Monday, September 28, 2009

The Chickadee's!

I can not believe how quickly these gals are growing! We just got them on Friday and they looked so tiny and seemed so helpless. A few days have gone by and their wings are showing now, they are taller and boy are they NOSY! I knew chickens were nosy, but I didn't think it would happen so soon!

I'm definitely starting to see personalities too.

*Dora, Maggie's chick is the adventurous one. She is the most daring. Jumping to get out of the box they are in. She doesn't quite make it yet, but I would bet in two or three days she will.

*Ruby & Scarlett are a team. Always together. Scarlett is the leader between the two of them. The twins. They are both Rhode Island Red's.

*Mary Virginia is the other Barred Rock (the same as Dora), she is quiet. Sits back and lets the others go first. Always wants to be in the middle of the pile when they are huddling.

That leaves the two unnamed ones. The Ameraucana's. They look like a cross between baby owls and baby turkeys. The biggest one is Chris'. I think it's going to be between her and Scarlett for "leader of the henhouse". Chris has mentioned the name Prudence, but he isn't sure yet. I think he is waiting to see her personality.
For some reason these two are harder to name. They are like Ruby and Scarlett. Always together. If you take one from the box the other starts squaking looking for her sister.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Artisan bread in 5 minutes? Really?

YES! Really! I am so excited about this recipe. I was surfing around on THL a couple nights ago and saw a few references about a recipe for 5 Minute Artisan Bread. So that lead me to looking around on the net to see what I could find. Well, it wasn't hard to find. I was so happy to find the recipe and see exactly how easy it is!

I am in love with this recipe! No kneading, just a few ingredients and a quick cook time and BOOM! you have some awesome tasting bread! I have to admit that I ended up making to loaves. The first one I made for dinner. Maggie and I sat and smelled it for about 20 minutes and we couldn't help ourselves. We ate it. The whole thing! To our defense it was a SMALL loaf! LOL The second loaf turned out as good as the first.

Here is a pic of the dough. It had set for 2 hours
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I misunderstood the directions that I read and put a ton of cornmeal under and around the loaf. Luckily I removed it prior to baking! What a stinky mess that would have been!
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And the masterpiece! Loaf #1
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Here is a shot of the inside. A little loaf of heaven!
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If you are interested in the recipe, here it is!


5 Minute Artisan Bread


Adapted from “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day,” by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François (Thomas Dunne Books, 2007)

1 1/2 tablespoons yeast

1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt

6 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, more for dusting dough

Cornmeal.

1. In a large bowl or plastic container, mix yeast and salt into 3 cups lukewarm water (about 100 degrees). Stir in flour, mixing until there are no dry patches. Dough will be quite loose. Cover, but not with an airtight lid. Let dough rise at room temperature 2 hours (or up to 5 hours).

2. Bake at this point or refrigerate, covered, for as long as two weeks. When ready to bake, sprinkle a little flour on dough and cut off a grapefruit-size piece with serrated knife. Turn dough in hands to lightly stretch surface, creating a rounded top and a lumpy bottom. Put dough on pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal; let rest 40 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough or refrigerate it.

3. Place broiler pan on bottom of oven. Place baking stone on middle rack and turn oven to 450 degrees; heat stone at that temperature for 20 minutes.

4. Dust dough with flour, slash top with serrated or very sharp knife three times. Slide onto stone. Pour one cup hot water into broiler pan and shut oven quickly to trap steam. Bake until well browned, about 30 minutes. Cool completely.

Yield: 4 loaves.



I have a few baking stones, but since we moved I can't find them. I just used a regular baking sheet, upside down. It was very easy to get off with a spatula. So if you don't have a baking stone, or a pizza peel, etc., this bread is still very easy to make and handle without it.
If you try this recipe, let me know! I want to know how others like it. We absolutely love it. I like it so much I think I am going to order their book!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Our little urban homestead!

This past week has been so busy for us! Good busy! We have had so many learning opportunities and so much fun!

For starters, on Monday we started our winter garden. We planted carrots, lettuce, onions, leeks, swiss chard, brussel sprouts and radish. When we moved in here there was already a bunch of raised boxes so we just had to dig up the dirt, add more fresh dirt, chicken manure and some minerals to the boxes. We have more planting to do. We want to add garlic and potatoes. Now, we could have went hog wild and planted a lot more than we did, but we have so many critters around here and unsure of the dirt, so we are testing the waters right now. If these crops do well, well, next planting season will be crazy fun!
I will have to post pictures on that later. I don't think I have taken any yet!



And, the newest and most fun is.......we bought 6 baby chickens! That means fresh eggs in a few months. I can not wait! These little perfect fuzzy creatures are so incredibly cute! We got 2 Rhode Island Reds, 2 Ameraucana and 2 Barred Rocks. I can't tell you the conversation topics that have come since bringing our newest family members home. From "what do chickens wear" to "do chickens wear jewlrey" to "how were the chickens made".

Maggie one chick of her very own. She named it Dora. We have one RIR that we named Mary Virginia. The others are waiting for names. If anyone has any suggestions, please, let us know! And no, we will not be naming them shake or bake. Or Kung Pau or Marsala. LOL

Here are our new babies!
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I plan on getting individual pictures soon! They are so stinkin' cute!

We are also building a chicken coop, so there will soon be pictures of that process too! Maggie wants to paint it pink. She is having a hard time convincing her daddy of that. I don't really want a pink henhouse, but I have a feeling it just might end up pink!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Shiver me timbers, pirate day be upon us!!!

What a fun day! International Talk Like A Pirate Day started in 1995 as a joke between two friends, John Baur (Ol' Chumbucket) and Mark Summers, (Cap'n Slappy), of Albany, Oregon. What started out as a joke between two friends became a fun day for everyone!

So to "celebrate" ITLAPD we are going to watch The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything.

And, just for fun I changed my language on Facebook to Pirate :)

Have a fun day!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Gymnastics!

As you already know, Maggie started gymnastics last week. She is just so happy and excited to "go to gymnastic school". She is having a blast! We have decided to take her twice a week instead of one. She is thrilled.

We had a really neat thing happen while we were there yesterday. Maggie was making friends with a little girl who just turned 4. I got to talking with the girls grandmother (who she lives with) and found out she lives pretty close by to our home. The conversation kept going and come to find out the lady bought my aunt and uncles old home which also happens to be the last house my dad ever built. Such memories started flooding my mind. My poor uncle passed away unexpectedly and far too soon a few years after moving into the house. He was one of those really neat people that you never forget. Thinking about him and the times we spent as a family visiting while the house was being built brought a smile to my face. Maggie was pretty excited and thinking her Papa was even cooler for building a house!

I get sidetracked to easily! Back to gymnastics! Maggie did well. Did a little of the same stuff from last week but some new things too. She balanced on the 2nd biggest beam yesterday. She just glided on as if she had been on it before. I was surprised to hear later that she was scared, I never would have known. I really hope that this is something she will enjoy for a long time!
I am also hoping it helps the girl with her coordination! She takes after here mama....and that's all I have to say about that!

I am thrilled to say that I finally got pictures! Here is my girler!

I wish this one was focused better :(
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Learning to Mount on the 2nd beam
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Proud mommy moment :)

She is balancing great, learning cartwheels and having the time of her life.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My husband and I have been making this broth now for about 3 years. It is absolutely delicious! Not only does it taste yummy, but your house smells SO good while it is cooking. We usually end up cooking it about 18 hours or so. The longer you cook it (within reason!) the better it is. I started drinking a cup in the mornings before work (while I was working) and it filled me up until lunch time. I'm a huge snacker so this is a huge plus for me! It is super simple, pretty much cooks itself. We will never use store bought again. It freezes well and is nice to have on hand. Its also great for colds and flu's! There is more written about the broth and other brother recipes at Weston A Price Foundation

Enjoy!


Chicken Stock
1 whole free-range chicken or 2 to 3 pounds of bony chicken parts, such as necks, backs, breastbones and wings*
gizzards from one chicken (optional)
2-4 chicken feet (optional)
4 quarts cold filtered water
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1 bunch parsley

*Note: Farm-raised, free-range chickens give the best results. Many battery-raised chickens will not produce stock that gels.

If you are using a whole chicken, cut off the wings and remove the neck, fat glands and the gizzards from the cavity. Cut chicken parts into several pieces. (If you are using a whole chicken, remove the neck and wings and cut them into several pieces.) Place chicken or chicken pieces in a large stainless steel pot with water, vinegar and all vegetables except parsley. Let stand 30 minutes to 1 hour. Bring to a boil, and remove scum that rises to the top. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 6 to 8 hours. The longer you cook the stock, the richer and more flavorful it will be. About 10 minutes before finishing the stock, add parsley. This will impart additional mineral ions to the broth.

Remove whole chicken or pieces with a slotted spoon. If you are using a whole chicken, let cool and remove chicken meat from the carcass. Reserve for other uses, such as chicken salads, enchiladas, sandwiches or curries. Strain the stock into a large bowl and reserve in your refrigerator until the fat rises to the top and congeals. Skim off this fat and reserve the stock in covered containers in your refrigerator or freezer.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Please, spay or neuter your pets!

If you have pets, please spay or neuter them! The people who live here before us left behind 2 mamas (well, one is confirmed female, not sure about the 2nd) and 9 babies! So far 3 babies have been trapped and taken to animal control. They were spayed/neutered and got their ear tagged so the animal catcher knows they have been fixed and wont pick them up. One died and sadly, before the program above was found out one was taken to the animal shelter and sadly euthanized. There are the two adults and 4 babies left to catch. Trying to trap them before more babies are made.

The owners who lived in our house before us left them behind. The adults were once pets. Now they are very shy and scared. I feed and water them daily. I already have 3 indoor cats, I wasn't in the market for anymore, but it is what it is. They are incredibly cute and fun to watch. I can't imagine just letting them go on as they are and making more and more and more babies. It's so sad.

So someone else's responsibility is costing me $50.00 each to spay/neuter plus the $60 per trap! I am slowly becoming attached, as is Maggie. And Chris, "Mr. we are not going to be feeding those cats" has gone to the store several times to buy cat food. All but one have names....we are still trying to think of a good one! Here are a couple pictures of them.

The striped one is the female, her name is Coraline. The kitten is Blondie.
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Its hard to see their sweet faces, I just fed them. The striped one is Licorice, the gray one is Green Mint and the Black one still needs a name.
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The only one not pictures is the black one I assume is a female as well. But could be papa.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE! SPAY AND NEUTER YOUR PETS!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Flat Sarah does Edmund OK!

Behind on my Flat Sarah update since the move. My sweet friend Amanda and her daughter Kaitlyn took good care of her and showed her a good time in Oklahome! Here is a recap of her time there!

Flat Sarah landing safely in Edmond, Oklahoma on August 26th. Edmond, OK is located 5 minutes north of Oklahoma City. When she first arrived, it was very rainy but this weekend we have had beautiful weather. When we took her out for her pictures, it was clear sky's and in the 80's. Very beautiful.

Edmond, OK is the birthplace of Shannon Miller, who is an Olympic Gymnast. We have a park and many roads named after her. By the park, our town buried a time capsule that will be opened in 30 years. We hope we still live here when it is opened!
We also have the very first schoolhouse that was in Oklahoma which was built in 1889. At that time, it was in the middle of a huge field, and children had to walk quite a distance to attend. Now, the school is on a very busy street surrounded by restaurants and stores. We take very good care of it, to ensure it will always be around to visit and remember.

Edmond, OK is a wonderful, safe place to live. There are many things to do and lots of lakes to swim in.

Flat Sarah was a wonderful guest and after a long day of pictures we all enjoyed McDonalds. Kaitlyn will miss her- but we know she still has lots of traveling to do!


Pictures of Amanda, Kaitlyn and Flat Sarah!






Saturday, September 12, 2009

Firewood Season

Well, it's that time of year again! We had our first cord of wood delivered yesterday. Funny because it has been so hot and still summer here. Firewood gets delivered last night and we had a wonderful lightning display at 3:30 this morning. Chris went out early in the morning and got sprinkled on. Every day it gets closer to Fall.....I can not wait! Fall is actually my favorite time of year!

Of course the wood got dumped in our sideyard and we had to haul it to the backyard. It didn't take as long as I thought it would and I am not as sore as I thought I would be! ROFL!! Thats encouraging for when the 2nd cord gets delivered next Friday!

Maggie was excited when the "wood man" drove up with his truck full. She had fun watching the bed of the truck lift and dump it all out. And she had even more fun getting right in the middle of her dad and I while we were trying to get it all in the back and stacked! She was so cute to help put it in the wheel barrow. And she would carry big pieces of bark back to her dad. :) It's nice to have a little princess who isn't afraid of getting dirty!

Here are a few pictures of our day:

BEFORE
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AFTER
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I wish I would have gotten more pictures of Maggie helping, but I forgot my camera in the house :(

Friday, September 11, 2009

This and That

I am so bummed! Maggie started gymnastics on Wednesday. A good friend of my husband (they went to middle/high school together) just bought and opened the gymnastics studio here in our town. We have been waiting, not so patiently! for it to finally open. Maggie had a blast. I took lots of pictures. Lots of great pictures. But in the middle of my snapping frenzy I got a message on my camera telling me my card needs to be formatted. I can not get any of the pictures off the card. I don't know why this happened. I have used this card many times before. I am hoping my friend Christine can help me recover them.

On top of not getting to pull those pictures off I can not get our pics of making our worm farm or any of the other cool stuff I've taken pictures of in the last two weeks.

We have been working diligently on the Dirt lesson from Lesson Pathways. Maggie has been having a total blast. We are getting ready to start on Rocks next. You know, its pretty funny to watch your sweet little girl dressed in a Disney Princess gown digging in the dirt. She is a prissy tomboy, if there is such a thing!

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Another thing we have been really working on is hand washing. Maggie is good about washing after using the restroom, but I'm really trying to get her to do it a little more often. With cold and flu season upon us I am really stressing how important it is to wash up. She is really starting to do a good job! In between her fingers, scrubbing at least 20 seconds. The best part (in her mind) is getting to put lotion on afterwards.

I have come to realise that a lot of people do not really know how to wash their hands, so I took this info from the CDC. Hope it helps you keep the bugs away!

Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. It is best to wash your hands with soap and clean running water for 20 seconds. However, if soap and clean water are not available, use an alcohol-based product to clean your hands. Alcohol-based hand rubs significantly reduce the number of germs on skin and are fast acting.

When washing hands with soap and water:

Wet your hands with clean running water and apply soap. Use warm water if it is available.
Rub hands together to make a lather and scrub all surfaces.
Continue rubbing hands for 20 seconds. Need a timer? Imagine singing "Happy Birthday" twice through to a friend!
Rinse hands well under running water
Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dryer. If possible, use your paper towel to turn off the faucet
Remember: If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based gel to clean hands.

When using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer:
Apply product to the palm of one hand
Rub hands together
Rub the product over all surfaces of hands and fingers until hands are dry.

When should you wash your hands?

Before preparing or eating food
After going to the bathroom
After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has gone to the bathroom
Before and after tending to someone who is sick
After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
After handling an animal or animal waste
After handling garbage
Before and after treating a cut or wound


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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

We are moved!

I am so thankful to be moved! I absolutely do not like moving. Although it is on the bottom of things I want to do I am SO thankful we did it. We are all so happy. We have been here a week now and it already feels like home!! The previous people who lived here left behind their two adult cats...who of course had kittens. I have sucker written all over my face and I have been trying to make friend with the wild little kitties. They are just so precious. A lady up the road from us has joined in. We catch the kittens and take them in to be spayed/neutered and then they get tagged so the animal control people know they are wild kitties who have been taken care of and wont take them to the shelter. We have the two adults and 4 babies to catch. So far we have caught I think 5 of the kittens. There are two that I am particularly fond of. Blondie and Green Mint (aka Batman).
We have 2 mama deer who come visit every morning and early evening with their 3 babies. Lots of birds, wild finches, woodpeckers, blue jays, hummingbirds, etc. We have a ton of bird houses/feeders all over the back and front yard. We have made a worm farm (we are currently studying dirt!) and boy what fun that was to make. So, even though we have been busy with the move and settling in, we have still been having "school".

I have a Flat Sarah update and some pictures I want to post. That will all have to wait til tomorrow! Now that we are settling in I plan on posting a lot more! I have been terrible about keeping this poor blog up! Sigh.......

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