Friday, August 31, 2012

Feathered Friend Friday

Welcome to our series "Feathered Friend Friday." Every Friday I write a post with interesting facts, photos, or funny stories about our chickens and guineas. If you need to catch up, you'll find all the Feathered Friend Friday posts here.

Have you ever seen a chicken jump for treats? If you have chickens you will no doubt understand what I mean. If I have a piece of food in my hand and I'm not fast enough in giving it to the chickens, they will take matters into their own hands (er, wings) and jump up to snatch it away from me.

Yesterday I was cleaning out the fridge and found some black bean quesadillas I made earlier in the week. The tortillas had gotten soggy, but other than that they were ok. I knew if I left the quesadillas in the fridge I'd forget about them until I started to smell them rotting away (something I do more often than I'd like to admit) so I decided to share the wealth with the chickens.

Of course I didn't want the others to get jealous, so I first let Sylvester have a taste before we headed down to the chicken run (that cat follows me everywhere).

Everyone down at the chicken run hears when I come out of the house and they all rush up to the edge of the run to see what's going on. I tell myself it's because they really like me, but I know it's because they are hoping I come bearing treats (of course I usually do).

Next I gave Duchie a bite. Lord knows I can't take a treat to the chickens without giving her some, too. I usually have to give her a bite before entering the run or she'll be all over me while I'm trying to get in.

This was her crazy face after the first bite. I take it she enjoyed the quesadilla. 

I had to fight off Duchie while I let the chickens have a few bites. Cam was the first to swipe the quesadilla out of my hand. Took a big bite of my thumb, too, while trying! But the cute thing about him is when he finds food, he never eats it. Instead, he takes it over to his favorite girl (usually Jobin) and drops it right in front of her so she can eat the treat. He's knows the way to a girl's heart.

Jobin and Chickabod were next in line. Both took flight, with Jobin narrowly edging out Chickabod.

Next time up Chickabod got her turn.

It really is funny to watch them go crazy over food. I should take a video next time because it's even better with the audio!


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Quick and Spicy Tomato Soup

I'm really wishing fall would hurry up and get here. It's my absolute favorite time of year. Right now, though, we are still stuck in summer with 90+ degree heat every day. I can't wait for crisp autumn weather, sweaters, hayrides, beautiful leaves, and hot apple cider.

Tonight I decided to pretend it was fall and make soup for dinner. This recipe has been in my rotation for the past few years and it's my go-to for when I want something quick, filling, and delicious.

Quick and Spicy Tomato Soup
by Giada DeLaurentiis
Serves 4-6

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (I like garlic so I use 2-3 cloves)
  • 1 (26-ounce) jar marinara sauce
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans chicken broth (or vegetable broth or water)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup pastina pasta (I like whole wheat elbow noodles)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Warm the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, onion, and garlic and saute until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the jar of marinara sauce, chicken broth, cannellini beans, red pepper flakes, pasta, salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes. Ladle into bowls and serve.

Of course, bread is a must have for soup - I love sourdough (store bought!).

Easy peasy, right? It comes together so quick, which is perfect for nights when I don't have a lot of time to waste standing at the stove. I usually have all the ingredients in my pantry anyway, so it's also a good meal if I'm running low on groceries or too busy to stop by the store on the way home. It's a winner in my book!


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Clearing the Camera

I haven't done one of these posts in a while (go here or here for a trip down memory lane) but had some photos stored in my camera that I wanted to share.

Our special farmhand showing grandma how good the butterfly bush blooms smell.

Brownie tower! Made these for a girls' night a while back using this recipe jazzed up with chocolate chips.

Sweet Sylvester.

Harvest for the day in my perfect new enamel pan (hand me down from grandma).

Sweet moment between father and daughter :)

Even though I don't eat meat, I still like a good burger! Recipe found here.

Savoring the last few moments of summer.

Potential. A four o'clock bloom just about to burst open.

Catching raindrops.

My little girl!

Hope you enjoyed a slice of our homestead!


Monday, August 27, 2012

Whole Wheat Banana Bread

David started back to school last week (he's a music teacher) and it's really hard for him to make time to eat breakfast before he leaves in the morning. He'd rather get in as much sleep as possible because his days are so hectic - I don't blame him! Inspired by this post, I decided to make mini banana bread muffins for him to eat on the go. These little two biters are perfect for the road, especially since he has plenty of time to eat them on his 50 minute drive. We have tons of bananas stored in the freezer so I thought this would also be a good way to use up some of our banana stock. I used this recipe for the muffins and they turned out really well.

Whole Wheat Banana Bread Mini Muffins
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil (vegetable oil works as well)
  • 1/2 cup raw local honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed bananas
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, plus more to swirl on top
  • 1 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup hot water


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) and grease your mini muffin pan (I used my nonstick pan so I didn't have to grease).

2. In a large bowl, beat the oil and honey together.

3. Add the eggs and beat well.

4. Stir in bananas and vanilla, then stir in the salt and cinnamon. Lastly, stir in the flour, just until combined. At this point you can also add in nuts or raisins if you wish.

5. Add baking soda to hot water, stir to mix, and then add to batter.

6. Pour batter into your pan.

7. Sprinkle with cinnamon, and swirl with a toothpick for a pretty marbled effect (optional).

8. Bake for 12 minutes, or until tops of muffins spring back when poked with your finger. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

9. Remove muffins from the pan and enjoy!

After the mini muffins were all baked and cooled, I put them on display in my cake stand so that David can see them when he grabs his keys and remember to pick up a few muffins before heading out the door.

These are great as is, but a little bit of cream cheese (I use this non-dairy cream cheese) and honey really takes them over the top. I bet they'd be great with peanut butter, jelly, butter, nutella, or just about anything else you can think of!


This post shared with TALU

Friday, August 24, 2012

Feathered Friend Friday

Welcome to our series "Feathered Friend Friday." Every Friday I write a post with interesting facts, photos, or funny stories about our chickens and guineas. If you need to catch up, you'll find all the Feathered Friend Friday posts here.    

Today is a very special day for my feathered friends. Chickabod, Jobin, Tubs, and Buttercup all turn three today! Our original flock had eight hens, but sadly only four of the eight are still with us today. Raven, Aster, Penguin, and Cleo are in my thoughts while I celebrate with the others.

I can't believe how different our lives were three short years ago. We were living in the city and just embarking on our journey to self-sufficiency and finding our passion. We didn't even know we wanted to live in the country! But our special delivery changed all of that.

I still remember that day. I remember pacing in my living room waiting anxiously because the package was supposed to be delivered around 2:00 in the afternoon. Finally it came, and I waited a bit to open it. I very carefully carried the box downstairs and placed it on the dryer right next to where their new home would be. I just stared at the chirping box and listened, a little scared to open it. Looking back, I think deep down I knew everything would change once I lifted the lid.

And change it did. It's almost hard to put into words what these sweet little chickies have meant to me. They showed me who I really am. They brought about change in our lives that ultimately led us to where we are today. Without them I think we would have eventually discovered our passion, but it would have taken a lot longer to realize and get up the courage to go for it.

I wanted to go all crazy chicken lady and bake them a cake and decorate their coop, but David reeled me back in. I still tried to make the day a little bit special with treats and free ranging time.

They go crazy over dog food! No, I did not let them eat this whole bowl!

Even Duchess and Sylvester came out to party.

Happy birthday to my sweet girls. Here's to many more birthdays!


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tiger Moth

Today when I stepped outside the back door to go about the morning chores, I was greeted by a sweet visitor waiting for me by Sylvester's food bowl.

We have a lot of critters out here, and I've seen some really beautiful butterflies and moths. This guy caught my eye because of his striking graphic wing pattern.

After I snapped a few pictures, I pet him lightly on his wing and he stretched out a bit to reveal something even more breathtaking.

How gorgeous is that?! If I were a fashion designer he would be perfect inspiration for a garment (maybe I'm watching too much Project Runway?).

I've said it before and I'll say it again, nature never ceases to amaze me!


This post shared with TALU

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Extra Farmhand

We had some family over last weekend to celebrate the August birthdays and we got an extra special farmhand to help out with the chores. He helped out with gathering eggs, watering the vegetables, and picking tomatoes.

After all his hard work, we told him he could relax a bit. I think it was a welcome break.

I have to admit, he may be the cutest farmhand ever. And his work was impeccable! Always a joy to have him out to the farm :)


This post shared with Country Kids.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Color Run

Last Saturday I did something I never thought I'd do...

I ran a 5k! Well, walked and ran, but you get the gist. A couple months ago some of my friends stumbled upon this amazing 5k called The Color Run and we agreed to run it together. You may remember from this post that I took up running earlier this year, so I figured I could complete the 5k no problem.

Well, life happened and I got off track with my running. Instead I picked back up on rebounding to get in my exercise. I figured I'd be keeping my legs strong so I'd be good for the 5k. While running it I felt pretty great and finished at a time I was shooting for (about 40 minutes - it wasn't timed, so I don't know exactly), but the next morning the muscle aches set in! I am still pretty sore, especially first thing in the morning. I feel like an old lady! I guess I can't be a weekend warrior after all.

But even with the pain, it was so worth it.

We started off the race nice and clean with bright white shirts. Along the path of the 5k, there are different checkpoints where runners get pelted with powdered color (non-toxic corn starch based dyes).

And we're off! Thanks to my friend Heather for snapping photos :)

After crossing the finish line, you come out looking something like this.

I didn't get too covered in color while running the 5k, but the after party was another story. Everyone gathers past the finish line and on the count of ten throws a packet of color up in the air. It was complete and utter chaos!

And this time, I got COVERED in color.

It was such a cool experience and I'm so glad I did it. The Color Run is a great way to break into 5ks because it is such a laid back and fun event. It's not timed, so there's really no pressure. Many people walk the whole way and there's no urge to jockey for position and get ahead of the pack. It's more about enjoying the scenery and the morning with about 15,000 fellow runners. Oh, and coming out as colorful as possible of course!


Friday, August 17, 2012

Feathered Friend Friday

Welcome to our series "Feathered Friend Friday." Every Friday I write a post with interesting facts, photos, or funny stories about our chickens and guineas. If you need to catch up, you'll find all the Feathered Friend Friday posts here.   

Every once in a while when I have some free time in the evening, I like to let the chickens and Duchess out to free range. The chickens go wild pecking at greens and bugs and Duchess gobbles up bushes and leaves (crazy dog).

Earlier this week I could tell they were all itching to get out of the run. Ethel was giving me the stink eye just waiting to be set free.

So I obliged, and let everyone out to stretch their wings.

Duchess had fun chomping on a pile of limbs from a tree we cut down.

I wish I could let them roam our property freely all day long, but I want them to be safe. They have a pretty big run so they are happy, but love it when they are let out to explore. Just like humans, animals like a change of pace every once in a while. It's good to mix things up every now and then!