Friday, December 9, 2011

First Snow!

It's December 9th and we just had our first real snow. Unusual for this part of Northwest Indiana! We got just under an inch. This was the first time the girls had seen snow and it was hysterical! Normally, they are clucking at me once they hear me coming and then race out of the coop once the door opens. They were quiet this morning. When I opened the door, they started to come out, then quickly retreated :)

And they took turns looking outside. I was laughing too hard to put their ladder in place :)

Goldie was giving me funny looks...

And flew to my shoe...

Took a bold step onto the snow...

And back onto my other shoe...

Now this is quite unusual for this little girl. She is my flighty one. For her to sit on my shoe for 15 minutes was quite brave of her.

Then Ruby decided she wanted out. She started eyeing me too and I told her that I am NOT a perch and to not even think about it.

And flew to the sawhorse perch to survey the snow.

Finally, Lace came out and tried to push Goldie off my shoe. She wasn't in the sharing mood.

Lace discovered the scratch and mealworms, which brought the other two running.

They better get used to this! We're going to have much more!

Monday, November 21, 2011


So for now, only my Rhode Island Red, Ruby, is laying. I'm getting about 6 a week. But on some days... there will be two eggs in there. Usually there were 0 the day before. So either someone else is laying, or she's covering them so well I miss one. I don't know. It's impossible that she's laying 2 in the same day. The coop is only 4x4... Anyway, here's a dozen from Ruby:

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


First - the girls:

Teeny tiny egg found over the weekend, next to what I've been getting:

and a Lace close up:

And... Connor got an early Christmas present from Grandma B (Jon's mom)!

He asked the chickens if they wanted to ride in the tractor... they declined.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Getting Cold!

We had to break down and turn the heat on the other day. It was 50 in the house, it was time. I just hate it because that means our electric/gas bill goes sky high.

I closed the chicken's window today and secured it for the winter. It's on the south side, which should be fine, except with how our property is, we get most of the bitter winter wind from that side. It's weird, but we have trees on three sides and it just whirlwinds around. You can see snow tornados when the wind kicks up in the field.

Right now, I'm getting one egg every other day. I've had a few that are soft shelled and had to be tossed. By the time the other two start laying, it'll be winter when they naturally slow down...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

First Egg Details :)

My first! Laid yesterday. I locked them up last night in the dark and somehow didn't step on it. I found it this morning before I let them out. I'm assuming it's from my Rhode Island Red, Ruby, who was hatched on Mother's Day... so she's what, 22 weeks? I found another egg on their perch, but it was a soft shell and was cracked. I don't know if she's just been busy, or if one of my other two are laying. Lace is a Brahma, Goldie is a Buff Orp, both supposed to be a month older than Ruby, but I think Goldie is younger. She's just now not sounding like a baby chick.

Wordless Wednesday - My First Egg!

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Our newest additions... a Red Haven peach tree and Bing cherry tree. I will need to get another sweet cherry later on to pollinate the Bing. I'd like to get apple trees also.

Connor loves to play on the tractor with Daddy!

And chickens!

Thursday, September 29, 2011


I just got an email from a local nursery... select fruit trees for $5. I might just have to check them out. I really want apple trees for next year and don't want to spend $50 on each. Of course, it doesn't say which trees are available, just "select".

It's been raining quite a bit lately, so no growling chicken video yet. Hopefully I'll be able to do that this weekend!

Friday, September 23, 2011

More Canning!

We went to the local apple orchard with my mother-in-law and niece last weekend. Connor and Kate had fun playing in the petting zoo and riding the Moo Train. It's a tractor pulled ride made from plastic barrels painted to look like cows. Connor loves anything train/tractor and had a blast.

We picked apples, which I don't think I've ever done before. Galas, Jonathan and Golden Delicious. Honey Crisps are technically done, but we found a few good ones on the ground. I picked 11 lbs of apples... It's amazing how good an apple tastes right off the tree. I love that they tell you to try them right there in the orchard. Connor ate at least two apples.

I made 4 1/2 12oz jars of caramel apple jam, 2 12oz jars of spiced applesauce and 2 12oz jars of sweetened applesauce. I still have 8 apples left. I'm probably going to make more sweetened applesauce. We plan on going back in October for the next round of apples. They have some kinds I've never heard of that will be ready then - Shizuka, Sundance, and others.

I think I'm hooked on canning. It's so rewarding to see the jars stacking up, knowing that I'm "putting up" for later on. We are considering buying three apple trees next spring. I'd like to get a few blackberry bushes too.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Household Goals

I'm going to use this space for a sort of household goals list. It will be mostly cooking/canning/gardening list with no set time frame.

Bake sandwich bread
- Made the perfect recipe 9/17/11 - will continue to make this one.
Bake and freeze banana bread

BBQ Sauce
Chipotle BBQ Sauce
Cinnamon Applesauce
Peach Cobbler Jam (8 half pints 9/12/11)
Fiesta Salsa (4 half pints 9/15/11)
Blueberry Butter
Caramel Apple Jam (4 1/2 12oz jars 9/19/11)
Sweet Relish
Blackberry Jam

Garden 2012?
Multicolor Bell Peppers
Red Onions
Sweet Onions
Green Beans
Roma Tomatoes
Cherry Tomatoes
Canning Tomatoes

Red Haven Peach Tree
3 varieties of apple trees
Blackberry bush

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Peach Cobbler Jam

I guess I didn't realize that jellies and jams could be more than what's available in the stores. I made beautiful Peach Cobbler Jam last night with Red Haven peaches. Peeling the peaches makes a big mess, but it's worth it. I didn't finish till after 10:30 pm, so need to finish cleaning up this morning. This time, all the lids popped. It's just so pretty!

Here is the recipe.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Canning Plans

I canned for the second time last night. Now, I do not have a canning pot. These two jars are pints and are now in the fridge... I realized that the pot was going to be too short too late. The water is supposed to cover the top at least an inch or so, it was maybe half an inch. I didn't want to take the risk and put them in the fridge after they cooled. The lids didn't pop, but the buttons were down. Oh well, I know it will get eaten!

Ball Fiesta Salsa

I went out today to get Red Haven peaches for jam, completely forgot the lemon juice. I'll pick it up on Thursday along with a half bushel of tomatoes for bbq sauce and more salsa. In half pint jars this time...

Next year, I'd like to have raised beds for a real garden. I want to do tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, various herbs, etc. I'd love to have a Red Haven peach tree, but the "dwarf" varieties are still 15 ft tall! I'd also love to have blackberry and blueberry bushes. Someday...

I sort of remember my grandmother canning. She only canned tomato juice for soup from what I remember. We used to mix it with milk and simmer it till heated. It was wonderful with salt and pepper.

I want to make peach jam, caramel apple jam, more salsa, bbq sauce and a few other things. No pickles! I don't like pickles. Although maybe homemade ones would change my mind.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Spice & Herb Blends Cheat Sheet

Someone emailed this to me a while ago, thought I'd share :)

Spice & Herb Blends: {Recipe Cheat Sheat}

Apple Pie Spice
2 TBS ground cinnamon
1 TBS ground nutmeg
1/2 TBS ground allspice
1/2 TBS ground cloves

Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ginger

Italian Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
1/4 teaspoon basil
1/8 teaspoon sage

Poultry Seasoning
2 TBS sage
1 TBS thyme
1 TBS marjoram
1 TBS savory
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
Pinch of cloves

Pickling Spice
2 TBS allspice berries
2 TBS cardamom seeds
2 TBS coriander seeds
2 TBS whole cloves
2 TBS mustard seeds
2 TBS peppercorns
2 bay leaves (crumbled)
2 cinnamon sticks (broken)
2 small pieces dried gingerroot (chopped)
2 small dried red chilies (crushed) or 1-2 tsp hot pepper flakes.

Bulk Bouquet Garni Recipe
Using dried herbs:
2 TBS parsley
2 TBS celery leaves
1 TBS thyme
1 TBS marjoram

Mix together then divide evenly onto 12 cheesecloth squares (approx 4? square, 1/2 TBS herb mix per square); add a couple peppercorns and one bay leaf (dried) into each sachet; tie the sachets closed. Store in an airtight container and use as needed.

Three Tasty Recipes To Shake The Salt Habit
Here are three recipes you can use to flavor dishes, nice alternative to salt if you’re trying to cut or reduce salt from your diet.

Salt Free Seasoning Shake Recipe #1
1 TBS garlic powder
1 tsp basil
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp savory
1 tsp mace
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp sage
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Salt Free Seasoning Shake Recipe #2
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp lemon peel powder

Directions For Both: Simply mix together the ingredients from either recipe then put in a herb shaker for easy use.

No Salt Seasoning Shake Recipe #3
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp mustard (dry)
1/2 tsp thyme (dried)
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp celery seed
Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container. You can keep a portion of this in a shaker and just shake over your dish as you would salt.
Try this on soups and meats too when cooking, works well for seasoning chicken.

Homemade Salad Seasoning Mix
Mix together and keep in a single shaker to season up your salads:
1/4 cup Parsley flakes
2 TBS Oregano
2 TBS Basil
2 TBS Marjoram
1 TBS Dry mustard
1 1/2 tsp Pepper
Makes approximately 3/4 cup. Use a shaker that has larger holes and preferably a cap to seal flavor. Store in a cool, dry spot.

Cajun Kicker Seasoning
Use on fish, shrimp, chicken and whatever else you like!
4 TBS Paprika
3 TBS Basil (dried)
2 TBS Thyme (dried)
2 TBS Onion Flakes (minced)
2 TBS Garlic Powder
1 TBS Fennel Seeds (crushed)
1 TBS Parsley Flakes
1 TBS Salt
1 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Pepper
Mix all ingredients and store in an airtight container or jar with tight fitting lid.

Cinnamon Sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Monday, September 5, 2011

Spending Time With The Girls

Yesterday, we spent the day at Fair Oaks Farm (you can read about that here. When we got back, my son wanted to see the chickens.

My husband and Lace:

Me and Miss Skittish, aka Goldie:

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Picky, Picky...

Two days ago, I took out corn on the cob with most of the corn gone to the girls. They barely picked at it.

Yesterday, I took them some Jazz apple slices that my son didn't finish. They barely picked at it. Turned their noses up at Jazz apples... what kind of chickens did I get??

Today, I threw out about a cup of bird seed with sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, peanuts, you know, the good stuff. They went for the apple slices I forgot to take out last night.

I get growled at when I bring treats out there unless it's bread. Did you know chickens growl? Take my word for it, they do.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Better Pics of the Girls

I got some better pics of the girls yesterday morning.

Their personalities are something else... Saturday night I had to put them to bed early because we were going to Michigan City to meet up with some friends and wouldn't be getting back until late. They obliged, but weren't too happy. When I let them out yesterday morning, Ruby stood about 3 ft from me, look right at me and I swear she was telling me off... I went to give them some treats yesterday afternoon and they ran from me :) Last night, they put themselves to bed.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Chickens Are Here!

I picked up "the girls" on Thursday!

This is Lace. She is a light Brahma.

This is Goldie. She's a Buff Orpington. My niece named her :)

And finally, this is Ruby. She is a Rhode Island Red. My "Idon'twantchickens" husband named her!

They were hatched in April/May of this year and should be laying in a month or so. I hope :) They have settled in well. They came from the same flock and get along. I will get better pics later :)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Coop Building - Day 6

Quite a bit has been done on the chicken coop and it's almost ready to go. I have a second coat of paint on the exterior and might still have to do another. I have to do at least two more coats on the inside. The window is in and screened with hardware cloth. I need to find bird netting for the kennel cover and then we'll be ready to go.

The roost will have to be moved. It's not even 2 inches from the back wall and it's supposed to be 12-18 inches.

Not bad for $3 paint from Habitat for Humanity ReStore! I love the trim color. It's Sherwin Williams Wool Skein. The red is Sherwin Williams Rookwood Red.

I'm most likely picking up the "girls" on Thursday. I'm getting three from someone I met on Backyard Chicken. I will leave a spot open for when I find an Easter Egger. I *need* a chicken that lays blue eggs :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Coop Building - Day 3

Coop building, day 3

Roof panels are on. Clean out door/chicken door combo is cut. Latches and locks are temporarily on.

This area will be painted and covered in hardware cloth. For the winter, I will partially cover this to prevent drafts.

Inside skylight view. My uncle bought smoke panels. Yes, the roof is a pallet :)

For now, the vents are 6 holes that need to be cleaned up. If it ends up not being enough, we will take off the vents and make the openings bigger. There is a vent on the back and both sides.

Looking good so far!

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