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Archives for February 2012

WW: A Few Good Eggs

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It seems like the girls are kicking it in to over drive a bit early, but I’m not going to complain! I’ve been getting at least 18 eggs a day [I got 22 last Saturday!] for the last few weeks. 
For those of you counting I’ve got 28 hens. 7 Brahmas, 7 Silver Laced Wyandottes, 2 Blue Laced Red Wyandottes, 2 Buff Silkies (tiny but I get 1 silkie egg a day!) and 10 TSC chicks (at least 2 white leghorns, and some crazy egg hybrids). 
 18/28 might not seem like an awesome ration but I’ve got several girls that are showing signs of moulting (I wouldn’t want to lose my feathers just yet, it is only February!) and a few that the roosters pay a little too much attention to, if you get my meaning. Those ladies look a bit rough. The TSC specials are all fairly svelte compared to my brahmas and wyandottes so my guess is they aren’t laying too much with the cold weather.
I love the variety in size, shape and color I get from my backyard buddies. Even though I collect them every day, it still amazes me that those dumb little birds manage to provide me with food and income day in and day out.
 At the moment they are the only animals that contribute to the household income. 
[The alpacas are trying to convince me that they poop and their poop is good for the garden so they will in fact, be paying me lots come garden time]
We also have this on our kitchen counter:
Those are the eggs that are so dirty I don’t waste the time cleaning them or that freeze (and crack) or that I manage to crack on my way in to the house. Those go to Mr. Alfie. The cat doesn’t really like eggs unless she thinks she’s getting something away from the dog.
Sometimes if we have a lot of ‘bad eggs’ we let kids throw them at roosters. 
But you didn’t hear that from me. 
(Those boys are bullies!)

Caramelized Balsamic Onions

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 Ever see a picture of a food you don’t really like that makes you think you might decide to like that food?

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sham-Rock, Paper, Scissors

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Some part of me is Irish (I usually say I’m a mix of everything that sunburns!) but I think my love of St. Patrick’s day is about my love for the color green. I’ve never been a pink person, even when I was a little girl! So now that Valentine’s day is behind us bring one the shamrocks!!

WW: Follow The Leader

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This is a normal occurrence at my house. If we don’t have turkeys on the deck it’s ducks. 
(Don’t tell my grandmother!)
These are 4 of last years poults. They are the ‘sacrificial’ test group.For those of you without turkeys, chickens can carry a parasite than kills turkeys. So most  people don’t recommend having both on the same property. 
Our original plan was to have a large pen for the turkeys, separate from the chickens. Then the cows decided they would rather be in that area so the fence.. fell over. Finally I just gave up on the separation plans and grabbed a hen and popped her in the chicken coop. She was fine, but lonely and instead of staying with the chickens decided that she was better off living on top of the turkey pen. Ok… So out went another hen. Then a month later, another one. Then finally last week a young tom. 
The strong woman in me is embarrassed to share this next part with you. The 3 hens rarely left the top of the turkey pen, the only time I saw them on the ground was when threw them feed. Within 2 days of the tom being out those birds are everywhere! They go on walks around the barn. Take strolls onto the deck, standing by the sliding glass door and driving the cat insane. 
Apparently these ladies needed a strong male to follow. In the picture he’s the one all the way to the left. He saw me in the windows and decided to move his ladies on. 
He’s a good one. I like the boys that care for the ladies, really good ones will sacrifice themselves to save the hens. I hope it never comes to that but I think he might be one of those.

Chicken Noodle Soup

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A crazy thing happens when you raise your own meat. You begin to feel really, really guilty if you waste anything. So after having a lovely hairy roasted chicken on Thursday all the bones and uneaten meat went back in the fridge for soup day. I made stock from the bones and some onions and carrots on Saturday and turned it all into soup on Sunday. 
Ingredients: Stock, leftover chicken – pulled into pieces, carrots, celery, bow tie pasta and some salt and pepper.
Do we even need to go into the crap in canned soup? I could probably make a post out of the useless things in purchased soup. 
The soup in the jars isn’t canned for the long term, it’s my lunch for the week. I’ve been buying Pregresso soup for lunch for over a year, it’s usually on sale for a decent price and it’s one of the only ones without MSG in it. 
But… making soup isn’t hard, I’m just lazy. Home made is so much better than canned and if I make a big batch I also have food during the week (I usually eat alone and I can eat the same thing for a week without getting sick of it, it’s a gift).
So I set a goal for myself. I’d make my own lunch for one week (big deal right? Remember I’m lazy!). And I did. Did I save a lot of money? Probably not. The first week I made an awesome winter root vegetable soup, I’m not sure how much I spent but it was at least 15$. Next year, with the garden I can (hopefully) cut back on the costs to almost nothing. 
This week I’ve got the above chicken noodle and a jar of carrot-ginger soup to mix it up.