Saturday, April 6, 2013

The gift that smells delicious and can become a sandwich

Breadmaking is somewhat an obsession of mine. I love the alchemy of yeast, liquid and flour combining and then changing into something totally better than the sum of it's parts. Each year, for my birthday I (well really my MIL and friends treat me) to purchases I usually don't indulge in. No jewelery, no furs, no purses or shoes- nope for me it's kitchen equipment and specialty ingredients.
This year my fabulous husband took me on a whirlwind trip to Harry's Market, also known in some parts of the country as Whole Foods. A mecca for organic, specialty and unique food items- it was heaven. So what did my cart look like: Rye Flour, Spelt, Steel Cut Oats, Wheat Germ, Couscous, Blood Oranges, really good Rice Vineager, Seseame Oil.... and the like.
When I got home, I opened my two new bread books (another gift from the in-laws- my husband has great parents)) and began perusing recipes. I found a wonderful Whole Wheat and Rye Bread that I tried and am now obsessed with. Lovely Caraway Seeds give it a lovely texture and the mix of Rye and whole wheat make for the sometimes over-powering bitterness of the rye to just be pleasant.
My birthday is over, and sadly the rye flour bin is just about empty- but our anniversary is in July and Mother's Day is before that. I can't wait!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Chick Days

So here in North Georgia it is still chilly enough to have some snow flurries, but in the nursery it is toasty warm. The sound of new chickies means that Chick Days are here- my favorite time of the year.
We started out with 4, 2 Partridge Rocks and 2 Silver Laced Wyandottes. Several days later Jim and I took a short over-night trip to Blue Ridge. At each "chick" sign we stopped. Eventually finding 2 Buff Brahmas. Even they were 5 days behind and quite a bit smaller- they fit in well. The bigger ones seem like they are protecting the little ones whenever a ruckus is a foot.
I have taken to carrying "chick" boxes in my car, should another chick opportunity present itself- afterall Chick Days are here!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


So 3 weeks ago my Buff Orpington started acting funny. She would puff up like a turkey if anyone came near and was spending alot of time in the nest box. At the same time we made the decision to re-home our Buff Orpington Rooster BIG Al. He had become a bit of a pain and I was intimidated by him. The day after BIG Al went to his new home, Wilma went broody. She stayed in her nest box for 24 hours, so we gave her some eggs to sit on. New to chickens I didn't know what to expect, certainly not her complete devotion to the project. She only left the nest box twice that I saw. Yesterday when I checked on her I heard that familar "Peep PeeP" sound. Today we have 5 new chickies, and are waiting on the last 2 eggs to see if they hatch. They are so precious!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

James Bond- shaken not stirred

A few months ago a friend agreed to hatch some baby chicks for me. She has a flock of Ameraucanas and knew that I wanted to increase my flock. When I went to pick them up, sadly one chick had died, but the others distracted me. To "make up" for losing the one chick- btw these chicks were free, so how can you be upset with losing a chick that you didn't even have let alone pay for?- Stephanie brought out several that she thought might be Easter Eggers. Of course I said, "Yes, please I want them!" and off I went.
Some of you may know, unlike me at the time, that breeder birds are different from hatchery birds. Hatchery birds tend to be fairly uniform, so much so that you seldom get "really good show quality birds". On the other side, chicks are inspected and "culled" if they have any physical deformaties or problems. Getting chicks from a breeder or straight from a hatch- your chances are better for pretty birds- but if the breeder is not someone who culls their stock for perfection you might see bumble foot and other none fatal issues.
Such was the case with my Black Birds. I had a badly weakened chick with walking issues, one with a mal-formed foot and then there was....cue music~ James Bond.

Looking like a tuxedo wearing, ladies man, James Bond was fabulous. Dressed all in black with just a hint of a white ruffle at his chest, I knew he was special. But unlike the invinsible spy about town, JB seemed a little small and weak. Eventually he got sick with a respitory ailment. I surely thought he would die. I seperated him from the other chicks- who were by that time all doing well, and placed him in "hospital"- a small box with comfy bedding and quiet. Knowing that James never sleeps alone, I placed a sleep-over friend for him to cuddle with. Eventually James made a full recovery, although it took round the clock feedings and constant care, I was so happy he was alive. Now Bond is 12 weeks old and quite the attractive Easter Egger cockerel. His daper white shirt blaze has been replaced by a coppery red- he is such the individual.
May I present Bond, James Bond~

Monday, August 6, 2012

First of dozens (we hope)

I'm not sure you're really a chicken lady until the first egg appears. And despite the fact that small unidentified children come up to me and ask. "How are you're chickens?" I have really felt less-than when it comes to my newest endeavor to leave egypt. Everyday I would go out to the coop, lift lids looking for egg, only to find my kitten Boogie was the only one resting in the nesting boxes (he thinks he's a chicken). I had even resulted in looking through the woods trying to find hidden stashes of eggs, but each day I would come back empty. No eggs. No fritatas. No omelettes. No deviled eggs.

I had pretty much resigned myself to failure, when Friday last week there was a commotion in the coop- and not just in the coop, but in the whole yard. I had read about such things but had dismissed the stories as myth- but there my chickens were- SINGING! The Egg Song, oh what a beautiful melody. Bok Bok Bok BOGAWK! Over and over they all sang it. It was like a chant of encouragement to my sweet girl Bea. It lasted for 2 hrs.
When she emerged from the coop. Bea got a drink of water and a bite to eat and joined the flock, leaving me to find the prize- and there it was. What a gift! A wonderfully peach colored small egg. Now that would be wonderful enough, but later in the morning I realized one of my other girls Leila was missing. I looked all over for her, but she was nowhere. Maybe she was sad because she had no song. Maybe she was jealous of her sisters newfound ability. Maybe she was......naw that would be crazy. I opened the door to the coop and there she was. Comfy and secure and as I later found out- laying an egg!

So all the waiting was worth it. Bea and Leila have started laying pretty regularly, so much so that 2 loaves of Banana Bread were made with their gifts this morning. And when my hubby came home he was just in time to retrieve another of Leila's eggs still warm from her body.

I am finally a Chicken Lady.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


So this So. Cal girl who used to live in an apartment nearly underneath the Harbor Freeway has become the Chicken Lady. Here in rural Georgia, it's pretty common to have chickens in the yard, so most of my friends think I'm a little crazy to always be talking about my chickens. You know it's bad when little children you don't recognize come to you in the local Wal-Mart and ask you "How are your chickens?"I have always liked chickens, my home has chicken-y items all over it. People were giving me "chicken things" way before the coop showed up and before the first "PEEP" was uttered. For the most part I love their colors and personalities. So when I found out their were chickens who would lay colored eggs (other than brown and white)- I knew I had to get me some of them there hens. Enter my friend Stephanie who has a whole flock of pure bred Ameraucanas. These lay true blue eggs. She also had Easter Eggers, who lay a variety of colors. So as a trade out, I gave her one of my Buff Orpington Roosters and she hatched me 4 Ameraucanas and 3 EEs.
This adventure has been very different than my first TSC, scoop 'em from a bin take 'em home in a box adventure. These chicks were less than 24 hours old and some had some issues. Probably these would have been culled by most hatcheries or even breeders. But I saw them virtually right out of the egg and said, "I'll take them all!". Stephanie warned me that some might not make it- but off I went with my puffy cheeked babies. For those unfamiliar with Ameraucanas of EEs, they have puffy cheeks and sometimes resemble chipmunks. Although mine are mostly blues and blue mixes.
So if all survive, one we are still watching closely, we will have 12 chickens- can anyone say "Omelette?"

Saturday, June 16, 2012

I'm your Boogie Man~

For awhile now I've wanted another cat. With Izzy's emotional issues (Izzy is our 3 legged rescue cat/diva), we couldn't have one inside. After the chickens arrived- so did a passel of squirrels. Seems that they are very fond of chicken feed. With no dogs, they both passed away this year, the varmits were free to run play and EAT, and EAT and EAT EAT EAT!
It seemed like the perfect opportunity to get and train a "barn cat", one that wouldn't eat chickens but might leave several young squirrels on the front porch as a present. I posted on Facebook that I wanted a kitten. All of a sudden there were messages everywhere. FREE KITTENS! In the end I really wanted a solid black tom cat. Enter Boogie. He's not quite a tom cat yet- our squirrel bandits probably outweight him by a good bit- but he'll grow. Right now he's learning we are friends and so are chickens. He's such a loving kitty. Lets hope he loves the taste of squirrel.