeds I have in my Dunfion Smallpipes and Highland Pipes have been more than shot for a long time and I postponed getting new ones for even longer.  Finally I ordered some new reeds from Chris Apps in Missouri, and it feels like I'm playing completely new instruments.  The reeds I got from Chris especially make my Smallpipes play like something that cost far more money than I originally paid for them.  Very good investment.  So now I just need some extra time and some warm weather to get out of the house and get back into practice.
hmmm... I wonder if bagpipes sound vibration effect maple sap flow?  Sounds like a good graduate project... or maybe I'd better stick with underwater bagpipe weaving.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Music That Gives Us a "Sense of Place."

You know it when you hear it.  The kind of song that brings forth visions of the landscape and the lifeway that created it.  These are the songs and tunes that seem to grow right out of the dirt.  This is the music that I love.  I used to think that it had to be an old crusty ballad or a dance tune from somewhere way back in time, but it doesn't have to be.  I heard a great quote on a radio interview recently from a group of musicians who were finishing some of Hank William's uncompleted songs.  One of them said he loved a hank williams tune, that it seemed so natural, like it was something that was planted and just grew up out of the soil.  Something that belonged there. 
I hear bits and pieces of modern songs that have that feel.  Like when I was driving through the wheat country outside of Walla Walla and Susan Werner's "Barbed Wire Boys" came on the radio.  That song and the land that I drove through became one and visions of vast cornfields, river valleys, and crusty old ball-caped men in greasy midwestern diners flashed through my head.  Like my friend Jimmy who I knew back in wisconsin who had hands like sides of beef from milking cows and pounding fences for thirty years.  The palouse is not all that different a place than many parts of the midwestern landscape that I grew up in and that song helped me connect my old home with the new, helped me sink my roots a little deeper.
I think learning songs that can connect us with land and culture are some of the most important ways we can find a sense of place.  I think that's one of the biggest problems we face as a country that we feel so disconnected even to the point that disconnection itself has become a way of life.  Everyone is plugged in, online, and yes connected but to who?  To where?  Where are we, who are we?  Have we sacrified connection to land and culture for connection to a virtual world?  Do we really derive more satisfaction from virtual connection then we can from connection to a landscape and a lifeway?
There are many many benefits to the new technologies that constantly surround us, and I'm not saying we shouldn't have it both ways.  I am, after all, writing a blog post for god's sake.  I just think that knowing and learning music that grew up out of the land, out of the culture you find yourself surrounded by, out of the people who made the place you live the way it is today can help give us that connection, help feed our roots, our sense of history and continuity, and give us a reason to love the land we live on.
I recently had the pleasure and priveledge to take part in the Gary Eller's smithsonian's instute project "The Way We Worked in Idaho."(more about him below). I helped in recording the song Fifty Thousand Lumberjacks, an old union logging song recorded in St. Maries not far from here around 1917.  The wonderful Shayne Watkins of the band "Beargrass" asked me to accompany him on this tune.  Recording was great fun and an important experience for me since learning that song helped me to feel more connected to and more a part of this region on the very edge of the bitter root mountains where timber holds as much importance as wheat.
Both Shayne and my Wife are foresters as well so along with talk about managing today's forestlands I can now reflect at least a little on what the loggers who shouldered the roots of this industry were thinking and feeling.... and singing.

You can listen to the Fifty Thousand Lumberjacks and learn more Idaho songs at the website and mp3 link below:
Much Thanks to Gary Eller, creator of bonafidaho, and without whom these wonderful songs might have been lost to the dustbins of history.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Idaho Maple Syrup, and Apple Cider Syrup

It's getting close to that time of year when the maple sap starts flowing, and I can't wait for that first taste of crystal clear concentrated sunshine.  I've just started putting up posters around town for my newest idea:  the Palouse Maple Syrup Cooperative.  Here's the advertisement to explain what I'm trying to do.....   Also Check out my new Making Maple Syrup in Northern Idaho Page (right hand menu bar) to get the whole story behind the inspiration for this project.

If you have Silver, Red, or Sugar Maples or Box Elders on your property that are over 10 inches in diameter you can receive 20% off on all maple syrup and maple candy if you allow your trees to be tapped.
Greg Hodapp, experienced maple syruper from Wisconsin will do all the work for this labor intensive process-  tapping, collecting, filtering and boiling down the sap.  You will receive the benefit of healthy, delicious and locally made maple syrup.  You will also receive 10% off of on local apple cider syrup/ maple syrup blends, and maple syrup chocolates.

Etcetera....  I'm hoping that this whole idea will start catching on.  It truly is a labor intensive process so it really is a good deal for people without enough trees to make tapping worth their while, or for folks who just don't have the time.  
I'm especially excited about blending the apple cider cinnamon syrup I made this past fall from local wild apples with my local maple syrup.  I tried it out last fall and the flavor was out of this world delicious.  Making apple cider syrup is really simple.  You just need a boiling set up with a wide shallow pan to increase the capacity for evaporation, a candy thermometer, a big pot for storage and a siphon to run the cider into the boiling pan.  I have a stand alone double burner propane camp stove and a 20 gallon, wide stainless steel pan from an old steam tray, it's actually a pretty sweet setup... pun intended.
Make sure your apples aren't extremely tart, the resulting syrup will pucker you until your head turns inside out.  Press the cider like you normally would, and mix in about 1/2 cup of brown sugar per gallon to cut the sour.  Start adding cider to the boiling pan slowly through a very small diameter siphon.  You may have to pinch the siphon a bit to slow the speed of flow down even more.
About halfway through the boiling down process coat the top of the boiling sap with cinnamon, stir it in and repeat once more.  If this is not enough cinnamon for you more can be added later.
Keep boiling the cider down until your candy thermometer reads about 220 Deg F.  That's a bit hotter that the joy of cooking will tell you, but I like my syrup extra syrupy.
The resulting syrup will always be a bit tart but that tends to go away after the second taste.  It's splendid on pancakes, and waffles, and it can be mixed with hot water to make something like mulled apple cider.
Hope you all have fun trying this out.  It's not too terribly difficult and because of apple cider's higher sugar content it only takes about half as much time to process as maple syrup, and the results are delicious- although nothing compared to the two of them mixed together.  Mmm mmm!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Today I figured out the trick to getting chickens to eat alfalfa hay with out them wasting most of it.  Don't break open the bale.  This may be getting a great big "so what" from some of you and albiet it's not the most amazing eureka moment but for me it make a big difference.
I like my chickens to get a enough greenery since that is what makes the difference between an egg with healthy cholesteral (HDL) as opposed to a conventional laying hen that puts out eggs high in unhealthy cholesterol (LDL)  the kind that causes arterial plaque build up. Now getting enough greenage for our flock is tricky, we have a small backyard and when the garden is in the chickens are definitely not allowed in it, so I built an extra run for them to get grass two or three times a week during the growing season.  I supplement that with garden weeds and lawn clippings from my trusty ol' 1970-ish snapper mower.  In the wintertime the side run is out of commission and there are no garden weeds or lawn clippings to offer.  So if I want my hens to get grasses and wild greens that means I either need to make extra trips to the salad bar at the co-op or I need to get them hay.  Just try breaking open a bale of hay, especially alfalfa, for a flock of chickens and stand back and watch.  In a matter of minutes all the most nutritious bits and pieces will be pulverized and stirred into the dirt.
Putting a whole un-broken bale into the run seems to solve this problem.  The flock pecks and tears off the hay and the nutritious but fragile alfalfa leaves bit by bit leaving little saucer shaped depressions in the bale and wasting hardly any hay at all. Voila!  problem solved.  The alfalfa gives the added benefit of being high in protein, vitamins, and minerals, that really make for not only more eggs but much better tasting ones as well, mmmm....

This line of thought got me thinking about my favorite chicken related songs.....
-Cluck old hen (traditional)
The old favorite, the best line from this one is "my old hen she had a wooden leg, best dang hen ever layed an egg, layed more eggs than any hen around the barn another peck a' whiskey wouldn't do me any harm."  Kid friendly version would be " another piece of pie ...."
-Teenage mutant kung-fu chickens (Ray Stevens)  gloriously ridiculous song, you have to listen to it the whole way through to appreciate, it just make sure you're alone when you do.  This song may lower other's opinion of your I.Q.
-Who broke the lock on the henhouse door? (trad.)
This one seems to appreciate the ......emmmm shall we say "relationship" between rooster and flock pretty well
My old rooster's very old
The things he done just can't be told
Toes curled up, he can't hardly scratch
but the the little hens say his eggs still hatch

Take care untill later-  Greg