Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Eggs !

Our little ones have just started laying a beautiful rainbow of eggs. I admit I have been a bit obsessed with taking photographs of them lately.  But they are SO much easier to capture on film than the chickens - the eggs are much more cooperative !

August Update

Sorry for the lack of new posts.  Life has been busy with 7 chicks, 11 pullets, 3 hens, our horse, cat and a new puppy.  The days just fly by.  Now that the heat of the summer is upon us tho, it means alot more time in the house, so I'll try to update the blog more often.

A new wreath for the front door of the house...

means the old wreath gets relegated to the tack room door. I think its a nice addition.

We've got tomatoes ripening like crazy. In fact, today I'm baking a tomato pie - the recipe is posted under the Recipes tab.

And of course, we have EGGS !  Lately I've been on a kick photographing them.. I'll post a bunch of the photos in another post later today.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Raise chickens, knit a sweater, grow vegetables....

Check out my facebook page FRESH EGGS DAILY !

Raise chickens, grow vegetables, knit a sweater, ride a horse, make jam, dry herbs, milk a cow, sew an apron, pick wildflowers
...dedicated to inspiring others to live the simple, wonderful, natural hobby farm life everyday.

Our Little Garden

Our little garden has already yielded peas, beets, lettuce and some nice herbs included dill, basil and parsley. Can't wait for the tomatoes and cucumbers.

A friend who wanted some eggs got a nice suprise of some fresh parsley and flowers to dress up the carton.

Our little magnolia bush has huge flowers on it for the second year...

And there's nothing like fresh eggs scrambled with a bit of cheese and some fresh herbs !

Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer

The days have been just flying by....the heat of the summer is upon us, so staying cool is our top priority.

The chickens always enjoy some cool watermelon...

The ducks spend alot of time in their pool but sometimes a big bowl of cool water is just fine with them also...

 Bella is six months old now and weighs about 50 pounds....

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sweet Cardamom Bread

3/4 C warmed heavy cream
1/4 C sugar
1/4 C butter, softened
1/2 t salt
1 t cardamom
1 egg
3 C flour
2 1/4 t dry yeast

Add ingredients to bread machine in order given.  Select 2lb white loaf cycle.
Optional - brush with cream and sprinkle with sugar just prior to bake cycle starts.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Easter !

What's Easter without a few baby chicks and ducklings ?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie

Combine 2-1/2 C flour, 1 t salt and 2 sticks cold butter in food processor. Slowly add 1/2 C ice water until dough holds together. Flatten into two discs between plastic wrap. Chill for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Melt 1/3 C butter in saucepan then slowly whisk in 1/3 C flour. Add 1-1/2 C milk and 1-1/2 C water and simmer until thickened. Season with salt, pepper, parsley and thyme.

Roll out bottom crust and generously fill with cooked shredded chicken, 2 cooked sliced carrots, 1/2 can green beans, 1/2 cooked chopped onion and 1/2 can corn. Pour liquid over top and cover with top crust.  Vent, brush with milk and bake 30-35 minutes until golden brown.

Disclaimer: I DO NOT advocate the eating of chickens (chickens are your friends, NOT food !) but this pot pie is just SO darn good !

Monday, March 28, 2011

Fresh Strawberry Scones

Quick and easy, these scones highlight fresh, sweet berries....

Fresh Strawberry Scones

2-1/2 C flour
2 rounded T sugar
1 T baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 stick butter, cut into small pieces
1 C sliced strawberries
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 C heavy cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Use a pastry cutter to incorporate butter.  Gently fold in strawberries. Mix in eggs and heavy cream until just moistened.

Transfer dough to a parchment-covered baking sheet. Pat in a 3/4-inch thick circle.  Cut into 8 wedges.  Brush wedges with additional heavy cream and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 18 minutes or until golden.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Chick Days

I have read every book that Barnes & Noble stocks on their shelves about raising chickens.  And I have to say that Chick Days is one of the best.  I am really enjoying it.  I highly recommend it.

Its part instruction manual, part journal of one family's foray into chickens. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Blueberry Bread Pudding with Maple Syrup and Blueberry Sauce

This is a deliciously easy recipe to make for a special breakfast.  Since you assemble it the night before, you just have to pop it in the oven in the morning.

Bluebery Bread Pudding with Maple Syrup and Blueberry Sauce
(serves 4)

Six 1" slices day-old round loaf (homemade or bakery) white or country bread
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 Cup fresh or frozen Maine blueberries
6 eggs
1 Cup milk
1/4 C maple syrup
1 t. vanilla bean paste or extract

Cut bread into 1" cubes.  Place half the cubes in a single layer in a buttered 8" baking dish.  Cut cream cheese into 1/2" cubes and space evenly over bread cubes.  Top with blueberries and remaining bread.

In a small bowl, whisk eggs, milk, maple syrup and vanilla. Pour over bread mixture, pressing down with the back of a spoon or spatula to soak all the bread evenly.

Cover pan with foil and refrigerate overnight.  In the morning, remove from refrigerator and preheat oven to 350.  Bake covered for 45 minutes, then uncover and continue to bake an additional 30 minutes until top is golden brown.   While pudding is baking, make Blueberry Sauce and heat some additional Maple Syrup.  Serve warm with Blueberry Sauce and Maple Syrup drizzled over top. Add an optional dollop of heavy cream whipped with sugar, cardamom and vanilla.

Blueberry Sauce

1/2 Cup sugar
1 T cornstarch
1/2 Cup water
1/2 Cup frozen Maine blueberries

Combine sugar, cornstarch and water. Boil in small saucepan, whisking to combine, for 2-3 minutes until thickened.  Add blueberries and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring gently until berries burst.

~adapted from Mary Janes Farm magazine~

Babies are growing up

Everyone is getting so big ! The chicks are just about 4 weeks old and had their first field trip outside yesterday - it got up to 80 degrees outside, so they had a rare bit of fresh air much earlier than  I normally would let them outside.

They were in their wire mesh cage inside the chicken run, so the older hens could get a good look at them but not get at them.

Bella is also getting big. She's 12 weeks old and weighs almost 30 pounds.

She is still giving Linus a run for his money, but he's good at giviner her a swipe when she gets too carried away.

Everyone is getting along tho and growing fast !

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Grilled Steak and Onion Rigatoni with Mozzarella Cream Sauce

Last night I had a chuck steak all ready to grill for dinner but when I took a closer look, it was marbled with tons of fat and I realized to cook it whole wasn't going to work...so I cut it up into tiny pieces and created this awesome pasta dish !

Grilled Steak and Onion Rigatoni with Mozzarella Cream Sauce

1 box rigatoni, cooked and drained
1 small chuck steak, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 T olive oil
1 large onion,sliced thin
Handful of fresh spinach
1 T butter
1 C cream
1 C shredded mozzarella

Grill the steak pieces in a grill pan on the stovetop in olive oil.  Remove when slightly browned and keep warm in a bowl.  Add onions to same pan and saute until softened and brown, season to taste with salt and pepper.  Remove and add to bowl.

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium high heat.  Add cream and heat until just bubbling around the edges.  Stir in shredded cheese until melted.  Add spinach and steak and onions.  Pour sauce over rigatoni and mix well.  Garnish with shaved parmesan.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Every Secret Thing by Laura Lippman

I have just started reading Every Secret Thing by Laura Lippman.  I really have enjoyed a few of her other books and am looking forward to this one.  She is similar to Jodi Picoult in many ways.  Engaging characters and a plit with dark undertones usually.

Signs of Spring !

Spring is my favorite season here in Virginia.  I love when the grass starts to turn green - it always seems like it turns from tan to green overnight !

Our plum tree is in  full bloom.  We have never sprayed it so the bugs and birds eat all the plums...maybe this year we'll try spraying and see if we can keep some for ourselves.

This vinca all came from a tiny sprig that I brought back from my Mom's about 2 years ago.   It's finally taking under the tree and starting to spread.

I have lots of different variets of yellow daffodils and also some pink. The pink don't come up every year tho, I'm not sure if the bulbs are rotting or maybe the squirrels are stealing them.

I love perennials ! No work after the first planting other than trimming back the foliage in the fall.  And its so exciting to see them start popping up everywhere.

Pretty pink hyacinths.
And some purple hyacinths.
I love spring !

Monday, February 28, 2011

More Life in the Run

Since reinforcing the chicken yard, Linus can't come and go as he pleases anymore.  He loved spending time with the chickens so I let him in with me when I go down to feed or just hang out. 

Yesterday he decided to stage an ambush behind the duck pond stones....this was just seconds before he leaped out and 'attacked' Orange Chicken.  She squawked and flapped her wings and let him know that was NOT appreciated.  Linus retreated, having lost that skirmish.  He's so good with them. He play stalks them and then when they turn on him, he runs for the hills.  I think all enjoy that game.

Warmer Days are Here Again

The weather is getting warmer, mid 70s this weekend.  Bella is getting bigger by the day. She and Linus have agreed to a sort of truce, so things have calmed down when they're both in the house.

I did catch her chewing on Linus' ear this morning. I can't believe he just laid there and allowed it.  But then again, Linus IS a way cool cat !