Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Reunited and It Feels So Good.....

There's a new kid in town.....

This little hen is so sweet, it makes your teeth hurt. If ever there was a chicken that I wanted to live in the house with me, it would be this one. Introducing......Sugar Pie.


My neighbor Danielle and I went to the Poultry Auction on Monday morning. It's a fascinating story actually. Danielle lives about a quarter of a mile up the road, and I didn't really meet her until my newspaper article. She doesn't subscribe to the paper, but it was in her driveway. We've been talking since! She's definitely a kindred spirit. It's wonderful to have a neighbor as crazy as you are! She has chickens, bakes bread all the time, gardens...it's too good to be true!

The Poultry Auction. The adjectives that come to mind are: stinky, noisy, confusing, fun, and sad. So many chickens that need a good home. So many people there looking like they are looking for supper. I think I need to open a Chicken Rescue and Rehab. A lot of those birds seemed awfully stressed out.

Danielle placed a bid on and won a cage with about seven or eight hens. She asked if I'd like some...and I just took one. I thought...shoot, I really don't have the room for more...and then I saw that face. That chicken pin head face. Darn it!

I picked this one.

Can you just imagine how Sugar Pie felt in this situation? Oh my. I know that chickens have to do their pecking order, but I hate it. I want to give them all a good spanking and a time out. I really thought Mrs. Puffington had more finesse, but she was one of the worst offenders. I think she was jealous of the lovely black and red speckled feathers that Sugar Pie has. Just like humans, we always want what we don't have.

Glen was out working on the house, and he came in to report how Sugar Pie was following him around the yard like a dog....and then Sugar Pie followed him right in the house!


I put Sugar Pie in the roost box last night, and I just had to walk away. I warned the other birds to mind their manners, but you know how chickens are....

This morning, when they wouldn't even let her near the food or water, I got an idea. Maybe if I got ANOTHER one of those hens from Danielle, at least Sugar Pie would have an ally. A buddy, a familiar beak.

You know, most neighbors borrow things like cups of sugar.....

"Aaaarrronnnn......um, can you get the scooter out of the garage and run up to Danielle's and get a chicken?"

There he goes...to get Sugar Pie someone to lean on.



Here he comes, carrying precious cargo.....


And here she is....we named her 'Scooter'. :-)

And here they are.....reunited.

They hung out all day together. Everyone needs a pal.

Putting them in the coop tonight was very hard. I'll be out there at the crack of dawn tomorrow to make sure they aren't mistreated!

Can chickens be potty trained? I really think these two need to be house birds. They could roost in the kitchen. This winter, they could sit next to the stove while I bake. I could teach them to knit. All the other girls would be SO jealous, they've never mastered the 'two needle thing'.

Monday, September 28, 2009

My Weekend in a Nutshell




This picture makes you think I just sat in a pretty chair all weekend doesn't it? Au contrare! I wanted to show you these chairs. They used to be dark green, all faded and ready for the trash. Inspired by Jennifer at Farmgirl Follies, I had a can, and I had a plan. Krylon makes spray paint for plastic. This is the Classic Burgundy color. I think it makes a nice pop in the yard. I found those pillows down in my basement stash of 'things I'll do something with someday'.

I'm planning on sewing new covers for them out of this fabric, that was found in the same stash. I think the red stripe will compliment the chairs nicely.


Remember my window dilemma? Well...I've opted to have them open for the better part of the day, closed at night (if I remember to do it!). It's a southern exposure, so I do get the light. Too bad I don't know how to take a decent picture, you could see how pretty the stained glass windows look.


I used old vintage hooks as curtain tie backs. They are a little 'tight' for my liking, so I'll have to be on the lookout for bigger ones. I absolutely love old hardware. I can hear some of your gasps now....'she drilled holes in the woodwork!'. Yep, I did.



This ...this right here is what almost killed me this weekend. I single-handedly put in these clothes poles. I still have to paint them the color they will be. My house colors are cream, tan and olive green. What color should I paint them? I thought of painting them something crazy like electric blue...

I never in my life had so much trouble digging two holes. I got about 4 inches down on one and almost gave up. I filled it with water, and just worked and worked on it. I almost cried...isn't that ridiculous? It was SO HARD! Then I got mad.....and for anyone that really knows me...if you get me MAD, I could possibly do anything, even if it's not humanly possible. I was determined if I had to use a teaspoon I would get this done. The cement work was actually fun to me. I moved in about a half ton of soil in that area yesterday too, in order to even out some spots. I'm hoping I can get a little grass to grow before it's too late this year.

I have great dreams of morning glories climbing up those clothes poles, and me in my apron, flapping in the breeze, hanging clothes in the sunlight. Sigh.



Yesterday, I made this incredible Cheddar Corn Chowder. It's from Ina Garten. I have a bit of a girl crush on that lady. Every recipe I've tried of hers, I love. I got all of her cookbooks from the library, and I'm pouring over them.


I used fresh corn from the farmstand. I don't know what it is, but the last few batches of corn I've bought have been the sweetest I've ever tasted. Oh...and you are right...that is bacon on the top. Be still my heart.

This pic just cracked me up. The steam from the soup fogged up the lens. It reminds me of a dream. Sadly enough, this is the stuff I would dream about.....bacon and potatoes.


Here's the recipe for the soup. If you still have sweet corn available where you live, please give it a go. I'm thinking some frozen corn would be good as well.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces bacon, chopped
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 6 cups chopped yellow onions (4 large onions)
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 12 cups chicken stock
  • 6 cups medium-diced white boiling potatoes, unpeeled (2 pounds)
  • 10 cups corn kernels, fresh (10 ears) or frozen (3 pounds)
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 8 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, grated

Directions

In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, cook the bacon and olive oil until the bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and butter to the fat, and cook for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent.

Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and turmeric and cook for 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and potatoes, bring to a boil, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. If using fresh corn, cut the kernels off the cob and blanch them for 3 minutes in boiling salted water. Drain. (If using frozen corn you can skip this step.) Add the corn to the soup, then add the half-and-half and cheddar. Cook for 5 more minutes, until the cheese is melted. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve hot with a garnish of bacon.


And here is a chicken picture.....just cause.


Friday, September 25, 2009

A Little Flashback.....



I posted this back in June, after my raccoon carnage. After a few of you have commented that your girls have recently met their demise by creatures of the night, I thought I might post it again......

Don't forget, I always try to answer your comments within the comment area. Until I figure out how I can email you back, it's the best I can do!

Can't tell you how much I'm enjoying all of you. Thanks so much for stopping by my little corner of the world.



or maybe I should title this....My Exodus Off the Internet...I may never show my face here again after this!!!

This is the song I've been singing around the yard. I really can't believe I'm posting this....oh dear...I have rejection issues...this isn't good.

Glen is playing the guitar for me on this, and Aaron did my hair and is operating the video camera. Without further adieu....

Goodbye forever....


video

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tour de Coop



Stubs would like to invite you of a tour of the chicken coop! Won't you join us?



You remember Stubs, right? She's toeless thanks to a wicked raccoon. She's the impressionist artist? If you've not met her, click on the archives and read 'Meet Stubs'.

Mother Plumtree! How did you get in here? I told you, wait your turn. She's so anxious to show you her stitchery that she just finished. It's hanging on the wall there. Cross stitched. I think she sat up many a night to finish it in time for you all to see it today. Looked how puffed up she is. So proud. Silly bird.


Here is what the coop looks like from my little brick sidewalk. I used to use that area as a potting area before we built the coop. It was a pretty neglected area, so this is a much better use of the space.



Here's the roost box that we built out of garbage....oh, I mean 'reclaimed' materials. We actually used the potting bench (found in the trash) and a couple of old windows (found in the trash). I'd been saving those windows for 10 years, hoping to one day build a cold frame. A few sheets of plywood that were laying around finished it up.



Aaron actually designed this little roost box for me. He wants to be an architect, so I figured he could do this. He did a great job. See how it opens for easy cleaning? I feel like the girls are pretty safe in there. I have opposable thumbs and sometimes I have a hard time opening the door for them. The coop is 10 x 10, which is supposed to be big enough for 10 birds, but I let them out to free range every day. Do you know what the definition of free range is? Destroy your garden.


Poor Stubs can't roost, so we built her a little small platform to sit up with the other birds since this photo was taken.



Aren't those old hinges cool? That is one thing I love about Glenco. He saves EVERYTHING and he is a scavenger. We see old doors and the like on the side of the road, he'll pull over and yank the hardware off if it's neat, or just take the whole danged door.



The latches on these old windows are what made me fall in love with them. They are old metal windows that we found by the trash in the historical district of Crown Point. I love trash night almost as much as I love bacon.

Here is another prime example of the ingratitude of chickens. Of course I want their little abode to be all cozy, so I planted a nice Hydrangea 'Limelight' for them to enjoy, and sit under. They ate it, and then dug it up for me. Thanks girls.


But I can't stay mad long, when I see the sweet little faces of my girls. What is it about chickens that I adore? Why do I want to hold them and kiss them? Why do I want to dress them and make little rolling pins and teach them to make pies?

Is there a medication for this?



Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Discombobulation


I must say I still feel a little discombobulated since my new life found me. I'm not used to not rushing, not feeling stressed and not watching the clock. I could really get used to this.

This post is a bit discombobulated, well, cause I am. We just returned from a little camping trip yesterday.

I'm not even sure what I want to blog about. Bear with me for a day or two.

When push comes to shove, there's always bacon. Welch's Stop & Shop is now using my likeness on their packaging. I still don't get a discount though.

And then there's this chicken. I so think this is a dude. I'm just getting that vibe. Gosh I wish chickens had visible genitals. I'm sorry...I know that is crude. I just hate this waiting game. Is it gonna crow or lay an egg.....?


And there's something about the way these two look at that black chicken. Aunt PittyPat and Scarlett. They were talking about the latest episode of 'Project Runway' when I interrupted them with the camera. They are always whispering and looking at that black chicken.


The sunset tonight was beautiful. Gorgeous fall colors to welcome in the new season. I have time to breathe now, and I'm trying to really notice things like this. So fleeting.

I also wanted to talk about homeschooling a bit. Even if you aren't homeschooling your children, you might find this interesting. It's from Home and Health, dated 1907. I find it totally relevant for today as well.

What Children Should Be Taught

  • To cook plain wholesome food
  • To care for his or her own room
  • That it is better to be useful than ornamental
  • That the old rule, 'A place for everything and everything in its place' is a good one
  • That he or she should dress for health and comfort as well as for appearance
  • To respect gray hairs
  • To be gentle
  • To be courteous
  • To be prompt
  • To be industrious
  • To be truthful
  • To be thoughtful and attentive
  • To do all kinds of housework
  • To earn money and to take care of it
  • To be neat and orderly in his or her habits and appearance
  • To be self-reliant

I just love that, so we are incorporating it into our curriculum this year. Aaron is learning to cook. He's actually pretty good at it, and he is interested in it...which helps a GREAT deal.

Roast Chicken 101:

He learned the difference between fryers and roasters. What temperature the oven should be set at, what the internal temperature of the bird should be when done, and how to tell it's done if you don't have a thermometer. Now...please tell me you all know that. Are you really gonna let a 13 year old punk beat you? There was a quiz the next day, and he passed with flying colors.






I don't know about you, but I think the little bugger looks pretty pleased with himself.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Pumpkin Scones

Remember my affection for scones? This recipe has made it a full blown love affair. The epitome of fall. Do yourself and your loved ones a favor, and make these soon! You won't be sorry.

It's a recipe that I picked up from RecipeZaar.

Here ya go:

SCONES

POWDERED SUGAR GLAZE

SPICED GLAZE

Directions

  1. 1
    TO MAKE THE SCONES:.
  2. 2
    Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.
  3. 3
    Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices in a large bowl. Using a pastry knife, fork, or food processor, cut butter into the dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly and no chunks of butter are obvious. Set aside.
  4. 4
    In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, half and half, and egg. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Form the dough into a ball.
  5. 5
    Pat out dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a 1-inch thick rectangle (about 9 inches long and 3 inches wide). Use a large knife or a pizza cutter to slice the dough twice through the width, making three equal portions. Cut those three slices diagonally so that you have 6 triangular slices of dough. Place on prepared baking sheet.
  6. 6
    Bake for 14–16 minutes. Scones should begin to turn light brown. Place on wire rack to cool.
  7. 7
    TO MAKE THE PLAIN GLAZE:.
  8. 8
    Mix the powdered sugar and 2 tbsp milk together until smooth.
  9. 9
    When scones are cool, use a brush to paint plain glaze over the top of each scone.
  10. 10
    AS THAT WHITE GLAZE FIRMS UP, MAKE THE SPICED ICING:.
  11. 11
    Combine the ingredient for the spiced icing together. Drizzle this thicker icing over each scone and allow the icing to dry before serving (at least 1 hour). A squirt bottle works great for this, or you can drizzle with a whisk.
My notes: I was really concerned when making them that there wasn't enough 'wet' to dry ingredients. I was concerned that in order to mix it all together I would make them tough by overmixing them. I just gently kept working the dough til the flour mixture was incorporated.

I just really can't describe how lovely these were.

Until next time.....

Have a fabulous weekend!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Nuts Over the Squirrel

I'll call this your formal introduction to the Squirrel. I know I've touched on it here and there, but you've never seen the inside. It's difficult to take inside pictures, cause it's so dad gum small. Then there is the lighting issue....I've not figured out how to adjust the balance of light...so, hope you can see these ok.

This is the dining area. It folds down to sleep two like crayons in a box, or one comfortably.

This is on the way out of the camper, on the right is a storage closet that we have a microwave in, and store the food. The couch area that you see there actually pops up to bunk beds. Primordial dwarfs would be comfortable. Aaron does ok.



This is what you see when you first walk in the camper. It's a work in progress. I named the camper "The Happy Squirrel" after finding that picture of the squirrel drinking a cup of coffee online. The squirrel looked so happy, and I don't know, it was just one of those things that can't be explained why we named the camper 'The Squirrel". It gives me a good theme though. The name of the paint I used was called Seasoned Acorn. I think it was providential.


Here's another pic of the same area, you can see the floor and the fridge a little better. I wanted to be comfortable and have the conveniences of a fridge, microwave and toaster oven. I can crank out some tasty meals here between that and the grill.


I force The Squirrel on friends and family. I make people go in it even if they don't want to~ It's my playhouse. I honestly wouldn't care if we ever really took it anywhere or not. It's a lawn ornament!

Here another dark photo...it's of Aaron and his Math Tutor. Holly Keithley. She is an absolute gem. She is actually the one we bought the camper from! She was so excited to see how we'd fixed it up. Aaron and I often have school out in the camper. Friends come over and we sit and have a glass of wine. We call it Squirrel Therapy.


Here's a nifty little thing you can make for camping. Fire starters. I love these for so many reasons. The main reason is that they WORK. So easy to make a fire with these. The second reason is that they are made from garbage. The frugality of that really excites me!

You'll need:

Empty paper egg cartons, left over candle stubs and dryer lint.


Carefully melt the candle stubs on low heat while you divide your dryer lint equally.

After the wax is melted, pour a generous portion into each section.

Now just let that dry completely. Tear them apart. (sorry, no pic of that!). You just light the paper and boy does it take off. I keep mine in a Ziploc bag in my camping tote. They work so well! I'm going to make a few little flannel drawstring bags and put about 8 in each, and give them as little gifts to all my camping friends.


Til tomorrow....


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Unemployment - Day Two


The day began in the usual fashion. That's getting old isn't it? Ha!

Well, here I am. Unemployed. I'm singing 'F I R E D' to the tune of Tammy Wynette's D I V O R C E....it's quite catchy.

After today's post, we shan't be talking about me being fired or unemployed any longer. It's getting to be old news, and I am employed!

I went to Garage Sales today. Nothing newsworthy. A few little treasures, a little bird feeder, etc. Found an awesome vintage tablecloth on top of a pile of clothes. Oh my, as I was standing in line to pay for it, I imagined I'd bring it home and soak it in OxyClean. What a wonderful prop it would be for some fun blog photos. As I handed it to the lady to pay for it, she looked mortified and exclaimed 'That's not for sale! That was my grammie's!"

Two things I've realized today. First thing I realized is that I don't have 'the knot' anymore. 'The knot' that I had right below my breasts, smack dab in the middle of my chest. It's gone. I didn't even realize I had it til it left. I was that used to it! That used to 'what time is it?' 'Aaron, this is what you have to do while I'm gone'. All the pressure that I carried around daily as I rushed so to get everything done.

The second thing I realized is that I'm exhausted. I mean dog dead tired. I feel like I could sleep for a week. Wonder why?

What's funny is that I'm half killing myself for the last couple of days. Working like a maniac! I think in my mind I feel like I'm just off for a few days, and I'd better take advantage of it. I was making my bed at 4:30 this morning, and pulled out the vacuum at 5. Is this really necessary anymore?

I'm still weird about being fired. I don't like it. There is such a negative connotation about it all. Yep, I screwed up. Yep, I knew the policies. Couldn't I have just gotten a good spanking?

And that my dear blog friends will be the last you hear me speak of policies, and firing, and my mixed emotions about it. I've started writing little notes to all my former co-workers and managers. I want to write to each of them what I treasured about them. I'm planning on bringing in a nice tray of cupcakes. I just got the best recipe for frosting! It's full of Ex Lax. *evil grin*

There are so many other fun things to talk about. Vintage treasures, recipes, gardening, decorating and chickens.

And with that...I wish you all a good night. Try to breathe. Let's all make a conscious effort to slow down.

Til tomorrow.....