2016, You’re a Bitch

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If this year has taught us anything, it’s that nothing is sacred, not even childhood.  We started off the year losing Alan Rickman, who has been a favorite of mine for a long time.  And as a Harry Potter obsessive, he was the best person they could have chosen to play Snape.  So needless to say, that broke my heart.  Then Prince, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Merle Haggard, Gene Wilder (screw you 2016!), Robert Vaugh and the list goes on and on.  But seriously, 2016, what was the meaning of you taking Kenny Baker away from us?  Why go after the droid?  What’s your problem?  This year was brutal in celebrity deaths.  It was also a tumultuous disaster year.  Two hurricanes, flooding, mudslides, drought, tornadoes in November and the wildfire in East Tennessee that devastated that area.  2016 would not stick to national news, either; it came after my family.  Well you know what, 2016?  You better really enjoy your last gasps because the end of you is on its way.  And I know plenty of people that will be glad to see you go.  So much negativity in the news can really wear a person down, don’t you think?  And then to come home to your sanctuary and realize that bad news can strike inside the walls of your haven, well, that’s just down right hateful.  It makes for a hard time.  But I have to say, there is always something good that comes along and reminds us that all is not lost, very much like the rainbow after a bad storm.  If that storm decimated your environment, stole your water, killed off some of your favorite famous people and family, and oh yeah, did I mention?  Killed a chicken.  Man that rainbow is a little more muted this year.  Instead of vibrant colors, it’s closer to shades of mauve.

How do we combat this?  How do we recover?  It’s not easy, and it’s not straightforward either.  There’s a saying, tough times make tough people.  I guess that’s true, but you could also say tough times break tough people.  I know, I know, I’m a ray of sunshine right now.  But I want to share with you something that happened not that long ago that made some of this go away.  A friend of mine is a born and bred city girl.  And she told me recently that for the first time ever she is going to be moving into a house with a lawn that she intends to grow food on.  And what makes this conversation special is she told me that through what I do and what I share with her, it made her get excited about learning how to do those things.  Will she have 22 chickens?  Maybe not, but maybe.  Maybe she finds out how amazing and rewarding growing tomatoes can be, so she tries something else, then something else, then something else until she is living just outside of town on a couple of acres of ground with some chickens in the backyard, gardening her little heart out.  Or maybe she sticks to her backyard garden in town and enjoys giving fresh tomatoes to friends and family.  Either way, she was inspired by somebody talking about something they are passionate about.  Why can’t that be what we all plan for 2017?  Let’s all strive to enrich someone else’s life, because I can guarantee you that through that effort, our own lives are enriched.  When you lift up others and share your passion with them, you are healing part of you, too.  It’s our response to adversity that makes or breaks us and it’s our response to those around us that either pulls them up or knocks them down another rung.  I didn’t say, well I guess you could grow something in the city, but that’s such a small goal, and a lot of work; instead I went with, do you know how much food you can grow on 1/4 acre?  You could feed yourself for a year and then some!

This has been a beast of a year.  Let’s make 2017 something amazing.  Let’s make 2017 a year for inspiring others, not tearing each other down.  I for one am going to keep trying new things and failing and crying and getting back up and dusting off my kitchen apron.  And just maybe I can convince some of you to try something new with me this year.

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The Homestead Wasn’t Built In A Day

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The weather is weird for November; I want to close the windows not because it’s cold but because I want to turn on the AC.  The tomato plants are producing better right now than they did all the way through the conventional tomato season.  The winter squash are growing fine, but I worry that the lack of chill in the air might make them not as sweet.  The change in daylight hours has made the chickens lazy; they are laying less.  This is a seasonal thing, it happens every year when it gets darker earlier, and the only way to combat that is to put a light in the coop.  We are currently discussing it.  So what better way to make ourselves feel good about our progress (or make us feel guilty about our lack thereof) than to sit and listen to the Mother Earth News online Homesteading Summit?  We couldn’t think of one either.  As we sit and listen to presentations by legends like Joel Salatin and John Kohler, and so many others, we are finding ourselves in each of the stories about how things didn’t always go well, and what it taught them.  We are laughing along with the woman who struggled with fencing to keep her goats in at the same time that we are figuring out poultry fencing.  We are learning what happened to our original tomato harvest and why the tomatoes didn’t make much fruit while listening to a guy talk about compost.  This has genuinely been a good couple of days of presentations to listen to.  And it makes it easier to understand in a practical way instead of a theoretical way as we are in many of the situations being discussed right now.  Instead of taking notes and thinking about how this will change the way we do things a few months down the road, we are putting the techniques in place now, and hoping to see results in the coming year.

The thing about this whole homesteading thing is, even if you’ve done it for years, there is always something new to learn.  And the moment you think you know everything, your homestead or your farm or your garden will find a way to prove you wrong.  So far we have been lucky; we haven’t had any major catastrophes take out our entire flock of chickens, or decimate the garden.  But we also have had some hard lessons learned.  For one thing, putting a bleeding chicken in the bathroom so you can clean her up and try to save her comb is a bad idea.  Thankfully we were planning on redoing that bathroom anyway.  But in all seriousness, we have frequently had something throw a kink in our plans and drive us off the road we had plotted for the day, week or even month.  We planned to finish securing the fencing on the duck yard yesterday; instead we spend a lot of time in the kitchen processing a mean rooster.  Had he not attacked me, the duck yard might be crossed off the to do list.  As it is, we are hoping to finish up tomorrow.  Then it’s back to work on the chicken yard expansion, starting the pig yard, we still have floors that need to be put down in two bedrooms, the garden to prep for next year, trees to cut down and cut up, and the list goes on.  But as they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a homestead.  I’m going to put another load of laundry in and turn on another presentation.

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Hashbrown Casserole Potato Cakes

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I don’t know if you guys have noticed, but man, I have been on a roll lately.  I am a cooking machine!  I have been trying to make sure my husband stays fed because he’s one of those that when he gets busy, he slams a couple cups of coffee, chews up a Tums and calls it dinner.  So when I can I have been making sure he eats.  A few days ago, we made a hashbrown casserole.  It was good and crunchy, looked amazing, but when it came out of the oven, we had done something a little wrong; it was layered instead of all incorporated, more like a lasagna than a casserole.  While the flavor was excellent, the texture wasn’t quite what we wanted, so we put the whole pan in the fridge and forgot about it.  Flash forward to tonight, I’m making my Panko-Parmesan crusted chicken nuggets, some mixed veggies and I spy the casserole still hanging out in the fridge.  My little lightbulb goes on, and I dig it out.  Everything was there, except something to bind it.  I added two eggs fresh from the backyard courtesy of my girls and mashed it all together.  I ended up with an almost batter that had some crunchy bits in it.  So I patted them out into cakes, and put them in a hot skillet.  Brown on both sides and heat through, and you have yourself a Hashbrown Casserole Potato Cake.  Delish!  And they went well with our meal.

I can’t possibly be the first person to think of this, but when they came out so great, I was awfully proud of myself.  I have had a couple of good ideas lately.  Not to toot my own horn, seriously, because when it comes to meal planning I am as predictable as a Lifetime Movie.  Pork chops, potatoes and a green vegetable; chicken, rice and a green vegetable.  You get the idea.  I don’t know if it’s the addition of the Death Wish coffee, or the fact that almost every day for a  week I’ve had an energy drink, which is seriously outside my norm, but I have been sharper and more focused lately.  Who knows.  It doesn’t really matter what has caused the evolution of my cooking, because the end result is that I am expanding my skills and we are both eating well.  Maybe I can keep it up.  But for now, I’ve got to run, while there are still potato cakes left to eat.

Pie oh Pie!

 

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Some of you know that I worked in a pie shop many years ago, and that for a long, long (very long) time I wouldn’t touch a piece of pie if you paid me.  Face it, there is only so much of a thing you can eat every day before it is gross.  So it was a long time before I tried to bake pie again.  Then along came this guy I wanted to impress, so I baked for him.  I don’t remember what kind now, and he swears up and down that I have never baked him a pecan pie, which I don’t think sounds right, but you know what?  He married me, so I guess the attempt to impress him with my mad baking skills worked.  Or he liked me as a person, whatever.  Well this week I was feeling that little bit of chill in the air late at night and you know what that means; time to wreck those summer bodies with holiday goodies.  What better way to do this than to bake a bunch?  Pies, bread, I want to bake it all.  But I stayed calm and baked just a little bit.  So maybe I made four loaves of bread and a pie, but that is totally reasonable.

While I was digging around in the cabinets for spices, I found a container of shortening that I haven’t used in a hot minute.  I switched all my shortening needs over to lard, which ironically is healthier for you than the vegetable shortening.  But I got to thinking- there had to be a reason everybody started buying Crisco instead of lard for their pie crusts, maybe it’s better after all.  So I put it to the test.  Which is better, lard or shortening?  Here’s how they stacked up:

The lard has a higher moisture content right out of the gate; this means you can add less water when making your dough, but it also means that it is stickier and harder to work with at some points.  The shortening is easy to spread and mix into the little pea sized balls they want in the flour, but what they did to it to make it that way is part of the reason it isn’t good for us.  So the shortening was easier to work, but the lard didn’t crack as much when I rolled it out.  It did, however, fall apart when I went to put it in the pie pan.  Here’s where lard outshines shortening- if it falls apart, that’s ok, just squish it back together.  It tolerates that kind of treatment.  The shortening doesn’t like that as much, it’s drier.

So I got my doughs in the pan and my hybrid pumpkin filling into the crusts and then baked away.  Honestly, if it just came down to the taste, lard is the winner all the way, no question.  It’s flakier, richer and just down right delicious.  If you can tolerate a little more work and schmoozing your crust, lard is the hands down winner.  And it lets us use up even more of the pig in a sustainable way.  If you’re interested, the recipes are below.

Pie Filling:

2 cups cooked down pumpkin, pureed

2 eggs, whisked

2/3 cups packed brown sugar

1 can evaporated milk

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

pinch of nutmeg

Pie Crust:

1 cup AP flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup plus 1 Tablespoon lard (or shortening)

2-3 tablespoons cold water

  1.  Mix the flour and salt in medium bowl, cut in lard with a pastry blender or two forks.  Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with a fork until flour is moistened.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Gather pastry into a ball and shape into flattened round on a lightly floured surface.  You can wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes, this will ensure the water has time to absorb and helps the lard chill again, which will make it easier to work.
  4. Roll on lightly floured surface into a circle 2 inches longer than a regular pie plate.  Place in the pie plate and press gently but firmly against the sides.  This is also where lard excels- it handles being torn and smushed back together really well.
  5. Mix all the ingredients for the filling in a large bowl until smooth.  Pour into pie crust
  6. Add fancy doo-hickeys, if you prefer.
  7. Bake at 400 for about 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick poked in the filling comes out clean.
  8. Enjoy, and you really don’t have to share.
  9. Recipe for the filling was adapted from an AllRecipes post.  Recipe for pie crust adapted from Betty Crocker.

Living Room Brooder

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I have just come home from a busy weekend at work and I am stretched out on the couch, enjoying some down time.  As I’m laying here, about to nod off, the feeling of being watched overwhelms me.  I open my eyes to five ducks staring at me, chins resting on the edges of their brooders.  This is an attempt to alert me to the fact that it has been 1 1/3 hours since they’ve eaten and they are fading away.  Probably not going to make it.  I can try rolling over with my back to them, or closing my eyes, but that will just elicit a cacophony of peeps, chirps, squeaks and whistles as they convey the urgency of their situation.  So I fill their food and water bowls for probably the 1,237th time today.  And since I’m awake now, I might as well make a cup of coffee.  The ducks are aware that the kitchen is where treats come from.  Hubby shook a bag of chocolate chips to prove a point, and they lost it.  He then rewarded this behavior with frozen peas, their favorite.  So why in the world do I have nearly grown ducks in my living room?  A couple of reasons.

First of all, we brood all of our babies in the house.  I’ve talked about this before; it makes them comfortable around us and helps us to handle them calmly.  And as we found out the other day when we had a duck escape out the back door on their way to the temporary yard, they will follow us when they are in new and scary scenarios.  Which makes catching the poor decision makers easier on us and them.

But we also haven’t gotten their duck yard done yet.  Every time we think we have a spare minute to accomplish this task, something comes up.  I have started precepting nurses at work, so I spent a lot of extra time in classes.  My husband currently has 16 knives he is working on, trying to keep up as the orders keep rolling in.  We had to spend a little money we didn’t plan on to purchase a band saw because one of the orders is super special and the chef wanted a saya (think wooden sheath almost).  The cat is almost bald due to licking all of his hair off so we had to take him to the vet.  There is always money being spent on feed and bedding.  So between a budget and time constraints, well, the duck yard has been put on the back burner.

This is not the best scenario, however, and we have this week to fix it.  Then insanity settles in again and the putting off would kick into high gear.  We need to get these ducks out of here.  They don’t have enough room and the house is full of feathers right now because one of them is molting.  Anybody need a down pillow?

I honestly can’t complain about the crazy that is our life right now, because we are up to our ears in projects and jobs and fun stuff that are of our choosing.  There are not a lot of people that can say that.  I am in the process of making my husband’s knife shop a little more organized, so we know what orders he has and what needs priority.  We are planning on pigs in the spring.  We want to set up a farmer’s market booth during the week next year.  My job is continuing to challenge me as a nurse, and now as a teacher to other nurses.  We are both growing and learning in our messy homesteading education.  And there are new and exciting projects that are on the horizon that I am not quite ready to talk about yet.

I’m going to go ahead and get the ducks some more peas, and maybe crash on the couch for 30 minutes while I have time.  We have so much to do, but the rest of our lives to perfect it.

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But Why Can’t I Do It All?

It’s foosball time again dear readers and I for one am super excited about the upcoming change in temperatures.  The summer weather just about kills me, and fall is my favorite season by far.  This is also the time of year that we start wrapping up our summer gardens and spend a lot of time in the kitchen canning and preserving.  And it should be the time when we are planning a fall garden.  Or have the silly thing started.  That’s what I’m working on today and tomorrow.  I have some really cool winter squash that I want to plant and see how they do.  This is also a time for me to be a little disappointed.  Our to-do list is the length of a Stephen King novel, and yet every fall I get in a little funk about not getting it done.  My husband is super human but even he can’t do everything in a matter of a couple of months.  And he has been really busy with his business, which has kept him hopping with orders lately.  I know, I know, we got chickens this year.  And we got ducks this year.  And our pear trees produced more pears than I have recipes for.  But I wanted more from the garden.  In all fairness, and what I have to make sure I remind myself of, is we didn’t have a tiller this year.  My parents are happy to loan us theirs but it can become somewhat of a logistical problem transporting to and from, etc.  So my hubby did what any sane, normal person would do- he tilled the garden by hand.  And he really worked his butt off, so I should clarify here and now- I’m not frustrated with him, he’s amazing (did I say that already?  Oh well, he is).  I’m frustrated that I am not home to do more.  I’m frustrated that the weather didn’t cooperate this year and my green beans are being whiny princesses that aren’t going to give me the bushels of beans I got last year.  And I’m frustrated that this year we will still have to buy produce from the store.  Am I being completely unrealistic and demanding?  Well, yes, but……  Ok, no but, I’m just being unrealistic.  That’s why I want to do a fall garden so badly, though.  So I can redeem myself and my garden a little, even if I’m the only person who is disappointed with it this year.  My husband does try to remind me that we are still learning and growing, that our farm has taken on new dimensions with the addition of livestock, and that both of our jobs are getting more hectic with more responsibility.  But that doesn’t mean that I always listen to him.  What kind of wife would I be if I calmy paid attention to my hubs’ words and was rational?  Exactly.  But I am going to try, because we have worked really hard this year, and we did check a lot of jobs off the master to-do list.  And we even did a bunch of stuff that wasn’t on the list.  I need to write them on the bottom of the list so I can check them off too.  And still to come, I have to learn how to cook with all the squash I’m planting.

Happy Fall (almost)!  It’s time to get ready for some amazing recipes, and cooler temps.

Until next time, dear readers.

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Oh, Duck!

Around here, some things are meticulously planned, and some things are, well, kind of spur of the moment.  For example, the tiller we bought tonight was planned.  We saved our money to buy a decent one, went with a model and company we like, and we have been in need of our own tiller for a couple of years now.  This spring, my Hubby “tilled” the garden by hand, using our heavy duty pitchfork to turn the soil.  That is why we have about a third of the produce growing that we did last year.  Now we can finish the garden and plant a bunch of food.

The ducks we bought last week, however, fit more into the spontaneous category.  We have talked about getting ducks and were in agreement that next year was the year for ducks.  That all fell apart during a trip to Rural King for chicken feed.  They had 5 Rouen ducks that were a little older than the brand new ducklings, and they were on sale.  We looked and talked, and walked over to the canning section so I could get lids, looked at gardening supplies, checked out cat food, put our chicken feed in the cart, made it almost out of the poultry section and stopped to look at the ducks again.  And we talked about getting ducks some more.  And looked at more chicken supplies, and finally, we grabbed a box (we quit letting the employees hand us our birds a long time ago), and picked out two ducks.  We headed to the check out lane and brought our new birds home.

We already have brooders, so we just set one up and the ducks adjusted very quickly.  We have to change their water about 10 times a day, so a vacation while these crazy birds are stuck in the house is not going to happen.  And we had to grab some duck feed, but since Purina makes a non-medicated multi species flock feed, we did that, and the chickens will be happy too.  When they are feathered out, our new ducks will spend their days chilling with the chickens, free ranging the yard eating bugs and swimming in their pond that is under construction.

What do you do with ducks?  Well, they lay eggs, which are buttery and taste mostly like a chicken egg.  And if we got really lucky, we have a male and a female (a drake and a duck if anyone’s interested) and they will give us sweet, adorable baby ducks.

Were they a spur of the moment decision?  Yes.  Will they be more work?  Of course.  But are they worth it?  Absolutely.  We knew we would be getting ducks at some point; duck egg production doesn’t slow down in the winter like chicken egg production does.  They are tasty (sorry babies, but it’s the truth).  And they are hilarious.  Don’t discount the entertainment value of livestock, it’s part of why we do what we do.

The tiller will be useful tomorrow.  The ducks will start paying their rent a few months from now.  But they are a part of our homestead now, and each piece that comes together makes our farm a little more complete.  Our dream farm and the farm that we eventually have might not be the same, but they will be pretty close, and one day I hope to be sitting on my porch with a cup of coffee watching our ducks play in the pond.

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Chicken Zen

I think every time I sit down to write, I start by exclaiming that I am so much busier than I was the last time I sat down to write.  And that will probably be the case for the next couple of months, since it is the season for growing, tending and harvesting food.  We have started to get a couple of tomatoes, and berries.  We also got our very first chicken egg last week.  I was so excited.  My sweeet hubs brought it in, thought about it, and took that egg back to the nest box.  Not because he thought the chickens might try to sit on it, but because he wanted me to be the one to find it.  Hey, if there was a bush that grew ammo or the expensive coffee we like so much, I would do the same thing for him.  Both of us have been pretty busy lately.  His shop has been blowing up with orders the last few weeks, and we routinely have 3-4 packages to ship out every week.  I couldn’t be prouder of him for sticking with this, even when it got frustrating and it seemed there was no progress being made.  I have been working the same amount, but I feel busier.  We may be busier at work, I may just not be sleeping enough.  That, and my bad shoulder hurts more lately.  You would think a nurse would know when to go see a doctor, but you would be wrong.  We are the last people on earth to go to a doctor.  All of this has led to being more tired, which is a common theme in modern society.  But this is the worst time to lose all my mojo!  We still have a chicken run to finish, and the garden to, well, garden.  And next year we are planning on having two pigs, so there’s a lot of work necessary to getting the yard done for them.  A pine tree to cut up, fruit trees to plant, and the endless mowing.  And that’s only outside.  I’m getting tired just thinking about it all.  When I find myself wearing out, or mentally shutting off, I just go sit with the chickens.  I would have never guessed that just the simple act of chilling with some feathered dinosaurs would lift so much weight right off my shoulders.  And you’ve never really gardened until you have gardened with a chicken.  Sure, they eat the bugs, but they also will knock down a tomato plant, crush two onions and snap off a green bean plant in the process.  Girls if we don’t have any produce, you’re going to have to up the egg production.  Plus, a couple of those birds eat our tomatoes.  Not even the pretty red ripe ones.  Heck no, those heifers go straight for the green tomatoes so we don’t even get half a durned tomato.  To be honest though, I wouldn’t trade our girls for the world.  And on a pretty evening, sitting in the shade in the backyard with my hubby and a cool glass of water, there’s nothing more soothing than a chicken on my leg, just chattering away about the day’s gossip.

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Real Food

For my birthday, my awesome hubby got me a copy of Michael Pollan’s book, In Defense of Food.  His entire point can be summed up in 7 words: eat food, not too much, mostly plants.  Michael Pollan, not my husband.  Well, it’s something my husband would say also.  The statement comes right from the book itself, and before I even knew who Michael Pollan was, and before we even started doing more digging into what it means to really be self sufficient and lead healthy lives, we pretty much felt this way.  Eat food; real food, food that your grandparents would recognize.  And eat it with gusto!  The entire concept of feeling guilty about eating is such an American thing.  We hate to admit that we love chocolate and cake and ice cream, or if we cop to it, we do so with a self deprecating grin on our faces.  As if loving food is the worst thing a person can do in a day.  The thing is, when you eat real food, not food like products, it changes the way you view food.  We are guilty of having quite a few food-like products in our pantry, but we are working to change that.  Any time a recipe for a dessert tells me to use shortnening, I whip out my trusty tub of lard.  That’s right, lard.  I said it, I’m not afraid to tell you that lard makes my pie crusts so golden and flaky, and makes my chocolate chip cookies so rich and delicious.  I am a proud user of lard.  Most people, and I was among their ranks not so long ago, would get the heck away from lard as fast as they could.  Thing is, when we start looking at what individual nutrients are doing to our health, we get into muddy water.  If you look across the globe at cultures that eat very closely to what their great grandparents ate, you will see a serious lack of health problems related to diet- cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancers, I could go on.  Numerous studies have shown that vitamins and dietary supplements have no effect on a person’s health.  Well, ok that’s not entirely true; sometimes when longterm or large amounts of vitamins and supplements are used, there is a deleterious effect on the person’s health.  For example, fat soluble vitamins, such as A, D, E and K are all filtered through the liver, but since they are fat soluble, they also accumulate.  Similar to the way heavy metals accumulate in your body.  What does that mean for our vitamin taker, or a person who has been consuming these new meal replacement smoothies which are basically a multi vitamin in a cup?  It can mean long term negative health, specifically to the liver and kidneys, your body’s filters.

What in the world does any of this have to do with homesteading?  I’m glad you asked.  The whole purpose of the life we lead here is self sufficiency and good long term health.  We aren’t as active as we should be, and we are far from eating all the right things.  But we also trashed our supply of multivitamins and dietary supplements.  Instead of reaching for an omega 3 capsule, we grill up some fish hubby caught.  Instead of downing a vitamin K replacement we grab some greens and some spinach and have a salad.  And anytime anyone ever tells you that vegetable oils are better for your health than real fat, don’t you trust that person.  Use real butter, use real lard, and eat real vegetables and fruits.  Oh and for the record, eat eggs, the whole egg.

The amount of money spent on designer shakes and wraps and pills and whatnot would be so much better spent in the produce aisle of the grocery store.  Or better yet, at the farmers market.  Get to know the people who grow and raise your food.  Grow some of your own!  And eat it with joy and pleasure.  Food should be enjoyed.  Good food should be relished and lingered over and talked about.  And you know what?  Have that slice of pie.  Have two, just maybe work an extra 30 minutes in the garden the next day.

The point is we have gotten so far away from eating a healthy diet that is real food, it doesn’t matter how many vitamins you take.  If everything else you consume is packaged and delivered up with the flashiest new slogan or jingle, those multivitamins aren’t going to be able to dilute the negative.  I guess that’s my soapbox for the day.  And if you’re looking for a  good piece of pie, we might just save you one.

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Happy Spring

Plantacat

Spring is here.  The birds are singing, the flowers are blooming, and the cat seeds we planted are maturing in the pots nicely.  We have been super busy, as I’m sure you have.  The broccoli and cabbage seeds we started are at their awkward leggy stage, and I’m pretty sure we messed them up a little, but that’s part of it, right?  Regardless, we have a bunch of broccoli that needs a garden to live in.  We also just started a few hundred tomato and pepper seeds.  Hopefully most of those come up, since we can a lot of tomatoes and my hubby could eat some kind of pepper with any meal.  The chickens have all been moved out to the big coop, and three have been moved back into the brooders in the house.  We had a minor incident of cannibalism going on; basically one of the copper laced Wyandottes thought it would be a good idea to peck the other chickens bloody.  She has been separated from her former roomies, and the two hens that got it the worst are recuperating in the hospital wing.  We are treating their bloody injuries much like we did with the Rainbow Ranger whose bum was prolapsed a little- Neosporin and warm water washes.  It is important to get the Neosporin that does NOT have the pain reliever in it, as that is harmful to your chicks.  But they are doing really well in their living quarters for the time being.  And I am so tickled to have feather babies back in the house.

We have both been working a lot.  My hubby is working on a custom chef’s knife for a chef that works in GA.  I have been working all of the (what seems like anyway) nice days and home on the rainy days.  Don’t get me wrong, I love rain, but if Mother Nature decided to do me a teeny tiny favor, and have the rainy days on the work days I have to sleep, and the sunny nice days when I’m home in the garden, well, she would be my favorite.  The garden desperately needs to be tilled soon, and the compost turned.  The chicken yard needs to be finished and the inside of the coop needs a little work.  The office and the guest room both need new floors.  The old apple tree needs to be cleaned up.  The fruit bushes need some love and pruning.  The yard needs to be mowed (always).  And the list could go on it seems.  Tonight I am happy to sit in my old beat up recliner with the cats, and maybe a house rabbit later if he missed me enough, and relax.  Wallow in the bliss of comfy pants and fancy coffee.  And probably take a nap.  I think everything will probably be just as we left it tomorrow when the sun comes up; in need of work.  Happy spring all!

Whatulookinat