Poop and Shoot

These little girls are my newest obsession.  I love everything about them…except the cleaning the butt part.  Yup, I did that today. Little Lucille here wasn’t quite ready for her photo shoot with the big, old turd hanging from her rear fuzz.  Thank goodness for youtube and the videos I watched on how best to clean their nether regions.   So, after some warm water, 15+ cotton balls, a ‘fuzz cut’ (get it? buzz cut?  Har Har), and a blow dry, she was ready for these pics.

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“Oh please.  Stop.  I insist.”

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“Ok, just one more.”

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“I said ONE more crazy, obsessed, chicken lady”

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Night Night. “Cheep Cheep.”

The Farmer’s Chicks

We did it.  We got chicks this weekend.  After about a year of ‘kind-of ‘ wanting them, we brought some home.  I say  ‘kind-of’ because we really weren’t sure we wanted chickens.  Heck, we STILL aren’t sure we want chickens.  Especially 6 of them!!  How did we end up with 6? Let me tell you.

Last fall, my mom built chicken coops for my brothers family and mine.  When I say she built them, I mean she designed and actually built them.  Not a kit.  Not a mail order.  They’re adorable and I’ll have to post pictures when the weather permits.  You’ll love them.   So, here we are with a chicken coop and no chickens.  Hmmm…no pressure or anything to fill it up, right?

Since the coop came, chickens were on our mind…a lot.  I bought some books, talked to friends with chickens, read online, and of course pinned chicken things….I was ready, right?  We were looking forward to Spring with hopes of getting them early and decided to take the plunge on Saturday.  Off to the feed store we went.  Now, let me tell you, this same time last year, we ran into a lady at the feed store who was full of knowledge, volunteered at the store, and was called ‘The Chicken Lady’.  We’ve talked about her randomly over the past year and said to each other yesterday, ‘What if The Chicken Lady’s there again?’   Well, guess what?  We walk in and there she is!  Standing in line to buy her own supplies, she’s there. So we talked to her some and she’s all, ‘Guess what? I have a Lavender Ameraucana that I might be able to sell to you. She lays blue eggs’.   Mr. Farmer lit up.  This type of egg is the type he’s been talking about for over a year.  So, we tell her we’re interested and she tells us we have to come to her house tonight and get it because breeders are coming tomorrow and they’ll take all she has.  Uhmm…ok…I guess we’re getting one of those.

After talking to The Chicken Lady for a while, we get 3 chickens from the feed store.  3 different, beautiful chicks who are all supposed to be friendly and docile girls.  Then we head to The Chicken Lady’s house.   We looked, drooled, and checked out her chickens.  She gave the boys a basket and told them they could fetch all the eggs from the coop.  Then she sold us our Lavender.  At last, she asked us how big our coop was.  We told her how big it is and that we felt that we could only have 3-4 chickens in it.  She tells us we could easily have 6, maybe 8.  What??  Uhm…so, then she’s showing us a Buff Brahma.  Oh, this Buff Brahma is adorable.  I look at Mr. Farmer with the sweetest puppy dog face I can muster and he caves.  Sucker!  So, now we’ve got 5 chicks. The Chicken Lady looks at me, smirks, and says, ‘you want one more? How about a Russian Orloff?’.  Scott and I both almost scream NO but instead politely try to tell her that we have enough and should get going.  So, she walks us to our car, to place our Buff in with the boys and whispers in my ear, ‘I snuck a Russian in the box.  Shhhh!’.  Then she winks!   I couldn’t believe it.  Mr. Farmer couldn’t believe.  6??!!  What are we going to do with 6 chickens?

I’ll tell you what I’ve been doing with them.  Holding them, watching them, cleaning their butts, taking their photos…  So, without further ado, here are our girls:

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Our Partridge Cochin

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Our Silver Laced Wynadotte.  Henry named her Mille.

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Our Lavender Ameraucana

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Our little Russian Orloff.  Scott named her Elsa.

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Our Buff Brahma

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And last, our Buff Chantecler.  Her name’s Lucille and the boys love her to pieces.

 

Now, although I’m obviously in the honeymoon phase of chicken ownership, I’m loving them!  They’re so cute and precious!  I know these days are fleeting (do I sound like the mother of a newborn baby?) and then I may be regretting having to clean their coops and defrost their water…but for now, let’s face it…even their poop is cute!

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Announcement!

I have news.  No, I’m not pregnant.

We are moving!

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Things are moving along to the status of ‘official’ and I thought now would be a good time to tell everyone that we have sold our house.  I’ll be taking some time off at the end of this month for the move, so if you’re wanting to order for Mother’s day, please do so as soon as possible.

Our little story:

Less than 2 weeks ago, we got the phone call that an offer we had made on a new home was accepted.  We had made an offer with a 10 day contingency to sell our house.  10 days!  Freak out mode began for me just 12 days ago.  If you would have been around me the Friday before last, you would have seen a frazzled, excited, hyper, stressed woman.  We ‘staged’ our house in less than 12 hours, listed the house within 24 hours, had 7 people want to see it the first day, a ‘For Sale’ sign and 2 offers by the 2nd day.   We accepted the best offer the next day and just finished up the inspection last week and the appraisal yesterday. Whew!  That’s a lot of information in once sentence, isn’t it?

We had been semi-looking for a new home for a little while but really thought we would do this within a year or two.  But, after seeing our future home, we thought, ‘Hey, why not make an offer and try?’.  And now we are looking at closing dates and moving boxes.  It’s all happening so fast and part of me is excited I haven’t had too much time to think about this move.  We are thrilled to be going where we are going yet sad to leave our neighbors and friends.  This house was our first house, the only house our babies know.   The memories here are wonderful.  The work we’ve put into the house has been a very rewarding experience and we are sad to leave, but excited for change.

I have two really busy seasons with my work.  One’s at Christmas and the other is happening right now.  Not sure what I was thinking moving during this time of year but we believe this was all meant to be.  I will be putting my shop on vacation for the move and plan on re-opening shop once I have internet and have unpacked my work boxes.  Our new house will have a proper office for me, which I couldn’t be more excited about!  No more working under the stairs!  Yippee!

So, if you’re wanting to order for Mother’s day, I highly encourage you to do so now.  This week or next week at the latest.  After that, I’m not sure I can guarantee you’ll see your gifts arrive before Mother’s day.  You can stay up to date on our move on my Facebook page if you would like and I’ll try to update my last day to accept Mother’s day orders on there.

Irish beef stew with Guiness broth

It’s that time of the year.  The most wonderful time of the year.  Time for some of our favorite foods.  I made Irish beef stew with Guiness broth last night and it was delish.  I’ve only been making it a couple months but have made it at least 5 times this year already.  Apparently we don’t need it to be St. Patty’s day around here to eat Irish.  So, if you’re looking for a new recipe to try this week, give this a whirl.  Your man will thank me you.

Irish Beef Stew with Guiness Broth

1-2 lbs. beef (cut in larger chunks)

4-6 carrots – cut in 1″ slices

1 large onion – diced largely

Minced garlic

1 bottle/can Guiness stout

2 cups beef broth

Rosemary, thyme, bay leaf, oregano…whatever you have that’s ‘stewy’ in your cabinet

Potatoes (any mashed recipe will do)

How to make

Here’s the thing, I don’t have an exact recipe and it comes out a little different every time…but equally as good.  We bought part of a cow last year, so the meat I use is usually just what’s on hand in the freezer.  Sometimes it’s beef stew meat, sometimes it’s a rump roast, and like last night, it’s a juicy steak.

1. After you cut the meat in medium to large chunks, season it with salt and pepper.

2. Heat the bottom of a stock pot with oil and sear the beef chunks.  Make sure they get brown on each side.  After they are brown (they don’t need to be cooked through…just the outside), transfer them to a bowl and do the rest of them.  I can fit about 7-8 pieces in the pan at once, so this part usually take about 3-4 batches.

3.  After all your meat is browned and sitting nicely in a bowl off to the side, dump in your carrots and onions.  Brown these as well.

4.  Once your veggies are browned, add some garlic.  Brown that a bit…but don’t burn it.

5.  Next, add your meat back to the pot.

6.  Pour the entire contents of Guiness bottle or can into the pot.  If you’re omitting the Guiness, shame on you.  I mean…oh…ok.  Just substitute more beef broth.

7.  Pour in enough beef broth to cover the contents by about an inch or so.  This usually takes about 1-2 cups.

8.  Next add your rosemary, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper.  You can add more S & P later, so don’t overdo at the beginning.

9.  Cover and let simmer for as long as possible.  I only did an hour and half last night but prefer to go longer.  The meat will just be more tender the longer you let it simmer.

10. When you’re ready to eat this, add about 1/2 – 1 cup of frozen peas to the pot.

11.  Last, add a thickener.  You can do flour and water, cornstarch and water, or flour mixed in melted butter.  I prefer the last part.

12.  Finally, scoop out some mashed potatoes (that you whipped up while the stew/soup was simmering) and then dump you stew on top.

13.  Enjoy.

 

For the potatoes, I just skinned 5 Yukon golds, cut them in large pieces, boiled until soft, drained, mashed, added butter and cream cheese and half & half, and Johnny’s seasoning salt.  Whew!  That was a lot in one sentence.  Really, this dish is more about the stew.  Or as my husband likes to call it…Stewp.  It’s a mix between both and we like it that way.

 

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Valentines Day Craft

My friend and I signed up as art docents for our sons’ kindergarten class.  We decided to share it and have been taking turns doing art projects for their class.  Tomorrow is a new art day and after looking on Pinterest for what felt like hours, I decided to do this little caterpillar for their project tomorrow.

Quite honestly, the little 5-6 year olds kind of scare me. When you get 25 of them all at once raising their hands or asking for help, you start to shake a bit.  Or at least I do.   I don’t know how teachers do it.  They have this magic way of clapping and suddenly, every little person stops what they’re doing and does the same clapping pattern.  It’s a miracle only the teacher can do.  Believe me.  I tried.  It didn’t have the same magical effect.

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But, being able to help out in Jack’s classroom is an opportunity I am glad I get to do.  Let’s just hope they’re just as happy to make this little project tomorrow.

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