Tag Archives: eggs

Hen For a Best Friend?

A dear Canadian farmer friend who keeps me updated with the current events of the chicken  world  touched base today.  He and I were wannabe -chicken -farmer -dreamers years back and we both have made our dreams of chicken poop and blood orange egg yolks a reality.  His dream expanded far wider than mine and he is going to town on his farm in Canada. His dream is his livelihood.  Mine is my hobby.

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Farmer Doug

He sent me the following story of a young sailor guy who is sailing the world with a hen.   The sailor  desired an animal companion rather than a human. Gee, I wonder why.   He settled on a hen.  It is my guess you cannot imagine why in the world he would choose a chicken for a sailing mate.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36475672

Please  open link to take a gander at his priceless photos.  Precious.

It is  my opinion that chickens get a bad rap.  They are stupid animals they say.  Well…I beg to differererer……Its all relative.    What would you expect given  their heads are the size of a cherry tomato?  Of course, we cannot compare their intellect with ours.  Is that what those people are doing?  Can we please look at the rest of their character attributes?  Intellect ain’t all there is, sista.

My chickens are gentle.  They chat with me when I enter their house. And they ALL  have a little to add to the conversation.  Personalities vary just like ours.  They know when I am coming to treat them and when I’m not coming to treat. They wait patiently for me to feed all the other animals.

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They walk quietly in single file line to their treating ground.  I could learn a thing or two from our “stupid” chickens.

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Chickens live in the moment.  They are honest about their moment.

They hoot and howl their eggs out.  These guys work HARD for your Saturday morning omelet.

They quibble and squabble away their differences.  No harm. No foul. No lasting resentments.  Unless of course there  is a weakling  lurking about.  I never said they were perfect.  Maybe that’s why the sailing guy chose only one hen to sail instead of a buddy system.

As with any being, if you love them, they can in turn love back.   If you give them room to grow, they will flourish.   If you keep the  creature locked in a cage  physically, mentally or emotionally where they can’t stand on their little legs, they can not blossom. They will lack the love and luster.

Every night after dinner, we abandoned the dirty dishes and run to  the swing to watch the chicken show.  There must be  some redeeming qualities in these little guys if we invest our evening entertainment hours in avian performances. Maybe I have the intellect problem.  Not the chickens.  I’ll have to think about that.  Or not.

They require no showers before bed time. No teeth brushing.   They march right on to their school bus (roost) at dusk  without being asked and lights out.   I do need to train them to shut lights.

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Could I go boating with one of my hens?  Oh yes.  If I liked boats.  Can I take her on a jaunt around the world in my pickup?  I’d love to.

 

Long live the hen.

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Peace,

Karen

 

 

 

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The Queengdom Is At Stake

Queen Claire, our Pyrenees, is the ruler of our land.  I nominated her and voted for her at election time as she is more wise than I. She is more calm and patient than I.  She is prettier and more fairer over all the land than I.  She is gentle, soft and frosty.

Claire

Claire

I can’t begin to compete with the gloriousness of her tongue.   Most of all, the most content being  I have met.  I aspire to be Claire.

Claire was  met with our other Pyrenees, Francis, when we moved our goats and  Francis over to Claire’s palace. Claire kindly welcomed her and has been putting up with Francis’ immaturity ever since.  Although Francis is beginning to get that she is a Pyr now and that work is first and foremost.

Serious guarding goin' on.

Serious guarding goin’ on.

Great Pyrenees have an impressive history as Livestock Guard Dogs.  Roaming the slopes of  the Pyrenees  mountains of France and Spain,  they can maintain in the most frigid of temperatures.  Which is fortunate for us this week.

It is  unfortunate that the rescue scene for this breed has grown quite large because at first site they are fluffy, cute, white puppies.  What is not known about them is they are not domesticated dogs.  Their instinct to work is still bred strong.  As a result, their behavior can be off-putting by humans.  The main complaint is that they start barking at dusk  and wind down at dawn patrolling their pasture perimeter in order to protect their flock.

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They are aloof.  And an invisible fence can not keep them from the distance and effort they risk to keep their flock safe.  We knew all that going in.  To watch them ward off hawks and other predators is nothing short of spectacular.   I was feeding Francis a few weeks back.  She was all hunkered down at her bowl ready to devour her hard-earned kiblits and out of the corner of her eye she saw a flash of shadow on the ground.   She knew immediately that danger was present.   She went tearing off to shelter and protect.  I looked up and there was a Red-Tailed Hawk swooping back and forth over the pasture.  Good job, Francis.

The territory is at risk of a take over while I digress.

When you order day old chicks from a hatchery,  they come via the good ol’ USPS.  They call you when they arrive at the post office and you run your little buns  over to pick them up fast, fast, fast,  before the little critters fail.  They are sexed at birth and I always order hens. That makes the most sense since I’m in the market for eggs.  Every once in a while a mistake is made and a rooster is thrown in there.  It is not to be revealed until they are 3 months of age when you begin to hear a strange throaty sound coming out of one of them.   We have one that has just been revealed.  When he realizes that he is a he…..well…. watch out world cause there will be an overthrow attempt.  Every time I visit  the pasture he lets me know that he is NOW in charge of all with his puffed up chest.

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Now some of these chickens have not been in the same room with a gentleman rooster for over three years.  These last couple of weeks have been traumatic to say the least for the lowly hens.  It has been survival of the fittest to be sure.

Some hens stand frozen with their beaks to the wall hoping if they stand still long enough  and they can’t see HIM,  just maybe he can’t see THEM and will leave them alone.  And might I add that….well… some would simply rather die than to be subjected to the goings on that he brings into our Chickondo.   Three to be exact.  My farmer friend who spends time here once a week, Mr. Shady, said he would take him off my hands.  He is good at doing that.  Thank you, Mr. Shady. I may take you up on that.

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In the meantime, maybe Mr. Rooster will freeze his little…………….never mind..

Have a super weekend.

Peace,

Karen

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Come Wade With Me

……through birdland.

Videographer, I am not.  Excuse my editing talents.  I made myself sick with all the “Hey, girls” in the video.  I could not subject you to all of them.

God bless,

Karen

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Lighten Up The Load..

on Thanksgiving.  If you can.

We had a Thanksgiving dinner when our son, Sam, was on leave from the Army last Sunday.  I was at my art conference and wasn’t getting home until Sunday evening, so Pops was in charge of making the food.  Oh boy.  It was all yummy,  but the poor man……… Lets just say…..How can I be nice here……I love him.  Things get a little out of hand when the going gets going.  He was so exhausted when it was all said and done.   I asked if it was worth it.  He said no.  But that it was great to have everyone here.  But we could have peanut butter and jelly with the same people here, right?  And Pops would have been able to enjoy Catch Phrase with us in the living room instead of losing his pretty little head in the kitchen.   Is it worth it?  (My head is always thinking about  stuff like this. )   Why do we make SOO MUCH FOOD?  And it’s not only so much food but it is so much heavy,  decadent food.  Can we cut corners somewhere?  I have a  new friend who just told me they never have the huge dinner.  Never.  They do their own thing and don’t think a thing about it.  Good for you, Sarah.  People time is the most important, right?

In my world????  (What is that?)  I wouldn’t cut fat cause I happen to know fat is good for you.  Good organic, local fat, that is.  I would cut sugars and omit some of the bread/noodle/white potato  stuff.  I KNOW. I KNOW.  Stuffing is SO GOOOOOOODD.  Why not eat the stuffing and forget the other starchy things.  When you look at a plate of thanksgiving food, really it looks so…well..ugh.  With the exception of a tiny section of green beans maybe and a quarter size of red tarty stuff ruining everything around it.

After Thanksgiving…bring to boil the carcass and  simmer for  two days or more. The longer the better.   Pour broth in glass containers 2/3 and freeze for future use for soups, rice, or any good thing.  It is the best thing ever.

Below are three recipes for lightening up the sugar.

SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE

Most casseroles call for at least a cup of sugar.  This calls for  2 T.  We had it and we loved it.

  • 2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 large), scrubbed
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten with a fork
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted plus more for the preparing the pan
  • 2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar unrefined.
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Put the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and pierce each one 2 or 3 times with a fork. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until tender. Set aside to cool.

Turn the oven down to 350 degrees F. Scoop the sweet potato out of their skins and into a medium bowl. Discard the skins. Mash the potatoes until smooth. Add the eggs, butter, coconut palm sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and pepper to taste. Whisk the mixture until smooth.

Butter an 8 by 8-inch casserole.  Pour the sweet potato mixture into the pan and sprinkle the top with the pecans. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until a bit puffy. Serve immediately.

PUMPKIN CAKE BARS WITH CREAM CHEESE ICING

(No flour and small amount of honey as sweetener)

CAKE BARS

1 c. pumpkin puree

1 c. almond butter

1/2 c. raw honey

2 eggs

1 1/2 t baking powder

1/2 t baking soda

1 t. vanilla (pure)

1 t. cinnamon

1/4 t. cloves (optional

pecans or walnuts.

350 degrees.   8 x 8 pan 30 minutes

ICING

2 package cream cheese, softened organic.

1/3 c. honey

2 t. vanilla extract

Mix. Spread.

WALNUT CHOCOLATE CHUNK ICE CREAM

(No sugar added. Dairy free)

This is really good.  But if not eaten day of, it gets really hard in freezer but still tastes good.

1 13 oz. can of full fat organic coconut milk

1/4 c. chopped walnuts.(soaked and dried if possible)

2 ripe bananas, mashed

Pinch of salt

1/4 c. finely chopped dark chocolate.

10 drops of stevia

splash of vanilla

Heat coconut milk until smooth.  Stir in walnuts, banana, salt vanilla.  Pour into glass container and cool.  Add chocolate and stevia.  Freeze, stirring occasionally.

I pray safe travels, loving family time, and relaxed digestive state for all.

God bless,

Karen

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Connectivity

When I publish a post, this program congratulates me for getting another one done and then attaches a quote from usually who knows where about writing.

The last post’s quote was:

“To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart.”

I like that.  Writing letters seems to have become obsolete.  A very sad thing indeed.  I am reading a book right now that is about letters written by artists to friends or family where they include art sketches within the letter.  This stuff took place from the early 1800’s to mid 1900″s.  Really cool stuff.  In many of  the letters there is a tone of great excitement to be writing the letter or responding to a letter received.  They seem to have been written with such care.  And consideration for the other person.

Most people communicate through emails.  They are not “letters”  most of the time.  It seems to me that email most often is a tool to communicate logistics, plans, or something that is in motion.  It doesn’t seem to me that it is used to communicate on an emotional level really.  Throw facebook and twitter in the mix and what in the world is going on?    There is a lot of it flying back and forth,  but is it improving relationships?  I don’t know.  It seems that communication is going great guns but relationships seem to be suffering.  How can that be?  In the “olden days”  letters were a way of growing and sustaining relationships when we couldn’t be together.

I don’t really know what I am saying here other than it is just different than it used to be.  Right or wrong.  There is a flurry of activity now and I’m not sure what it all means.  Back then letters were far and few between.  We waited for them.  The contents were treasure (usually.  Bad news could come via letters too!).   And receiving one was clearly a gesture of effort.

I used to write letters.  Anyone who received them would agree that I was/am not the best composer of letters in the world.  But they were special.   I have most of  the letters that have been written to me stored away.  They are special.  When we went through my mom and dads stuff when they moved out of their house, we found all the letters that we had written them over the years. Obviously,  they meant something to them too.

What are we saying to people when we email them?  HOW are we saying things?  I realize that all the words we write on paper or computer don’t have to have profound meaning, or care,  but why not?  If we care about the person(s) that we are communicating with then shouldn’t our words be intentional and written with care?  Shouldn’t we use these great tools that we have the privilege of using to grow our relationships rather than simply throw words at each other?  I’m just thinkin’ a little today.

Did you know that the eggs you buy at the store are anywhere from 1 month old to 6 months old?

Did you know that eggs have a natural protective coating on them  that allows the egg to sit at room temperature for up to a year?  Now, that is what I call a great service from our friendly chicken!  If the coating has  been washed off, it needs to be refrigerated and the shelf life is reduced drastically.  Commercial chicken people wash the eggs.

Did you know that the USDA doesn’t require farmers to pasture feed the chickens that produce free range eggs?  Should I repeat that?  Read that statement above again.

It is a glorious day to be alive.

Have a blessed day,

Karen

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Omega What?

Omega 3.  What is it?  We are reading it on a  lot of labels, aren’t we?  Omega 6.  Same thing.  What the heck?  Why does it matter?  Sometimes I think the “whoe’er out there”  just makes this stuff up.     (I wont go there…I want to be positive)

But we DO need to talk about the Omega 6’s and 3’s.

Omega 6 AND 3 are fatty acids that we need for a healthy body.  Our body does not make them.  We  get them through our foods.  Once consumed, they are converted into the building blocks for hormones that control immune function, blood clotting, and cell growth as well as components of cell membranes.  In my book, important stuff.

THE IMPORTANT THING IS that it needs to be in balance in our bodies to work properly.   THE TYPICAL AMERICAN IS NOT BALANCED.   The ideal ratio is 2:1 (omega 6: omega 3). The typical American has a ratio of 20:1.  Not good.

What happens when we are out of balance with our 6’s and our 3’s?  Well….  This is what my research turns up:

The imbalance causes an inflammatory environment causing chronic conditions such as asthma, allergies, diabetes and arthritis.   As well as heart problems and depression.    That is not good.

****What may seem really bizarre is that many people who eat very healthily can be susceptible to these chronic diseases because they are out of balance.

What we have to remember is that Omega 6  is necessary and good ONLY if it is balanced with the omega 3.

So what foods have omega 6 and what foods have omega 3,  you ask?

Omega-6

Vegetable oils: grape seed, cottonseed, safflower, corn and sunflower oils.

Processed foods.  Most made with very cheap oils.

Grains

Meat

Dairy

As you can see many of these items are good for us.  And that is not the issue.  The issue is keeping all in balance.

Omega-3

Flax seed/oil

Cod liver oil and fish oil ( the label above is THE BEST you can buy.)

Walnuts

Beans (not all beans are rich in omega-3.  Some are more than others.

Fish

Olive, macadamia, avocado and coconut oils.

Grass fed meat and chickens.

Free range eggs

So while it is not necessary to refrain from the omega-6 rich foods, it is vital that you add more of the omega -3 rich foods with it.

How to balance:

Eat walnuts instead of almonds, every other time.  Don’t forget to soak and dry first both almonds and walnuts!  Almonds are very high in 6 while walnuts are high is 3.

Eat fish more often.

Take cod liver oil or fish oil. Fermented is the best kind and can be purchased online.  I buy a year supply at a time.

Switch oils. Remember oils come in many different forms.  Lots and lots of processed food uses oils.  Including anything that tries to look or act like butter.

DONT EAT PROCESSED FOODS!!!!!

Eat less grains and eat more beans.

Drizzle flaxseed oil on foods high in omega-6

Chronic diseases are ruling our culture and our health care.

Take great care of yourself!

God bless,

Karen

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Bird Lady

….is what I have become.  I have always been fascinated with birds but now that I have 64 of them, I would guess I am maniacal.  They all do not have plans to stay long. Many of them will need to move on in a few short months. But it would be an honor if these birds I talk about today would grace us with their presence for a long long time.

Today,  I would like to write about my budding relationship with the beloved Bluebird.   Oh my goodness.  I think the first time I really saw a for real bluebird was just this past year.  Mr. Shady informed me last winter that we had about 6 pair out in the pasture  that morning.  I immediately made plans to put up a couple of houses for them. They will begin nesting as early as late February.

The day after we hung one,  a mommy and daddy moved in.  What a wonder!   I have become a stalker of this family.  No kidding.  So the journey began.  (I might add that I have hung about 5 more but only this first one has been inhabited. So far.)

They have had two “batches” of babies, which is not unusual.  Did I tell you I am an expert now?  Not really.   Pops bought me a Bluebird book and I find them most  interesting not to mention beautiful.  But they build a whole new nest for each family.  If I do not remove the first nest, they will build a nest right on top of the old.

Enjoy the journey of this precious, precious family.

Mama sits on nest. She doesn’t spend all day there. She will come and go at her leisure.

After the babies are born she will come and go bringing food back for them.

Beautiful Mama

Mama and papa going out for an outing.

Papa protecting his domain from the Scarlet Tanager (bright red bird in upper left).

Baby taking a peek out in the real world. Eek.

It takes 12 -14 days for the lovelies to hatch and then they stay on the nest 19 days.  I know from the babies actions today,  with them peeking out of the hole, they are just about ready to take leave.    I have SO enjoyed their visit and pray they stick around and tell all their friends about the open rooms at the inn.

Thank you for checking in and I  would love to hear your experiences about birds in your backyard.

God bless,

Karen

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