Friday, March 29, 2013

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   

For a while now, I've been trying to figure out the best way to store our eggs so we know which ones are fresher and which ones are older. We have a couple of ceramic egg crates and for a while I would just put the new eggs in the front and move the old ones to the back. Then, when the crates were full, I'd fill up egg cartons so that we could sell the eggs.

Well, that didn't turn out to be the best method because sometimes I'm not as organized as I'd like and eggs just get left all over the place. Sometimes I prefer to keep eggs at room temperature for baking and other purposes (more on that here), so with the eggs on the counter, in the ceramic crates, and in the egg cartons, I was getting confused.

One day, I saw a photo on Farmhouse 38 showing that Kate had written directly onto her eggs who laid them and the date they were laid. Genius! I have too many brown egg layers to know exactly which hen laid which brown egg, but I figured at least I could write the date on the egg so I would know precisely how fresh it was before I cracked it open. I didn't want the date to be too conspicuous, so I decided to just write it on the very bottom of the egg, where it rests in the egg carton.

I finally feel like I have found the perfect method of controlling our egg inventory. No more guessing at how old an egg is when it's written directly on the bottom. All I have to do now is turn it over and see for myself!

Would you prefer to have the dates written on the eggs you buy so you know exactly how fresh they are?


Shared with Clever Chicks Blog Hop

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


After sleeping in just a little bit too late this morning, I groggily threw on my heavy layers to go outside and let the chickens out to start their day. I walked out the back door, filled up a water bucket to replenish the frozen waterers, fed Sylvester, then marched down to the chicken coop. I made sure to give Duchess a quick treat to get her out of my way before I opened the coop door and a flurry of chickens came spilling out. Up until then I had my back towards the sun, so when I turned around I was surprised to be greeted by the most gorgeous sunrise.

All of a sudden, I was overcome with excitement and felt every cell of my being burst with energy. I told Duchess I'd be right back for another treat, then I bolted up to the house to grab my camera. The sun waits for no one. I wanted to capture the sun just as I had seen it, barely peeking up from behind the hill.

I snapped away and became lost in the moment, just me and the sun. I had to get back inside to pack David's lunch and make sure he had everything he needed before leaving for work, but I couldn't pull myself away from that sunrise.

Finally, I forced myself to say goodbye. I had other responsibilities to tend to. I didn't get to spend too much time with the sun, but it ended up being just enough. I can't think of a better way to start my day.


Shared with Skywatch Friday, Rurality Blog Hop 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Clearing The Camera

Here are some recent photos I've taken that I wanted to share. Go here if you'd like to see more photo posts.

My sweet Rhode Island Red rooster, "Roosty Roo"

Favorite way to spend an early weekend morning.

Sylvester staying warm in his house.

Lucy preening her beautiful feathers after an evening of free ranging.

Stormy skies.

You talkin' to me?!

This photo gets me every time.

Hope you've enjoyed a slice of our homestead.


Shared with Clever Chicks Blog Hop, Eco Kids TuesdayTuesday MuseRurality Blog Hop, Backyard Farming Connection, Down Home Blog Hop, The HomeAcre Hop, Home Sweet Home    

Friday, March 22, 2013

Feathered Friend Friday

Today I am so very honored and thrilled to be featured over at Scratch and Peck for Lauren's blog tour. In preparation for the post, she asked me if she could create an illustration of one of my chickens. I am a huge fan of her work so I replied with a very enthusiastic yes! I was so excited to have the chance for one of my feathered friends get her expert treatment. Immediately I knew who I wanted to her to illustrate - my beloved hen Buttercup.

You may remember from a post last December that I lost Buttercup after a long battle with illness. Her passing was especially hard for me to take, as I had grown so close to her in the final months of her life. When I could tell she was really struggling and the end was near, I brought her inside the house for her last remaining days in an effort to make her as comfortable as possible. I checked on Buttercup numerous times each day and tended to her every need. I knew my days with her were numbered, so I spent every moment I could with her. I was really worried that she might slip away while I was at work, so I prayed that I could be there for her in those precious final moments. And thank God, I was. Buttercup died while sitting in my lap and her last memories were that of my voice telling her how much she was loved and my hands gently petting her soft, gorgeous feathers. It was a peaceful passing and exactly how I hoped it would end for my girl. For that I am so very thankful.

I had all this in mind when asking Lauren to illustrate Buttercup, and I have been waiting anxiously to see what she came up with. As soon as I saw her illustration, I began to cry. Lauren perfectly captured Buttercup's sweet nature and she looks so happy and healthy with a lovely gleam in her eye.

Isn't it just wonderful?! My tears are those of joy and happiness because Buttercup meant so much to me and I am so lucky to have known her and called her my own. This illustration reminds me of her joyful times and sweet spirit and I will treasure it forever. Please check out Lauren's post here to get more insight into her process and how she came up with the direction and overall feel of the illustration.

Don't forget to enter my drawing for a copy of Lauren's wonderful new book, Once Upon a Flock: Life With My Soulful Chickens. All you have to do is go to my review and giveaway post here and enter a comment. Since I am featured on Lauren's blog today, she has agreed to give away two copies of her book! Just comment on my post here and I will choose two winners at random tonight at 11:59 pm central time. Be sure to comment on the giveaway post for a chance to win - I will not choose winners from this post. Good luck and check back tomorrow to see if you are one of the two winners!


Disclaimer: We are part of the Amazon Associates program, so if you click on the link above to Once Upon a Flock and make a purchase, we will receive a small commission. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Once Upon a Flock: Review and Giveaway!

I have been following Lauren Scheuer's blog Scratch and Peck for a while now, and have always adored her posts featuring charming illustrations of her flock of chickens. I was so excited when I heard the news that she would be publishing a chicken memoir complete with her own photos and illustrations! I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. Much to my delight, Lauren reached out to me asking if I'd like to receive an advance copy and host a giveaway on my blog for her new book. I jumped at the opportunity!

Once I received my copy in the mail, I dove right in. Immediately I knew Lauren and I were kindred spirits. Her love and dedication to her chickens is apparent from the very beginning, especially when she writes about her dear hen, Lucy, who is afflicted with a neurological disease and needs special care. When Lucy eventually has the desire to become a mother, Lauren goes above and beyond to make that dream come true for her sweet hen, even when things don't go exactly as planned.

I loved the story of Lauren's cute terrier, Marky, and how he learned to watch over the chickens and keep them safe from predators. I've learned myself with our dog, Duchess, that chicken guardian dogs are worth their weight in gold!

Once I started reading the book, I couldn't put it down and finished in a couple days. It made me laugh, it made me cry, and I loved it so much that I told David he had to read it. He was off school one day last week so he picked up the book and finished it off in just a few hours! He told his grandma about the book and she wanted to read it as well, and she also read it in the course of an afternoon and really enjoyed it.

If you keep and love chickens you will definitely find a little bit of your story in Lauren's book, and if you don't keep chickens, you will be delighted and intrigued and probably be convinced to get a flock of your own. Chicken owner or not, you will love this charming tale of Lauren and her flock of chickens.

If you'd like the chance to win a copy of Once Upon a Flock, simply leave a comment below. I will pick one winner at random at 11:59 pm central time on Friday, March 22. US residents only. If you can't wait to read the book, you're in luck because today is the official release date! You can find it wherever books are sold. Get your copy today!


Disclaimer: I was given a copy of the book for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was made and the opinions are my own.


The winners are...

smallfarminwoods and OSOTM! smallfarminwoods - please email your full name and mailing address to me at so we can send your copy out to you. Congratulations and thank you to everyone for entering this awesome giveaway.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Creative Use For An Old Soda Crate

You may remember my post last month on my thrift store finds which included some old soda crates. I told my grandma how excited I was about the crates, and she mentioned that she had a couple soda crates in her basement that I could have. My grandma's house is like a treasure trove of antiques, and lucky for me, she is trying to downsize and declutter. Every time I visit her I come back with a new piece!

The crates she gave me had been previously painted a pretty light green color and had a great weathered look. David had been brainstorming ways to use our new crates and came up with a really clever idea, sort of born out of necessity.

He is always losing his keys and wallet, so we made the crate into a shelf to house everything he needs before heading out the door in the morning so he can just grab and go. He simply screwed in a couple of mug hooks (leftover from our project here) to hang our keys and then secured the whole crate to the wall.

To make it a little prettier, we placed a small vase of flowers on the shelf and displayed a lovely seashell - a birthday gift from my wonderful friend, Sherry over at The Rusty Pearl. Thanks again, Sherry!

I really like how it turned out and was so happy David had the idea. He's definitely my better half :)


Shared with  Tweak It TuesdayCreative Things Thursday, Sunny Simple SundayEco Kids Tuesday, Home Sweet Home

Friday, March 15, 2013

Feathered Friend Friday

I always love this time of year because I can actually spend some time outside when I get home in the evenings. Right now the daylight lasts until about 7:00 pm, so I get in a good bit of time outside before it gets dark. And of course I take this opportunity to hang out with the chickens!

They are so excited to greet me at the fence, waiting for me to let them out for some supervised free ranging time. Some of them head over to check out the creek, others march up towards the house to find some yummy morsels of clover, and the rest search for moss on the trees and visit with the guineas.

After a thrilling evening of scratching and exploring, they reluctantly head back to the coop for bed. One of my favorite rituals of the day is counting them all to make sure they're in the coop and then saying goodnight. Ellie is usually on the roost right by the door, so I tell her a special goodnight and watch my fingers when I shut the door, because she likes to peck my hands whenever I'm near her.

Then it's inside to make dinner and tend to the duties inside the house. I have to say, I enjoy my time outside more :)


Shared with Weekly Top ShotSunny Simple SundayTuesday MuseRurality Blog HopDown Home Blog HopCoop HopEco Kids Tuesday, Backyard Farming Connection

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Farm To Table Through The Year

I mentioned last week that I was a contributing author to an ebook titled Farm to Table Through the Year: 12 Months of Fresh Food from the Garden and I am so excited to share it with you all today! This project was headed up by Gretchen at The Backyard Farming Connection and she describes the book as "a culinary and gardening journey through the 12 months of the year with growing tips, first hand growing information, recipes, and photos to inspire you in your own backyard and in your kitchen this year."

To get your free download, subscribe to receive email updates from Our Neck of the Woods by entering your email address in my sidebar under "follow by email" or you can simply click the link below:

Subscribe to Our Neck of the Woods by email

The link to your free download will appear in your confirmation email. If you have already subscribed to updates via email and would like the link to your free download, please email me at and I will send it along. I don't want to clog up your inbox if this is something you are not interested in.

I was so honored and thrilled to work with Gretchen and the other writers on this project. This was a collaborative effort with 12 different bloggers who were gracious enough to share their own experiences and advice with all of us. To meet each of the wonderful contributors, please click here.

Feel free to comment or email me at with any questions or comments on my chapter about raising guineas and cooking their eggs. I'd love to hear from you. I hope you enjoy the ebook!


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Glove Bandit

A few weeks ago, I was tending to the chickens on a very cold day. I had to do something that required the use of my glove-less hands, so I took off my gloves and placed them on a stump in the chicken run. I went about my task and when I came back to fetch my gloves, they were nowhere to be found. At first I thought I was losing my mind, then I looked around a bit to see that Duchess had swiped my gloves!

It's always so funny to watch her do things that show off her personality. When we first brought her home, she was so shy and scared of everything. I've had to work really hard to get her to come out of her shell, so I always enjoy seeing her just being a dog.

I was curious if she would try to steal my gloves again, so I set up the scene once more to see what would happen. To my surprise, she took the bait.

Such a silly girl. We've bought her special toys to play with and she never warms up to them. Instead, I always discover her playing with the strangest things. I guess it's a little like a kid who plays with the box the toy came in more than the toy itself!

Do you have any animals with unusual quirks?


Monday, March 11, 2013

Spring Gardening

Last year I wrote about the crown jewel of my grandma's garden - her fig tree in her back yard. Ever since we moved out here to the country, we've been wanting to dig up part of her tree and plant so we could have our own figs someday. This weekend while we were in town and had some free time, we paid Grandma a visit and finally "stole" some of her fig tree. We decided to plant the branches in several different locations to see which fares the best, so we made sure to mark each tree for easy identification.

While digging up the fig tree, Grandma said we could take some of her surprise lilies that had grown around the tree and spread quite a bit. We really love perennials lately, so we dug up some of those as well.

Thankfully we had a gorgeous day on Saturday with temperatures in the 60s, so we were able to plant the trees and the bulbs. We also got quite a bit of work done in the garden.

I had been waiting for months to use my garden dibble from Rob at Bepa's Garden so I was thrilled to finally put it to work. It made the job of planting lots of tiny seeds so much easier!

It felt so good to finally get back outside and work in the garden. Playing in the dirt and breathing in the fresh air completely energized me and made me remember why I love to garden so much. There's nothing like it! Have you been able to get any work done in your garden yet?


Shared with The Backyard Farming Connection Hop, Clever Chicks Blog HopEco Kids TuesdayRurality Blog HopThe Country Homemaker HopDown Home Blog HopHome Sweet HomeTuned-in Tuesday Blog Hop  

Friday, March 8, 2013

Feathered Friend Friday

For today's FFF, I have some very exciting news to share! A few months ago, Gretchen from The Backyard Farming Connection asked if I would like to participate in an ebook focused on growing your own fresh food and getting it from farm to table. This is something I'm very passionate about, so of course I jumped at the opportunity!

The ebook is organized by month, with each chapter featuring a different blogger writing about a crop specific to that month. My month is March, and the chapter is a complete guide on how to raise guinea fowl, collect their eggs, and cook up a delicious meal (my guinea toast). You can find the complete list of contributors here - you may see some familiar faces!

The book will be released next Thursday, March 14, so be sure to check back here and download your FREE copy of this informative ebook!


Monday, March 4, 2013

Naked Mushroom Pizza

Over the weekend we had David's grandparents out for lunch and to also help hook up the generator (yay!). I decided to make pizza because it is easily customizable to different tastes. I don't eat meat or cheese on my pizza, but that's what they prefer. So I made a pepperoni thin crust pizza for them, and I made my "naked"  no cheese mushroom pizza for myself.

I love to make homemade pizza and have been trying out all sorts of recipes for dough lately. For my naked mushroom pizza, I used this basic dough recipe. I used half white whole wheat flour and let it rise for about an hour and it was perfect. I also like to make my own pizza sauce, and have been using this recipe for quite some time now. It's super easy and very yummy. It also freezes really well, which is handy for future pizza nights (I just freeze it in a mason jar and thaw in the fridge the night before I want to use it).

Then comes assembly! After rolling or spreading the dough out with your fingers, simply top with the pizza sauce and thinly sliced button mushrooms. Drizzle a little olive oil on the mushrooms and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Then bake in the oven at 450 degrees on a preheated baking stone for about 8 minutes. (PS - If you don't have a baking stone, I've found that a cheap 12x12" unglazed floor tile works really well!)

If you've never tried eating pizza without cheese, give it a try! Would you ever consider eating "naked" pizza?


Shared with Eco Kids Tuesday, Hearth & Soul HopTweak It TuesdayDown Home Blog HopHome Sweet HomeHealthy Vegan Friday, What I Am EatingFarmgirl FridayWeekly Top Shot, The Creative HomeAcre Hop, Tasty Tuesdays   

Friday, March 1, 2013

Feathered Friend Friday

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

There's something I love about watching my chickens as they enjoy a special treat.

When they see me coming down the hill with something in my hand, they know what's up. They all rush to the fence and line up waiting impatiently for me to make it down to them.

If I have a treat they've never seen before, they will eye it cautiously for a moment before deciding to take a taste. Usually they decide it's pretty good, so they chow down. If their treat is something messy or stringy, it's especially fun to watch them tear into it.

I observe as they methodically bite away at the treat, tails up in the air.

They usually make pretty quick work of special treats, and then go about their business. And so do I. But it's fun to take a treat break every once in a while, even if you're not the one partaking.


Shared with Weekly Top Shot